Netmarble scored an enormous hit in South Korea with its launch final 12 months of Lineage 2: Revolution, a massively multiplayer on-line recreation on Android and iOS. But it was by no means clear if the gorgeous medieval fantasy recreation can be successful within the West.
So, the corporate lined up press, promoting campaigns, and influencers on platforms like YouTube and Twitch to advertise the sport for its November 2017 launch. It even signed up Conan O’Brien to assist promote the sport at TwitchCon.
And it paid off. The recreation that options 30-versus-30 matches bought greater than 5 million registered customers previously two months for the reason that international launch.
I spoke with Simon Sim, CEO of Netmarble US, this week on the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the massive tech commerce present in Las Vegas. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview. Sim can be talking on the Casual Connect USA Disneyland occasion in Anaheim, California this week.
Simon Sim: At Casual Connect, I’ll have a 15-minute presentation about our technique, how we convey Asian video games to the Western market — particularly extra about Lineage 2: Revolution and the way that pertains to our technique.
GamesBeat: Did you will have vacation season on the firm?
Sim: We launched Lineage 2 in November. The launch was fairly profitable. It had lots of natural downloads from Western players, particularly in Europe and Russia. We’re enthusiastic about that. We’re nonetheless getting lots of person suggestions and contributions to enhance the sport extra.
GamesBeat: Was there some query in your thoughts as as to whether Western players can be as involved in Lineage as Korean gamers have been?
Sim: Lineage 2 was fairly difficult for us. For any MMORPG, individuals have to play it for a very long time, greater than an hour a day. That’s fairly totally different conduct from lots of Western cellular video games. A whole lot of the mechanics are unfamiliar. But from what we’ve seen so far as person conduct after launch, individuals are [adapting to] and having fun with the autocasting mechanics. We’ve rebalanced the problem degree to make the sport a bit simpler than the Asian model. From what we’ve noticed, Western gamers are adapting to our recreation.
We assume our strengths are within the RPG style. We’ve made the MMORPG style into one of many mainstream areas of the cellular gaming business in Asia and the West as effectively. We’ll maintain engaged on this sooner or later, each making MMORPG video games and adapting RPG options into hybrid genres.
GamesBeat: You have lots of followers of Japanese RPGs over right here. Nier was on lots of best-of-the-year lists. Sometimes, that Western curiosity in Asian video games is sufficient to create an enormous viewers.
Sim: We made lots of use of influencers. It’s one factor to say that we now have these new mechanics, and so they’re very handy. But Western players nonetheless aren’t conversant in these mechanics, and so they don’t absolutely perceive what we’re speaking about. That’s why we contacted lots of influencers who have already got belief from their followers. We used them to speak about our recreation and persuade their audiences. Conan O’Brien was one. He’s clearly a gamer. That was an enormous a part of our technique to beat these challenges. It’s a brand new strategy, nevertheless it’s working.
GamesBeat: What did you study from working with influencers so far as the way to get good outcomes from that technique?
Sim: Each influencer has their very own fan base, and people followers have totally different pursuits, despite the fact that they could observe comparable genres. Their methods of speaking with their followers, their types of streaming, may be totally different. We realized that we should be cautious about concentrating on, about what sorts of genres and what [kinds] of followers totally different influencers attain.
GamesBeat: Do the press and conventional promoting nonetheless matter?
Sim: This is a cellular MMORPG, however the core followers of this recreation nonetheless come from the PC MMORPG market. We tried to achieve press websites and group websites along with influencer advertising and marketing to make it possible for was all aligned. It’s labored very effectively. We’ve created lots of virality and consciousness.
GamesBeat: What numbers have you ever launched about Lineage 2 to date?
Sim: We simply handed 5 million gathered customers within the West — North America, Europe, Australia. It’s on monitor. In the U.S., we’re sustaining our rankings — and in Russia and Europe as effectively. We’re making the highest 10 grossing charts. We imagine this has a robust potential to maintain its efficiency. It’s solely been two months to date, not even two months. We’re observing person suggestions, watching the group, and analyzing our in-game knowledge. We assume we are able to do higher, and we’re persevering with to work on the sport.
GamesBeat: Some individuals marvel if there are too many Marvel video games on the market. How do you are feeling concerning the power of that franchise throughout so many video games?
Sim: It’s true. There are lots of Marvel video games. But every recreation has a distinct style, totally different traits. Marvel Future Fight may be very a lot an motion RPG, a extra action-based recreation. Kabam has their fighting-based recreation. Jam City has their very own recreation. Among the Marvel household, all the things has totally different traits and a distinct goal fanbase. If the sport style is totally different, it nonetheless has a possibility to do one thing with the IP. Between Netmarble and Kabam, we now have lots of synergy, working with the identical IP and the identical fanbase.
GamesBeat: What sort of manufacturers nonetheless look interesting to you for video games within the Western market? I talked to [Jam City president Josh Yguado] not too long ago, and he stated they preferred Harry Potter as a result of it hadn’t been executed not too long ago in cellular. They have Harry Potter Go to compete with, however he felt that followers would welcome each video games.
Sim: I share that opinion. As an organization, we imagine that despite the fact that we’re attempting to enchantment to Western players, we nonetheless convey an Asian type of video games. We’re an Asian studio. Even if our video games are nice, individuals would possibly hesitate to play our video games. So IP is essential, particularly within the coming 12 months. Currently, we now have Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and Disney, and there are different TV reveals and films we’re . We’re frequently looking for IP we are able to use.
GamesBeat: For you, it looks like cellular video games are nonetheless enterprise to be in. You don’t have to department out to different platforms.
Sim: On the headquarters facet, we’re beginning to develop video games for the Nintendo Switch. We’re what sort of video games would match that platform finest. But we’re a mobile-first firm. We’ll maintain engaged on cellular video games. As alternatives and market tendencies current themselves — typically, you see PC video games coming to console or console IP coming to cellular. We see alternatives round that sort of convergence, and we’ll maintain searching for them. Parts of our studio are creating PC video games. We’re mobile-centric, however we’re open to different platforms as effectively, even console.
GamesBeat: Your firm has an terrible lot of individuals. What is it, 4,000?
Sim: 4,000, sure. But that excludes Kabam or Jam City.
GamesBeat: It’s sort of staggering when you think about that Jam City is barely 500 individuals. I suppose that’s the character of MMOs?
Sim: Building good expertise round our growth studios is essential. We proactively put money into studios. That’s the primary motive. We was within the publishing enterprise, however in cellular, publishing alone isn’t that straightforward. Building up studios, constructing that inside functionality, is essential. And as our studios are profitable, we have to share that information collectively so different studios can develop. That’s the primary motive why we’ve grown.
The second motive is, scale is getting greater and greater. Content is getting extra refined. We want extra proficient individuals and extra groups. For Lineage 2: Revolution, we now have groups in Korea, in Japan, elsewhere in Asia, and within the West. It’s arduous to make an MMORPG with only one group that builds all the things to satisfy the wants of a worldwide viewers. That’s why we’re separated this manner.
GamesBeat: Do you want extra groups creating video games within the West?
Sim: We’re open to that. That’s why we’ve invested in Kabam and Jam City. In 2018, we’ll maintain looking for alternatives to put money into new studios right here, in addition to AI-related firms.
GamesBeat: AI is a crucial space of expertise to amass?
Sim: We have already got AI engineering in our video games, however past that, there’s extra customized interplay with players, advertising and marketing optimization, lots of areas the place we are able to [adapt AI technology for the] gaming enterprise. As an organization, we’re attempting to increase our inside AI group proactively, and we’re nonetheless looking for extra funding alternatives. Headquarters is already build up their devoted AI group.
This article sources info from VentureBeat