When Nexon America CEO Min Kim first visited the U.S., he had no idea that PC gaming cafes didn't exist in the same way that they did back in Korea.
This was quite a shock for him. Korea was already well into free-to-play games, and PC gaming cafes were a big part of this movement. This caused problems for the business models that Kim was familiar with.
"They're all over Korea," he explained at DICE Europe today. "PC cafes are actually a way for companies to monetize in Korea - it's part of the business model."
"There's so many things the cafe would do," he continues. "It would market the game for you. There's user interface things taken care of because players are sat next to each other. These natural supports, you don't understand in North America."
These sorts of worldwide boundary issues in video games are still occurring, Kim reasons -- but he believes we'll finally see the walls knocked down in the coming years.
He uses the metaphor of a developer as working in a kitchen -- on a global scale, you have all the regions of the world connected to the same "kitchen," and everyone is asking for different things, depending on what appeals to their players.
"It's completely conflicting and confusing for the developer," says Kim -- what works for a U.S. audience simply won't work for a Korean audience, so if a developer is looking to make a worldwide game, it can be really rather tricky to satisfy everyone.
It becomes especially difficult when you consider that most of these games usually start in a specific market first, and then try to branch out to other markets. You receive requests from around the world for specific features, but really, the game will continue to satisfy one specific market, and lower your potential in other markets.
"It might be moderately successful, but it will never be phenomenal in those other markets," he reasons. "So can you take a game straight to the whole world from the start?"
In the next few years, says Kim, he believes that this will happen. He argues that games like League of Legends
are already nearly there.
"The solution would be to bring the kitchen as close to the players as possible," he adds. "The time is coming that will change the face of gaming."