[Gamasutra rounds up the week's biggest reports on South Korea's booming online games market from This Is Game, the leading English-language site about the country's game industry.]
In our latest round-up of news from South Korea's online games space, we look at North Korean hackers targeting South Korean MMORPGs for their misdeeds, MapleStory: Adventures
growing fast to 646,000 monthly users on Facebook in just a week, and Moliyo's unofficial sequel to Cabal Online
North Korean Hackers Targeting South Korea's Online Games
Seoul's Metropolitan Police arrested a group of people accused of hiring some 30 hackers from North Korea, setting up operations for them in China, and tasking them with raising money through illegal activities involving South Korean online games such as NCsoft's Lineage
and Nexon's Dungeon Fighter
The hackers, who are said to have graduated from North Korea's Kim Il-sung University and Kim Chaek University of Technology, allegedly created and sold "auto-farming" programs that automatically play online games for users and level their characters -- they sold approximately 12,000 copies of the software.
This scheme brought in a $6 million profit in the past 18 months, according to a report
from the Financial Times. Police investigators claim a portion of the money was sent to Room 39
, North Korea's shadowy government organization supposedly involved in various international currency scams.
MapleStory: Adventures Reaches Nearly 650,000 Users
Thought it launched just a week ago, MapleStory: Adventures
, the Facebook adaptation of Nexon's extremely popular client-based, free-to-play MMORPG, already has more than
646,000 monthly users and 232,000 daily users -- making it one of the fastest-growing Korean social games ever.
Only one South Korean game has surpassed 1 million monthly users on the social network, LIFO Interacive's Train City
. The PC version of MapleStory
, though, has a huge following to draw from, as it has attracted over 100 million registered users around the world since it launched in 2003.
"We are paying attention to this great outcome, which was not supported by official promotions at all," said a Nexon representative. "We are planning to launch a massive promotion soon to attract more players. We look forward to having more than 1 million monthly users, if this pace keeps in track."
Chinese Operator Proceeding With Unofficial Cabal 2
Though ESTsoft is suing the Shanghai-based operator over the matter, Moliyo appears to still have plans for launching Cabal 2
(pictured) in China later this year. It exhibited the game, which gives the impression of being a sequel to ESTsoft's Cabal Online
, at the recent China Joy 2011.
ESTsoft has not given Moliyo permission to work on the Cabal
license and has been working on its own follow-up to the free-to-play MMORPG for several years, which will be built on CryEngine 3. The South Korean developer intends to begin beta testing for the official Cabal 2
Moliyo originally had the rights to publish Cabal Online
in mainland China, but after the agreement expired two years ago, it announced Cabal 2
-- though it says this is an independent title with no relation to the original. ESTsoft has filed a suit against the Chinese operator for breaching their publishing deal.
[This story was written with the permission of, and using material from ThisIsGame Global, the leading English-language site about the South Korean game industry.]