[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 Nexon's $54 million purchase of shares from Freestyle developer JCE, Power Rangers Online's upcoming closed beta, and WeMade's former Co-CEO buying Nowcom.
Nexon Buys 16.34% Stake In JCE For $54M
developer and publisher Nexon has bought a 16.34 percent stake in Seongnam-based JCE, which is best known for developing the Freestyle
line of MMORPG sports games. Its other titles include Warbible
Nexon purchased the stake from JCE chairman YangShin Kim and founder/ex-vice president IlSeung Baek, who were the majority stakeholders of the company with a total of 32.68 percent of its shares.
Kim and Baek agreed to negotiate a sale for the remaining 16.34 percent of their shares to Nexon in the next six months. Nexon has invested and purchased several companies in recent years, including Ndoors, GameHi, Neople, and Boombang.
Former WeMade Co-CEO's New Firm Acquiring Nowcom
Kevin 'Sookiel' Seo, who resigned as co-CEO from online game developer and operator WeMade Entertainment (The Legend of Mir
series) for personal reasons just three months ago, is reportedly attempting to buy IT company and game publisher Nowcom.
Nowcom, which operates P2P video streaming service Afreeca and has released several MMOs (TalesRunner, O2Jam
), signed a provisional contract for a stock transfer to hand over its management rights recently, but it did not name the buyer.
This Is Game says it has uncovered that Seo is acquiring Gyeonggi-do-based Nowcom through Saint, the mobile media business he established after leaving Wemade -- which is now headed solely by founder Kwan-Ho Park.
Ntreev Launching Power Rangers Online Closed Beta Next Week
developer Ntreev, a subsidiary of NCSoft, revealed that it will begin closed beta testing for Power Rangers Online
, a new sidescrolling action MMORPG based on the long-running Super Sentai/Power Rangers TV series, on November 3rd.
Developed in collaboration with Daewon Media and Ironnos, the game features characters and enemies taken from Power Rangers Magic Force, or Power Rangers Mystic Force as it's known in the States, which originally aired in South Korea in 2006.
Power Rangers Online
plays similar to a multiplayer brawler, but players can transform into giant mythical Zords in-game to fight mountainous bosses. During the closed beta, players will only be able to fight as the Red, Yellow, and Pink Rangers.
[This story was written with permission using material from ThisIsGame Global, the leading English-language site about the South Korean game industry.]