[THE INVESTOR] Chinese internet and game giant Tencent is putting its best efforts for the Chinese success of Netmarble Games' latest hit “Lineage II: Revolution” whose launch has been delayed for months amid intensifying diplomatic tensions between Korea and China.
According to multiple sources on May 12, Tencent, the Chinese publishing partner, aims to launch the game no later than the fourth quarter this year, while pouring considerable resources into speeding up the stalled licensing process and localizing the Korea-made game.
“The ‘Revolution’s’ success is important not just for Netmarble but also for Tencent,” a Beijing-based analyst told The Investor on condition of anonymity, citing the Chinese firm’s 17.77 percent stake.
“Tencent has seen little success with Korea-made mobile games. Considering the popularity of the original PC game here, there are high expectations about the mobile version and Tencent is betting on the positive outlook.”
“Lineage II: Revolution”, a mobile version of NCsoft’s immensely popular online role-playing game “Lineage II,” was launched in December last year. Its revenue hit the 200 billion won (US$177 million) mark within the first month of the launch -- a record for a Korean mobile game.
But the game’s crucial Chinese debut has been delayed as the local government has denied a license for sales of Korea-made online games as part of its economic retaliation against Korea’s deployment of the THAAD missile system.
“For now, everything depends on Tencent’s full backing,” said another Beijing-based source. “Considering the overall welcoming sentiment toward President Moon Jae-in, the approval process is expected to speed up gradually.”
A Tencent official declined to elaborate on the game’s Chinese launch, including its marketing strategy, calling it “one of our most important projects of the year.”
Largely buoyed by the game’s Korean success, Netmable, the nation’s No. 1 mobile game maker, made its hot stock debut on May 12. The company is pinning high hopes on the Chinese market for its global expansion.
On the day, Netmarble shares closed at 165,000 won, above the IPO subscription price of 157,000 won. The company’s market capitalization soared to more than 14 trillion won, while Tencent’s stock value almost doubled to 2.32 trillion won.
By Park Ga-young (email@example.com)