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  • 작성자 사진Kim Si-eun

[Issue] Outdated Revenue Model of Game Company

No. 154 / Oct 18, 2021

The traditional top-tier game publisher, NCSOFT, is facing a crisis. NCSOFT’s stock fell dramatically as game users continued to point out the problems with Blade & Soul 2 and question the company’s entire business model. Disappointment was apparent from the company’s share price, which fell 15.29% on the day of the game’s release. This will inevitably lead to lowered expectations for third-quarter earnings, and it may even influence the success of the next new game if user complaints continue.

Reviews on the Google Play store and YouTube stated that the game is almost the same as the original Blade & Soul game, especially the “pay to win” feature. According to Blade & Soul 2 review, the new game is just a slightly cheaper version of the same system compare with the previous version. In addition, complaints had been raised before this release. In fact, the debate over the game company’s overcharge has been ongoing for a long time among users. Users of NCSOFT’s LineageM mobile game protested in April, complaining about the excessive charges within the game. The games can be downloaded for free, but players are compelled to purchase superior weapons and protective devices that improve play. On Blade & Soul 2, users were required to buy a season pass to earn certain items. In response to the complaints, NCSOFT released a list of upgrades made to the game so that all players would gain access to the same items without having to pay extra. The company announced in an apology that it also rewarded all players with additional items. NCSOFT wrote in a statement that they were deeply sorry for troubling users after the release.

The gaming industry has been given the chance for self-reform since 2015, when a probabilistic item controversy was raised. Probability-based items sold by some game companies have deceived gamers, just as people suspected. Probabilistic items refer to items in which the type and performance of items purchased in the game are determined by accidental factors. Furthermore, these companies tricked their users by providing incorrect probability information. Most domestic game companies use probability-based items as a means of payment. Nexon’s popular game, Maple Story, was the beginning of the problem with probability-based items. Options that could be selected as probability items were designed not to appear initially. Nexon apologized for this and decided to introduce a real-time probability monitoring system for all games. Therefore, these issues have been addressed for several years to regulate the parliamentary inspection of state administration.

The gaming industry’s business models have evolved because of its diverse mechanisms and platforms. Game companies simply reuse old themes from existing games to make new games that are not actually new, either in gameplay or in the payment system. To ensure a sustainable competitive advantage in the gaming industry, efforts should be made to modify the existing model. There will be a time when people no longer consume outdated content, and that is when fresh ideas will be recognized and appreciated. Game companies must prepare themselves in advance so as not to fall behind when that happens. Perhaps it is time for local game companies to break away from the old framework.


By Kim Si-eun, AG Reporter

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