Slaying The Dragons to Profit

Korea is the biggest online gaming country in the world, and a small upstart NC Interactive is planning to make a run at it, against giants such as Electronic Arts ad Sony. NC?s parent company in South Korea, NCsoft, just happens to run the biggest online game in the world. “Lineage,” the company’s medieval role-playing game, has more than 4 million subscribers who pay an average monthly subscription fee of almost $25 to participate in “blood pledge” clans that besiege virtual castles and slay digital dragons. As opposed to Sony?s EverQuest, the company gives away the game for free and gets money through subsequent subscriptions.

The uptake: Lineage?s success has been driven mainly by broadband adoption in Korea, which incidentally has the highest broadband penetration rate in the world. Interestingly, gaming has also driven broadband adoption: ?We have a partnership with KT (formerly Korea Telecom), which is basically the largest broadband ISP in world. If you talk with KT, they’ll tell you that a large part of their success has come from the content side, and the biggest content in Korea now is Lineage.?