A star developer of China-capturing FPS Cross Fire, Smile Gate now breaks into the monopolistic online game publishing market. On September 10, Smile Gate informed that its brand new publishing and sourcing division, led by pre-NHN Investment (NHN’s venture capital subsidiary) director Park, Jung-Pil, will go into hunting online games of any genre, be it casual or MMORPG. Smile Gate had already acquired the publishing rights for e-Magic’s MMORPG Sephiroth and laid the foundation as a service company. Hereupon, whether this medium-sized promising developer will become a successful publisher draws public attention.
Director Park, originally one of Cowell venture capitalists, vertically rose into a star publisher after launching Special Force at Neowiz and Dragonfly, Sudden Attack at CJ Internet, and FPS games at NHN. Such fickle movement among rival companies game him disgrace – “migrant.” However, such stigma did not matter for Smile Gate’s urgent metamorphosis into a publishing company: All Smile Gate needed was Park’s experiences and intuitions accumulated from publishing FPS masterpieces. That is, Smile Gate had to seize back the torn apart Cross Fire benefit to China-publishing Tencent and Global-publishing Neowiz Games.
Besides a countermovement to the publishers’ oligarchy, transformation into a publisher is a part of Smile Gate’s long-term (namely 4 to 5 years) master plan. In order to diversify its Cross Fire-dependent revenue structure, Smile Gate decided to source the game developing functions. Recently, Smile Gate acquired My New Children, a developer of My New Café serviced at NHN, into its subsidiary. Further acquisition of Go! Fishing’s developing team and renewal of Sephiroth will pile up know-hows for future product development. Smile Gate’s steps resemble the past growth of Dragonfly and Gamehi, now major companies grown on the basis of a single hit (Special Force and Sudden Attack, respectively) – except that both the games were successful in domestic market. Here, popularity in Korea remains a pending question for Smile Gate’s next big leap.