Whispers of a merger between Kakao Corp and Daum that began last week have been confirmed as the two companies announced plans for the merger earlier this week. They will merge through an equity swap, creating one of Korea’s largest internet companies valued at around 3.4 trillion won ($2.9 billion USD). If the deal goes through, the combined company will be listed in October. Together the two companies will be better positioned in the market to take on Korea’s leading internet portal, Naver, and its OTT messaging service Line.
5Rocks announced plans to partner with Has Offers’ MobileAppTracking (MAT) this Friday. 5Rocks’ mobile game analytics and operation service has been integrated with MAT to provide clients with immediate access to the user analytics function that 5Rocks offers without any additional set-up. The goal is to allow marketers to beter segment users, create more targeted campaigns, and optimize the lifetime value of each user.
3. Top 10 games for Korea (Google Play, Grossing)
- Blade for Kakao (by 4:33)
- Anipang 2 for Kakao (by Sundaytoz)
- Seven Knights for Kakao (CJ)
- 몬스터 길들이기 for Kakao (CJ)
- 모두의마블 for Kakao (CJ)
- 별이되어라 for Kakao (Gamevil)
- 영웅의 군단 (en: Legion of Heroes) (Nexon)
- Cookie Run for Kakao (Devsisters)
- 원티드 for Kakao (Palmple)
- 에브리타운 for Kakao (WeMade)
The Korean web portal, Daum, is rumored to be talking about a merge with Kakao Talk, the well-known OTT messaging service. Daum, like Naver, offers a number of internet services including a free web-based e-mail and messaging service, forums, shopping, and news. Daum is considered the underdog by some, particularly now as Google and Naver are emerging to dominate the market. The rumors say that no money will change hands in the deal between Kakao and Daum, but will all be done through stock.
Line’s new gaming platform, Band Games, launched with 30 million users last week. It stepped into the gaming platform business earlier than its legacy competitor, Kakao Games, which launched when the Kakao platform had 50 million users.
Band takes the typical chat experience and turns it on its head by focusing on creating small communities. Band takes the chat-room and turns it into a club with a section for announcements and scheduling for events and updates.
The sequel to Nexon’s hit, Maple Story, is slated to go into closed beta later this year. The company released their first sneak peak trailer earlier this week.
The weekly news round up is another new weekly feature here on the Latis Games blog. We’ll be summing up the top 5 news stories in Korea’s mobile sphere to keep you up to date on what’s happening on the peninsula.
Naver is stepping up competition with Kakao games with their debut of Band Game, a platform that runs on their Line Band service. Line Ban is similar to Facebook and Kakao Story. Users can create “bands” (groups) and share photos, videos, and messages with people in their band. Band Game will open with 10 games, and though everything at this point is speculation, there are great expectations that this will be the next platform to really compete with Kakao.
Kakao will be releasing a new money transfer service this June. Users of the platform will be able to send up to 100,000 KRW to friends on their list, or use it to buy items for KakaoTalk or the operator’s other services including Kakao Style and Kakao Music. The company will will partner with 15 different banks and the Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute (KFTC) to release the service. The Financial Services Commission and The Financial Supervisory Service are currently investigating whether the service has enough data protection and security. Both authorities will have to give their approval before the service can be officially released.
Google held the first ‘Play Day’ event for Korean developers earlier this week, the first ever since the Play Store launched in 2012. The company said it expects the Korean market to continue to grow as an important revenue source, with Google’s VP of Digital Content stating that they plan on continuing to support local developers. Last year, Google Korea increased their size dramatically, and it will continue to be a market they focus on as it ranks in the top 5 markets for revenue.
Has Offers, the Seattle-based, online advertising attribution software, opened its first Asia-Pacific office this week in Seoul. This is their 3rd international office, and to celebrate they held an opening party with Latis Global on Thursday May, 15th.
The highly anticipated dungeon/puzzle mix game, Ton Ton Mercenary Clan, is having a pre-release regristration event hosted by Afreeca TV. The game will be released on Kakao and has a familiar card collecting system.