On Nov 17, mobile game distributor 4:33 (Four Thirty Three) released a new MMORPG titled Heroes for Kakao. Heroes is 4:33’s second “collaboration” game production, developed in partnership with Thumbage. The company’s first joint production was Blade for Kakao with game developer ActionSquare, which within six months of its April release scored 5 million downloads, and raised $90 million in sales.
The arrival of Heroes created much buzz in the Korean mobile game community. Over 250,000 users pre-registered for the game, which is the largest number 4:33 has ever seen before formal release of its games. Pre-registered users receive free character skill and item upgrades.
The term “collaboration” in South Korea is used quite broadly, and refers to various kinds of partnerships. 4:33 and Thumbage’s collaboration is a joint venture model that is being increasingly explored, where a game developer and distributor closely coordinate themselves in the end-to-end process of game making. Rather than working under a contractual relationship, where one focuses on content development and the other on distribution and marketing, companies in these partnerships pool more of their resources together to collectively invest in the production and delivery of games.
“Collaboratively produced games turn out as superior in quality and simply more fun to play,” explains 4:33 CEO Tae Hwan Seo. “Heroes was born from tight cooperation between the two companies – we’ll do everything for our joint effort to succeed.” As of Nov 22nd, the game ranks first place in AppAnnie’s chart for daily downloads in Google Play Korea.
The mobile RPG features 260 “heroes” that players pick and train through 180 levels in 5 different playing modes. These characters come from different eras, with some actual historical figures including Admiral Sun Shin Yi of Chosun Korea, and legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. While building their own team of heroes, players can compete with other players through Kakao’s game platform.
With a user base that is almost 90% of the Korean mobile messaging market, of which more than 60% are game players (16 million plus users), Kakao is the largest mobile game platform in South Korea.
– Inspired by Platum