Nexon online videogame business defies market


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 18, 2009 at 5:30 PM EDT

Nexon America on Tuesday said revenues at its free-to-play online videogame websites soared in July while US sales of videogame hardware and software continued to sink.

Nexon America said July revenues at the US arm of South Korea-base Nexon Group were 35 percent higher than in the same month last year.

Meanwhile, US videogame sales sank in July for the fifth straight month as bleak economic conditions and a dearth of blockbuster titles weighed down the industry.

"The economy has been tough on a great deal of the games industry, but we fought hard to retain our customers and to bring in as many new players as possible," said Min Kim, Nexon America's vice president of marketing.

"We are serious about making Nexon the top brand in online gaming, and we are not backing down on our efforts to deliver more content to our customers or aggressively work to attract new players."

Nexon is a pioneer in free-to-play videogames, in which revenues come from online advertising and micro-transactions such as players paying small amounts of money to customize game characters or gear.

It sells "avatars", cyber representations of online game players, and virtual baubles such as karts, clothes and weapons for its wildly popular "Kart Rider" game.

The company is raking in millions of dollars every month by selling digital images, not real products.

Nexon America reported that massively-multiplayer-online-role-playing-game "MapleStory" set a new record, with 70,000 people playing it concurrently at one point in the month.

"MapleStory" claims more than 92 million registered users worldwide.

Free online play has boomed in the United States as grim economic conditions have lingered, according to figures released by industry-tracking groups.

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