E3 Update: Interview with Nexon
We talk to Nexon about their first E3 experience and what’s in store for PC gamers
One of the unusual sights at E3 this year were the hundreds of grown men and women walking around wearing a kind of maroon furry cap with ears. While at first I scoffed at this awkward headgear, by day three the fuzzy hats were one of the most prized items from the show, and I was willing to sell my kidney to get my hands on one. The company behind this marketing lure was Nexon, a games studio that has been around for quite some time in the PC world. With titles such as MapleStory, PopTag, Combat Arms, and Mabinogi under its belt, Nexon were at E3 to show off two two new games that were releasing to the market. Amongst all the frenzy at the Nexon booth, we managed to sit down and discuss what the company was up to.
I remember playing MapleStory a while back and marveled at how it kept gameplay simple while still creating a really tight-knit community. Even Dungeon Fighter Online has over 200 million users to date – how do you explain the phenomenal draw of your games?
The catalogue of games that we have at Nexon appeals to various types of gamers with different gameplay styles. Despite this, there are similarities among all our games that appeal to all players. All our games are free-to-play which makes it easy for players to jump into the games. Our producers work hard to provide enjoyable and entertaining content that is constantly updated, keeping all the games fresh and providing something new all the time.
You showed two great games at E3 – Vindictus and Dragon Nest…tell us a bit more about each one.
Vindictus is the first physics-based action multiplayer online action role-playing game. Vindictus uses a modified Source Engine™ to enable interaction with the environment like shattering objects, hurling debris, binding enemies with chains, and piercing defenses with spears. In the game, players will be able to engage in high-speed combat and experience the stunning visuals of the free-to-play game that adds brutal elegance to the PC gaming space. Vindictus is scheduled for release later this year.
Dragon Nest is an online, action role-playing game. Actual gameplay involves adrenaline-pumping, high-speed combat with visually stunning attack combos. At the same time, it also incorporates an epic storyline and role-playing elements of both classic RPGs and MMORPGs alike. It is scheduled for release in 2011.
What kind of feedback did you get from people trying out the games?
The feedback we’ve gotten from users has been overwhelmingly positive. All of the games on display were big hits and people enjoyed playing. Our goal with bringing Dungeon Fighter Online, Vindictus and Dragon Nest to E3 was to showcase the “Future of Free” in the PC gaming space and the reaction was better than what we expected, showing that we are on the right track.
How are you able to offer such stellar games for free?
We believe in bringing quality games for our users to enjoy and want to earn their business. We want them to spend their money if they think it’s worth it. Our microtransaction business model allows us to offer players games that can be played without ever spending a dime, but also have the option to buy items to enrich the gameplay experience.
Can anyone download and play your games or are they only available to certain regions?
Nexon Corp.’s games are published all over the world and are accessible in different regions by different publishers. Nexon America’s games are available to North American players only.
This is the first time you’ve exhibited at E3 – what sort of response did you get and will you be showing again at the next E3?
Our first show was definitely a success. We had very positive responses and a good amount of traffic to the booth to check out the games. We also had a “Hollywood Beach Party,” fully equipped with fire dancers and live performances, which was also a huge hit. Overall, it was a great event for Nexon and we hope to return.
What other games do you have in the pipeline?
Vindictus is set for release later this year and Dragon Next is scheduled to launch in 2011. We have other exciting titles planned for the future, but we can’t disclose that information just yet.
Do you think that Nexon will be developing anything in the future for the consoles?
Currently, Nexon is focusing on the PC platform and will consider all platforms, but there are no set plans right now.