[Source: Krafton Inc.]
South Korea¨s soon-to-go-public Krafton Inc., label behind PlayerUnknown¨s Battlegrounds (PUBG), is making fast ascension to threaten the top-tier publishers Nexon, NC Soft and Netmarble.
Krafton has generated 460.9 billion won ($414.66 million) in sales in the first quarter ended March, almost on par with the top three. In terms of income, it ascended to No. 2 after Nexon with operating profit of 227.1 billion won.
Its over-the-counter market cap reached 21 trillion to 23 trillion won, close to Tokyo-trading Nexon value of 21.7 trillion won.
After passing Netmarble in sales last year, the publisher is expected to overtake NC Soft and Nexon this year, said an unnamed industry source.
Its achievement is expected to boost its Kospi debut prospects in the third quarter, which could raise its value to mega-billion dollars.
Krafton has been feeding game pipeline ahead of the IPO.
The company is set to carry out a closed alpha testing for the much-awaited ｀PUBG: New State¨ in the U.S. starting this week, with a goal of launching it globally within the year. It is a mobile sequel to Krafton¨s PUBG Mobile, one of the most successful games across the globe that has surpassed one billion accumulated downloads in three years after its launch.
PUBG Mobile is also set to release this month in India, the world¨s second-largest internet marketplace. It has already crossed 20 million pre-registrations in just two weeks.
Its leap comes at the expense of stagnation by traditional majors.
Nexon has not released a new title in the first half and sales of its flagship ｀MapleStory¨ and ｀Dungeon & Figther￣ in major markets including Korea and China have withered. NC Soft¨s launch of this year¨s first new title ｀Trickster M¨ took place later than expected last month.
The only downside is its heavy reliance on China.
Krafton¨s sales in Asia last year nearly doubled to 1.41 trillion won on year thanks to royalties from China¨s top game publisher Tencent for its flagship title based on Krafton¨s PUBG. But the Chinese government¨s tighter gaming restrictions and stricter antitrust regulations against big tech firms including Tencent could pose as a risk.
Krafton shares trade between 500,000 and 600,000 won on the OTC market. Krafton¨s IPO is expected in July.
By Lim Young-shin and Lee Soo-min
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