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Nexon warns consoles could "go the way of the dinosaurs"

Daniel Kim explains why developers need to follow Indiana Jones

Nexon America CEO Daniel Kim has told console developers they need to take an Indiana Jones style leap of faith into the free-to-play market, or risk extinction.

"Console developers are starting to realise that as well, that unless they make accommodations or think about changing their own business model they're going to quickly go the way of the dinosaurs," Kim told GamesIndustry International.

"Free-to-play is kind of like the Indiana Jones, taking that leap of faith - unless you do it there's no other way to continue to grow"

He explained that Nexon's development studios in Korea gave it an insight into future trends, like the way advanced internet connectivity and speeds were changing people's behaviour, away from the traditional console model.

"Console has never been a strong contender in Korea in particular because of piracy, and just in terms of the business model it really makes sense. It's really hard to beat free-to-play as an offering," he said.

"The console guys are starting to realise that, but they also have a challenge in that they have a vested interest in an existing business model of packages. I know it's tough for them to just cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to say 'OK, we're going to go free-to-play and make our bed here' because that's going to piss off a lot of people who they already have an existing business relationship with."

Nexon's MapleStory

"I understand the challenge but unless they're being aggressively proactive about making that leap - it's kind of like the Indiana Jones, taking that leap of faith - unless you do it there's no other way to continue to grow."

Not that it was going to be that easy. Kim added that Nexon had spent years building on orginality and quality, as well as managing the community on both the monetisation and updates side. He likened each game to its own country with its own economy and ecosystem, and inhabitants who are free to leave at any time. That wasn't something you could just pick up overnight, he warned.

"From the business standpoint [free-to-play] is a much better business for us as well because in some ways the responsibility on the developer's side is much greater to not fail, not have a bad experience. You have to earn their business. So you can market a bad Hollywood blockbuster and have a good opening weekend, but you can't have a bad sitcom that runs for years and years."

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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.