4:33 Creative Lab, a top Korean mobile game designer, has joined hands with two of the world’s largest mobile messengers, Tencent and Line Corp. The enormous investment of 1,300 billion won (around $100 million USD) will help the company break into overseas markets and will assist in their plans to go public in 2015.
Announcing that it had successfully attracted funds from the mobile messenger operators, the Seoul-based mobile game company said that it intended to become a global powerhouse in the game designing market. If they achieve their mission they will follow in the footsteps of a large number of successful korean gaming companies that have emerged over the last ten years. These include NCsoft, Nexon, Smilegate, Com2Us, Neowiz, Netmarble, WeMade Entertainment, Devsisters, and many others.
“With the latest investment, 4:33 has secured reliable partners, Tencent and Line, which have a combined user base of more than 1 billion subscribers in global markets including China, Japan and Southeast Asia,” So Tae-hwan, C0-CEO of 4:33 Creative Lab said. “The project will create a thousand possibilities for success and help revive the domestic game market, too,” he added.
While the domestic gaming industry has been powerful over the years, there are fears that the Korean market will have become saturated by around 2015. Therefore local gaming companies are being forced, more than before, to seek new opportunities for growth outside Korea. In a similar trend, Devsisters, developers of Cookie Run, also partnered with LINE earlier this year. They went public recently, based on the strength of their international growth.
Tencent runs WeChat, China's biggest mobile messenger with 600 million users, and Line Corp. runs Line with around 560 million subscribers worldwide. It is thought by industry insiders that the messengers are planning to introduce a gaming platform to their existing services, in much the same way Kakao Talk did back in 2013, to great effect.
The size of investment in 4:33 Creative Lab is unknown, but is likely to be sizeable as Tencent alone has made a $100 million contributioon to the consortium set up with LINE which invested in the company.
“4:33, which has achieved much success with its own mobile games including ‘Arrow’ and ‘Blade,’ will be able to help game start-ups increase their presence in the game market,” a 4:33 official said. The South Korean game designer is planning to go public next year in South Korea.