Korean game developer looks to invest $45 million in esports
There’s no reason that you should have ever heard of Eyedentity. The South Korean game developer which was founded in 2007, has launched exactly one product, free to play MMO Dragon Nest, which isn’t exactly the most popular game in the west, with its Steam player peaks being well under the four digits.
Not the same story in the East, however. According MMOs.com, in 2015 Dragon Nest had 200 million users registered worldwide. The official website of the game currently states that number has quadrupled to 800 million concurrent users (though not unique).
And then there’s even more to Eyedentity. The company is owned by Chinese digital giant Shanda, the developer behind even more online games lime MapleStory, Dungeons and Dragons Online and Ragnarok Online, among others. In 2015, Shanda registered net revenue of $236.6 million and a gross profit of $166.2 million for the first half of the year alone.
Where this all ties together is with Eyedentity’s latest project. According to the Korea Times (translation found on South China Morning Post), the developer has created its own esports business brand World eSports Games & Leagues (WEGL) and plans to “pour about 50 billion won (US$44.59 million) into this business,” according to CEO Guo Haibin.
It is no surprises that Eyedentity aims to build an esports bridge between South Korea and China, given where its parent company originates and how, according to the report, these two eastern nations hold almost a quarter of the esports market between them.
Eyedentity’s $45 million investment will build several WEGL programmes, tailored to pro gamers and casual viewers alike. One branch of WESG, for example—the “Game Star”—is said to be “organised as a combination of a survival audition show and a gaming contest.”
According to Eyedentity’s Entertainment VP Bory Jun, the company is in discussion with various developers for the right to operate esports tournaments for their games. League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, StarCraft and Street Fighter are up there on the list.
“Korea’s esports market has been only about a limited number of popular games. In this way, entertaining games on a smaller scale have difficulties in being played as esports events,” said Tim Seo, Eyedentity Entertainment’s new business team head. “With the WEGL programs, we seek an open platform.”