NexonNC

There’s an interesting interview with Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney, who says free-to-play developers in the West are “early in the learning curve” and that they should “focus on heart first and money second.” In his words, doing otherwise is a “disservice to the industry.”

Mahoney speaks out against overmonetization — something he admits that his company has done in the past, before “adjusting” their games — but that it’s not (usually) about nasty, evil, money-grubbing game developers. Rather, Western developers are just behind the curve and it’ll take “years” to figure out how to do things right.

“So the companies that we’ve been partnering with want to accelerate their learning on that and learn how to do live game operations and how to build a live game operations team who knows how to do that and get that learning from us and hopefully we’re able to be helpful to them in doing that.”

Mahoney also expresses the “why isn’t this obvious?” sentiments that game development needs to continue after launch and that lots of game developers think they’re geniuses for developing the next WoW or LoL clone (they’re not). If you’re a Nexon fan, you have to like what you’re hearing. He also reveals that about 10-11% of players of Nexon games pay to play, usually an average of $20 to $30.

Still, as Mahoney admits, it’s something his company doesn’t always get right. You don’t usually hear about Nexon as one of the worst offenders when it comes to F2P monetization, but the company still has its detractors. Maybe this gives some hope to people looking forward to MapleStory 2 or those long-ago-mentioned Ghost in the Shell games.

What do you think of Mahoney’s comments? Are they in line with what you’ve encountered playing Nexon’s games?

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

29 Readers Commented

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  1. Big Boi on October 11, 2014

    “NEXON CEO: F2P SHOULD BE ABOUT HEART, NOT MONEY”

    Well they did give away something valuable for free; one hell of a laugh. I haven’t held my sides like that in a long, long time. This CEO guy should do stand up.

  2. anip on October 9, 2014

    *points at P2W stuff*
    *points at gachapon*
    need more pointing?

  3. bchbh on October 9, 2014

    All the mmorpgs on the internet are p2w but some are alot more p2w than others
    Atlantica, Maplestory, Mabinogi, Vindictus, Dragon Nest are really fatty games who have tons of content in them you can fully enjoy playing them. even if they are a bit p2w but you could totally enjoy it whitout pay. but some players crave to be the best player in every game they play (despite they don’t deserve that status) and they made the p2w a problem much more bigger than is actually is.
    nexon games are ok, thet they services is not always good
    but the true problem is the community around nexon games, is really formed by young teenagers entitled, spoiled and always angry, criticizing everything. is really hard to understand where the good and the bad decisions of a company are if people always underline the negative side

  4. zerozer on October 9, 2014

    This guy obviously lives in different dimensions or in a completely different universe, respect.

  5. blkwiz on October 9, 2014

    Why so many D-Shop events in Dekaron then?? Heart for f2p, ya right…I’ve never been able to argate/upgrade beyond a +7 wep being only f2p in this game 🙂 So it’s p2w or get ganked while playing!! Still love ur game though!!!!

  6. Xaenex on October 8, 2014

    As someone that has not always been a huge fan of Nexon the company, their practices in the past couple years have been stellar. Sure, there are still Pay for Power/Exclusivity instances in some of their more-known published titles like Vindictus and Mabinogi, but they’re much better than they were a while back.

    I hope they continue to turn this corner and become a noteworthy F2P company, not one that makes people puke.

  7. ExHuman on October 8, 2014

    at least he has sense of humor

  8. Tokos on October 8, 2014

    it this a joke?! Somene from nexon talking how “F2P SHOULD BE ABOUT HEART, NOT MONEY” ?!

    Best joke of 2014. Nexon is all about money and nothing else. Their games are a pay to win joke, filled with cheaters and terrible customer support.

    I personally cant stands mobas and i do not like those other games but Dota, TF2, Lol, Warframe, Path of Exile CEO are the ones that can talk about this without people vomiting because of their hipocricy like they do when they see that NExon CEO is talking like this.

  9. DatGuy on October 8, 2014

    The main problem with Nexon are those IP-blocks everywhere. No other company is so aggressive with IP blocks like Nexon. Even some countries in Europe are IP-banned from EUROPEAN servers. It’s a f** joke.

  10. sniperman248 on October 8, 2014

    I know alot of you are saying well he’s being a hypocrite and so on and so forth, but as an fyi Nexon has with many of there titles never put content gate restrictions in which blocked off the bells and whistles of a game from there players, and some of you saying that comestics is greed, no cosmetics is not greed but a requested item that a player wishes to see or wear in game, however your fps games yes they are p2w but thats just realism in the real world if you want to be the best at something you have to shell out money, however Nexon does have the right Aspect for the f2p mmorpg market, Aion for example you have access to everything and even gw2 you have access to all the content once you make a one time purchase of the game, if you read properly alot of western publishers of mmo’s have been putting content gates and restrictions on there supposed f2p models in which in reality isn’t f2p at all and doesn’t sell the bells and whistles of the game to the f2p community there for making that mmorpg a complete disgrace to the f2p market.

    • DatGuy on October 8, 2014

      And what does Nexon have to do with GW2? GW2 was published by NCSoft, not Nexon. Same for Aion.

      • Tokos on October 8, 2014

        yeah. He has no clue what he is talking about. he is just some pathetic nexon fan / tool / sheep

        • JasonWinter on October 8, 2014

          Nexon does own a 14.7% share in NCSoft. Probably not enough to influence their design, but it’s something.

          • sniperman248 on October 8, 2014

            http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/06/08/nexon-invests-6-8m-in-ncsoft-becomes-largest-shareholder/ fyi yea Nexon does own a portion of NCsoft even if a small amount they still have some say in some of the designs within the games and no i’m not a fanboy lol I absolutely hate the games that Nexon full owns, just a matter of fact they do make a valid point that content gates should not exist within a f2p market do to those content gates usually block off the bells and whistles in which are the selling point of any mmorpg.

  11. John Wayne on October 8, 2014

    LOL FROM THE NEXON CEO!!!! best joke 2000-2014
    @Fromhell, they litteraly turned Vindictus from one of my fav games into a p2win trash game

  12. Chuckvs on October 8, 2014

    Laughed at the title…

  13. fromhelll on October 7, 2014

    Nexon may not have a lot of good games, but when i never felt their games were p2w, at least not until 2-3 years ago, i haven’t played any of their games since then so idk how they are now. Their problem always seemed to be the ridiculous amount of hackers in their games… that and shitty games.

    • Tokos on October 8, 2014

      all their games are pay to win but yes it is true their games are full with hackers and they sucks

  14. Connor Unfried on October 7, 2014

    “OMG NEXON CHARGES WOW SCREW YOU CEO YOURE A JERK!!”

    When in reality, Nexon is pretty good about the model and has always been. Nexon needs the charges and systems they have in place because the allure of their game is inherently different. The basic bitch commends need to stop happening, and some education needs to be given.

    • Razer on October 10, 2014

      P2W “allure”
      LMAO!
      Educate yourself, fanboy.

    • fububoi on October 11, 2014

      uhhh what? if youre paying $1.20+ dollars to see your pixel reset over and over again to see a satisfying result on ONE piece of gear thats pretty god awful MapleStory is beyond p2w that it needs its own category

  15. Jellopy on October 7, 2014

    The problem with this line of bs is that they do everything they can to push their cosmetic garbage on young teenagers in pretty much every game they develop or publish. Can’t be the greed and argue against it without sounding like.. Well like he sounds. Not only greedy but trying to touch on morality for a little PR also makes him a Hypocrite and makes me really not like Nexon as a company now. I’m fine with greed, you make games and you want to make money but don’t even try lying about it. That’s just pathetic.

    • Grossmond on October 7, 2014

      I’m not a big fan of Nexon games but, he is honestly on point. Ya sure Nexon pushes all their cosmetic crap, but it isn’t like the recent stream of F2P games we have gotten where they monetize stuff that is core to the game itself. Prime and recent example is ArcheAge where 70% of the game is impossible for free players to progress through with any real pace so they can push Patron status which is ~$15 a month.

      • Tokos on October 8, 2014

        you definitly are a pathetic nexon fan / tool / shill. just because some other game is more pay to win does not mean what they are doing is ok.

        Dota, TF2, Lol, Warframe, Path of Exile learn from them.

        • Grossmond on October 8, 2014

          Haven’t played Nexon games in years, so you’re gonna have to try harder on that. As for Warframe they actually started out with the worst F2P model there is, I would know since I played it since early CB.

      • Jellopy on October 8, 2014

        There are only a few games that are charging for core content,such as ArcheAge as mentioned, my problem with Nexon isn’t what they are selling but the target audience they are selling it to. The majority of the time when you hear about children stealing their parents credit cards it has something to do with Nexon, they are shameless with it. And the majority of their games sell ‘boxes’ and stuff that are basically gambling – you either get nothing or an op item. So it’s still pay to win but it’s even more of an issue since it is gambling as well. That’s why I hate Ragnaroks free model despite having been a huge fan of it as a teenager. Weather you like the quality of nexons games or not they are greedy and self serving to no end. The problem I have is with his blatant hypocrisy in regards to other companies using a different flavor of the same dish. It’s no better what they do and the way they do it. Another issue I have with nexons way of business is that everything they sell has a timer on it. You never get to keep anything you buy.

  16. SureSure on October 7, 2014

    Oh nexon, it’s time to let you know the truth. We don’t believe you.

  17. Annonymouse on October 7, 2014

    I think there’s some truth to what he is saying but he seems to be ignoring the games in the West that have good F2p models. Dota, TF2, Lol, Warframe, Path of Exile and Marvel heroes (sort of) all have pretty much the best F2p models that I have seen (just off the top of my head, I”m sure there are more). The only Nexon game that I’m aware of that I’ve played is Combat Arms and I would not put them on the list of best F2p models. Combat arms had an ok F2p model and i found the game enjoyable, I think for a FPS the challenge of running F2p is a little higher than Mobas though since there is just simply less things of value that can be monetized that aren’t directly affecting gameplay. Then again I haven’t played Combat Arms in years and I didn’t really play it for long so my perspective may not really be current/accurate I guess.

    • Razer on October 8, 2014

      Yeah, Nexon is one to talk. If anything these western games are way ahead of “the curve” and the two-bit Korean/Chinese companies have yet to get with the program. Nexon has not to made a single F2P game (including the new CSN:Z) that is even remotely comparable to these so they really don’t have anything to back up what they say. Nothing more than hollow posturing.

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