Nexon CEO Calls Crunch A "Pernicious Problem," Commits To Announcing Games At The Right Time

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor August 13, 2021
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When we last heard words of wisdom from Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney -- all the way back in 2014 -- it was his telling people that free-to-play games should "focus on heart first and money second." Coming from the man in charge of Nexon, that seemed a little disingenuous to most, but his company is still going strong seven years later, despite having no set time frames for many of its upcoming titles.

That's part of the plan, as Mahoney pointed out during Wednesday's earnings call with investors. VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi singled out a portion of that call, when Mahoney expressed a strong anti-crunch sentiment and the notion that games would ship when they were ready, not to meet an artificially imposed deadline.

"Crunch mode is one of the most pernicious problems in our industry," Mahoney said. "The charade of launch timing serves little purpose except this dance with equity analysts. Instead, the right thing to focus and push for is a game that blows people’s minds. If we achieve that, the game will last many years, and the revenues will dwarf what we would have made by launching a quarter or two earlier."

He went on to say, "So rather than giving you a date, this team is going to give to our customers and employees a commitment to make the best game we can, as soon as we can."

Those are strong words coming from a man who, despite being a chief executive officer, is ultimately beholden to stockholders who want their predictable profits, and they want them yesterday. It's the right approach, certainly, but one that few companies -- and their leaders -- are willing or able to commit to publicly.

Still, as we've seen more and more developers move back their release dates (Suggestion: maybe don't announce them at E3 in the first place), it seems like that's becoming the norm rather than the exception. Then again, even multiple delays couldn't help Cyberpunk 2077 launch in an acceptable state; maybe Amazon will do better with New World and its multiple delays.

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In this article: Nexon, New World, Cyberpunk 2077.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
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.

Discussion (3)

Viper 5 months ago
Big talk for a company that pushes shallow, minimum viable product games with a cash shop stapled to the side.

View 1 reply

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