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?