Korean Gaming Startups are attracting a lot of attention from investors. South Korea has been a major market for mobile and computer gaming companies. They have the fourth largest gaming industry in the world. However, Korea is #1 when it comes to gamer penetration at 56%. Mobile gaming is played by over 53% of the Korean population which shows just how strong the mobile gaming market in South Korea really is. Therefore, South Korea’s passion for gaming can’t be matched by other countries.

Furthermore, P.C. Rooms all across Korea are filled with active young gamers who spend hours upon hours playing the latest games. These gamers are always on the lookout for new and innovative gaming systems. In addition, there are a number of Esports organizations in Korea that support the Esports community. However, it will be the Korean gaming startups that are looking to disrupt the industry and we have gathered gaming startups in Korea doing just that.

Hottest Korean Gaming Startups

NPIXEL

Korean gaming startups

Gaming startup NPIXEL is one of the fastest-growing startups in Korea. The startup was started by two entrepreneurs who previously established Nexus Games back in 2013. NPIXEL has a valuation of over $1 billion making them a unicorn startup. Their leading game title is called Gran Saga which was at one point the #1 highest-grossing game app on Apple’s App Store. In addition, they are currently testing their new game Chrono Odyssey, a next-gen fantasy MMORPG game for PC, consoles, and mobile. It will be released this year.

Ocean Drive Studio

Ocean Drive Studio

Ocean Drive Studio is the creator of Lost Eidolons, a turn-based tactical RPG set in a waning empire riven by civil war. It is currently in the beta phase and constant improvements are being made based on feedback from the community. The second beta test phase will occur this year. The startup will also focus on creating the Lost Eidolons for Xbox consoles. Moreover, they will focus on improving the story/lore so that it can be an even more immersive gaming experience.

AfI (THEBACKEND)

Korean gaming StartupsKorean gaming startup AfI is the creator of THEBACKEND, the #1 game backend service in Korea. It allows game developers to use high-end servers for game development. By attaching the SDK, game developers have access to THEBACKEND features such as the back-end chat, back-end match, and back-end function functions. Therefore, game developers do not need to develop a separate server for their database, chat, and real-time PVP. Below is a breakdown of each feature.

back-end chat 

Developers can create a communication environment and community for gamers.

back-end match

Developers can create real-time multiplayer games as the server automatically matches users according to the game type and provides an environment for real-time games.

back-end function 

Developers can create their own server function using C# by registering the server code with the last function.

Hound13

Hound13

Mobile game development startup Hound13 is the creator of the mobile action RPG game Hundred Soul. They are currently working on a cross-platform PC and mobile game called Project D. In addition, Hound13 is working on a story-driven PC RPG set in a dark fantasy world. In addition, they got a $17.5 million investment from Southeast Asian gaming company Garena in 2021.

MondayOFF

MondayOFFKorean gaming startup MondayOFF specializes in hyper-casual games. They created mobile games “Be a pong”, “Wacky Jelly”, and “Sneak Out 3D” which have all gotten over 10 million downloads. In addition, they received $5 million in investments from Atiunum Investment, Timefolio Asset Management, Korea Investment Partners, Devsisters Ventures, and KONA Venture Partners.

TAKEONE

Korean Gaming Startup TAKEONE company

TAKEONE is one of the few Korean gaming startups dealing with cultural genres. They are developing a cinematic game genre that combines storytelling elements of video content with the profitability of games. Their most popular game is BTS World. In addition, they signed a partnership agreement with Korean entertainment company YG Entertainment.

GXC (G.Round)

GROUND

GXC is the creator of a Korea-based game platform called G.Round. It is a community-based tool aimed to help studios refine their upcoming video games with market-data feedback. They got over $4.7 million for their Series A funding round which included Konai Partners, Hana Financial, SangSang Ventures, and Enlight Ventures. G.Round has over 150,000 gamers around the world so game developers can improve their game development process by using test data on the platform. Moreover, GXC has secured partnerships with over 40 global publishers around the world.

The Future of Gaming in Korea

Games in the future will be much more fast-moving in the future thanks to 5G in South Korea. This is why many startups are looking into eye-tracking technologies. Since the eye can move at a much greater speed than our hands and our fingers, the future of gaming is going to be very fast-paced. Think of gaming with an eye tracker as the first step in VR gaming. The best part is that a vast majority of the games already out there can implement eye-tracking. As more and more developers adopt this technology the more you will be able to do in regards to gameplay. The most likely scenario will be that eye-tracking technology will be implemented in VR headsets first and can be seen as more of an upgrade item. Therefore, there will need to be a killer application for eye-tracking to really take off in Korea.

Game developers in Korea will be able to offer the highest quality graphics possible by taking advantage of your eye’s main focus. What we mean by this is that when people look at a particular space, the space around it becomes blurry The brain focuses on the focal point to give the best/clearest image possible. They render only the part of the image (your center of focus) in great detail. This will lead to VR games with the potential of 4K resolution using this method. It will only be a matter of time before PC bangs offer these VR headsets with eye-tracking technology. It will be great for first-person shooter games like PUB-G.