The consumer media’s obsession with World of Warcraft’s subscription numbers often makes it difficult to hear above the din. Nexon’s MapleStory was eight times larger than Blizzard’s behemoth before it ever left American shores; KartRider dwarfs them both combined. Yet Nexon, for all its success in creating massively multiplayer online games, has been conspicuously absent in the social games scene. This is particularly notable for a company that was a pioneer in the dual-currency model.
Later this year, MapleStory Adventures and Kart Rider will come to Facebook correcting what Vice President of Social Games Operations Soo Min Park feels has been a long-standing missing piece to the Nexon portfolio. By re-imagining MapleStory as a less complex title authored in Flash, and building KartRider in Unity with a front-facing playable element during download, Park feels this barrier can be overcome.
“We wanted to expand our web presence to other platforms,” explained Park. “We have expertise in micro-transactions that no one else does and we want to bring that to the social networks. Once our existing IP is launched, original titles will be created to further our efforts.”
Players of the original MapleStory will find MapleStory Adventure familiar but simplified. There will be fewer classes, items, monsters… fewer of everything. And the game will be asynchronous. Due to the use of Unity, players of KartRider should feel more at home with its racing mechanics.
Later this month, KartRider Rush iOS (and this summer for Android) will launch beginning the campaign to enter the social platform market. Rush features short, Mario Kart-like play against multiple synchronous opponents in a speed or item mode.