Kim Chang-Han, a former child computer prodigy who won national coding competitions in South Korea in the 1980s, reached her lowest point. It was 2014, and they hired a third of the workforce at their gaming startup. Since 2000, he created three multiplayer online games at three startups that all went flat.
“It was the darkest time of my life,” said 46-year-old Kim. The following year, he sold his company to what is now Krafton Inc., which he joined as an executive producer.
Then his luck started changing. As a last-ditch effort to succeed in the business, they decided to create what was known as the Battle Royale game, an online game where players would play against each other against the last man to ever stand in a shrinking battlefield Compete for “Every fiber of my being was asking me to make this game,” he said.
Kim persuaded Irishman Brendan Green to join the company and move to South Korea as creative director of the game.
Bluehall Inc., as Crafton was called at the time, released Player UNDogs Battleground or PUBG in 2017. It became one of the most successful games of all time, with over 70 million copies of the PC and console versions and the sale of the mobile version. According to Crafton, downloaded approximately 600 million times.
The company is now planning an initial public offering (IPO) in mid-2021, which may be South Korea’s largest company. Share sales could raise billions of dollars, Kim, who became Kraft’s chief executive last year, said in an interview in Seoul, declining to give more details.
According to a January 5 report by Eugene Investment & Securities Company, the IPO could value startups by more than 30 trillion ($ 27.2 billion).
According to brokerage, South Korea is set to raise a record $ 10.9 billion through more than 120 IPOs this year. According to the report, KakaoBank Corp, the largest internet-only lender and battery unit of LG Chem Ltd, is expected to conduct initial share sales in 2021. The upsurge in the IPO comes after South Korea’s benchmark stock index rose 34 percent in the last 12 months, the best performance in the world.
The largest IPO in the country was a $ 4.3 billion offer from Samsung Life Insurance Company in 2010. Then in 2017, Seoul-based gaming company Netmarble Corp. Listed for $ 2.4 billion.
Crafton, whose name represents a commitment to craftsmanship, manages four game studios, according to Kim, but PUBG accounts for the vast majority of its sales and profits. According to the company’s filing, its revenue in the nine months ended in September was over $ 1.1 billion.
Some people worry about whether the company is “a one-hit wonder”, said Han Kim, general partner and co-founder of Altos Ventures Management Inc., which holds shares in Krafton. “I think the more important thing is how the company can use PUBG’s intellectual property and how it can also build into a similar franchise.”
Kim of Crafton said the company was creating an animated show that would be uploaded to streaming services and a web cartoon. It will eventually make films and plays, he said. Kim said the company is ready for acquisition in these areas.
According to the Crafton filing, Crafts founder Chang Byung-gyu is the largest shareholder with a 17 percent stake as of September 30, followed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., which owns 16 percent through a subsidiary. Kim has 1.5 percent.
Kim won a personal computer competition organized by South Korea’s Ministry of Science in 1985 when he was 10 and claimed several other national coding awards. He co-founded Gino Games in 2009 after joining two other startups, and was “very disappointed” when its game failed.
But all of this is now behind Kim as Crafton prepares to go public. He said that he is determined to expand the company’s sporting repertoire beyond its initial success. The company plans to release a new Battle Royal mobile title this year that will be based on PUBG, another PUBG-related PC and console game until next year, and a survival horror game in 2022 that will set the future PUBG universe in three centuries Will show
“We won’t live as one-hit surprises,” Kim said.
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