[Pangyo 2020 Year End Report] Leading game company NC Soft seeks diversification as AI powerhouse
[ Jane Lee 2020-11-30 ]  
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- 3Q sales recorded 585.2 billion won, a 47% increase YoY

- Expanded business areas to AI and NLP to secure next-gen competitiveness of NC

Currently, the world economy is in turmoil due to the prolonged COVID-19 outbreak. However, IT, content, and bio companies located in Pangyo did well in domestic and overseas markets, and this gives hope to related industries and many startups. In this issue, with annual sales of two trillion won ahead, we looked into NC Soft's success and major activities in 2020, generating nearly 50% more sales compared to 3Q of the previous year.

NC Soft (hereinafter referred to as NC) recorded 585,2 billion won in sales, 217.7 billion won in operating profit, and 152.5 billion won in net income as a result of accounting in 3Q 2020 (consolidated basis). Sales by region amounted to 477.1 billion won in Korea, 27.4 billion won in North America and Europe, 13.9 billion won in Japan, and 7.9 billion won in Taiwan. By games, mobile games recorded 389.6 billion won and PC online games recorded 120.7 billion won in sales. NC achieved record-high quarterly results in 1Q 2020 after the launch of Lineage 2M in November 2019, and in 3Q 2020, the sales of Lineage M increased by 53% QoQ after the commemorative 3rd-year anniversary update. Lineage and Guild Wars 2 also achieved good results, up 46% and 20% respectively compared to the previous quarter.

(Lineage M)

North America in 2000, NC has built a global network in Europe, Japan, and Taiwan and provided services to more than 60 countries around the world. In Taiwan, where Lineage's first overseas service began in 2000, Lineage M continues to maintain its leading position, and more than seven million copies of the Guild War series was sold worldwide, becoming a pioneer in the North American/European market.

(Fuser, a new console and PC platform game released in North America and Europe)

NC is also making efforts to diversify genres and platforms according to the different tendencies of users by country. On November 10, NC released its first game title, FUSER for console and PC platform in North America and Europe. Since its launch, Fuser has received good reviews for its good gameplay from foreign game review sites and media such as OpenCritic and Metacritic. Lineage 2M is keeping its top rank since its released in Korea,

(FUSER - Official Release Date Trailer)

and is soon to launch in Taiwan in 2021. Along with this, Blade & Soul 2, the official sequel to Blade & Soul, the official sequel to Blade & Soul, will be released in the first quarter of next year, and other games like Project TL will also be released. Also, as for Guild Wars 2, which was well-garnered in North America, the third expansion pack of it will be released next year.

Meanwhile, NC is one of the companies actively expanding its business area through AI-related research and service development. NC's AI organization is divided into two sectors, the AI Center and the NLP Center, and it is made up of five labs, Game AI Lab, Speech Lab, Vision AI Lab, Language AI Lab, and Knowledge AI Lab. It is focusing on gaining sustainable future competitiveness.

(VocGAN, neural vocoder technology developed by NC)

VocGAN was developed by the speech synthesis team of the Speech AI Lab under the AI Center, and it boasts perfect sound quality that makes it difficult to distinguish between recorded voice and actual voice, and also high speed and light weight. NC officially announced VocGAN in Interspeech 2020, an international conference with the world's highest authority in the field of speech recognition/synthesis last October. This technology is being used in various areas, for the narration of the "guide," a tutorial video of Blade & Soul Frontier World.

NC Fellowship launched in 2018 to foster outstanding talents in the field of AI R&D

With this, NC has emerged as an AI powerhouse once again by reviewing the AI-based technology cooperation plan proposed by KB Securities, and deciding to participate in a joint venture to secure financial AI technology and enhance AI competitiveness. In this business, NC aims to integrate financial data with its own natural language processing (NLP) technology. NC is aiming to become a technology company with strong future competitiveness by investing in technology R&D in various fields. It has invested about 15-20% of revenue in R&D in 2019, and the ratio of company staff involved in R&D is about 70% in 1Q 2020.

NC completed the Pangyo R&D Center in 2013 and had been playing a key role in R&D in the game industry since. It is now supporting various channels to help create the game startup ecosystem and discover promising companies. This year, it supported the game industry and local cultural contents by sponsoring 2020 Indie Craft, Busan Interconnected Festival 2020, and 2020 Gwangju Ace Fair. It has also participated in the recently ended international game show G-Star 2020 as an indie showcase support partner to support indie game companies, SMEs, and academies.

Global News Network 'AVING'
by Jane Lee (www.aving.net)

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