Data & Research

Nexon’s The Kingdom of the Winds: Yeon is #1 Korean action RPG

Crunching the data with App Annie

Nexon’s The Kingdom of the Winds: Yeon is #1 Korean action RPG

This article is part of an ongoing series of data-driven articles from and App Annie highlighting trends in the global mobile games sector using App Annie’s Game IQ analytics.

This enables mobile game developers to dig deeper into the data and discover not only which games are performing best but what characteristics they have.

In this week’s report, we’re looking at the top action RPGs in the key South Korean market on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as ranked in terms of their monthly active user totals.

The top game is Nexon’s The Kingdom of the Winds: Yeon, which is currently only available in South Korea.

A mobile version of Nexon’s classic PC MMORPG, which was released back in 1996, it launched in July 2020 and off the back of 2 million pre-registrations has demonstrated the franchise’s continuing popular appeal ever since.

The Kakao-published Guardian Tales is also a relatively new game, at least in terms of its South Korean release. Launched in July, the top-down pixel art game has regularly been a top 10 top grossing game in South Korea, as well as performing well in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Of course, Genshin Impact needs little introduction. The Chinese-developed cross-platform RPG has been a massive hit internationally, generating over $100 million in its first two weeks.

In that context, it’s also worth noting that this chart is dominated by games published by Asian companies. Most - six titles - arise from those large domestic Korean publishers like Nexon, NCsoft, Netmarble and Pearl Abyss.

Two - Genshin Impact and New Swordsman - are Chinese and two - Ragnarok Origin and Girl Cafe Gun - are Japanese.

The main reason for this concentration is the genre.

Over the years, Asian action RPGs have developed in a very specific manner, both in terms of gameplay, metagame and art style, making it a difficult genre for most global developers to successfully operate in.

Similarly, the long history of Korean RPGs means that many of these games are new versions of extremely long-running PC franchises. The first Lineage game was released in 1998 while MapleStory debuted in 2003, Ragnarok Online in 2002.

Game IQ is a vertically tailored analytics product, developed by App Annie, that provides insight into dimensions such as class, genre, subgenre and tags. Games can now be analyzed by broad category class (tuning), genre, subgenre, and tags (modifiers) such as IP, art style, settings, monetization mechanic, and more.

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