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MGF 2013: The Korean mobile market is booming thanks to Kakao, says Gamevil

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MGF 2013: The Korean mobile market is booming thanks to Kakao, says Gamevil

Finishing up the 10th Mobile Games Forum 2013 in London was Gamevil VP Kyu Lee.

Challenging the audience to take the Asia markets seriously, he spoke about the Rise of the East: The Future of Mobile Games.

"You might not have seen Gamevil in the top grossing charts. Well, you're looking at the wrong charts. Look at Asia," he said.

"60 percent of our revenues is now coming from Asia [although very little comes from China]. And Android revenues are 70 percent of our total business."

Be my spam friend

The big change that happened in the Asian markets during 2012 was the rise of what Kyu called 'super-casual' mobile games that integrate local social mobile networks.

The prime example in Korea is Kakao.

This mobile network has 50 million users and 20 million DAUs, and has a Facebook-style plug-in which developers can integrate into their games.

This offers developers a massive audience, although it takes 30 percent of developers' net revenue.

"It's a bit like the situation when FarmVille launched on Facebook in terms of virality of messaging," Kyu explained.

Games using Kakao's social graph dominated the Google Play top grossing games in Korea in 2012. It's thought Kakao is generating around $35 million per month.

Another difference with the Korean market is the power of the app stores of the three big carriers.

"We make more money from the Korean carrier stores than we make from Google Play," Kyu revealed.

Everyone's talking, playing

Similar to the situation with Kakao in Korea is Japanese social mobile network Line, which has 100 million users.

Kyu said Line was thought to be generating revenue of around $100 million in 2012.

"This is Supercell-scale performance but from individual countries," he pointed out.

And there's still plenty of potential in the region, both in terms of the organic growth of these companies in their local markets and their expansion.

Meanwhile Chinese mobile social network WeChat is a sleeping dragon. It has 300 million users, but hasn't yet launched a similar games services as Kakao and Line... yet.