|Founded||December 26, 1994|
Seoul, South Korea
|Headquarters||Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan|
|Owen Mahoney (CEO) |
Shiro Uemura (CFO)
Number of employees
|7,067 (Dec. 2021)|
Nexon Co., Ltd. is a video game publisher. It publishes titles including MapleStory, Dungeon & Fighter, Sudden Attack, and KartRider. Headquartered in Japan, the company has offices in South Korea, the United States, Taiwan and Thailand.
Nexon was founded in Seoul, South Korea in 1994 by Kim Jung-ju and Jake Song. In 2005, the company moved its headquarters to Tokyo, Japan. The company's largest shareholder is the investment firm NXC, also founded by Jung-ju.
Nexon (originally Korean: 주식회사 넥슨) was established in Seoul, South Korea on December 26, 1994. It developed and published its first title, Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, in 1996, which the company continues to service. Numerous other games followed such as Dark Ages: Online Roleplaying, Elemental Saga, QuizQuiz, KartRider, Elancia, and Shattered Galaxy; some of which are maintained by a company spun off of Nexon, Kru Interactive.
In 2003, Wizet developed MapleStory in Korea, which later became one of its most successful titles and has been serviced for more than two decades. The game was localized for Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, North America, Europe, Brazil, and Vietnam. Nexon is also the developer of Dungeon & Fighter, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Neople. Dungeon & Fighter is one of the most popular free-to-play online PC games in China.
In April 2013, the programmer "DrUnKeN ChEeTaH" was sued by Nexon America for operating GameAnarchy, a popular subscription based cheat provider for Combat Arms. Nexon was awarded $1.4M in damages.
Nexon went public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on December 14, 2011, in an initial public offering, the largest in Japan for 2011 and the second largest by a technological company for 2011 worldwide. On March 9, 2016, Nexon acquired Big Huge Games, a mobile game developer in Maryland. In October 2018, a labor union was established at Nexon.
On January 3, 2019, the Korea Economic Daily reported Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju and associates have put their 98.64-percent stake up for sale. However, on July 8, 2019, Reuters reported the plan was abandoned. On November 25, 2019, The Lego Group announced the acquisition of Bricklink, the world's largest Lego fan community from Nexon's parent company NXC, for an unknown price, which is expected to finish before the end of 2019.
On June 2, 2020, Nexon announced plans to invest $1.5 billion in listed entertainment companies. By March 2021, Nexon had deployed $874 million of that amount on investments into Hasbro, Bandai Namco Holdings, Konami, and Sega Sammy Holdings. Nexon stated that they have no interest in outright acquiring or taking activist investor positions in these companies. Nexon signed with Bandai Namco Holdings, Square Enix and Microsoft for a 10-year Japanese–South Korean video gaming partnership contract for media franchises through 2032, for example HoPals Echoes crossover project.
In a 2021 earnings call, Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney declined to offer hard launch targets for highly anticipated games. In February 2021, Nexon announced significant pay increases for new and existing development talent in the company's Korean studios. In July 2021, Nexon announced the formation of Nexon Film and Television, a division of the company focused on expanding the reach and value of Nexon's global IP, as well as development of new properties in both interactive and linear entertainment. The division is based in Los Angeles. In January 2022, Russo brothers-owned film production company AGBO sold a $400 million minority stake to Nexon, which is valued at $1.1 billion as Nexon takes a 38% stake. In February 2022, it was reported by Bloomberg that Saudi Arabian-based Public Investment Fund had purchased just over a 5% stake in Capcom and Nexon, reportedly worth US$883 million, while American investment company KKR acquired an 8.5% stake.
In May 2022, Nexon announced the launch of Mintrocket, a sub-brand and division of Nexon that specializes on games "focusing on the essence of fun". Its first game, Dave the Diver, was a commercial hit, selling one million copies within ten days of launch.
In early 2023, Nexon filed a cease and desist letter and a lawsuit against video game studio Ironmace, alleging that they stole files and ideas from Nexon's canceled project called "P3" and used them in their game called Dark and Darker. Nine "P3" project members had left the company and joined Ironmace, which was started soon after the project's cancellation in 2021. According to Ironmace, it is one of these former Nexon employees (who is alleged to have leaked the assets) who is the sued party, and not the company itself. A police complaint filed by Nexon reportedly led to a police raid of Ironmace's offices in March 2023. After the game was removed from Steam, Ironmace distributed it via BitTorrent, made available on the game's Discord server. A March IGN article described the situation as the "Dark and Darker legal scandal". Nexon also filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in United States on April 20, 2023.
Nexon maintains various offices around the world that engage in the publishing and/or development of Nexon's games. Each region's local consolidated subsidiaries are independently managed and are responsible for developing their own strategy for their products and services. The subsidiary that publishes a game does not necessarily indicate the region(s) that a game is available in. For example, some of Nexon Korea's games are published directly by Nexon Korea yet are available worldwide with no separate service published under the local consolidated company's portfolio.
|Japan||NEXON Co., Ltd.|
|Korea||NEXON Korea Corporation; NEOPLE INC.; Nexon Networks Corporation; NEXON Games Co., Ltd. (Nexon Games Seoul, Nexon Games Pangyo) (formerly Nexon GT and NAT Games); NEXON COMMUNICATIONS Co., Ltd.; Nexon Space Co., Ltd.; Thingsoft Inc.; N Media Platform Co., LTD.; Ngine Studios; TDF Co., Ltd.|
|China||Lexian Software Development (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.|
|North America||Nexon America Inc.; Nexon US Holding Inc.; Big Huge Games, Inc.; Pixelberry Studios|
|Other||NEXON TAIWAN LIMITED; Nexon Thailand Co., Ltd.; Embark Studios AB; NEXON NETWORKS VINA COMPANY LIMITED|
Nexon is a pioneer in free-to-play online Virtual World games which operate in contrast to games that require a large initial payment and offer a comparatively short life cycle. Nexon's Virtual Worlds make use of live, in-game operations to provide ongoing content and manage service. Nexon Live Operations helps engage players over years and, in some cases, decades.
Multiple Nexon Virtual Worlds are among the world's most valuable entertainment franchises:
|Franchise||Launch date||Registered players||Lifetime revenue|
|Dungeon & Fighter||2005||+ 850 million||> $20 billion|
|MapleStory||2003||+ 180 million||> $3 billion|
|KartRider||2004||+ 380 million||> $1 billion|
|Sudden Attack||2005||+ 23 million||> $0.7 billion|
|The Kingdom of the Winds||1996||+ 26 million||N/A|
|Mabinogi||2004||+ 20 million||> $0.6 billion|
Nexon began as a developer and publisher of PC games. However, in 2020, the company announced plans to begin releasing both console and mobile versions of key franchises. CEO Owen Mahoney noted that expansion onto the two popular platforms “collectively represent an order-of-magnitude increase in our total addressable market.”
In July 2020, the South Korean launch of The Kingdom of the Winds: Yeon for mobile was the top-grossing title on the Apple App story and #2 on Google Play, 24 years after the launch of the initial The Kingdom of the Winds game in 1996. In August 2020, the highly anticipated release of Dungeon&Fighter Mobile in China generated more than 60 million pre-registrations before it was delayed. In March 2022, Dungeon&Fighter Mobile was released in South Korea, reaching the #1 spot on both the App Store and Google Play.
It has already announced it will be publishing ARC Raiders, The First Descendant, Project AK and KartRider: Drift for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox. Nexon previously published one title for PlayStation 4 in 2017, LawBreakers from Boss Key Productions.
Nexon operates in over 190 countries, but revenue and consumer engagement are concentrated in Asian markets. In 2021, the company announced a series of games in development for global release – with a focus on Europe and North America.
|1996||Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds||Nexon Korea||Nexon|
|2003||MapleStory||Wizet||Nexon (KR, JP, NA, EU)|
|2004||Crazyracing Kartrider||Nexon Korea||Also known in short as KartRider |
Servers closed in March 2023 as Nexon Korea has shift their focus on KartRider: Drift
|2005||Sudden Attack||Nexon GT (now Nexon Games)|
|Dungeon Fighter Online||Neople||Nexon (KR & JP)
|2007||Elsword||KOG Studios||Nexon||Publishing for Korea only (KOG to handled Global server)|
|2008||Combat Arms||Nexon||Server closed in November 2017; while the Global server was carried by VALOFE in both Reloaded and Classic version|
|2009||Crazy Shooting Bubble Fighter|
|2010||Vindictus||devCAT||Also known in Asia as Mabinogi Heroes, prequel to the original game|
|Dragon Nest||Eyedentity Games||Nexon to share the publishing rights in Korea (ENP Games now handled KR server, while Eyedentity Games handled rest of World ex. Chinese territories)|
|2012||FIFA Online 3||Electronic Arts||Publishing for Korea only|
|2013||ArcheAge||XL Games||Nexon to share the publishing rights in Korea (XL Games was later brought by Kakao Games)|
|Final Fantasy XIV||Square Enix Business Division 5||Square Enix||Nexon to share the publishing rights in Korea (Actoz Soft now handled KR server)|
|Counter-Strike Online 2||Nexon
|Nexon||Servers closed in April 2018|
|2014||FreeStyle 2||JOYCITY||Publishing for Korea only|
|Closers||Naddic Games||Publishing for Korea only (Naddic Games to handled Global server)|
|Monster Squad||Nexon GT
|Mobile game |
Servers closed in December 2016
Big Huge Games
|Mobile game |
Publishing rights was handed over to Big Huge Games in 2020
|MapleStory 2||NSquare||Both Japanese and Global server closed on Early 2020 with Korea as the only server available|
|2016||Tree of Savior||IMC Games||Publishing for Korea only (IMC Games to handled Global server)|
|Sudden Attack 2||Nexon GT||Nexon||Korean server closed shortly after launch following the controversy|
|Titanfall Online||Nexon (Licensed from Electronic Arts)||The game was never fully released|
|Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online||Neople||Server closed first in Japan on November 29, 2017, with Global server closed few days later (December 6, 2017).|
|2017||Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed||XPEC Entertainment (Licensed from Koei Tecmo)||Mobile game |
Server closed in March 2020
|Dark Avenger 3||Boolean Games||Mobile game|
|AxE (Alliance x Empire)||Nexon RED||Mobile game |
Server closed in June 2022
|2018||FIFA Online 4||EA Spearhead||Publishing for Korea only|
|MapleStory M||Nexon||Mobile game|
|2019||KurtzPel||KOG Studios||Publishing for Korea only (KOG to handled Global server)|
|Godzilla Defense Force||Neople
|Crazy Arcade BnB M||Nexon|
|2020||KartRider Rush+||Nexon||Mobile game|
|V4||NAT Games (now Nexon Games)||Cross–Platform (PC & Mobile)|
|The Kingdom of the Winds: Yeon||Nexon Korea||Mobile game |
Currently available in Korea
|2021||Blue Archive||NAT Games (now Nexon Games)||Nexon (Global ex. JP & China)||Mobile game|
|KonoSuba: Fantastic Days||Sumzap||Nexon (Global ex. JP)||Mobile game |
Publishing rights was handed over to Sesisoft from June 1, 2023
|2022||Dungeon & Fighter Mobile||Neople||Nexon||Mobile game |
Currently available in Korea
|DNF Duel||Arc System Works
|Also available on PlayStation 4 & PlayStation 5 |
Nominated for The Game Awards 2022 Best Fighting Game
|Argent Twilight: Secrets Of The Dark Orbs||Nexon||Mobile game |
Currently in soft launch for Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada.
|TalesWeaver: Second Run||Nexon||Mobile game |
Currently available in Japan
|2023||KartRider: Drift||Nexon Korea (Nitro Studio)||Nexon||Cross–Platform (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC & Mobile)|
|Dave the Diver||Nexon (Mintrocket)||Nexon (Mintrocket)||Cross–Platform (MacOS, PC & Nintendo Switch)|
|TBA||The First Descendant (fka Project Magnum)||Nexon Games||Nexon||Also coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One & Xbox Series X|S|
|ARC Raiders||Embark Studios||Also coming to PlayStation 5 & Xbox Series X|S|
|Warhaven (fka Project HP)||Nexon Korea|
|Dynasty Warriors 9 Mobile|
|Gwanggateo the Great|