Mobile Gaming Companies in South Korea had an amazing 2019-2021 and their outlook for the rest of 2022 looks very positive. South Korea ranks #4 in the world for mobile gaming revenue behind China, the US, and Japan. It is estimated that around 36 million people in Korea play mobile games. The average paying gamer spends around $75 per mobile game. Therefore, many global gaming companies are looking to enter the mobile gaming market in South Korea. However, the South Korean gaming market is very difficult to break into if you don’t understand the Korean gaming culture. Having a game on Korea’s app stores is not enough to ensure success. The type of mobile game really matters in Korea. For example, MMOs are very popular in South Korea, especially MMORPGs like Lineage.

With virtually all South Koreans having smartphones it is easy to see why many gaming companies in Korea are focusing a lot on mobile games. The average Korean spends around 2 hours a day commuting. Most use the Seoul Metro or the bus which is why many Koreans use mobile games to pass the time. The best part is that most mobile games are free to download.

South Korean Mobile Gaming Companies Thriving During COVID-19

South Korean mobile gaming companies have not only seen a huge gain in South Korea but also around the world. Global mobile game usage has gone up 20% in 2021 when compared to 2020. In addition, global app downloads have increased by 18% during the same period. This is especially true for the United States and the United Kingdom where the average time spent on gaming increased 35% on average following the COVID-19 outbreak.

So who are the top players in the mobile gaming industry in South Korea?

The Top 10 Mobile Gaming Companies in South Korea

1. PUBG Corporation

Korean Mobile Gaming Company

PUBG stands for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and it is one of the most popular online games in Korea. It was developed and published by PUBG Corporation which is a subsidiary of Korean video game company unicorn Krafton. PUBG Mobile is the mobile version of PUBG. This game has done over $7 billion in sales since its release. In 2021, PUBG Mobile brought in over $8 million in revenue a day! Most of the revenue is coming from China. 

Best Mobile Games: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Golf King: World Tour, Warth of Belial

Market Cap: $10.3 billion

2. NCSoft

Korean Mobile Gaming CompanyOne of the top mobile gaming companies in Korea is NCSoft. This is because they produced the massively popular mobile game in Korea Lineage. Their launch of Lineage 2M was a massive hit in late 2019. The same goes for Lineage 2M in 2020. brought in sales of $250 million. However, Lineage W was their most successful game in 2021. It was the #1 ranked mobile game on the Google Play Store in terms of daily sales. It was also Korea’s top-grossing game on the Apple Store. Since the Google Play Store accounts for more than 60% of Korea’s mobile gaming market, this makes NCSoft the top player in the industry.

Best Mobile Games: Lineage M, Lineage 2 Revolution, Lineage 2M, Lineage W

Market Cap: $7.7 Billion

3. Netmarble

Korean Mobile Gaming Company NetmarbleNetmarble develops some of the best mobile games around such as Marvel Future Fight which has around $3 billion in sales globally. In addition, they have partnerships with Korean K-pop band BTS and Lucas films. They are one of the most innovative gaming companies in South Korea. They are planning to release 6 Blockchain games in 2022 with one of the games based on Marvel Characters featuring custom NFTs.

Best Mobile Games: The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross, Seven Knights 2, The King of Fighters, and MARVEL Future Fight

Market Cap: $7.1 billion

4. Pearl Abyss

Pearl Abyss

Korean gaming company Pearl Abyss came on the mobile gaming map with its popular mobile game Black Desert Mobile and Eve Echoes. Black Desert Mobile is an MMORPG game that has found success in Korea and has been released in China in 2022. Black Desert Online is a very popular online PG game in Korea. Therefore Pearl Abyss decided to make their mobile version of the game mimic much of the gameplay found in Black Desert Online.

Best Mobile Games: Black Desert Mobile, Eve Echoes, Mobile Royale

Market Cap: $5.4 billion

5. Kakao Games

Kakao GamesKakao Games is the game unit of Korea’s mobile giant Kakao. They have followed the model of other top mobile gaming companies in Korea by capitalizing on Korea’s love for MMORPG games. They hold a majority stake in Lionheart Studio Corp. the gaming company behind Odin: Valhalla Rising, one of the top mobile games in South Korea.

Best Mobile Games: Odin: Valhalla Rising, The War of Genesis: Battle of Antaira, Friends Racing, Lookism

Market Cap: $4.1 billion

6. Nexon

NexonKorean game company Nexon is rising up in the mobile gaming sector because of their popular hit V4. They are very active in launching a lot of mobile games but V4 which was developed by Nexon affiliate NAT Games has gotten a lot of attention from to Korean mobile gaming community. However, their focus for 2022 will be Kart Rider: Drift and Dungeon and Fighter which is Nexon’s most popular franchise.

Best Mobile Games: Dungeon and Fighter, MapleStory, V4, Counter Side, Kart Rider Rush

Market Cap: $2 billion

7. Com2uS

Com2uSCom2uS is a South Korean mobile and online game developer/publisher. Their most successful mobile game is Summoners War which has gotten over $1 billion in revenue to date. Com2Us invested in Skybound Entertainment which is owned by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Therefore it is highly likely that they will work together to create a mobile game based on The Walking Dead.

“The Walking Dead is a huge franchise. I don’t think only one series could explain the whole narrative for that world. And I know that Walking Dead has mulitple mobile games but I think there’s also multiple things to deliver to the users,” said the president of Gamevil Com2Us, Kyu Lee.

Best Mobile Games: Summoners War, Inotia 4, Ace Fishing

Market Cap: $1 billion

8. Webzen

WebzenKorean gaming company Webzen is known for its mobile series MU Origin series. It is an MMORPG game that has a loyal following among Korean mobile gamers. Furthermore, MU Origin 2 which is the sequel to MU Origin has been optimized for mobile devices and has improved the content in terms of competition and cooperation among users. Webzen’s business mainly involves collecting royalties from MU IP licenses from China and publishing MU IP-based games developed by game developers in the Korean market.

Best Mobile Games: MU Origin 2, MU Origin, Reign of Revolution Mobile, and Shot Online Golf

Market Cap: $650 million

9. NHN Entertainment Corporation

NHN Entertainment Mobile Gaming Companies in KoreaNHN Entertainment Corporation is a South Korean gaming company is made news in the past for partnering up with Nintendo to develop and run mobile games for Dr. Mario World. NHN Entertainment is responsible for content development. The gaming company is transitioning into becoming an IT company. Therefore, they will now also focus on fintech, the cloud, AI, and big data.

“In the fast-paced global business environment, NHN will try to put more focus on its core values to develop new technologies and expand its operations,” said CEO of NHN Entertainment, Chung U-Jin.

Best Mobile Games: Dr. Mario World, Crusaders Quest, Baseball 9ers

Market Cap: $1.1 billion

10. 4399 Korea

43994399 Korea is the first overseas subsidiary of 4399. They provide Korean mobile gamers with easy and enjoyable games such as the Mystery Hero Exhibition. Furthermore, their most popular mobile game in Korea is Miracle Sword.

Best Mobile Games: Miracle Sword

Market Cap: N/A