Netmarble eyes mobile e-sports market

Netmarble Games’ mobile business head Han Ji-hoon introduces new mobile game “Penta Storm” during a press conference at the GLAD Hotel in Yeouido, Seoul, Wednesday. Courtesy of Netmarble Games

By Yoon Sung-won

Netmarble Games seeks to expand the e-sports market for mobile games, the company said Wednesday.

The nation’s largest mobile game firm showcased its new multiplayer battle game “Penta Storm for Kakao” in Seoul. “Penta Storm” is the Korean version of Tencent’s “King of Glory,” which recorded 50 million daily users in China in January.

“Penta Storm” is scheduled to be published in Korea in the second quarter of this year. Netmarble said it plans to create both professional and non-professional leagues for the game, striving to vitalize the mobile e-sports market.

“We aim at mobile e-sports not just for professionals but for everyone,” Netmarble Games’ mobile business head Han Ji-hoon said during a press conference in Seoul, Wednesday. “In 2017, we will first open the tournament and league for amateurs before starting season-based regular leagues for professionals with a promotion and relegation system.”

The company said it will host invitational matches of popular professional gamers to promote the mobile e-sport competition. On Wednesday, the firm invited famous professional gamers including Lee Young-ho, Song Byung-gu, Lee Je-dong, Kang Min and Guillaume Patry for an exhibition match.

Several titles including Super Evil Megacorp’s battle game “Vainglory” have targeted the mobile e-sports sector on the back of explosive worldwide growth of the mobile game market. Some have established league competitions but none of them entered the mainstream global e-sports sector.

“The quality of Penta Storm has already been approved by many users overseas,” Netmarble Games’ business strategy head Paek Young-hoon said. “This gives us high expectations for this game’s success here.”

The game play of “Penta Storm” is much like that of Riot Games’ megahit online game “League of Legends.” In this game, users can choose from 22 different types of characters for five-versus-five, three-versus-three or one-on-one multiplayer battles. More characters will be added through updates in the future, the company said.

As the characters have different combat roles, users need to cooperate to beat the opponents and occupy their base, Han said. He said, “Penta Storm is easy to play on mobile devices, and each round is designed to end in 10 to 20 minutes.”

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