, JANUARY 21, 2007
  (STAR) Massive multiplayer online games, or MMOGs, once dominated by Western companies are getting serious competition from Asia Pacific game developers and publishers. While World of Warcraft is the no.1 online MMORPG in the US, Chinese and Korean-developed massive multiplayer online games reign supreme in Asia Pacific. These Korean and Chinese-developed online games have a huge following inAsia because of the oriental roots, the familiar mythologies used and the anime influenced artwork resulting in a strong sense of player ownership. ig opportunities B The AP online game market has huge potential and Asian companies were the first ones to realize it. According to US-based research firm In-Stat, the total 2005 online games market revenue in the AP region alone, reached US$3.2 billion and is expected to go up to US$6.8 billion in 2010. Seventy percent of the projected revenue will come from online games which is why the rest of the online gaming world is taking notice.

It's no secret that China and Korea are the top gaming markets in Asia. Due to its 1.3 billion strong population, China is undeniably one of the biggest markets in the world. Around 25 million users are playing online games while 111 million people surf the Internet thus fueling local online game development and publishing. According to Pearl Research, a top research firm in Asia, the Top Chinese gaming companies are The9, Shanda and Netease and they control 70% of the country's total online gaming market. These companies are responsible for the release of 120 online game titles in China

On the other hand, Korea has the largest per capita broadband deployment in the world (about 60 percent of households subscribe to broadband service providers). Due to its advanced telecommunications and Internet infrastructures, and access to gaming development technologies, Korea is one of the biggest providers of massive online games. Pearl Research reports say that the Top Korean Gaming companies are: NC Soft; Nexon; Neo Wiz; Hanbitsoft; and Webzen. These companies have cornered 70% of the country's gaming market share. The Philippines's bright future While they have conquered their respective countries, Korean and Chinese gaming companies want their Asian neighbors to experience the virtual worlds they have created which is why South East Asia is the next stomping ground for these online game companies.

They have realized that SE Asia, the Philippines included, represents one of the fastest growing online gaming markets in the world. The Philippines saw the explosion of MMOGs in 2003 and from then on, it opened the floodgates to 3D Worlds, pay-to-play schemes, the revolutionary free-to-play and item-based selling to hybrid models which combine item-based selling and subscription fees.

RAN Online, Ragnarok Online, Tantra, Pangya and Supreme Destiny are just some of the Asian-developed MMOGs being played in the SE Asia. Furthermore, the country's emerging online gaming population has huge potential as more and more people get online: There are 3.2 million online gamers in the country and is expected to rise to 11 million by 2010. That fact, coupled with the steady positive progression of local Internet infrastructure have made the Philippines a prized, lucrative market. There is a great possibility that foreign gaming companies may enter directly or seek alliances with Philippine publishers.

What does it mean for local Philippine publishers? Will this lead to more intense competition or hostile takeovers? Not likely to happen this year. However, we envision well funded and content enabled foreign players to partner with leading local game publishers.

In the very near future, the vibrant and dynamic Philippine online gaming industry will be seeing more strategic alliances with other Asian game developers and publishers. We'll be seeing more virtual, breathtaking, fully fleshed out worlds. Players will be treated to dynamic gameplay, and the most intense and immersive online experience yet. The Philippine Online Gaming Industry is already in takeoff and once it starts, players will be treated to the best online experience that will rival that of leading markets such as Korea.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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