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NCsoft plans May launch of ‘Blade & Soul’ in Japan

Local game company NCsoft will launch its flagship game “Blade & Soul” in the Japanese market in May, according to a company statement on Monday.

“Blade & Soul” is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on fantasy martial arts.

Following its limited trial service, to run for three days starting May 13, the MMORPG game will officially roll out on May 20. The company said it would charge a monthly fee and players can purchase additional items. The price will be announced at a later date.

In line with the release, NCsoft will also unveil “Blade & Soul” animation produced by the local studio GONZO. Starting from early April, the animation will air on seven channels throughout Japan including Tokyo Broadcasting System.

“Following (the game’s) successful launch in China and Japan, we plan to expand to the Taiwanese and Russian markets down the road,” an NCsoft spokesperson said.

Since its release in the Chinese market at the end of November, “Blade & Soul” has shown a solid performance there, according to Lee Min-ah, an analyst at Seoul-based HI Investment & Securities.

“In the second quarter of this year, ‘Guild Wars 2’ ― an MMORPG developed by ArenaNet and NCsoft ― is also expected to hit the Chinese market,” Lee said.

Experts predict that the game will generate more revenue in China than in Japan.

“The royalty revenue from the Chinese market will be much higher than the Japanese market, where the online game industry is not thriving yet,” said Hwang Seung-taek, an analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities co.

He said the game will see over 26 billion won ($24 million) in royalty revenue from the Chinese market in the first quarter and see a gradual rise down the road, while the Japanese market is expected to generate low revenue for the first year of the game’s release.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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