Nexon invades Zynga’s turf with plan to launch Kart Rider on Facebook

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Nexon and Zynga are dueling to be the darlings of the new game industry. Nexon got big with free-to-play online games that you download over the web to a computer. Zynga dominates the casual game market on Facebook. Now Nexon is moving in on Facebook with the planned launch of its KartRider Dash game for the social network.

Tokyo-based Nexon, which went public in December, is launching the game as a free-to-play title — where users play for free but pay real money for virtual goods — on Facebook later this year. If it succeeds, it can establish a market for beefier games on the social network.

KartRider is one of Nexon’s huge successes with more than 270 million registered players worldwide. The new game will debut in open beta in March. KartRider Rush has already launched on iOS and Android, with more than seven million downloads since the spring of 2011.

Players will be able to race their friends through challenging maps and high-speed time trials while experiencing both new and familiar characters, race tracks and game modes. It will be interesting to see just how fast the game can be within the Facebook user interface.

Aron Koh, executive producer of social at Nexon America, said, “KartRider Dash will raise the bar for top-notch Facebook games, extending Nexon’s strategy to expose our high quality games to the broadest audiences possible.” KartRider Dash will join MapleStory Adventures, which is also available on Facebook.

VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.