Clans are also very important. There are many very strong clans, and they encourage new players to join and get involved. That’s another trigger that keeps bringing in new users. A couple of months ago, by the way, we did a user survey of top clan members. We brought some of them to our offices and shared our future plans to get their feedback. It was quite exciting, and they shared a lot of valuable opinions about our future improvements.
GamesBeat: As far as your roadmap for this game, what do you foresee? What do you think players want?
Sim: We’ll keep adding new content in 2019. When we have more formal plans, we’ll be sharing that, especially when we have additional collaborations to talk about. We also plan to increase our efforts to communicate more closely with our users and clans. We’ll be doing more events like I was talking about to encourage players to give us feedback,
The game is getting a lot of interest in Europe, beyond just the United States and Latin America. We’ll keep sharing our update plans around the world. We’re planning more Western expansion in the future.
GamesBeat: What’s your feeling about mobile games in general? What have you learned about the broader mobile industry through your experience with Lineage 2?
Sim: I’ve observed several different trends. The casual genre is still very popular in the Western market. But casual genre users are expecting something a little different now. A lot of games are putting more RPG features on top of their existing genre, even casual games or builder games — like character-collection or character-growth systems or skill-based systems. We’re seeing many casual to mid-core users accept more RPG features.
Lineage 2: Revolution, meanwhile — there’s already a pool of MMORPG users that exists on PC and console. They’ve played hardcore RPG games before. They’re turning out to accept playing MMORPGs on mobile as well, and we think that trend will continue. PC and console gamers are willing to play RPGs on mobile if you provide high fidelity and gameplay that’s very sophisticated. At the same time, new RPG gamers will keep appearing because, as I said, RPG features are becoming more popular with casual and mid-core gamers.
At Netmarble, we’re one of the powerhouses in the RPG genre. That’s what we’re aiming for. We see that there’s a lot of opportunity around RPGs in the Western market. We believe that Lineage 2: Revolution is the frontier for mobile MMORPGs, and we’ll launch more MMORPG games in the future. At the same, we also want to launch more games in other genres that are driven in part by RPG features, to appeal to user demand and expectations.
GamesBeat: This seems like kind of a dumb question, but it seems like it’s important sometimes. How do you avoid making your users angry at you?
Sim: [Laughs] These days — I mentioned our user survey. We’ve been working closely with our users. They want to talk with us at the studio and share their opinions. They want to understand why our mechanics are the way they are. That’s why we opened up our office and ran that user survey a couple of months ago. User communication is getting more and more important.
The way we avoid user complaints — we need to put more effort in communicating transparently with users. I believe that if we explain our actions properly, users will understand why we’ve developed our mechanics the way we have. As developers, we always have our reasons. As part of our user summit, we brought in our developers for Q&A sessions to explain why we design the way we do and listen to user feedback. They had some great ideas, and we might change our features in future updates as a result.
That kind of transparent communication is very important. That’s what we believe. At Netmarble, we’ll keep trying to do that.
GamesBeat: It seems like a fine line you have to walk, to make sure you do things that are good for the game … and good for the fans as well.
Sim: Our most important goal is to meet user expectations. Listening to the users’ voices is very important for us, and we’ll keep trying to listen to more and more.
GamesBeat: Do you have a philosophy on user acquisition and how to bring more users into Lineage 2? What has worked the best so far?
Sim: We’ve developed a lot of optimization technology on our back end side. We’ve been using AI technology and so have many other publishers. At Netmarble, we think that’s very important. We set up our internal AI team two years ago, and we’ve done a lot of research into optimizing user acquisition and learning more about user behavior. We’ll keep going with that.
A big part of the strategy for Lineage 2: Revolution is that we believe PC and console MMORPG players will enjoy it. We’ll keep trying to reach out to that audience through live streaming. Influencers are also an important part of our strategy, so we’ll keep managing our relationship with influencers.
GamesBeat: What’s your outlook for the future and the industry in general?
Sim: At Netmarble, we’re planning to launch more and more advanced games in the future — in 2019 and beyond. We’re launching a game called BTS World soon. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with BTS, the K-pop idol group, but these days, they’re becoming very popular around the world. Not only in Asia but also in Europe, the U.S., and Latin America. It’s a simulation and story-based game, a different genre from what we’ve done in the past.
We’re also building around new IP in real-time competitive games in the next year. We’re preparing to launch a King of Fighters game, which I’m sure you’re familiar with. We’re launching King of Fighters All Stars in 2019. We also have a real-time casual board game in development. We’ll have more details around all of this in the future.
We’re launching new games in many different genres, but almost all of these games still have some kind of RPG features. They have collection features or character growth systems. We’re trying to add more advanced ways to have fun. At Netmarble, we want to diversify our genres and broaden our fan base, from casual games to MMORPGs.