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For the better part of a decade, Korea’s Nexon has been making online games that users can start playing for free. If they want, they can pay real money for virtual goods such as swords or decorations. Now the game industry is shifting in that direction.

Daniel Kim became chief executive of Nexon America a year ago and the company has grown its sales in the past year in spite of the recession. He recalls how many companies didn’t believe that U.S. gamers would opt for so-called free-to-play games. But even the likes of Disney and Sony have embraced the idea.

Nexon plays the mammal to the dinosaurs that are the traditional console game makers. Its big hits range from Maplestory to Combat Arms. This year, the company is launching a number of new games to help expand its position. But are there rats that can even threaten the mammals? (Facebook and iPhone games?) Check out our video interview with Kim below.

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Daniel Kim, CEO of Nexon America from Dean Takahashi on Vimeo.

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