Code JDMBA: Webzen Update

Monday, August 08, 2005

Webzen Update

Management gave far too aggressive revenue and earnings estimates at the beginning of the year. Because of this WZEN shares have taken a major hit and are quickly approaching cash value per share.

I want to thank Melexis1 for the following update in Korean from http://www.webzengames.co.kr/:

August 5th, 2005
"썬(SUN)의 성공적인 런칭(Launching)을 위한 사전 마케팅 활동이 시작됐다.

글로벌 온라인 엔터테인먼트 기업 ㈜웹젠(대표 김남주)은 차기작 ‘썬(SUN)’의 공식 포스터공개를 시작으로 본격적인 마케팅에 돌입한다.

우선 8월 하순경, 썬의 비공개 베타테스트를 위한 별도의 웹사이트를 오픈함과 동시에 1차 비공개 테스트 인원을 999명 규모로 모집할 예정이며, 온라인을 통한 프로모션도 병행된다.

이후 1차 비공개 테스트가 9월 27일에 시작되며, 10월 중순경에 1만 명 정도의 규모로 2차 비공개 테스트를 진행하고, 11월경 공개테스트에 돌입한다는 계획이다.

웹젠 김남주 대표는 “썬의 사실적인 그래픽과 호쾌한 액션감은 국내 서비스되고 있는 모든 게임의 퀄리티를 이미 압도하고 있다.”며 “다가오는 비공개 베타서비스를 시작으로, 단순한 온라인 게임이 아닌 종합엔터테인먼트의 총아로 자리매김 할 ‘썬(SUN)’을 충분히 경험하게 될 것이다.”라며 자신감을 숨기지 않았다.

향후 웹젠은 썬(SUN)을 하나의 엔터테인먼트 문화 컨텐츠로서 이미지를 구축한다는 전략 하에 기존의 게임 마케팅 활동에 그치지 않고 다각적인 채널을 이용한 적극적이고 다양한 마케팅 프로모션 활동을 실행할 예정이다.
<이미지 설명>
썬 포스터 이미지 : 썬의 주인공 캐릭터(버서커)가 날아올라 적을 공격하는 장면으로 역동적인 액션이 강조된 썬의 특징을 잘 나타내고 있다."


Based on what he told me and the translation results of www.worldlingo.com (a free online translation link can be found on the right side of my page) I understand that a secret closed beta test with 999 players will commence on September 27th. Another beta test with 10,000 players should take place in October. Based on the reviews for SUN, it could be a major hit. It will be launched simultaneously in many countries across the globe. I encourage you to read the many SUN reviews available online.

Webzen is doing poorly right now because its sole game MU is aging rapidly. Once upon a time MU was the most popular game in China. Possible new hurdles in China due to recent regulatory changes may make things slightly harder for the more violent WZEN games in China going forward:
http://jdmba.blogspot.com/2005/08/new-chinese-gaming-regulations.html

However, WZEN is well positioned to due well both in China and worldwide and has a MMORPG games pipeline among the best in the industry. I encourage you to visit this site for more information on the upcoming games:
http://webzengames.com/

I am most excited about the prospects of:

SUN (North America, Europe, Asia, best positioned for Asia)
APB (North America, Europe, Asia, best positioned for North America)

HUXLEY (North America, Europe, Asia, best positioned for North America)

I highly recommend going to the download page and downloading the trailers for the above games!

Last week I took profits in TLK and TOMO to buy more WZEN shares after its recent decline. See:
http://jdmba.blogspot.com/2005/08/tlk-earnings.html
http://jdmba.blogspot.com/2005/07/key-events-for-next-week.html#c112355189416705611

I would not expect major profits from WZEN in the short run as MU is doing very poorly. However if you can wait a few years I think the R&D will really pay off when the many new high quality games are launched!

I further recommend watching Alexa traffic data for the above WZEN games as they approach launch date. This will help you give some idea of the relative popularity of the games as compared to the games of competitors. As many on the NTES Yahoo Finance board have figured out some games are pretty easy to track be watching server data (which is all public information. Just look at xyq.163.com and xy2.163.com and count the servers of each color type and add them up!) which gives educated investors such as ourselves a good idea about possible earnings figures well before they are announced.

Disclosure: I am long WZEN

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