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Product Overview: NCSOFT, FRVR and Budge Studios

WRITTEN BY | 23 Mar 2022
Product Overview: NCSOFT, FRVR and Budge Studios

11th and 12 Weekly Digests have brought us new investments from South Korea and Portugal, as well as M&A deals from Canada.

Let’s look at some of the biggest products from the perspective of core & meta gameplay, and monetization mechanics.

NCSOFT (Cross-platform gaming holding)

South Korean gaming holding NCSOFT (>$1.9B total sales in 2021) has been known mainly for a popular Lineage franchise. This franchise includes a series of core MMORPG games with most of the paying audience coming from South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.


The main revenue drivers in 2021 were three games:

  • Lineage (PC & mobile distribution platforms) with more than $88M total sales in Q4 2021.
  • Lineage 2 (PC & mobile distribution platforms) with more than $123M total sales in Q4 2021. 
  • Lineage W (mobile distribution platforms) with more than $293M total sales in Q4 2021. 

All these games has the same gameplay and monetization model:

— Core gameplay is a third-person action RPG in an open game world where players complete quests and fight different monsters. It allows players to increase their character’s level, and buy new equipment.
— Meta gameplay is the mass PvP battles between groups of players (clans).
— Monetization is based on in-app currency which players need to buy/upgrade rare weapons and armor. Also, this currency is used to buy a pet.

The main difference of a new game Lineage W is that it connects different countries (=servers) to bring more players into the open world. Of course, the quality of art and technology are also much higher in the new game version.

NCSOFT Q4 2021

FRVR (Web games)

Portugal-based FRVR (1.5B visitors since 2014) is a HTML5 instant gaming platform with 44% of the audience coming from the US, Germany, and France.

FRVR - Countries

~9M players per month launch games instantly from their PC/Mobile devices using the internet browser. Inside, they can choose from thousands of casual puzzles/board games, as well as arcades and sports games.

FRVR - Traffic _ Engagement

All games in FRVR have the same monetization model – in-game currency and in-game ads.

Players can buy currency to get more moves, or new skins. Also, players can get in-game boosters by watching video ads.

Budge Studios (Mobile games)

Canada-based Budge Studios ($>122M total revenue and >1.2B downloads since 2014) – mobile kids game developer with more than 50% of the audience coming from Brazil, India, Mexico and other emerging markets.

Their main monetization model is In-App Ads like in most kids games.

Budge Sutdios - Total Downloads

At the same time, their main In-App Purchases monetization steam is Subscriptions from the US players.

In most cases players will get character skins, dress and house customizations like in the game ​​Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures (>28M total revenue since July 2018) – casual barbie simulator with tamagotchi mechanics.

The two other biggest games are PAW Patrol Rescue World (28M downloads, >$2.5M total revenue since August 2021), and Hello Kitty Salon (>176M downloads since February 2015):

  • Patrol Rescue World
    • Core game play is an arcade car ride on the location. Players also engage with simulator mini-games.
    • Monetization is based on ads after levels, and in-app purchases to buy a new dogs with a unique car with them.
  • Hello Kitty Salon
    • Core game play is a nail coloring simulator with puzzle level mechanics.
    • Monetization is based on interstitial video ads after levels, and rewarded video ads to open a new skin for nail design.

Budge Studios - Top Games

Written by Artur Davydenko,

Venture Partner at Flyer One Ventures, CRO at HoneyLab