20-F 1 d283775d20f.htm FORM 20-F Form 20-F
Table of Contents

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 27, 2012

 

 

 

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

Form 20-F

(Mark One)

 

     ¨   REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF
     THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

or

 

     þ   ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)
     OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

     For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011

or

 

     ¨   TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)
     OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

or

 

     ¨   SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)
     OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Commission file number: 000-51138

 

GRAVITY CO., LTD.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

N/A

(Translation of registrant’s name into English)

 

The Republic of Korea

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

 

 

Nuritkum Square Business Tower 15F, 1605 Sangam-Dong, Mapo-Gu,

Seoul 121-795, Korea

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

 

 

Heung Gon Kim

Chief Financial Officer

Nuritkum Square Business Tower 15F, 1605 Sangam-Dong, Mapo-Gu, Seoul 121-795, Korea

Telephone: 82-2-2132-7000

Fax: 82-2-2132-7070

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

  

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Common stock, par value Won 500 per share*    The NASDAQ Global Market
American depositary shares, each representing one-fourth of a share of common stock   

 

* Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing of American depositary shares on the NASDAQ Global Market pursuant to the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report: Shares, par value Won 500: 6,948,900

Indicated by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ¨    No  þ

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.    Yes  ¨    No  þ

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  þ    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).     Yes  ¨    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of “accelerated filer and large accelerated filer” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer  ¨   Accelerated filer  ¨   Non-accelerated filer  þ

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

U.S. GAAP  þ    International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board  ¨    Other  ¨

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.     Item 17  ¨    Item 18  ¨

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).   Yes  ¨   No  þ

 

 

 

 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PART I

     6   

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

     6   

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

     6   

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

     6   
 

ITEM 3.A.

  Selected Financial Data      6   
 

ITEM 3.B.

  Capitalization and Indebtedness      8   
 

ITEM 3.C.

  Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds      8   
 

ITEM 3.D.

  Risk Factors      8   

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

     27   
 

ITEM 4.A.

  History and Development of the Company      27   
 

ITEM 4.B.

  Business Overview      28   
 

ITEM 4.C.

  Organizational Structure      67   
 

ITEM 4.D.

  Property, Plants and Equipment      67   

ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

     68   

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

     68   
 

ITEM 5.A.

  Operating Results      68   
 

ITEM 5.B.

  Liquidity and Capital Resources      84   
 

ITEM 5.C.

  Research and Development, Patents and Licenses, Etc.      85   
 

ITEM 5.D.

  Trend Information      86   
 

ITEM 5.E.

  Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements      86   
 

ITEM 5.F.

  Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations      86   
 

ITEM 5.G.

  Safe Harbor      87   

ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

     88   
 

ITEM 6.A.

  Directors and Senior Management      88   
 

ITEM 6.B.

  Compensation      90   
 

ITEM 6.C.

  Board Practices      90   
 

ITEM 6.D.

  Employees      93   
 

ITEM 6.E.

  Share Ownership      94   

ITEM 7. MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

     95   
 

ITEM 7.A.

  Major Shareholders      95   
 

ITEM 7.B.

  Related Party Transactions      97   
 

ITEM 7.C.

  Interests of Experts and Counsel      101   

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

     101   
 

ITEM 8.A.

  Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information      101   
 

ITEM 8.B.

  Significant Changes      103   

ITEM 9. THE OFFER AND LISTING

     103   
 

ITEM 9.A.

  Offer and Listing Details      103   
 

ITEM 9.B.

  Plan of Distribution      104   
 

ITEM 9.C.

  Markets      104   
 

ITEM 9.D.

  Selling Shareholders      104   
 

ITEM 9.E.

  Dilution      104   
 

ITEM 9.F.

  Expenses of the Issue      104   

 

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ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     104   
 

ITEM 10.A.

  Share Capital      104   
 

ITEM 10.B.

  Memorandum and Articles of Incorporation      105   
 

ITEM 10.C.

  Material Contracts      110   
 

ITEM 10.D.

  Exchange Controls      111   
 

ITEM 10.E.

  Taxation      113   
 

ITEM 10.F.

  Dividends and Paying Agents      124   
 

ITEM 10.G.

  Statement by Experts      124   
 

ITEM 10.H.

  Documents on Display      124   
 

ITEM 10.I.

  Subsidiary Information      124   

ITEM 11. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

     124   

ITEM 12. DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

     125   
 

ITEM 12.A.

  Debt Securities      125   
 

ITEM 12.B.

  Warrants and Rights      125   
 

ITEM 12.C.

  Other Securities      125   
 

ITEM 12.D.

  American Depositary Shares      125   

PART II

     127   

ITEM 13. DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

     127   

ITEM 14. MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

     127   

ITEM 15. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

     127   

ITEM 16. RESERVED

     128   

ITEM 16A. AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

     128   

ITEM 16B. CODE OF ETHICS

     128   

ITEM 16C. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

     128   

ITEM 16D. EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

     128   

ITEM 16E. PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

     128   

ITEM 16F. CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

     128   

ITEM 16G. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

     128   

ITEM 16H. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

     128   

PART III

     129   

ITEM 17. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     129   

ITEM 18. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     129   

ITEM 19. EXHIBITS

     129   

 

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CERTAIN DEFINED TERMS

Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this annual report on Form 20-F, or annual report to:

 

   

“ADRs” are to the American depositary receipts that evidence our ADSs;

 

   

“ADSs” are to our American depositary shares, each of which represents one-fourth of a share of our common stock;

 

   

“Gravity,” “the Company,” “we,” “us,” “our,” or “our company” are to Gravity Co., Ltd. and except as otherwise indicated or required by context, our subsidiaries;

 

   

“Korea” is to The Republic of Korea;

 

   

“China” or the “PRC” are to the People’s Republic of China (excluding Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau);

 

   

“Taiwan” or the “ROC” are to Taiwan, the Republic of China;

 

   

“US$,” “U.S. dollar,” or “Dollar” are to the currency of the United States of America;

 

   

“Won,” “Korean Won,” or “(Won)” are to the currency of The Republic of Korea;

 

   

“EUR” or “Euro” are to the currency of the Eurozone consisting of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain;

 

   

“Chinese Yuan” is to the currency of China;

 

   

“Japanese Yen” or “JPY” are to the currency of Japan;

 

   

“NT dollar” or “NT$” are to the currency of Taiwan;

 

   

“Hong Kong dollar” or “HK$” are to the currency of Hong Kong; and

 

   

“Thai Baht” is to the currency of Thailand.

For your convenience, this annual report contains translations of certain Won amounts into U.S. dollars at the noon buying rate as quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for Won in effect on December 30, 2011, which was Won 1,158.50 to US$1.00. No assurance is given that any Won or Dollar amounts could have been, or could be converted into Dollars or Won as the case may be at such rate, or any other rate, or at all.

Discrepancies in tables between totals and sums of the amounts listed are due to rounding.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This annual report for the year ended December 31, 2011 contains “forward-looking statements,” as defined in Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. The forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections about us and our industry, and are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Generally, these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “considering,” “depends,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “planning,” “planned,” “predict,” “project,” “continue” and variations of these words, similar expressions, or that certain events, actions or results “will,” “may,” “might,” “should,” “would” or “could” occur, be taken or be achieved.

Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

   

future prices of and demand for our products;

 

   

future earnings and cash flow;

 

   

estimated development and commercial launch schedule of our games in development;

 

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our ability to attract new customers and retain existing customers;

 

   

the expected growth of the Korean and worldwide online gaming industry;

 

   

the effect that economic, political or social conditions in Korea have on the revenue generated from our online game product and our results of operations;

 

   

the effect that the current global financial and economic conditions will or may have on our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations; and

 

   

our future business development and prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

We caution you not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement, each of which involves risks and uncertainties. Although we believe that the assumptions on which our forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, any of those assumptions could prove to be inaccurate, and as a result, the forward-looking statements based on those assumptions could be incorrect. All forward-looking statements are based on our management’s current expectation, assumptions, estimates and projections of future events and are subject to a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties associated with our business include, but are not limited to, risks related to changes in the regulatory environment; technology changes; potential litigation and governmental actions; changes in the competitive environment; changes in customer preference and popular culture and trends, including the online gaming culture; political changes; recent global economic events including, but not limited to, the significant downturn in the global economic and financial markets and the tightening of the global credit markets, changes in business and economic conditions, fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, fluctuations in prices of our products, decreasing consumer confidence and slowing of economic growth generally, and other risks and uncertainties that are more fully described under the heading “Risk Factors” in this annual report, and elsewhere in this annual report. In light of these and other uncertainties, you should not conclude that we will necessarily achieve any plans and objectives or projected financial results referred to in any of the forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect future events or circumstances.

 

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PART I

 

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

 

ITEM 3.A. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

You should read the selected financial data below in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. The selected financial data as of December 31, 2010 and 2011 and for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2010 and 2011 are derived from our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto included elsewhere in this annual report. Our historical results do not necessarily indicate results expected for any future periods. Our financial statements are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, or U.S. GAAP.

 

    As of and for the Years Ended December 31,  
    2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2011(1)  
                                  (Unaudited)  
    (In millions of Won and thousands of US$, except share and per share data,  
    operating data and percentage)  

Statements of operations

           

Revenues:

           

Online games — subscription revenue

  (Won) 9,405      (Won) 12,576      (Won) 12,674      (Won) 9,908      (Won) 11,556      US$ 9,975   

Online games — royalties and license fees

    24,698        30,110        34,037        32,132        35,552        30,688   

Mobile games

    4,063        6,882        7,882        9,188        9,293        8,022   

Character merchandising, animation and other revenue

    2,063        3,602        2,810        1,134        1,076        928   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenues

    40,229        53,170        57,403        52,362        57,477        49,613   

Cost of revenues

    19,479        27,772        21,170        20,873        24,243        20,926   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

    20,750        25,398        36,233        31,489        33,234        28,687   

Operating expenses:

           

Selling, general and administrative

    28,159        23,489        21,651        20,422        22,759        19,645   

Research and development

    5,761        2,145        1,799        4,652        4,136        3,570   

Impairment losses on investments

    8,619                                      

Impairment losses on intangible assets

    871               280        475        3,697        3,191   

Gain on loss of control in a subsidiary

                                (548     (473

Settlement cost of litigation

                  1,649               29        25   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating income (loss)

    (22,660     (236     10,854        5,940        3,161        2,729   

Other income, net

    3,441        6,030        2,108        2,322        1,876        1,619   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income tax expenses (benefit) and equity loss on investments

    (19,219     5,794        12,962        8,262        5,037        4,348   

Income tax expenses (benefit)

    2,916        3,379        4,544        4,207        (7,962     (6,873
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) before equity loss on investments

    (22,135     2,415        8,418        4,055        12,999        11,221   

Equity loss on investments, net

    (1,026     (5,119     (1,424     (345     (242     (209

 

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    As of and for the Years Ended December 31,  
    2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2011(1)  
                                  (Unaudited)  
    (In millions of Won and thousands of US$, except share and per share data,  
    operating data and percentage)  

Net income (loss)

    (23,161     (2,704     6,994        3,710        12,757        11,012   

LESS: Net income (loss) attributable to the non-controlling interest

    40        69        77        (20     (2,171     (1,874
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss) attributable to parent company

  (Won) (23,201   (Won) (2,773   (Won) 6,917      (Won) 3,730      (Won) 14,928      US$ 12,886   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Earnings (loss) per share:

           

Basic and diluted per share

  (Won) (3,339   (Won) (399   (Won) 995      (Won) 537      (Won) 2,148      US$ 1.85   

Basic and diluted per ADS(2)

    (835     (100     249        134        537        0.46   

Weighted average number of shares outstanding (basic and diluted)

    6,948,900        6,948,900        6,948,900        6,948,900        6,948,900        6,948,900   

Balance sheet data

           

Cash and cash equivalents

  (Won) 53,588      (Won) 53,168      (Won) 51,333      (Won) 44,122      (Won) 42,430      US$ 36,625   

Total current assets

    72,667        72,550        82,899        76,343        71,833        62,005   

Property and equipment, net

    7,195        5,226        2,837        2,672        2,731        2,357   

Total assets

    96,921        95,935        102,438        125,490        132,878        114,699   

Total current liabilities

    10,106        8,397        8,248        14,065        12,062        10,411   

Total liabilities

    21,377        19,327        18,828        27,078        22,219        19,179   

Total parent company shareholders’ equity

    75,476        76,471        83,396        87,416        101,834        87,903   

Non-controlling interest

    68        137        214        10,996        8,825        7,617   

Total equity

    75,544        76,608        83,610        98,412        110,659        95,520   

Selected operating data and financial ratios (unaudited)

           

Gross profit margin(3)

    51.6     47.8     63.1     60.1     57.8     57.8

Operating profit margin(4)

    (56.3 )%      (0.4 )%      18.9     11.3     5.5     5.5

Net profit margin(5)

    (57.7 )%      (5.2 )%      12.0     7.1     26.0     26.0

 

Notes:

 

(1) For convenience only, the Won amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars at the rate of Won 1,158.50 to US$1.00, the noon buying rate as quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in effect on December 30, 2011.

 

(2) Each ADS represents one-fourth of a share of common stock.

 

(3) Gross profit margin for each period is calculated by dividing gross profit by total net revenues for each period.

 

(4) Operating profit margin for each period is calculated by dividing operating income by total net revenues for each period.

 

(5) Net profit margin for each period is calculated by dividing net income (loss) attributable to parent company by total net revenues for each period.

 

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Exchange Rate Information

The following table sets forth information concerning the noon buying rate for the years 2007 through 2011 and for each month during the previous six months through April 20, 2012 expressed in Won per U.S. dollar.

 

Period

   At End  of
Period
     Average
Rate(1)
     High      Low  

2007

     935.8         928.0         950.2         903.2   

2008

     1,262.0         1,105.8         1,507.9         935.2   

2009

     1,163.7         1,270.0         1,570.1         1,149.0   

2010

     1,130.6         1,158.7         1,253.2         1,104.0   

2011

     1,158.5         1,105.2         1,197.5         1,049.2   

October

     1,112.1         1,150.7         1,197.5         1,102.5   

November

     1,140.1         1,133.5         1,162.0         1,110.6   

December

     1,158.5         1,148.1         1,175.5         1,124.5   

2012

           

January

     1,125.7         1,140.3         1,160.0         1,120.1   

February

     1,117.1         1,122.7         1,128.9         1,115.7   

March

     1,131.4         1,126.2         1,139.8         1,116.0   

April (through April 20, 2012)

     1,138.1         1,134.8         1,143.4         1,122.4   

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

 

 

Note:

 

(1) The average rates for the annual periods were calculated based on the average noon buying rate on the last day of each month during the period. The average rates for the monthly periods were calculated based on the average noon buying rate of each day of the month.

 

ITEM 3.B. CAPITALIZATION AND INDEBTEDNESS

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3.C. REASONS FOR THE OFFER AND USE OF PROCEEDS

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3.D. RISK FACTORS

RISKS RELATING TO OUR BUSINESS

We currently depend on one online game product, Ragnarok Online, for a significant portion of our revenues.

A significant portion of our revenues has been and is currently derived from a single online game product, Ragnarok Online, which was commercially introduced in August 2002 and is currently commercially offered in 79 countries and markets. We derived Won 37,963 million (US$32,769 thousand) in revenues from Ragnarok Online in 2011 and Won 37,573 million (US$32,432 thousand) in revenues from Ragnarok Online in 2010, representing approximately 66.0% and 71.8% of our total revenues in 2011 and 2010, respectively.

Ragnarok Online has been in the market for ten years and has reached maturity in most of our principal markets. The life cycle of an online game generally lasts from four to seven years and reaches its peak popularity within the first two years of its introduction after which usage gradually stabilizes and begins to decrease over time. The number of users of Ragnarok Online worldwide reached its peak in the first quarter of 2005 and has continued to decline since such time. Our failure to maintain, improve, update or enhance Ragnarok Online in a timely manner or successfully introduce it in attractive new markets is likely to lead to a continual decline in Ragnarok Online’s user base and subscription revenues and royalties. This will likely lead to a decline in our overall revenues, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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If we are unable to consistently and timely develop, acquire, license, launch, market or operate commercially successful online games in addition to Ragnarok Online, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

In order to grow our revenues and net income, we must develop, acquire, license, launch, market or operate commercially successful online games in addition to Ragnarok Online in order to retain our existing users and attract new users. In addition to Ragnarok Online, we currently offer eight other massively multiplayer online role playing games, or MMORPGs, Ragnarok Online II, Requiem, Emil Chronicle Online, Dragonica, which is also known as Dragon Saga in the United States and Canada, R.O.S.E. Online, Canaan, Kun Woong Online and Finding Neverland Online. We also offer a casual third person shooter, H.A.V.E. Online, which is also known as Toy Wars in Japan, a simulation role playing game, Ragnarok Online Guild Masters, and two social network games, Fashion Star and Jeweled Planet. We are currently developing a new MMORPG with a tentative title of East Road. We have entered into a license agreement to publish Weapons of the Gods, an MMORPG, in Korea with Shanghai Nineyou Interactive Community and Media Co., Ltd. and its two affiliated Chinese game developers and publishers, Shanghai Nineshine Information Technology Co., Ltd. and HitNorth International Limited. We have entered into a license agreement with RoC Works Co., Ltd., a Korean game developer, to publish Maestia, an MMORPG, in the United States and Canada.

None of our other online games to date have proven to be as commercially successful as Ragnarok Online. We stopped offering Eternal Destiny, a Web browser-based casual MMORPG, in November 2011 as the game did not gain popularity. In addition, we have experienced significant delays in and cost overruns related to the launch of many of our online games. For example, while Ragnarok Online II was commercially launched in March 2012, the launch of the game had been significantly delayed in the past on a number of occasions for a variety of reasons, including as a result of technical difficulties and corrective actions taken in response to market feedback during the testing and development phase. We have entered into license and distribution agreements for Ragnarok Online II with six licensees in nine countries, including Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Indonesia and Brazil. The total value of our license and distribution agreements for Ragnarok Online II in nine countries is US$43,390 thousand as of December 31, 2011. The failure of Ragnarok Online II to gain popularity or market acceptance could result in financial losses, including termination or amendments of license agreements, which could damage our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

No assurance can be given that the recently launched Ragnarok Online II will gain market acceptance and popularity and be profitable for us. The success of Ragnarok Online II will be subject to many factors, including the quality, uniqueness and playability of the game and the launch by our competitors of other games that may gain more market acceptance than Ragnarok Online II. See ITEM 3.D. “RISK FACTORS — RISKS RELATING TO OUR BUSINESS — As we introduce new games, we face the risk that a significant number of users of our existing games may migrate to our new games without any net gains in the overall user base or overall improvement to our total revenues.”

As we introduce new games, we face the risk that a significant number of users of our existing games may migrate to our new games without any net gains in the overall user base or overall improvement to our total revenues.

We expect that as we introduce new games, a certain number of our existing users will migrate from our existing games to the new games. If the net gains in new users is significantly lower than our expectations, then our revenue growth and profitability is likely to be materially and adversely affected.

In particular, there is a high degree of uncertainty about the potential impact of the commercial launch of Ragnarok Online II on the user base of Ragnarok Online. While we believe that the game environment and the overall game experience of Ragnarok Online II are meaningfully different from those of Ragnarok Online, we cannot assure you that the overall user base will grow and that the net migration away from Ragnarok Online will not be significant and detrimental to our total revenues, and as a result, our net income.

 

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We depend on our overseas licensees for a substantial portion of our revenues and rely on them to distribute, market and operate our games, and comply with applicable laws and government regulations.

In markets other than Korea, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India for Ragnarok Online, and the United States and Canada for Dragonica, which is also known as Dragon Saga in such markets, as well as the global market other than Russia and 14 other countries and Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau for Requiem, in which we or our subsidiaries directly publish our games, we license our games to overseas operators or distributors for license fees and royalty payments based on a percentage of revenues generated from our games in such markets. Overseas license fees and royalty payments represented 59.9% of our total revenues in 2011 and 60.9% of our total revenues in 2010. In particular, we are heavily dependent on one licensee for a significant portion of our revenues. In 2011, 49.8% of our total revenues was derived from GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc., or GungHo, our licensee in Japan, which is also our majority shareholder. Deterioration in our relationships with licensees or material changes in the terms of our licenses with such licensees will likely have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, as we are heavily dependent on certain licensees, deterioration or any adverse developments in the operations, including changes in senior management, of our overseas licensees may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Further, our overseas licensees generally have the exclusive right to distribute our games in their respective markets for a term of two or three years and may also operate or publish other online games developed or offered by our competitors, while we may not be able to easily terminate the license agreements as the agreements do not specify particular financial or performance criteria that need to be met by our licensees. If our overseas licensees devote greater time and resources to marketing their proprietary games or those of our competitors, we may not be able to terminate our license agreements or enter into a new license agreement with a different licensee and our revenues and net profit would be adversely impacted. Also, a failure to satisfy our obligation to provide technical and other consulting services to the licensees under the license agreement may negatively affect user satisfaction and loyalty and hinder our licensees’ efforts to increase market share, which may lead the licensees to focus their attention on our competitors’ games or request modifications to or terminate our licensing agreements or not renew expired license agreements.

Our overseas licensees are responsible for remitting royalty payments to us based on a percentage of sales from our games after deducting certain expenses. Some licensees may be allowed to deduct certain expenses before calculating royalty payments depending on the terms of the applicable contract. Failure by our licensees to maintain a stable and efficient billing, recording, distribution and payment collection network in these markets may result in inaccurate recording of sales or insufficient collection of payments from these markets and may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Certain of our licensees in the past have failed to accurately report amounts due to us and have diverted certain payables to one of our former chairmen, in contravention of our license agreements. When the illicit payments were discovered, we audited the database of our licensees in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and China to assess the amount embezzled by the former chairman. Although we have audit rights, pursuant to our license agreements, to ensure that proper payment amounts are being recorded and remitted, such activities can be disruptive and time consuming and as a result we do not exercise such rights on a regular basis. Although we have taken a number of steps to improve our internal controls and compliance procedures to prevent inaccurate reporting and illicit diversion of payments, we cannot ensure that such incidents will not occur again. Any future occurrence of such incidents may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Furthermore, our overseas licensees are responsible for complying with local laws, including obtaining and maintaining the requisite government licenses and permits. Failure by our overseas licensees to do so may result in, among others, a suspension of service of our games in such market which may result in user complaints and decrease in use of our game which would likely have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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GungHo, the publisher of our games in Japan, our largest market in terms of revenues, is our majority shareholder, which gives them control of our board of directors.

Since April 1, 2008, GungHo has been our largest shareholder and beneficially owns, as of the date hereof, 59.3% of our common shares. As a result, GungHo is able to exert significant control over all matters requiring shareholder approval, including the election of directors and approval of significant corporate transactions, including acquisitions, divestitures, strategic relationships and other matters, and may also exert significant control over decisions related to the status of our American depositary shares being eligible for quotation and trading on the NASDAQ Global market. In addition, as GungHo is also an online game developer, there may be conflicts of interest. For instance, GungHo may lead our management with strategies and efforts which benefit itself and its shareholders to the detriment of our other shareholders. GungHo may also compete directly or indirectly against us for users and customers or increased market share for its games. Furthermore, four of our registered Executive Directors, Mr. Hyun Chul Park, Mr. Yoshinori Kitamura, Mr. Kazuki Morishita and Mr. Kazuya Sakai currently serve as General Manager, Director and Executive General Manager, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Financial Officer, Director and Investor Relations Officer, respectively, of GungHo, and there may be conflicts of interest in the decisions made by our Board of Directors and senior management. See ITEM 7.B. “RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS — Relationship with GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc.”

We operate in a highly competitive industry and compete against many large companies.

Increased competition in the online game industry in our markets from existing and potential competitors could make it difficult for us to retain existing users and attract new users, and could reduce the number of hours users spend playing our current or future games or cause us and our licensees to reduce the fees charged to play our current or future games. In some of the countries in which our games are distributed, such as Korea, Japan and Taiwan, growth of the market for online games has continued to slow while competition remains strong. If we are unable to compete effectively in our principal markets, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. Many companies worldwide are dedicated to developing and/or operating online games and compete across various markets and regions. We expect more companies to enter the online game industry and a wider range of online games to be introduced in our current and future markets. Our competitors in the MMORPG industry vary in size from small companies to very large companies with dominant market share such as NCsoft Corporation, or NCsoft, of Korea and Tencent, Inc., or Tencent, of China. We also compete with online casual game and game portal companies such as NHN Corporation, or NHN, Nexon Korea Corporation, or Nexon, CJ E&M Corporation, or CJ E&M, and Neowiz Games Corporation, or Neowiz Games, all from Korea. In addition, we may face stronger competition from companies that produce package games, such as Activision Blizzard Inc., or Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts Inc., or Electronic Arts, Konami Corporation, or Konami, and Sega Corporation, or Sega, some of which have already successfully entered the online gaming market and many of which have announced their intention to expand their game services and offerings over the Internet. For example, World of Warcraft, Activision Blizzard’s online game, was released in 2004 and has been one of the most popular games in the world. Electronic Arts co-developed with Neowiz Games and launched in 2007 FIFA Online 2, a sports online game based on its best-selling package sports game franchise FIFA series, and the game is currently serviced in Korea and some Southeast Asian countries. Konami and NHN are co-developing Winning Eleven Online, an online sports game based on Konami’s Winning Eleven franchise, and Sports Interactive Limited, a subsidiary of Sega, and KT Hitel Co., Ltd., a Korean online game publisher, are co-developing Football Manager Online, the online version of Sega’s Football Manager. Many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, marketing and game development resources than we have. As a result, we may not be able to devote adequate resources to develop, acquire or license new games, undertake extensive marketing campaigns, adopt aggressive pricing policies or adequately compensate our game developers or third-party game developers to the same degree as many of our competitors.

As the online game industry in many of our markets is rapidly evolving, our current or future competitors may more effectively adapt to the changing competitive landscape and market conditions and compete more successfully than us. In particular, online game products are becoming more similar to each other, thus becoming commoditized and undifferentiated. In this environment, larger companies with relative economies of scale have a clear advantage over smaller companies like ours, as they are able to develop games in a more cost efficient manner, diversify their risks with a broader category of games and genres and increase their chances of offering widely popular games. In

 

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addition, any of our competitors may offer products and services that have significant performance, price, creativity or other advantages over those offered by us. These products and services may weaken the market strength of our brand name and achieve greater market acceptance than ours. In addition, any of our current or future competitors may be acquired by, receive investments from or enter into strategic relationships with larger, better established and better financed companies and therefore may be able to obtain significantly greater financial, marketing and game licensing and development resources than we can. See ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — COMPETITION.”

Our investments in joint ventures or partnerships, or acquisitions of other companies related to development or service of online games may not be successful.

Since 2004 we have made investments in joint ventures and entered into partnership arrangements with third parties to invest in online games. In many cases, as we do not have significant investment or other control over such entities, the success of such joint ventures and partnership arrangements is heavily dependent on third parties and their investment decisions. In December 2005, we entered into a limited liability partnership agreement to invest an aggregate amount of JPY1,000 million in Online Game Revolution Fund No. 1, a limited liability partnership which purpose was to invest in online games. In 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009, we made contributions of JPY100 million, JPY150 million, JPY642 million and JPY18 million, respectively, to the partnership. We account for our partnership interest under equity method of accounting and recorded our partnership interest as an equity loss equal to Won 1,026 million, Won 5,119 million, Won 1,424 million, Won 358 million and Won 38 million in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively. On December 31, 2010, the term of the partnership expired and the partnership is currently undergoing liquidation process. In June 2010, we acquired from Terabit Telecom Ltd., a Russia-based online game company, a 25% of equity interest in Ingamba LLC, or Ingamba, a joint venture company established in April 2010 for online game service in Russia. We recorded Won 13 million as equity income of Ingamba in 2010 but Won 134 million as equity loss of Ingamba in 2011. In October 2010, we acquired an aggregate of 50.83% of the total shares of Barunson Interactive Corporation, subsequently named Gravity Games Corporation, or Gravity Games, an online game developer in Korea. For details of impairment loss from Gravity Games, see ITEM 3.D. “RISK FACTORS — RISKS RELATING TO OUR BUSINESS — We could suffer losses due to asset impairment charges.” Gravity EU SASU, our former wholly-owned subsidiary in France, was converted into a joint venture company in which we have a 25% equity interest, Gravity EU SAS, with Media-Participations Paris SA as the joint venture partner, in July 2011. We recorded Won 70 million as equity loss of Gravity EU SAS in 2011.

If our partners or our investments in such joint ventures and partnerships or companies acquired by us are unable to manage their investments, develop promising online games or market or operate commercially successful online games, such joint ventures and partnerships or acquired companies will be unable to attain their investment objectives, which may materially and adversely affect the value of our investments and commitments and will likely have a material adverse affect on our business, financial condition and results of operation.

If we fail to hire and retain skilled and experienced game developers or other key personnel to design and develop new online games and additional game features, we may be unable to achieve our business objectives.

In order to meet our business objectives and maintain our competitiveness, we need to attract and retain qualified employees, including skilled and experienced online game developers. We compete to attract and retain key personnel with other companies in the online game industry as well as in the broader entertainment, media and Internet industries, many of which offer superior compensation arrangements and career opportunities. In addition, our ability to train and integrate new employees into our operations may not meet the changing demands of our business. We cannot assure you that we will be able to attract and retain qualified game developers or other key personnel, and successfully train and integrate them to achieve our business objectives, which could materially harm our business prospects. For example, during the development of Ragnarok Online II, certain key online game developers left, which negatively affected our ability to launch Ragnarok Online II in a timely fashion.

Undetected programming errors or flaws in our games could harm our reputation or decrease market acceptance of our games, which would materially and adversely affect our business prospects, reputation, financial condition and results of operations.

Our current and future games may contain programming errors or flaws, which may become apparent only after their release. In addition, our online games are developed using programs and engines developed by and

 

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licensed from third party vendors, which may include programming errors or flaws over which we have little or no control. If our users have negative experiences with our games related to or caused by undetected programming errors or flaws, they may be less inclined to use our games or recommend our games to other potential users.

While we have not experienced any material disruptions to our business from such errors or flaws in our games or in the programs and engines that we use to develop our games, these risks are inherent to our industry and, if realized, could severely harm our reputation, cause our users to cease playing our games, divert our resources or delay market acceptance of our games, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Unexpected network interruptions, security breaches or computer virus attacks could harm our business and reputation.

Failure to maintain satisfactory performance, reliability, security and availability of our network infrastructure, whether maintained by us or by our licensees, may cause significant harm to our reputation and negatively impact our ability to attract and maintain users. Major risks relating to our network infrastructure include:

 

   

any breakdowns or system failures, including from fire, flood, earthquake, typhoon or other natural disasters, power loss or telecommunications failure, resulting in a sustained shutdown of all or a material portion of our servers;

 

   

any disruption or failure in the national or international backbone telecommunications network, which would prevent users in certain countries in which our games are distributed from logging onto or playing our games for which the game servers are located in other countries; and

 

   

any security breach caused by hacking, loss or corruption of data or malfunctions of software, hardware or other computer equipment, and the inadvertent transmission of computer viruses.

Hacking” involves efforts to gain unauthorized access to information or systems or to cause intentional malfunctions or loss or corruption of data, software, hardware or other computer equipment. Hackers, if successful, could misappropriate proprietary information or cause disruptions in our service. We may have to spend significant capital and human resources to fix any damage to our system. In addition, we cannot ensure that any measures we take against computer hacking will be effective. A well-publicized computer security breach could significantly damage our reputation and materially and adversely affect our business.

We have been subject to denial of service attacks that have caused portions of our network to be inaccessible for limited periods of time but did not cause material losses or damages. Although we take a number of measures to ensure that our systems are secure and unaffected by security breaches, including ensuring that our servers are hosted at physically secure sites, real-time monitoring against possible intrusion and saving all logs, preventing any unauthorized access to servers, and using firewalls, server virtualization technology, which allows one physical server to be divided into multiple virtual services, each of which functions individually as a complete and independent server and encryption technology, we cannot ensure that the measures we have implemented will be effective against all hacking efforts.

In addition, computer viruses may cause delays or other service interruptions on our systems and expose us to a material risk of loss or litigation and possible liability. We may be required to expend significant capital and other resources to protect our Web sites against the threat of such computer viruses and to alleviate any problems resulting from such viruses. Moreover, if a computer virus affecting our system is highly publicized, our reputation could be materially damaged and our visitor traffic may decrease.

Any of the foregoing factors could reduce our users’ satisfaction, harm our business and reputation and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Electronic embezzlement could negatively impact the popularity of our online games and adversely affect our reputation and our results of operations.

Despite security measures, some of our employees or licensees’ employees with high-level security access to our network, or other employees who hack into or otherwise gain unauthorized access to certain sectors of our network, may succeed in breaching internal security systems and engage in electronic embezzlement by creating or diverting game money used in our online games and publicly or privately sell the game money for their personal financial benefit. Although we have internal security procedures in place designed to prevent electronic embezzlement and have not had any incident of electronic embezzlement since early 2006, we cannot assure you that we or our overseas licensees will be successful in preventing all electronic embezzlement. We have taken a number of procedures to prevent electronic embezzlement, including installing security programs designed to prevent counterfeiting and modification of program files, but cannot assure you such procedures will be sufficient to prevent new methods to engage in electronic embezzlement. Incidents of electronic embezzlement may negatively impact the reputation of our games, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Cheating by users of online games could negatively impact the popularity of our online games and adversely affect our reputation and our results of operations.

We have experienced numerous incidents where users were able to modify the published rules of our online games. Although these users did not gain unauthorized access to our systems, they were able to modify the rules of our online games during game play in a manner that allowed them to cheat and disadvantage our other online game users, for example, by utilizing auto-run programs that enabled the games to be continuously and automatically played without user participation, which allowed the users to accumulate in-game points quickly, causing many other players to stop using the game and shortening the game’s lifecycle. Such unauthorized manipulation of our games may negatively impact users’ perception of our games and damage our reputation. Although we have taken a number of steps to deter our users from cheating when playing our online games, including spot checks, monitoring of game play by game masters to check for suspicious activity, we cannot assure you that we or our licensees will be successful in timely taking the corrective steps necessary to prevent users from modifying the terms of our online games.

Unauthorized use of our intellectual property by third parties, and the expenses incurred in protecting our intellectual property rights, may adversely affect our business.

Our intellectual property such as copyrights, service marks, trademarks and trade secrets are critical to our business. Unauthorized use of the intellectual property used in our business, whether owned by us or licensed to us, may materially and adversely affect our business and reputation. We rely on trademark and copyright law, trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements with our employees, customers, business partners and others to protect our intellectual property rights. Despite certain precautions taken by us, it may be possible for third parties to obtain and use our intellectual property without authorization.

Since the commercialization of Ragnarok Online in August 2002, we have discovered that the server-end software of Ragnarok Online has been consistently and unlawfully released in most of the countries and markets in which Ragnarok Online is offered. This enables unauthorized parties to set up local server networks to operate Ragnarok Online, which may result in the diversion of a significant number of paying users. We designate certain employees to be responsible for detecting such illegal servers. In Korea, we report offenders to the relevant enforcement authority for possible prosecution relating to crimes on the Internet. In markets outside of Korea, we cooperate with and rely on our licensees to seek enforcement actions against operators of illegal servers. For example, in Japan, we submitted a preliminary written accusation to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department in October 2009 and filed criminal charges against an illegal server operator of Ragnarok Online in April 2011 in cooperation with GungHo, our licensee in Japan, and the matter is currently under investigation by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. In December 2007 and June 2008, Gravity Interactive, Inc., our wholly owned subsidiary in the United States which manages Ragnarok Online game operations in the United States, petitioned the Federal Bureau of Investigation for remission or mitigation of forfeiture of the property of two illegal server

 

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operators of Ragnarok Online, which property was deemed proceeds of copyright infringement violations by the illegal server operators, and US$154,674.73 was returned to Gravity Interactive, Inc. in April 2011. We may incur considerable costs in the future in order to remedy software piracy of our server software and to enforce our rights against the operators of unauthorized server networks.

The validity, enforceability, enforcement mechanisms and scope of protection of intellectual property in Internet-related industries are uncertain and evolving. In particular, the laws and enforcement regimes of Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, China and certain other countries in which our games are distributed are uncertain or may not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as do the laws and enforcement procedures of the United States. Moreover, litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce our intellectual property rights. Such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of our resources, disruption of our business, and have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

We may be subject to claims with respect to the infringement of intellectual property rights of others, which could result in substantial costs and diversion of our financial and management resources.

We cannot be certain that our online games do not or will not infringe upon patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights held by third parties. We may become subject to legal proceedings and claims from time to time relating to the intellectual property of others. For example, in November 2010, Gravity Interactive, Inc., which manages Dragonica game operations under the name Dragon Saga in the United States and Canada, THQ*ICE LLC, the former game distributor of Dragonica in the United States and Canada, and THQ Inc., the former joint venture partner of THQ*ICE LLC, were accused of trademark infringement. The owner of the registered trademark of Dragonica in the United States filed a lawsuit with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida seeking damages and any profits and gains to the defendants through the alleged trademark infringement and the lawsuit was settled in March 2012. If we are found to have violated the intellectual property rights of others, we may be enjoined from using such intellectual property, and we may be required to pay penalties, fines and pay for unauthorized use of such intellectual property and we may need to incur additional license fees or be forced to develop alternative technology or obtain other licenses. We may incur substantial expenses in defending against these third party infringement claims, regardless of their merit. In addition, certain of our employees were recruited from other online game developers, including current and potential competitors. To the extent these employees have been and are involved in the development of our games that are similar to the games they helped develop at their former employers, we may become subject to claims that we or such employees have improperly used or disclosed trade secrets or other proprietary information. Although we are not aware of any pending or threatened claims of this type, if any such claims were to arise in the future, litigation or other dispute resolution procedures might be necessary to retain our ability to offer our current and future games, which could result in substantial costs and diversion of our financial and management resources.

Successful infringement or licensing claims against us may result in substantial monetary damages, which may materially disrupt our business operations and have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may not be able to successfully implement our growth and profit improvement strategies.

We are pursuing a number of growth and profit improvement strategies, including the following:

 

   

distributing games developed in-house;

 

   

publishing games acquired from or developed by third parties through licensing arrangements;

 

   

offering our games in countries where we currently have little or no presence;

 

   

optimizing our marketing and research and development expenditures;

 

   

cross-selling our popular online games through other lines of businesses, such as mobile games, console games, animation and character merchandising; and

 

   

pursuing joint ventures with game development and service companies.

 

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We cannot assure you that we will be successful in implementing any of these strategies. Certain of our strategies relate to new services or products, such as game business related to Internet protocol television, for which there are no established markets, or in which we lack experience and expertise. If we are unable to successfully implement our growth and profit improvement strategies, our revenues, profitability and competitiveness may be materially and adversely affected.

We have limited business insurance coverage and any business interruption could have a material adverse effect on our business.

While we carry insurance coverage against certain risks, such as fire, flood and earthquake, in respect of our principal assets, including offices and equipment, as well as directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, we do not separately maintain casualty and liability insurance against litigation, risks or disruptions related to our business. The occurrence of any natural disaster, fire, power loss, telecommunications failure, break-ins, sabotage, computer viruses, intentional acts of Internet vandalism, human error or other similar events may damage our facilities or network servers and disrupt the operation of our business. As we do not carry sufficient natural disaster or business interruption insurance to compensate us for all types or amounts of loss that could arise, any damage or disruption from such events might result in our incurring substantial costs and the diversion of our resources, and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operation. See ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — INSURANCE.”

Slow growth or contractions in the Internet café industry in Korea may affect our ability to target a core group of users.

According to the 2011 report issued by the Korea Creative Content Agency, an industry, non-profit organization that promotes the export of Korean culture, the growth of the Internet café industry started to stabilize from 2000 although the total number of personal computers, or PCs, in Internet cafés continues to increase steadily. The number of Internet cafés slightly increased in 2008 and 2009 after a short period of decrease in 2007 due to certain legal developments such as the Enforcement Decree of the Building Act, which placed limitations on the space for Internet cafés, the School Health Act, which prohibited the entry of certain facilities into the school environment clean-up zone, and the Mandatory Registration of Businesses Supplying Games, which was enforced by the government to regulate “speculative” gambling places. There has been a significant decrease in the number of Internet cafés in operation in 2010 and the number of Internet cafés, and as a result the total number of PCs at Internet cafés, are expected to gradually decrease in the long term as small-scale Internet cafés lacking price competitiveness close down operations. Furthermore, as a result of a rapid increase in the use of smartphones and other mobile devices, with which people access the Internet in a more convenient manner, the number of Internet cafés is expected to continue to decrease. Internet cafés have traditionally been the largest consumer and served as a medium of the game industry in Korea and any future reduction in the number of Internet cafés may shrink the size of the overall game market in Korea and adversely affect our ability to target a core group of potential users who prefer playing online games, in particular, MMORPGs, at Internet cafés.

The high cost to access the Internet in certain markets may impede our entry into new markets.

Our growth potential in many of the markets in which our games are currently distributed or which we intend to enter, such as Southeast Asia and South America, may be limited as the penetration rates for PCs in such markets are relatively low and the cost of Internet access relative to the per capita income is higher when compared to some of our principal markets such as Korea and Japan. If we are unable to successfully enter and develop new markets for our games, our growth and profit improvement strategies, our revenues, profitability and competitiveness may be materially and adversely affected.

Occurrence of widespread public health problems could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

In April 2009, a new strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1, commonly referred to as “swine flu,” was first discovered in Mexico and quickly spread to other parts of the world. Outbreak of widespread public health problems

 

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such as swine flu, avian influenza, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in China or in other countries may prevent our customers from accessing Internet cafés and may adversely affect our prospects, business and operating results.

A worldwide health crisis from any known or unknown causes and the response and the reaction from the health authorities of each country may impact our operations in a number of ways, including, among other things:

 

   

quarantines or closures of some of our offices which would severely disrupt our operations;

 

   

the sickness or death of our officers and key employees; and

 

   

closure of Internet cafés and other public areas where people access the Internet.

Any of the foregoing events or other unforeseen consequences of public health problems could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may be required to take significant actions that are contrary to our business objectives in order to avoid being deemed an investment company as defined under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.

Section 3(b)(1) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, or the ’40 Act, provides that a company is not an investment company and, therefore, not required to register under the ’40 Act as an investment company, if the company is primarily engaged, directly or through a wholly-owned subsidiary or subsidiaries, in a business or businesses other than that of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities (a “Non-Investment Business”). There are several bases on which a company can rely in determining that it is a Non-Investment Business.

Under one set of criteria, the factors to be considered in determining that a company is a Non-Investment Business are: (i) the history of the company; (ii) the manner in which the company represents itself to the investing public; (iii) the activities of its officers and directors; (iv) the nature of its current assets; and (v) the sources of its current income. Based on those factors, we believe that we are engaged primarily and directly in the business of providing online game services, and consequently, that we are a Non-Investment Business, and not an investment company as that term is defined under the ’40 Act.

However, the determination as to whether a company satisfies the foregoing criteria is fact sensitive and subjective. Accordingly, it is possible that our determination could be challenged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), particularly if at any time we own “investment securities” (as defined in the ’40 Act) having a value in excess of 40% of our total assets (exclusive of cash items and U.S. government securities). We do not currently own investment securities in excess of this threshold. Nonetheless, if this were to become the case, we could be required to take actions to reduce our ownership of investment securities to comply with this standard, such as shifting a portion of our short-term investment portfolio into low-yielding bank deposits. If necessary, such actions would likely reduce the amount of interest or other income that we could otherwise generate from our investments. In addition, we might need to acquire additional income or loss generating assets that we might not otherwise have acquired or forego opportunities to acquire minority interests in companies that could be important to our business strategy.

Alternatively, we could consider other actions, including applying to the SEC for an exemptive order pursuant to Section 3(b)(2) of the ’40 Act, declaring that we are a company that is primarily engaged in a business or businesses other than that of investing, reinvesting, owning, holding, or trading in securities, without regard to the composition of our assets at any particular time. However, there can be no assurance that we would receive an exemptive order and the process to obtain such an exemptive order could be long and expensive.

The ’40 Act contains numerous, complex requirements with respect to the organization and operations of investment companies, including restrictions on their capital structure, operations, and transactions with affiliates, as well as restrictions on the composition of the board of directors and other matters which would be incompatible with our business. Also, if we were to be deemed an investment company in the future, we would effectively be precluded from making public offerings of securities in the United States. In addition to disciplinary actions, such as SEC enforcement actions seeking monetary damages, we could also be subject to administrative or legal proceedings and any contracts to which we are a party that violate the ’40 Act or the rules thereunder might be rendered unenforceable or subject to rescission.

 

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Our status as a passive foreign investment company (“PFIC”) in 2011 and potentially other years could result in adverse U.S. tax consequences for you.

In light of the nature of our business activities and our holding of a significant amount of cash, short-term investments, and other passive assets after our initial public offering, we may have been a PFIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes since our initial public offering. In particular, due to the deterioration of the trading price of our ADSs, we believe that we were a PFIC in 2008 through 2011, and there is a significant risk that we will continue to be a PFIC in 2012. If we are a PFIC for any taxable year during which you hold our ADSs or common shares, you could be subject to adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences. You are urged to consult your tax advisors concerning the U.S. federal income tax consequences of holding our ADSs or common shares if we are considered a PFIC in any taxable year. See ITEM 10.E. “TAXATION — MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS — PFICs.

If we fail to achieve and maintain an effective system of internal controls over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results or do so on a timely basis or reduce our ability to prevent or detect fraud, and investor confidence and the market price of our ADSs may be adversely affected.

We are subject to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which requires us to, among other things, maintain an effective system of internal controls over financial reporting, and requires our management to provide a certification on the effectiveness of our internal controls on an annual basis.

Although we have determined that we do not have a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting for the year ended December 31, 2011, we may in the future determine that we have a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results in a timely manner or prevent errors or fraud. Any of these possible outcomes could result in an adverse reaction in the financial marketplace due to loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our consolidated financial statements and could result in investigations or sanctions by the SEC, the NASDAQ, or other regulatory authorities or in stockholder litigation. Any of these factors could ultimately harm our business and could adversely impact the market price of our ADSs. See ITEM 15. “CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES.”

Rapid technological developments and changes in market environment may limit our ability to recover game development or licensing costs and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations due to impairment loss.

The online game industry is subject to rapid technological developments and changes in market environment, which could render our online games under development and commercialized games obsolete or unattractive to users. Any resulting failure to recover capitalized development or licensing costs and the recognition of impairment loss for such costs may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. For example, we had Won 475 million impairment loss on intangible assets for capitalized research and development cost of Canaan in 2010. In 2011, we recognized an impairment loss on intangible assets for capitalized research and development cost of Won 799 million for Eternal Destiny.

We could suffer losses due to asset impairment charges.

We held a total of Won 15,209 million in acquired intangible assets and Won 7,477 million in goodwill at December 31, 2011. See Note 11 to our consolidated financial statements included in this annual report. We test goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets at least annually for impairment, and more frequently if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of these assets below their carrying amount. Such an event would include unfavorable variances from established business plans, significant changes in forecasted results or volatility inherent to external markets and industries, which are periodically reviewed by management. If such an adverse event occurred and had the effect of changing one of the critical assumptions or estimates related to the fair value of our intangible assets or goodwill, an impairment charge could result. For example, during 2009, as a result of an overall decline in the fair value of the business reporting units in

 

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our business in Russia, we recorded a goodwill impairment charge of Won 241 million to write off the entire outstanding balance of goodwill in such reporting units. During 2011, we recorded impairment loss on goodwill of Won 514 million primarily due to the overall decline in the fair value of Gravity Games, and recognized an impairment loss of Won 2,384 million since the carrying amount of Dragonica before recognition of impairment loss exceeded its fair value. There can be no assurance that future reviews of our goodwill and other intangible assets will not result in impairment charges. Although it does not affect cash flow, an impairment charge does have the effect of decreasing our earnings, assets and shareholders’ equity.

RISKS RELATING TO OUR REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT

Our online operations and businesses are subject to regulation in certain of the countries in which our games are distributed, such as Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand, the changes of which are difficult to predict, and the uncertainties in interpretation and enforcement of rules in such countries may limit the protections available to us.

The regulatory and legal regimes in many of the countries in which our games are distributed have yet to establish a sophisticated set of laws, rules or regulations designed to regulate the online game industry. However, in many of our principal markets, such as Korea, China, Taiwan and Thailand, legislators and regulators have implemented or indicated their intention to implement laws and regulations with respect to issues such as user privacy, defamation, pricing, advertising, taxation, promotions, financial market regulation, consumer protection, content regulation, quality of products and services, and intellectual property ownership and infringement that may directly or indirectly impact our activities. The impact of such laws and regulations on our business and results of operations is difficult to predict as many such laws and regulations are constantly changing. However, as we might unintentionally violate such laws or such laws may be modified and new laws may be enacted in the future, any such developments, or developments stemming from enactment or modification of other laws, could increase the costs of regulatory compliance, force changes in business practices or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, if the cost of regulatory compliance increases for our licensees as a result of regulatory changes, our licensees may seek to reduce royalties and license fees payable to us, which may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Korea

Article 9(4) of the National Health Promotion Act was amended on June 7, 2011, which included changes such as the expansion of the scope of public facilities which are required to be designated as entirely non-smoking areas while, at the same time, permitting the establishment of separate smoking sections in order to protect smokers’ rights. Such public facilities include (i) business places offering games to adolescents, (ii) business places offering ordinary games, (iii) business places offering Internet computer games and (iv) business places offering combined distributed games as defined under the Act on Promotion of the Game Industry, and the amendment will be effective from June 8, 2013 with respect to such business places. The amendment may cause significant changes in the operation of Internet cafés, which currently operate both smoking and non-smoking sections. The number of Internet cafés in Korea is already gradually decreasing and the enactment of the proposed amendment may further reduce the number of Internet cafés operated by small business owners and have a material adverse affect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. See ITEM 3.D. “RISK FACTORS — RISKS RELATING TO OUR BUSINESS — Slow growth or contractions in the Internet café industry in Korea may affect our ability to target a core group of users.” See also ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — LAWS AND REGULATIONS — Korea” for detailed discussion regarding Korean laws that affect our operations.

Under the Act on Promotion of the Game Industry, (i) “business places offering adolescent games” refers to business places which install and provide to the public games which are rated and classified as appropriate for use by all ages, (ii) “business places offering ordinary games” refers to business places which install and provide to the public, in addition to games which are rated and classified as appropriate for use by all ages, games which are rated and classified as prohibited to be used by minors, (iii) “business places offering Internet computer game facilities” refers to business places which have the necessary equipment such as computers to enable the public to play games

 

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or access other information materials on the Internet and (iv) “business places offering combined distributed games” refers to business places which provide games or Internet game facilities under the Act on Promotion of the Game Industry as well as other businesses in the same location.

China

The Chinese government, through various regulatory authorities, heavily regulates the Internet sector, which includes the online game industry. In addition, there are uncertainties in the interpretation and application of existing Chinese laws, regulations and policies regarding the activities of Internet companies and businesses in China. Any violations of current and future laws and regulations could materially and adversely affect our and our Chinese licensee’s business, financial condition and results of operations. See ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — LAWS AND REGULATIONS — China” for detailed discussion regarding Chinese laws that affect our operations.

Taiwan

In Taiwan, the game industry and online game companies are subject to various laws and regulations on different aspects, including, among others, consumer protection, rating system for protection of children and juveniles, Internet cafés, intellectual property and privacy protection.

Currently there is no national law specifically regulating the operation of Internet cafés in Taiwan. However, several municipalities and counties of Taiwan, such as Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan County, Tainan City, Nantou County, Lienchiang County and Kinmen County, have promulgated ordinances imposing restrictions on Internet cafés. In order to have Internet cafés regulated under a national legislation rather than by different municipalities and counties ordinances, the ROC Ministry of Economic Affairs as well as some legislators propose to regulate all Internet cafés located in Taiwan under a national legislation to be enacted. It is unclear, however, whether or when the above proposals will be passed by the Legislative Yuan and what restrictions will be imposed on Internet cafés. If the future laws and regulations have an impact on the Internet cafés, the growth of the Internet cafés industry in Taiwan may be affected and adversely affect our business, financial condition and result of operations. See ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — LAWS AND REGULATIONS — Taiwan” for detailed discussion regarding Taiwanese laws that affect our operations.

Thailand

Although there is no specific law or regulation that directly governs the online game industry in Thailand, new legislation was passed in June 2008 to impose certain restrictions to control operators of game shops (i.e., places where people can play games, including Internet cafés that provide game services) and limit access to game shops by users under 18 years of age. These restrictions include limitations on the business days and hours, location and building structure of game shops as well as the daily playing time of games and curfew hours for users under 18 years of age. According to the Ministerial Regulation of Ministry of Culture Re: Permission and Operation of Video Shops B.E. 2552 (September 24, 2009), users under 15 years of age can enter game shops and Internet cafés between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Monday to Friday; and between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on public holidays or during school term breaks prescribed by the competent registrar. For users aged from 15 years to 18 years, the access times are limited to between 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Monday to Friday; and between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on public holidays or during school term breaks as prescribed by the competent registrar. See ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — LAWS AND REGULATIONS — Thailand” for detailed discussion regarding Thai laws that affect our operations.

United States and Japan

See ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — LAWS AND REGULATIONS” for detailed discussion regarding U.S. and Japanese laws that may materially impacted our operations.

 

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Our online games may be subject to governmental restrictions or ratings systems, which could delay or prohibit the release of new games or reduce the existing and potential scope of our user base.

Legislation is periodically introduced in many of the countries in which our games are distributed to establish a system for protecting consumers from the influence of graphic violence and sexually explicit materials contained in various types of games. For instance, Korean law requires online game companies to obtain ratings classifications and implement procedures to restrict access of online games to certain age groups. Similar mandatory ratings systems and other regulations affecting the content and distribution of our games have been adopted or are under review in Taiwan, China, the United States and other markets for our online games. In the future, we may be required to modify our game content or features or alter our marketing strategies to comply with new governmental regulations or ratings assigned to our current or future games, which could delay or prohibit the release of new games or upgrades and reduce the existing and potential scope of our user base. Moreover, uncertainties regarding governmental restrictions or ratings systems applicable to our business could give rise to market confusion, thereby materially and adversely affecting our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Restrictions and controls on currency exchange in Korea and in certain countries in which our games are distributed may limit our ability to effectively utilize revenues generated in Won to fund our business activities outside Korea or expenditures denominated in foreign currencies, and may limit our ability to receive and remit revenues effectively.

The existing and any future restrictions on currency exchange in Korea, including Korean exchange control regulations, may restrict our ability to convert Won into foreign currencies under certain emergency circumstances, such as natural calamities, wars, conflicts of arms or grave and sudden changes in domestic or foreign economic circumstances, difficulties in Korea’s international balance of payments and international finance and obstacles in carrying out currency policies, exchange rate policies and other Korean macroeconomic policies. Such restrictions may limit our ability to effectively utilize revenues generated in Won to fund our business activities outside Korea or expenditures denominated in foreign currencies.

In addition, the governments in certain markets in which our games are distributed, including Thailand, Taiwan and China, impose controls on the convertibility of local currency into foreign currencies and, in some cases, the remittance of currency outside their countries. Under current foreign exchange control regulations of certain markets, shortages in the availability of foreign currency may restrict the ability of our overseas licensees to pay license fees and royalties, most of which are paid in U.S. dollars, to us. Restrictions on our ability to receive license fees, royalties and other payments from our licensees would adversely affect our financial condition and liquidity.

Adverse changes in the withholding tax rates in the countries from which we receive license fees and royalties could adversely affect our net income.

We may be subject to income tax withholding in countries where we derive revenues. Such withholding is made by our overseas licensees at the current withholding rates in such countries. To the extent Korea has a tax treaty with any such country, the withholding rate prescribed by such tax treaty will apply. Under the Corporation Tax Law of Korea, we are entitled to and recognize a capped tax credit computed based on the amount of income taxes withheld overseas when filing our income tax return in Korea. Accordingly, the amount of taxes withheld overseas may be offset against taxes payable in Korea.

The tax rates on royalties pursuant to tax treaties that Korea entered into have not changed recently. Any adverse changes in tax treaties between Korea and the countries from which we receive license fees and royalties, such as with the rate of withholding tax in the countries in which our games are distributed or in Korean tax law enabling us to recognize tax credits for taxes withheld overseas, could adversely affect our net income.

 

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RISKS RELATING TO OUR MARKET ENVIRONMENT

Our businesses may be adversely affected by developments affecting the economies of the countries in which our games are distributed.

Our future performance will depend in large part on the economic growth of our principal markets. Our top geographic markets in terms of revenues were Japan, Korea, the United States and Canada, Taiwan and Hong Kong/ Macau, and Europe, representing 51.3%, 18.2%, 10.2%, 6.2% and 3.6%, respectively, of our total revenues in 2011. Accordingly, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations are subject to the economic, political, legal and regulatory conditions and developments in these countries. Adverse economic developments in such markets may have an adverse effect on the number of our subscribers and our revenues and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Deterioration in global economic conditions in the recent global downturn and the debt crisis in Europe has weakened the economies of the countries in which our games are distributed. Many countries for the foreseeable future may continue to experience economic slowdowns and recessionary pressures, including difficulty in securing credit in the global financial markets and decreased consumer confidence and discretionary spending. While the recent global economic developments did not yet have a material adverse effect on us, continuing deterioration or delayed recovery in global economic conditions could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Fluctuations in exchange rates could result in foreign currency exchange losses.

In most of the countries in which our games are distributed, the revenues generated by our overseas subsidiaries or licensees are denominated in local currencies, which include the U.S. dollar, the Japanese Yen, the Euro, the NT dollar, the Thai Baht and the Chinese Yuan. In 2011, approximately 81.8% of our revenues were denominated in foreign currencies, primarily in the U.S. dollar and the Japanese Yen. As the revenues denominated in local currencies, other than the U.S. dollar, the Japanese Yen and the Euro, are converted into the U.S. dollar for remittance of monthly royalty payments to us, any depreciation of the local currencies against the U.S. dollar will result in reduced license fees and monthly royalty payments in U.S. dollar terms and may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

While we receive monthly royalty revenues from our overseas licensees in foreign currencies, substantially all of our costs are denominated in Won. Our financial statements are also prepared and presented in Won. We receive monthly royalty payments from our overseas licensees based on a percentage of revenues confirmed and recorded at the end of each month applying the foreign exchange rate applicable on such date. Appreciation of the Won against the Japanese Yen or other foreign currencies will result in foreign currency losses that may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. See ITEM 5.A. “OPERATING RESULTS — OVERVIEW — Foreign currency effects.”

As of December 31, 2011, we have not entered into any outstanding foreign currency forward exchange contract. We may enter into hedging transactions in the future to mitigate our exposure to foreign currency exchange risks, but we may not be able to do so in a timely or cost-effective manner, or at all.

Increased tensions with North Korea could adversely affect us and the price of our ADSs.

Relations between Korea and North Korea have been tense throughout Korea’s modern history. The level of tension between the two Koreas has fluctuated and may increase abruptly as a result of current and future events. In recent years, there have been heightened security concerns stemming from North Korea’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile programs and increased uncertainty regarding North Korea’s actions, particularly in light of the recent leadership change, and possible responses from the international community. There can be no assurance that the level of tension on the Korean peninsula will not escalate in the future. Any further increase in tension, which may occur, for example, if North Korea experiences a leadership or economic crisis, high-level contacts break down, or military hostilities occur, could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations and could lead to a decline in the market value of our ADSs.

 

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Disruptions in Taiwan’s political environment could seriously harm our business and operations in Taiwan.

In 2011 and 2010, we derived 6.1% and 5.2%, respectively, of our total revenues from our licensees in Taiwan. The Chinese government asserts that it has sovereignty over Taiwan as well as mainland China and does not recognize the legitimacy of the government of Taiwan. The Chinese government has indicated that it may use military force to gain control over Taiwan if Taiwan declares independence or a foreign power interferes in Taiwan’s internal affairs. In response, the Taiwanese government promulgated the Referendum Law on December 31, 2003, last amended on June 17, 2009, allowing referenda on a range of issues to be proposed and voted upon. The law allows a referendum on key constitutional issues in the event that Taiwan faces a military attack from a foreign power and its sovereignty is threatened.

In March 2008, the Taiwanese people elected President Ma Ying-jeou, who has supported the cultivation of better relations with mainland China. For instance, in July 2008, Taiwan lifted the ban on Chinese person’s visiting Taiwan with certain limitations. In December 2008, Taiwan re-established regular direct transportation links with mainland China that had been shut since 1949, including regularly scheduled commercial flights and shipping and mail. Further, the Taiwanese government has partially unwound the restrictions on the investment in Taiwan by Chinese companies and person and several new regulations in connection therewith have been passed. For the purpose of furthering financial cooperation, Taiwan has entered into a memorandum of understanding regarding cross-strait financial supervision with mainland China on November 16, 2009, which became effective on January 16, 2010. Also, after several months of negotiation, the Taiwanese and Chinese governments entered into the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement for enjoying custom benefits on June 29, 2010, which became effective on September 12, 2010. President Ma Ying-jeou was re-elected in January 2012, and the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits generally believe he will continue to cultivate better relations with mainland China. Although recent trends may be beneficial to Taiwan’s economy, the history between Taiwan and mainland China has been marked with uncertainties. Deteriorations in the relationship between Taiwan and China and other factors affecting Taiwan’s political environment may materially and adversely affect our Taiwanese licensee’s business and our results of operations.

RISKS RELATING TO OUR AMERICAN DEPOSITARY SHARES

The public shareholders of our ADSs may have more difficulty protecting their interests than they would as shareholders of a U.S. corporation.

Our corporate affairs are governed by our articles of incorporation and by the laws and regulations governing Korean corporations. The rights and responsibilities of our shareholders and members of our Board of Directors under Korean law may be different from those that apply to shareholders and directors of a U.S. corporation. For example, minority shareholder rights afforded under Korean law often require the minority shareholder to meet minimum shareholding requirements in order to exercise certain rights. Under applicable Korean law, of the total issued and outstanding shares, a shareholder must own at least (i) one percent to bring a shareholders’ derivative lawsuit (or to demand that a director cease certain activity or conduct if there are concerns that a director may cause irrevocable damage to the company by acting in violation of applicable laws and regulations or the articles of incorporation), (ii) three percent to demand convocation of an extraordinary meeting of shareholders, demand removal of directors or inspect the books and related documents of a company, or to propose the agenda for a general meeting of shareholders, (iii) ten percent to apply to the court for dissolution if there is gross improper management or a deadlock in corporate affairs likely to result in a significant and irreparable harm to the company or to apply to the court for a reorganization in the case of an insolvency and (iv) twenty percent to block a small-scale share exchange or a small merger that may be approved only by a board resolution. In addition, while the facts and circumstances of each case will differ, the duty of care required of a director under Korean law may not be the same as the fiduciary duty of a director of a U.S. corporation. Although the “business judgment rule” concept exists in Korea, there is insufficient case law or precedent to provide guidance to the management and shareholders as to how it should be applied or interpreted. Holders of our ADSs may have more difficulty protecting their interests against actions of our management, members of our Board of Directors or controlling shareholders than they would as shareholders of a U.S. corporation.

 

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Any dividends paid on our common shares will be in Won and fluctuations in the exchange rate between the Won and the U.S. dollar may affect the amount received by you.

If and when we declare cash dividends, the dividends will be paid to the depositary for the ADSs in Won and then converted by the depositary into U.S. dollars pursuant to the deposit agreement that governs the rights and obligations of the holders of ADSs. Fluctuations in the exchange rate between the Won and the U.S. dollar will affect, among other things, the U.S. dollar amounts you will receive from the depositary as dividends. Holders of ADSs may not receive dividends if the depositary does not believe it is reasonable or practicable to do so. In addition, the depositary may collect certain fees and expenses, at the sole discretion of the depositary, by billing the holders of ADSs for such charges or by deducting such charges from one or more cash dividends or other cash distributions from us to be distributed to the holders of ADSs.

Your ability to deposit or withdraw common shares underlying the ADSs into and from the depositary facility may be limited, which may adversely affect the value of your investment.

Under the terms of our deposit agreement, holders of our common shares may deposit such shares with the depositary’s custodian in Korea and obtain ADSs, and holders of our ADSs may surrender the ADSs to the depositary and receive our common shares. However, to the extent that a deposit of common shares exceeds the difference between:

 

   

the aggregate number of common shares we have consented to be deposited for the issuance of ADSs (including deposits in connection with offerings of ADSs and stock dividends or other distributions relating to ADSs); and

 

   

the number of common shares on deposit with the custodian for the benefit of the depositary at the time of such proposed deposit,

such common shares will not be accepted for deposit unless (i) our consent with respect to such deposit has been obtained or (ii) such consent is no longer required under Korean laws and regulations or under the terms of the deposit agreement.

Under the terms of the deposit agreement, no consent is required if the common shares are obtained through a dividend, free distribution, rights offering or reclassification of such shares. Under the terms of the deposit agreement, we have consented to any deposit to the extent that, after the deposit, the aggregate number of deposited common shares does not exceed 3,552,229 common shares or any greater number of common shares we determine from time to time (i.e., as a result of a subsequent offering, stock dividend or rights offer), unless the deposit is prohibited by applicable laws or violates our articles of incorporation; provided, however, that in the case of any subsequent offer by us or our affiliates, the limit on the number of common shares on deposit shall not apply to such offer and the number of common shares issued, delivered or sold pursuant to the offer (including common shares in the form of ADSs) shall be eligible for deposit under the deposit agreement, except to the extent such deposit is prohibited by applicable laws or violates our articles of incorporation or, in the case of any subsequent offer by us or our affiliates, we determine with the depositary to limit the number of common shares so offered that would be eligible for deposit under the deposit agreement in order to maintain liquidity of the shares in Korea as may be requested by the relevant Korean authorities. We might not consent to the deposit of any additional common shares. As a result, if a holder surrenders ADSs and withdraws common shares, the holder may not be able to subsequently deposit the common shares to obtain ADSs.

You may not be able to exercise preemptive rights or participate in rights offerings and as a result, you may experience dilution in your ownership percentage in us.

The Korean Commercial Code and our articles of incorporation require us to offer shareholders the right to subscribe for new common shares in proportion to their existing ownership percentages whenever new common shares are issued, except under certain circumstances as provided in our articles of incorporation. See ITEM 10.B. “ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION — Preemptive rights and issuance of additional shares.”

Such exceptions include offering of new shares:

 

   

through a general public offering;

 

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to the members of the employee stock ownership association;

 

   

upon exercise of a stock option;

 

   

in the form of depositary receipts;

 

   

to induce foreign direct investment necessary for business in accordance with the Foreign Investment Promotion Act of Korea;

 

   

for the purpose of raising funds on an emergency basis;

 

   

to certain companies under joint venture arrangements; or

 

   

by a public offering or underwritten by underwriters for the purpose of listing such shares on any stock exchange.

Accordingly, if we issue new shares to non-shareholders based on such exceptions, existing holders of ADSs will be diluted. If none of the above exemptions is available under Korean law, we may be required to grant subscription rights when issuing additional common shares. However, under U.S. law, we would not be able to make those rights available in the United States unless we register the securities to which the rights relate or an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act is available. Under the deposit agreement governing the ADSs, if we offer rights to subscribe for additional common shares, the depositary under the deposit agreement, after consultation with us, may make such rights available to you or dispose of such rights on behalf of you and make the net proceeds available to you or, if the depositary is unable to take such actions, it may allow the rights to lapse with no consideration to be received by you. The depositary is generally not required to make available any rights under any circumstances. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement under the Securities Act to enable you to exercise preemptive rights in respect of the common shares underlying the ADSs, and we cannot assure you that any registration statement would be filed or that an exemption from the registration requirement under the Securities Act would be available. Accordingly, you may not be entitled to exercise preemptive rights and may thereby suffer dilution of your interests in the Company.

You will not be treated as our shareholder and you will not have shareholder rights such as the voting rights applicable to a holder of common shares.

As an ADS holder, we are not obligated to and we will not treat you as one of our shareholders and therefore, you will not have the rights of a shareholder. Korean law and our articles of incorporation govern the rights applicable to our shareholder. The depositary will be treated as the shareholder of the common shares underlying your ADSs. As a holder of ADSs, you will have ADS holder rights, which is governed by deposit agreement among us, the depositary and you, as an ADS holder. Upon receipt of the necessary voting materials, you may instruct the depositary to vote the number of shares your ADSs represent. The depositary will notify you of shareholders’ meetings and arrange to deliver our voting materials to you only when we deliver them to the depositary with sufficient time under the terms of the deposit agreement. If there is a delay or loss of the proxy materials, we cannot ensure that you will receive voting materials or otherwise learn of an upcoming shareholders’ meeting to ensure that you may instruct the depositary to vote your shares. In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for the manner of carrying out voting instructions.

You would not be able to exercise dissent and appraisal rights unless you have withdrawn the underlying common shares from the depositary facility and become a holder of our common stock.

In some limited circumstances, including the transfer of the whole or any significant part of our business, our acquisition of a part of the business of any other company having a material effect on our business, or our merger or consolidation with another company, dissenting shareholders have the right to require us to purchase their shares under Korean law. However, if you hold our ADSs, you will not be able to exercise such dissent and appraisal rights unless you have withdrawn the underlying common shares from the depositary facility and become our direct shareholder prior to the record date for the shareholders’ meeting at which the relevant transaction is to be approved.

 

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We may amend the deposit agreement and the American Depositary Receipts without your consent for any reason and, if you disagree, your option will be limited to selling the ADSs or withdrawing the underlying securities.

We may agree with the depositary to amend the deposit agreement and the ADRs without your consent for any reason. If an amendment adds or increases fees or charges, except for taxes and other governmental charges or expenses of the depositary, for registration fees, facsimile costs, delivery charges or similar items, or prejudices a substantial right of ADS holders, it will not become effective for outstanding ADRs until 30 days after the depositary notifies ADS holders of the amendment. At the time an amendment becomes effective, you are considered, by continuing to hold your ADSs, to agree to the amendment and to be bound by the ADRs and the deposit agreement as amended. If you do not agree with an amendment to the deposit agreement or the ADRs, your option is limited to selling the ADSs or withdrawing the underlying securities. No assurance can be given that the sale of ADSs would be made at a price satisfactory to you in such circumstances. In addition, the common shares underlying the ADSs are not listed on any stock exchange in Korea. Your ability to sell the underlying common shares following withdrawal and the liquidity of the common shares may be limited.

You may be subject to Korean withholding tax.

Under Korean tax law, if you are a U.S. investor, you may be subject to Korean withholding taxes on capital gains and dividends in respect of the ADSs unless an exemption or a reduction under the income tax treaty between the United States and Korea is available. Under the Korea-United States tax treaty, capital gains realized by holders that are residents of the United States eligible for treaty benefits will not be subject to Korean taxation upon the disposition of the ADSs. However, under the Korea-United States tax treaty, the following holders are not eligible for such tax treaty benefits: (i) in case the holder is a United States corporation, if by reason of any special measures, the tax imposed on such holder by the United States with respect to such capital gains is substantially less than the tax generally imposed by the United States on corporate profits, and 25% or more of the holder’s capital is held of record or is otherwise determined, after consultation between competent authorities of the United States and Korea, to be owned directly or indirectly by one or more persons who are not individual residents of the United States and (ii) in case the holder is an individual, if such holder maintains a fixed base in Korea for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the taxable year and the holder’s ADSs or common shares giving rise to capital gains are effectively connected with such fixed base or such holder is present in Korea for a period or periods of 183 days or more during the taxable year.

You may have difficulty bringing an original action or enforcing any judgment obtained outside Korea against us and our directors and officers who are not U.S. persons.

We are organized under the laws of Korea, and most of our directors and officers reside outside of the United States. While we have a wholly-owned subsidiary in the United States, most of our assets and the assets of such persons are located outside of the United States. As a result, it may not be possible for you to effect service of process within the United States upon these persons or to enforce against them or us court judgments obtained in the United States that are predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the federal securities laws of the United States or of the securities laws of any state of the United States. There is doubt as to the enforceability in Korea, either in original actions or in actions for enforcement of judgments of United States courts, of civil liabilities predicated on the federal securities laws of the United States or the securities laws of any state of the United States.

The transfer, sale or availability for sale of substantial amounts of our ADSs could adversely affect their market price.

GungHo beneficially owns 59.3% of our common shares. If GungHo decides to sell or transfer substantial amounts of our common shares into the form of ADSs in the public market or if there is a perception of their intent to sell, the market price of our ADSs could be materially and adversely affected and could materially impair our future ability to raise capital through offerings of our ADSs.

 

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ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

ITEM 4.A. HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY

We were incorporated as a company with limited liability under Korean law on April 4, 2000 under the legal name of Gravity Co., Ltd. Following our initial public offering of 8,000,000 ADSs, each representing one-fourth of one share of our common stock, par value Won 500 per share on February 8, 2005, our ADSs were listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market’s the NASDAQ Global Market, formerly the NASDAQ National Market, under the symbol “GRVY.” We list below some of the recent developments relating to our organizational structure:

 

   

In March 2003, we established Gravity Interactive, LLC, our wholly-owned subsidiary in the United States. The name of Gravity Interactive, LLC was changed on January 1, 2006 to Gravity Interactive, Inc., or Gravity Interactive.

 

   

In January 2004, we acquired 50% of the voting shares of Gravity Entertainment Corporation, or Gravity Entertainment, formerly RO Production Co., Ltd., our subsidiary in Japan. In October 2004, we obtained from GungHo, which was then the other 50% shareholder of RO Production Co., Ltd., their ownership interest in RO Production Co., Ltd., which made Gravity Entertainment our wholly-owned subsidiary. RO Production Co., Ltd. changed its corporate name to Gravity Entertainment on February 5, 2005.

 

   

In November and December of 2005, we acquired an aggregate of 96.11% of the total shares of NeoCyon, Inc., or NeoCyon, which provides mobile multimedia services in Korea.

 

   

In August 2006, we founded Gravity EU SASU, a wholly-owned subsidiary based in France, which was converted into a joint venture company in which we have a 25% equity interest, Gravity EU SAS, with Media-Participations Paris SA as the joint venture partner, in July 2011.

 

   

In September 2006, we acquired 100% of the voting shares of Gravity CIS, Inc. formerly Mados, Inc., from Cybermedia International, Inc., a former subsidiary of NeoCyon. On November 21, 2007, the name of Gravity CIS, Inc. was changed to Gravity CIS Co., Ltd., or Gravity CIS.

 

   

In May 2007, we established Gravity Middle East & Africa FZ-LLC, or Gravity Middle East & Africa, a wholly-owned subsidiary in Dubai. Gravity Middle East & Africa has been in the process of liquidation since September 2008.

 

   

In October 2007, we founded Gravity RUS Co., Ltd., or Gravity RUS, a Russia-based subsidiary, and acquired 99.99% of the voting shares, and transferred 100% of the voting shares of Gravity CIS to Gravity RUS in December 2007.

 

   

In October 2007, we formed L5 Games Inc., or L5 Games, a game development studio in the United States which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gravity Interactive. L5 Games went into liquidation proceedings in the United States in August 2008 and the liquidation was completed in May 2010.

 

   

On April 1, 2008, GungHo acquired shares of our common stock, after which it became our largest shareholder, beneficially owning approximately 52.4% of our common shares. GungHo subsequently purchased our ADSs and beneficially owns approximately 59.3% of our common shares as of March 31, 2012.

 

   

In June 2010, we acquired from Terabit Telecom Ltd., a Russia-based online game company, a 25% of equity interest in Ingamba LLC, or Ingamba, a joint venture company established in April 2010 for online game service in Russia, and Terabit Telecom sold its 75% of equity interest in Ingamba to Stylonos Technologies Ltd., a Russia-based online game company, in December 2010.

 

   

In October 2010, we acquired an aggregate of 50.83% of the total shares of Barunson Interactive Corporation, or Barunson Interactive, an online game developer in Korea. Barunson Interactive changed its corporate name to Gravity Games Corporation, or Gravity Games, on March 28, 2011.

Our registered office is located at Nuritkum Square Business Tower 15F, 1605 Sangam-Dong, Mapo-Gu, Seoul 121-795, Korea. Our telephone number is (822) 2132-7000. Our main Web site is at http://www.gravity.co.kr.

 

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ITEM 4.B. BUSINESS OVERVIEW

OVERVIEW

We are a leading developer and publisher of online games in Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand based on the number of peak concurrent users, or PCU, as compiled from various statistical data available from public sources in such countries. We are based in Korea and we currently offer thirteen online games worldwide and have one online game in development and one online game developed or being developed by third parties for which we have entered into license agreements. Our principal product, Ragnarok Online, is commercially offered in Korea and 78 other countries and markets. Ragnarok Online II is currently commercially offered in Korea. Requiem is commercially offered globally. Emil Chronicle Online is commercially offered in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and China. R.O.S.E. Online is commercially offered in the United States, Canada, Mexico and 40 other countries. Dragonica is commercially offered in the United States, Canada and 53 other countries. H.A.V.E. Online and Ragnarok Online Guild Masters are commercially offered in Japan. Canaan, Kun Woong Online, Finding Neverland Online and Jeweled Planet are commercially offered in Korea. Fashion Star is commercially offered worldwide on Facebook. We also offer a number of mobile games and license the merchandizing rights of character-related products based on our online games. We intend to diversify our online game offering by developing online games in-house as well as publishing additional online games developed by third parties. We are also expanding our business by providing our games on multiplatform devices, such as Nintendo DS, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Portable or PSP, and PlayStation Vita or PS Vita.

In Korea, we directly manage all aspects of operations of our games, such as marketing, operation, billing and customer service. For certain countries and markets, our subsidiaries directly manage such game operations. Gravity Interactive, our wholly-owned subsidiary in the United States, is responsible for all aspects of Ragnarok Online game operations in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India, for all aspects of Requiem game operations globally except for Russia and 14 other countries and Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, for all aspects of R.O.S.E. Online game operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and 40 European countries, and for all aspects of Dragonica, which is also known as Dragon Saga, in the United States and Canada. In the countries where we and our wholly-owned subsidiary, Gravity Interactive, manage game operations, our game revenues are recorded as subscription revenues.

In the rest of the countries in which our games are offered, our overseas licensees are responsible for all aspects of game operations in their respective markets in close cooperation with us. Our license agreements have an initial term of two or three years and are subject to renewal once the initial term expires. We rely on the initial and renewal license fees and the ongoing royalties from our overseas licensees for a significant portion of our revenues. The ongoing royalties are based on a percentage of revenues generated by our overseas licensees from the subscriptions to our games or the micro-transaction system in their respective markets.

 

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The following table sets forth a summary of our consolidated statements of operations showing revenues from our online games (by type of revenue and geographic market), mobile games, and character merchandising and other revenue as a percentage of total net revenues for the periods indicated.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2009     2010     2011     2011(1)  
     (In millions of Won and thousands of US$, except percentages)  

Online game revenues(2):

                 

Subscriptions:

                 

Korea

   (Won) 4,951         8.6   (Won) 3,829         7.3   (Won) 4,740         8.2   US$ 4,092   

United States/Canada(3)

     5,785         10.1        4,664         8.9        5,832         10.2        5,034   

Others

     1,938         3.4        1,415         2.7        984         1.7        849   
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Subtotal

     12,674         22.1        9,908         18.9        11,556         20.1        9,975   
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Royalties and license fees:

                 

Japan

     28,089         48.9        24,761         47.3        23,854         41.5        20,590   

Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau

     1,827         3.2        2,864         5.5        3,561         6.2        3,074   

Others(3)

     4,121         7.2        4,507         8.6        8,137         14.1        7,024   
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Subtotal

     34,037         59.3        32,132         61.4        35,552         61.8        30,688   
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Mobile game revenues

     7,882         13.7        9,188         17.5        9,293         16.2        8,022   

Character merchandising and other revenue

     2,810         4.9        1,134         2.2        1,076         1.9        928   
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total net revenue

   (Won) 57,403         100.0   (Won) 52,362         100.0   (Won) 57,477         100.0   US$ 49,613   
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

(1) For convenience only, the Won amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars at the rate of Won 1,158.50 to US$1.00, the noon buying rate as quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in effect on December 30, 2011.

 

(2) Online game revenues include revenues from Ragnarok Online, R.O.S.E. Online, Requiem, Emil Chronicle Online, Dragonica, Pororo Game, Canaan, H.A.V.E. Online, Eternal Destiny, Kun Woong Online, Pucca Racing, Time N Tales, our social network games and from online game channeling service through GnJoy, our online game portal site. The revenues from Dragonica in 2010 only include revenues arising after October 21, 2010 when we acquired Barunson Interactive, currently Gravity Games, the developer of Dragonica. Pororo Game, Canaan, H.A.V.E. Online, Eternal Destiny and Kun Woong Online were commercially launched in September 2009, October 2010, March 2011, August 2011 and November 2011, respectively. We commercially launched our two social network games, Fashion Star and Jeweled Planet in January 2011 and March 2011, respectively, and we launched our online game channeling service in August 2011. We discontinued offering Time N Tales, Pucca Racing and Eternal Destiny in March 2009, June 2010 and November 2011, respectively.

 

(3) Subscription revenues in the United States and Canada, as shown on this table, also include subscription and other types of game revenues generated in other countries managed by Gravity Interactive. The license agreement for Ragnarok Online with Gravity Interactive was amended in January 2008 to include Australia and New Zealand as countries serviced by Gravity Interactive, and in September 2009 to include India as a country serviced by Gravity Interactive. Revenues generated in India prior to the respective amendment to the license agreement were shown as Online game revenues-Royalties and license fees-Others. The license agreement for Requiem with Gravity Interactive was amended in December 2009 to include the United Kingdom and 38 other European countries, and further amended in June 2011 to include Mexico and 23 other Central and South American countries as countries serviced by Gravity Interactive. The license agreement for Requiem with Gravity Interactive was further amended in October 2011 to grant Gravity Interactive the worldwide distribution right of Requiem except for the existing licensed territories in which we have already granted licenses for Requiem game service to other local licenses.

 

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OUR PRODUCTS

We currently have five product lines: MMORPGs, other online games, social network games, mobile games, and game-related products and services, including animation and character-based merchandise. Revenues from our principal product, Ragnarok Online, accounted for 66.0% of our total revenues in 2011, compared with 71.8% of our total revenues in 2010. We are seeking to diversify our revenue sources by offering additional MMORPGs, casual online games, social network games and other products and services, including mobile games.

Massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs)

MMORPG is a genre of computer role playing games in which a large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world.

The following table summarizes the MMORPGs that we currently offer and currently in development, and those games licensed from third party developers.

 

Title

  

Description

  

Game Source

  

Date of Commercial

Launch/Testing(2)

Ragnarok Online

   Action adventure with 150 levels of skill upgrades, which features two-dimensional characters in three-dimensional backgrounds(1)    Developed in-house    Launched in August
2002

Ragnarok Online II

   Three-dimensional sequel to Ragnarok Online    Developed in-house    Launched in March
2012

Requiem

   Three-dimensional action adventure    Developed in-house    Launched in October
2007

Emil Chronicle Online

   Three-dimensional action adventure    Licensed from third
party developer
   Launched in August
2007

Dragonica (Dragon Saga)(3)

   Three-dimensional action adventure    Originally licensed
from third party
developer and
currently owned by
us(4)
   Launched in February
2009(5)

R.O.S.E. Online

   Three-dimensional action adventure with seven independent storylines    Originally licensed
from third party
developer; currently
owned by us(6)
   Launched in January
2005

Canaan

   Web browser-based casual    Licensed from third
party developer
   Launched in October
2010

Kun Woong Online

   Two-dimensional action adventure    Licensed from third
party developer
   Launched in
November 2011

Finding Neverland Online

   Three-dimensional casual action adventure    Licensed from third
party developer
   Launched in January
2012

Maestia

   Three-dimensional action adventure    Licensed from third
party developer
   Currently expected to
launch in the third
quarter of 2012

East Road (tentative title)

   Three-dimensional action adventure    Being developed in-
house(7)
   Not determined

 

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Notes:

 

(1) A game with such features is generally referred to in the industry as a 2.5 dimensional game.

 

(2) The actual date of commercial launch of games in each country is dependent on a variety of factors, including technical viability and durability, availability of in-house development capability, market conditions, beta testing results and availability of licensing partners in various jurisdictions, among others.

 

(3) Dragonica is commercially offered in the United States and Canada under the name Dragon Saga. We also intend to offer Dragonica in Korea under the name Dragon Saga.

 

(4) We acquired an aggregate of 50.83% equity interest in Gravity Games, formerly known as Barunson Interactive, which developed Dragonica, on October 21, 2010.

 

(5) Dragonica was initially launched in China in February 2009 followed by 54 other countries and markets under license agreements between Gravity Games and local publishers before our acquisition of Gravity Games.

 

(6) We acquired an aggregate of 88.15% equity interest in TriggerSoft, which developed R.O.S.E. Online in April and May 2005. TriggerSoft was liquidated in October 2007.

 

(7) East Road is being developed by Gravity Games.

Ragnarok Online

Ragnarok Online is commercially offered in Korea and 78 other countries and markets since its commercial launch in August 2002. Ragnarok Online represented 66.0% of our total revenues or Won 37,963 million (US$32,769 thousand) in 2011, compared with 71.8% of our total revenues or Won 37,574 million in 2010. See ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — OUR MARKETS — Overseas markets.”

The following are revenues generated by Ragnarok Online for the periods indicated:

 

          Year Ended December 31,  

Revenue Type

  

Country

   2009      2010      2011      2011(1)  
          (In millions of Won and thousands of US$)  

Online game-subscription revenue

   Korea    (Won) 4,156       (Won) 3,412       (Won) 4,542       US$ 3,921   
  

United States/Canada(2)

     3,794         3,003         3,479         3,003   
  

Others(3)(4)

     1,046         944         950         820   
     

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
  

    Subtotal

     8,996         7,359         8,971         7,744   
     

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Online game-royalties and license fees

   Japan      28,089         24,637         22,320         19,266   
  

Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau

     1,452         2,167         2,769         2,390   
  

Brazil

     1,057         1,079         1,162         1,003   
  

Philippines

     707         689         889         767   
  

Thailand

     819         719         865         747   
  

Indonesia

     362         214         208         180   
  

Middle East/Africa

     7         123         209         180   
  

Europe(4)

     408         152         201         174   
  

China

     336         373         166         143   
  

Singapore/Malaysia

     57         40         114         98   
  

Russia/CIS countries(3)

             22         89         77   
     

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
  

    Subtotal

     33,294         30,215         28,992         25,025   
     

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
  

        Total

   (Won) 42,290       (Won) 37,574       (Won) 37,963       US$ 32,769   
     

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

(1) For convenience only, the Won amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars at the rate of Won 1,158.50 to US$1.00, the noon buying rate as quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in effect on December 30, 2011.

 

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(2) Includes subscription and other types of game revenues generated in Australia, New Zealand and India managed by Gravity Interactive. Such revenues from other countries constitute a minor portion of the revenues recorded as subscription revenues from the United States and Canada.

 

(3) Gravity CIS, our wholly-owned subsidiary in Russia, was responsible for all aspects of Ragnarok Online and Requiem game operations in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan only through June 15, 2010. After we entered into a license agreement with Ingamba on June 16, 2010 to distribute Ragnarok Online, Ragnarok Online is serviced in the 15 countries by Ingamba. The revenues generated in the 15 countries until June 15, 2010 were shown as Online game-subscription revenue-Others and those after June 16, 2010 were shown as Online game-royalties and license fees-Russia/CIS countries.

 

(4) Burda:ic GmbH was responsible for all aspects of Ragnarok Online game operations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey through October 14, 2010 and Gravity EU SASU, our former wholly-owned subsidiary in France, was responsible for all aspects of Ragnarok Online game operations in France and Belgium through June 30, 2011. Our license agreement for Ragnarok Online with Gravity EU SASU was amended in June 2008 to include the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark and Spain as service countries and further amended on October 15, 2010 to include Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey where Ragnarok Online game services had previously been offered by Burda:ic and 13 other European countries. On June 30, 2011, we reduced our ownership interest in Gravity EU SASU (now Gravity EU SAS) to 25% by entering into a joint venture arrangement with Media-Participations Paris SA. Upon these changes, (i) the revenues generated in Germany and four other European countries through October 14, 2010 were shown as Online game-royalties and license fees-Europe, those generated from October 15, 2010 to June 30, 2011 were shown as Online game-subscription revenue-Others and those generated on or after July 1, 2011 were shown as Online game-royalties and license fees-Europe; (ii) the revenues generated in France and Belgium through June 30, 2010 were shown as Online game-subscription revenue-Others and those generated on or after July 1, 2011 were shown as Online game-royalties and license fees-Europe; (iii) the revenues generated in the United Kingdom and 20 others European countries from October 15, 2010 when Ragnarok Online was commercially launched in these countries to June 30, 2011 were shown as Online game-subscription revenue-Others and those generated on or after July 1, 2011 were shown as Online game-royalties and license fees-Europe.

The table below provides for the periods indicated, the peak concurrent users and average concurrent users of Ragnarok Online since the first quarter of 2009, in each of our principal markets for Ragnarok Online.

 

        1Q 09     2Q 09     3Q 09     4Q 09     1Q 10     2Q 10     3Q 10     4Q 10     1Q 11     2Q 11     3Q 11     4Q 11     1Q 12  

Japan

  PCU(1)     58,171        57,387        54,671        59,800        52,585        48,113        61,322        55,089        43,869        44,155        47,387        48,085        38,984   
  ACU(2)     24,554        23,038        21,331        21,817        20,232        18,547        22,631        20,905        17,983        17,909        18,157        17,203        15,654   

Korea

  PCU     6,127        6,975        7,610        6,949        6,502        4,427        5,001        15,232        16,064        11,026        10,848        37,810        7,628   
  ACU     3,211        2,641        3,525        3,319        3,091        2,367        1,939        4,487        6,403        3,620        3,233        3,940        2,814   

USA/Canada

  PCU     4,908        5,093        5,634        5,128        4,933        5,476        5,307        5,502        4,692        6,635        6,811        9,201        5,180   
  ACU     3,181        3,300        3,758        3,332        3,298        4,124        3,681        3,338        3,176        4,189        5,127        3,996        4,026   
Taiwan & Hong Kong   PCU     27,686        27,616        37,066        27,803        29,089        30,542        32,409        120,781        119,473        109,695        88,816        84,587        89,035   
  ACU     20,351        20,678        23,599        19,274        22,437        25,087        25,522        71,580        90,670        82,966        71,207        69,560        73,345   

 

Notes:

 

(1) PCU, or peak concurrent users, represents the highest number of users of Ragnarok Online during the specified time period as recorded on the servers for the various countries.

 

(2) ACU, or average concurrent users, represents the average number of concurrent users of Ragnarok Online during the specified time period as recorded on the servers for the various countries.

 

(3) We believe that the number of users as measured by PCU or ACU (i) is reflective of our active user base and (ii) is correlated to revenues as revenues from an online game depend on the number of users as well as time spent playing the game. However, PCU and ACU are non-financial variables and the data presented has not been audited or reviewed. Other companies may determine PCU or ACU differently than we do.

 

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We obtained an exclusive license from Mr. Myoung-Jin Lee to use the storyline and characters from his cartoon titled “Ragnarok” for the development of Ragnarok Online including for animation and character merchandising. We paid Mr. Lee an initial license fee of Won 40 million and are required to pay royalties based on a percentage of adjusted revenues (net of value-added taxes and certain other expenses) or net income generated from the use of the Ragnarok brand through January 2033.

Ragnarok Online is an action adventure-based MMORPG that combines cartoon-like characters, community-oriented themes and combat features in a virtual world within which thousands of players can interact with one another. By combining the highly interactive and community-oriented themes and features, such as marriages and organization of guilds, we believe we are able to create user loyalty from our users who favor games that provide social interaction in a virtual setting.

Other key features of Ragnarok Online include the following:

 

   

players may assume an ongoing role, or alter-ego, of a particular game character, each with different strengths and weaknesses. In Ragnarok Online, the user starts as a “novice” and undergoes training in a specialized mapped game zone to become familiar with the game features. Once that stage is completed, the user can choose from six basic characters, each with a distinct combination of different traits;

 

   

as each game character advances in challenge levels, the character can enter into a greater range of mapped game zones and develop into a more sophisticated game character in terms of game attributes and special powers;

 

   

Ragnarok Online characters may visually express the users’ mood and emotions by using emotive icons that appear within a bubble above the characters’ heads. We believe that this feature significantly expands the interface for user interaction and elevates the level of social reality of the game;

 

   

game features may be traded or sold within the game, and game characters may simulate real-life experiences such as marriage, group fights and joining a guild. In addition, players may communicate with each other through in-game chatting or instant messaging;

 

   

special events are held from time to time to stimulate community formations. For example, we periodically host “fortress raids” whereby players are encouraged to organize themselves into a team to compete against other teams to capture a fortress within a set time; and

 

   

the game has no preordained ending and is designed to continuously evolve in terms of plots, mapped game zones and character attributes through enhancements from time to time.

We believe that the personal computer, or PC, configurations required to run Ragnarok Online are lower than or similar to many other competing MMORPGs, which we believe has facilitated our successful entry into and expansion of Ragnarok Online in many of the developed and developing countries in which Ragnarok Online is distributed. Also, we believe the community based features, such as marriages and organization of guilds, builds user loyalty from our users who favor games that provide social interaction in a virtual setting. We believe that our decision to balance three-dimensional graphics and game functions with prevailing technological standards with a combination of two-dimensional characters, which requires lower PC configurations than three-dimensional MMORPG has helped to increase the popularity of Ragnarok Online, in particular in certain jurisdictions which does not have access to the more technological updated PC technology as a result of cost and other limitations. The recommended minimum PC configuration for Ragnarok Online is Pentium III 1.6 GHz, 256 MB RAM and 32 MB graphics card. Ragnarok Online can be accessed through a dial-up modem as well as broadband Internet.

Ragnarok Online II

Ragnarok Online II, a three-dimensional MMORPG, is a sequel to Ragnarok Online with enhanced character and community features. Ragnarok Online II includes pastel-type graphics, advanced character customization and detailed monsters and non-player characters. Ragnarok Online II also adopts Mr. Myoung-Jin Lee’s original drawings from his comic book Ragnarok and music from Kanno Yoko, a well-respected composer in the animation industry. We commercially launched Ragnarok Online II in Korea in March 2012. We have entered into license and

 

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distribution agreements for Ragnarok Online II with six licensees in nine countries, including Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Indonesia and Brazil. The total value of the license and distribution agreements for Ragnarok Online II is US$43,390 thousand as of December 31, 2011. See ITEM 3.D. “RISK FACTORS — RISKS RELATING TO OUR BUSINESS — If we are unable to consistently and timely develop, acquire, license, launch, market or operate commercially successful online games in addition to Ragnarok Online, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.”

Requiem

Unlike Ragnarok Online and Ragnarok Online II, which do not emphasize violent themes, we designed Requiem to showcase user-to-user combat. Requiem provides players with a variety of combat systems, which allow them to accumulate experience and reward points to be used when they buy special items designed for combats.

We commercially launched Requiem in Korea in October 2007, in the United States, Canada, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan in June 2008, in Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Vatican City State, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey in December 2009, in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau in May 2010 and Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Belize, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominica, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina in June 2011. We entered into global service agreements with AsiaSoft Corporation Public Co., Ltd. in December 2009 for markets in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia, with PT. Lyto Datarindo Fortuna in February 2010 for Indonesian market and with Digital Media International Inc. in June 2010 for the Philippine market pursuant to which we offer Requiem directly to the local markets to generate subscription revenues and pay service fees to AsiaSoft Corporation Public Co., Ltd., PT. Lyto Datarindo Fortuna and Digital Media International Inc. for services related to marketing and billing, among others. We commercially launched Requiem in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia in March 2010, Indonesia in April 2010 and the Philippines in August 2010 and ceased offering commercial service through these consignees in these markets in July 2011. Requiem is currently commercially offered globally through an amendment to the license agreement with Gravity Interactive in October 2011, which allows Gravity Interactive to distribute the game worldwide except for the existing licensed territories in which we have already granted licenses for Requiem game service to local licensees.

Requiem represented 2.9% of our total revenues or Won 1,660 million (US$1,432 thousand) in 2011, compared with 4.2% of our total revenues or Won 2,182 million in 2010.

 

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The following are revenues generated by Requiem for the periods indicated:

 

          Year Ended December 31,  

Revenue Type

  

Country

   2009      2010      2011      2011(1)  
          (In millions of Won and thousands of US$)  

Online game-subscription revenue

   Korea    (Won) 559       (Won) 303       (Won) 121       US$ 104   
  

United States/Canada(2)

     1,387         981         1,162         1,003   
  

Russia/CIS countries(3)

     892         368                   
  

Others

             103         34         29   
     

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
  

Subtotal

     2,838         1,755         1,317         1,136   
     

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Online game-royalties and license fees

   Russia/CIS countries(3)              72         187         161   
  

Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau

             355         156         135   
     

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
  

Subtotal

             427         343         296   
     

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
  

Total

   (Won) 2,838       (Won) 2,182       (Won) 1,660       US$ 1,432   
     

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

(1) For convenience only, the Won amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars at the rate of Won 1,158.50 to US$1.00, the noon buying rate as quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in effect on December 30, 2011.

 

(2) Includes subscription and other types of game revenues generated in other countries serviced by Gravity Interactive. Such revenues from other countries constitute a minor portion of the revenues recorded as subscription revenues from the United States and Canada.

 

(3) Gravity CIS, our wholly-owned subsidiary in Russia, was responsible for all aspects of Requiem game operations in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan only through June 15, 2010. After we entered into a license agreement with Ingamba on June 16, 2010 to distribute Requiem, Requiem is serviced in the 15 countries by Ingamba. The revenues generated in the 15 countries through June 15, 2010 were shown as Online game-subscription revenue-Russia/CIS countries and those generated on or after June 16, 2010 were shown as Online game-royalties and license fees-Russia/CIS countries.

Emil Chronicle Online

We commercially launched Emil Chronicle Online in Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore/Malaysia and China in August 2007, September 2007, June 2008, August 2008, September 2009, October 2009 and October 2011, respectively and ceased offering commercial service in Singapore and Malaysia in September 2010, in Korea in November 2010, and in Thailand in September 2011. Emil Chronicle Online is the first online game developed by GungHo, the publisher of Ragnarok Online in Japan, which is our controlling and majority shareholder. Emil Chronicle Online is an animation style game based on the chronicles of three races: Emils, Titanians and Dominions, that offers various characters and avatars for players to enjoy. We entered into a software licensing agreement with GungHo in December 2005 for the right to publish and distribute Emil Chronicle Online worldwide, except for in Japan, which was renewed in August 2011. In February 2009, we entered into a license and distribution agreement with PT. Wave Wahana Wisesa for distribution of Emil Chronicle Online in Indonesia. We entered into license and distribution agreements for Emil Chronicle Online in Taiwan and Hong Kong with GameCyber Technology Ltd. in August 2007, which was renewed in June 2011. We entered into a license and distribution agreement in Thailand with Onenet in September 2010, which expired in September 2011. We entered into a license distribution agreement with Access Bright Limited to distribute Emil Chronicle Online in China in June 2010. In February 2012, we entered into a license agreement for Emil Chronicle Online with Gravity Interactive to distribute a Web-browser based version of the game worldwide except for Japan through certain designated Web sites. The amount of revenues from Emil Chronicle Online in 2011 represented less than 1% of our total revenues and that in 2010 represented 1.3% of our total revenues or Won 671 million.

 

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Dragonica (Dragon Saga)

Dragonica is a three-dimensional side-scrolling MMORPG, which is offered in the United States and Canada under the name Dragon Saga. Dragonica was developed by Gravity Games, our 50.83%-owned subsidiary. Dragonica is currently commercially offered in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Japan, the United States and Canada. Gravity Games entered into a license agreement for Dragonica in Brazil with Gamemaxx Ltda. in October 2011. We entered into an agreement with Gravity Games to publish Dragonica in Korea in December 2011 and conducted closed beta testing under the name Dragon Saga in April 2012. The amount of revenues from Dragonica represented 8.2% of our total revenues or Won 4,715 million (US$4,070 thousand) in 2011 and that in 2010 represented 1.6% of our total revenues or Won 823 million.

R.O.S.E. Online

R.O.S.E. Online is commercially offered in the Unites States, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, Vatican City State, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey since its commercial launch in January 2005. R.O.S.E. Online represented 1.2% of our total revenues or Won 704 million (US$608 thousand) in 2011, compared with 1.2% of our total revenues or Won 604 million in 2010.

Canaan

Canaan is a Web browser-based casual MMORPG, which is played on a Web browser and which does not require any client-side software to be installed. In January 2010, we entered into a license agreement with Xpec Entertainment Inc., a Taiwanese game developer, to publish Canaan in Korea. We commercially launched Canaan in Korea in October 2010. The amount of revenues from Canaan in 2011 and 2010 represented less than 1% of our total revenues in 2011 and 2010.

Kun Woong Online

Kun Woong Online is a two-dimensional MMORPG. In January 2011, we entered into a license agreement with Shanghai Jiayou Network Technology Co., Ltd., a Chinese game developer, and SL Media & Games Co., Ltd. a Korean game publisher, to publish Kun Woong Online in Korea. We commercially launched Kun Woong Online in Korea in November 2011. Kun Woong Online represented less than 1% of our total revenues in 2011.

Finding Neverland Online

Finding Neverland Online is a three-dimensional casual MMORPG. In February 2011, we entered into a license agreement with X-Legend Entertainment Co., Ltd., a Taiwanese game developer, to publish Finding Neverland Online in Korea. We commercially launched Finding Neverland Online in Korea in January 2012.

Maestia

Maestia is a three-dimensional MMORPG. In March 2012, we entered into a license agreement with RoC Works Co., Ltd., a Korean game developer, to publish Maestia in the United States and Canada. While we currently expect to launch the game in the third quarter of 2012, no assurance can be given that we can meet this anticipated launch date.

East Road (tentative title)

East Road is a three-dimensional MMORPG, which is being developed by Gravity Games, our 50.83%-owned subsidiary. We entered into an agreement with Gravity Games in June 2011 to publish East Road in Korea and Japan.

 

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Eternal Destiny

Eternal Destiny is a Web browser-based casual MMORPG. In January 2010, we entered into a license agreement with Xpec Entertainment Inc. to publish Chaos Land, the original name of Eternal Destiny, in North America excluding the Canadian province of Quebec, which was amended in December 2010 to change the title of the game to Eternal Destiny for service in North America. We entered into a license and distribution agreement with Gravity Interactive in January 2011 to distribute Eternal Destiny in North America excluding the Canadian province of Quebec. We commercially launched Eternal Destiny in North America excluding the Canadian province of Quebec in August 2011 and ceased offering commercial service in November 2011. Eternal Destiny represented less than 1% of our total revenues in 2011.

Other online games

Apart from MMORPGs, we are currently offering commercially one third person shooter game and one tactical role playing game. A third person shooter is a three-dimensional action game emphasizing challenge of aiming and shooting in which a player can see his avatar on screen in a third-person view. A tactical role playing game is a game incorporating elements of strategy games and role playing games and it lays emphasis on battle strategy without requiring users to explore the game world unlike traditional role playing games.

H.A.V.E. Online (Toy Wars)

H.A.V.E. Online is a casual third person shooter game developed by SK i-media Co., Ltd., currently NQ Games Co., Ltd., an online game developer based in Korea. In April 2010, we entered into a publishing agreement with SK i-media Co., Ltd. to publish H.A.V.E. Online in Korea and Japan. We entered into a license and distribution agreement with GungHo in August 2010 to distribute H.A.V.E. Online in Japan. We commercially launched H.A.V.E. Online in Japan under the name Toy Wars in March 2011 and conducted open beta testing of H.A.V.E. Online in Korea from May 2011 to August 2011. H.A.V.E. Online represented 1.9% of our total revenues or Won 1,106 million (US$955 thousand) in 2011.

Ragnarok Online Guild Masters

Ragnarok Online Guild Masters is a Web browser-based tactical role playing game based on Ragnarok Online, which is played on a Web browser and which does not require any client-side software to be installed. We entered into an agreement with NeoCyon in March 2011 to develop and distribute Ragnarok Online Guild Masters worldwide. NeoCyon entered into a consignment agreement with GungHo in April 2011 to develop a Japanese version of the game and a license agreement with GungHo in May 2011 to distribute the game in the Japanese market. We commercially launched Ragnarok Online Guild Masters in Japan in October 2011.

Social network games

Social network games are simple games that are played on social networking Web sites or on mobile phones. Players typically access social network games through their social network accounts. When players connect to a game, it allows them to invite online friends to join in or facilitate competitions with potentially millions of other players. Currently, we commercially offer two social network games, Fashion Star and Jeweled Planet. We commercially launched Fashion Star on Cyworld, a social network site, in Korea in January 2011 and T World, a mobile application store, in July 2011, Facebook in June 2011 and Apple’s App Store in November 2011. Jeweled Planet was commercially launched on Cyworld in March 2011 and T World in July 2011. The amount of revenues from social network games in 2011 represented less than 1% of our total revenues in 2011.

Mobile games

As compared to MMORPGs, mobile games, which are played using mobile phones and other mobile devices, have shorter game playtime and less complex user-game interaction. We believe that mobile games, due to such characteristics, provide less-experienced users with a means to become familiar with both game playing and the game culture without making a substantial commitment in time and resources. As a result, we believe that mobile games allow us to target a broader audience of users, help us to expand the online game culture beyond Internet cafés and users’ homes and act as an effective marketing tool to attract new users to our MMORPGs. We develop and distribute our mobile games through our subsidiary in Korea, NeoCyon, Inc.

 

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We have released Ragnarok Online Mobile Story and Ragnarok Violet, both of which are based on Ragnarok Online, in the smartphone game market. Ragnarok Online Mobile Story, which was originally launched in Japan in March 2010, was released on Google Android in Japan in December 2010. Ragnarok Violet, which was originally launched in Korea and Japan in March 2008 and November 2009, respectively, was released in Apple’s App Store in Japan in April 2011 and in Korea and the United States in August 2011. We have also released some other mobile arcade games for Apple’s App Store, Google Android as well as feature phones.

The following are revenues generated from our mobile business for the periods indicated:

 

     Year Ended December 31,  

Country

       2009              2010              2011             2011(1)      
     (In millions of Won and thousands of US$, except percentages)  

Korea

   (Won) 4,931       (Won) 5,274       (Won) 4,550         49.0   US$ 3,927   

Japan

     2,951         3,913         4,710         50.7        4,066   

Others

             1         33         0.3        29   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

   (Won) 7,882       (Won) 9,188       (Won) 9,293         100.0   US$ 8,022   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

(1) For convenience only, the Won amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars at the rate of Won 1,158.50 to US$1.00, the noon buying rate as quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in effect on December 30, 2011.

Game-related products and services

Game character merchandising

In order to optimize the commercial opportunities presented by the popularity of Ragnarok Online and its characters, we and our licensees have been marketing dolls, stationery, food and other character-based merchandise, as well as game manuals, monthly magazines and other publications, based on the game. We currently have arrangements with a Korean vendor and GungHo to license Ragnarok Online’s game characters in Korea and Japan. In Japan, we have been conducting game character merchandising by selling game packages, which package our online game software in DVD format for PC users, in connection with game distribution. We intend to expand our character marketing for our new games as they are launched.

The amount of revenues from game character merchandising represented less than 1% of our total revenues in both 2011 and 2010.

Multiplatform and Internet protocol television games

In December 2006, we entered into a licensing agreement with GungHo to develop and distribute Ragnarok DS, a Nintendo DS version of Ragnarok Online. Ragnarok DS was released in Japan, Korea and the United States and Canada in December 2008, June 2009 and February 2010, respectively. We also entered into agreements with GungHo for development and distribution of Ragnarok: The Princess of Light and Darkness, a tactical role playing game for PSP based on Ragnarok Online, in September 2010 and the game was released in Japan in October 2011. In addition, Ragnarok Odyssey, an action game on PS Vita platform, based on Ragnarok Online, which was developed under a co-development agreement entered into with GungHo in December 2010, was released in Japan in February 2012.

We are also expanding our business by providing our online games on Internet protocol television, or IPTV. In September 2008, we entered into a licensing agreement with Iconix Entertainment Co., Ltd., or Iconix Entertainment, to develop and publish Pororo Game, an IPTV game based on Iconix Entertainment’s 3D TV animation series “Pororo: The Little Penguin.” We commercially launched Pororo Game in September 2009.

The amount of revenues from multiplatform device and IPTV represented 1.1% of our total revenues or Won 648 million (US$559 thousand) in 2011, compared with less than 1% of our total revenues in 2010.

 

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Animation

Gravity Entertainment, our Japanese subsidiary, entered into an agreement with G&G Entertainment Inc. and three other Japanese media and entertainment companies for the production and distribution of 26 half-hour episode animation series based on the storyline and characters of Ragnarok Online. The series was produced by Gravity Entertainment and broadcast on television in nine countries from 2004 through 2007. The animation series of Ragnarok Online has been sold in DVD and VOD (video on demand) formats in North America since March 2006 and it has also been distributed in Europe. Our revenues from our animation business were negligible and represented less than 1% of our total revenues in both 2011 and 2010.

OUR MARKETS

Japan, Korea, the United States and Canada, Taiwan and Hong Kong/Macau, and Europe were our biggest geographic markets in 2011 in terms of revenue. Each of these markets is serviced either by us or a distribution company. We directly manage game operations in Korea. Gravity Interactive, our wholly-owned subsidiary, manages game operations in the United States and Canada, and Requiem and R.O.S.E. Online game operations in Europe. GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc. is our licensee for Ragnarok Online, H.A.V.E. Online and Ragnarok Online Guild Masters in Japan. Nexon Co., Ltd. is our licensee for Dragonica in Japan. Game Flier International Corporation is our licensee for Ragnarok Online, Requiem and Dragonica in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. GameCyber Technology Ltd. is our licensee for Emil Chronicle Online in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Gravity EU SAS is our licensee for Ragnarok Online and Gala Network Europe Ltd. is our licensee for Dragonica in Europe.

The following table sets forth a summary of our consolidated statement of operations showing revenues by geographic area for the periods indicated and the percentage represented by such revenues for year ended December 31, 2011.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  

Countries

   2009      2010      2011     2011(1)  
     (In millions of Won and thousands of US$, except percentages)  

Japan

   (Won) 31,991       (Won) 29,186       (Won) 29,513         51.3   US$ 25,476   

Korea

     11,544         9,737         10,458         18.2        9,027   

United States/Canada(2)

     5,800         4,759         5,879         10.2        5,074   

Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau

     1,887         2,926         3,590         6.2        3,099   

Europe

     1,054         1,084         2,058         3.6        1,776   

Others

     5,127         4,670         5,979         10.5        5,161   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

   (Won) 57,403       (Won) 52,362       (Won) 57,477         100.0   US$ 49,613   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

(1) For convenience only, the Won amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars at the rate of Won 1,158.50 to US$1.00, the noon buying rate as quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in effect on December 30, 2011.

 

(2) Revenues in the United States and Canada, as shown on this table, also include subscription and other types of game revenues generated in other countries managed by Gravity Interactive. Such revenues from other countries constitute a minor portion of the revenues recorded as subscription revenues from the United States and Canada.

Korea

In Korea, we commercially launched and began to charge subscribers for Ragnarok Online in August 2002, Requiem in October 2007, Canaan in October 2010, Kun Woong Online in November 2011, Finding Neverland Online in January 2012 and Ragnarok Online II in March 2012. Our game subscribers in Korea consist of individual PC account subscribers and Internet café subscribers. Individual PC account subscribers are individuals who log on to our game servers from places other than Internet cafés, such as from home or work, whereas Internet café subscribers are commercial businesses operating Internet café outlets equipped with multiple PCs that provide

 

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broadband Internet access to their customers who typically prefer to play the most up-to-date versions of online games. Most Internet cafés charge their customers PC usage and Internet access fees that generally range from Won 700 to Won 1,000 per hour and subscribe to various online games. Over 8,200 and 7,800 Internet cafés offered our games in Korea according to our internal data as of December 31, 2011 and 2010, respectively. In order to offer our games, an Internet café typically purchases minimum game hours from us. The subscription collected from Internet cafés accounted for 9.7% and 10.8% of our subscription revenues in Korea in 2011 and 2010, respectively.

Overseas markets

Ragnarok Online is commercially offered in the following 78 overseas countries and markets: Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Bahrain, Qatar, Palestine, Oman, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Mauritania, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Spain, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey. Ragnarok Online is distributed through local game operators and distributors, except for the countries in which our subsidiaries directly publish Ragnarok Online such as Gravity Interactive in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India.

The following table lists the overseas countries in which Ragnarok Online is commercially offered through our licensees, the names of the licensees, the dates of the license agreements, and the commercial launch date and expiry date of the license agreements.

 

Country

  

Licensee

   Date of
License
Agreement
   Date of
Commercial
Launch
  Date of Expiry

Japan

   GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc.    July 2002    December 2002   September 2012

Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau

   Game Flier International Corporation(1)    May 2002    October 2002   October 2013

Thailand

   AsiaSoft Corporation Public Co., Ltd.    June 2002    March 2003   March 2013

Singapore/Malaysia

   Game Flier (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.(2)    May 2003    April 2004   October 2013

Philippines

   Level Up! Inc.    March 2003    September 2003   August 2012

Indonesia

   PT. Lyto Datarindo Fortuna    April 2004    November 2003   February 2013

Brazil

   Level Up! Interactive S.A.    August 2004    February 2005   March 2013

Middle East and Africa(3)

   Tahadi Games Ltd.    January 2009    December 2009   December 2012

Russia and CIS countries(4)

   Ingamba LLC(5)    June 2010    March 2007   June 2013

Europe(6)

   Gravity EU SAS(7)    June 2011    April 2004(8)   June 2014

 

Notes:

 

(1) Game Flier International Corporation is a subsidiary of Soft-World International Corporation.

 

(2) Game Flier (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Game Flier International Corporation.

 

(3) Represents MMORPG operations in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Bahrain, Qatar, Palestine, Oman, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Mauritania, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. A single operator services in 20 countries under one license agreement.

 

(4) Represents MMORPG operations in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. A single operator services in 15 countries under one license agreement.

 

(5) We own a 25% of equity interest in Ingamba, a joint venture company for online game service in Russia.

 

(6) Represents MMORPG operations in France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Spain, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey.

 

(7) We own a 25% of equity interest in Gravity EU SAS, a joint venture company for online game service in Europe.

 

(8) Ragnarok Online was initially launched in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey with a different licensee in April 2004.

 

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Requiem is currently commercially offered worldwide. Emil Chronicle Online is currently commercially offered in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and China. Dragonica is currently commercially offered in the United States, Canada, and 53 countries and markets. R.O.S.E. Online is currently commercially offered in the United States, Canada, Mexico and 40 other countries. H.A.V.E. Online and Ragnarok Online Guild Masters are currently commercially offered in Japan. See ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — OUR PRODUCTS.”

Our licensees pay us:

 

   

an initial license fee for initial set-up costs, technical support and advisory services that we provide until commercial launch; and

 

   

ongoing royalty payments based on a percentage of revenues generated from subscription of the game they service in the respective overseas markets.

In addition, if the license agreement is renewed, we typically negotiate a renewal license fee. The license agreements may be terminated in the event of bankruptcy or a material breach by either party, including by us if the licensee fails to pay royalty fees in a timely manner.

PRICING STRUCTURE AND PAYMENT SYSTEM

Our overseas licensees generally develop, after consultation with us, a retail pricing structure for the users of the game they service in their respective markets. Pricing structures are determined primarily based on the cost of publishing and operating the game, the playing and payment patterns of the users, the pricing of competing games in a given market and the purchase power parity of consumers in that market. Since the launch of Ragnarok Online in August 2002, we have tracked and accumulated user data generated from our user base, which provide us with an extensive database to analyze user patterns and establish pricing for other markets. The pricing for Ragnarok Online has remained generally stable in each of our markets since the respective dates of Ragnarok Online’s commercial launch in those markets.

In December 2006, we started to apply a micro-transaction system (or sale of virtual in-game items model) as an additional business model, by providing virtual item shops in the games where players can purchase a wide array of items to customize, personalize and enhance their characters and game playing experiences. The micro-transaction model has been introduced in all the countries and markets where Ragnarok Online is serviced. In addition, since January 2007, we have opened free-to-play servers, which only apply the micro-transaction model, in all the countries and markets where Ragnarok Online is serviced except Japan to encourage the players to download and play Ragnarok Online without paying subscription fees or buying playing time and to purchase in-game items pursuant to our micro-transaction model. In Russia and CIS countries, Korea, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Bahrain, Qatar, Palestine, Oman, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Mauritania, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Spain, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey, we offer Ragnarok Online services with the micro-transaction model only. The amount of revenue generated from micro-transactions as a percentage of revenue per month from each country varies monthly. For example, in 2011, the approximate percentage of revenue derived from micro-transactions accounted for 23.3% of total royalty revenues for Japan, 88.0% of total revenues for the United States and Canada, where we ceased to apply the subscription-based fee model in April 2011, and 91.9% of total royalty revenues for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Since September 2007, we have been offering premium services as an additional revenue model, where players are offered certain additional features such as the faster accumulation of experience points or higher rates of item drop for additional fees, in Russia and CIS countries, Indonesia, France and 27 other European countries and markets, the Philippines, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and Brazil. The pricing for Ragnarok Online in Korea and in Japan, the United States and Canada, Taiwan, and Hong Kong and Macau, our principal overseas markets, are set forth below.

 

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Korea

Individual PC account users in Korea can choose from a number of alternative payment options, including charges made through mobile or fixed telephone service provider payment systems, prepaid cards, gift certificates, online credit card payments and bank transfers to gain access to or purchase game items of Ragnarok Online. Internet café subscribers make payments through credit card or bank transfers. We pay a commission in the range of 1.4% to 15% to third parties to process payments. These third parties bear the delinquency risk associated with payments from users.

Subscription-based fee model

The subscription-based fee model is currently applied only to Internet cafés and not individual PC users in Korea. The following table sets forth our published pricing plans for Internet cafés in Korea for Ragnarok Online access as of December 31, 2011.

 

Hours(1)

   Flat Fee per PC  

300 hours

   (Won) 69,300   

600 hours

     138,600   

1,000 hours

     231,000   

2,000 hours

     462,000   

 

Note:

 

(1) Actual hours may vary depending on additional bonus hours we offer in proportion to hours purchased by the subscriber.

Micro-transaction model

We have applied a micro-transaction model in Korea since April 2007. Game users buy RO Cash, the currency of the money used in Ragnarok Online which enable them to buy game items. The price range of each of the game items is between Won 250 and Won 20,000. There are certain game items which users can buy only at Internet cafés.

Japan

GungHo, our licensee in Japan, determines the pricing plan for Ragnarok Online in Japan. A majority of users in Japan typically pay to gain access to or purchase game items of Ragnarok Online with prepaid cards, such as the WebMoney, among others, which can be purchased at convenience stores or retail game outlets, or online. In addition, credit cards are also a popular payment method. Mobile payment, which was introduced in April 2008, is increasingly popular although it cannot be used for the payment of subscription-based fees and can be used only for payment for micro-transaction.

Subscription-based fee model

Our licensee in Japan offers only one rate for Ragnarok Online and charges JPY1,500 per 30 days of unlimited use.

 

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Micro-transaction model

We have applied a micro-transaction model in Japan since December 2006. Game users buy GungHo Shop Points which enable them to buy game items or directly buy game items from the mobile item shop. The range of the game items is between JPY50 and JPY1,500. The following table sets forth our licensee’s published basic pricing for GungHo Shop Points in Japan as of December 31, 2011.

 

Points            

   Retail Price(1)  

10,000 points

     JPY 1,000   

21,000 points

     2,000   

32,500 points

     3,000   

55,000 points

     5,000   

112,000 points

     10,000   

 

 

Note:

 

1) For your reference only, as of December 30, 2011, the noon buying rate of the Japanese Yens to U.S. dollars quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was JPY76.98 to US$1.00.

The United States and Canada

Gravity Interactive, our wholly-owned subsidiary in the United States, determines the pricing plan for Ragnarok Online in the United States and Canada. Users pay through credit cards, wire and/or bank transfers, or mobile payment or online payment systems such as PayPal. Gravity Interactive ceased to apply the subscription-based fee model in April 2011.

Micro-transaction model

We have applied a micro-transaction model in the United States and Canada since June 2007. Game users buy points which enable them to buy game items in the price range between US$0.05 and US$15. The following table sets forth our licensee’s published basic pricing for points of Ragnarok Online in the United States and Canada as of December 31, 2011:

 

Points            

   Retail Price  

1,100 points

   US$ 10.00   

1,650 points

     15.00   

2,875 points

     25.00   

4,600 points

     40.00   

6,000 points

     50.00   

9,000 points

     75.00   

12,000 points

     100.00   

VIP Service fee model

Although Ragnarok Online is offered based on micro-transaction model in the United States and Canada, the VIP Service fee model, a premium service model, was introduced in April 2011 to provide users with enhanced game play as an option. The following table sets forth Gravity Interactive’s published basic pricing for VIP Service for Ragnarok Online in the United States and Canada as of December 31, 2011:

 

Days        

   Retail Price  

30 days

   US$ 7.00   

90 days

     19.00   

180 days

     33.50   

 

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Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau

Game Flier International Corporation, our licensee in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, determines the pricing plan for Ragnarok Online in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. In Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, most users purchase prepaid debit point cards to gain access to or purchase game items of Ragnarok Online. The prepaid cards can be purchased online, by mobile or landline phones, or at convenience stores, Internet cafés and at other locations. Our licensee in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, Game Flier International Corporation, offers the My Card, on which customers can charge GF Points or days which can be used for any games our licensee publishes. Users of Ragnarok Online in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau can convert the GF Points on the My Cards to Ragnarok Points.

The following table sets forth our licensee’s published basic pricing for the My Card in Taiwan as of December 31, 2011:

 

Points(1) or Days            

   Retail Price(2)  

150 points

   NT$ 150   

350 points or 30 days

     350   

400 points

     400   

450 points

     450   

500 points

     500   

1,000 points

     1,000   

The following table sets forth our licensee’s published basic pricing for the My Card in Hong Kong as of December 31, 2011:

 

Points(1) or Days            

   Retail Price(3)  

50 points

   HK$ 14   

150 points

     40   

300 points

     80   

350 points or 30 days

     93   

400 points

     106   

450 points

     120   

1,000 points

     265   

1,150 points

     305   

2,000 points

     530   

 

Notes:

 

(1) Each time a user logs onto Ragnarok Online, 20 points are deducted. After a user’s playtime exceeds 12 hours, additional 20 points are deducted for every 12 hours of use. Users of NT$350 or HK$93 My Card may choose between 350 points and 30 days.

 

(2) For your reference only, as of December 30, 2011, the noon buying rate of NT dollars to U.S. dollars quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was NT$30.27 to US$1.00.

 

(3) For your reference only, as of December 30, 2011, the noon buying rate of Hong Kong dollars to U.S. dollars quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was HK$7.7663 to US$1.00.

Micro-transaction model

We have applied a micro-transaction model in Taiwan and Hong Kong since December 2006. Game users buy game items with Ragnarok Points. The price range of each of the game items is between NT$1 and NT$899 for paid servers and between NT$1 and NT$999 for free-to-play servers. Users in Hong Kong and Macau also buy items, the prices of which are based on NT dollars.

 

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GAME DEVELOPMENT AND PUBLISHING

We expect the online game industry to be characterized by increasing demand for sophisticated or original games with the most up-to-date technologies and/or innovative game design. In response, we intend to expand our game offerings by continuing to develop in-house additional high quality games with the latest technologies and/or innovative game design and by publishing such new games developed by us or licensed or acquired from renowned third party developers.

To prepare for the commercial launch of a new game, we conduct closed beta testing for the game to fix technical problems, which is followed by a period of open beta testing in which we allow registered users to play the game free of charge. During these testing periods, users provide us with feedback and our technical team seeks to address any technical problems and programming flaws that may compromise a stable and consistent game playing environment. Closed beta testing usually takes six to twelve months for MMORPGs but may take significantly more time if material problems are detected. Open beta testing of MMORPGs usually takes one to three months before commercial launch. We generally commence our other marketing activities for the game during the open beta testing stage. For overseas markets, we also localize the language and content of our games to tailor the game to local cultural preferences.

In-house game development

Our game development department is divided into three categories of development teams: one is dedicated to MMORPGs, another is dedicated to casual online games and social network games in operation or under development, and the third is dedicated to mobile games. As of December 31, 2011, we employed a total of 165 game developers. We developed Ragnarok Online, Ragnarok Online II, Requiem, Pucca Racing and some social network games and mobile games in-house. In order to remain competitive, we are focusing our in-house game development efforts on enhancing the game experience and on developing new games, which include MMORPGs incorporating the latest technologies (including software improving the communication and interaction between players), and casual online games, social network games and mobile games, which are popular among younger users and female users. We currently have one MMORPG with a tentative title of East Road, under in-house development.

Publishing

We also seek opportunities to publish games developed by third parties if we determine such games have potential to become a commercial success. Our publishing and licensing processes include the following:

 

   

Preliminary screening.    Our preliminary screening process for a game usually includes preliminary review and testing of the game and discussions with the game developer on technological and operational aspects.

 

   

In-depth examination, analysis and commercial negotiation.    Once a game passes the preliminary screening, we thoroughly review and test the game, conduct a cost analysis, develop operational and financial projections and formulate a preliminary game operating plan. We then begin commercial negotiations with the developer.

 

   

Game rating and regulatory registration and approval.    Once a license agreement to publish and distribute a game is signed, we submit an application to the Game Rating Board to obtain a game rating. This process generally takes approximately 15 days. We also typically register our intellectual property rights in Korea under our license agreements, such as copyright and trademark, with the relevant Korean government agency. Our overseas subsidiaries or licensees follow similar procedures in their respective markets where the games we license are commercially offered.

 

   

Testing and marketing.    Once the required registration and approvals are obtained, we conduct closed beta testing and open beta testing of the new game and assist the licensor with the development of the game.

Our publishing department takes lead in conducting preliminary screenings to select games for potential distribution and commercial negotiations process. The games initially screened by our publishing department are additionally evaluated or tested by other teams, such as the marketing team and quality management team, for a second

 

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opinion. Once a license agreement is finalized, we generally create a specific team for the selected game within the marketing department to work with and guide the licensor through the beta testing and marketing process for a successful launch of the game.

MARKETING

We employ a variety of traditional and online marketing programs and promotional activities, including in-game events, in-game marketing and offline events. Due to the close-knit nature of the online game community, we believe that word-of-mouth is an important medium for the promotion of our games.

In Korea, four independent promotional agents currently promote our online games to Internet cafés pursuant to agency agreements. Under these agreements, each promotional agent is granted non-exclusive promotion rights within a specified geographical area. The agent is generally paid a monthly base commission between 10% and 30% of revenues received from Internet cafés in the allocated area. The commission percentage varies according to the amount of revenues.

We conduct a variety of marketing programs and online and offline events to target potential subscribers accessing the Internet from home. Our main marketing efforts include advertising on Web site portals and in online game magazines, conducting online promotional events, participating in trade shows and entering into promotional alliances with Internet service providers. We spent Won 3,121 million (US$2,694 thousand) on advertising and promotions in 2011, compared with Won 1,853 million in 2010.

We frequently organize in-game events, such as “fortress raids” for our users, which we believe encourages the development of virtual communities among our users and increases user interest in our games. We also host from time to time in-game tournaments in which users can compete against each other either as a team or individually. In addition, we use in-game events to introduce users to new features of our games. We organized 13 in-game events for Ragnarok Online users in 2011, compared with 15 such in-game events in 2010. In October 2011, we hosted in Korea the Ragnarok World Championship, an offline competition event with approximately 130 active participants, comprised of our game users and representatives from 11 teams representing 40 countries and approximately 30 representatives of our 10 licensees. The event was visited by approximately 1,000 visitors. The event included Ragnarok Game Marketing Forum, where we and our licensees shared development plans, marketing strategies and success cases, and numerous programs for users.

In most of our overseas markets, marketing activities are principally conducted by our overseas subsidiaries or licensees and typically consist of advertising on Web site game portals and online game magazines and through television commercials, as well as hosting online and offline promotional events. The licensees are responsible for the costs associated with such advertising and promotional activities. For example, GungHo, our licensee in Japan, hosted the GungHo Festival in June 2011, which included the Ragnarok Online Japan Championship, game conference and costume-play stage and other programs for users, and the event was attended by approximately 5,000 visitors. In addition, the Ragnarok World Championship was broadcast live on the Web by GungHo and it set a record of 188,000 views, supported by some offline events in Japan conducted by GungHo. In addition, GungHo sells DVD and memorial package of Ragnarok Online software to commemorate the Ragnarok Online Japan Championship every year. Level Up! Inc., our licensee in the Philippines, also hosts annual marketing events, namely Level Up! Live, which gathers 20,000 gamers each year since 2006. PT. Lyto Datarindo Fortuna, our licensee in Indonesia, also annually hosts Lyto Festival, which includes the Ragnarok Online Indonesia Championship. AsiaSoft Corporation Public Co., Ltd., our licensee in Thailand, also hosts the AsiaSoft All Star Battle, which includes the Ragnarok Online Thailand Championship and other promotional events since 2009 and it was attended by approximately 15,000 visitors in 2011. Level Up! Interactive S.A., our licensee in Brazil, organized City Invasion, an offline event through which Ragnarok Online game software in DVD format is distributed in some remote towns in Brazil in March 2011. In addition, from time to time our overseas subsidiaries and licensees also market our games through sponsoring promotional events jointly with other local game publishers or participating in expositions or other events for online games in order to reach a broader local audience. For example, in October 2011, Gravity EU SAS, our licensee in France, took part in the Electronic Sports World Cup, an annual competition of video games, which was held during Paris Games Week, the biggest video game event in France, where champion and vice-champion teams of the Ragnarok Online Europe Championship were invited to play Ragnarok Online

 

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on stage. The matches were broadcast live on the Web and watched by approximately 10,000 viewers. Level Up! Interactive participated in representative online game events in Brazil, such as Game World, Brasil Game Show and Anime Friend, which includes the Ragnarok Online Brazil Championship, in 2011.

Our licensees are selected in part on the basis of their marketing capabilities, including the size and scope of their distribution networks. In regions where we have a limited network or presence such as the Middle East and Central Asia, we believe that conducting marketing through our licensees is more effective and cost-efficient than direct marketing by us in light of the established brand recognition and marketing networks of our licensees and their comparative advantage in identifying and taking advantage of the cultural and other local preferences of overseas users. However, in more strategic markets where we anticipate considerable growth such as the United States, we also believe that it is important to enhance our own direct publishing network for online game services.

GAME SUPPORT AND CUSTOMER SERVICE

We are committed to providing superior customer service to our users directly and through our licensees. As of December 31, 2011, 19 employees were game masters, or persons who are in charge of testing, updating and providing server maintenance for online games, as well as dealing with customer complaints, 44 employees were members of our domestic customer service team and 49 employees were members of our overseas customer support team. With the diversification of our game offering and in order to better serve our users, we expect to continue to expand the size of our customer service team.

In Korea, we provide customer service for our online games through bulletin boards of the Web sites of our online games, call centers, email and facsimile and at our walk-in customer service center. Our bulletin boards of the Web sites of our online games allow our customers to post questions to, and receive responses from, other users and our support staff. In our overseas markets, our licensees administer customer service through varying combinations of bulletin boards of the Web sites of our online games, call centers, email and facsimile, with assistance from time to time from our overseas customer support staff.

In addition to providing customer service to our users, our customer service staff also collect user comments with respect to our games and generate daily and weekly reports for our management and operations that summarize important issues raised by users as well as how such issues have been addressed.

NETWORK AND TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE

We have designed and assembled a game server network and information management system in Korea to allow centralized game management on a global basis. Our system network is designed to speedily accommodate a growing subscriber base and demand for faster game performance. Our game server architecture runs multiple servers on a parallel basis to readily accommodate increased user traffic through deployment of connection to servers, which permits us to route users in the same country to servers with less user traffic. Each of these servers is linked to our information systems network to ensure rapid implementation of game upgrades and to facilitate game monitoring and supervision.

We maintain our server hardware in a single climate-controlled facility at KT Mokdong Internet Computing Center in Mok-1Dong, Yangcheon-Gu, Seoul, Korea and our other system hardware in our offices in Seoul. As of December 31, 2011, our server network for our game operations in Korea consisted of a total of 758 servers, which include 576 physical servers and 182 servers run on 44 physical servers through server virtualization technology we have adopted since July 2011, which allows one physical server to be divided into multiple virtual servers, each of which functions individually as a complete and independent server.

In overseas markets, our overseas subsidiaries or licensees own or lease the servers necessary to establish the server network for the online games and we assist them with the initial assembly and installation of operating game servers and optimization of their systems network for game operations in their respective markets. While the overseas system architectures are modeled on our system architecture in Korea, they are also tailored to meet the specific needs of each market. When we install and initialize a game in an overseas market, we generally dispatch network engineers and database technicians from Korea to assist with assembly and operation of the system network and game servers. Following installation, we typically station two to five of our technicians and customer

 

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support staff in that market to assist with on-site game operation and technical support. Our overseas subsidiaries and licensees are responsible for providing database and other game information backup.

Our game management software can program the game content to include localized features such as virtual map zones specific to each market. These features can be updated at the host country level in order to encourage development of a communal spirit among the users from the same country.

COMPETITION

We compete primarily with other MMORPG developers and distributors in each of our markets. In addition, we compete against providers of games on various platforms, such as console games, handheld games, arcade games and mobile games. We compete primarily on the basis of the quality of the online game experience offered by us to our users, which depends on a number of factors, including our ability to do the following:

 

   

hire and retain creative personnel to develop games that appeal to our users;

 

   

maintain an online game platform that is stable and is not prone to server shutdowns, connection problems or other technical difficulties;

 

   

provide timely and responsive customer service; and

 

   

establish payment systems that are secure and efficient.

Competition in Korea

The online game market in Korea is comprised of massively multiplayer online game market, casual online game market and portal-based online game market. As many of our competitors have significantly greater financial, marketing and game development resources than we have, we face intense competition in the online game industry. We expect competition will continue to be strong as the number of domestic massively multiplayer online game developers in Korea increases in the future and the online game industry begins to consolidate into a small number of leading MMORPG companies due to the high cost of game development, marketing and distribution networks, which is likely to drive unsuccessful MMORPG providers to go out of business or be acquired by other successful game providers.

Currently, the leading providers of massively multiplayer online games in Korea, based on the number of peak concurrent users, are NCsoft, CJ E&M, Neowiz Games and Activision Blizzard according to data available from various public sources. NCsoft released Aion in November 2008, which is the most popular MMORPG in Korea as of March 31, 2012, based on various statistical data available from public sources. NCsoft’s Lineage, which was released in 1998, and Lineage II, a sequel to the original Lineage in 2003, gained dominant popularity and have maintained both a large number of players and a loyal user base in Korea. CJ E&M commercially launched Sudden Attack in 2006, which is the most popular massively multiplayer online first person shooter game in Korea. Neowiz Games released Special Force, a massively multiplayer online first person shooter game, in 2004 and FIFA Online 2, a soccer game which was co-developed with Electronic Arts in 2007. The leading companies in the market for casual online games include Nexon Korea, which offers Maple Story and Dungeon Fighter Online, and co-publishes Sudden Attack in Korea. The leading providers of portal-based online games in Korea are NHN, operating under the brand portal of Hangame, CJ E&M, operating under the brand portal of NetMarble, and Neowiz Games, operating under the brand portal of Pmang.

Competition in overseas markets

In each of the overseas markets in which Ragnarok Online is distributed, we face strong competitive pressures. For example, Japan’s large game market is primarily driven by console games although online games are gaining popularity among Japanese game users. Consequently, many Japanese console game developers, such as Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd., or Square Enix, Capcom Entertainment, Inc., or Capcom, and Koei Tecmo Holdings Co., Ltd., or Koei Tecmo, have expanded their businesses to online game development with their well-known brands and advanced overall game development systems, which have resulted in more intense competition in the Japanese online game market. For example, Square Enix developed and released some of its Final Fantasy series as online

 

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games and Capcom developed and released Monster Hunter Frontier Online, an action online game based on its best-selling package game Monster Hunter Frontier. Koei Tecmo also developed and released online games based on its best-selling package games such as Nobunaga’s Ambition Online, Uncharted Waters Online, Dynasty Warriors Online and Sangokushi Online. Taiwan’s online game industry has demonstrated significant growth in recent years with the market dominated by games developed in China and Korea. Our principal competitors in Taiwan include Activision Blizzard, NCsoft and Nexon Korea. Thailand is also a fast growing online game market in Asia, where we believe that Ragnarok Online is the dominant online game based on the number of peak concurrent users, as reported by local game magazines and our licensee’s reports. There are many online game developers and distributors in China such as Tencent, which publishes Dungeon Fighter Online and Cross Fire, and Shanda Games Limited, whose principal product is Mir II. Recently, social network games, such as Cityville, one of the most popular games on Facebook from Zynga Inc., are gaining global popularity as users play such games with other users through popular social network sites. In addition, action real-time strategy games, such as League of Legends developed by Riot Games, Inc., are increasingly gaining popularity worldwide.

Competition from other game platforms

We also compete against PC and console-based game developers that produce popular package games, such as Electronic Arts, Nintendo Co., Ltd., or Nintendo, Activision Blizzard and Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc., or Sony Computer Entertainment, and game console manufacturers such as Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment and Nintendo, all of which also have their own console game development studios. In November 2002, Microsoft started an online game service for its Xbox Live consoles. Microsoft launched an enhanced version of its console platform in November 2005 with the Xbox360 and the latest version of Xbox Live offers more games that are aimed at the casual player and foster cooperation. In November 2010, Microsoft released Kinect, a motion-sensing device, which plugs into the Xbox360 and allows people to play games without the conventional controller. Sony Computer Entertainment started distributing its PlayStation 2 game consoles equipped with a network adapter to enable online gaming in May 2002 and launched an enhanced version of its console platform in November 2006 with PlayStation 3, which provides services for online games followed by PlayStation Move, a motion-sensing game controller for PlayStation 3 in September 2010. Nintendo launched its Wii console platform in November 2006, which accesses the Internet and lets users compete online against others. A number of PC-based game developers are also introducing online features to their PC-packaged games, such as team plays or users-to-users combat features. Moreover, handheld game consoles are also popular among game users. In November 2004, Nintendo launched Nintendo DS and has made modest changes, adding bigger screens or a slimmer model to the DS. The latest version of DS, 3DS, which allows users to play three-dimensional games without special glasses, was released in February 2011. Sony Computer Entertainment’s PS Vita, which was released in December 2011, allows users to play games downloaded from Sony Computer Entertainment’s online marketplace.

In addition, games for smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone and Android-based smartphones, and tablet computers, such as Apple’s iPad or Android-based Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, are surging in popularity and competing with portable devices made solely for playing games. Apple and Android device users can access a number of videogames available for download at Apple’s App Store or Google’s Android Market, respectively.

Competition in the game market is expected to remain intense as established game companies with significant financial resources seek to enter the industry. For a discussion of risks relating to competition, see ITEM 3.D. “RISK FACTORS — RISKS RELATING TO OUR BUSINESS — We operate in a highly competitive industry and compete against many large companies.”

INSURANCE

We maintain medical and accident insurance for our employees to the extent required under Korean law, and we also maintain fire and general commercial insurance with respect to our facilities. We do not have any business liability or disruption insurance coverage for our operations in Korea. We maintain a directors’ and officers’ liability insurance policy covering certain potential liabilities of our directors and officers. See ITEM 3.D. “RISK FACTORS — RISKS RELATING TO OUR BUSINESS — We have limited business insurance coverage and any business interruption could have a material adverse effect on our business.”

 

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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Our intellectual property is an essential element of our business. We rely on intellectual property such as copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, as well as non-competition, confidentiality and license agreements with our employees, suppliers, licensees, business partners and others to protect our intellectual property rights. Our employees are generally required to sign agreements acknowledging that all inventions, trade secrets, works of authorship, developments and other processes generated by them on our behalf are our property, and assigning to us any ownership rights that they may claim in those works. With respect to copyrights and computer program rights created by our employees within their employment scope and which are made public bearing our name, we are not required to pay any additional compensation to our employees.

In developing Ragnarok Online, we obtained an exclusive license from Mr. Myoung-Jin Lee to use the storyline and characters from his cartoon titled Ragnarok for the production of online games, animation and character merchandising. See ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — OUR PRODUCTS — Massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) — Ragnarok Online.”

We are the registered owner of eight registered software copyrights to seven games: Ragnarok Online, Ragnarok Online II, R.O.S.E. Online, Requiem, Arcturus, Pucca Racing and W Baseball, each of which has been registered with the Korea Copyright Commission. We no longer commercially offer Arcturus, a PC-based, stand-alone game, nor Pucca Racing, and have decided to cease commercialization of W Baseball. As of December 31, 2011, we owned over 61 registered domain names, including our official Web site and domain names registered in connection with each of the games we offer. We had 905 registered discrete trademarks at patent and trademark offices in 46 countries as of December 31, 2011. We had three design patents, two analogous design patents, which are variations of two of the design patents, registered with the Korea Intellectual Property Office, registered copyrights covering 11 game characters, five online game business model patents and four patents pending with the Korea Intellectual Property Office, in each case as of December 31, 2011.

SEASONALITY

Usage of our online games has typically increased slightly around the New Year’s holiday and other holidays, in particular during winter and summer school holidays.

LAWS AND REGULATIONS

We are subject to many laws and regulations in the different countries in which we operate. See ITEM 3.D. “RISK FACTORS — RISKS RELATING TO OUR REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT.” A general overview of the material laws and regulations that apply to our business is provided below for the countries from which we derive a significant portion of our revenues.

Korea

The Korean game industry and online game companies operating in Korea are subject to the following laws and regulations:

The Act on Promotion of the Game Industry

In January 2007, the National Assembly amended the Act on Promotion of the Game Industry, or the Promotion Act, which became effective on April 20, 2007. Under the amended Article 21 of the Promotion Act, online games are classified into four categories: “suitable for users of all ages,” “suitable for users 12 years of age or older,” “suitable for users 15 years of age or older” and “suitable for users 18 years of age or older.” The 15 years of age or older category was added between the 12 years of age and 18 years of age categories to increase ratings flexibility. Fashion Star and Jeweled Planet have been classified as “suitable for users of all ages.” Ragnarok Online, Canaan, Ragnarok Online II and Finding Neverland Online have been classified as “suitable for users 12 years of age or older.” Kun Woong Online has been classified as “suitable for users 18 years of age or older.”

The amendment to the Promotion Act includes for the first time the definition of the term “speculative game.” A speculative game refers to a game that permits betting and offers monetary loss or profit that is determined by

 

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chance. Elements that may cause a game to be considered a speculative game include the existence of game money used as a means for betting or purchasing game items (items used within the game for progression in the game) that become the subject of exchange with respect to the game money. The Supreme Court decision No. 2007-4702 rendered on October 26, 2007 provided that the determination of whether a business is speculative or not requires a comprehensive consideration of the following factors: the purpose of use, the method and appearance of use, whether money or gifts exchangeable with money are distributed as a result of using the business, the degree and scale thereof, and whether gifts are actually exchanged into cash. Although the new rules and Supreme Court decision are intended to provide more clarity for the determination of whether a game is deemed speculative or not, because our games involve transactions with game items, we may have to expend much effort to ensure that we are in compliance with the new rules.

A game provider has to report any modification in the content of a game to the Game Rating Board, which may require the game to be reclassified depending on the scope of the modification. If the Game Rating Board determines that the game is speculative, it can refuse to classify such game, in which case the game will be prohibited. According to Article 1(2) of the Enforcement Decree of the Promotion Act newly established on May 16, 2007, any games in which money or items of value are collected from a multiple number of persons and profits or losses are allocated based on winnings or losses determined by chance fall under speculative games. According to Article 16(2) of the Enforcement Decree of the Promotion Act newly established at the same time, so long as certain guidelines are followed, a provision of a gift equivalent to a customer price of Won 5,000 or less, with respect to games that are classified as “suitable for users of all ages,” is not deemed to be an act that encourages gambling.

Under the Promotion Act, as partially amended on December 21, 2007, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism may order information and communication service providers to refuse, stop, or restrict the offering of games if such games are unrated, contents are different from those submitted for rating, were denied rating as speculative games, or were manufactured or distributed by a person not registered for operation of manufacturing or distributing games for profit-making. Game Rating Board undertakes examination of the information and communications service providers and provides recommendation of correction to the providers as necessary. The information and communications service providers are required to implement the corrective measures recommended within 7 days and report the results thereof to the chairman of the Game Rating Board or the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The Game Rating Board published the Yearbook for Classification of Game Ratings’ in September 2008, June 2009 and July 2011 in order to provide information on industry trends. The Yearbooks include data on ratings and classifications of various games released in Korea and the results of the examination of the information and communications service providers during year 2007, 2008 and 2010. The Game Rating Board published the Yearbook to improve fairness and transparency in inspecting games and to provide industry participants with guidelines on ratings inspection as well as basic information on the development of the game industry.

Prior to a partial amendment on January 1, 2010, the Promotion Act provided that governmental support for the Game Rating Board would be provided until December 31, 2009 and the task of rating games would thereafter be privatized. However, based on the determination of the government that the required social conditions for such privatization are not yet established, the Promotion Act, as partially amended on January 1, 2010, promoted the sustained rating of games and operation of supplementary administrative tasks by extending the date for the provision of governmental support until December 31, 2011.

On April 12, 2010, for the purpose of preventing gaming addiction among adults and teenagers and to promote a constructive gaming culture, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism introduced the “Measures for the Prevention and Alleviation of Excessive Gaming,” which includes the following: (i) expanded applicability of the exhaustion system (a program in which the rate at which items are acquired in a game decreases as a person plays the game longer, where this system is closely related to the game scenario), (ii) selective shutdown system for games played by teenagers (a system in which a teenager’s access to games can be selectively managed between midnight and 8:00 a.m. with the consent of a parent), (iii) establishment of a fund for the prevention of excessive gaming, and (iv) regulation of Web sites that deal in cash transaction of in-game items.

Recently in the global online and mobile game industry, there has been growth in the open markets in which small content developers and individual content producers directly supply their programs to consumers. However,

 

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under the then-current law, games could be distributed only after being rated by the Game Rating Board, and this impeded the development of the open market in Korea. In addition, some games, especially those that permit betting, caused social problems as speculative operating methods illegal automatic playing programs which allow players to cheat and acquire game money or game items were being developed. However, the then-existing laws did not provide sufficient grounds to regulate such situations.

In response, on April 5, 2011, the Act on Promotion of the Game Industry was amended. The amendment provides that all games that cannot receive prior rating by the Game Rating Board due to special circumstances in their production and distribution channels should be subject to the distributors’ own rating. The Act also provides grounds for sanctioning speculative operating methods and the undermining of fair gaming through illegal programs, among others. The amendment went into effect on July 6, 2011. In addition, consistent with a recent decision by the Constitutional Court on dual punishment, the amendment also includes a revised provision which stipulates that if an employer fulfills her duty of care as a manager and supervisor of her employees, she can be exempt from punishment.

The main content of the Act on Promotion of the Game Industry as amended on April 5, 2011 and the amendment to the Enforcement Decree of the same Act are as follows:

(1) Games which are inappropriate for prior rating by the Game Rating Board due to special circumstances in their production and distribution channels, excepting games unsuitable for minors, may be rated by distributors or others involved in the distribution channel at their discretion according to the standards predetermined upon consultation with the Game Rating Board. According to Article 11-4 of the Amendment to the Enforcement Decree of the Act on Promotion of the Game Industry, games should fulfill all the following requirements in order to be considered being “inappropriate for prior rating by the Game Rating Board”: (i) they must be provided through basic communications services by persons who are authorized to engage in the basic communications business under the Telecommunications Business Act, (ii) they must be provided through electronic commerce intermediaries such as online open markets and (iii) they must be provided using wireless telecommunications terminals which use mobile telecommunications terminals or the same kind of operating programs as those run on mobile telecommunications terminals.

(2) Game-related companies are prohibited from encouraging speculation by using operating methods, devices or machines closely related to the realization of game contents, and any person violating this provision is subject to corrective recommendation or corrective order imposed by the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

(3) The act of distributing or manufacturing for distribution computer programs, devices or machines not provided or approved by game-related enterprises for the purpose of interrupting the normal operation of games is prohibited, and any person violating the foregoing is subject to imprisonment for no more than one year or penalty not exceeding Won 10 million.

(4) In order to realize the principle of responsibility in the dual punishment provision, if an employer fulfills her duty of care as a manager and supervisor with respect to her employees, the employer may be exempt from punishment (proviso in Article 47 of the Promotion Act).

The Promotion Act was further amended on July 21, 2011 and went into effect on January 22, 2012. The amendment was intended to create sound gaming culture by clearly defining the responsibilities of the game industry and the government and to encourage public awareness of prevention of excessive gaming.

The key content of the amendment are as follows:

(1) A game-related enterprise is required to obtain parental consent when a minor joins a game site as a member and to take measures to prevent excessive use of games by imposing a time limit on minors’ game usage time. The Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism may request game-related enterprises to submit or report data relating to such preventive measures and, after an examination thereof, order the relevant game-related enterprises to correct the preventive measures if they are deemed to be insufficient.

(2) The government shall provide support for educating the public on the appropriate use of games and the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism may request the Minister of Education, Science and Technology to cooperate with such efforts by providing education on the appropriate use of games in the curriculum of elementary and middle schools.

 

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The Enforcement Decree of the Act on Promotion of the Game Industry was also amended on January 20, 2012 and became effective on January 22, 2012. The amendment aims to provide measures to implement the Promotion Act, including determining the scope of games subject to the measures to prevent excessive use of games and the methods and procedures of such measures and development of methods and procedures to evaluate the appropriateness of the scope of games subject to the nighttime service limitation.

The key content of the amendment are as follows:

(1) The scope of amendment excludes games which are not likely to cause over-immersion and addiction to games, including those made and distributed for the purpose of use and display at game tournaments or fairs and games which are provided by small and medium sized companies (in order to protect small and medium sized companies in the online game industry).

(2) The amendment provides for methods and procedures to prevent excessive use of games such as requiring game-related enterprises to provide the representation of its legal representative that when a minor joins as a member, the enterprise has obtained the necessary parental consents and that it has posted warnings to prevent game users from excessively using games and has display the elapsed time for users.

(3) The amendment is expected to make the evaluation of the appropriateness of the scope of games subject to the nighttime service limitation with respect to minors under the age of 16 be performed transparently and reasonably by preparing methods and procedures for such evaluation.

The Telecommunications Business Act

Under the Telecommunications Business Act, a person who intends to run a value-added telecommunications business must report to the Korea Communications Commission, or KCC, which has the authority to accept and monitor such reports. We are classified as a value-added telecommunications service provider such that we are required to prepare and submit statistical reports regarding, among others, the current status of facilities, subscription records and current status of users to the KCC upon its request. The KCC is responsible for compiling information and formulating telecommunications policies under this Telecommunications Business Act. In addition, we are required to report any transfer, takeover, suspension or closing of our business activities to the KCC, which may cancel our registration or order us to suspend our business for a period of up to one year if we fail to comply with its rules and regulations.

According to Article 21 of the Telecommunications Business Act, however, any person who intends to operate a value-added telecommunications business using small-scale telecommunications facilities is exempted from the obligation to report to the KCC. Before this Article was amended on May 11, 2007, small scale value-added telecommunications business operators had difficulty entering the market because only key telecommunications business operators, such as telephone and Internet service providers, could be exempted from such obligations. The amendment has relieved burdens associated with entering the value-added telecommunications business industry and facilitate its growth, which has intensified competition among online game service business operators.

The Act on Consumer Protection for Transactions through Electronic Commerce

Under this Act, we are required to take necessary measures to maintain the security of consumer information related to our electronic settlement services. We are also required to notify consumers when electronic payments are made and to indemnify consumers for damages resulting from misappropriation of consumer information by third parties. We believe that we have instituted appropriate safety measures to protect consumers against data misappropriation. To date, we have not experienced material disputes or claims in this area.

This Act was partially amended on March 22, 2010, and the amendment became effective on the same day. The amendment allows a company to avoid liability under the Act if it has exercised proper care in the management or supervision of its employees.

 

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The Act on Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection, or Information Protection Act

Under the Information Protection Act, we are permitted to gather personal information relating to our subscribers within the scope of their consent. We are, however, generally prohibited from using personal information or providing it to third parties beyond the purposes disclosed in our subscriber agreements. Disclosure of personal information without consent from a subscriber is permitted only if it is necessary for the settlement of information and communication service charges or is expressly permitted by this or any other statute.

We are required to indemnify users for damages occurring as a result of our violation of the foregoing restrictions, unless we can prove the absence of willful misconduct or negligence on our part. We believe that we have instituted appropriate measures and are in compliance with all material restrictions regarding internal mishandling of personal information.

Penalty surcharges are imposed on any telecommunications enterprises violating the regulation on the protection of personal information to recover any unfair profits gained by such enterprises, and some conducts, such as collection of personal information of users without their consent, are the subject of criminal punishment. Any telecommunications enterprises violating its obligation to protect personal information by collecting, using, disclosing such information without consent, and not complying with protective measures, may be imposed with surcharges not exceeding 1% of the sales relevant to the conduct of violation in consideration of the details, degree, period, the number of times, and the scale of gained profits.

The Information Protection Act was partially amended on March 17, 2010, and the amendment became effective on the same day. The amendment allows a company to avoid liability under the Act if it has exercised proper care in the management or supervision of its employees. The amendment sets forth rules for (i) designating institutions providing identity authentication services and for discontinuing and closing authentication services in order to safely and efficiently authenticate identities, (ii) suspending identity authentication services or canceling designation as an identity authentication institution in the event that an institution obtains designation through false or other deceptive methods, (iii) separating the process of obtaining consent to share personal information and the process of obtaining consent to consignment of transaction from the process of signing-up for membership, and (iv) notification requirements by telecommunications billing service providers, instead of the previous practice of referring to a Presidential Decree.

The Personal Information Protection Act

The Personal Information Protection Act was enacted on March 29, 2011 and went into effect on September 30, 2011. The scope of the Personal Information Protection Act covers anyone dealing with personal information in the private and public sectors.

If a person’s personal information is collected or used, or provided to a third person, such person’s consent should be obtained, and if personal information is no longer necessary upon achievement of the purpose of the collection and use of personal information, such information should be immediately destroyed.

Any transaction requiring identifiers granted by law for identification purposes, such as the resident registration number, is generally prohibited, and exceptions are recognized on a restrictive basis only if consent is obtained or if required by law. In addition, any person dealing with personal information as determined pursuant to the Presidential Decree, for instance, such as signing up for a Web site, should provide methods other than using the resident registration number.

In the event of a personal information leak, the processor of personal information should promptly notify the affected person after discovering such incident. If the volume of the leak of personal information exceeds a certain number, the processor of personal information should report the incident to the authorities and take necessary measures to minimize damages.

In addition, the same legislation grants to each individual the right to request perusal, the right to request correction or deletion, and the right to request suspension of process with respect to one’s personal information, and also provides the methods to exercise such rights.

 

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To promote prompt and fair settlement of disputes concerning personal information, the same legislation also provides that a Personal Information Dispute Settlement Board, or PIDSB, should be established and the PIDSB’s decision, if accepted by the disputing parties, should have the same legal effect as settlement by trial. In consideration of the fact that most identity theft cases are large in scale and small in the amount of monetary damages, the legislation adopts a collective dispute settlement system. A class action system for personal information has been adopted, but in order to prevent frivolous class action suits, litigants are required to go through the collective dispute settlement system prior to bringing a class action and cases are limited to those seeking suspension or injunctive relief.

The Korean Civil Code and the Act on the Establishment and Management of the Korea Communications Commission

Pursuant to the Korean Civil Code, contracts entered into with persons under 20 years of age without parental consent may be invalidated. Under the Act on the Establishment and Management of the Korea Communications Commission, the KCC was established to oversee services relating to broadcasting and communications and also to deliberate and resolve matters concerning the protection of users’ information and communications. As a result, telecommunication service contracts and online game user agreements are required to specifically set forth procedures for rescinding service contracts, which may be entered into by persons under 20 years of age without parental consent.

In November 2003, the KCC issued an order addressed to 15 major online game companies in Korea, including us, to regulate certain business practices relating to the settlement of service charges involving persons under 20 years of age. The KCC raised concerns about the ability of persons under 20 years of age to subscribe to online game services without parental consent by settling charges payable to online game companies through settlement systems operated by fixed-line or broadband service providers. The order required online game companies to implement more specific and effective procedures to ensure, where relevant, that parental consent has been specifically obtained.

Although only a small number of our current subscribers are using the settlement options mentioned in the KCC order, we are enhancing our age verification and parental consent procedures for players using the relevant settlement options. We do not expect compliance with the KCC order to be burdensome.

Copyright Act and Computer Programs Protection Act, or Copyright Act

The Copyright Act, which was amended on April 22, 2009, was established by combining the “Copyright Act” on the protection of general works and the “Computer Programs Protection Act” on the protection of computer program works in order to maintain the consistency of copyright protection policies and seek an efficient administration thereof. In addition, the Korea Copyright Commission was established by combining the existing Copyright Commission and the Korea Software Copyright Committee, thereby improving the protection of copyrights and the efficiency in its operation. The amended Copyright Act also includes essential elements of the Computer Programs Protection Act which was abolished on July 23, 2009 and, in connection with computer program works, restrictions on software copyrights, decompilation of computer programs, and the establishment of the exclusive right to issue computer programs as a special case apart from other kinds of works.

Among the amendments to the Copyrights Acts on June 30, 2011, the key content regarding the online game development and services are as follows:

(1) The amendment extends the period of copyright protection from 50 years to 70 years after the death of copyright holders in order to implement the agreements in the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement.

(2) The amendment categorizes online service providers into four types: simple conduit, caching, hosting and information searching. A simple conduit conducts acts of transmitting, designating routes or providing connections for the transmission of copyrighted materials without correcting contents, or acts of storing copyrighted materials automatically, intermediately and temporarily in the process of transmission for a period reasonably necessary for transmission thereof. Caching is an act of automatically, intermediately and temporarily storing copyrighted materials transmitted at the request of service users for the purpose of allowing subsequent users to efficiently access or receive them. Hosting is an act of storing copyrighted materials in the computers of online service providers at the

 

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request of copiers or transmitters. Finally, information searching is an act of enabling users to become aware of or connect to the location of copyrighted materials on the information and communications networks through information search tools.

(3) The amendment clarifies the requirements for indemnification with respect to each of the foregoing types.

(i) Simple conduit. Indemnification is possible in any of the following events: (a) The online service provider has yet to begin transmitting copyrighted materials; (b) the online service provider has yet to choose copyrighted materials or their receivers; (c) the online service provider adopts a policy to terminate the accounts of owners who repeatedly infringe on copyrights or any other rights protected under the Copyright Act and reasonably implements such a policy; or (d) when a right holder uses standard technical measures to identify and protect works, an online service provider accepts and does not intervene such use.

(ii) Caching. Indemnification is possible in any of the following events: (a) all of the indemnification requirements with respect to a simple conduit are met; (b) the online service provider does not modify copyrighted materials; (c) if there are any terms and conditions of access to provided copyrighted materials, the online service provider permits only the users who have complied with such terms and conditions to access such copyrighted materials that are temporarily stored works; or (d) the online service provider observes any rules of circulation of the copyrighted materials which are specified by the copiers or senders under the data communications rules for computers or communications that are generally accepted in the relevant industry.

(iii) Hosting. Indemnification is possible in any of the following events (a) all of the indemnification requirements with respect to a simple conduit are met; (b) when an online service provider has the authority and power to control infringement, it does not directly obtain any monetary gains from such infringement; (c) when an online service provider becomes aware of actual infringement, or the fact or the circumstances of obvious infringement due to any requests to suspend copy and/or transmission, it immediately stops the relevant copyrighted materials from being copied or transmitted; or (d) the online service provider appoints and publicly announces the party to which a request to suspend copy and/or transmission is to be made.

(iv) Information searching. Indemnification is possible in any of the following events: (a) the online service provider has yet to commence the transmission of copyrighted materials; or the indemnification requirements (b), (c) and (d) of the above subparagraph (iii) are met.

The Copyright Act was further amended on December 2, 2011 and went into effect on March 15, 2012, when the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement took effect, in order to promote the protection of rights of copyright holders and fair use of copyrighted materials by amending the relevant provisions necessary for implementing the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, such as recognition of temporary storage as copying, introduction of a system of fair use of copyrighted materials, prohibition of acts of infringement on the rights of copyright holders including the distribution of forged labels, and the introduction of statutory damages in accordance with the agreements in the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement and to improve and supplement other issues discovered during the operation of the current system. In connection with the amendment to the Copyright Act, the Enforcement Decree and the Enforcement Rules of the Copyright Act were also amended on December 2, 2011 in accordance with the content of the Act.

The key content of the amendment to the Copyright Act on December 2, 2011 regarding online game development and services are as follows:

(1) In order to protect the rights of copyright holders in a digital environment, the amendment specifies that temporary storage falls under the scope of “copying” but allows temporary storage to be extent it is deemed necessary for smooth and efficient information processing.

(2) An online service provider will be deemed not liable for copyright infringement: (i) if the online service provider has adopted and reasonably implemented a policy of terminating the account of a person who infringed copyrights or (ii) if the online service provider has accepted and not interfered with a right holder’s use of standard technical measures for identifying and protecting copyrighted materials.

 

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Juvenile Protection Act

The Juvenile Protection Act, as amended on February 29, 2008, prescribes the establishment of the Juvenile Protection Commission under the authority of the Minister of the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Korea, formerly known as the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, or the MIHWAF, which has the authority to designate the types of media harmful to juveniles. Under the Juvenile Protection Act, any person who intends to sell, lend or distribute media materials harmful to minors or provides them for viewing or utilization is required to confirm the age of the intended user, and shall not sell, rent or distribute such materials, or provide them for viewing or utilization, to minors. A person in violation may be punished by imprisonment for a maximum of three years or by a fine not exceeding Won 20 million.

On March 4, 2009, the MIHWAF issued a public notice announcing that “Web sites for trading items” are considered “harmful mass media” to minors based on the findings of Juvenile Protection Commission that such Web sites for trading online game items are likely to encourage gambling and speculation and negatively influence juveniles. In the public notice, the MIHWAF prohibited any person under the age of 19 from visiting Web sites for trading online game items, effective from March 19, 2009.

A Web site for trading items is a Web site which offers the services of brokerage or agency for trading of tangible or intangible things gained from online games as prescribed in the Promotion Act. A Web site for trading items needs to specify on its Web site that access is not allowed for minors, and any person visiting such Web sites is required to go through the adult certification process. Any Web site operator found to be operating such Web sites in breach of the requirements under the public notice is subject to a maximum of 3 years of imprisonment or a maximum fine of Won 20 million. On June 3, 2009, Item Bay Co., Ltd., one of the leading Web sites in Korea for trading online game items, initiated an administrative proceeding against the MIHWAF seeking cancellation of the MIHWAF’s public notice. Item Bay Co., Ltd. argued that “game items are purchased by users at their own discretion depending on their necessity, and remote from speculative activity. Therefore, Web sites for trading online game items do not fall under media harmful to minors.”

While we offer virtual in-game items for sale to our users on the game Web sites that we operate in Korea, we do not broker the trade of such game items or any other tangible or intangible acquisitions obtained by using online games among our users, and currently do not fall under the category of “Web site for trading items”. In Korea, however, minors account for a significant percentage of online game users. As they are now prohibited from trading items on Web sites, including virtual in-game items, such prohibition may materially and adversely affect the online game industry in general, which may well have a material adverse affect on our business, financial condition and results of operation.

The Juvenile Protection Act was partially amended on May 19, 2011 and went into effect on November 20, 2011. Under the amendment, online game providers may not provide online games to minors under the age of 16 late at night (specifically, from midnight until 6:00 a.m.) and any provider violating the provision is subject to imprisonment for no more than 2 years and a penalty not exceeding 10 million Won.

Furthermore, the amendment provides that the Minister of Gender Equality and Family, or the MOGEF, in consultation with the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, should revisit the guidelines every two years to evaluate the appropriateness of the scope of games subject to the late-night restriction and to take measures for improvement, and, with respect to minors suffering from online game addiction, the MOGEF may also provide services for prevention, consultation, treatment and rehabilitation.

The Juvenile Protection Act was further amended on September 15, 2011 and goes into effect on September 16, 2012. The key content of the amendment are as follows:

(1) The amendment expands the category of businesses which minors are prohibited from entering, or are prohibited from hiring minors, to include those business which provide “combined distributed games” and business places which provide Internet game facilities;

(2) The amendment requires protective measures equivalent to packaging;

(3) The amendment requires a person who intends to sell, rent, distribute or provide any media harmful to minors to check the ages and IDs of his or her counterparties;

 

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(4) The amendment prescribes that if a person distributes any media harmful to minors through the information and communications network, the Minister of Gender Equality and Family may publicly post the identity of such person and the content of the violation; and

(5) The amendment requires parental consent when a minor under age 16 joins an Internet game as a member and requires the information on the minor’s use of games to be reported to the guardians.

Taiwan

The Taiwanese game industry and online game companies operating in Taiwan are subject to the following material laws and regulations:

Consumer protection

As a result of increasing disputes between online game companies and consumers in Taiwan, on February 17, 2006 and as last amended on December 7, 2010, the ROC Ministry of Economic Affairs promulgated a model consumer contract that online game companies are encouraged to adopt and on December 13, 2007 and as last amended on December 2, 2010, the ROC Ministry of Economic Affairs promulgated certain standard provisions that must be included in a consumer contract (the “Mandatory Provisions”) that online game companies must adopt, which include, among others, customers’ right to request a full refund of packaged or downloaded software without cause within seven days from their purchase, to rescind the contract without cause and ask for the unused fees within seven days after the start of the game, to claim for damages suffered from the game program or computer system defect, to terminate the contract without cause at anytime and claim for the unused fees after deduction of necessary costs, as well as obligation of online game company to remark the rating of games in accordance with the Regulations for the Rating of Computer Software. In general, the above model contract and Mandatory Provisions impose more responsibilities and liabilities on the online game companies. Moreover, any article set forth in a consumer contract which is in violation of the Mandatory Provisions shall be null and void. In addition, according to the drafted amendment to Consumer Protection Law proposed by the Executive Yuan, if violating the Mandatory Provisions, except for otherwise provided in any laws or regulations, the enterprise shall correct such violation within the time limit given by the competent authority as well as may be subject to consecutive fines until such violation is corrected. However, it is uncertain whether or when the above draft amendment will be passed by the Legislative Yuan.

Regulations of Internet content and game software

Pursuant to the Children and Juvenile Welfare and Right Protection Act as amended on November 30, 2011, it is illegal to transmit or provide children under 18 years of age with, among other things, computer software, Internet, electronic signals, DVDs and compact discs that contain content which propagates violence, obscenity or similar material that may undermine the mental and physical health of a minor. Any person or entity violating this Act may be subject to a fine and/or the enterprise may be forced to cease to operate for up to one year. In addition, according to this Act, the Regulations for the Rating of Internet Content, and the Regulations for the Rating of Computer Software, Internet content and computer software shall not violate any mandatory law and certain internet content and computer software shall be classified as “restricted” and therefore shall not be viewed by children and juveniles under the age of 18, which may include, among others:

 

   

Depiction of homicide or other criminal offenses;

 

   

Plot involving terror, bloodshed, cruelty, or perversion, which is presented in an intense manner; or

 

   

Depiction of sexual acts or sexual obscenity, through action, image, language, text, dialogue or sound, yet which does not embarrass or disgust adults in general.

In addition, the Regulations for the Rating of Internet Content suggest that the Internet content that is not rated as restricted is better to be viewed by children under the guidance of the parents, guardians or others taking care of them. The Regulations for the Rating of Computer Software further stipulate that certain computer software not rated as restricted may not be reviewed by children or juveniles under certain age or may only be viewed by them under the guidance or company of the parent, teacher or adult relative depending on the rating of such computer software pursuant to such regulation. The rating of internet content and computer software shall be labeled in accordance with the above regulations, respectively.

 

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Requiem is rated “restricted” class and all aforementioned rules with regard to “restricted” class are applied.

Internet café regulation

Currently, there is no mandatory national legislation specifically covering the operation of Internet cafés. However, several municipalities and counties such as Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan County, Tainan City, Nantou County, Lienchiang County and Kinmen County have promulgated specific ordinances imposing restrictions on Internet cafés, which relate to the location, building structure, facilities, business hours, age limit of customers and the classification of Internet content.

In order to have Internet cafés regulated under a national legislation rather than by different municipalities and counties ordinances the ROC Ministry of Economic Affairs several years ago proposed draft Statutes of Information-Entertainment Industry legislation that, if implemented, would regulate all Internet cafés located in the ROC. It is unclear, however, whether or when the above proposal will be passed by the Legislative Yuan. In addition, pursuant to the Public Order Maintenance Act, Internet cafés may be subject to a fine and/or a business suspension or shut-down if minors are found at Internet cafés during late hours.

Privacy protection

The ROC government has promulgated the Computer-Processed Personal Data Protection Act to regulate the collection processing, usage and transmission of computer-processed personal data. Generally, an Internet content provider, or ICP, will not be subject to this Act if it does not collect or process the personal data through the computer as its main business activity. However, an ICP may become liable for the loss of any data so collected. On May 26, 2010, the amendments to the Computer-Processed Personal Data Protection Act have been passed by the Legislative Yuan and the name of such Act has been changed to Personal Information Protection Act; however, certain amended articles are not yet effective and the effective date of such articles will be further determined by the Executive Yuan. There can be no assurance when the Executive Yuan will determine the effective date of such provision. Once those articles become effective, an Internet content provider, or ICP, may be subject to this Act as long as it, among others, collects, processes, uses and/or transmits personal data. If an Internet content provider, or ICP, violates the provisions of the Act once it applies to such Act, it will be subject to fine, criminal liability, if applicable, and shall be liable for the losses suffered by the person whose information has been unlawfully collected, processed, used or misappropriated by such Internet content provider.

Intellectual property

Under the Copyright Act, the domestic online games software is to be classified as copyrightable works in the category of computer program, and, therefore, is to be protected in Taiwan without requiring further registration with ROC governmental agency. For foreign works, including foreign computer programs, according to the Copyright Act, if the works of persons of ROC are protected by copyright law in such foreign country by treaty, agreements or others, the works of persons of such foreign country shall also be protected by the Copyright Act. The works of persons of WTO member countries can now also be protected under the Copyright Act.

Japan

Japan does not currently have any national government regulations targeted specifically at the online game industry. Some regulations that are relevant to or that may affect the online game industry are described below.

Protection of personal information

Businesses in Japan are subject to certain statutory requirements with respect to personal information acquired during the ordinary course of business. Pursuant to these statutory requirements, businesses must set up appropriate procedures to protect personal information from use for any purpose other than the intended purpose.

Regulations on sound upbringing of minors

In Japan, Internet and game software content is generally regulated at the local, rather than the national, level. Many local governments have ordinances regarding the sound upbringing of minors, which empower competent

 

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authorities to designate game software as detrimental to the sound upbringing of minors and prohibit the sale or distribution to minors of such designated game software. In addition, the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization, or CERO, a nonprofit organization, offers rating services for home-use games, including online games. Game developers may request a rating for their game software from CERO, which will then review such software and assign one of the following five ratings: “suitable for users of all ages,” “suitable for users 12 years old or older,” “suitable for users 15 years old or older,” “suitable for users 17 years old or older,” and “suitable only for users 18 years old or older.” Ratings are based on, among other factors, the degree of sex, violence and anti-social expression in the game software content. Once a rating is assigned, the relevant game software must prominently display such rating.

Thailand

There is no specific law or regulation that directly governs online games, online game companies or the online game industry in Thailand. The online game industry in Thailand operates under a legal regime that generally regulates vendors of Internet cafés and game shops (places where people go to play video games) rather than online game operators. Several of the governmental agencies in Thailand work in cooperation with one another in regulating the industry. The Thai government, principally through the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, or ICT Ministry, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Culture, has been making efforts to regulate the fast-growing Internet business, in particular the online game industry. The Thai government has, since 2004, proposed measures that would affect the online game industry, including restrictions on the playing time of game users under 18 years of age to three hours per day, prohibition of gambling, lottery or game item trading via online games and mandatory Internet café registration. The Ministry of Commerce in Thailand is also responsible for regulating online businesses by requiring registration.

In June 2008, the Thai Government passed the Films and Videos Act of 2008 to replace the Control of Business Relating to Tape Cassette and Television Material Act. The new legislation imposes measures to control the operators of game shops (including Internet cafés that provide game services) and limit access to game shops by users under 18 years of age. These measures include restrictions on the business days and hours, location and building structure of game shops as well as the daily playing time of games and curfew hours for users under 18 years of age to enter game shops and Internet cafés. According to the Ministerial Regulation of Ministry of Culture Re: Permission and Operation of Video Shops B.E. 2552 (dated September 24, 2009), users under 15 years of age can enter game shops and Internet cafés between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on public holidays or during an educational term break prescribed by the competent registrar. For users aged from 15 years to 18 years, the access times are limited to between 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on public holidays or during an educational term break as prescribed by the competent registrar.

The Films and Videos Act is applicable only to game shop operators that use “video” materials (including, but not limited to, video tapes, video compact discs or digital video discs). “Video” under this Act is defined as “materials that record pictures, or pictures and sound, that can be shown continuously as motion pictures in the forms of games, plays, karaoke with pictures, or other characteristics as prescribed in the ministerial regulations”. Currently, there is no ratings system for online games. According to publicly available information, the Ministry of Culture is considering proposing a draft amendment to the Films and Videos Act to provide a ratings system for the film and video materials under this Act, which may or may not include online games. Due to a lack of precedent and uncertainties in the interpretation of this new legislation by the Thai authorities, the online game operators may or may not be subject to this Act. Despite such uncertainties, the control of game shop operators by this Act may have an impact on the online game industry.

Registration of Internet cafés and online game operators

There is no legislation that specifically regulates online game operators, Internet cafés or online game shops. The Ministry of Commerce in Thailand, however, requires that online game operators offering online games over Web sites or Internet portals register for e-business registration and also requires Internet cafés and online game shops to register under the Commercial Registration Act. Under the Films and Videos Act, game operators are also required to obtain an operating license from the Ministry of Culture. In addition, the ICT Ministerial Notification,

 

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enacted under the new Computer Related Crime Act, obliges Internet service providers (Internet cafés and online game shops) to keep traffic data for not less than 90 days after such data is entered into a computer system. The traffic data items are: (i) the user’s identifying data, (ii) time of use and (iii) the computer IP address.

Regulation of business days and hours, and location and building structure of Internet cafés and game shops

In June 2008, the Control of Business Relating to Tape Cassette and Television Material Act was repealed and replaced by the Films and Videos Act. Under the Films and Videos Act, the business days and hours (especially service hours for users under 18 years of age), location and building structure of game shops are restricted. According to the Ministerial Regulation of Ministry of Culture Re: Permission and Operation of Video Shops B.E. 2552 (dated September 24, 2009), users under 15 years of age can enter game shops and Internet cafés between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on public holidays or during an educational term break prescribed by the competent registrar. For users aged from 15 years to 18 years, the access times are limited to between 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on public holidays or during an educational term break as prescribed by the competent registrar.

Restriction on access by children

The Child Protection Act prohibits any person from forcing, threatening, inducing, advocating, causing or permitting children to misbehave or engage in misconduct. In order to implement the protective measures under the Child Protection Act, the Ministry of Culture will also prescribe ministerial regulations under the Films and Videos Act to limit access to Internet cafés and game shops by users under 18 years of age. In addition, the ICT Minister requests online game operators to close access to its game server after curfew hours. Users over 18 years of age, however, are permitted password protected access to certain online game servers even after curfew hours by obtaining a password available at the post office. The ICT Minister has also implemented the “Goodnet” project, which recommends that members of the computer and Internet service provider community cooperate in restricting their business hours to prevent children under the age of 18 from entering their place of business after curfew hours. Similarly, the Office of the National Culture Commission, in cooperation with the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, has established the “White Game Shops for Juveniles” project which encourages offline and online game shop operators to operate their businesses in strict compliance with the relevant laws and regulations.

Intellectual property

Under the Copyright Act, online games are classified as copyrightable work in the category of computer program or software, and, therefore, automatically protected in Thailand without requiring further registration with or notification to any governmental agency. Despite the lack of mandatory registration or notification requirements, it is recommended that copyright owners of online games notify the Department of Intellectual Property, the Ministry of Commerce of their online games to ensure that their names officially and publicly appear in the listing of copyrighted computer software. The copyright owner has the exclusive right to copy, modify and publish its copyrighted work.

China

The online game industry in China operates under a legal regime that consists of the State Council, which is the highest authority of the executive branch of the PRC central government, and various ministries and agencies under its leadership. These ministries and agencies include, among others:

 

   

the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology;

 

   

the Ministry of Culture;

 

   

the General Administration of Press and Publication;

 

   

the National Copyright Administration;

 

   

the Ministry of Public Security; and

 

   

the Bureau of State Secrecy.

 

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The State Council and these ministries and agencies have issued a series of rules that regulate a number of different substantive areas of our business, which are discussed below.

Licenses

Online game companies are required to obtain licenses from a variety of PRC regulatory authorities. As an ICP business, online game companies are required to hold a value-added telecommunications business operation license, or ICP license, issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or its local offices, and for ICP operators which provide ICP services in multiple provinces, autonomous regions and centrally administered municipalities, it is required that they obtain an inter-regional ICP license. Any ICP license holder that engages in the supply and servicing of Internet cultural products, which include online games, must obtain an additional Internet culture business operation license from the provincial counterparts of the Ministry of Culture. The General Administration of Press and Publication and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology jointly impose an approval requirement for any entity that intends to engage in Internet publishing, defined as any act by an Internet information service provider to select, edit and process content or programs and to make such content or programs publicly available on the Internet and, further, an online game operator is required to obtain an online game related Internet publishing permit from the General Administration of Press and Publication.

In addition, under a notice published by it in September 2009, the General Administration of Press and Publication prohibits foreign investors from making investment in online game operation business through joint ventures or wholly owned subsidiaries in China, or from controlling the online game operation business through contractual arrangements. This notice may impact the landscape of the online game industry in China, because a lot of online game operators in China are controlled by non-PRC incorporated entities through contractual arrangements.

Regulation of Internet content

The PRC government has promulgated measures relating to Internet content through a number of ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Culture and the General Administration of Press and Publication. These measures specifically prohibit Internet activities, including the operation and promotion of online games that result in the publication of any content which is found to, among other things, propagate obscenity, gambling or violence, instigate crimes, undermine public morality or the cultural traditions of the PRC, or compromise State security or secrets. If an ICP license holder violates these measures, the PRC government may revoke its ICP license and shut down its Web sites.

Regulation of information security

Internet content in China is also regulated and restricted from a State security standpoint. The National People’s Congress, China’s national legislative body, has enacted a law that may subject a person to criminal punishment in China for any effort to, among other things: (i) gain improper entry into a computer or system of strategic importance; (ii) disseminate politically disruptive information; (iii) leak State secrets; (iv) spread false commercial information or (v) infringe intellectual property rights.

The Ministry of Public Security has promulgated measures that prohibit use of the Internet in ways which, among other things, result in a leakage of State secrets or a spread of socially destabilizing content. The Ministry of Public Security has supervision and inspection rights in this regard. If an ICP license holder violates these measures, the PRC government may revoke its ICP license and shut down its Web sites.

Import regulation

Licensing online games from abroad and importing them into China is regulated in several ways. Any license agreement with a foreign licensor that involves import of technologies, including online game software into China, is required to be registered with the Ministry of Commerce. Without that registration, a licensee cannot remit license fees out of China to any foreign game licensor. In addition, the Ministry of Culture requires the licensee to submit for its content review and approval any online games to be imported, and after obtaining the approval from the Ministry of Culture, if there is any upgrade or any material change to the content of the imported online games

 

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during the operation, the licensee shall submit the new version of imported online games to the Ministry of Culture for content review. According to the Tentative Measures Concerning Online Games Administration promulgated by the Ministry of Culture on June 3, 2010, if the operator of an imported online game changed, the new operator needs to re-apply for a new content review. If a licensee imports and/or operates games without the required approval, the Ministry of Culture may impose penalties, including revoking the Internet culture business operations license required for the operation of online games in China. Furthermore, the National Copyright Administration requires the licensee to register copyright license agreements relating to imported software. Without the National Copyright Administration registration, a licensee is not allowed to publish or reproduce the imported game software in China. Several notices published by the General Administration of Press and Publication in 2009, individually or jointly with other authorities, emphasize that all imported online games licensed by offshore copyright owners may not be published in China without obtaining the approval of the General Administration of Press and Publication, and any new version, expansion packs or innovation of content of such approved online games shall be submitted to the General Administration of Press and Publication for re-approval. Failure to comply with such requirements may lead to certain penalties, including cease of operation by the General Administration of Press and Publication, or shutting down the Web site.

Intellectual property rights

The National People’s Congress, the State Council and the National Copyright Administration have promulgated various laws, regulations and rules relating to protection of software in China. Under these laws, regulations and rules, software owners, licensees and transferees may register their rights in software with the National Copyright Administration or its local branches and obtain software copyright registration certificates. Although such registration is not mandatory under PRC law, software owners, licensees and transferees are encouraged to go through the registration process and registered software rights may receive better protection.

Internet café and online game regulation

Internet cafés are required to obtain a license from the Ministry of Culture and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, and are subject to requirements and regulations with respect to minimum registered capital, location, size, number of computers, age limit of customers and business hours. The PRC government has published a series of rules in recent years to intensify its regulation of Internet cafés. In February 2007, 14 PRC governmental agencies, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the General Administration of Press and Publication and Ministry of Public Security jointly promulgated a notice about strengthening regulations over Internet cafés and online games. According to the notice, no new Internet café should be approved in 2007 and the regulation of existing cafés should be strengthened. In April 2007, eight PRC governmental agencies, including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the General Administration of Press and Publication and the Ministry of Public Security jointly promulgated a notice regarding the implementation of online game anti-addiction systems to protect the physical and psychological health of minors. According to the notice, online game operators are required to develop and implement anti-addiction systems to all online games from July 16, 2007, and the corresponding identity authentication schemes of the anti-addiction systems shall be put into operation at the same time. Otherwise, the online games may not be approved by or filed with the relevant authorities or may not carry out open beta testing for operational purposes. In mid-2008 and March 2009, the Ministry of Culture and other ministries and agencies, individually or jointly, issued several notices which provide various ways to strengthen the regulation of Internet cafés, including investigating and punishing the Internet cafés which accept minors, cracking down on Internet cafés operating without sufficient and valid licenses, limiting the total number of Internet cafés, screening unlawful games and Web sites, and improving the coordination of regulation over Internet cafés and online games. A notice published by the Ministry of Culture in March 2010 imposes significantly severe punishment on Internet cafés admitting minors, according to which, the Internet culture business operation license of an Internet café will be revoked, if it engages in certain activities, including admitting three or more minors at one time, or admitting minors not within permitted business hours, or having incurred malignant events due to admitting minors, or admitting less than two minors for more than twice within one year. Since March 1, 2011, the Ministry of Culture and seven other authorities jointly launched a parent guardianship project for purposes of protecting minors from addiction to online games. Under the parent guardianship project rules, online game operators shall impose restrictions on and take other various measures with respect to the

 

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online game accounts held by minors based on the requirements from and communications with the parents, including restrictions on the length or periods of time during which the minors may play online games or, in certain cases, a complete prohibition. The online game operators are required to establish responsive and effective measures and make quarterly reports to local culture administrative authorities. In July 2011, eight PRC governmental agencies, including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the General Administration of Press and Publication and the Ministry of Public Security, reinforced the anti-addiction system adopted under the April 2007 rules referenced above by implementing a regulation requiring strengthening of identity authentication schemes, which requires all online game operators to verify the identity of game players to protect minors from addiction to on-line games.

Privacy protection

PRC law does not prohibit Internet content providers from collecting and analyzing personal information from their users. PRC law prohibits Internet content providers from disclosing to any third parties any information transmitted by users through their networks unless otherwise permitted by law. If an Internet content provider violates these regulations, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or its local bureaus may impose penalties and the Internet content provider may be liable for damages caused to its users.

Regulation on information reporting

On April 13, 2009, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology promulgated the Implementation Measures for Internet Network Security Information Reporting, or the Implementation Measures, pursuant to which ICP operators with inter-regional operations shall set up information monitor mechanism and information report mechanism, and shall report the required event information and early warning information to the competent tele-communications authorities and/or National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China in accordance with the Implementation Measures.

While we believe that our licensees are in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations governing the online game industry in China, we cannot assure you that operation of our games in China will not be found to be in violation of any current or future Chinese laws and regulations. Failure by our overseas licensees to comply with laws and regulations in China, including obtaining and maintaining the requisite government licenses and permits, may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. See ITEM 3.D. “RISK FACTORS — RISKS RELATING TO OUR BUSINESS — We depend on our overseas licensees for a substantial portion of our revenues and rely on them to distribute, market and operate our games, and comply with applicable laws and government regulations.”

United States

Game Ratings and Attempts to Regulate Access to Children

Most video game software publishers comply with the standardized rating system established by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB, a non-profit, self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association, or ESA. ESRB rates video games submitted by video game publishers; the ratings include both a symbol for age appropriateness (e.g., “E” for Everyone or “M” for Mature) and a content descriptor (e.g., “Blood and Gore” or “Intense Violence”). The ESRB specifically excludes any online interactions from the rating, as the ESRB is unable to review content, such as chat, text, audio and video generated by other users in an online environment.

ESRB has rated our games as follows: Requiem is rated “Mature,” Ragnarok Online is rated “Teen,” and R.O.S.E. Online and Dragon Saga are rated “Everyone 10+”.

By submitting a game to the ESRB and using an ESRB rating, a video game publisher must agree to adhere to advertising and packaging guidelines for the rated game, such as using appropriate advertising content and not targeting any advertisement for a game rated “Teen,” “Mature” or “Adults only” to consumers for whom the product is

 

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not rated as appropriate. The Advertising Review Board has been granted the oversight and enforcement authority for compliance with the advertising guidelines. The ESRB ratings must be displayed on both the front and back of game packaging in compliance with the ESRB requirements. The ESRB may sanction game producers for failing to label their product properly. Although submitting a game to the ESRB is voluntary, many retailers will not sell games without an ESRB rating.

The United States Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, has also taken action with respect to improper ratings pursuant to its broad authority to prohibit fraudulent, deceptive, or unfair business practices. For example, in response to allegations that two videogame publishers failed to disclose hidden nudity and sexually-themed content to the ESRB during the ratings process, the FTC issued a consent order compelling the videogame publishers not to, expressly or implicitly, misrepresent the ratings or content descriptors of their videogames and to maintain a system that ensures that all of the content in their video games is considered and reviewed in preparing submissions to the ESRB. The FTC has also posted an online form on its Web site for the public to file complaints regarding video game ratings that do not accurately reflect of the content of the game.

A number of bills have been introduced in Congress to specifically regulate the sale of video games with violent content to minors, but currently no such federal laws are in force. Several States, as well as several cities, have enacted or are considering laws that would regulate game industry content and marketing, including the rental or sale of games with violent content by or to minors.

For example, the State of Maryland has enacted a law that regulates the sale of video games with explicit sexual content to minors. The Maryland law has not been challenged in court, remains in force, and is supported by the ESA. Other States have enacted laws that require the posting of signs providing information about ESRB ratings. To date, laws that regulate the sale of video games based on content, when challenged, have been declared unconstitutional. Most prominently, the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that a California law that imposed fines on retailers that sell certain violent video games to minors violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Court held that video games represent a form of protected expression under the First Amendment, and that California’s statute, no matter how well intentioned, lacked adequate justification for the regulation of such speech.

Irrespective of any laws or industry guidelines, U.S. retailers have become more reluctant to sell “M” rated video games to minors. The FTC issues periodic marketing reports and in its most recent report to Congress in 2009, the FTC reported that 20% of underage “undercover shoppers” were able to purchase “M” rated video games. An undercover survey in 2010-11, however, showed a statistically significant improvement with only 13% of underage shoppers being able to purchase “M” rated games. Consumer advocacy groups have also opposed sales of interactive entertainment software containing graphic violence, profanity or sexually explicit material by engaging in public demonstrations and media campaigns.

Online Collection of Information from Children

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, or COPPA, prohibits any Web site operator from collecting, maintaining or using personal information (including first and last name, home address, email address, telephone number, Social Security number, or other information that permits the physical or online contacting of a specific individual) of children under 13 years of age, unless the Web site operator obtains verifiable parental consent.

A Web site that knowingly collects information from children under 13 years old, or that in whole or in part is directed to children under 13 years old, must obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from any child. The Web site operator must also post a clear online privacy policy that provides notice of what information is collected from children, how the information is used, and a list of third parties with whom the operator may share or sell the child’s information; parents must be given the choice to determine whether the child’s information can be shared with third parties, and must also be provided access to the child’s information and the opportunity to delete any such information collected. Moreover, the operator must establish and maintain reasonable procedures to protect the confidentiality, security and integrity of any personal information collected from children under 13 years of age. COPPA also prohibits conditioning a child’s participation in a game on the child disclosing more personal information than is reasonably necessary to participate in such activity.

 

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COPPA authorizes the FTC and the State Attorneys General to bring actions against Web site operators to enforce the statute.

In 2011, the FTC released the results of a study showing that many mobile application providers do not clearly disclose the ways in which they collect and share children’s information. The FTC suggests that the providers of mobile applications in the “kids app ecosystem” do more to disclose key information to parents about the types of information they collect from children, and the ways in which that information is shared with third parties.

Protection of Personal Information

Most States have some form of specific legislation regarding the protection of personal information collected, processed, maintained or used in electronic form, as well as specific notification procedures in the event that such information is accessed by unauthorized individuals. Under these laws, among other things, businesses are required to implement and maintain reasonable security measures designed to protect the computerized personal information of its customers or users from unauthorized access, disclosure or use. These measures may require the encryption of sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank security access codes, etc. In the event that a business suffers a security breach, these laws generally require the business to provide notice of such breach to each individual user affected by the breach. In addition, if such personal information is accessed by unauthorized individuals as a result of the business’ failure to use reasonable measures to protect the information, the business may be liable to those customers for any misuse of such personal information and may be liable for statutory fines or penalties, as well as civil and even potential criminal prosecution by government authorities.

Privacy Policy Requirements

The FTC and many States require an operator of a Web site to develop, maintain and post on its Web site a privacy policy that informs its customers and users of the categories of personal information that are collected by the operator, how that personal information is used and shared with third parties and how users may change or update such information and opt out of its collection and use. While most States have generally not imposed statutory fines or penalties on an operator for failing to comply with its privacy policy, an operator may be directly liable to its customer or users if it fails to comply with its posted privacy policy if such noncompliance harms the users. The FTC, however, has initiated numerous investigations and imposed significant civil penalties in several cases involving alleged failures by companies to comply with the representations made in their online privacy policies and/or adequately disclose the companies’ actual practices in such policies. In 2011, for instance, Google entered into a settlement agreement with the FTC in which Google agreed to be subject to twenty years of privacy audits and to revise its privacy practices in response to FTC charges that Google used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy policy when it launched its social network, Google Buzz, in 2010. The Google settlement comes amidst increasing pressure from the FTC on online service providers to conspicuously and accurately disclose their user data collection and disclosure practices. This is especially true in the mobile context, where new technologies have presented novel consumer privacy questions. Specifically, the collection and use of mobile geolocation and device identifier data have come under increased FTC scrutiny in the past year.

Liability Arising from User Speech and Conduct

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, or CDA, provides limited protection to interactive computer services, such as an online game service, from liability for publishing information posted or provided by others, such as the users of an online game service. The CDA can, for example, help protect an online game service provider from liability as a publisher that could otherwise arise from a user making defamatory statements on the service about another user. The protections of the CDA, however, do not immunize interactive computer services from criminal liability under United States Federal law (e.g., obscenity or child pornography), for infringement of intellectual property law, or any state laws that are not inconsistent with the CDA.

Some commentators consider Section 230 of the CDA controversial and have called for it to be amended by Congress because a number of courts have interpreted it as granting broad tort immunity. One recent case rejected immunity by holding that claims involving a person’s personal information is a violation of such persons’ publicity rights, which the court held were intellectual property rights outside of the scope of immunity. Another court

 

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recently held that an interactive computer service was not immune from federal Fair Housing Act violations because the interactive computer service provided tools such as pull down menus that assisted the users in creating the content that violated the Fair Housing Act.

Congress or the courts could continue to narrow the application of Section 230 of the CDA, in which case online game service operators, such as the Company, could face increased potential liability for certain speech or conduct by the users on their online game service.

 

ITEM 4.C. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

The following is our organizational structure as of March 31, 2012:

 

LOGO

 

Note:

 

(1) Gravity Middle East & Africa FZ-LLC went into liquidation proceedings in the United Arab Emirates in September 2008.

 

ITEM 4.D. PROPERTY, PLANTS AND EQUIPMENT

As of December 31, 2011, our property and equipment mainly consisted of (i) game engines, (ii) network servers, (iii) PCs and (iv) software purchased externally. As of December 31, 2011, the net book value of our property and equipment was Won 2,731 million (US$2,357 thousand). Because our main business is to develop and distribute online game services, we do not own any factories.

Korea

Our principal executive and administrative offices are located at Nuritkum Square Business Tower 15F, 1605 Sangam-Dong, Mapo-Gu, Seoul 121-795, Korea. We currently occupy 110,551 square feet of office space, which we lease from Korea Software Industry Promotion Agency, pursuant to a lease that will expire on December 31, 2012 and which is renewable for one additional year. The annual lease payment amounts to Won 1,926 million (US$1,662 thousand). The offices of NeoCyon, our 96.11% owned subsidiary, are located at Nuritkum Square R&D Tower 14F, 1605 Sangam-Dong, Mapo-Gu, Seoul 121-795, Korea. NeoCyon currently occupies 6,049 square feet of office space, subleased from us. The annual lease payment amounts to Won 106 million (US$91 thousand). The offices of Gravity Games, our 50.83% owned subsidiary, are located at Nuritkum Square R&D Tower 14F, 1605 Sangam-Dong, Mapo-Gu, Seoul 121-795, Korea. Gravity Games currently occupies 6,066 square feet of office

 

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space, subleased from us. The annual lease payment amounts to Won 122 million (US$105 thousand). We believe that the existing facilities of Gravity, NeoCyon and Gravity Games are adequate for our current requirements and that additional space can be obtained on commercially reasonable terms to meet our future requirements.

United States

The offices of Gravity Interactive, our wholly-owned subsidiary in the United States, are located at 13160 Mindanao Way, Marina Del Rey, California 90292. Gravity Interactive currently occupies 7,102 square feet of office space, leased from a third party. The annual lease payment amounts to US$416 thousand. We believe that the existing facilities of Gravity Interactive are adequate for their current requirements and that additional space can be obtained on commercially reasonable terms to meet their future requirements.

 

ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

You should read the following discussion together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes which appear elsewhere in this annual report. The following discussion is based on our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our historic performance may not be indicative of our future results of operations and capital requirements and resources.

 

ITEM 5.A. OPERATING RESULTS

OVERVIEW

We are a leading developer and distributor of online games in Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand based on the number of peak concurrent users. Our headquarter is in Korea and we are incorporated under the laws of Korea. From our inception in April 2000 to the commercialization of our first online game, Ragnarok Online, in August 2002, our operating activities were limited primarily to developing Ragnarok Online. Our revenues have been and continue to be driven primarily by our first game, Ragnarok Online. Our future growth and profitability will be determined by our ability to enhance the features on our existing games and introduce new games with characters, features and functions that gain market acceptance and following.

In 2010, our revenues decreased by 8.8% to Won 52,362 million from Won 57,403 million in 2009. In 2011, our revenues increased by 9.8% to Won 57,477 million (US$49,613 thousand) from Won 52,362 million in 2010. We recorded a net income of Won 14,928 million (US$12,886 thousand) in 2011 as compared to a net income of Won 3,730 million in 2010 and a net income of Won 6,917 million in 2009. Our gross profit margin decreased to 57.8% in 2011 from 60.1% in 2010 and 63.1% in 2009. Our operating margin decreased to 5.5% in 2011 from 11.3% in 2010 and 18.9% in 2009. The decrease in revenues in 2010 was primarily due to decreased royalties and license fees of Ragnarok Online in Japan and decreased subscription revenues of Ragnarok Online in Korea, the United States and Canada, mainly attributable to Ragnarok Online having reached maturity in such markets. The decrease in subscription revenues of Requiem in Korea, the United States and Canada also contributed to the decrease in overall revenues. The increase in revenues in 2011 was mainly due to (i) the revenues from Dragonica resulting from our acquisition of Gravity Games Corporation, the developer of Dragonica, in October 2010; (ii) the increased revenues from Ragnarok Online in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, and the United States and Canada; and (iii) the revenues from H.A.V.E. Online, which was commercially launched in March 2011 in the Japanese market. Our cost of revenues for 2011 increased as compared to 2010 primarily due to increase in salaries and commission paid. Our operating expenses for 2011 increased as compared to 2010 mostly due to impairment loss on intangible assets, professional service fees and commission paid, and advertising expenses. Our revenue trend will continue to be materially affected in the future by popularity of online games introduced by our competitors.

Our corporate income tax rate in 2011 was 24.2%.

 

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Revenues

We derive, and expect to continue to generate, most of our revenues from online game subscription revenue generated in the countries where our games are offered by us and royalties and license fees paid by our licensees in our overseas markets. Our revenues can be classified into the following four categories:

 

   

online games — subscription revenue;

 

   

online games — royalties and license fees;

 

   

mobile games; and

 

   

character merchandising, animation and other revenue.

Online games — subscription revenue

Subscription revenues are from micro-transaction, except in Korea, where we also generate subscription fees from Internet cafés. All subscription fees are prepaid. Prepaid online game subscription fees are deferred and recognized as revenue on a monthly basis in proportion to the number of days lapsed or based on actual hours used. Micro-transaction fees are deferred when in-game items are purchased by users and recognized as revenue when the purchased in-game items are used in the games.

Online games — royalties and license fees

We license the right to market and distribute our games in various countries for a license fee and receive monthly royalties based on an agreed percentage of the licensees’ revenues from our games.

The initial license fees are deferred and recognized ratably as revenue over the license period, which generally does not exceed three years. If license agreements are renewed upon expiration of their terms, we generally receive renewal license fees, which are deferred and recognized ratably over the new license period. The guaranteed minimum royalty payments are deferred and recognized as the relevant royalty is earned. For a table setting forth details of each license agreement, see ITEM 4.B. “BUSINESS OVERVIEW — OUR MARKETS — Overseas markets.”

We also receive royalty revenues from our licensees based on an agreed percentage of each of the licensees’ revenues from our games. Royalty revenues are recognized on a monthly basis after the licensee confirms its revenues based on the licensee’s sales from our games during the month. Our licensees’ sales consist of revenues from subscription fees and micro-transaction, except in Russia and CIS countries, the United Arab Emirates and 19 other countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa, and France and 27 other countries in Europe where our game services are only offered with the micro-transaction model. We generally are advised by each of our licensees as to the amount of royalties earned by us from such licensee within 15 to 25 days following the end of each month and we generally receive payments of the royalties within 20 to 30 days following the end of each month.

Mobile games revenue

Mobile games are played using mobile phones and other mobile devices. Mobile game revenues are derived from contract prices and a proportion of the per-download fees that users pay. Contract prices are recognized when the products or services have been delivered or rendered and the customers can begin use in accordance with the contractual terms, and per-download fees are recognized on a monthly basis as they are earned.

Character merchandising, animation and other revenue

We license the right to commercialize or distribute our game characters or animation to third-party licensees in exchange for contract prices. These contract prices are recognized when the products or services have been delivered or rendered and the customers can begin their use in accordance with the contractual terms. In addition, we receive royalty payment based on a specified percentage of the licensees’ sales.

We also generate revenues from multiplatform game business and sell goods related to mobile phones, such as ornamental accessories and USB data cable.

 

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The following table sets forth a breakdown of revenues by type of revenue and the percentage of total revenue for the periods indicated.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  

Revenue Type

   2009     2010     2011  
     (In millions of Won and percentages)  

Online games-subscription revenue

   (Won) 12,674         22.1   (Won) 9,908         18.9   (Won) 11,556         20.1

Online games-royalties and license fees

     34,037         59.3        32,132         61.4        35,552         61.8   

Mobile games

     7,882         13.7        9,188         17.5        9,293         16.2   

Character merchandising, animation and other revenue

     2,810         4.9        1,134         2.2        1,076         1.9   
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

   (Won) 57,403         100.0   (Won) 52,362         100.0   (Won) 57,477         100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Cost of revenues

Our cost of revenues consists principally of the following:

 

   

operational expenses, server depreciation expenses, server maintenance costs and related personnel costs and amortization of development-related costs as described in ITEM 5.A. “OPERATING RESULTS — CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES — Capitalized software development costs”; and

 

   

royalty payments to Mr. Myoung-Jin Lee, for the right to use the storyline and characters from his “Ragnarok” cartoon series used in our game Ragnarok Online. We paid Mr. Lee an initial license fee of Won 40 million and are required to pay royalties based on 1.0% or 1.5% of adjusted revenues (net of value-added taxes and certain other expenses) or 2.5%, 5% or 10% of net income generated from the use of the Ragnarok brand, depending on the type of revenues received from the operation or licensing of Ragnarok Online.

The cost of revenues from the payments to Mr. Myoung-Jin Lee was Won 446 million for 2010 and Won 453 million (US$391 thousand) for 2011. This agreement expires in January 2033.

Selling, general and administrative expenses

Selling, general and administrative expenses consist of sales commissions paid to independent promotional agents that distribute our online games to our Internet café subscribers in Korea, commissions paid to payment settlement providers, administrative expenses and related personnel expenses of executive and administrative staff, and marketing and promotional expenses and related personnel expenses.

Research and development expenses

Research and development expenses consist primarily of payroll and other overhead expenses which are all expensed as incurred until technological feasibility of a game is reached. Once technological feasibility of a game is reached, these costs are capitalized and, once commercial operation commences, amortized as cost of revenues. See ITEM 5.A. “OPERATING RESULTS — CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES — Capitalized software development costs.”

Interest expense

We recorded interest expense of Won 58 million (US$50 thousand) in 2011 as compared to Won 32 million in 2010 and Won 41 million in 2009.

Foreign currency effects

In 2011, 81.8% of our revenues were denominated in foreign currencies, primarily in the U.S. dollar and the Japanese Yen.

 

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In most of the countries in which our games are distributed, the revenues generated by our overseas subsidiaries and licensees are denominated in local currencies, which include the Japanese Yen, the Euro, the NT dollar, the Thai Baht and the Chinese Yuan. The revenues from those countries, other than the United States, Japan and European countries, are converted into the U.S. dollar for remittance of monthly royalty payments to us. Depreciation of these local currencies against the U.S. dollar will result in reduced monthly royalty payments in the U.S. dollar terms, thereby having a negative impact on our net income.

Although we receive our monthly royalty revenues from our overseas licensees in foreign currencies, primarily in the U.S. dollar and the Japanese Yen, in the case of the United States and Japan, and other local currencies, such as the Euro, the NT dollar, the Thai Baht and the Chinese Yuan in our other principal markets, substantially all of our costs are denominated in Won. We receive monthly royalty payments from our overseas licensees based on an agreed percentage of revenues confirmed and recorded at the end of each month applying the foreign exchange rate applicable on such date. We generally receive these royalty payments 20 to 30 days after the end of each month unless delayed due to extraordinary circumstances. Appreciation or depreciation of the Won against these foreign currencies during this period will result in foreign currency losses or gains and affect our net income.

As of December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009, we had no foreign currency forward contracts outstanding. See ITEM 11. “QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.”

Income tax expenses

Income tax benefit was Won 7,962 million (US$6,873 thousand) in 2011, as compared to income tax expenses of Won 4,207 million in 2010 and Won 4,544 million in 2009.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Our discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based upon our financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates, judgments and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, contingent liabilities, and revenue and expenses during the reporting period. We evaluate our estimates on an ongoing basis based on historical experience and other assumptions we believe are reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. The policies discussed below are considered by our management to be critical because they are not only important to the portrayal of our financial condition and results of operations but also because application and interpretation of these policies require both judgment and estimates of matters that are inherently uncertain and unknown. As a result, actual results may differ materially from our estimates.

Revenue recognition

We derive, and expect to continue to generate, most of our revenues from online game subscription revenue generated in the countries where our games are offered by us and royalties and license fees paid by our licensees in overseas markets. Our revenues can be classified into the following four categories: (i) online games — subscription revenue; (ii) online games — royalties and license fees; (iii) mobile games; and (iv) character merchandising, animation and other revenue. For details, see ITEM 5.A. “OPERATING RESULTS — OVERVIEW — Revenues.”

We recognize revenue in accordance with U.S. GAAP, as set forth in Accounting Standard Codification, or ASC 605, Revenue Recognition and other related pronouncements.

Allowances for doubtful accounts

We maintain allowances for doubtful accounts receivable for estimated losses that result from the inability of our customers to make the required payments. We base our allowances on the likelihood of recoverability of accounts receivable based on past experience and current collection trends. We record allowances for doubtful accounts based on historical payment patterns of our customers and increase our allowances as the length of time such receivables become past due increases.

 

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Subsequent to June 2003, pursuant to agreements with various payment processing service providers, the providers are responsible for remitting to us the full subscription revenues generated in Korea after deducting their fixed service fees and charges of approximately 1.4% to 15%. In addition, we do not assume any collection risk since payment processing service providers now bear the risk of loss and delinquencies.

Capitalized software development costs

We account for capitalized software development costs in accordance with ASC 985, Costs of Software to be Sold, Leased, or Marketed. Software development costs incurred prior to the establishment of technological feasibility are expensed when incurred and treated as research and development expenses. Once the game has reached technological feasibility, all subsequent software development costs for that product are capitalized until it is available for general release to customers. Technological feasibility is evaluated on a product-by-product basis, but generally occurs once the online game has a proven ability to operate on a multi-player level for a large number of users. After the game is available for general release to customers, the capitalized product development costs are amortized and expensed over the game’s estimated useful life. We continually evaluate the reasonableness of the economic life of the capitalized software development costs based on the average life cycle of the games whenever each new game is commercially launched or acquired. Further, when the fair value of an intangible asset is measured by income to be derived from such intangible asset, we consider amortizing such intangible asset following a schedule of when the expected benefits will be consumed or otherwise used up. This expense is recorded as a component of cost of revenues.

We evaluate the recoverability of capitalized software development costs on a product-by-product basis. Capitalized costs for those products whose further development or sale is terminated are expensed in the period at which cancellation of the development or sale of such products occurs. In addition, a charge to operating expenses is recorded when management’s forecast for a particular game indicates that unamortized capitalized costs exceed the net realizable value of that asset.

Significant management judgment is required to assess the timing of technological feasibility as well as the ongoing recoverability of capitalized costs.

Impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of the identifiable net assets acquired in a business combination. As of December 31, 2011, the carrying value of goodwill for each reporting unit, NeoCyon and Gravity Games, are Won 1,210 million (US$1,044 thousand) and Won 6,267 million (US$5,410 thousand), respectively.

Goodwill is accounted for under ASC 350, Intangibles — Goodwill and Other, which requires that goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets no longer be amortized, but instead be tested at least annually for impairment, and more frequently if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of these assets below their carrying amount.

Such an event would include unfavorable variances from established business plans, significant changes in forecasted results or volatility inherent to external markets and industries, which are periodically reviewed by management. Specifically, goodwill impairment is determined using a two-step process. The first step of the goodwill impairment test is used to identify potential impairment by comparing the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value, the second step of the goodwill impairment test is performed to measure the amount of impairment loss, if any. The second step of the goodwill impairment test compares the implied fair value of the reporting unit’s goodwill with the carrying amount of that goodwill. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit’s goodwill exceeds the implied fair value of that goodwill, an impairment loss is recognized immediately in an amount equal to that excess. The goodwill impairment test is carried out at the reporting unit, which is either an operating division or a subdivision, for which stand-alone financial information is available to the management personnel of such division or subdivision for evaluating operating results.

We performed our annual impairment test for goodwill at all of our reporting units using data as of December 31, 2011. In performing the valuations, we used cash flows, which reflected management’s forecasts and discount rates which reflect the risks associated with the current market. Prior to performing the two-step

 

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impairment test for goodwill, we performed a qualitative assessment for the reporting unit of NeoCyon and Gravity Games. Given that the result of prior year impairment analysis indicated that the fair value of the business reporting unit of NeoCyon was significantly greater than its carrying value and the fact that there were no adverse events or circumstances identified which would affect the fair value of the reporting unit of NeoCyon, we concluded not to perform the two-step impairment test for NeoCyon as it is more likely than not that a reporting unit of NeoCyon’s fair value is greater than its carrying amount.

Assets and liabilities that make up the reporting unit of NeoCyon has not changed significantly since the 2010 impairment test. The fair value determination completed in 2010 for the reporting unit resulted in amounts that exceeded the carrying amount by a substantial margin. The likelihood that a current fair value determination would be less than the carrying amount of the reporting unit is remote based on analysis of events that have occurred since the fair value assessment was completed in 2010.

In performing the annual impairment test for goodwill for Gravity Games, the fair value of the business reporting unit of Gravity Games was determined to be lower than its book value. Therefore, during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, we recorded impairment losses of Won 514 million (US$444 thousand) in reporting unit of Gravity Games due to the overall decline in the fair value of the reporting unit and uncertainty in the future. The fair value of the reporting unit was estimated principally using the expected present value of the future cash flows.

Product technology, presented as an acquired intangible asset in balance sheets, represents that related to Dragonica which was recognized as a result of a business combination with Gravity Games in 2010. As of December 31, 2011, the carrying value of product technology is Won 6,706 million (US$5,789 thousand).

Product technology is accounted for under ASC 350, Intangibles — Goodwill and Other, which requires that intangible assets subject to amortization shall be reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the asset or asset group may not be recoverable in accordance with ASC 360, Property, Plant and Equipment. An impairment loss shall be recognized if the carrying amount of an intangible asset is not recoverable and its carrying amount exceeds its fair value. The carrying value is considered unrecoverable if it exceeds the sum of the undiscounted cash flows anticipated from the use and eventual disposition of the asset. Impairment loss is measured as the amount by which the carrying value of an asset exceeds its fair value.

As the significant decrease in revenue of Dragonica was noted in 2011, which was a trigger event for long-lived assets impairment analysis as of December 31, 2011, we performed the impairment test on Dragonica. As the carrying amount of Dragonica exceeded the sum of the estimated undiscounted future cash flows from the use, Dragonica was considered unrecoverable. Therefore, we recognized an impairment loss of Won 2,384 million since the carrying amount before recognition of impairment loss exceeded its fair value.

The assessment of impairments under ASC 350 and ASC 360 requires significant judgment and requires estimates to assess fair values. We believe that the estimates of future cash flows and fair value used in the impairment tests of goodwill and product technology are reasonable; however, in the future, changes in estimates resulting in lower than currently anticipated cash flows and fair value due to unforeseen changes in business assumptions could negatively affect the valuations, which may result in us recognizing impairment charges for goodwill and other intangible assets in the future. In order to evaluate the sensitivity of the fair value calculations on the impairment analysis performed for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, we applied a hypothetical five percent decrease to the fair value of each reporting unit. We believe that plus or minus five percentage difference in cash flow projections or discount rate used would not result in a failure of step one of the goodwill impairment test for the reporting unit of NeoCyon. In addition, the table below shows the sensitivity analysis on the product loss in 2011. The sensitivity has been measured using a hypothetical one percent increase or decrease in revenue growth or discount rate.

 

     Increase/decrease in fair value  
     % Point change     Dragonica     Goodwill of Gravity Games  
     (In millions of Won except for percentage point)  

Discount rate

     +/-1     (115)/121        (788)/940   

Revenue growth

     +/-1     107/(108     238/(231

 

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Impairment of Investments

Our investments are comprised of equity securities accounted for under both the cost and equity methods of accounting. If it has been determined that an investment has sustained an other-than-temporary decline in its value, the investment is written down to its fair value by taking a charge to earnings. We regularly evaluate our investments to identify other-than-temporary impairments of individual securities. We consider the following factors in determining whether an other-than-temporary decline in value has occurred: the length of time and extent to which the market value of the security has been less than its original cost, the financial condition, operating results, business plans, milestones and estimated future cash flows of the investee, and other specific factors affecting the market value.

Fair value measurement on financial instruments

From 2009 to 2010, we invested Won 5,000 million each year in the Equity-Linked Securities fund, or ELS fund, which is comprised of bonds, marketable equity securities and trust funds as of December 31, 2010. These investments are classified as short-term available for sale investments on the balance sheet. The fair value of bonds is derived based on quoted prices in active markets, the fair value of marketable securities is derived based on quoted prices in active exchange markets, and the fair value of the trust funds is derived based on quoted prices in markets that are not active or other inputs that are observable. The trust fund portion of these investments contains an embedded derivative. We have determined it is not practical to bifurcate the embedded derivative and account for separately. In accordance with ASC 825, we have elected the fair value option to account for these investments and have assessed the fair value of the instruments as a whole. In 2011, we sold ELS fund, which was invested in 2010 and public bonds, which were non-current available-for-sale securities.

Income taxes

We account for income taxes under the provisions of ASC 740, Income Taxes. Under ASC 740, income taxes are accounted for under the asset and liability method.

Management judgment is required in determining our provision for income taxes, deferred tax assets and liabilities and the extent to which deferred tax assets can be realized. A valuation allowance is provided for deferred tax assets to the extent that it is more likely than not that such deferred tax assets will not be realized. Realization of future tax benefits related to the deferred tax assets is dependent on many factors, including our ability to generate taxable income within the period during which the temporary differences reverse, the outlook for the economic environment in which the business operates, and the overall future industry outlook. As of December 31, 2011, we have concluded that the portions of the deferred tax assets of Gravity and all of the deferred tax assets of NeoCyon and Gravity Games are realizable based upon the level of historical and projected net taxable income.

Deferred income taxes as of December 31, 2011 were calculated based on the rate of 22% for fiscal years 2012 and thereafter for the amounts expected to be realized during the relevant fiscal year due to the amendment to the corporate income tax law in Korea.

Recent accounting pronouncements

In October 2009, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, issued FASB Accounting Standards Update, or ASU, 2009-13, Revenue Recognition (Topic 605) Multiple-Deliverable Revenue Arrangements. This update establishes a selling price hierarchy for determining the selling price of a deliverable. The amendments of this update replaces the term “fair value” in the revenue allocation guidance with “selling price” to clarify that the allocation of revenue is based on entity-specific assumptions rather than assumptions of a marketplace participant. In conjunction with the FASB’s deliberations on ASU 2009-13, the FASB considered whether similar changes should be made to the guidance in ASC 985, Software. The FASB considered whether alternatives for determining “fair value” or selling price should also apply to arrangements that have deliverables that are within the scope of ASC 985. The FASB observed that multiple deliverable arrangements in the software industry differ from multiple deliverable arrangements in other industries. As such, the higher threshold of VSOE for purposes of separating software deliverables was retained as was the use of the residual method, where appropriate. Instead, the FASB

 

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issued ASU 2009-14, Software (Topic 985) — Certain Revenue Arrangements That Include Software Elements, which modified the scope of ASC 985 to exclude tangible products and certain software components of tangible products from its scope. The ASUs are effective for the revenue arrangements entered into or materially modified in fiscal year beginning on or after June 15, 2010. The Company adopted these amendments effective in the first quarter of 2011, and the adoption did not impact the Company’s financial condition and results of operations as ASC 985 is still applicable for the Company.

In December 2010, the FASB issued ASU 2010-28, when to perform step 2 of the goodwill impairment test for reporting units with zero or negative carrying amounts (a consensus of the FASB Emerging Issues Task Force). The ASU modifies step 1 of the goodwill impairment test under ASC 350, Intangibles — Goodwill and Other, for reporting units with zero or negative carrying amounts to require an entity to perform step 2 of the goodwill impairment test if it is more likely than not that a goodwill impairment exists. In determining whether it is more likely than not that a goodwill impairment exists and whether an interim goodwill impairment test between annual test dates is necessary, an entity should consider whether there are adverse qualitative factors, including the examples provided in ASC paragraph 350-20-35-30, in determining whether an interim goodwill impairment test between annual test dates is necessary. The ASU is effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those years, beginning after December 15, 2010, for a public entity. The Company adopted the amendments effective, and the adoption did not impact the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.

In May 2011, the FASB issued ASU No. 2011-04, Amendments to Achieve Common Fair Value Measurement and Disclosure Requirements in U.S. GAAP and IFRSs to provide largely identical guidance about fair value measurement and disclosure requirements. This standard does not extend the use of fair value but, rather, provide guidance about how fair value should be applied where it already is required or permitted under IFRS. For U.S. GAAP, most of the changes are clarifications of existing guidance or wording changes to align with IFRS 13. A public entity is required to apply the ASU prospectively for interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2011. Early adoption is not permitted for a public entity. In the period of adoption, a reporting entity will be required to disclose a change, if any, in valuation technique and related inputs that result from applying the ASU and to quantify the total effect, if practicable. The Company is currently assessing the potential impact of the guidance.

In September 2011, the FASB issued ASU 2011-08, Testing Goodwill for Impairment, to help entities perform their goodwill impairment test in a cost-effective manner. This ASU allows entities the option to perform a qualitative assessment to determine whether it is more likely than not that a reporting unit’s fair value is less than its carrying amount prior to performing the two-step impairment test. An entity has the option to either perform a qualitative assessment or by-pass the qualitative assessment and proceed directly to Step 1 of the two-step goodwill impairment test for each of its reporting units. ASU 2011-08 is effective for annual and interim goodwill impairment tests performed for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2011 with early adoption permitted. The Company has early adopted this ASU and the adoption of ASU 2011-08 had no material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

In June and December 2011, the FASB issued ASU 2011-05, Presentation of Comprehensive Income, and ASU 2011-12, Deferral of the Effective Date for Amendments to the Presentation of Reclassifications of Items Out of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income in Accounting Standards Update No. 2011-05. The amended guidance requires an entity to present components of net income and other comprehensive income in one continuous statement, referred to as the statement of comprehensive income, or in two separate, but consecutive statements. The current option to report other comprehensive income and its components in the statement of stockholders’ equity will be eliminated. Although the new guidance changes the presentation of comprehensive income, there are no changes to the components that are recognized in net income or other comprehensive income under existing guidance. An entity should apply the ASU retrospectively. For a public entity, these ASUs are effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those years, beginning after December 15, 2011. These ASUs will change our financial statement presentation of comprehensive income but will not impact our net income, financial position, or cash flows.

 

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS: 2011 COMPARED TO 2010

The following table summarizes our results of operations for the periods indicated.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2010     2011     2011(1)     % Change  
                 (Unaudited)        
     (In millions of Won and thousands of US$  
     except for percentages)  

Revenues:

        

Online games — subscription revenue

   (Won) 9,908      (Won) 11,556      US$ 9,975        16.6

Online games — royalties and license fees

     32,132        35,552        30,688        10.6   

Mobile games

     9,188        9,293        8,022        1.1   

Character merchandising, animation and other revenue

     1,134        1,076        928        (5.1
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total net revenue

     52,362        57,477        49,613        9.8   

Cost of revenue

     20,873        24,243        20,926        16.1   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

     31,489        33,234        28,687        5.5   

Gross profit margin(2)

     60.1     57.8     57.8  

Operating expenses:

        

Selling, general and administrative

     20,422        22,759        19,645        11.4   

Research and development

     4,652        4,136        3,570        (11.1

Impairment losses on intangible assets

     475        3,697        3,191        678.3   

Gain on loss of control in a subsidiary

            (548     (473     N/M   

Settlement cost of litigation

            29        25        N/M   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     25,549        30,073        25,958        17.7   

Operating income

     5,940        3,161        2,729        (46.8

Operating profit margin(3)

     11.3     5.5     5.5  

Other income (expenses):

        

Interest income

     1,946        1,844        1,592        (5.2

Interest expense

     (32     (58     (50     81.3   

Foreign currency income, net

     96        180        155        87.5   

Others, net

     312        (90     (78     N/M   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total net other income

     2,322        1,876        1,619        (19.2

Income before income tax expenses (benefit) and equity loss on investments

     8,262        5,037        4,348        (39.0

Income tax expenses (benefit)

     4,207        (7,962     (6,873     N/M   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income before equity loss on investments

     4,055        12,999        11,221        220.6   

Equity loss on investments, net(4)

     (345     (242     (209     (29.9
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income

     3,710        12,757        11,012        243.9   

LESS: Net loss attributable to the non-controlling interest(5)

     (20     (2,171     (1,874     10,755.0   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income attributable to parent company

   (Won) 3,730      (Won) 14,928      US$  12,886        300.2
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

N/M = not meaningful

 

Notes:

 

(1) For convenience only, the Won amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars at the rate of Won 1,158.50 to US$1.00, the noon buying rate as quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in effect on December 30, 2011.

 

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(2) Gross profit margin for each period is calculated by dividing gross profit by total net revenue for each period.

 

(3) Operating profit margin for each period is calculated by dividing operating income by total net revenue for each period.

 

(4) Represents the losses from our 16.39% equity investment in Online Game Revolution Fund No. 1, our 25% equity investment in Ingamba and our 25% equity investment in Gravity EU SAS. These investments were accounted for using the equity method of accounting.

 

(5) Represents the non-controlling interest in NeoCyon, a 96.11% held subsidiary acquired in December 2005 and Gravity Games, formerly Barunson Interactive, a 50.83% held subsidiary acquired in October 2010.

Revenues

Our total revenues increased by 9.8% to Won 57,477 million (US$49,613 thousand) in 2011 from Won 52,362 million in 2010, primarily due to:

 

   

a 16.6% increase in subscription revenue to Won 11,556 million (US$9,975 thousand) in 2011 from Won 9,908 million in 2010. This 16.6% increase resulted primarily from (i) 23.8% increase in the revenues in Korea to Won 4,740 million (US$4,091 thousand) in 2011 from Won 3,829 million in 2010 resulting from increased revenues from Ragnarok Online due to our ceasing subscription-based fee model and offering the game with free-to-play servers in November 2010, which only apply micro-transaction model encouraging our users in Korea to play the game without paying subscription fees or buying playing time and to purchase in-game items and (ii) a 25.0% increase in the revenues from Ragnarok Online, Dragon Saga, Requiem and R.O.S.E. Online in the United States and Canada to Won 5,832 million (US$5,034 thousand) in 2011 from Won 4,664 million in 2010 due mostly to our ceasing subscription-based fee model of Ragnarok Online and offering the game with free-to-play servers in April 2011 and revenues from Dragon Saga, which was commercially launched in October 2010; and

 

   

a 10.6% increase in royalties and license fees to Won 35,552 million (US$30,688 thousand) in 2011 from Won 32,132 million in 2010, which primarily resulted from increased revenues from Dragonica to Won 4,231 million (US$3,652 thousand) in 2011 from Won 747 million in 2010 resulting from our acquisition of Gravity Games, the developer of Dragonica, in October 2010 and Won 1,106 million (US$955 thousand) of revenues from H.A.V.E. Online, which was commercially launched in Japan in March 2011.

Such increase was partially offset by a 9.4% decrease in the revenues to Won 22,320 (US$19,266 thousand) in 2011 from Won 24,637 million in 2010 from Ragnarok Online in Japan, due mainly to the fact that Ragnarok Online has reached maturity in the Japanese market and the Japanese users with high loyalty to the game are aging.

Cost of revenues

Our cost of revenues increased by 16.1% to Won 24,243 million (US$20,926 thousand) in 2011 from Won 20,873 million in 2010, primarily due to:

 

   

a 21.1% increase in salaries to Won 11,003 million (US$9,498 thousand) in 2011 from Won 9,088 million in 2010 primarily resulting from increase in salaries for NeoCyon and Gravity Games. The increase in salaries for NeoCyon of Won 1,050 million (US$906 thousand) was primarily as a result of the number of staff in service division increasing constantly over the current period. The salaries for Gravity Games in 2010 only reflected the period after our acquisition in October 2010 whereas in 2011 such salaries were reflected for the full year; and

 

   

a 40.3% increase in commission paid to Won 3,612 million (US$3,118 thousand) in 2011 from Won 2,574 million in 2010 mainly attributable to royalty payment for H.A.V.E. Online as a result of its commercial launch in March 2011.

Such increases in cost of revenues were partially offset by a 17.2% decrease in outsourcing fees for NeoCyon to Won 1,937 million (US$1,672 thousand) in 2011 from Won 2,339 million in 2010 due to decreased outsourcing fees related to games embedded in mobile phones as well as an increase in in-house game development.

 

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Gross profit and gross profit margin

As a result of the foregoing, our gross profit increased by 5.5% to Won 33,234 million (US$28,687 thousand) in 2011 from Won 31,489 million in 2010. Our gross profit margin decreased to 57.8% in 2011 from 60.1% in 2010. The decrease in gross profit margin in 2011 compared with 2010 was primarily due to (i) NeoCyon’s expanding business resulting in hiring more employees which caused an increase in the related costs; and (ii) the fact that the lower gross profit margin of Gravity Games was reflected only for the period after the acquisition in October 2010 whereas in 2011 it was reflected for the full year.

Operating expenses

Selling, general and administrative expenses.    Our selling, general and administrative expenses increased by 11.4% to Won 22,759 million (US$19,645 thousand) in 2011 from Won 20,422 million in 2010, primarily due to:

 

   

a 52.5% increase in professional service fees and commission paid to Won 4,429 million (US$3,823 thousand) in 2011 from Won 2,904 million in 2010 primarily resulting from (i) fees and expenses incurred in connection with advisory service for tax and legal consulting service; (ii) certain portion of the license fees for Weapons of the Gods we paid being treated as expenses due to the low likelihood of commercial service of the game; and (iii) increase in payment of gateway fees of Gravity Interactive due to increase in its revenues; and

 

   

a 68.4% increase in advertising expenses to Won 3,121 million (US$2,694 thousand) in 2011 from Won 1,853 million in 2010, which mainly consist of marketing expenses for closed and open beta testing of Kun Woong Online and closed beta testing of Ragnarok Online II, and expenses related to the Ragnarok World Championship held in October 2011.

Such increases in selling, general and administrative expenses were partially offset by a 59.7% decrease in taxes and dues expenses to Won 373 million (US$322 thousand) in 2011 from Won 925 million in 2010 primarily resulting from a tax examination with respect to transfer pricing adjustments between the actual transaction price and the estimated arm’s length price, which did not occur in 2011.

Research and development expenses.    Our research and development expenses decreased by 11.1% to Won 4,136 million (US$3,570 thousand) in 2011 from Won 4,652 million in 2010, due to development expenses for a console game based on one of our online games in 2010, which decreased significantly in 2011. Such decrease in research and development expenses were offset by increased development expenses related to East Road and mobile games.

Impairment loss on intangible assets.    We had Won 3,697 million (US$3,191 thousand) impairment loss on intangible assets in 2011 for capitalized research and development cost of Eternal Destiny, and intangible assets and goodwill of Dragonica.

Operating income and operating profit margin

As a result of the cumulative effects of the reasons stated above, we recorded an operating income of Won 3,161 million (US$2,729 thousand) in 2011 compared to an operating income of Won 5,940 million in 2010 and our operating profit margin recorded at 5.5% in 2011.

Net other income

Our net other income decreased 19.2% to Won 1,876 million (US$1,619 thousand) in 2011 from Won 2,322 million in 2010 primarily due to a gain of Won 335 million in 2010 on disposition of available-for-sale securities, which did not occur in 2011.

Income tax expenses

We recorded an income tax benefit of Won 7,962 million (US$6,873 thousand) in 2011, as compared to an income tax expense of Won 4,207 million in 2010, mostly due to the partial release of deferred tax assets of Gravity. Up to 2010, we had recognized full valuation allowance for the deferred tax assets of Gravity; however, from 2011,

 

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we concluded that Won 7,937 million (US$6,850 thousand) or 42% of the deferred tax assets from tax credit carry forwards and Won 2,182 million (US$1,883 thousand) of net deferred tax assets from the other temporary differences are realizable.

Equity loss on investments

In 2010, equity loss on investments represents the net loss incurred from a 16.39% partnership interest in Online Game Revolution Fund No. 1 and the equity income of Ingmaba LLC, in which we invested Russian Ruble 13 million, which represents 25% of Ingamba’s total capital. The Company cannot significantly influence the partnership’s operation and financial policies under the partnership agreement. However, we account for the investment under the equity method of accounting in accordance with ASC 323, Investment — Equity Method and Joint Ventures, which requires the use of the equity method unless the investors’ interest “is so minor that the limited partner may have virtually no influence over partnership operating and financial policies.” The investment in Ingamba is accounted for as an equity method investment. We recorded Won 358 million as equity loss of the partnership of Online Game Revolution Fund No. 1 and Won 13 million as equity income of Ingamba in 2010.

In 2011, equity loss on investments represents the losses from the equity loss of Ingamba and Gravity EU SAS, and the loss incurred from a 16.39% partnership interest Online Game Revolution No. 1. In July 2011, Gravity EU SASU increased its capital stock and as a result of our participation in such capital increase together with Media-Participations Paris SA, Gravity EU SASU was converted into a joint venture company, Gravity SAS, in which our ownership is 25%. Therefore Gravity EU SAS was accounted for by using an equity method since August 2011. We recorded Won 134 million (US$116 thousand), Won 70 million (US$60 thousand) and Won 38 million (US$33 thousand) and as equity loss of Ingamba and Gravity EU SAS, and the partnership of Online Game Revolution Fund No. 1, in 2011, respectively.

On December 31, 2010, the term of the partnership of Online Game Revolution Fund No. 1 expired and it is under liquidation during 2011 and 2012. The partnership had invested in eight games since its operation. We expect that the partnership will be able to sell certain games before the consummation of the liquidation, the remaining disposable assets including cash and receivables will be distributed to each investor of the partnership upon dissolution. We have estimated that the Company’s share of such liquidation proceeds will be at least equal to the Company’s carrying value of its investments in Online Game Revolution Fund No. 1 at December 31, 2011.

Non-controlling interest

Non-controlling interest represents the net income from NeoCyon, our 96.11%-held subsidiary and Gravity Games, formerly known as Barunson Interactive, our 50.83%-held subsidiary, attributable to third-party minority interest holders. We acquired 96.11% and 50.83% of the voting equity of NeoCyon and Gravity Games in 2005 and 2010, respectively.

Net income attributable to parent company

As a result of foregoing, we recorded a net income attributable to parent company of Won 14,928 million (US$12,886 thousand) in 2011 compared to a net income attributable to parent company of Won 3,730 million in 2010.

 

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS: 2010 COMPARED TO 2009

The following table summarizes our results of operations for the periods indicated.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2009     2010     2010(1)     % Change  
                 (Unaudited)        
     (In millions of Won and thousands of US$  
     except for percentages)  

Revenues:

        

Online games — subscription revenue

   (Won) 12,674      (Won) 9,908      US$ 9,030        (21.8 )% 

Online games — royalties and license fees

     34,037        32,132        29,284        (5.6

Mobile games

     7,882        9,188        8,374        16.6   

Character merchandising, animation and other revenue

     2,810        1,134        1,034        (59.6
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total net revenue

     57,403        52,362        47,722        (8.8

Cost of revenue

     21,170        20,873        19,023        (1.4
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

     36,233        31,489        28,699        (13.1

Gross profit margin(2)

     63.1     60.1     60.1  

Operating expenses:

        

Selling, general and administrative

     21,651        20,422        18,612        (5.7

Research and development

     1,799        4,652        4,240        158.6   

Impairment losses on intangible assets

     280        475        433        69.6   

Settlement cost of litigation

     1,649                      N/M   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     25,379        25,549        23,285        0.7   

Operating income

     10,854        5,940        5,414        (45.3

Operating profit margin(3)

     18.9     11.3     11.3  

Other income (expenses):

        

Interest income

     2,395        1,946        1,774        (18.7

Interest expense

     (41     (32     (29     (22.0

Foreign currency income (losses), net

     (225     96        87        N/M   

Others, net

     (21     312        283        N/M   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total net other income

     2,108        2,322        2,115        10.2   

Income before income tax expenses and equity loss on investments

     12,962        8,262        7,529        (36.3

Income tax expenses

     4,544        4,207        3,835        (7.4
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income before equity loss on investments

     8,418        4,055        3,694        (51.8

Equity loss on investments, net(4)

     (1,424     (345     (314     (75.8
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income

     6,994        3,710        3,380        (47.0

LESS: Net income (loss) attributable to the non-controlling interest(5)

     77        (20     (18     N/M   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income attributable to parent company

   (Won) 6,917      (Won) 3,730      US$ 3,398        (46.1 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

N/M = not meaningful

 

Notes:

 

(1) For convenience only, the Won amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars at the rate of Won 1,097.25 to US$1.00, the noon buying rate as quoted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in effect on March 31, 2011.

 

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(2) Gross profit margin for each period is calculated by dividing gross profit by total net revenue for each period.

 

(3) Operating profit margin for each period is calculated by dividing operating income by total net revenue for each period.

 

(4) Represents the losses from our 16.39% equity investment in Online Game Revolution Fund No. 1 and the income from our 25% equity investment in Ingamba. These investments were accounted for using the equity method of accounting.

 

(5) Represents the non-controlling interest in NeoCyon, a 96.11% held subsidiary acquired in December 2005 and Gravity Games, formerly Barunson Interactive, a 50.83% held subsidiary acquired in October 2010.

Revenues

Our total revenues decreased by 8.8% to Won 52,362 million (US$47,722 thousand) in 2010 from Won 57,403 million in 2009, primarily due to:

 

   

a 21.8% decrease in subscription revenue to Won 9,908 million (US$9,030 thousand) in 2010 from Won 12,674 million in 2009. This 21.8% decrease resulted primarily from the 22.7% decrease in the revenues in Korea to Won 3,829 million (US$3,490 thousand) in 2010 from Won 4,951 million in 2009 resulting from decreased revenues from Ragnarok Online, Requiem and Emil Chronicle Online and the 19.4% decrease in the revenues from Ragnarok Online and Requiem in the United States and Canada to Won 4,664 million (US$4,251 thousand) in 2010 from Won 5,785 million in 2009 due mostly to the fact that Ragnarok Online has reached maturity in the markets;

 

   

a 5.6% decrease in royalties and license fees to Won 32,132 million (US$29,284 thousand) in 2010 from Won 34,037 million in 2009, which primarily resulted from decreased revenues from Ragnarok Online in the Japanese market and the strengthening of the Korean Won by approximately 2.6% against the Japanese Yen from 2009 to 2010, though such decrease was partially offset by a 49.2% increase in the revenues from Ragnarok Online in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau driven by the introduction of a renewed version of the game in September 2010 in the region. Royalties and license fees from Ragnarok Online decreased to Won 30,215 million (US$ 27,536 thousand) in 2010 from Won 33,294 million in 2009 due mostly to the fact that Ragnarok Online has reached maturity in most of our principal markets; and

 

   

a 59.6% decrease in character merchandising, animation and other revenue to Won 1,134 million (US$1,034 thousand) in 2010 from Won 2,810 million in 2009, which resulted primarily from a 69.2% decrease in sales of goods to Won 473 million (US$431 thousand) in 2010 from Won 1,535 million in 2009 and from a 42.9% decrease in character merchandising revenue to Won 524 million (US$477 thousand) in 2010 from Won 917 million in 2009.

Such decreases in revenues were partially offset by a 16.6% increase in mobile game revenue to Won 9,188 million (US$8,374 thousand) in 2010 from Won 7,882 million in 2009. This 16.6% increase resulted primarily from revenues of NeoCyon, mainly due to the increase in sales of games embedded in mobile phones and royalty revenues from mobile games based on Ragnarok Online in the Japanese market.

Cost of revenues

Our cost of revenues decreased by 1.4% to Won 20,873 million (US$19,023 thousand) in 2010 from Won 21,170 million in 2009, primarily due to:

 

   

a 22.4% decrease in amortization on intangible assets to Won 2,048 million (US$1,866 thousand) in 2010 from Won 2,639 million in 2009 primarily resulting from development costs of Emil Chronicle Online and Requiem being fully amortized in July 2010 and September 2010, respectively. Amortization expense of development costs recorded was Won 1,549 million (US$1,412 thousand) in 2010 and Won 2,595 million in 2009; and

 

   

a 68.6% decrease in cost of goods sold by NeoCyon to Won 286 million (US$261 thousand) in 2010 from Won 912 million in 2009. NeoCyon sells goods related to cell phones and decrease in sales of goods in 2010 led to decre