Recipe for Domination? Korea’s Kakao Mixes Messaging and Gaming, Goes Global



KARA’s Gyuri plays Anipang, photo

Kakao Corporation’s messaging app KakaoTalk has been at the fore of a wave of Asian chat apps burning up handsets across the region. This past summer it boldly stepped into the mobile games space by launching Kakao Game in Korea. And now it’s taking its game center even further as the company announced today that this feature will now be launched for the global market.

KakaoTalk isn’t the first of the major messaging apps to make the transition to mobile gaming, as rival Line from NHN Japan beat them to the punch back in July by just a few weeks. But Kakao Corporation’s announcement today proudly points out that it is the first company to successfully merge a messaging service and social games on mobile.

So how successful has Kakao Game been exactly? The company says that in its first three months, the service has seen 82 million game downloads and 23 million unique users. The hit game Anipang alone has 20 million subscribers and 12 million daily active users.

Perhaps the most staggering factoid from the company today is that their penetration among smartphone users in Korea is an astounding 77 percent [1].

Of course, the all important metric for the platform’s success is revenue. And for October alone, Kakao Game took in $35.3 million. For the first three months in total, revenue amounted to $51.6 million.

Earlier this week when we spoke to the company, we were told that Kakao had turned the corner in September and is now a profitable company. It will be interesting to see them continue to build their business on the KakaoTalk platform, and expand their operations into new regions.


Kakao games are dominating Google Play’s top grossing (left) and free (right) app charts. See more on App Annie.

  1. Defined as a user who as downloaded more than one game from Kakao Game.  ↩

(And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)

Read More