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Games

Supergene looks well beyond smash hit instant game OMG

The social content and instant game developer is anxious to expand in the global social content service market

By Nov 03, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Supergene's smash hit instant game OMG
Supergene's smash hit instant game OMG

Commanding more than 100 million users for a South Korean Internet social service or a mobile game is uncommon even among industry leaders.

Naver Corp.'s messenger app Line, Naver Z Corp.’s metaverse platform Zepeto and selfie camera app SNOW are among the few services boasting over 100 million users.

In the game industry, there are only a handful in the over-100-million club, including Nexon Co.'s Dungeon Fighter and Krafton Inc.'s PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

Supergene Inc., a little-known Korean social content and game developer, is an exception.

Supergene co-CEOs Lee Jin-ho (left) and Na Young-chae
Supergene co-CEOs Lee Jin-ho (left) and Na Young-chae

The startup’s OMG, a social quiz game, saw the number of its monthly average users (MAU) rise above 100 million just a month after its October 2018 launch through Facebook’s instant games platform.

OMG’s users reached 300 million at its peak so far in April 2020, becoming the No. 1 service on the entire game platform of Facebook, which last week renamed itself Meta Platforms Inc.

“We started our business in the Philippines where English is an official language. The people speak English and if a quiz game succeeded there, we thought it would also work globally, and it worked,” said Na Young-chae, co-CEO of Supergene.

Na and his partner and co-CEO Lee Jin-ho, who previously worked at Kakao Corp.’s Philippine branch, founded Supergene in December 2016 as Kakao withdrew from the Southeast Asian country to focus on the Korean market.

Supergene's social quiz game OMG
Supergene's social quiz game OMG

GETTING VIRAL WITH GOOD SHARING RATES

In January 2017, Supergene launched its first product wittybunny.com, currently inactive, a web-based quiz service for a global audience, which once achieved up to 800 million page views per month.

“We reached the breakeven point in just three months with wittybunny through advertising revenue. We saw the growth potential in the game content service,” said Na.

With the achievement, Supergene started to develop games based on the latest computer language HTML5 for the Facebook gaming platform and then launched its first HTML5 quiz game OMG.

For Instagram users, the company last year launched an augmented reality (AR) effect service called OMG AR, which provides 180 effects.

Having launched more than 30 instant games on Facebook’s gaming platform, Supergene also operates other social games such as Signal, The Puzzle, Puzzle Wizard, and Super Pop.

Supergene's friendship app Signal
Supergene's friendship app Signal

On the back of a series of successful game launches, the company’s sales increased eightfold to 26.7 billion won ($22.6 million) in 2020 from 3.2 billion won in 2018. Its operating profit jumped to 23.3 billion won from 1.4 billion won in the same period.

With more than 70 employees working in offices in Pangyo, the Korean version of Silicon Valley, and Manila, Philippines, Supergene is working to take its latest friendship app Signal to the global market.

“Efforts to make friends online with like-minded people are growing in the pandemic era. We aim to launch more of such services globally while striving to secure as many gaming intellectual property rights as possible,” said Na.

Write to Joo-Wan Kim at kjwan@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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