Gravity (company)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Gravity Corp)
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Gravity (American company).
GRAVITY Co., Ltd.
Type Public
Traded as NASDAQGRVY
Industry Software & Programming
Founded April 2000
Headquarters Seoul, Republic of Korea
Key people Park, Hyun Chul, Chairman & CEO
Baik, Seungtaik, COO
Lee, Jonathan J., CFO
Products MMORPG and Mobile video games
Revenue Decrease US$40,963,000 (2006)[1][needs update]
Net income Decrease US$(22,265,000) (2006)[needs update]
Parent GungHo Online Entertainment
Subsidiaries Gravity Interactive, Inc.
Website Gravity Co., Ltd. Korean

GRAVITY Co., Ltd. (also known as Gravity Corporation) (Korean: 그라비티 주식회사) is a South Korean video game corporation primarily known for the development of the MMORPG Ragnarok Online.

History[edit]

The corporation started as a small business in Shinsa-dong, Kangnam-ku, Seoul, South Korea and has expanded to an international corporate interest with several subsidiary divisions. On 8 February 2005, Gravity Corporation made their IPO and traded $108 million US dollars on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol GRVY.[2]

The company has had a rather turbulent history initially involving internal political conflicts between CEO Kim Hakkyu (who eventually left the company), and company president Jung Ryool Kim (who later assumed control as CEO), but has since stabilised and expanded operations to all of north and south-east Asia through supervised partnerships with native corporate entities. However, while Gravity Corporation's flagship product Ragnarok Online is considered a success in Asia, operations are not as well developed in Europe and the United States in comparison to similar products marketed and developed there.

On 30 August 2005, Jung Ryool Kim, the controlling shareholder, sold his 52% stake and set plans to quit as a director. The buyers of his shares were Ezer and Techno Groove of Japan, a pair of technology ventures controlled by Il Young Ryu and Taizo and Masayoshi Son. After becoming the new majority shareholder, on 13 September 2005, Il Young Ryu was named by Gravity as its new chairman and joint chief executive. Il Young Ryu is also the founder of Area Network Limited and the CEO of Internet Japan. In December, 2006, Techno Groove merged into Asian Groove, and ceased to exist. EZER subsequently returned Techno Groove's investment of 9.9 billion yen to Asian Groove, which gave up any interest in Gravity. On 19 October 2007, EZER sold their interest in Gravity to Son Assets Management or SAM.[3][4][5][6]

On 22 May 2006, Gravity announced it had invested $9 Million in US game developer Perpetual Entertainment. Consequently, Gravity received a position on Perpetual's board of directors. Gravity also received "priority rights for future access to contents and other intellectual property rights of Perpetual Entertainment."[7] On 21 November 2007, Gravity announced they had lost their investment after Perpetual cancelled its development of the MMORPG Gods and Heroes. The loss would be reflected in their financial statement for 2007.[8]

On 5 December 2007, Gravity announced they had formed a new US-based game developer, L5 Games. L5 is a subsidiary of Gravity Interactive, Inc. and is based in San Mateo, California. The company is composed of former Blizzard Entertainment employees.[9]

On 14 February 2008, GungHo Online Entertainment obtained 52.4% stake of Gravity.[10]

Diversion of Revenues Under Previous Management[edit]

From 2002 through 2004, Gravity's chairman Mr. Jung Ryool Kim diverted approximately $6 Million in revenue from the company to himself. In 2005, Kim sold his shares of Gravity to EZER, Inc., a Japanese corporation. Kim paid the company back KRW 7.8 billion on 17 October 2005. After an investigation, Gravity and Kim reached a final settlement where Mr. Kim would additionally pay Gravity "in part to reimburse the Company for certain of the costs and expenses incurred by the Company in connection with the investigation of the former Chairman's diversion of revenues otherwise due to the Company." Both parties agreed to cease any civil and crimial litigation against one another. As a result of the investigation, Gravity was forced to restate its financial statements for the years 2002-2004.[11][12][13]

Settlement, Conclusion Of Litigation[edit]

In 2006, two U.S. based hedge funds created a committee for "fair treatment of minority shareholders" which initiated litigation charging that the majority shareholders and officers have violated their fiduciary obligations.

The funds, Moon Capital Management and Ramius Capital Group, both headquartered in New York City, demanded that Gravity call an extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders to give them a chance to vote Il Young Ryu out of office. Their demands were in time successful, and a meeting was scheduled for 26 December.

On 11 June 2007, Gravity announced that it and other defendants had reached an agreement in principle to settle the class action litigation brought on behalf of purchasers of the Company's American Depository Shares during the period from 7 February 2005 November 10, 2005, inclusive. $10 Million was set aside to pay the plaintiffs, $5 Million of which came directly from Gravity, in exchange for being released from any liability. However, the company continued to deny any wrongdoing.[14]

On 7 January 2008, Gravity announced that the federal judge presiding over the consolidated class action approved the settlement of the class action. In addition, no plaintiff has filed an appeal during the 30-day time appeal period which expired on 21 December 2007.[15]

Game titles[edit]

The following are games that have been published and/or are currently being developed by Gravity.

Requiem: Bloodymare[edit]

Main article: Requiem: Bloodymare

Requiem: Bloodymare (Korean: 레퀴엠 온라인), often referred to as Requiem, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game created by Gravity. It was first released in South Korea on 31 August 2007 for Microsoft Windows and has since been released in many other locales around the world.

Ice Age Online[edit]

On 14 January 2008, the Company announced an exclusive seven-year deal with 20th Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising to develop and publish "Ice Age Online", an online game based on FOX's Ice Age motion picture franchise, but development was halted in 2009.[16]

Ragnarok[edit]

Main article: Ragnarok Online

Ragnarok Online (Korean: 라그나로크 온라인), often referred to as RO, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game created by Gravity based on the manhwa Ragnarok by Lee Myung-jin. It was first released in South Korea on 31 August 2002 for Microsoft Windows and has since been released in many other locales around the world. Much of the game's mythos is based on Norse mythology, but its style has been influenced by Christianity and various Asian cultures as well. The game has spawned an animated series, Ragnarok the Animation, and a sequel game, Ragnarok Online 2: Legend of the Second, which is a remake of Ragnarok Online 2: The Gate of the World is currently in development. It has also spawned a beat'em up game called Ragnarok Battle Offline, which was developed by French Bread, but published by Gravity.

Ragnarok II[edit]

Ragnarok Online 2: Legend of the Second (Korean: 라그나로크 온라인 2: Legend of the Second; is an MMORPG created by Gravity Corp. of South Korea and is the sequel to the popular MMORPG, Ragnarok Online. Most of the game's universe is based on Norse mythology. The soundtrack was produced by Yoko Kanno, well known for her work in Cowboy Bebop and other anime series.

ROSE[edit]

Main article: ROSE Online

ROSE Online, or Rush On Seven Episodes Online (Korean: 로즈 온라인) is an MMORPG which was created by Korean company Triggersoft and was published by Gravity Corp. Triggersoft stopped developing the game in 2007, and the rights of ROSE Online were sold to several different companies which now develop and publish their own versions of the game. For instance, Gravity Interactive, Inc. develops and publishes its version of the game for 3 North American and 40 European countries.[17]

PC[edit]

Gravity Corporation has also published and/or developed the following PC game titles:

Mobile[edit]

Gravity has also published and/or developed the following titles for mobile devices:

See also[edit]

Subsidiaries[edit]

Gravity owns a number of subsidiary companies, which publish and develop its games in countries and regions around the world.

  • Gravity Interactive publishes games in North America. It was established in March, 2003, and is based in Marina del Rey, California.[18]
  • Gravity CIS, Inc. publishes games in Russia and CIS countries. It was established in 2005 and is based in Moscow, Russia.[19]
  • Gravity Europe SAS publishes games in Europe. It was established in September, 2006, and is based in Paris, France.[20]
  • Neo Cyon, Inc., established in 2000, develops and publishes mobile games and MMORPGs. It was acquired by Gravity in 2005.[21][22]
  • Triggersoft, which created ROSE Online, was acquired by Gravity in 2005. It was liquidated in 2007.[23]

External links[edit]

References[edit]