Bluehole (company)

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Bluehole, Inc.
Native name
㈜블루홀
(Ju) Beulluhol
Formerly
Bluehole Studio, Inc. (2007–2015)
Subsidiary
IndustryVideo game industry
FoundedMarch 2007; 11 years ago (2007-03) in Seoul, South Korea
FounderChang Byung-gyu
Headquarters,
South Korea
Key people
Products
ParentKrafton Game Union (2018–present)
Websitebluehole.net

Bluehole, Inc.[a] (known as Bluehole Studio, Inc.[b] until 22 April 2015) is a South Korean video game developer based in the Bundang-gu district of Seongnam. Founded by Chang Byung-gyu, in Seoul, in March 2007, the company is best known for developing TERA (2011) and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (2017), the latter through its PUBG Corporation subsidiary. In November 2018, Bluehole organized itself under a newly founded parent company, Krafton Game Union.

History[edit]

Chang Byung-gyu founded Bluehole Studio in Seoul in March 2007.[1] Chang previously established Neowiz in 1997, along seven other co-founders, moved on to found search engine developer First Snow in 2005, and sold that venture in 2006.[2] The company announced on 22 April 2015 that they had changed their name to simply Bluehole.[3]

In August 2017, Chinese holding company Tencent announced that it had, following a turned-down acquisition bid, invested an undisclosed amount of money into Bluehole.[4] Bluehole initially denied that any investment had been made,[5] but later stated that they were in talks with Tencent in multiple partnerships, including the acquisition of an equity stake in Bluehole by Tencent.[6] Subsequently, Tencent acquired 1.5% of Bluehole for a total of 70 billion.[7] Tencent reaffirmed their intents to fully acquire Bluehole in November 2017.[8][9] Korean magazine The Korea Times suggested that an initial public offering, through which Bluehole would become a public company, was "out of question" due to Chang Byung-gyu's position as chairman of both Bluehole and the Fourth Industrial Revolution committee.[10] At the time, 38 Communications, a company that tracks unlisted Korean stocks, valued the company at ₩5.2 trillion.[11][12] Tencent plans to invest further ₩500 billion to acquire further 10% ownership, raising their total stake to 11.5%[13] Through the acquisition, Tencent is set to become Bluehole's second-largest single shareholder, following Chang Byung-gyu, Bluehole's founder and chairman, who owns 20.6% of the company.[14]

On November 5, 2018, Bluehole launched a new company, Krafton Game Union, that would serve as the parent company for Bluehole and its subsidiaries.[15]

Subsidiaries[edit]

Bluehole acquired several development studios since its foundation. As of November 5, 2018, all subsidiaries were reorganized as sister companies to Bluehole under a new parent company, Krafton Game Union.[15]

Active[edit]

Bluehole Pnix[edit]

Bluehole Pnix is a mobile game developer. The company was founded as Pnix Games in 2012.[16] Bluehole announced that they had acquired Pnix Games, alongside Squall, on 22 April 2015.[3] Pnix Games changed their corporate name to Bluehole Pnix in June 2016.

Bluehole Squall[edit]

Bluehole Squall is a mobile game developer. The company was founded as Squall by Park Jin-seok, a founding member of Neowiz, in 2013.[17] Bluehole announced that they had acquired Squall, alongside Pnix Games, on 22 April 2015.[3] Squall changed their corporate name to Bluehole Squall in March 2016.

En Masse Entertainment[edit]

En Masse Entertainment is Bluehole's North American publishing subsidiary. The company was established as Bluehole Interactive in June 2008. On 26 February 2010, the company announced that it had changed its corporate name to En Masse Entertainment.[18]

Delusion Studio[edit]

Delusion Studio was founded in April 2011 and is headed by Kang Moon-chul.[19] On 22 June 2018, Bluehole announced the studio.[20] Delusion developed mobile games such as Guardian Stone, Jellipo, House of Mice and, most notably, Castle Burn.[21]

PUBG Corporation[edit]

PUBG Corporation is an internal studio of Bluehole's that is best known for developing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG). The company was founded as Ginno Games. On 27 January 2015, Bluehole announced that they were acquiring Ginno Games, with the sale to close on 27 March that year.[22][23] At the time, Ginno Games employed 60 people.[23] Ginno Games changed their corporate name to Bluehole Ginno Games in May 2015. Following the success of PUBG in 2017, Bluehole Ginno Games was renamed PUBG Corporation in September 2017.[24] A second office was established in Madison, Wisconsin in late 2017, with two further offices in Europe and Japan opened later.[25] On 12 March 2018, PUBG Corporation acquired New York-based studio MadGlory, which was renamed PUBG MadGlory.[26]

Red Sahara Studio[edit]

Red Sahara Studio is a mobile game developer headed by Lee Ji-hoon.[27] On 12 March 2018, Bluehole completed the acquisition of the studio in a stock swap deal.[28] Red Sahara is developing a mobile game based on TERA.[27]

Defunct[edit]

L-Time Games[edit]

L-Time Games was founded in June 2009.[29] The company attracted a ₩2 billion and a ₩5 billion investment from Knet Investment Partners and IMM Investments, respectively.[30] L-Time Games was acquired by and merged into Bluehole in January 2014.

Maui Games[edit]

Maui Games was a mobile game developer founded in 2013 by Woonghee Cho,[31] previously head of business development for Neowiz.[32] Bluehole Studio announced on 16 January 2015 that they were acquiring the company, which was completed in October that year.[31] At Bluehole's January 2017 shareholders' meeting, it was decided that Maui Games would enter liquidation, which was effective immediately.[33] Nine staff members of Maui Games, a fraction of that company's total employee count, were reemployed directly within Bluehole.[33]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Platform(s) Studio(s)
2011 TERA Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Bluehole Studio
2015 Devilian Microsoft Windows Bluehole Ginno Games
2017 PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One PUBG Corporation
TBA Ascent: Infinite Realm TBA Bluehole

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Korean: ㈜블루홀, translit. (Ju) Beulluhol
  2. ^ Korean: ㈜블루홀스튜디오, translit. (Ju) Beulluhol Seutyudio

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Past failures and endurance can make success'". 10 September 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  2. ^ "'Serial entrepreneurs' pioneer IT industry". 21 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "News article". www.zdnet.co.kr.
  4. ^ McAloon, Alissa. "Report: Tencent invests in Battlegrounds dev Bluehole". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Bluehole squashes Tencent investment rumour". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Bluehole confirms Tencent talks". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  7. ^ Herald, The Korea (30 April 2018). "Tencent eyes investment in Bluehole, maker of hit video game 'Battlegrounds'". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Tencent still eyes acquisition of PUBG developer Bluehole - report". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Tencent could yet acquire Bluehole". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Tencent seemingly still pursuing Bluehole takeover bid". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  11. ^ "One Man's Journey From Welfare to World's Hottest Video Game". 27 September 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2018 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  12. ^ "PUBG Developer Bluehole, Inc. Valued at Over $4 Billion". Shacknews. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  13. ^ Kerr, Chris. "Report: Tencent could sink $470M into Battlegrounds dev Bluehole". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Tencent May Invest $470 Million To Become PUBG Dev's Second Largest Shareholder". Shacknews. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  15. ^ a b Young-won, Kim (November 5, 2018). "Bluehole launches new brand for its subunits". The Investor.
  16. ^ "블루홀스튜디오, '블루홀'로 사명 변경...모바일게임사 2곳 인수". 22 April 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  17. ^ "블루홀, 모바일게임 사업 본격화…개발사 2곳 인수". www.ddaily.co.kr. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  18. ^ Staff, I. G. N. (25 February 2010). "En Masse Entertainment Debuts as New MMO Game Company". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  19. ^ http://www.inven.co.kr/webzine/news/?news=185607
  20. ^ McAloon, Alissa (22 June 2018). "Bluehole to acquire mobile dev Delusion Studio". Gamasutra.
  21. ^ Valentine, Rebekah (22 June 2018). "Bluehole to acquire Delusion Studio". GamesIndustry.biz.
  22. ^ http://www.zdnet.co.kr/news/news_view.asp?artice_id=20150127114002
  23. ^ a b "블루홀, 지노게임즈 인수…핵심 인재 확보". www.ddaily.co.kr. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  24. ^ "Playerunknown's Battlegrounds studio becomes PUBG Corp. [updated]". 29 September 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  25. ^ "PUBG team will spin off as subsidiary company". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  26. ^ Batchelor, James (12 March 2018). "PUBG Corp acquires MadGlory to enable community developer tools". GamesIndustry.biz.
  27. ^ a b http://www.zdnet.co.kr/news/news_view.asp?artice_id=20180312130158
  28. ^ http://www.inven.co.kr/webzine/news/?news=195572
  29. ^ "신생 개발사 엘타임게임즈, 25억원 투자 유치 - 게임동아". game.donga.com. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  30. ^ "News article". www.zdnet.co.kr.
  31. ^ a b "News article". www.zdnet.co.kr.
  32. ^ "PUBG Corp Established To Handle All Things PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds". USgamer.net. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  33. ^ a b igon@bizwatch.co.kr, 임일곤 기자. "'고삐 죄는' 블루홀…계열사 마우이 1년만에 청산". Retrieved 30 May 2018.

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