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; 12 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 organised 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 5 November 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 5 November 2018, all subsidiaries were reorganised 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 acquisition of 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, formerly Ginno Games, is an internal studio of Bluehole's that developed PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG). It was announced that the company would be acquired by Bluehole on 27 January 2015, 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 Amsterdam and Japan opened later.[25][26] On 12 March 2018, PUBG Corporation acquired New York-based studio MadGlory, which was renamed PUBG MadGlory.[27] In June 2019, a new studio called Striking Distance was opened in conjunction with Glen Schofield, the co-founder of Sledgehammer Games. Striking Distance, headed by Schofield as chief executive officer, is set to develop narrative-driven games based on PUBG.[28]

Red Sahara Studio[edit]

Red Sahara Studio is a mobile game developer headed by Lee Ji-hoon.[29] On 12 March 2018, Bluehole completed the acquisition of the studio in a stock swap deal.[30] Red Sahara is developing a mobile game based on TERA.[29]

Defunct[edit]

L-Time Games[edit]

L-Time Games was founded in June 2009.[31] The company attracted a ₩2 billion and a ₩5 billion investment from Knet Investment Partners and IMM Investments, respectively.[32] 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,[33] previously head of business development for Neowiz.[34] Bluehole Studio announced on 16 January 2015 that they were acquiring the company, which was completed in October that year.[33] At Bluehole's January 2017 shareholders' meeting, it was decided that Maui Games would enter liquidation, which was effective immediately.[35] Nine staff members of Maui Games, a fraction of that company's total employee count, were reemployed directly within Bluehole.[35]

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, romanized(Ju) Beulluhol
  2. ^ Korean: ㈜블루홀스튜디오, romanized(Ju) Beulluhol Seutyudio

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sung-won, Yoon (10 September 2017). "'Past failures and endurance can make success'". The Korea Times.
  2. ^ Sung-won, Yoon (21 May 2017). "'Serial entrepreneurs' pioneer IT industry". The Korea Times.
  3. ^ a b c 박소연, 기자 (22 April 2015). "Beulluhol, pinigseugeimjeu·seukol insulo mobailsijang jeongyeog jinchul" 블루홀, 피닉스게임즈·스콜 인수로 모바일시장 전격 진출 [Bluehole enters into mobile market with acquisition of Phoenix Games]. ZDNet Korea (in Korean).
  4. ^ McAloon, Alissa (14 August 2017). "Report: Tencent invests in Battlegrounds dev Bluehole". Gamasutra.
  5. ^ Freeman, Will (15 August 2017). "Bluehole squashes Tencent investment rumour". GamesIndustry.biz.
  6. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (28 September 2017). "Bluehole confirms Tencent talks". GamesIndustry.biz.
  7. ^ Ji-young, Sohn (30 April 2018). "Tencent eyes investment in Bluehole, maker of hit video game 'Battlegrounds'". The Korea Herald.
  8. ^ Dring, Christopher (9 November 2017). "Tencent still eyes acquisition of PUBG developer Bluehole - report". GamesIndustry.biz.
  9. ^ MCV Staff (9 November 2017). "Tencent could yet acquire Bluehole". MCV.
  10. ^ Donnelly, Joe (9 November 2017). "Tencent seemingly still pursuing Bluehole takeover bid". PC Gamer.
  11. ^ Nakamura, Yuji; Kim, Sam (27 September 2017). "One Man's Journey From Welfare to World's Hottest Video Game". Bloomberg L.P.
  12. ^ Khan, Asif (27 September 2017). "PUBG Developer Bluehole, Inc. Valued at Over $4 Billion". Shacknews.
  13. ^ Kerr, Chris (30 April 2018). "Report: Tencent could sink $470M into Battlegrounds dev Bluehole". Gamasutra.
  14. ^ Singletary, Charles Jr. (4 May 2018). "Tencent May Invest $470 Million To Become PUBG Dev's Second Largest Shareholder". Shacknews.
  15. ^ a b Young-won, Kim (5 November 2018). "Bluehole launches new brand for its subunits". The Investor.
  16. ^ 정재훈, 기자 (22 April 2015). "[Nyuseu] Beulluholseutyudio, 'beulluhol'lo samyeong byeongyeong...mobailgeimsa 2gos insu" [뉴스] 블루홀스튜디오, '블루홀'로 사명 변경...모바일게임사 2곳 인수 [[News] Bluehole Studio changed its name to 'Bluehole' ... Acquired two mobile game companies]. Inven (in Korean).
  17. ^ 이대호, 기자 (22 April 2015). "Beulluhol, mobailgeim sa-eob bongyeoghwa...gaebalsa 2gos insu" 블루홀, 모바일게임 사업 본격화...개발사 2곳 인수 [Bluehole, mobile game business in full swing ... Acquired two development companies]. Digital Daily (in Korean).
  18. ^ IGN Staff (25 February 2010). "En Masse Entertainment Debuts as New MMO Game Company". IGN.
  19. ^ 허재민, 기자 (25 September 2017). "[Inteobyu] Mobail seutakeulaepeuteu? RTSui haegsim-eul damda, 'kaeseulbeon' inteobyu" [인터뷰] 모바일 스타크래프트? RTS의 핵심을 담다, '캐슬번' 인터뷰 [[Interview] Mobile StarCraft? Interview with 'Castle Burn', the heart of RTS]. Inven (in Korean).
  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. ^ 이도원, 기자 (27 January 2015). "Beulluholseutyudio, 'debillieon' jinogeimjeu insu chujin" 블루홀스튜디오, '데빌리언' 지노게임즈 인수 추진 [Bluehole Studio to acquire 'Devilian' Ginno Games]. ZDNet Korea (in Korean).
  23. ^ a b 이, 대호 (27 January 2015). "Beulluhol, jinogeimjeu insu…haegsim injae hwagbo" 블루홀, 지노게임즈 인수…핵심 인재 확보 [Bluehole acquires Ginno Games ... Gain core talent]. Digital Daily (in Korean).
  24. ^ O'Connor, Alice (29 September 2017). "Playerunknown's Battlegrounds studio becomes PUBG Corp. [updated]". Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
  25. ^ Hall, Charlie (29 September 2017). "PUBG team will spin off as subsidiary company". Polygon.
  26. ^ Batchelor, James (23 January 2018). "PUBG Corp. to kick off 2018 expansion with new Amsterdam office". GamesIndustry.biz.
  27. ^ Batchelor, James (12 March 2018). "PUBG Corp acquires MadGlory to enable community developer tools". GamesIndustry.biz.
  28. ^ Jones, Ali (26 June 2019). "Former COD exec joins PUBG developer to make narrative games "beyond battle royale"". PCGamesN.
  29. ^ a b 남혁우, 기자 (12 March 2018). "Beulluhol, 'ledeusahalaseutyudio' insu wanlyo" 블루홀, '레드사하라스튜디오' 인수 완료 [Bluehole acquires 'Red Sahara Studio']. ZDNet Korea (in Korean).
  30. ^ 김수진, 기자 (12 March 2018). "Beulluhol, 'bulmyeol-ui jeonsa' gaebalsa ledeusahalaseutyudio insu" 블루홀, '불멸의 전사' 개발사 레드사하라스튜디오 인수 [Bluehole acquires Red Sahara Studio, developer of 'Immortal Warrior']. Inven (in Korean).
  31. ^ 김, 남규 (15 September 2011). "Sinsaeng gaebalsa eltaimgeimjeu, 25eog-won tuja yuchi" 신생 개발사 엘타임게임즈, 25억원 투자 유치 [New development company L-Time Games attracts 2.5 billion won investment]. DongA (in Korean).
  32. ^ 전하나, 기자 (15 September 2011). "Sinsaeng gaebalsa eltaimgeimjeu, 25eog-won tuja yuchi" 신생 개발사 엘타임게임즈, 25억원 투자 유치 [New development company L-Time Games attracts 2.5 billion won investment]. ZDNet Korea (in Korean).
  33. ^ a b 박소연, 기자 (16 October 2015). "Beulluhol, mobail geim gaebalsa 'mau-igeimjeu' insu" 블루홀, 모바일 게임 개발사 '마우이게임즈' 인수 [Bluehole acquires Maui Games, a mobile game developer]. ZDNet Korea (in Korean).
  34. ^ Williams, Mike (29 September 2017). "PUBG Corp Established To Handle All Things PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds". USgamer.
  35. ^ a b 임일곤, 기자 (20 January 2017). "'Goppi joeneun' beulluhol…gyeyeolsa mau-i 1nyeonman-e cheongsan'" 고삐 죄는' 블루홀…계열사 마우이 1년만에 청산 ['The Redemption' Bluehole ... Affiliate Maui liquidated in one year]. Business Watch (in Korean).

External links[edit]