Nexon's 'MapleStory' online game has 95 million registered global users.
Nexon, whose name may not be well known but whose online games such as "MapleStory" and "Kart Rider" are played by hundreds of millions of people, has hired investment bankers Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in a prelude to a likely IPO
Nexon said it "has made no definitive decisions with regard to any specific capital raising activities." Nexon cards are available at Game Time Zone. These cards give players credits to spend in its games. Its revenue was close to $1 billion last year.
The global virtual-goods market is expected to jump 36% to $12.58 billion this year from $9.28 billion last year, according to estimates by brokerage ThinkEquity.
Founded in Korea in 1994, Nexon about a decade ago began offering free online games that made money through the sale of items, such as uniforms, that let players customize their game avatars or powerful weapons. The biggest markets for Nexon's games are currently in Korea and China. "KartRider," a cartoony game in which players race against each other in miniature cars, has more than 200 million registered users world-wide, including a third of Korea's population, Nexon has said.
Its biggest game in the U.S. is a title called "MapleStory," which has seven million of its 95 million registered users in North America.
More than 1,000 weddings a day take place between avatars in "MapleStory," costing players $25 each. Players pay between $2.50 and $5 each for about 1,500 plastic surgeries on their characters a day in the game.