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South Korea’s Kakao, Com2Us wind down metaverse units


South Korea’s top internet company Kakao and leading game developer Com2uS are sizing down their metaverse teams as the virtual world platforms recorded large losses in the first half of 2023, local news agency Newsis reported.

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Fast facts

  • Com2uS, a major mobile game developer that recorded US$536 million in revenue last year, recently downsized its staff in its metaverse division, according to Newsis. The details regarding the staff cutback have not been revealed.
  • The company’s metaverse platform, Com2Verse, officially launched on Aug. 1 this year. However, the business arm behind the metaverse platform recorded an operating loss of about US$6.2 million in the first half of this year.
  • Colorverse, another South Korea-based metaverse company, conducted a round of layoffs earlier this year without disclosing the details to the public. Colorverse, owned by Kakao’s gaming subsidiary Kakao Games and its affiliate Neptune, recorded US$8.6 million in losses last year. 
  • In July, CyTown, a metaverse revamp of once hugely popular local social media service Cyworld, shut down after a year of service. The virtual platform failed to attract users, recording only around 10,000 downloads on the Google Play app store. 
  • A survey conducted by the Korea Information Society Development Institute released in May revealed that only 4.2% of South Korean citizens regularly use metaverse services. The survey’s broad interpretation of what constitutes a “metaverse” platform included popular games Minecraft, Roblox and Animal Crossing.
  • Metaverse pioneer Meta, formerly Facebook, saw its metaverse division Reality Labs post US$13.7 billion in losses. 
  • In February, ten Japanese companies including Fujitsu, Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Mitsui, agreed to establish the Japan Metaverse Economic Zone, a working group to boost local metaverse infrastructure. The group has made no subsequent announcements relating to the project.
  • Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Monday that it will look to establish regulatory standards for the metaverse in order to become a world leader in the sector.
  • Kakao and Com2uS have yet to respond to Forkast’s email request for comments sent Friday.

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