Netmarble's mobile RPG "Fate/Grand Order" (referred to as “FGO”) has celebrated its sixth anniversary in Korea.
On the 2nd day of the AGF 2023 event at Ilsan KINTEX, Lee Jong-hyuk, the Business Director overseeing FGO's operations, participated in a press interview. During the interview, he shared insights into why Netmarble chose to participate in this year's AGF.
■ Here is a summary of the questions and answers from the interview:
-Jong-hyuk Lee, Business Director at Netmarble:
Q: Why did you choose AGF for the company’s 6th-anniversary event?
We consider AGF to be the event that leads offline culture in the Korean subculture. Last year, we visited the event, and there were many FGO cosplays. We felt sorry that we were not able to provide a space to accommodate them all in one place, and we regretted it. That’s why we planned to participate in AGF this year.
Q: What are your thoughts on the 6th anniversary, and how was the atmosphere meeting users on-site?
We constantly monitor the user trends and, while feeling that we are operating satisfactorily, we remain cautious. When I met the users on-site, I heard directly comments like "I'm a fan," "Thank you for operating well," "Let's take a photo," and "It's an honor." They had even prepared gifts. I want to express my gratitude to these users. As a subculture game, we started the service, and because the Fate IP itself has a solid fan base, I believe we have been able to provide a steady service without deviations. I see this game as capable of continuing well into its 10th anniversary, due to the exceptional loyalty to the IP.
Q: What drives your attention to include other content, like musicals?
I think subculture users value not only the character performance, but also the emotions and character interactions provided by the entire IP. I don't instruct anyone to do this. Even if it costs money, the PM voluntarily suggested translating and working on it, stating that it should be disclosed as it will influence our metrics later on. We didn't need to discuss the necessity within the business unit. Of course, we should, and it's regrettable that we can't do more.
Q: Why did you choose Dark Koyanskaya as the AGF commemorative pick?
For the Japanese anniversary, we provided a significant summer campaign, but for the Korean anniversary, there was nothing significant we had available to offer. So, starting last year, we thought of introducing a surprise for the anniversary and introduced the commemorative picks. As it was our first attempt at this, we were cautious, but the response was enthusiastic. This year, we decided to bring it in as an AGF commemorative pick. Therefore, we hid it as a "no anniversary pickup," and when we revealed it, it was well-received. However, note that it will be challenging to guarantee a similar pickup for the 7th year.
Q: The booth displayed the history of "FGO," and the chariot was an impressive feature. How did you theme your booth?
We conducted a survey in June. When we asked for the most impressive main scenario, Chapter 6 of Part 2 was selected as the top choice. This booth, for the 6th anniversary, was created with the concept of capturing Chapter 6 of Part 2. The history is written chronologically, so that users can see it at a glance, starting from when they began. The chariot was designed to create an impact, as a noticeable feature.
Q: Are there any plans to add serialized content to the cafe?
Our top priority is stabilizing our operations, and we are advancing the schedule faster than in the previous builds. We are prioritizing stability and providing usability features, and are thus experiencing a double bind. After considering our communication with users, we also need to communicate through broadcasts, so we are working on both stable operations and communication through broadcasting. We organized the AGF event to maintain this approach, and while there are no plans for next year, we anticipate meeting again with users.
Q: Users praise the game, but they feel deprived because there are no restaurant collaborations unlike other games.
Personally, I'm considering the possibilities. We apologize for not being able to offer collaborations, but we are not pretending to be unaware or overlooking it. We are thinking and reviewing our service offerings.
Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of communication?
While it might sound like a cliché, I believe authenticity is the most crucial aspect. The second most important aspect is its frequency. Every month, we provide feedback from users in our Operator Notes. Since it's delivered in writing, I think face-to-face interactions are also necessary. Therefore, I'm appearing on official broadcasts myself, reading the comments, and making efforts to communicate more.
Q: With less content spacing with Japan, the breaks will be shorter, right?
When there's a content gap, we organize long-term events with both main and short-term events. If the breaks are long, it can become tedious. That’s why we're advancing the schedule, and I think that's a very well-made decision. There are more users. In the long run, there might become a point where it runs out of steam, but with the number of updates we're currently doing, I don't think it will be a big problem.
Q: Any final thoughts?
I don't think many more words are needed. We were able to prepare for the 6th anniversary of FGO and the AGF event, because the users supported and enjoyed the game. That's what I wanted to say. We'll continue to provide a stable service, and we hope you love it.
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