Sony Online Entertainment and NCsoft Join Forces To Expand the World of EverQuest® in Asia

- Sony Online Continues Global Expansion With Strategic Partnership In Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong -

PRNewswire
SAN DIEGO, and SEOUL, South Korea
Jan 23, 2002

Sony Online Entertainment Inc., a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online gaming, and NCsoft™ Corp., the world's largest independent online game company, announced today a strategic partnership to bring EverQuest® to the burgeoning Asian market. As part of the agreement, NCsoft will host EverQuest on its game servers in Korea, maintain a robust customer service department and work with SOE on marketing initiatives focused on the Korean market. The two companies expect the game to be available during the summer of 2002 and plan to bring the service to other Asian territories including Taiwan and Hong Kong in the future. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20011203/LAM002 )

"One of our main goals at Sony Online is to expand the online gaming community by making great games like EverQuest readily available to consumers around the globe," said Kelly Flock, president, Sony Online Entertainment. "NCsoft is the perfect partner given its knowledge of the Korean game market, its own success with Lineage, and its direct access to millions of gamers from day one."

Over the past twelve months, SOE has actively expanded its international presence, deploying an EverQuest game server in Europe and developing translation software to allow players from all over the world to communicate in real-time using their native languages.

"The Korean market is ready and waiting for a game like EverQuest," said Richard Garriott, executive producer at NCsoft's Austin, Texas subsidiary. "We have seen incredible success with Lineage and we are excited to introduce a new genre of massively multiplayer online gaming to the exploding Asian market."

More than 22 million Koreans go online every day with 57 percent of those regularly visiting gaming sites, according to NetValue Korea, which monitors four Asian markets, including Korea.

EverQuest continues to grow with top-selling expansions The Ruins of Kunark™ and The Scars of Velious™ and most recently, EverQuest: The Shadows of Luclin™. With new player features and improved graphics, EverQuest: The Shadows of Luclin is the latest and most extensive expansion pack yet offered. During peak periods, more than 98,000 adventurers and dragon slayers have explored the world of Norrath simultaneously. EverQuest currently has more than 410,000 subscribers.

Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), the online gaming division of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, is a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online gaming. Headquartered in San Diego, California, SOE develops, publishes and distributes entertainment for the PC and online markets. With more than 11 million registered users, SOE's award-winning website, The Station® ( http://www.station.com/ ) hosts a variety of entertaining games and player communities spanning all genres. In addition to blockbuster hits EverQuest® and Jeopardy! Online, SOE has an array of cutting-edge online games in development such as PlanetSide™, Star Wars® Galaxies™ and Sovereign™.

NCsoft, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, is the world's largest independent online game company. Established in 1997 as a systems integration company, NCsoft leapt forward to become the world's leading online game software company. In Korea, its blockbuster hit game Lineage™ commands a 47% market share and attracts the greatest number of concurrent users in the world. Currently there are more than four million active subscribers playing Lineage worldwide. Currently NCsoft has offices in the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, and Korea and has active Lineage service in those areas as well as Taiwan. More information about NCsoft Korea is available at http://www.ncsoft.co.kr/default_e.htm .

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SOURCE: Sony Online Entertainment Inc.; NCsoft Corp.

Contact: Christy Fritts of Sony Online Entertainment, +1-858-577-3295,
cfritts@soe.sony.com; or David Swofford of NCsoft, +1-512-498-4002,
dswofford@ncaustin.com

Website: http://www.ncsoft.co.kr/default_e.htm

Website: http://www.station.com/