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Deal Radar 2008: Nurien

Posted on Wednesday, Sep 10th 2008

A leading developer and operator of social networking and online gaming services, Nurien Software focuses on virtual social interaction and game play. Nurien was founded in 2005 and is based in Seoul, South Korea. Much like in the popular virtual world Second Life, Nurien has developed an eponymous platform to provide users with 3D objects and avatars that can be customized to interact and network with each other via virtual worlds and the Web. The platform, which has taken three years to develop, also offers online games and social applications such as MStar, an online dance game; Runway, a fashion show application; and QuizStar, a casual online game. Apart from this, each user gets his own ‘home’ space, where he can share music and videos or host a blog. Users can also design, buy, or sell fashionable clothes or furniture.

Nurien was launched in South Korea this September and is slated to be released in Hong Kong and China this October and in the US early next year. The company is aiming true; China and Korea are Asia’s largest online gaming markets. IDC expects China’s online gaming revenues to reach $2.62 billion in 2010 while Parks Associates predicts that revenues from US online gaming services will exceed $3.5 billion in 2009.

The company promises to be different from other online games on the market. Nurien, with the help of NVIDIA graphics, has ensured that each game delivers natural, realistic movements with high-quality animation effects. It is the first company to apply next-generation PhysX technology to a 3D social network service, which will allow its users to experience realistic effects like lively character movement, cloth movements, and hair twirling. As ubiquitous broadband starts to unfold as a global phenomenon, the graphics and the user experience in general are becoming increasingly richer.

The look and user experience of the Nurien sites are far superior to that offered by Second Life, and Nurien is likely to attract youth and young adults with its beautiful avatars and engaging, lifelike activities.

According to the analyst firm, Gartner, the number of users in virtual online worlds will reach 50 million by 2011. eMarketer predicts that 20 million young adults from the US alone will visit a virtual world regularly by 2011. While I find these numbers slightly scary, investors are taking note. In April 2008, the company raised $15 million in a Series A from Northern Light Venture Capital (NLVC), Globespan Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and QiMing Venture Partners for the platform’s launch and the development of its online games.

Related Readings:

*MMOGs – The Parallel Universe
*Games: From Donkey Kong to Dominance
*Funware and Social Games – All the World’s a Game

This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2008

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