June 2, 2020 / 3:41 AM / a month ago

Nexon shares hit record high after strong start for Nintendo karting rival

TOKYO, June 2 (Reuters) - Nexon Co Ltd’s shares hit a record high on Tuesday following the strong start for a mobile version of its hit karting franchise.

Fast-paced racer KartRider Rush+ was downloaded more than 10 million times in its first two weeks and met with positive reviews, which drew contrast with the early lack of a multi-player option that hobbled Nintendo Co Ltd’s Mario Kart Tour.

Shares in Tokyo-listed Nexon, founded by South Korea billionaire Jungju Kim who retains the largest stake, were up 1.6% at the midday break on Tuesday, extending this year’s rise to 63%.

The gains come as Nexon last month reported an 80% jump in first-quarter revenue in Korea with titles like long-running online roleplaying game MapleStory benefiting from consumers staying home due to the coronavirus outbreak.

While the virus is boosting gaming demand, for Nexon that result was offset by a fall in revenue in its other largest market China, which it attributed to the shutdown of PC cafes.

The release of a mobile version of its hit title Dungeon&Fighter being made with China’s top gaming company Tencent Holdings Ltd has been pushed back to the summer.

Nexon, a pioneer of the in-game purchases that have become a major earner for cross-platform hits like Fortnite from Epic Games, has more than 380 million registered users for KartRider on the PC. (Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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