Black Desert publisher Pearl Abyss doubles down on Western expansion

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Pearl Abyss, the South Korean game company that created Black Desert, hasn’t been shy about expanding in the West. The company made a big move in 2018 when it bought Eve Online maker CCP Games for $425 million. And now it is expanding in the West again, doubling down on its previous efforts.

Pearl Abyss America CEO Jeonghee Jin said in an interview with GamesBeat that the company is expanding its office in Manhattan Beach in the Los Angeles area, and it has also opened a new office in Amsterdam headed by Pearl Abyss Europe CEO Dae Ra Kim.

The company is best known for its highly successful Black Desert franchise, which has attracted over 40 million players and generated over 2 billion dollars in lifetime revenue. It is also poised to launch new in-house developed games such as Crimson Desert, DokeV, and Plan 8 in Western markets.

“We’re still small in numbers, but we’ve been trying hard to get people on board,” Jin said. “We’re going to speed up more. We’re especially hiring for live operations and localization. We need people for both the new projects and the Black Desert game as well.”

Crimson Desert is a new game coming from Black Desert maker Pearl Abyss.

Above: Crimson Desert is a new game coming from Black Desert maker Pearl Abyss.

Image Credit: Pearl Abyss

The new offices will give the company a wider range of local publishing expertise. The European office has 16 people now, while the U.S. has 31. Both are hiring. And the whole company has more than 900 employees. While the company can do remote hiring, it is starting to focus more on strengthening the local offices.

“We’re testing the waters to see how fast we can go in the future,” Jin said.

The primary function of the Western offices is to service the North American and European markets with dedicated live-ops, server infrastructure, community management, customer support, localization, marketing, and public relations services. Additionally, Pearl Abyss Europe will explore new markets and deepen existing ones, while Pearl Abyss America will expand into Latin America with future projects. Each office space includes room for Pearl Abyss’ plans to significantly expand their operations in both regions.

The Black Desert Mobile team at Gamescom 2019.

Above: The Black Desert Mobile team at Gamescom 2019. Jeonghee Jin is in the middle.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Established in 2010, Pearl Abyss first launched its Black Desert Online in South Korea in 2014. The game has received critical acclaim for its seamless world, large-scale castle sieges, and action-based combat system. The company went public in 2017.

Lybee Park, vice president at Pearl Abyss Europe, said in a statement that the company strongly believes its needs to have a physical presence in Europe — beyond the offices of CCP Games in Iceland — to help service future titles. Jin said that the European office started earlier this year and has been expanding quickly.

Above: Pearl Abyss’ Manhattan Beach, California office.

Image Credit: Pearl Abyss

As for Latin America, Jin said, “We don’t have any plans yet, but we are definitely looking at the market. There are a lot of players in the Brazil and Latin American regions.”

Jin said that the company is constantly in a growth and learning phase, and that’s part of the reason for the expansion — to learn more.

“After we acquired CCP Games three years ago, we’re still learning a lot from each other,” Jin said.


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