CEO Kevin Kim of mobile game startup
The most-visited game on Naver
AI expands the gaming industry
“AI will advance the gaming industry in infinite ways,” emphasized Kevin Kim (pictured), CEO of mobile game startup Brave Turtles, during an interview with The Korea Daily on July 7.
Metaverse content creator startup Brave Turtles is a game studio specializing in the metaverse and social-network game development with a mission to connect, engage, and entertain users through metaverse games. Founded by Kim in March 2021, Brave Turtles launched a new fashion tournament game ‘Runway Z’ on the metaverse platform ZEPETO at the end of November 2022.
Runway Z is a game in which users dress up their avatars to match a fashion theme, and participants vote to determine the winner.
“Runway Z is currently the number one game on ZEPETO in terms of visitors,” said Kim. “We reached 1 million visitors within a week of launch, and our current average number of daily users is estimated at around 200,000.”
RUNWAY Z recorded 1 million visitors within a week of its launch and showed the highest visit rate among all ZEPETO Worlds during the same period. In addition, it recorded more than 7 million visitors within one month of its release, quickly gaining high popularity and becoming the No.1 metaverse world in ZEPETO with the highest number of user visits. It also set the record with the longest gameplay time per user among ZEPETO Worlds. The revisit rate was also very high, which established RUNWAY Z as the global ZEPETO users’ most beloved world.
“Within the Metaverse, users can use their avatars to monetize and promote themselves beyond activities and games,” he said. “Since the pandemic, ZEPETO users in the U.S. have grown by more than 10%. The metaverse is a new way to communicate.”
According to Kim, metaverses and virtual worlds allow users to experience things they can’t experience in the real world and interact more with people they haven’t met. In the virtual world, users can see another version of themselves and actively engage in social activities, thus forming a new way to communicate.
High-tech jargon such as NFT, VR, and decentralization are thrown around so often these days, but in the end, the two of the most important factors in the metaverse are the user-created avatars and actual the content the users will enjoy. Metaverse without content is like an amusement park without any attractions, and Brave Turtles envisions the metaverse filled with fun rides.
Kim said that ChatGPT helped his team to make the game ‘Runway Z’ regarding theme and clothing. According to him, ChatGPT has reduced his workload, especially in terms of time. “AI will advance the game industry. “In the past, games have been operated with simple scripts, but by artificializing the characters in games, we can produce a wider variety of game ideas to suit the user,” he said. “However, we shouldn’t trust ChatGPT completely. AI is a system that helps us, not a technology that can replace humans.”
Prior to starting the game business, Kim had over 10 years of experience in the visual effects (VFX) industry. Over the next two years, he moved between Australia and Spain for work, before deciding to pursue a career in gaming and founding the team in 2015.
Initially, he teamed up with like-minded people to develop games and eventually founded the company in 2021. “We’ve known each other for more than five years before starting the company, so we work better as a team than anyone else,” he said. “As a startup, we always try to be transparent about the company’s situation and share it with our team horizontally.”
Today, more than 80 percent of Runway Z’s users are women. Kim added that the company plans to start seeking an investment this month to create a new game for men.
BY KIM YEJIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]