'War of Angels' makes US debut

South Korean online computer game veteran Neowiz made its first foray Wednesday into the US "free-to-play" market.

Neowiz released a beta, or test, version of "War of Angels," a fantasy role-playing game that immerses players in a massive battle between good and evil.

"We've been looking to expand into the US for a while now," said John Nam, chief operating officer of Neowiz Games in North America.

"Now is a great time because the broadband penetration has hit an all-time high and is only going to increase, and even moms who play on Facebook are starting to understand micro-transactions."

Games played free online are hosted as services in the Internet "cloud," with providers making money selling virtual crests, clothing or other items for small amounts in "micro-transactions."

Such online games benefit from high-capacity Internet connections that let vast amounts of graphics and action data move quickly during play.

Neowiz has three or four more games in the pipeline for release next year, Nam said.

The company has evolved into a top South Korean game publisher since its launch in 1997.

Neowiz has worked with US videogame titan Electronic Arts in a partnership aimed at the Asia market.

It is now recrafting its games in ways that it hopes will suit the tastes of US gamers.

"Asian gamers are more forgiving and don't mind the grinding process," Nam said. "We find US gamers are more used to instant gratification."

The test of "War of Angels" is to last two weeks to gauge how the Neowiz system handles the load before opening the platform in December.

The game is free for download online at warofangels.net.

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