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Nikke, Stellar Blade developer plans to go public

CEO Kim Hyeong-tae could be a billionaire thanks to jiggle physics
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South Korean game developer Shift Up is looking to be listed as a public company on the Korean Stock Exchange with experts expecting the studio to be valued at around $2.3 billion USD.

Game World Observer reported that the developer of the upcoming PS5 game Stellar Blade filed an application for this move on March 5, 2024, with plans to sell 7.25 million of the total 58 million shares to be listed.

CEO and co-founder Kim Hyeong-tae, who still owns 45% of the company, stands to become a billionaire on paper, if the experts are correct about Shift Up’s valuation. Behind Kim, Chinese gaming giant Tencent is the second largest shareholder currently, owning 24% of the company thanks to two separate investments made over the past years.

Stellar Blade screenshot showing a young woman and a small floating robot.

Stellar Blade is an action-packed hack and slash RPG coming to PS5 this year.

Shift Up signed a second-party deal with Sony last year, deepening the bond between itself and the PlayStation manufacturer that was initially established for the development of Stellar Blade, which is set for a release in April 2024, and was recently rated for adults only in Korea.

Before working on Stellar Blade, Shift Up was mainly known for its mobile games, especially its gacha hit Nikke: Goddess of Victory. Known for its generous use of jiggle physics on the bottom and chest areas of its characters, Nikke brought in a revenue of about half a billion dollars in the year after its release – it’s not quite on the level of Genshin Impact or Honkai: Star Rail, but you can see why experts think that such a high valuation for Shift Up may be in order.

Though undoubtedly a big step for the company, players see the studio going public in a more skeptical light: Driven by the need to satisfy shareholders, companies are not known to make better decisions for the consumers of their products. Nikke fans fear less generosity when it comes to free gacha tickets and a toning down of the game’s risqué fan service.