EA Buys Korean MMO Developer

Electronic Arts today purchased J2MSoft, a Korean developer that specializes in free-to-play PC MMOs, such as Debut, TAAN and the racer RayCity Online.

Though its games are free-to-play, J2M brings in money by selling cheap in-game items, a practice known as microtransactions, as well as through advertising. The free-to-play / microtrasaction model is extremely popular in Korea, and EA is embracing the practice with DICE's upcoming free-to-play PC game Battlefield Heroes.

In addition to creating new properties, J2M will create online games based on existing EA franchises. Earlier this week, EA licensed its Dungeon Keeper property for use in an MMO that will be crafted by Chinese developer NetDragon Websoft.

"This is a significant step in EA's strategic plan for developing and publishing online games in Asia," noted EA Asia president Jon Niermann.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not released, but EA does not expect the transaction to have a "material impact" on its financials for the 2009 fiscal year.

Note: The image associated with this report comes directly from J2M's RayCity.