Pearl Abyss

Pearl Abyss uses App Annie Intelligence to power their launch strategy




Anyang, South Korea

Most popular app:

Black Desert Mobile

Learn more about App Annie Intelligence


Pearl Abyss is a leading player in the global game industry, and is best-known as the studio behind the wildly successful MMORPG Black Desert. The company’s chairman, Daeil Kim, along with a handful of some of the most talented developers in Korea, founded the company back in 2010 and started developing Black Desert on an in-house, proprietary engine that supports all major game platforms.

In 2014, the company launched the long-awaited PC version of Black Desert, starting in Korea, and has ultimately brought it live to over 150 countries. Following the success of Black Desert for PC, the company began plotting its expansion not only into new regions, but also onto the most prevalent game platforms, including mobile and console.


With such strong success demonstrated on other platforms, Pearl Abyss had gained the confidence to aim for a larger objective: to make Black Desert Mobile the most talked-about mobile game in the world.

In order to build the product roadmap and shape a strategy based on data, the company needed a data-informed plan that would help them determine which markets to expand their mobile presence to, and in which order. To harness the power of robust mobile app market data to help drive these decisions, Pearl Abyss turned to App Annie, and began using App Annie Intelligence in 2016.

Several other new challenges immediately presented themselves, including how to localize Black Desert Mobile, and to ensure that it was adapted intelligently for different cultures. A challenge faced by most developers when porting their PC games to mobile is delivering the same robust gaming experience, despite the limited screen space. Pearl Abyss knew it would need to deliver the same high level of graphics quality, while the remainder of the user experience - content, gameplay and features - would need to be reinvented and optimized for mobile.

The company spent a great deal of time using App Annie to analyze the MMORPG market in the mobile space. With App Annie-powered market data in its hands, the company was able to quickly understand which games were leading the market by downloads, revenue and usage. They were also able to determine which essential features were keeping users playing and staying loyal to particular games.

Pearl Abyss then worked to successfully combine this data analysis with its own advanced technology and experiences from the PC-based MMORPG, and in 2018, prepared to launch Black Desert Mobile in its home market of Korea.


The Black Desert Mobile app immediately hit the #1 ranking for downloads for both Google Play and the iOS App Store in Korea, and the game stayed in the Top 10 revenue chart on Google Play - the dominant OS in Korea - for 19 months.

It became clear that Black Desert Mobile had opened up a new era for mobile MMORPGs, delivering the same realistic, console-quality graphics for mobile devices. As with Black Desert, the game’s mobile users receive the same action combat, tight control, multiple gameplay and a wide-range of non-combat content, all tweaked and optimized for the mobile gaming experience.

Following the massively successful launch of Black Desert in Korea, Pearl Abyss decided to take the app global. The first targets were Taiwan and Japan, because the company had determined the potential of MMORPG games in these countries based on thorough market analysis using App Annie’s Market Size and Top Apps reports.

After launching the game, the company’s data-informed decision making was rapidly validated, with Black Desert Mobile immediately jumping to #2 in overall app revenue in Taiwan, and becoming Japan’s #1 download on the day of launch, and #2 in app revenue.

Pearl Abyss continues to use App Annie for multiple business cases, including exploring new apps or services to partner with. After sorting out prominent apps by the downloads or revenue they generate, they’re able to go even further with app usage data provided by App Annie. The company also keeps a close eye on its competitors’ performance and strategies, using a wide range of metrics within the App Annie platform.

The company also leverages App Annie data to monitor competing games to help them strategically plan their marketing campaigns. The data allows Pearl Abyss to run more sophisticated simulations and make highly data-driven decisions, rather than depending on force of habit or intuition.

Black Desert Mobile continues to top the app charts for sales and popularity in Korea, Taiwan and Japan, and in 2019, Pearl Abyss launched Black Desert Mobile globally, confident in its ability to successfully target new markets using the power of App Annie intelligence. Black Desert Mobile has subsequently ranked #1 in 47 different countries for downloads in the role-playing game category.

As YJ (Yong Un) Jin, Pearl Abyss’ Strategic Partnerships Team Leader, put it, “Making the successful shift from the PC to mobile market would have been much more difficult without App Annie, but we had been leveraging App Annie and its data since 2016, long before the launch of our very first mobile game. Just looking at the data and the changing consumption patterns of gamers, especially in the Asia region, had a huge impact on our business strategy, and it's definitely paid off.”

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