Nexon founder Jung-ju Kim has died

Jung-ju Kim
(Image credit: Nexon)

Jung-ju Kim, who founded Korean game publisher Nexon in 1994 and led it through the development of several early MMOs including The Kingdom of the Winds, MapleStory, and Mabinogi, has died at age 54.

"It is difficult to express the tragedy of losing our friend and mentor Jay Kim, a man who had an immeasurably positive impact on the world," Nexon President and CEO Owen Mahoney said in a statement. "As a founder and visionary leader, Jay encouraged those around him to ignore the skeptics and trust their creative instincts. He will be deeply missed by his Nexon family and many friends."

Kim moved away from Nexon management following the company's listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2011, and left its board of directors in 2016. He continued to pursue "investment and philanthropic activities" through Nexon's parent company, the global investment first NXC Corporation. He stepped down as CEO of NXC, and as a member of its board, in 2021.

A cause of death wasn't provided, but NXC told the Korea Times that he "had been receiving treatment for depression, and we are sad that it seemed to have worsened recently." He leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US), Crisis Services Canada (CA), Samaritans (UK), or Lifeline (AUS). If you are outside of these regions, check this list for a hotline in your country.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.