Interview: Nexon’s Yoonmi Park speaks to Cubed3 about KartRider: Drift

By Neil Flynn 13.03.2023

Interview: Nexon’s Yoonmi Park speaks to Cubed3 about KartRider: Drift on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion
KartRider: Drift has landed on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, with Season 1 kicking off immediately. Season 1 of KartRider: Drift features new tracks, characters and cosmetics. Alongside this new content a Grand Prix mode has been added along with a kart upgrade system too. KartRider: Drift is a free-to-play, cross platform racer, that has a longer legacy then many would think. Yoonmi Park, Head of New Market Development at Nexon America, has been part of the Nexon family for over 9 years, but this is her first foray into the KartRider series. Cubed3's Neil Flynn managed to catch up with Yoonmi to discuss the console release of KartRider: Drift.

Image for Interview: Nexon’s Yoonmi Park speaks to Cubed3 about KartRider: Drift

Cubed3 Can you talk to me about the history of the KartRider franchise and the origins of the series?
Yoonmi Park The original KartRider was launched in 2004, it was launched in Korea first followed by Taiwan and Japan, with 380 million registered users on PC only, so it is very popular in these regions. The theme song is very recognisable and is pretty famous and half of the Korean population has played the game before. The annual esports league has increased awareness and the popularity across other countries too.
Cubed3  What has been the ambition for bringing KartRider: Drift to console and over into the Western market?
Yoonmi Park KartRider Rush Plus launched just over 2 years ago and KartRider: Drift has been developed from the very beginning that it has to be a cross platform for every device, wherever people go they should be able to play. Currently the PC and Mobile users are in the pre-season phase and have been playing since January, quite a fair few of Asian players are familiar with the IP and have jumped straight in but for the rest of the world they are still learning about it. The next big push for us at Nexon is to now get the console release on the map with the launch of Season 1. The team are certainly looking forward to seeing the reactions when it does launch.

Image for Interview: Nexon’s Yoonmi Park speaks to Cubed3 about KartRider: Drift

Cubed3 Do the consoles counterparts feature any different content compared to mobile and PC version?
Yoonmi Park The games are exactly the same, with cross-play features, but there are content specific features depending on which platform the player is on. There are going to be platform specific items and characters across each different version across the season.
Cubed3 Are there any other plans to have some real-world cars added into the game. You have just announced the Porche tie up, what else do you have up your sleeve?
Yoonmi Park It is in our DNA, we have been collaborating with previous KartRider games with a number of companies, but for now we will have to say wait and see to what comes next!
Cubed3 This would be the perfect game to bring to Nintendo Switch, are there any plans to do so?
Yoonmi Park I think our goal is to have KartRider: Drift in front of many people as possible, I don't think we have any plans to release on Nintendo Switch yet, but the idea remains open.

Image for Interview: Nexon’s Yoonmi Park speaks to Cubed3 about KartRider: Drift

Cubed3 I have noticed that KartRider: Drift is on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, are there any plans for a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S version?
Yoonmi Park We are actively discussing it within the team.
Cubed3 The game is currently using a free to play model, do you think that one day, for a future iteration, that there could be a premium version of the game being sold in the traditional full price game model?
Yoonmi Park I don't ever know what is going to happen tomorrow, so anything is possible. However, I do think that the online free-to-play model that we have with KartRider: Drift is the base-model of how the game has been born and I cannot say if we would approach it with a different model. We do have a Premium Racing Pass which players can purchase to unlock a lot more things faster, but the Racing pass renews every season.
Cubed3 Do free-to-play users have any limits on how many races they can participate in daily?
Yoonmi Park There are no restrictions of this sort, they can play all day every day. The Racing Pass is free, the Premium Racing Pass is the paid element. Premium Racing Pass members don't have any skilled based advantages, with these elements being more cosmetic than on-track performance boosts.
Cubed3 There is a lot of tough competition out there at the moment, with other kart racing games. Do you feel the KartRider: Drift can fit into the mascot racer crowd?
Yoonmi Park Our goal is to not fit in there specifically, but we really want a lot of people to play KartRider: Drift on any platform and we feel that proposition of PC, Mobile and console is really going to help us achieve this.
Cubed3 Do you have any final comments?
Yoonmi Park The team are Nexon are really excited with the console release of KartRider: Drift, this is our first cross-platform release with all PC, console and mobile together, so everyone is looking forward to seeing the players responses and how the game is received. We are expecting a lot more players to jump in and experience the different modes and what KartRider: Drift has to offer.
KartRider: Drift is available to play for free on PC, Mobile, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Box art for KartRider: Drift








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