NCSoft: All Key IPs Showed Stable Sales Last Quarter


NCSoft has released their second quarter results and the news is good, even for those of you who play Wildstar. The Korean developer published a 28% boost in operating profit over last year with a 27% bump in pre-tax income and a 56% increase in net income. US and EU shares of NCSofts revenues plummeted, shedding a third of its value while Japan grew slightly as did Taiwan. According to NCSoft’s reports, while Blade & Soul grew heavily year over year thanks to its launch in the west, recent performance has seen a drop in royalties coming from the Chinese division.

On the game’s front, Lineage continues to sell more than virtually every other game in NCSoft’s library combined, with Aion and Guild Wars 2 taking a hit. Guild Wars 2, you can see, is suffering heavily from a content drought and subsequently saw its revenues fall flat over the past quarter. Based on the success of Heart of Thorns, it makes sense for Arenanet to adopt a strategy similar to World of Warcraft, living off of gem and microtransaction sales with small updates filling the gap between large, probably as-close-to-annual-as-they-can-get big expansion releases. The goal, according to NCSoft, is to decrease the amount of time between expansion releases to keep momentum up, however no further details have been discussed.

Aion, meanwhile, is performing fine. It may seem like a bad hit from the outside, but NCSoft has stated its expectations put the game within the 17 to 20 billion Won range, the game merely performed on the lower end of expectations. No one in the NCSoft offices is running around with their hair on fire over this news, however the game does have a major update coming that they expect will bring in increased revenue in the fourth quarter.

Wildstar, meanwhile, grew thanks to a launch on Steam introducing the free to play MMO to thousands of new eyes. Peak players fell off after the first month with a peak of 2,700 in July compared to 5,200 in June. Wildstar’s long term performance following its free to play revival and Steam launch will have to be observed, but it would be bad business for anyone at NCSoft to anticipate sales higher than 3 billion Won ($2.7 million USD) per quarter. Now that the team has a more realistic idea on where the game’s cash ceiling is, they can budget appropriately and NCSoft can figure out where they want to go with the IP.

Nexon’s upcoming list of releases includes Lineage Eternal as well as numerous mobile games including several based off of the Lineage franchise, increasing marketing costs and naturally boosting revenues. When asked about the release of Lineage Eternal, NCSoft’s response was…some information. According to the investor call, development is on schedule however there isn’t any concrete information on the closed beta. The team believes that the most effective timing would be around the holiday break period, so Korean gamers should mark their calendars for late November. The game is presently in the polishing stage.

Blade & Soul Mobile did not perform as well as anticipated.

Incidentally, NCSoft completely glossed over Wildstar in discussing each game’s performance in the investor call, lumping it in with the “other” category. Make of that what you will. Lineage Revolution is expected to have a November launch.

(Source: NCSoft, NCSoft investor call)

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