NCSoft’s Q3 Finances Are Here: Wildstar, Wildstar, Wildstar

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NCSoft’s latest quarterly reports are here, and that means it’s time to speculate on the future of City of Heroes, or Wildstar depending on what year you live in. Financially, NCSoft did pretty well in the third quarter, with sales up 11% over last year, profit up 29%, pre-tax income up 22%, and net income up 56%. As I said last year, the third quarter is the one where sales generally drop as developers run less promotions and everything is gearing up toward a higher fourth quarter. If the fourth quarter does worse than the third, you’re in bad shape. In consideration of the normal drop off from Q3 to Q4 coupled with some of the events that took place last quarter, I find it unlikely that anyone at the NCSoft offices are running around with their heads on fire.

So let’s talk about game performance, since NCSoft is virtually the only major publisher to post this kind of specific data. Lineage, while it did see a drop in income this quarter, continues to grow year over year as does Blade & Soul (although quarterly sales have been dropping). Lineage 2 showed the strongest growth for the quarter, while Guild Wars 2 continues to slump in sales following the fervor over its first expansion launch.

Now it’s time to talk about Wildstar. It sounds like a broken record at this point, but Wildstar has hit its lowest point in sales. Wildstar’s previous low was $1.13 million USD back before the free to play launch. Right now the game sits at approximately $940,000.

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NCSoft CFO Yoon Jae-soo discussed NCSoft’s titles and their futures. Lineage, currently enjoying major success, is expected to continue rising in sales with a growth trajectory and a fourth quarter increase driven by new servers launched last year. Lineage 2, meanwhile, is showing a stable upward trend and is expected to perform better in 2016 compared to 2015. Blade & Soul is performing soundly with stable performance in both regions and is expected to show stable growth going into next year. As for Guild Wars 2, Arenanet continues development on a second expansion pack which will give a boost in sales.

Over on the Lineage Eternal side, signups are now open for the closed beta…in Korea. When asked about their development strategy, Yoon Jae-soo responded that NCSoft’s strategy with Lineage Eternal involves lowering system requirements so that the game can function on a variety of systems while making it “less challenging and less difficult” for new players who aren’t as familiar with the game. As for Lineage M, a mobile port of Lineage, the team expects to have something to show in the first quarter while not anticipating much in the way of migration from Lineage players.

Continued coverage of NCSoft’s finances will resume with NCSoft’s Q4 release in February.

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