What a perfect occasion to write about something I left behind. My notes and comments on NCSoft seasonal reports.
Fourth article in a series.
The .zip file with the original pdf document can be downloaded here.
– Lineage I&II and CoH stable
– Guild Wars doing “okay”
– Dungeon Runners still not here
– Tabula Rasa not in sight
But let’s start from Guild Wars. I was going to archive the press release when I noticed this part:
Reconnect After Disconnect — One of the most player-requested features comes to Guild Wars! If a player gets dropped from the game due to a connection problem, and that player can reconnect within ten minutes, the player’s character will be relocated to the spot of disconnection. If the character was performing an action, such as casting a spell or auto-attacking a target, that character will complete the action as if still connected. If a player is in a group when disconnected, the other members of the party will be notified about the player’s connection problems.
At last! It’s since I played for the first time in beta that I ask for that. Finally my first complaint got resolved and I’m happy. Good work.
The press release was to announce they sold 3 Millions of boxes:
December 13, 2006 (BELLEVUE, WA) — Fueled by sales of the hit game Guild Wars NightfallTM, the latest release in the award-winning Guild Wars® franchise, sales for one of the world’s leading subscription-free online roleplaying games have surpassed three million units worldwide in a little more than a year and a half.
– That’s the cumulative number of all three expansions. That would mean: Prophecies + Factions + Nightfall = 3M
– As of September 06 they were at 2.4M, so Nightfall has sold around 500k till now (roughly).
1,355,970 subs worldwide (-43,939)
9,727 in the US (+42)
1,116,927 subs worldwide (-22,001)
94,000 in US + EU (+10,779)
City of Heroes
172,420 subs worldwide (that is US + EU only) (+1,420)
There’s not the need to go in detail for each as the situation seems stable in all three cases. I’m quite surprised that CoH is holding that well. This year it didn’t have the help of the release of a major expansion as it happened a year ago with CoV. Since its release CoH sat at around 170k and aside the highs and lows it’s still holding surprisingly well, especially for a game whose development cycle I consider particularly lacking. As it is happening to CCP also Cryptic is now busy with the development of a brand new game (for Marvel) so I’m quite sure CoH will be left progressively behind as their efforts concentrate more on the “new”. It will be interesting how the game will perform in the next months. For now it is doing much better than how I would have “predicted”.
There’s also a positive note:
We are revising up our guidance for year 2006 to 339 billion Won on the top line from 330 billion Won and 39 billion Won in operating profit from 20 billion Won.
The primary reasons for the increase in profits are: (i) better-than-expected sales for the world’s leading MMORPG franchise Lineage, Lineage II, and City of Heroes/Villains, (ii) decrease in major costs such as payroll and advertising, and (iii) the one-time write-off of Auto Assault-related expenses in Q2, which amounted to roughly 11.2 billion Won.
It’s actually odd because as written above the two Lineages are holding well, but they hardly seem doing “better than expected”, so there must be something going on behind the scenes that I cannot find with this superficial glance.
For retrospective it’s also worth going back to the beginning of the year and give a better look at that “performance”:
First report of the year: earnings guidance 353 billion Won, down from 396 – operating profit 50 billion Won, down from 66
Second report : earnings guidance 330 billion Won, down from 353 – operating profit 20 billion Won, down from 50
Third (and last: earning guidance 339 billion Won, up from 330 – operating profit 39 billion Won, up from 20
In 2005 the sales were 338 billion Won and profit much higher, 76 billion Won (-49%).
The drop in the second report was due to not so good results of Guild Wars and the Auto Assault write off.
From the second report:
In North America and Europe, NCsoft will launch multiplayer online games such as Dungeon Runners in Q4, 2006, followed by Exteel and Soccer Fury.
Tabula Rasa will enter a limited closed beta testing stage during the second half of 2006.
A bit behind the schedules. I wonder how far Tabula Rasa is from release. Maybe May 07?
With Nightfall out I’m now waiting for the first reports about Guild Wars spring’s expansion. It will be interesting to see in which direction they will go. The game needs a “shift”, something that can rise some hype.