Today we announced a restructuring of key operations within NC West. As a result of this restructuring, we are implementing staff reductions across our Western operations with the exclusion of ArenaNet. While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment.Polygon's unnamed source says around 60 Carbine Studios employees were let go; we don't yet know how hard the other teams were hit.
Moving forward, we will continue to focus on our core development capabilities and the intellectual properties (WildStar, Aion, Lineage, and Guild Wars franchises) that have made NCSOFT what it is today. However, we are looking to move into new business segments like mobile and tablet games as well as explore emerging technologies.
Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavors.
In today's earnings report, NCsoft shows that sales went up 20% and operating profit increased 46% from the previous quarter. The company said that it saw a marketing expense increase due to WildStar and that Lineage "recovered meaningfully" during this period.
As for sales per game, Lineage is still at the top with 32.2%. Following that is WildStar (15.9%), Guild Wars 2 (12.6%), Blade and Soul (10.8%), Aion (10.4%), and Lineage II (7.7%).
While the number of MMOs in existence exploded in the early- and mid-2000s (and hasn't stopped growing since), the 1990s are often an overlooked decade that featured more than the one or two games that are usually mentioned in brief history overviews. There were actually far more titles than most assume, even if you dismiss text-based MUDs and the like. Today we're going to run down 10 MMOs that were born during the era of the dot-com revolution, dial-up modems, and the peak of the Simpsons (third through seventh seasons).
The title, released in 1998, is still NCsoft's top earner, and now its loyal fans have a new Warrior class to play. This is the game's first new class in six years, according to MMO Culture, which also has a video of the Warrior in action. Click past the cut to have a look!
In the recently released Q4 2013 earnings report, NCsoft announced that sales, operating profit, pre-tax income, and net income were up over Q3 2013. Overall, 2013 was profitable for the company as its income went up year-over-year. NCsoft credited a growing Lineage and a "strong" and "solid" Guild Wars 2 for this effort, as well as cost savings initiatives. While sales in Korea improved from 2012 to 2013, those in Japan, Europe, and North America all declined over the same time period.
Lineage is by far NCsoft's biggest earner, followed by Guild Wars 2, Aion, and Blade & Soul. The company said that WildStar is on track to launch in mid-2014 and that the key GW2 focus is not on an expansion but with bringing the game to China.
Meanwhile, NCsoft's biggest investor, Nexon, just named Owen Mahoney as its new president and CEO, replacing Seungwoo Choi. Nexon also announced a revenue and income increase in 2013 and acknowledged that it is underperforming in Japan and the West.
World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Aion, City of Heroes, EVE Online, Fallen Earth, Lineage, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, RIFT, World of Tanks, TERA, EverQuest Next, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, MOBA, Neverwinter, The Elder Scrolls Online, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play
We're people who play MMOs. Our hard drives are practically bulging with games featuring wizards and warriors. We've plunged our swords into millions of orcs and gnolls. We've looted more imaginary copper pieces than anyone could possible imagine. We've even slain so many dragons that you have to wonder why dragons even bother showing up anymore.
It's not the gameplay but the setting that can make the whole exercise so soul-crushingly boring.
Sales, operating profit, pre-tax income, and net income were all down from both the previous quarter and Q3 2012. NCsoft blamed the dip due on a shuffling of Lineage's in-game sales from third to fourth quarter. Guild Wars 2 once again dropped in sales, while Blade and Soul came out the best in the report, seeing an uptick in sales thanks to a recent content update.
Higher expenses were also to blame for NCsoft's lower profit margin, including an increased WildStar marketing campaign and relocating headquarters. Quarter-over-quarter, sales were down across most of NCsoft's subsidiaries save for NCsoft Taiwan and Ntreev Soft, which both saw a bump in sales.
[Thanks to Sharvis for the tip! And note, the unit on the Y axes is million South Korean won, not US dollars.]
Unfortunately, the plaintiff's game log showed that she bought special items to improve her odds at enchanting and she continued to enchant other items even after the destruction of the rare sword. The court's ruling was not in the player's favor, noting that even if it was a mistake, NCsoft was not required to restore the item.
The publisher also said that it's taking a close look at the performance of WildStar's closed beta testing and will use testing results to shape its plans for the launch. Previously, Carbine Studios said that it's aiming for a 2013 launch window for the title if all went well in the beta.
So what's fueling these numbers? Lineage 1 remains the backbone of NCsoft's financials, boasting "an all-time high" in the sales department. Aion is reportedly doing well in China, and Guild Wars 2 is providing "stable" profits. It looks as though North American sales has decreased from Q1, but an increase in Japanese and Korean sales has more than made up for the loss.
So going forward, expect to see The Game Archaeologist pop out of his hidey hole once or twice a month to talk about our old favorites and perhaps pontificate more on the history of MMO development. Sound good? Did you miss me at all? You totally didn't, did you.
If you've been out of touch with classic MMOs, I've done the legwork this week to provide you with the 10 important and relevant news items that are sweeping through this aging yet still vibrant community. Read on, McDuff!
Guild Wars 2 accounted for 21% of sales in the first quarter, in addition to Blade and Soul's 9%, Aion's 16%, and the usual Lineage cavalcade (Lineage 1 represented 38% of sales alone with its subscriptions).
While 64% of NCsoft's sales were in Korea, only 13% were in North America and 8% in Europe. The decrease in NA and EU contributions was due to "the reduction in Guild Wars 2 package sales," according to the report. All of NCsoft's subsidiaries posted drops in sales from last quarter except for NC Taiwan.
[Update: Also of note in the earnings call is the news that NCsoft's Nah Seong Chan says the company is "preparing an expansion pack" but has yet to decide when it might launch. Very interesting news indeed as ArenaNet said as recently as March that it was not working on an expansion. Thanks to Mike and Robert for the tips!]
Asheron's Call, Darkfall, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage 2, Neocron 2, PlanetSide, RuneScape, Guild Wars 2, Global Agenda, Final Fantasy XIV, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2
It's here that MMOs diverge from movies and other video games. With those, the original is not in any sort of danger, other than the perception of having its legacy dragged down into the muck (Caddyshack II, anyone?) and perhaps overstaying its welcome. An MMO sequel, on the other hand, can cause serious consequences to its ancestor.
Here at Game Archaeologist, we look at classic games that have often seen their time come and go. But what happens to one of these titles when a sequel attacks? Almost anything, it turns out.
Guild Wars 2 accounted for 45% of the company's sales in Q4, followed by Lineage (24%) and Blade & Soul (10%). ArenaNet's newest game increased the North American market from 16% in Q3 to 25% in Q4.
It's not completely sunshine and roses, however. Lineage II and Aion both experienced declines during the period. NCsoft's net income was in the red for the quarter and its stock has slid since September, losing half of its value in the process.
[Thanks to Paul for the tip!]
Sci-Fi, Aion, EVE Online, Lineage, Lineage 2, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, The Secret World, Casual, Virtual Worlds, Interviews (Massively's), World of Tanks, TERA, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Age of Wushu
Even the non-gaming world is getting in on the fray. Back in November, researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Management published a study tracing the roots of player loyalties in a variety of MMO environments. The study outlined the mentalities of MMO gamers and the things that successfully encouraged them to keep coming back for more looting, more grinding, and more /hugging. Most importantly, the study declared that an MMO that increases loyalty by just 5% can increase profits by 25-95%.
We sat down with Dr. Lawrence Sanders, co-author of the study, to dive a little deeper into the researchers' methods, results, and plans for future MMO investigation.
Posted on Oct 30th 2014 8:00PM
Posted on Oct 30th 2014 7:00PM
Posted on Oct 30th 2014 12:00PM