NCsoft financials paint a grim picture for WildStar

The good news for fans of NCsoft’s game catalogue is that the company as a whole is doing well. The most recent earnings report was released today, and it shows an increase in income compared to the same timeframe last year as well as stable figures for nearly all of its games. Lineage and Lineage II continue to do well, while Guild Wars 2, Aion, and Blade & Soul all maintain respectable profits for the company. And Lineage Eternal is still slated for beta this year, with launch moved from 2017 to 2016 (there’s something that never happens).

You might notice that the company’s most recent launch, WildStar, is not on that list. And that’s because it’s continued to go down in sales, dropping from nearly $15 million in sales during Q3 2014 to only $5 million during Q4 2014. This places the game precariously close to the threshold where City of Heroes fell when it was shut down, making the future of Nexus seem that much more uncertain. You can check out the full financials yourself if you’d like. If you’d rather just play the game, you can do that too: There’s a new 10-day trial on offer.

[Source: NCsoft earnings release; thanks to dirtyklingon for the tip.]
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231 Comments on "NCsoft financials paint a grim picture for WildStar"

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DPandaren
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DPandaren

ElMutharino ColdinT Fuck that, it looks more like Ratchet and Clank. Even the animations scream an Insomniac game.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

Hravik Well, it’s 20 bucks at Best Buy right now.

Hravik
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Hravik

My hangup on trying a game like Wildstar is the initial box cost.  I have no problems with a sub, in fact I ever prefer it, but that up front cost makes me pause.  It isn’t even that I can’t pay for it, its that I’ve paid full retail for so many MMOs at this point, only to have them suck..I just won’t do it anymore.

I’d love a reversal of the buy to play model.  No box cost with a sub.  Paying for expansions would be fine as well, as by then you’d have an opinion on if it was worth it.  I’d be so much more willing to try some of these games with I only had to throw $15 bucks at it to try it out.

VikkiV
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VikkiV

I was interested in this game. Lorewise, I liked it but the more I heard about the gameplay the more it turned me off. It being pay to play at the time didn’t help either. Who knows maybe it’ll still be around. I recall The Secret World was in a bad position too and it’s still around and kicking.

deganderson
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deganderson

I had a look at the 10 day trial that they offer. We used to play and wouldn’t mind having a look again. There’s a huge list with restrictions however that made me decide not to bother. I really start to doubt that they understand how stickiness in mmo’s works. They cut off guild membership for the trial so I cannot chat with my old guildies yet if there would be one thing that could pull me back in it would be contact with enthusiastic players. Lots of other social features are disabled. Turn those things on! Your players are your best advertisers, I don’t get it. I guess they worry about gold spammers, like they will show up in an empty game.

Midgetsnowman
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Midgetsnowman

TronSheridan a lot of us truied making a case. But the devs only had eyes for the “HARDKOARS” who had spoent the last 5 years on every MMo forum bitching about how kiddie every game was.

devin007
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devin007

ElMutharino I bought the game played through beta and didn’t play a single day of my free month,

AvatarOP
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AvatarOP

don’t think wildstar is done for.

yes, they made huuuuge design mistakes. and definitely didn’t implement their lore properly.

but behind all those rubbles, there is a damn fine gameplay and an amazing new IP to discover.

I just hope they can continuously keep bridging the gaps (ahem, canyon) and make this game what it can be. for it can.

Drakani
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Drakani

:( Oh man. I really hoped WildStar would do well. A lot of people dumped their heart and souls into making this game, and I really feel for them. I was hoping this would be my new MMO, but it didn’t grab me. (Though changing the FOV so it didn’t visually overwhelm me and give me a headache after an hour bought it another month with me.) I made it to level 25 or so, and I really did like the guild I was in, but… I just stopped logging in. I’m not sure why. I do like the art style, and I thought it was a fun game, if somewhat stressful whenever I heard “challenge begins!” while killing things.  I haven’t logged in for months, but I’ve still kept the subscription just because they have my support if not my interest at the moment.

TronSheridan
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TronSheridan

This is what happens when to turn off 90% of your customer base by alienating them away from your game.  I played ALL through beta.  I tried to make my case to them.  It’s all I could do.  They ignore myself and MANY others, who were all sitting on the sidelines as launch just waiting for the bottom to fall out of this game…which it did.  Really sad for everyone involved.  The devs.  The mmo consumers.  The studio.  (sigh)

Feydakin
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Feydakin

They should go B2P with a cash shop for aesthetics and DLC, seems to be the best option right now. I will not say I told you so… Wildstar isn’t a bad game and it’s got some great systems, it’s just niche, and niche is never going to be a huge cash cow. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you realize that from the beginning.

Slith_hideout
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Slith_hideout

I really wanted for this game to succed :*(

TraylorAlan
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TraylorAlan

If they dropped the sub and added more things to do for casual players at max level, I imagine this game would thrive. It’s got so much going for it.

wjowski
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wjowski

Celestia 
I’m not particularly happy to see NCSoft killing off yet another of its MMOs  either but in this case Carbine’s devs and the palyerbase both did their damndest to all but trace a dotted line across Wildstar’s metaphorical neck.

xagarelic
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xagarelic

ElMutharino I dropped the game halfway through an hour on the final beta day

doctoroverlord
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doctoroverlord

Tridus Goronmon usagizero Exactly.  And as long as your business model is set up with expectations that your game will be a niche game, you can implement hardcore endgame mechanics.
Clearly Carbine expected WS and its hardcore endgame to have a broader appeal, flying in the face of all common sense of anyone who could see the modern MMO market.  
Although I personally feel there is a HUGE difference between ‘hardcore’ PvE and PvP gameplay.  ‘Hardcore’ PvE in MMOs traditionally means raiding which is basically nothing but memorizing the proper moves to be a monkey in a synchronized dance routine that you repeat over and over and over and over and over.  Some people think that is the same thing as having skill, when in truth all it requires is enough free time to learn the routines.   
PvP on the other hand is a different thing entirely, there can never be rote memorization since your opponents will always change tactics.  
Sure some people like raiding, and that’s fine for them, but I regard the most basic PvP as requiring far more skill than the hardest PvE raid.   Which is probably why PvP games now have audiences numbering in the millions and created professional careers for gamers while you will never see the same thing happening with PvE content.   Watching a bunch of people doing a pre-programmed dance routine while someone screams into a mike at them is hardly interesting.

doctoroverlord
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doctoroverlord

wjowski Agreed.  Developers really need to realize that large raids only worked back when MMOs were a niche market.   WoW gave them additional life since that game’s producers were hardcore raiders who wanted to shove raiding down players throats but over the years Blizzard has realized their mistake and make things like the LFR tool while dumping 40 man raids. 

I really like the style and lore of WS but if there are developers arrogant and blind enough to ignore lessons learned by past MMOs, then their ideas deserve to die.

Father Xmas
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Father Xmas

SallyBowls1 Nexon doesn’t give one squirt about Carbine/WildStar.  They are ticked about NCSOFT not supporting their combined studio N Square as much as Nexon thinks they should.  Nexon will still need to rally another 35% of shareholders to push their way onto the board, as NCSOFT said take a hike to every “suggestion” Nexon published in that letter last week.  This is all corporate politics and very little if anything to do with NCSOFT’s profits which were up 43% over 2013.

Carbine guessed wrong that there was an outcry of players wanting hard core raid content and thought they would pay for the privilege, hence the subscription rather than B2P or a hybrid F2P system on day one.  Problem with going F2P is up to this point, their only store item is PLEX … I mean CREDD.  Once they start erecting pay walls for F2P and exclusive items only available at the store then that might just drive away the players they have left.

rwtaylor78
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rwtaylor78

Carbine needs to swallow their pride and switch to F2P with a cash shop. I loved the game as well but they won’t survive if they don’t do this. Or do an industry first and decrease the sub cost.

Tridus
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Tridus

skoryy Nexon has enough shares to try and get seats on the board. If they can get enough other shareholders on board, they could replace NCSoft management. “Pound sand” is a response that will change real fast when the board of directors is suddenly in a position to fire you.

Tridus
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Tridus

AdeptusEnginus dirtyklingon Two things:

1. Kill attunement with judicious use of fire. It serves no purpose whatsoever except to make organizing raids more difficult, to make it harder for new players to play with established friends, and so that the hardcore minority on the forums can go “yay keep the filthy casuals out!” Wow got rid of it for a reason: it adds nothing of value.

2. Add multiple difficulties. Seriously. They spend all this money making raid content that very few people can do, because they only have hard mode, while the other players get bored due to lack of content. Making content is expensive, you need to get as many players into it as possible so they don’t get bored and quit.

Carbine doesn’t have enough money to do special exclusive content for hardcore raiders and special exclusive content for casuals, when there is actually a lot of overlap in the content if they just pull their heads out of their posteriors and add more difficulty options.

If they want to stick with their “raids are for hardcore only, and everybody else is not welcome” mentality, they will take it to the company’s grave. Given the way the revenue curve is nearly cliff-shaped and NCSoft’s lack of patience, I don’t expect they have a whole lot more time to wise up.

Tridus
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Tridus

AdeptusEnginus djnesh PaganRites When you actively advertised that your endgame is hardcore only, yes, your failure is probably a good lesson to the industry.
Everybody else has a chance to learn that taunting the majority of the playebase by saying “no endgame for you!!!” is a really stupid idea when you have an AAA budget.

Tridus
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Tridus

Goronmon usagizero EVE is a niche game, not an AAA one.

AAA games require widespread support to make money, so the hardcore only endgame they so foolishly advertised was a death sentence. Attunement walls made recruitment unnecessarily difficult, to the point that it killed raid guilds. The casuals ran out of stuff to do and quit, and even most of the hardcore couldn’t do the 40 person raid, to the point that it’s now a 20 person raid).

WoW got rid of all this stuff for a reason, and that’s something Carbine just learned the hard way. Too bad they now have to try to win back all those people, because they can’t survive as a niche game.

wjowski
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wjowski

WildStar made it’s own bed.  You can thumb your nose at ‘filthy casuals’ all you like but at the end of the day you can’t keep your servers running with 40-man loot drops.

digitalnights
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digitalnights

Ummm there has been NO announcement that WoW is headed to anything other than subscription. Please keep to facts known not wild speculation.

MikeBrafford
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MikeBrafford

Well if Wildstar does close – the players can feel free to contact some of the former City of Heroes players as we have an effort in the workers to reopen CoH. We managed to find a way for a player led effort to buy the game and bring it back.
Talks are still ongoing – but progress is being made.

ElMutharino
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ElMutharino

ColdinT Honestly, it always looked like a cheap imitation of WoW. Especially the environments. More Allods Online than WoW

ElMutharino
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ElMutharino

ColdinT I believe actual P2P customers for TOR are in the 500K, so it’s not surviving just on cash shop sales

ElMutharino
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ElMutharino

Yeah between NCSoft ‘practices’ and the unmitigated disaster WS was, I reckon it will just keep running as P2P till NCS pulls the plug. They not gonna bother with a conversion

FFS people dropped the game halfway through the free month…

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

ColdinT EVE pioneered $60 monocles a couple of years ago. They recently opened a new eden store with lots of cosmetics.

BhimaJenkins
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BhimaJenkins

dirtyklingon skoryy

Looks like Lineage has the WoW effect going on… its been running for forever, and people that play it have so much invested into it they don’t leave. I tried that game (and lineage 2) for about 10 minutes and realized these games have basically no western appeal.

ColdinT
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ColdinT

Even WoW sells pets and mounts I believe. And EvE has its plex.

BhimaJenkins
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BhimaJenkins

Benjamin Seeberger

WoW would survive though with much smaller subs than they have right now. It would be bigger than ARR, so the sub model would likely stick for awhile.

UtopianWarrior
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UtopianWarrior

aldristavan What really hurt the game were all the completely anti-consumer moves… like waiting until the last possible second to make character reservation FAQ public (which included some pretty ridiculous terms), then forcing everyone to re-name during the server merges a couple months later, CREDD expiring in 90 days, while pre-paid cards do not, constantly making fun of casuals, etc.
Perhaps if they showed a bit more respect towards their customers, they wouldn’t be struggling right now. Customer goodwill is actually an important asset, shame they had to learn it the hard way.

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

ColdinT Is there any MMO except maybe 3 ( WoW, EVE, ARR ) that would still be alive without the cash shop?  Even GW2 has to be getting considerable cash shop versus new player income.

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

Hmm, let’s tie these two articles together.  

When you are a public company in a hostile “takeover”/control fight, you might make different decisions. During this contest, does NCSoft want to be seen as sinking a lot of additional resources into Wildstar that is not performing that well.

I found the KT article interesting. 

Nexon also demanded NCSOFT strengthen cooperation with external partners, diversifying from its focus of long-term game development projects.

“NCSOFT is known for its developer-centric atmosphere. Once a long-term project starts, the company delegates the development team to make most of the decisions related to the project,” an industry source said. “This may be an optimal environment for developers. But shareholders may not welcome this because it takes more time to get results.”

Evade2015
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Evade2015

Sorenthaz It is buy to play. I have 2 years of subscription and only paid the original box price. This is without farming and crafting and doing only content I enjoy (pvp)

Golden_Girl
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Golden_Girl

#hardcore

playerxx
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playerxx
ColdinT
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ColdinT

What might happen is that if it goes to B2P, they will still have a subscription as part of the game. That subscription might provide discounts in game, or other benefits, or give access to new content. That way CREDD is still relevant.

Evade2015
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Evade2015

It’s business model will be standard for all MMOs here on out. Eve created it, wildstar improved on it and Wow has plans to switch over as well. This system does allow the game to be buy to play for those who choose it. For example, I’ve got 2 years of subscription and I only paid the box price at launch.
If you’re waiting for it to go free to play its not going to happen cause they’d have to refund the millions of dollars in CREDD they’ve sold

Gavin_Lafferty
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Gavin_Lafferty

Fleischyy The fuss seems to be that the game is simply not profitable enough and is entering a dangerous time.

mrnastybutler
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mrnastybutler

If they keep this games as Pay to Play all the way through till it’s shut down, I will commend them for sticking to their guns while the ship was sinking.

paladin3210
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paladin3210

Ergh. Wildstar, not surprised. 

My wife and I both had high hopes for this game, we played it in beta, bought the collectors even to get in on the pre launch thingie. After 3 months, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’m all for action MMO’s, I still play Tera every now and then (that game is gorgeous… still). But the combat in Wildstar bored me to tears, it was just so tedious and annoying. I leveled 3 classes to 50 and they just all felt the same and it just did not mesh with me at all. Combine with (at the time) Horrifically bad customer relations and forum moderators that were so bad it made me sick, I dropped them, not picking the game up again on that alone. The favouritism was so rampant it boggled the mind. Certain people could cuss a blue streak about how much the game sucked, but others, even if they offered constructive criticism on the game, they were instantly silenced. My wife enjoyed it more, mostly for the art style (another thing I didn’t like, though to be fair it is really well animated) and even though she isn’t really a gamer she might pick it up again if it ever goes F2P, or even B2P (GW2) . Me, I don’t think I could. Yeah I get is some love it, just did not sit well with me, I did try though, I gave it a fair chance. I pvp’ed (before the servers fell silent) I had a couple of characters with almost maxed out gear and attunement, but nope, no thank you.

BudReeferton
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BudReeferton

LF caster DPS for Mythic BRF progression

ColdinT
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ColdinT

While it’s probably a good idea at this point for Wildstar to change business models or relaunch, also have to consider its not going to have as big of an effect as it did for FFXIV or SWTOR. It just doesn’t have that kind of well established IP that can weather any storm.
Heck. Only reason SWTOR is alive right now is because of the cash shop that relies on diehard Star Wars fans to sink tons of money into lockboxes.
I believe Wildstar could turn things around as it’s an awesome game with great combat, and the best housing system I’ve ever seen. It just needs to figure out a way to draw the people in.

ColdinT
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ColdinT

Log in and try it again. Drop 4 added quite a lot of new things. Veteran Shiphsnds are great, and the daily areas feel like less of a grind now. And there’s always leveling up new alts, which has been made a touch easier too.

ColdinT
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ColdinT

There’s a 10 day trial right now. No need for you to wait on something that might be a long time coming.

ColdinT
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ColdinT

It will stay around for at least a year. NCsoft needs its return on investment. I expect B2P will be announced over the summer, along with a cash shop selling cosmetics, mounts, and housing decor.

ColdinT
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ColdinT

Still don’t get that perspective. It’s somewhat cartoony stylized but it also makes the game look pretty diverse too. And making comparisons to WoW, it has much the same art style, just a more modern look.

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