NCsoft's Q3 2015 report: Guild Wars 2, WildStar, all sales dip downward [Updated]
The bad news for the most recent NCsoft financial report is that once again, profits from WildStar were down slightly from the previous quarter -- but this round, even Guild Wars 2's profits were down a bit. In fact, sales dipped for all of NCsoft's big games, and profit for the company was down on the whole, quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, so the takeway isn't that specific games are underperforming relative to the others but that NCsoft had a bad quarter overall. Decreased profits are attributed to a lack of in-game promotions with the company's highest-earning titles.
Of note is that the third quarter report stretches only to the end of September, thus predating both WildStar's shift in business model and Guild Wars 2's first expansion release. During the conference call, NCsoft said it has been focused on cost-efficiency and expects fourth quarter revenues to improve, referencing Guild Wars 2 specifically. Fans of the aforementioned games should keep their eyes peeled for next quarter's results.
We are actually observing very visible performance from the active users. [...] We are very much targeting [...] high-level users. So before the launch, we had six weeks for the free-play users [...] to [...] enjoy the game and for them to [...] reach the cap, but we expected a lot of them would reach the cap level, but however only some of them would reach the cap level during the six-week free-play period. So some of those who reached the cap level are buying this expansion pack. [...] However, the new users who are also reaching the cap level, and of course when they are very much buying the expansion pack, but we are preparing for the promotions and the events. And also [...] there will be users who have not yet reached the cap level, but still we are going to target those users who reach the cap level and who will buy the expansion pack.
As for the marketing span in the fourth quarter, we anticipate that it will increase compared to the third quarter. Of course, as mentioned earlier: The Guild Wars 2 expansion pack, to [...] increase the sales we will be very aggressive on the marketing span for the Guild Wars 2 expansion pack.
The sales performance in the North American region would be very much contingent on the Guild Wars 2 and WildStar performance. We had a very big launch impact of WildStar, but that impact has been diluted this year. [Guild Wars 2's expansion] performance will be incorporated into the fourth quarter results, so the sales trend will be turning into a positive trend.
As for WildStar, at the end of September, we launched as free-to-play [...], so after that there has been very active user movement, very very active and conspicuous user movement in WildStar. And it's a bit down right now and it's a bit stabilized level, but it has been only one month since this launch, so it's a bit shorter period for us to have a very confident comment on that, [but] still we are expecting that that will go up, so we will be able to have a significant impact on the fourth quarter. [...] We expect sales to increase, definitely.
NCsoft also says that its San Mateo mobile studio has 60 employees of a planned 100. It is expected to "leverage" a new IP as well as NCsoft's existing IPs.