Analysts consider NCsoft’s 2016 prospects: Guild Wars 2, WildStar earnings dip predictions

Last March, Korean investment firm KDB Daewoo Securities wasn’t that hopeful on the financial future of WildStar. Little has changed in the firm’s opinion for 2016, as it predicted that WildStar’s profits will drop almost to nothing this year, even after its free-to-play transition in the fall of 2015.

Guild Wars 2 isn’t off the hook in the firm’s eyes, either. The studio says that it expects NCsoft to report “slightly disappointing earnings” for last quarter due in part to weaker sales of Heart of Thorns.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. KDB thinks that 2016 will be an overall strong year for NCsoft and most of its games, with a revenue bump of 11.4%. It points to the release of some of NCsoft’s mobile titles to thank for that and predicts that Lineage Eternal will be unveiled and go into beta in the second half of this year.

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203 Comments on "Analysts consider NCsoft’s 2016 prospects: Guild Wars 2, WildStar earnings dip predictions"

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mrcaptainpants
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mrcaptainpants

Rednill Yep. And what sealed it for me was their sleazy decision to not even include a character slot for the $50 price tag. Eventually, they backpeddled slightly and offered a character slot if you agreed to pre-purchase the game, but that, frankly, ticked me off even more. 

I do *not* pre-purchase games anymore, ever. I’ve been burned too many times. And I was not about to be manipulated to pre-purchase an expansion to get something that should have already been included in the ridiculous price. It really created a strong feeling of ill-will on my part towards ANet.

Needless to say, I didn’t buy HoT.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

Serrenity Sorenthaz “As for Guild Wars 2, who knows what they are thinking.”

That’s been my thought for awhile now.  I haven’t played HoT, have no reason or interest in doing so, but I was around long enough to tell that ArenaNet really didn’t seem to know what they were doing half the time.   Or rather, they keep using their playerbase as live guinea pigs while they keep trying out new directions and shift design philosophies on an annual basis, if not more frequently.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

Line with more hugs Sorenthaz Eh the indies are tried out and get niche followings as they’re supposed to.  The AAA MMO model is definitely dying though.
And Blade and Soul is only a WoW Clone in terms of its endgame and generic questing/world design.   It’s a game that revolves heavily around its combat system to shape how PvP and PvE play out, especially at endgame where the PvE content is apparently super challenging and requires mastery of combos/active damage mitigation/avoidance skills.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

Serrenity Tridus Utakata Sorenthaz
“But it’s harder to do, and has greater risk, so we don’t see very many attempts”
Yeah because it requires intricately designed systems that give people enough freedom to do what they want but at the same time limits them in how far they can reach to where they require others to help enable them to reach further.  I.e. in Tree of Life you can only max out up to 8 skills and thus it creates a dependence on others.  Yet you can still be out on your own if you truly want to be; it’s just that it’s much more beneficial to ally or join up with a guild to get resources/equipment/etc. from.  so you don’t have to mish-mash skills so much.

mmonerd
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mmonerd

Rumm Design flay and mismanagement both is responsible for Wildstars downfall.

Father Xmas
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Father Xmas

Only reason anyone listen to these guys is they put out their analysis of NCSOFT for free.  They thought NCSOFT stock was going to hit 600,000 KrW per share in 2012 which was extremely wishful thinking.
But what the article ignored was the other three reasons, lower growth of Lineage revenue in 4Q, marketing costs due to the annual G-STAR (think E3 for Korea) and their baseball team.  And even with all of that, KDB’s latest estimate has NCSOFT’s revenue down from 839 last year to 837 billion KrW and net profits down from 228 to 186 billion KrW, which is still higher profits than 2014.
As for Wildstar, yes they figure by 4Q16 Wildstar will have revenues below 1/2 billion KrW that quarter.  I think that’s due to the lack of a fluff cash shop.

DelusionalRogue
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DelusionalRogue

Ekphrasis With gw2 they talked big but the reality of development costs set in. People thought they could play for nothing disregarding that F2P requires “whales” to pay for the cheapskates. Wildstar catered to the hardcore in a time when the market has changed and people can no longer devote a part-time job’s worth of time playing. And money… well it’s a lot harder to come by these days.

AthieV
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AthieV

It’s worse than that: these are revenue forecasts, not profit forecasts. WildStar probably hasn’t been profitable since its first quarter, sadly.

blackcat7k
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blackcat7k

Now that they’re both F2P there’s almost nothing they can hack apart to sell anymore since  they’ve already comprised the product. I hope more developers realize that you should probably be working strongly on changing the core mechanics of your game rather than spending tons of time on creative monetization schemes. 

People will pay you money for your product, if actually worth it. The thing is that these MMO experiences are like different coats of paint on the same design, and it seems like these companies are in a race to the bottom to find out how much more they can sell out before they’re really hurting.

thatchefdude
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thatchefdude

Ekphrasis FFXIV is probably the only MMO post-WoW to build on the WoW-ish model (with some holdovers from XI) and really dominate overall…. It’s got between 1 1/2 to 2 M subs, and it has a large following in JP, EU and NA…. It’s also the only major MMO I can think of that allows joint play on console and PC.

DasBenty
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DasBenty

Pashgan Rumm As someone in their 30’s I enjoyed the art style. To each his own

Rednill
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Rednill

wildstar, expected … and GW2 with a expnsion without content for full price, the basically saying fck all older players, it was expected.

csquirrelrun
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csquirrelrun

Then again if KDB were a credible source for predicting the performance of NCSoft products, GW2 would have had an expansion 3 years ago and releases in Taiwan and Japan…but that’s none of my business.

pocketdimension
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pocketdimension

borghive aww the telograph system it sounded so nice before you had to stand ankle deep in  red green and blue neon vomit

pocketdimension
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pocketdimension

Rumm i wouldnt call what wildstar had as high potential. they delivered exactly what they indented and suprise it was the sort of game a shockingly  small number of poeple actually wanted to deal with. literally everything about the game was a shined  up poop spackled in a crap ton of hype.

Utakata
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Utakata

breetoplay Utakata 
Edit: I entirely agree.

WandaClamshuckr
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WandaClamshuckr

DugFromTheEarth Nailed it for me.  I lost faith in ANET’s management team after a year and a half of buffoonery.  I saw no need whatsoever to return, let alone shell out $50 to be behind the curve and then deal with the same ol’ crap as before.

Ekphrasis
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Ekphrasis

WildStar’s main problem is that their design team *completely* missed the mark. While I respect staying true to one’s vision, their willful ignorance in understanding their target market/demographic was astounding.
A few things contributed to WoW’s success. Right place, right time, growing interest in MMOs, design aspects geared toward themepark questing instead of sandbox, a well known IP etc. And maybe a little bit of magic. So many MMOs have tried to achieve the same results since then but the ingredients just aren’t there.
At the height of WoW’s popularity, it seemed many of the people investing significant time for hardcore raiding actually had the free time to invest. Most (if not all) western MMOs were sporting a subscription as well. Today, many people have grown up and have families, could be busier with other life priorities, tastes have changed and the prevalence of alternative business models like F2P/B2P have reduced the barrier to try multiple games at once (leading to even less time to invest in hardcore raiding/grinding) – and many MMOs have adopted bite sized, quick content to accommodate shorter play sessions.
Yes, WildStar turned around eventually (to some degree), however, first impressions and some fundamental design decisions still always hold it back now.
Personally, I dislike raiding, the over the top, loud ‘MURICA bro-style humour got on my nerves, I wasn’t a fan of the cartoony art style, the overly telegraphed frenetic combat didn’t appeal and the community/dev arrogance in listening to – and adopting – player feedback simply highlighted the game wasn’t for me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for a LOT of other people as well. Ah well, at least it’s still around for those that enjoy it – for now. (We all know from past experience that NCSoft can be trigger happy in sunsetting MMOs)
Good reception for blade and soul right now it seems. It will have its own issues as time goes on and people play through it but it never should have been delayed in favour of WildStar… (No confirmation but it appears the most likely theory)
GW2? Sadly, losing its way I think. Every update seems to take us further away from what they’d originally promised – and everything we hoped it would be.

ThickPines
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ThickPines

Wildstar is an ugly game. It should die.

Craywulf
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Craywulf

KDB=Kinda Deal Big?

yeahreally
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yeahreally

I find it interesting that they predict no bump in revenue for the US/EU release of Blade and Soul, only a leveling off of the year over year revenue decline for that game.

Pashgan
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Pashgan

Rumm > the art style was unique
Actually that art style (apparently oriented to 10 years old children) is the main reason why I didn’t even try the game – even after it went free.

Arthwyndar
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Arthwyndar

That’s a shame to read. I rather liked WildStar while I was playing it even after the transition. I hope these guys all land ok.

Kalamari
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Kalamari

Serrenity annoyedbadger no.
it’s projection, that the revenue isn’t that good as assumed. therefore anet has made revenue. there is nothing that went down. they did made money with HoT. period.

Xephyr
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Xephyr

dorn2 dungeons are the most faceroll content in the game, they’re not even a little bit hard.

Dreema
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Dreema

DugFromTheEarth As far as GW2 is concerned, that describes me perfectly. I bought it when it came out, didn’t like it much and gave up not long after. From time to time, I’ve gone back to it – it’s free after all so it’s not costing me anything – and played for a while longer but I never last very long. The lack of proper questing makes everything seem like a grind and the idea of grinding all the way to max level just puts me to sleep. My interest was certainly peaked by the expansion, but then I’m not high enough level to benefit from it so I didn’t buy it.

Pandalulz
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Pandalulz

SallyBowls1 breetoplay borghive This is a good way to put it.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

dorn2 Doesn’t seem that hard anymore. You just don’t have to queue dungeons right at lvl 50, but do veterans adventures and expeditions to get some gear.

AilsaN10
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AilsaN10

I guess I’m in the minority. I HAVE bought gems. GW2 is not the world’s best game, but I do play it. Since there is no monthly cost involved in GW2, I believe in supporting the company providing my entertainment.

dorn2
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dorn2

I tried it when I went back to F2P. The feedback I saw was a lot of people feeling dungeons were too hard for pugs and bad players.  They of course got lynched by a vocal minority claiming you shouldn’t pug.

The end result is obvious.  A game that excludes it’s players on skill is going to exclude their wallet as well.

BryanCo
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BryanCo

Armsbend Tridus  Ha!  I was in college getting my accounting degree while Bill Clinton was in office.  My tax professor joked that he loved Bill Clinton because every time he signed his name new accounting jobs were created.

DugFromTheEarth
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DugFromTheEarth

Wildstar – Remove any reason at ALL to sub, and dont add any new content or anything to the game. Our existing (paying) supporters will keep paying us, right?

GW2 – Im thinking there is a HUGE playerbase of EX-GW2 players out there. People who played a good year or more when the game came out, and simply got bored and tired of the games lack of progression and huge focus on the disappointing entire first year of the living story. Enter a 60 dollar expansion that promises to add a bunch of new things to do!  But wait, those people who havent been playing, are quite a bit behind in the games main story, with no easy way to catch up. Do they trust the next expansion to add life to the game for 60 bucks? Do they care enough after missing out on the games storyline for so long? My guess is not enough to buy a 60 dollar expansion.

A Dad Supreme
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A Dad Supreme

Leviathon_lx So…
…it could be better for WildStar or…
…it could be even worse. 

Not really that encouraging.

Valkyrie Noel
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Valkyrie Noel

Wildstar failed. Who would have thought?

BryanCo
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BryanCo

crawlkill  I don’t think MMO’s are a financial dead end, but I DO think that the AAA “try to be everything for everyone themepark” is on the way out.  That approach worked astoundingly well for WoW for a long time, but (at least in the West) other AAA launches have met with, at best, mixed results.  The future belongs to more focused games that can be profitable with a much smaller playerbase.

McGuffn
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McGuffn

ArbsX McGuffn TheDonDude Tridus well, again, if a small fraction of the playerbase is only capable of doing the content, that is a problem, and it is or was wildstar’s problem.

Armsbend
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Armsbend

Rumm that is more of a design flaw imo.

Leviathon_lx
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Leviathon_lx

Whie I don’t doubr Wildstar is doing bad that Korean bank has predicted wrong earnings for NCSoft every single time.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

breetoplay Utakata The answer is pretty simple. Someone spends all their time defending GW2 as the best most popular game on the market. Reads a news post predicting bad/not so good things about it…. /nerdrage loses respect for the site that posted it. aka shoot the messenger.

I guess for some enjoying a game as the best one for you isn’t enough. They need other peoples approval as well, and this type of news cuts into their illusion that ” the majority agree “

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

PurpleCopper  A new MMO?????????  Reading about NCSoft, I see mobile a lot.  I see Asia a lot.  I just don’t see another Western MMO in them; I hope I am wrong.

Karl_Hungus
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Karl_Hungus

Poor Wildstar. Literally poor Wildstar.

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

Tridus borghive  Even fewer examples of  big games launching and doing very well out of the gate.  FF14 & SWTOR are successful but that was hard to claim a few months after launch.

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

breetoplay borghive  I think WS had two gaming ideas that did not mesh wellWildstar 2013 – humor, personality, 3-non-Warrior paths, …
Wildstar 2014 – #HARDCORE

I liked the art style but think WildStar’s art style hurt them.  It has “limited appeal” not for MMOs players in general but for the #HARDCORE segment that it was marketed to.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

borghive I don’t agree with the art style point at all but I do think we’re finally starting to see the saturation point people have been predicting for years. Endlessly making games meant to last ” forever” in a genre that doesn’t have an endless number of players will eventually have this issue.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

borghive As Patrick Rothfuss said yesterday in his interview with Massively, graphics are not required to be amazing for a good game.  I personally enjoyed the graphics, but I also like animation as a whole.  The graphic style was also likely a strategic decision because stylized graphics age much better than those attempting to be true-to-life. 
If you don’t like graphics, that’s totally fine!  And it’s totally fine for you to express that dislike — just saying I don’t know that it had the impact you are describing. 
To the second point, I’m going to put on my product visionary hat for a second. The MMO genre as it’s been traditionally understood has a (relatively) limited appeal.  But with games like Star Citizen that are trying to expand how we understand these games, our entire concept of what an MMO can be should be changing, and as it does, I think the appeal will be broader as well.  As we move beyond the tropes of the MMO genre to a more open world that enables multitudes of ways to play. 
I have a lot of hope for the Star Citizen model because in my mind, the next logical step is different ‘games’ that all plug into the same universe that’s persistent.  The MMO is practically bursting at the seams of it’s definition as it is, and have constant spats about what should or shouldn’t be an MMO.  
All of this is to say that the next evolutionary leap of MMOs will likely have a broader appeal than our current gen because they will have left behind all the tropes of the MMO genre that have, in large part, been holding us back since the advent of WoW.

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

deekay_zero SallyBowls1 Line with more hugs  TY!

McGuffn
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McGuffn

deekay_zero SoMuchMass Where on earth do you see that. I play gw2 every day, in the same zerker armor that i had before the expansion, and you can still faceroll, it just generally requires also knowing what you’re doing.

HoT’s problem is the same problem Wildstar has, and its not that it is buggy.

Armsbend
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Armsbend

Tridus To be fair, no college graduate accountant wants the tax code simplified either.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

mrnastybutler Serrenity Understood.  Just wanted to make sure it was clear that the article was on predictions, not actualities yet :-)

borghive
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borghive

I see your point, but I don’t think their choice of art style did any favors for the game. I’m just so tired of the sentiment that the MMO industry is dying. The reality is that there are only so many players that enjoy this genre and I just don’t think the market can support the sheer amount of Mmos that vying for attention these days.

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