NCsoft’s Q1 2017 financials: Tumbles for Lineage, Guild Wars 2, plus new leadership for Lineage Eternal

NCsoft’s first quarter financials for 2017 have released, and… well, let’s get the bad news out of the way. While sales dropped only slightly since the preceding quarter and in line with last year, the company’s operating profits and incomes fell sharply, in the -60 to -77% range both quarter over quarter and year over year. The company says that’s “due to incentives paid on the back of record-high earnings last year.” In particular, Lineage 1’s sales were down significantly on the quarter and the year (“due to the early sales recognition in 4Q and weaker traffic from anticipated Lineage M demand”). Aion’s and Lineage II’s sales dropped ever so slightly, as did Guild Wars 2’s, which has fallen by more than half following the late 2015 launch of Heart of Thorns.

The good news? Blade and Soul saw a small boost.

During the conference call, NCsoft announced that it has overturned the development leadership working on Lineage Eternal, suggesting that the closed beta failed to “reflect NCsoft’s characteristics” and promising a retooled dev schedule in the months ahead.

WildStar’s revenues, you’ll recall, have not been reported separately since 4Q 2016.

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45 Comments on "NCsoft’s Q1 2017 financials: Tumbles for Lineage, Guild Wars 2, plus new leadership for Lineage Eternal"

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Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

While Wildstar is no longer reported separately, it is easy to estimate due to the jump in the “other” category. It looks as if Wildstar is generating approximately $15 billion won/quarter, which is respectable.

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Mr_Planthead

I’ll pay the GW2 team money to not put anymore vines in the game

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Jack Pipsam

Oh well.

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Thomas

For me, HoT did for GW2 what Mines of Moria did years earlier for LotRO: the expansion introduced so much vexation, tedium, and general grindiness that it pretty much destroyed any interest I had in the game.

If ArenaNet ever started making new, updated campaigns for GW1 or created a new “GW1-like” game (i.e., a CORPG) — or even if they shifted GW2 in a more CORPG-like direction — I’d be all over that in a heartbeat.

Fortunately, there are other games out there, such as SWTOR, that have in some ways filled the gap left when GW1 was essentially abandoned.

kalamari_
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kalamari_

GW2 keeps being stable without a p2w and slutty outfit shop like the asian games. good news.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

gw2 being down but us/europe being up looks like thanks either to bns or to wildstar???? :D they did have that free lvl 50 thing this quarter i believe.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

ahh teh infograph says us/eu sales were driven up by bns. QQ

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Paraxes

I am quite curious how MXM will do once it comes out in summer and the following quarter.

I know most people aren’t excited for it since it is yet “just another” Moba but I actually really looking forward to it due to the integration of PVE and not just straight PVP, not to mention the twist of having 2 heroes at once + WASD controls.

While I spend a lot of time in HOTS currently, I’d sometimes wish for a PVE mode (and no, not just AI matches).

The only thing that worries me is how they will balance the PVE with the PVP part since, at least to my knowledge, the game has gear so that could create quite a balance mess which is a massive issue in a genre mostly known for its competitiveness that mostly comes down to skill and not gear.

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Arktouros

While GW2’s renewed focus on open world and living story content interests me I continue to be put off by the class balancing in the game.

I’m tired of having to switch mains every time something gets deemed “OP” and they completely and irrevocably destroy a character in the name of balance (which is anything but balanced). It stings the most because it’s usually done for content modes I don’t even play such as SPvP or Raiding. Especially with the amount of time and effort invested into getting a look and cosmetic for each character to mention nothing of bag space and otherwise.

The decision to lock legendary armor, and I’m at the point in the game where it’s all bout that legendary grind, leaves me hoping the expansion will bring with it a change in the way they go about developing the game.

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haishao

There’s really no reason to change main because of balance patch if you don’t play pvp or raid. Unless you want to play the Flavor of the Month class absolutely.
Meta don’t change that much even after balance and there’s no meta for openworld so you just play what you want and what you find most effective and fun.

Balance patches have never affected a class enough to justify stopping playing it in open world.

Legendary armor are not very good looking and their only redeeming factor is the ability to change runes without destroying them. This pretty useless in Open World since you’ll probably never change rune for over a year. This is mostly only good if you WvW and PvE a lot or raids.

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Arktouros

I primarily played open world (map metas, etc), fractals, and WvW. Balance is pretty huge in WvW. While some things certainly need to be brought into line some changes have been devastating for small scale WvW (IE: havoc squads that do things like taking down yaks, flipping camps, etc) and large scale WvW depending on the change. Feeling worse at the content that you were previously doing, especially when others are already doing better, is frustrating enough to not want to play (or at least in my case).

The ability to swap runes would be immense for swapping from small scale roam (where things like conditions can dominate) to large scale (where things like toughness/power dominate) would be immense looks aside (I already have great cosmetic looks for my characters that isn’t the issue). A good chunk of my bag space is simply extra sets of gear with berserker PvE, condition solo/small WvW, tanky/power large scale WvW. Armor, weapons, accessories…it adds up.

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Bruno Brito

Not pretty huge. Just huge.

Balance is EVERYTHING in WvW. Unless Anet starts making decent battlegrounds and balance this damn game for 10v10 or 20v20, we’ll never get good balance in zergs and grand battles.

They need to diminish the visual clutter while adding visual effects for passives to allow counterplay. They need to change the way that damage is deal in this game to not feed pirateships metas, or boon share/corrupt meta.

GW2 is too boon intensive, therefore, too boon-corrupt intensive. Boons should be temporary buffs given by certain classes when built in a specific way, like PS warriors, elixir/turret engineers, etc etc.

Sigh. This game lacks direction. That’s what i see.

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Bryan Turner

Do you play Medium Armor classes, if so you’re better off not making that Legendary Clown suit.

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Arktouros

It’s less about the aesthetic than the functionality to me, but no I never liked most of the medium armor classes. The Engineer isn’t bad but it’s development always has felt ham-fisted due to the kits.

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Bruno Brito

Buying a set of Legendary armor and feeling the need to transmute it, the nutblow they gave engineer.

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Bryan Turner

I might be more inclined to start pulling out my Credit Card for GW2 if A)Legendary Armor had other paths to obtain it, B) An easier tier of raiding for folks like me that play Non Meta builds and classes, C) Proper PVE balancing that places all classes/builds within mere points of each other in DPS while having each class offer something that’s actually wanted in Raids.

Just think of the money I’d spend every pay period to help get those Legendary mats (for the gifts) a bit quicker other than farming.

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Arktouros

Yep. You eventually reach a stage in the game where the only thing left is doing more alts or working on legendaries and them locking armor away is just a huge kick in the balls if you don’t want to raid. What I’d love to see is them add in ways to get stuff from the game modes without having to go in to them if you really don’t want to. Maybe make them Laurel based or take other game modes etc.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

Wait, so ArenaNet is the developer and NCsoft is the publisher? i didn’t know that

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Sally Bowls

I think, IIRC, No. Anet has been a wholly owned subsidiary for ages. The execs in Korea can increase or shutdown whatever they want in arenanet.

The “paper shuffle” from summer ’15 was to undo what you said; NCSoft used to be the publisher for anet but anet took over its own publishing.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

aside from some meaningless paper shuffling a couple years ago yes. anet is wholly owned and exclusively published by ncsoft. since pretty shortly after teh studio was formed well before guild wars 1 launched 13 years ago.

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McGuffn

Arenanet publishes it too.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

ncosft wholly owns anet.

they just did a paper shuffle a couple years ago which is pretty much completely meaningless in any substantial fashion but branding.

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Jeff

GW2 answer to people leaving.

Okay lets gate content behind Raids like Wow does.
What do you mean we’re losing more people now???

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Schmidt.Capela

Looking at the numbers HoT does seem to have been a failure. Not a complete, game-killing disaster, but the numbers after the initial expansion sales died are about 25% lower than the numbers before HoT launched.

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Bruno Brito

It was. It wasn’t a disaster, but it was a failure.

When your game lives on balance, fair entry and philosophy of being open for every playstyle, the last thing you wanna do is to focus on gated content and powercreep.

Line
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Line

GW2, still shrinking because adding content does not make money.
It will suddenly surge with the expansion hype, I guess.

Holy crap at Lineage.
And Lineage Eternal is stuck in development hell… is that the next big Korean IP that will just die alone?

finyar
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finyar

NCsoft should have developed a real Lineage 3 and not some Diablo clone nobody asked for.

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kgptzac

Which doesn’t conform to the odd reality that Lineage 1 still makes shit tons of money for them. There are quite a few L2 spiritual successors. Aion, Tera, and even BnS are in the family. If there has been a L3, it would be a clone of something already existing… probably ArcheAge or Black Desert, which may or may not be better than Diablo clone.

Line
Reader
Line

That’s pretty much what Lineage 1 is, and the reason why it’s still making money.
Infinite garbage loot, predatory cash shop if you don’t want to get shanked by RNG.

Also the reason why Blade&Soul saw some growth while everything is down, by the way. The only one that gets more scams in the cash shop is the only one doing well.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

aside from some similiarity in control and camera schemes and being rpg’s i don’t see much in common between l1 and diablo/arpg’s, let alone your mischaracterization of how itemization works in teh lineage games in general.

i couldn’t seapk to the cash shop for the game in korea, but the one that appeared breifly here wasn’t particularly predatory or pay2win, which no one spent mcuh on it enough to keep the game alive here.

which qq for decades long loyal western l1 players. first update in a decade and it’s acash shop[ and the game shuts down shortly after.

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Serrenity

I wonder if WS had any positive impact on the small bump in “Other Sales”. GW2 will almost definitely see recoups in Q2 because of the Living World story and anticipation of a formal expansion announcement.

Not a great Q1 in the grand scheme, but not catastrophic either. I would put it about par for the course.

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

It does appear so. If you note, “Other” jumped in 4Q16, which is the first quarter that Wildstar was included in those numbers. Based on prior year history in Other, it appears that Wildstar is actually earning $15bil Won/quarter now.

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hardy83

Are those numbers in millions? If so, those games are still earning a decent amount of money for a single quarter.
Yeah I know, in the investment world it’s about infinite growth, not reasonable profits so a game like GW2 doing half as when HoT came out looks bad.

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Sray

Add 6 zeroes to the end of each number reported, then use a currency converter to translate South Korean Won to your local currency (likely USD or euros) to get a better idea of what the figure actually mean.

Line
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Line

It’s in billions of won, so that’s pretty close to being the same numbers in millions of $.

finyar
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finyar

The new Guild Wars 2 expansion can’t come soon enough.

Reader

Even with an expansion it pales to their other offerings (as far as income goes). GW2 still feels like an experiment to me. A departure from the norm that gave us some interesting concepts and ideas. For a large studio, triple A title. It should have been more.

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Matthäus Wey

This… so damn much

Line
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Line

It has more to do with being a Western game.
All the other games make bugger all in the West, Lineage has been closed for years, even.

otherwise, it’s one of the few MMOs that actually make decent money and don’t hide it being meaningless numbers and not a peep on revenue.
Just look at Wildstar if you want to see a monumental failure.

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Bruno Brito

Interestingly enough, Wildstar is dragging itself along.

I can only pray it drags itself out of the mud.

threeknee
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threeknee

I can’t be bothered to google previous reports but I’m pretty sure that before HoT, GW2 was making double of what it’s making now.

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Makhiel

Not double, although this is an all-time low. They’ve gone over 30k only with launch and HoT, otherwise they were around 20k.

EDIT: Looks like there was another spike over 30k in 4Q 13, the early reports are hard to make sense of.

earnings.png
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bigangry

Welp, I was hoping for better news about Lineage Eternal, but I guess I’ve waited THIS long, may as well wait longer.

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Vunak

That’s what we all said about EQ: Next

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i remember when they released gameplay footage in 2010 and announced beta would be that year. this has got to be worse development hell than wildstar >>

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