NCsoft 4Q 2016 financials: Record sales, WildStar’s fate, Lineage Eternal launch

On the surface, fourth quarter 2016 financials for MMORPG giant NCsoft look solid. Yesterday, the company released its investor report, highlighting hefty year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter growth in sales and operating profit, both setting records for the studio.

Among NCsoft’s chief games, Lineage as always drives performance, significantly so this quarter, but Lineage II, Aion, Blade and Soul, and Guild Wars 2 held more or less steady over their previous quarters too, though Aion and GW2 are down year-over-year.

Of note, WildStar’s performance is no longer being reported separately, so we can no longer track its downward trends; it’s now bundled unceremoniously into “other sales” — not a good sign, but presumably better than the alternative.

During the investor call, the company reported that Master X Master is expected to launch here by summer, while the global open beta and launch for Lineage Eternal will follow a Korean beta this year. MMO Culture notes that NCsoft’s North American division is plotting a simultaneous mobile launch of Lineage Eternal. Work on four other mobile MMOs — Blade & Soul Mobile, Lineage M, and Aion Legions — continues, with the former two suffering delays.

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Castagere Shaikura

GW2 was slowly going down hill and HOT didn’t help it either. Talk about a game that lost its direction. Wildstar is just hanging on by a thread. I really think the plug will be pulled on it soon. GW2 had so much promise at launch and they just screwed it up badly. They should have stuck to the lie they made up at launch and it would be doing better. Everyone i knew that played mmo’s tried it at launch and quit it once they got a character to max level.

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MeltWithYou

Poor Wildstar…a game that on paper should have gelled with my tastes but didn’t. Not a flame or troll or declaration of death post, but my heart goes out to those dev’s that poured everything they could into that game. The news regarding it is seldom ever what I’d consider ‘good’.

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Steven Williams

Whenever I get the urge to play Wildstar, I remember the time and buckets of money I wasted playing Shin Megami Tensei: IMAGINE Online. Low playerbase desperate for new players and new content, relying solely on the hope that things will turn around. Eventually the game disappeared from AeriaGames’ front page, the community staff suffered cuts, and the game was sold to Atlus Online (the MMO publisher equivalent of the River Styx). Once Atlus Online’s MMO publishing branch was shut down, no one wanted to buy the rights and the game faded from existence. Eventually, the original game shut down in Japan.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be wary about putting time and money into games that are in Wildstar’s position.

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Totakeke

If they do pull the plug on Wildstar, I really hope they continue it in some fashion. Maybe give it to Dark Horse Comics and make a series with it. It has such a great setting and I would really hate to see it go to waste.

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Suikoden

Hopefully this means Blade and Soul continues to get attention. You don’t see too many articles about it (not nearly as much compared to Guild Wars), but other than Lineage it’s the only one trending growth.

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Cypher

I really wish I could get back into GW2, I still have fond memories of launch week and months of happy gaming (and still have thousands of gems still in the game!)… I actually can’t remember why i stopped playing it!
I’ve heard so much negativity about HoT, can anyone who left and came back confirm if it’s worth a buy? Think I still have a toon just below the original level cap.

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Father Xmas

Roughly flat is better than plummeting. The major drop YoY was due to last 4th quarter was when the expansion was released.

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Greaterdivinity

Holy ouch.

GW2 continuing to drop in revenue, especially during Q4, is very concerning. Given that they’ve finally hit their stride with living story updates, it makes me wonder if much of the community that supported the game throughout the living story of classic has left. Because between the considerably lower launch sales and the considerable decline in post-launch sustained revenue, things are not looking too rosy for them right now. Extremely curious to see how they’re going to try to “reset” things with the next expansion now, which should be coming through quickly given the continued decline of their quarterly revenue. It’s such a shame to see, because they were performing so well pre-HoT, even during the long content droughts : (

Can’t say I really find the results too surprising though, I still think HoT overall has been a pretty piss-poor expansion to what was an absolutely incredible game. I’d have thought that restarting the LS would have stabilized things, but apparently that’s not the case.

And WildStar…yeah, I fear that game isn’t too long for the world. Hopefully I’m wrong, but the fact that it’s been folded into “other” indicates that revenue is still dropping for the game, which is not good in the slightest.

At least NCsoft is doing well overall, which bodes will for their library as a whole.

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Dug From The Earth

I think its largely due to all the players that would care about gw2’s story, have long given up on the game. They arent in the game to enjoy it, nor do they feel or trust that its worth coming back for.

I for one gave GW2 way more second chances than I should have, and its doubtful id go back again. After than HoT expansion, there is no way they could get me to buy another one.

Anet cant seem to find a middle ground between appeasing their current players, and appeasing NEW players (both new and returning)

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Sally Bowls

In regards to http://massivelyop.com/2017/01/05/rumor-ncsoft-might-be-working-on-aion-2/

In the conference call, NCSoft said

And for Aion Legions of War, actually, the soft launch would be something that we are scheduling for the second quarter of this year and we are planning to launch this game first in the US and Europe as you have mentioned and that would probably take place in the third quarter.

Is the A2 rumor just Aion Legions of War or something else?

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Greaterdivinity

https://trademarks.justia.com/870/86/aion-legions-of-87086619.html

Seems like this is just a mobile game, especially with references to a “soft launch” (common in mobile to test games in smaller markets before their global/larger regional launch).

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Sally Bowls

Derp, of course. TY. NCSoft is even having two different mobile B&S games from different dev teams; At least there are a lot of MMO-related games in their push into mobile.

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Bryan Correll

Maybe there are some serious behind the doors negotiations on selling Wildstar.* I’m not sure who would buy it unless the folks at Carbine are able to get some backing to go independent with it. It might even be able to turn things around. But as long as it’s an NCSoft property the game simply isn’t going to be able to attract new players because of the perception that it’s next for the chopping block.
* There were such negotiations going on with Paragon Studios trying to buy CoH that Matt “Positron” Miller et al. hoped would be successful right up until the closure was announced.

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Sally Bowls

In the best of all possible worlds, Bree wins a lottery and buys up SSG, Funcom, DBG, Trion-deved (not published), Wildstar and GW2 for the MMO equivalent of the “Island of Misfit Toys.” I included GW2 not because it was doing poorly but it does not seem to fit that well with NCSoft.

In the worst of all possible worlds, which looks a lot like this one, any of the above except GW2 which survive end up at DBG.

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Bryan Correll

Well….one of my 2017 predictions in the comment-system-that-was involved Bree quitting MOP to found Elf Butt Games.

kofteburger
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kofteburger

Daybreak of course.