70% of Lineage M’s launch players were over 30 years old


The Lineage franchise continues its unstoppable runaway train force in South Korea — this time with Lineage M.

Korea’s Pulse News reports that Lineage M now counts over 10 million players in its first month. The game launched overseas just a month ago with 5.5 million preorders; as of two weeks ago, it had already earned $89 million in revenue, what Pulse calls the “rapidest gain in the Korean game industry.”

Intriguingly, Pulse quotes a WiseApp stat that 70% of Lineage M’s launch-day users were over 30 years old, compared to 29% under 30. Is it a shift in the MMO market, a shift in the mobile market, or a marker for Lineage’s overall base?

SuperData’s June report doesn’t include Lineage M, but the Netmarble-backed Lineage 2 Revolution made the top 10 for mobile revenue in May and indeed set monthly revenue records in Korea — which Lineage M aims to break.

Expect NCsoft’s next quarterly report next month.

Source: Pulse News. Thanks, Sally!

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Sally Bowls

As always, any discussion on VR/AR/XR/mobile would benefit from Raph’s

An Industry Lifecycle

A new platform on which to play games is invented. It might be a new graphics technology (Vector graphics! Color! 3d! VR!). It might be a technical advancement of a different sort (Modems! Servers! Streaming! D-pads! Small screens! Big screens! Touch screens!). It might just be a new marketing channel (Games in bars! Games at home! Games in restaurants! Games in stadiums!).

Its distinguishing characteristic is that it is worse at the old sorts of games than the existing platforms, but better at something new.

It’s still cheap to make something for it, usually, and it’s risky. Big companies stay away, or they try porting over something that has worked before. It doesn’t do great because it’s a mismatch for the new capabilities — and restrictions — of the new platform.

It’s almost inevitably something new in mechanics, with fresh game system design in some fashion. It has to be, you see, to take advantage of what the new platform offers.

A whole generation of players grows up thinking this is what games are.

As the platform grows, these early movers can get users very cheaply. The game cost relatively little, and the people with money from the other platforms are fumbling around thinking they know everything.

Because they make lots of money, and they are more worried about little guys than big guys, they start spending more of their cash on production values and on marketing, to freeze out smaller competitors. This manifests as things like buying up ads or users as intentionally high prices that smaller shops cannot afford; pushing higher art costs as they work to extend a technological lead so that smaller groups cannot compete; and buying some smaller guys outright. One of these people eventually makes the game that defines that genre forever. They “win.” And are rewarded with even larger swimming pools of money.

Some of the dinosaurs from the older platforms that haven’t run out of money (most did, and died) figure out that the new platform now runs just like the old one, and they join the party.

Pretty soon all the games are heavily narrative brand-building exercises based on the mechanics that were invented in the first few days of the new platform. Genres which cannot sustain the profit margin required to operate the big teams (too small an audience; too expensive to build) are quietly left to die. A whole generation of players grows up thinking that this is what games are.

The two groups of players with radically different pictures of what games are spend a lot of time squabbling on the Internet.

Worn out from working at an increasingly less creative shop, or never having worked at it at all because it seemed like a soulless marketing machine, a group of devs start to develop small things on alternate platforms that the big guys have decided are not worth their time.

One day, one of them hears that a new platform on which to play games has been invented…


But… that’s actually completely wrong, isn’t it?
New platforms do not mean worse at something and a big rush to focus on its strengths. It can be weaker in some aspect, but that’s by no mean a guarantee. And the 3D craze didn’t mean dead 2D, far from it. How many franchises died because of it?
And focusing on the same thing but “better” is perfectly functional (SNES? Megadrive? The PC market in general?).

But it’s not the case for mobile.
The new thing only lies in the economic model. Gacha galore and microtransactions more aggressive than ever.
Can a mobile run the same games that are working on other platforms?
Sure they can, and there’s plenty of them.
But for the most part, they don’t make money, and that’s the big difference.

You have two markets, with mostly the same games, except one makes money with “traditional” videogames (that haven’t changed much, and just slowly evolved unlike Raph’s claiming – you totally get 4X games, W-RPGs and J-RPGs, 2D fighting games, so on and so forth), the other mostly with lottery games.

It’s not something that can be changed with a new platform.
The PC and console industry melding together is doing better than ever (even if at the cost of the console market as we know it – they’re adapting right now), and is home to an explosive number of old stuff and completely new stuff.
The mobile industry is also doing better than ever, but from the very beginning started in a very specific genre that exists to make money. While it does just that, it’s also not the creative side of things and has never been. Big names are just stolen concepts from free flash games.

When the very, very old market is the one innovating and flourishing, while the new upstart is still extremely unreliable, I don’t see how you can see that as a change in practices.
Nothing changed, but a new market appeared. It’s entirely unique, and unlikely to be a good thing in the long term.
Japan and Korea just jumped on the mobile market because they can’t see beyond their borders. And it’s already biting them in the ass, but you can’t deny that Nintendo is making bank with that (and that literally thousand of devs’ release and fail to find success every day).
But it’s also a massive bet that just isn’t working for 99.99% of the actors in the industry.

The mobile market is not part of the videogame lifecycle. It’s more like a scavenger that found its niche, not replacing the rest, but living alongside it.
And it better reproduce fast, because there’s zero loyalty and zero care given by its players; at any time the entire market could collapse if it suddenly isn’t seen as a cool thing to do. With no impact on the old guard.

Things don’t suddenly die by being replaced by something new. The old things are always here.
They just die because they’re shit and nobody cares. In that way, the mobile market is the 83′ crisis waiting to repeat…

Sally Bowls

I certainly disagree that the PC/Console games are the slightest bit less interested in making money than their mobile brethren. In an ’09 Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference in San Francisco, Kotick said “The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games.” IMO, ATVI, EA, Daybreak, et al want to make money.

The average game on Steam sells 32000 copies and the number is dropping.. In the April ’16 report, the 2099 indie games on steam averaged under $64k sales; the game can’t take more than a couple of person-months to develop for $64k to be close to being considered a success. It’s really tough to make money as a PC or mobile game and the top .01% make a fortune.

A decreasing percentage of gamers will own a PC/console and a decreasing percentage of gaming revenue will come from PC/console. The outlook for PC/console is good; most businesses are investing more in mobile because they think its outlook is better.

Sally Bowls

I found two interesting things in one paragraph.

The success of the new mobile role playing game has come after it has successfully attracted gamers in their 30s and 40s who enjoyed the prequel of the game when they were young. Lineage M is a sequel of Lineage, a medieval fantasy and online role-playing game that had become a huge hit since its launch in 1998.

1) Nostalgia sells.
2) The press – presumably NCSoft is guiding them – refer to this mobile game as a sequel to the PC MMO. I suspect many hereabouts would resist such a characterization.

Brown Jenkin

Just curious, what is it if not a sequel to Lineage/L2?

Sally Bowls

Pshaw. For commenters around here, Reality is somewhere between a minor inconvenience to ignored outright, at least on Religious issues like mobile.

Imagine if DBG announced that the next generation of Everquest was coming to iPhones in ’19. Words would be said.

Danny Smith

I would imagine its probably similar for most mmos. I’m 29 and back when WoW started i was the goddamn baby of my guild back then with most of the big mmo crowd being 20 around 2000 or earlier.

Patreon Donor

i played l2 with teenagers that would now be in their early 30s.

Kickstarter Donor

I am trying to remember what age I would have been when I first started playing L2, I know one thing for sure, I was a lot less patient back then haha