NCsoft Q4 2017: Guild Wars resurges as Blade & Soul and Lineage M drive profits

    
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NCsoft has money to cheer about this past financial quarter, as it posted another year of solid growth. Revenue and operating profit were up 87% and 86% respectively year-over-year, though of course the quarter doesn’t quite compare to the blockbuster that was Q3 last year when Lineage M hit Asia.

Lineage M continued to drive good mobile sales for the company even after its shine wore off, accompanied by Aion, Lineage, and Lineage II, which are down YOY for the quarter and the year. Blade and Soul is outperforming everything but mobile at this point and this quarter held even YOY, at least globally.

And as for Guild Wars 2? Well, no surprise there: The Path of Fire expansion was quite a boon, more than doubling the game’s quarterly revenue YOY and pushing total revenue past 2016’s (though not past 2015’s, when Heart of Thorns launched at a price two-thirds higher). (Recall that SuperData just included GW2 on its top 10 list of premium PC games by revenue [at an annual figure slightly higher than what’s represented here] and that Q2 last year was the game’s worst quarter ever, so this is a comfortable comeback.)

“The second expansion pack for Guild Wars 2 was included in full for the quarter, lifting sales by 73% QOQ.”

And no, WildStar isn’t listed separately anymore, so we don’t have a breakdown on how it’s doing.

Source: NCsoft. Cheers, 7BitBrian!
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CasualSlacks

Good to know that Blade & Soul isn’t going anywhere.

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Eduardo da Fonseca

I just Wished that now that they are moving to mobile market, they would let go of city of heroes IP. Or let someone else have a license to get game back, even on maintenance mode, like champions online limbo. City of heroes in maintenance mode would be much better than both CO and DCUO.

This would be a nice 40th birthday present.

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Sally Bowls

So what’s your guess on the GW2 expansion sales? It looks like the expansion caused about a 27BKW increase across two quarters. In HOT, NCSoft said about a third or a quarter of the bump was “box” sales, so similar numbers would be 7-9BKW for PoF “boxes.” 8BKW is about 7.4MUSD so that is about a quarter to a third of a million “boxes”?

deekay_000
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deekay_000

mount skin lootboxes which the loot was bop even if account wide or w/e

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Sally Bowls

Modern times: I meant “box” to refer to copies of the expansion. Which 30 years ago was a physical box and is now a digital transaction. I put the quotes to acknowledge that there are no longer actual boxes. So the estimate of how many copies/units of PoF were sold was a quarter to third of a million.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

no i mant that the bulk of the revenue boost was the mount loot boxes. sorry i shouldve elaborated >>

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Bryan Turner

Most of my financial purchases went toward Mount Skins, level 80 boosts, some outfits, and bag slots.

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rafael12104

Hmm. Ok. So for anyone paying attention to NCsoft quarterlies and Superdata updates this news is not a surprise. However a few thoughts, highlights and rambles for you.

I’ve said it, Sally, and many others as well. But should there be any doubt at all where the industry is headed, just look at that Linage M sales chart. LOL! It is hilarious in it’s simplicity.

Let’s see. GW2. Well, I think NCsoft is managing GW2 well. And by that I mean, it is allowing Arena net to handle their game. No tyrannical involvement like yesteryear so… NCsoft has learned something.

Btw, it’s time put down the CoH hate. I’m not big NCsoft fan but Wildstar is a gift. We should start acknowledging that.

And last, but not least. Any of you who have dared to read my BnS laden posts know that over this past year I have time and time again noted the improvements the game has made. This wasn’t fanboi mania. The numbers speak for themselves.

Another patch today improving gearing and endgame without p2w and or a paywall of any type.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

as someone close to former admins of aionsource bck during the “tyanical” period who had direct lines to inside info about that era at ncsoft, as well as the (now deleted on their official website but still findable on news outlets). the people in charge of ncsoft west at the time when they were least well regarded were actually anet founders who got promoted. and were given alot of latitude by korea HQ

it was actually the backlash of that period that caused ncsoft korean hq to take back over control of ncwest, which since then amongst those that have played theri western games aside from gw2, have been much better regarded and considered a new leaf in management of their properties in teh west.

which the former group of anet execs would potentially be responsible for axing coh (and other western versions of korean ncsoft games) more than korean HQ, rather than ncsoft korean execs being tyrannical, if wildstar is any indication (ofc not disclaiming their feud back then with gariot including bad behaviour on their part there or more recently mxm)

anyways from 2006 is or 7ish onwards through until not long after or just prior to aion launch. with generally that being the peak of the shit show of that era at ncsoft.

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Sally Bowls

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewalt/2017/05/23/ncsoft-goes-west-how-the-korean-video-game-giant-is-translating-success/#28f06d2c6b59

It seems to be a new era since 2011 was when the “Genius Girl”, who happens to be married to the CEO, took over NCWest.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

yeh they had a bit of a leadership vaccumm as the old anet founders that took over in 07 or 08 bailed out and then she took over in 2011, which is around when at least from my observations of the aion community things seemed to imrpove alot over there.

it’s been so many years and lack of disinterest on my part that i’ve forgotten most of the details and if they actually did move ncwest hq back to austin or not from seatle but meh. more or less the run of things.

that being said she failed to reign in teh pre launch and launch period drama at carbine so… there’s a mark against her, but overall seems better than before imo.

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Sally Bowls

As a numbers person, I am always annoyed by comments and articles here like

Perfect Ten: The healthiest live MMORPGs at the end of 2017

which list GW2 but not B&S.

Last I checked, B&S was doing better than BDO and we absolutely know B&S is doing better than GW2. As you say, The numbers speak for themselves.

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Armsbend

I had no idea B/S was this successful until today. I thought it was another MMO on life support.

I won’t lie – I’m more interested in checking it out now – especially with a few vocal members on this site giving it the thumbs up.

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Sally Bowls

I have not done B&S, but from the business side I see three real advantages that B&S has over GW2.

1) NCSoft is predominately a mobile company. They had huge success with the mobile M version of lineage. A mobile version of B&S has been announced. NCSoft said they worked on a mobile version of GW2 but reading between the lines it looked like it was not good enough to release.

2) NCSoft says going forward it sees nonmobile games as PC&Console not just pc. B&S has a console version confirmed. It’s been ages since there was a peep about GW2 console.

3) Everyone wants global now; B&S is a better fit for NCSoft’s markets. It is better at being global than GW2. In particular, Ten Cent (lol, see below) publishes B&S in China.

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Armsbend

From the player’s side I just enjoy heavily populated online games.

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kalamari_

what everyone forgets to tell you is, that these games are big in asia. but not in the west. in the west gw2 is a top 5 mmo and has by far bigger communities and population than ncsofts asia mmos here.

on the other side, gw2 is unimprtant in asia.

Line
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Line

It’s pretty funny to see GW2 in front of Lineage for the quarter.
Obviously, that’s what converting the later to mobile would do to the old PC version, but just a year ago, that would been hard to believe.

A bit sad that their mountboxes are so successful… that or the expansion suddenly sold very well after the first month, but that would be weird.
I guess that I’ll take the cheap expansions and frequent free DLC (gotta admit they really didn’t drop the ball on that one unlike HoT), even if I don’t get the pretty mounts ingame… but I want them though…

deekay_000
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deekay_000

eyeballing these figures and the article, pof had weaker sales than hot which was considered fairly weak sales wise itself.

also i think hte mount boxes came in the next quarter iirc? or is my time line off?>

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Dragon Whimsy

PoF came out in the 3rd Quarter. 4th Quarter was a massive increase over the launch quarter which is pretty amazing.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

ahhhh ok. i thought i was wrong but wasn’t sure how i was wrong >>

Line
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Line

PoF came out at the tail end of the quarter (and Q3 has all those preorders and stuff), with little fanfare.

For the revenue to go up that much… yeah, I’m sure that all those mounts are not innocent.

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Sally Bowls

I thought Q3 reflected the preorders but it turns out the expansion packs were in Q4 not Q3.

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Sally Bowls

That would be amazing but was not what happened.

Q4 was when all the launch revenue showed up.

NCSoft180207.JPG
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En Grosse

Lineage, the Beast ^^

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rogbarz

Maybe not the right place but anyway :P

Guild wars 2 – I bought the expansion and the mounts were great but actually that was it.
I was hoping the expansion would bring me back to the game but it hasn’t. While I understand that they do not want gear progression and I support them in this the game is getting rather dull. Every patch = pretty much the same thing (story, 4-5 hearts, new zone, zone event + revamp of a fractal) the expansion was pretty much the same thing.

The game misses a purpose at the moment for many people including myself when it comes to PVE. Raids … class balance is not done right to make it so that everyone can enjoy them.

What we need is a new kind off of pve feature (below something I had dreams about) :P , Add smaller zones all over the map From Tier 1-5.
You can introduce a progression system that makes it so that you have to get X amount of xp to get to the next tier. Each tier can be a map that works a bit like Silverwaste.
– Build towns, defenses, gather supplies, etc etc
– Map resets every 2 hours. (1 hour build-up +1 hour combat event)
– Tier 1 we build up a small local village etc etc exotic drop –> small chance on ascended.
– Tier 2 map works the same ( is also the same map but more difficult as 1 and gives ascended jewels with a small chance of ascended gear.
– Tier 3 and 4 is a bigger town defense ( 3 gives higher chance on a random gear chest with a chance on raid loot (4 has a higher chance on raid loot with an guarantee of tokens to buy it.)
– Tier 5 is the assault , Player prepare the siege weapons, and etc (supplies and ammo) and then assault a city/camp/ something big :p
– everyone is guaranteed to get tokens to buy raiding gear and there is small chance of getting a actually piece / parts for the legendary gear. Tier 5 needs coordination, skill and teamwork.
This tier can only be done 1 time a week per account.

Anyway I hope the folks at Anet do something new, something to spark the fire many of us have lost and can keep up this growth. I would not mind paying for a big update that adds tons of new things.

Line
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Line

The latest map works a bit like that, with two small “metas” that are nowhere close to the Silverwastes, but are definitely inspired by that model.
It’s pretty fun honestly, but as always, quite zergy.

And Anet never managed to fix their loot issues.
It’s still boring random crap and a ridiculously small chance to get something very valuable.

Never understood why they don’t use the PvP reward system in PvE.
Add buffs when you stay on the same map, and you’d be able to make constant, visible progress toward your goals. Materials and guaranteed ascended pieces/skins is just so obvious.
Instead of the unlockable mess that they have in place for the astral weapons… how would you even know that you need to complete a time gated achievement to just start the collection?
And then it’s just boring crafting with tons of mats to grind.

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Armsbend

If anyone would like to know I ran a conversion calc on the yearlies and NC Soft is roughly a 1.5-1.7B USD company.

EA is 4.85B
Activision is 6.6B
SE is $2.3B (2016 numbers)

deekay_000
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deekay_000

ea acti blizz and se also have much larger primary markets.

although ncsoft does do business in a lot of markets, their primary market is limited to just SK.

the others have solid markets across the world, and do alot better in china in particular (at least acti and EA do) than ncsoft tends to, not helping ncsoft there is trade tensions between SK and china in recent times.

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Sally Bowls

TY!
That got me curious as to market cap. In US$B:
SE: 4.9
NCSoft: 8.3
EA: 38.4
ATVI: 53.5
TenCent: 504

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Armsbend

Is that $504B? If you are looking at Tencent’s balance sheet you have to separate their gaming division from the rest of their holdings. From what I saw they were somewhere in EA/ATVI’s sales.

I suspect their net profit is far lower due to the cost of their many acquisitions.

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Sally Bowls

Yeah, Ten Cent is the largest company in Asia with lots of non-gaming businesses.

IDK, I think Ten Cent is big. They own Riot and half of Epic. And “third quarter of 2017 today, and the Chinese gaming company revealed that revenues from its smart phone games grew by 84 percent compared to the previous year to hit $2.20 billion.” And their biggest game was hitting 100M MAU at the end of the year.

Top 25 Companies by Game Revenues


had them on top at about triple ATVI or EA.

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Sally Bowls

I suspect their net profit is far lower due to the cost of their many acquisitions.

That depends upon the accountant jugglers, of which I have but cursory insight: If you buy a company with $1M in hard assets for $500M, then the $499M is goodwill. That used to be written off over 40 years and is now more complicated.

And if you spend $900M of your money to buy a company making $100M, then your cash goes down but your profit goes up by that $100M.

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Utakata

I like to think that all my pics of my pink Lyn are having a positive effect on this game… <3

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rafael12104

The timing certainly correlates. Hmm. Next time I spin a wheel of fate, I’d like you Lyn there, by my side. ;)

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7BitBrian

This is good for GW2 and I hope it and the recent expansion can change some people’s minds about the game. Many people seem to think the game died years ago and dont know it’s still going, and doing so well.

I hope this news and ANet’s new marketing pushes they’ve teased(New head of marketing has been actively talking with the community about the things we’d like to see in marketing to help get the word out and seems to be shaking things up there) can help get this game back the attention it deserves.

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Schmidt.Capela

The minimum I would require to consider returning would be for all raid contents and rewards to be earnable by small groups and/or solo players.

Until then, thanks, but no thanks. I got other games to play that don’t treat me like a second-class player just because I refuse to ever join an organized group larger than 5 players.

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rogbarz

To be fair the best marketing for the game would be a new feature that benefits old and new players. The standard new zone with 5 hearts patch is not going to change people their mind to much. I love gw2 but the last year while they mean well and put effort into the game … I am missing a reason to login. what I do today I did the last 3-5 years as well. We need something new, big and that creates a woooooow feeling when people see it and let people pay for it!

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Sally Bowls

IMO, ” doing so well” is somewhat optimistic. Prior to this expansion, the last four or five quarters were all the lowest in the history of the game. Which is why companies do expansions, to get this sort of bump.