MMO Business Roundup: Japanese lockboxes, POGO and Square Enix financials, and Prima’s end

    
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“The Good Times Are Over for Japan’s Loot-Box-Style Gaming Bonanza” – that’s the brutal headline plonked onto this week’s Bloomberg report on Japanese lockboxes. Specifically, we’re talking about gacha here, which is a type of gamblebox akin to Guild Wars 2’s mount lockboxes (rather than the more generic type). If you’ve gone down a toy aisle in the US in the last year and spied the “mystery box” stands on every endcap, you’ve seen the gacha plague descending there too.

Bloomberg says that while gacha exploitation has “generated at least $55 billion since 2007,” that’s on the wane now, though it’s apparently because Chinese and South Korean games are outcompeting Japan and “the gacha business model is under pressure to change.” According to the analysts interviewed, the country’s 2012 reforms had little impact on the booming smartphone market, and while Japanese gacha games traditionally raked in big bucks, they’re now being outspent and out-creativitied by China and Korea.

In other business news, Sensor Tower (via GI.biz) has some new numbers up for Pokemon Go; Niantic reportedly pulled in $73 million in gross revenue in October alone – an increase of 67% over October of 2017. “This ranked it one spot ahead of Fortnite from Epic Games,” the firm notes. Worth pointing out is that about two-thirds of that revenue comes from Japan and the US alone, split almost evenly. Android users are a clear majority as well.

A bit of dark financial news out of Final Fantasy XIV publisher Square Enix: The company has apparently scaled back its relatively new studio Luminous Productions, suggesting that it will focus on AAA titles, presumably at the expense of the other media projects – including the Final Fantasy XV’s prequel film. As GIbiz notes, that’s led to a $33M loss, compounded by additional sales losses for the last two quarters. The company still anticipates a net sales gain for the year, though profits are expected to be down nearly 20% year over year. One YouTube referred it outright as a total meltdown (thanks, Rafael!).

Finally, Prima Games, which has been churning out video game guides for decades, announced it’s closing down next spring.

Spot any business news relevant to MMO player interests that you think we should cover? Send it our way!

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Mewmew
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Mewmew

Prima could have transitioned into a guide website – not the type that’s there now with a few tips and selling Print and eBook hint guides. It’s too hard to sell the same exact information that can be found everywhere else for free. They hard clung to that business model though and I’m surprised they lasted this long honestly.

I’m not saying I’m not a little sad with news of their closing, hearing their name in relation to guides for as long as I’ve been alive, but still I am surprised they lasted this long with the business model they tried to cling to.

Vexia
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Vexia

Despite loving FFXIV and several other Square-Enix IPs, I have little to no love for the company as a whole, or more specifically its tendency to try and fail miserably to capitalize on trends instead of making and improving the games it does best with. What I want to know is how Tabata’s departure (which I feel may have had a lot to do with mistreatment and overwork) will impact the future of FFXIV. SE’s MMOs get it through the bad times, so I am not naive enough to think that all of the revenue FFXIV generates is reinvested directly back into its development; it’s also partially been making money for other games. Since they’re sticking with AAA games, FFXIV’s financial future is probably the same as it would have always been, barring some major success or revenue loss.

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Schmidt.Capela

South Korea’s Netmarble Corp. has won over many of Japan’s biggest spenders, including its most famous day trader, who goes by CIS on Twitter and in June bragged about spending roughly half a million dollars to unlock a rare character in the company’s Lineage II.

Yeah, that shows quite well why I won’t touch mobile games with Gacha/lootbox mechanics.

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Connor

That isn’t a brag, it’s a cry for help.

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Armsbend

Maybe SE will finally learn that no one wants to watch their CGI movies?

I doubt it.

nvidia
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nvidia

Speak for yourself. I loved Kingsglaive and Advent Children both.

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cursedseishi

Agreed. They aren’t amazing by any standard, but they’re pretty and enjoyable popcorn flicks for me. It never felt like I wasted money buying those for me.

And it’s also a shame since along with Luminous Productions being focused back onto new products, Tabata was let go suddenly and announced in the same breath (on a FF15 stream no less) that the last 3 DLC was canceled. Which is extremely disappointing to me. Each piece was a unique, fun little experience that added back into the main game. And personally, I wanted to see what was going to be done with Episode Aranea and especially Episode Lunafreya, considering the latter isn’t even a playable character. She’s a noncombatant by all standards.

Dantos
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Dantos

Sqenix also canceled the last 3 dlcs for FFXV.

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rafael12104

Yup. It is hard to know what is really going on because when the created Luminos it was like they had dedicated an entire studio to FFXV. And suddenly, there is nothing. The departure of the game’s director was not a friendly one, IMO. There was a meltdown between him and Square. It is the only explanation.