NCsoft 4Q 2018 financials: Mobile made almost twice as much as all NCsoft’s other MMOs combined

    
35

NCsoft’s financials for the final quarter of 2018 are in, and it wasn’t the greatest report the South Korean gaming giant has ever submitted. While sales held mostly steady, the fourth quarter saw a dip in profits, a decrease of 41% year-over-year.

Where is the all money NCsoft is making coming from? It’s still mostly mobile, specifically Lineage M. The sales breakdown chart given to investors actually flattens and obscures just how much more money mobile is making than the standard MMORPG titles – almost twice as much in 2018 as Lineage, Lineage II, Aion, Blade & Soul, and Guild Wars 2 all together.

Worth noting here for western MMO players is that Guild Wars 2 didn’t really have a bad year at all – in 2018, it made almost as much money as it did in 2017, even without an expansion.

Totally random: Did y’all know NCsoft owned a baseball team? I did not, but there’s a note in the report that some costs increased “driven by signing bonus for baseball player.” That led me to the NC Dinos, a pro team in South Korea owned by the gaming giant. It might be ex-Marlins player Drew Rucinski, who was picked up by the Dinos at the end of last year. This has been a strange rabbit hole. You’re welcome.

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

This is why I laugh when companies who can’t make it in the mobile space end up saying “Mobile is dead”. It certainly is not dead and is raking in billions. If you search for the money that the top earning games are bringing in, it would make you sick.

It’s also why these companies don’t want to give up on lock boxes and pay to win, there just are so many people willing to pay into that stuff still.

I wish people were fed up enough for that kind of stuff to stop working and be on the way out, but it’s not so yet.

PhantomRogue
Reader
PhantomRogue

I would love to see the number breakdown by country where the revenue is.

Because I would wager that most of the profit lies in the Chinese mobile market. While the US market is good, the Chinese whales Dwarf the other markets.

Veldara
Reader
Veldara

Not just China, but S.Korea, Japan, with India getting up there. Games like King’s Raid and Seven Knights, while they are available in the global market, the sheer volume of players and money they rake in are in those countries.

Reader
Alvin Maniago

Hmmm idk shitty management in all their mmos, at least out here in the US, really doesn’t motivate us to make micro transactions. Bad patches really kills games too. Anyone who played Aion could tell you about how shit 5.x was.

Veldara
Reader
Veldara

The mobile market is growing and places like India (1.3b) where their population is quickly getting their hands on cellphones and improving infrastructure, more people than ever are playing mobile since they’re easier to get with plans. I don’t see this as the death of PC gaming though at least from the indie perspective anyway.

PurpleCopper
Reader
PurpleCopper

Well shit, why make PC MMOs anymore?

oldandgrumpy
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
oldandgrumpy

My thoughts too.

Reader
Does not check email

They will do well in mobile chasing the next Flappy Bird. They never caught their WOW killer or arena shooter clone.

Those mobile game players are easier to throw away as development time is less and most move on to the next big trending mobile game. Clingy old desktop users like me who want community and familiarity are not the future.

K38FishTacos
Reader
K38FishTacos

Don’t worry. Old folks with enough money can play Star Citizen when it comes out.

fallwind
Reader
fallwind

anyone who’s already old will be good and dead before it comes out in 2068

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Dean Greenhoe

I do not know what the answer is but it seems the only way to save “large” screen games is to find a better monetization model. Industry will follow the money. If people can not find a way to generate a larger money flow in PC / large tablet games they they will slowly vanish.

Fingers crossed.

Reader
Cory James Hill

I say let them go. I’m personally tired of all the lazy attempts at MMOs by large companies. Most of us bounce around looking for a home, re-downloading the same crappy games over and over again hoping they will be better “this time”. I’m over it.

Reader
Dave

The core problem is that “everyone” has a smartphone or tablet, but not “everyone” has a PC or console capable of playing a big screen MMO.

Therein lies the issue. The customer base and potential customer base is, and always will be, larger in the mobile space than in the PC/Console space

Reader
Kheldar

The other problem, is Mobile games are 100% Pay To Win, and it is perfectly accepted. Many people (like me) prefer PC/Big screen games, but cannot STAND P2W. I cancelled all of my Daybreak subs because not only are they 100% P2W, but they expect me to also sub.
I’m still having a perfectly good time in LOTRO (Lifetime, but I toss them cash for Mithril coins now and then just for the fast travel, and they need income) and SWTOR (Subbed, and enjoying myself).

Reader
Eliandal

Apparently, they do have phones over there ;)! Seriously though, I think part of the problem is that pretty much everyone born after 2000 was brought up on mobile before (if ever) computers, while those of us … older, had systems long before mobile was practical. It doesn’t excuse horrendous monetization, but if it’s all you’ve ever seen, it’s almost ‘normal’. I know that’s a gross generalization, but could be apt.

miol
Reader
miol

As always, for better comparison: (click to zoom)
On the second one are the values stacked upon each other.
And the last one is without the mobile numbers! ;P

ice_screenshot_20190212-180410.jpg
ice_screenshot_20190212-182434.jpg
ice_screenshot_20190212-181418.jpg
Reader
rafael12104

Thanks, Miol. This is a much better view!

Pepperzine
Reader
Pepperzine

Thanks for doing this, it’s a much better representation. The trends for everything except lineage 2 are looking pretty gloom :/

Reader
Utakata

I like the one in the middle. It’s prettier! <3

Reader
Josh Wolford

If all of your new releases are mobile games then this expected.

Reader
rafael12104

Not a great year for NCsoft. Q4 didn’t help.

So, a few things come to mind. BnS missed in Q4. I witnessed it so to speak. They failed to deliver awakenings in the west and in Korea awakenings was a buggy mess. So, seasonally where the game sees a bump, it was a dip.

BnS is really banking on that UE4 update to keep it going, otherwise I’m afraid that while it might linger it will be done.

GW2 should be doing better. There needs to be more effort in promoting the game. The game is barely seen. Time, IMO, to formulates events that get the game out in front of gamers.

The rest? Speaks for itself, I suppose.

deekay_plus
Reader
Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

gw2s fandom still viral markets the game to the point of self injury at every vague opportunity across larger social media venues.

at this point most people that had the vaguest inkling to give it a try at some point have done so.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Simply put: The game is too viral to what actually is. GW2 has WvW and PvP and both are pathetic experiences. GW2 PvE is great, but complicated to understand. GW2 balancing is pure dumpster fire, and playing GW2 with more than one person on the screen feels like Sword Art Online meets Star Wars under a Rave Tent.

Reader
Dave

GW2 should be doing better. There needs to be more effort in promoting the game. The game is barely seen. Time, IMO, to formulates events that get the game out in front of gamers.

As the author stated, GW2 had a dip in Q4, but they also didn’t have a content release that quarter either. YoY GW2 did about the same as 2017, which is generally good for a 6 year old game when compared to something like WoW that’s losing users YoY (even if it’s slowly).

Reader
Utakata

As long as they don’t sacrifice BnS on the alter of mobiles. /le sigh

Reader
rafael12104

Yeah… you never know these days. But BnS dropped the ball this last quarter.