NCsoft Q2 2019 financials: Guild Wars 2 may be eyeing a mobile version (again)

    
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Those with long memories might recall that way back in 2010 prior to Guild Wars 2’s launch, ArenaNet made a (small) bit of noise about developing a tie-in mobile app that would allow players to stay connected to the MMO on the go. This “Extended Experience” ended up fizzling out by the release day.

And that’s far from the only time we’ve thought a mobile GW2 was in the works. Back in 2017, NCsoft teased the possibility. And then early this year we learned that one of the more recent games ArenaNet canceled ahead of its mass-layoffs and restructure was likely a mobile title. Needless to say, players have kept an ear to the ground for any hint of mobile in GW2’s future.

Could that day be coming soon? In this past week’s Q2 2019 financial report, NCsoft mentioned that ArenaNet was evaluating “internal reviews on several projects” such as a mobile version of Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2’s earnings have remained fairly flat over the last three quarters, a similar pattern to Aion and Lineage II. Blade & Soul continued its downward trend, while the original Lineage spiked up significantly thanks to its Remaster update and new F2P business model. Mobile games, however, continue to dominate NCsoft’s earnings.

Source: MMO Culture

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WrathOfMogg
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WrathOfMogg

What do these numbers actually mean, in dollars?

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Gooty

Looks like South Korean Won by the million. For reference, 1000 KRW is about 0.83 USD.

Carlo Lacsina
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Carlo Lacsina

Gw1 for switch. Today’s ragamuffins need a dose of what a really good guild wars game is

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Nemui Byakko

Looking on the numbers… Making non-mobile games is charity :))

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Utakata

Lyn & Soul is slumping quite a bit. :(

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Castagere Shaikura

I wouldn’t even be surprised if they came out with a mobile GW2.

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Utakata

…I hope they have phones! >.>

Carlo Lacsina
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Carlo Lacsina

“Don’t you have buttcapes!?”

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Drago

NCsoft was a leading MMORPG maker, now it hasn’t a clue how to make games which work.. So it’s only answer is to make old games in to mobile games and make it’s pc games in to a cash cows. NCsoft Is nothing but trash now, talk about the rise and fall of a great company.

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François Verret

In my opinion, GW2 would be much better off with a console version. Its limited ability pool makes it the perfect game for such a transition. That they never did it is close to negligence on their part.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Hell if a small studio like Warframe could manage it there’s no reason why GW2 couldn’t port over unless it’s an NCSoft thing.

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Matthäus Wey

I think they would if they had the possibility but the team seems to be overworked as it is with the current game… adding to that the engine they work with is brutally old and has performance problems even on high-end computers.

micedicetwice
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micedicetwice

DE started as a small team, they aren’t so small anymore, more like medium with ~310 people employed. ANet was at the same size before and it’s not anymore, they have ~250 at best. Also, they lost some of their best specialists (to Amazon, for example). At this point, everything they can produce is yet another living story and maybe, just maybe, expansion in a year or two.

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memitim

“This “Extended Experience” ended up fizzling out by the release day.” Yeah along with everything else that was going to make this the next big MMO…

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Bruno Brito

I’ll assume this is their way of not depending on GW2 itself for finances. Mobile is a pretty huge market and they don’t have to fear backlash from it’s customers for trying their best to squeeze the money outta them.

I don’t know how i feel for Anet having a separate major project since they can’t even feed GW2 properly, but i guess it’s necessary.

Truth be told, i gave up on GW2 a while ago, so, they sinking or swimming is pretty irrelevant for me.

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Matt R

I went back and looked at all the bar graphs from previous years for GW2. 15-20k is about average for the game. There was two big spikes up to 30-35k for the two expansions that came out in the Q4 of 2015 and 2017, which would make Q4 2019 the expected release date for a third expansion. With ArenaNet communicating that they are trying something different this time around, it’ll be interesting to see what they announce August 30th and how it affects Q4 sales if it isn’t a fully-fledged expansion.

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Denice J. Cook

With most of their team let go, I can’t picture this being a full-fledged expansion.

Then again, Daybreak somehow keeps managing to cough up yearly ones for EQ1 and EQ2 even with what, 15 devs or less left over there total, so I guess we’ll see.

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Bruno Brito

Can every EQ xpac ( and EQ2 ) really be called a xpac?

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Bhagpuss Bhagpuss

Absolutely! And good ones, too. As someone who plays both EQ2 and GW2, GW2’s content simply doesn’t compare.

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Emmanuel Carabott

I feel like there is a bit of a misconception that after the layoffs Anet were left with a minuscule team working on GW2, thats not really what happened. Some time before the layoffs we knew Anet had over 400 employees, 150 were let go (mostly from other projects) leaving a team close to 250 employees thats not a small team, thats the team size of other major games like ESO and FFXIV! In fact the only team larger that I am aware off is WoW who has around 300 employees working on it as of 2018 (in 2017 Wow had 270 people working on it)

micedicetwice
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micedicetwice

You are wrong though. 250 people IS a small team for an MMORPG of such scale. ESO once laid off the “launch” team of 300 people 6 months after release (usual but disgusting practice when studios hire huge numbers to finish the product faster and then fire people after the game launched). WoW fired 800 (!). Current numbers of WoW team or ESO team, or FFXIV are unknown, but what is knows is that FFXIV have THREE teams, one for current content support, second for next expansion, third for expansion afterward. GW2 had something of sorts, too, one team was working on Living World to keep game flowing and second made expansions. So, the issue is not that ANet lost 150 of people (more, actually, because some of their best specialists left them), but that their took their expansion team + some mobile programmers to work on different projects instead of expansion. And they lost those numbers. So, now they have to work on both with one team or rearrange people and work with lower numbers but with two teams. Yet, we haven’t heard ANYTHING about expansions at all after they said “no more exp, we do living world now!”. It does take time to switch people around and make it all work again but the thing is we don’t even know if they wanna do it. They already thought it’s a great idea to let go expansions and their earnings are not all that low, gem store and fools keeping them afloat.
TLDR: it’s not about smaller team, and IT IS smaller team. It’s about work flow, management and their plans which are unclear atm.

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Emmanuel Carabott

I have to disagree, not sure if we’re referring to the same event but afaik the 300 people ESO let go were all customer service employees no developers. Customer service is unfortunately always in the hot seat with companies generally outsourcing it to cheaper options rather then handling in-house. This was the unfortunate case here Zenimax had set up a different company for it Zenimax Galway to handle customer service and then decided to shutdown the whole office and outsource customer service to India Zenimax online (the actual developers of ESO) according to wikipedia had 250 employees as off 2012. Not super recent information ofcourse but thats the best I could find.

very similar story with WoW unfortuantely again not developers… specifically quoting blizzard about those 800 layoffs. Blizzard state they consisted of “nondevelopment jobs”. If we are talking about actual development team size blizzard are more open then zenimax here. WoW started with a team of 50, shipped with a team of 60 developers (source blizzardwatch). In 2017 James Ridgers (lead pm) posted a picture of the the entire wow team on his twitter account. someone asked how many devs that is and he replied “280-ish”. In 2016 IE 1 year before that in an interview with Kotaku game director Tom Chilton replied 235 to how many people are on the WoW team.

As for FFXIV we actually know their team size too… through the credits. now obviously this is the theoretical maximum since devs might leave and get replaced ending with 2 names in the credits but I guess it gives a good indication since most changes happen in between projects not during projects. Someone went through the trouble of counting these and do a videoon the subject on youtube “FFXIV – Size of development team over time” by reslash.
1.0 had 239 devs at launch and 187 by its end cycle
In july 2012 Yoshida made an official statement that dev team for the rewrite of ffxiv was almost 300 devs with some stuff being outsourced.
in fact 2.0 had 305 devs in the credits
3.0 had 268
4.0 had 274
5.0 has 296

I guess thats enough proof that close to 250 is not a small team at all but rather about average for a big MMO.

Gw2 didnt loose 150 employees, thats not exactly correctly. Arenanet had multiple projects cooking in parallel with gw2. Thats why it had over 400 employees. Speculating here but my educated guess is when ncsoft decided to shut those projects down they pulled the budget for said projects resulting in anet not having a big enough budget to hold on to all the 400 employees hence the layoffs. Layoffs dont do wonders for company moral and yes obviously some people decided to leave because of it too. How this has hit gw2 is kinda impossible to say. While some talented engineers were let go and others left of their own violation its also possible gw2 got back other talent that had been moved over to save those projects.

when did Anet say “no more exp, we do living world now!” dont believe they made any such statement. Thing is people are speculating a lot. Its entirely possible that as a result of the layoffs the gw2 development team is actually larger not smaller. Dont get me wrong I am totally specualting myself here and not remotely saying this is what happened however its entirely possible those other projects were in a bad place and the reason why we didnt have an expansion after season 4 because most of that team was moved on the other projects to try and save them with Anet fully intending to go back to the regular expansion cycle after season 5 and as a result of the project shutdown and resulting layoffs that team could move back to gw2 and start working on the expansion earlier then expected. We may still not get the expansion earlier but maybe we get a larger one because of these events. Again not saying this is whats going on but its entirely possible.