Welcome back to another MMO business roundup – this one all about financials for some of the companies we keep an eye on ’round here.
Roblox’s fortunes have been bizarre over the last few years as the company has been making tons of money – and spending it all and then some. According to its Q4 report, its Q4 2023 revenue was up 30% compared to Q4 2022, and yet it managed net losses of $325M (also more than it lost in Q4 2022). That made for total 2023 revenues of $2.8B (an increase of 26%) and net losses of $1.16B, which is to say, it spent almost $4B. And it expects to keep on losing money.
The company behind PUBG – and best known to MMORPG audiences for TERA – saw record-high revenues of $1.43B last year, driven heavily by PUBG sales (up 37% for the year) and concurrent users (up 70% in December “compared to the year’s lowest point”). Dark and Darker Mobile is the key title on deck in our neck of the woods.
Finally, we turn to Nexon, which also had a record-setting 2023, with revenues up 20% in spite of what outgoing CEO Owen Mahoney characterized as “unforeseen short-term challenges in Q4” – a reference in part to the nearly $9M in fines imposed by Korean regulators over MapleStory’s deceptive P2W probabilities. In fact, that resulted in a net loss of $274M over the quarter, though the rest of the year made up for it.
“The Q4 shortfall was due to a marketing challenge in MapleStory in Korea, and in China, an unexpected imbalance with the in-game economy in Dungeon&Fighter. FC ONLINE also performed lower than expected. Year-over-year revenue growth from MapleStory, and contributions from Wars of Prasia, MapleStory: The Legends of Maple, and THE FINALS were offset by decreases in Dungeon&Fighter, FC ONLINE2, and HIT2. Q4 operating income was down 59% year over year and below our outlook at ¥4.5 billion. In addition to the revenue shortfall, this was due to multiple one-time expenses including an updated retention-incentive plan, an impairment loss, and a penalty imposed by the Korean Fair Trade Commission. Net loss of ¥41.9 billion was below our outlook due to operating income underperformance, FX loss of ¥9.3 billion on U.S. dollar-denominated cash deposits, and an impairment loss of ¥44.4 billion on the AGBO investment booked as equity-method company.”