Hostile NCsoft shareholder meeting reveals ArenaNet is working on Guild Wars 3


The topic of Guild Wars 3 has been a common one over the last few years; when I dredged our articles, the first one I found specifically about Guild Wars 3 went all the way back to 2017 as MMO players speculated about the future of the franchise between expansions. But now Korean press have reported on NCsoft’s March 28th shareholder meeting and added some real fuel to the Guild Wars 3 fire – fuel to several fires, actually.

Ostensibly, the meeting was meant to address the company’s stock shortcomings and vow that the company can return to sustainable development and take its “first step forward as a global game company.” Readers will know that NCsoft reinvents itself as a global game company every few years before retracting again, so we’re apparently on that part of the cycle right now.

But NCsoft has particular interest in looking westward as its flagship Throne & Liberty MMORPG underperformed in Korea, and last quarter the company tried to convince investors that the global audience was its real target. But it did so while obfuscating revenues for all of its games, something it hasn’t done in many, many years (we checked) – and investors called that out again at this meeting. NCsoft CFO Hong Won-jun gave a non-answer, basically saying that everyone else is doing it so it’s fine, trust him bro:

“Since the previous earnings announcement, sales by game were not disclosed, giving rise to various speculations. There are people who say that this is because the performance of each game is not good, but in a way, it can be said to be ‘obviously wrong’. The purpose is simply to align with other listed companies’ disclosures and global standards. Information on sales by game is provided through the IR office. However, we will carefully consider what will be best for shareholders during the next earnings announcement.”

It really only got worse from there, as the second investor questioner wanted to know why the board hasn’t sacked the head of NC West because “NC West has been running a deficit for eight years.” Google Translate doesn’t do a great job here, but Acting Chairman Park Byeong-moo rejects the unspoken accusation that NC West CEO Dr Songyee Yoon, who is married to NCsoft founder Kim Taek-jin, was some sort of nepo hire, pointing out that Yoon integrated all six US studios under one banner (which resulted in mass layoffs last year). And to convince everyone of Yoon’s talents, Park basically… announces Guild Wars 3.

“Originally, NC had six studios in the United States, and the work was done to organize the six and integrate them into one ArenaNet. Although additional costs were incurred in the process, it ultimately resulted in a competitive ArenaNet. Rather than looking at the deficit as a number, NC contributed to strengthening competitiveness in the United States. ArenaNet has a meaningful IP called ‘Guild Wars’, and after Guild Wars 2, they are currently working on ‘Guild Wars 3’. Looking at this process, we have considerable competitiveness. Although it is not completely profitable, I believe that it has increased its competitiveness.”

Cue panic and mayhem, though the investor discussion continued on like that, with stockholders complaining about executive compensation, NCsoft’s damaged corporate image, an exodus of developers in 2021 in 2022, and CEO’s Kim Taek-jin’s abilities (Kim wasn’t present). Not a great showing for NCsoft here. Rich men are very angry that they are slightly less rich.

But our readers probably care most about the Guild Wars franchise, and if you’re really all about that Guild Wars 2 life, there’s absolutely no reason to panic. For one, Guild Wars 2 is actually a top PC MMORPG performer for NCsoft and has been a particularly bright jewel in its crown ever since End of Dragons. In December, ArenaNet told fans that it was already working on its 5th and 6th expansion (set for later this year and next year, respectively). And finally, ArenaNet has been hiring for what appear to be multiple games over the last few years, including for a UE4 title, a mobile title, a console title, and whatever this one turns out to be.

In other words… don’t quit your Guild Wars 2 toons just yet.

Source: InvenGlobal. Cheers, Kieran!
Business Post Korea’s article this evening includes a quote from NCsoft issued after the meeting; NCsoft says, “The Guild Wars 3 project is in the review stage and the start of development has not been finalized.” (Cheers, Wccftech!) ArenaNet itself gave a similar non-denial to, saying, “”As an active game studio we are always doing internal exploratory work for possible future titles we’d want to create, however we have nothing to confirm right now. The team’s focus is on Guild Wars 2 development, including the game’s next expansion, which we’re excited to talk about soon.”
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