Despite meager GW2 sales, Lineage continues to make money in Korea.
When Guild Wars 2 launched in August of last year, it was as well received as any MMO had been since World of Warcraft emptied the field years before. It received a thumbs-up from community and critics alike, boasting a new generation MMO feel and enough polish to keep the players interested. In the months since, however, attention has been diverted away from Guild Wars 2 to other games that are now on the horizon. In an earnings release presented by NCsoft last Friday, it was revealed that Guild Wars 2 sales had dropped distinctly, representing a major loss in sales in the US and Europe.
The sales breakdown in the earnings release showed that Guild Wars 2 sales dropped from 119,013 in Q4 2012 to 36,382 Q1 2013. This is a major hit for NCsoft, but it's a fairly predictable loss. Guild Wars 2 has already been sold to the majority of players who are keenly interested in playing the game, and with a vast horde of MMO and RPG games entering the market this year, it will be difficult for them to coax new players to begin playing a game that has no expansions currently planned for it.
On the whole, however, NCsoft is still doing quite well. In comparison to Q1 2012, Q1 2013 has still shown distinct growth, so while things are worse than they were for NCsoft, it's still better off than it was a year ago. A notable "robust" revenue source for NCsoft throughout the last year has been Lineage. Despite closing its North American servers in 2011, Lineage still has a strong player base in Korea, representing 38% of the company's total sales in Q1 2013.
The earnings release also suggested that NCsoft's presence in North America has grown and waned over the last year, accounted for with the reduction in Guild Wars 2 sales. At the beginning of 2012, North American sales represented only 5% of the total sales by NCsoft, though by Q4 it had risen to 25%, due to the release of Guild Wars 2. This quarter, however, North American sales represented only 13% of the total sales by NCsoft, a distinct loss. Korea has continued to be a major income source for NCsoft, growing during 2012 and maintaining into Q1 2013.
In WildStar, the legendary planet Nexus has been found. As the opposed forces of the Exiles and Dominion rush to capture it and its secrets you must pick your side and join in the fight to unlock the planet's secrets.
The loss in sales from Guild Wars 2 is definitely not good news for NCsoft, but I doubt it's executives are too nervous either. With healthy continuous growth in Korea, the company is still securely profitable, despite North American losses. Although it appears to have dipped from its peak, NCsoft has its hand in half a dozen pots, and is sure to have a strong response to the short term loss. The project I am the most exciting for is WildStar, which is sure to be a highly profitable release when it becomes available later this year. With Guild Wars 2 barely out of the rear-view mirror and WildStar coming just over the horizon, it seems to me like this quarter was just NCsoft was taking a breather between releases.
Source: NCsoft Earnings Release Q1 2013