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NCSoft 2014 Financial Results - WildStar hits rock-bottom!

Bad news for all WildStar Fans. NCSoft just released its financial results for Q4 2014 and things are not looking good for WildStar. Take a look at the latest Conference Call to learn more about WildStar's significant drop in earnings.
By Loui on Mar 11, 2015 at 05:29 AM
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It's no big secret that WildStar is struggling for a while now and especially at the end of last year, the game as well as Carbine as a studio had some serious problems to solve. To pave the way for a successful future, Carbine had to solve numerous problems and design failures in WildStar while simultaneously being affected by massive layoffs and the transition from a developing studio to a live-studio.

With Content Drop #3, a brand new update cycle and several other very important changes, things started to look very promising. After fixing most core-elements of the game, improving the accessibility of warplots, raids and other big systems in place as well as saying goodbye to the focus on the "hardcore" audience, Carbine was finally able to work on the good stuff. The first result of this new step in development is Content Drop #4 which was released recently and contains tons of shiny new content for small groups and solo-players as well as many other things to ogle.

Carbine made many mistakes and is by far not perfect, but with the ongoing optimizations and the tremendous work they've put into this game over the last few months, the general public perception, which was by far in no good place for a long time, began to shift slowly but steady towards Carbine's favor and people started to appreciate Carbine's tireless effort and commitment to this game. (At least that's my perception)

With NCSoft's latest Conference Call for Q4 2014, we can now see black on white how bad the situation for WildStar really was and how important it was to make a significant change in plans. After a healthy first quarter after release in Q2 2014 WildStar had a revenue of $25,5 million USD. This declined in Q3 2014 to $14,5 million USD and culminated at $5,0 million USD at the end of last year.

After taking several steps into the right direction and after bringing WildStar back on track it would be really nice to see a financial recover in the months to come. We will see how Content Drop #4, which is part of Q1 2015, will affect next quarter's revenue.

At least one thing is sure: This is rock-bottom and things can only get better.


Source: mmorpg.com

Here are some facts:

  • WildStar Earnings per quarter:


    • Q2 2014: $25,57 million USD (28,048 bln KRW)

    • Q3 2014: $14,59 million USD (16,007 bln KRW)

    • Q4 2014: $5,004 million USD (5,491 bln KRW)


  • Total Earnings for 2014:


    • Lineage 1 - $239,8 million USD (263,128 bln KRW)

    • Lineage 2 - $54,22 million USD (59,479 bln KRW)

    • Aion - $86,08 million USD (94,445 bln KRW)

    • Blade & Soul - $75,39 million USD (82,701 bln KRW)

    • Guild Wars 2 - $78,03 million USD (85,634 bln KRW)

    • WildStar - $45,14 million USD (49,547 bln KRW)

    • Others - $61,04 million USD (66,965 bln KRW)


  • Amount of subscribers based on earnings




Check out following charts or download the official NCSoft Conference Call for Q4 2014.

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  • Loui
    Loui
    Mar 13, 2015
    added a very interesting chart from mmorpg.com
  • Loui
    Loui
    Mar 11, 2015
    Here is an old but very informative comment from mmorpg.com regarding quartal earnings, return of investment and other important things to consider.

    There's a lot of bad math and guessing going on out there in regards to Wildstar's subscriber base and how it impacts the future of the game. This post is going to explain why it's too early to celebrate or panic, and what corporations and investors really look at when deciding the future of a product/game.

    1) Investment money is gone, and already accounted for: There's a lot of talk about the 'estimated' 100 million dollars put into Wildstar's development costs. That money is spent, and was balanced against the TOTAL profits in the years that it was spent. This is important because...

    2) The vast majority of investors look at overall portfolios, not in individual product performance: Even in the gaming field, the people with the money don't particularly care about individual games unless they are showing a year-on-year loss. And even then, sometimes you keep a loss leader as a technology demo, a place to park a team until the next big project comes along (partly mitigating their cost), etc.

    3) It is far too early to calculate monthly profits: The only solid figure we know about right now is box sales, around 450K so far in a partial recording period. Retention might be great, or it might not. Subscriptions/CREDD might be great, or they might not.

    Every attempt to estimate subscription and retention rates based on login activity on any MMO in the past 5 years has been statistically laughable. You need inside information to do a decent job of it.

    There was a good study done on EVE because they could use large numbers over the course of years, but EVE is somewhat of a rarity in the MMO industry:

    http://www.thefengs.com/wuchang/work/cstrike/netgames07_long.pdf

    4) At this point, investors will be looking at ROI, not re-cap: Because NCSoft has a robust portfolio and has shown consistent year-after-year profits, it is understood that they're still considered a 'buy' stock. Profits and fiscal performance are about what they were in March 2013.

    According to the last fiscal review, estimates are that Wildstar will about equal Lineage II revenues in 2014. NCSoft will still make millions this year, and own two huge buildings outright, and has many-more-millions in cash reserves.

    In short: NCSoft is a cash flow cow. Even if it took 3 or 4 years to re-cap initial investment on WildStar, investors will likely be fine with that.

    5) Reflections on the Studio: This is an area, on the other hand, that recap matters for. FUTURE projects from Carbine will be judged by the recap rate of Wildstar. Carbine itself is not buffered by the rest of NCSoft's portfolio, as far as their selection for big titles down the line.

    It is in Carbine's best interests to continue to improve efficiency of support, performance, QA, etc. If the history of other MMO Dev teams holds true: A better reputation will improve the project's re-cap by attracting more subscribers, which will in turn encourage more cap-investment in the team itself, which will prepare it for large expansions and eventually, new projects down the line.

    TL;DR: Investors care about yearly profits of NCSoft, which are good and have been for years. Players care about the game covering monthly costs and running enough profit for growth, which is unclear and will be for months. Carbine should care about investment re-cap, if they ever want a major title again.
    • blpegasus
      blpegasus
      May 20, 2015
      You are right - that is OLD, that was from 2014 - a complete scenario from now as you may already saw it ... The game needs to drop the sub if want to survive. City of Heroes was shutdown with more earnings than wild star currently has.
  • ministabber
    ministabber
    Mar 11, 2015
    Many share my opinion that A: the game was rushed out of the door by bad management, or B: pushed out before ready by NCSOFT, if it's the latter then Carbine may have struck a deal that protects them for the first year! If we take a look at just two very contrasting if not confusing management comments 1: we gave the players the game they asked for, not the game they wanted, 2: we know that over 60% play MMO's solo. Unless I am mistaken over 60% is the vast majority of the player base....so who did Carbine listen to? Many also feel that drop 4 is the game that should have launched, it should have been the game Carbine built upon, instead they have spent the last 7 months just repairing the damage.

    Wildstar is now a fantastic almost finished article, sadly a F2P model also looks certain, it could have and should have been so different!
    If they can learn anything from this? It would be to ignore the outspoken minority, it's the silent majority who never forum post (the bread and butter players) the dirty casual who ultimately decide the fate of a game....
  • kaossverige
    kaossverige
    Mar 11, 2015
    The only way now, is up! ;-)