Funcom: Everything going 'according to plan'

Age of Conan developer not concerned with pretax losses, boasts 1 million signups for the game's beta.

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Norwegian developer Funcom has released its latest set of financials along with an update the Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures beta.

Like the company's previous quarter, the results for the first quarter of 2008 shows losses before interest and tax at $3.13 million, compared to $1.21 million in the same quarter in 2007. Revenue dipped slightly to $1.64 million, compared to $1.79 million in Q1 2007. Earnings after tax came out at $919,000, which compared favourably with last quarter's $223,000 "mainly due to currency fluctuations, and tax income." As of this week, the company has a cash balance of some $47 million.

Despite the continuing losses, Funcom maintains the negative numbers are exactly what it expected given an increase in the cost of sales and marketing for the upcoming Age of Conan game. According to the report, more than 1 million people have signed up for the Age of Conan beta, which has now gone gold in anticipation of its launch on May 20 in the US and May 23 in Europe.

Weighing up what could go wrong with the launch of Age of Conan, Funcom identified that a "key risk" would be the stability of servers, and it has to make sure servers are stable at launch and able to cope with the "unprecedented demand" likely when the game is finally released.

As for other projects, the Norwegian firm revealed sci-fi MMOG Anarchy Online now has a new rendering engine and that work is being carried out on a booster pack. Upcoming MMOG The Secret World, which has a modern-day setting with massive monsters and secret societies lurking beneath the everyday facade, is being built with the Funcom proprietary engine DreamWorld.

According to Funcom, "four playfields are well underway towards completion." The company adds that some of the staff from Age of Conan will be moving over to the project once the game has been released. There are also plans for a series of casual MMOs, which are in the "technology development phase."

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