Funcom financials hail King Conan

MMOG developer's Q2 earnings see 694 percent surge in revenue--but sharply increased loss; 1.2 million units now shipped, 415,000 players online.

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The release of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures has ushered both good and bad financial times for its developer. Massively multiplayer gamemaker Funcom today reported $13 million in revenue for the quarter ended June 30, a massive 694 percent year-over-year rise. The earnings are also a huge jump from the first quarter of 2008, which saw the Norwegian company take in just $919,000.

Despite the spike in revenue, though, Funcom's profits were splashed by a fountain of red. Operating income fell dramatically during the quarter to a loss of $5.7 million, while net income plunged even deeper to a loss of nearly $7.2 million. The losses weren't entirely unexpected for Funcom, as the developer noted Age of Conan launch expenses weighed heavily on the company's bottom line. Losses and all, Funcom noted that it is still in a "strong" financial position, with its ledger reflecting nearly $37 million in cash.

The revenue surge, of course, can be attributed to the release of Age of Conan, its much-anticipated, and critic-approved, Robert E. Howard-inspired MMORPG. Shortly after the game's full launch on May 20, Funcom said that more than 400,000 adventurers had already set foot in its online realm. The developer quickly followed up that announcement with word that more than 1 million units of the game had been shipped to retail, a milestone not hit by a MMOG developer since Blizzard Entertainment unleashed World of Warcraft in 2004.

While Funcom has said it won't provide regular updates on Age of Conan subscriber levels "for marketing and competitive reasons," the studio revealed today it has shipped more than 1.2 million units of the game, 800,000 of which have been sold. Of those 800,000, 415,000 have remained subscribers as of August 14.

In addition to sales stats, Funcom provided a detailed profile of its player base. Undoubtedly bolstered by players' ability to venture forth topless with both male and female avatars, the game is predominately populated by men, with an average age of 29. Funcom also notes that there is an equal distribution of US and European subscribers, with players self-reporting higher than average education and income levels.

Addressing future Age of Conan expansion, Funcom said that it plans to launch localized editions of the game in Poland and Russia by year's end. The company also gave a brief update of the promised Xbox 360 edition of the game, saying that it remains in the early phases of development.

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