MMOGs make profits for NCsoft

The Korean developer posts $7.7 million profit for first quarter, credits Lineage and Guild Wars for 16 percent year-on-year rise.

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Profits are up for massively multiplayer online game maker NCsoft in the company's first fiscal quarter, which ran from January 1 to March 31, 2008. Consolidated sales came to 88.1 billion South Korean won ($84.2 million), operating income was up 16 percent year-on-year and 63 percent over last quarter to 19.7 billion won ($18.9 million), and net profit was 8.1 billion won ($7.7 million).

Back in January, NCsoft announced it would be cancelling a sci-fi space-based MMOG project being developed by Spacetime Studios, although no reason was given at the time. According to today's statement, NCsoft said the project "did not fit into the company's core development plan." NCsoft blames this for a decrease of 22 percent in net profits over last quarter, claiming that without this expense, profits would have been up 48 percent. The company stated that "resilient sales" of the Lineage series in Asia, along with Guild Wars and City of Heroes in North America and Europe, were the primary reason behind the steady growth year-on-year.

Of all the company's games, Lineage II fared the best, scoring approx 36 billion won for the company ($34 million) and 43 percent of the total sales for the quarter. The second most popular game was the first Lineage, with sales of 29 billion won ($27 million) and 35 percent of total sales. Guild Wars took 9.5 billion won ($9 million) and 12 percent of sales, and City of Heroes/City of Villains took 5.4 billion won ($4.7 million) and 7 percent of sales. Tabula Rasa didn't seem to be faring particularly well, with sales down 63 percent over the previous quarter to 1.9 billion won ($1.8 million), with the game--which was released in November--taking only 2 percent of total sales compared to 6 percent last quarter.

NCsoft continues to make most of its profits in its home base of South Korea, with 57 percent of sales being made in the country. Its second biggest market is North America, which accounts for 12 percent of sales; 11 percent of sales come from Japan, with 10 percent in Europe and 3 percent in Taiwan.

For 2008, NCsoft will be opening up fantasy MMOG Aion: Tower of Eternity for a third closed beta this summer in Korea, with the official launch scheduled for the second half of the year. It has four casual online games slated for release between June and December: first-person shooter Point Blank, side-scrolling role-playing games Punch Monster and Dragonica, and rhythm and dance game Lovebeat.

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