If you like mobile games, you’ll love how NCSoft’s Q4 2019 financials look. If you like any other part of NCSoft’s games portfolio … well, buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
As you can see from the sales breakdown above, that mobile sector is all aces, and it could have been bigger. The newly debuting Lineage 2 M deferred 20% of its sales to Q1 2020, but even without that cash, mobile games had their second-best quarter ever, only trailing behind Q3 2017. All in all, NCSoft’s mobile business finished 2019 with revenues just a hair shy of one trillion — yes, 1,000,000,000,000 — South Korean won for 2019, or about $846 million.
Lineage and Lineage II looked decent for the quarter, but when you get to the games that are more popular in the West, things get messy. Aion and Guild Wars 2 had their worst quarters ever, both tumbling significantly from their Q3 results, while Blade & Soul didn’t fare much better.
Unsurprisingly, this also led to lower overall sales numbers for North America and Europe, which dropped from 140 billion KRW in 2017 to 128 billion in 2018 to 93 billion in 2019. That’s still about $78 million, so I don’t think NCSoft’s looking to pull out of Western territories just yet. If anything, you’d think the company would try harder to bring its mobile titles overseas, seeing how much they’ve generated at home; in the conference call with investors, NCSoft did say that bringing Lineage 2 M to China and Japan was “something we would like to achieve within the year,” though several factors could affect that scheduling.
QuintLyn told me that Aion “took out most of the dungeons” and “made the entire game end-game PvP” about a year ago, while I’ve been saying for a while that Guild Wars 2 needs something more dramatic and interesting to lure players in. I’m not sure why now, or more accurately, last quarter, would be the time when things turned sour for both games (and B&S), as opposed to three or four quarters ago, but a turnaround is clearly needed.
You can get more information about NCSoft’s financials on the company’s investor relations page.