MMO Money: September Earnings for Games, Game Deals Reach Record Highs

In this week’s MMO Money we’ve got a look at the September earnings for games, Mergers and Acquisitions in the gaming industry, investments, and more Tencent news. There were a few surprises this week and a few heartstoppers. Find all of that and more below.

 

Destiny 2 Gets Massive September Boost

Superdata has released their list of September earnings for games on PC, Console, and mobile. The big story from September was the success of Destiny 2’s expansion Forsaken which shot it up to the number one spot on console. In fact, over 60% of all Destiny 2 monthly users bought the expansion. Also looking solely at console, Fortnite slipped down to 4th place when in the previous month it held the number one spot. There was a lot of moving around and swapping places in the chart in September thanks to expansions and in-game events. Mobile seems to be pretty stable though. Check out the full list below.

Also, part of that report was the news that digital spending on games is up this year from $912 million to $1.24 billion from the same month last year. This is fantastic news as we head into the holiday season. It also suggests that this holiday season will be stronger than last year’s as well.

Source: Superdata

 

Wild West Online Studio Collapsed, But All is OK Now?

As it turns out, one of the reasons people stopped talking about Wild West Online for a few months there is because the studio stopped making the game. In fact, the studio collapsed altogether because they couldn’t pay their employees. The game got a bit of a helping hand from Free Reign Entertainment who is now helping to develop the game. The new team only includes 3 from the original team so it sounds like they’re going through a bit of a reboot. Another sign of that reboot is the introduction of a Battle Royale mode. The Battle Royale mode will be ready for testing sometime very soon, but will it be a success? We’ve seen many times where games have transitioned to follow the current trend and suffered for it. One such example is SOS, which never recovered from becoming a Battle Royale title and will be shutting down quite soon.

Source: Official Forums

 

Epic Raises $1.25 Billion from Investors

It’s a good time to be Epic. They’ve got one of the most successful, most talked about games in the world at the moment and now they’ve got an additional 1.25 billion dollars to work with. The company is already estimated to be worth between 5 and 8 billion. Tencent and Disney are already invested in Epic and now KKR, ICONIQ Capital, Smash Ventures, aXiomatic, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Lightspeed Venture Partners are joining in. Epic hasn’t laid out any plans for all of that money yet but we’re sure they’re already working on that. CEO Tim Sweeney spoke about the fundraising saying, “We’re excited to partner with the finest minds in the financial, sports, and entertainment communities. This reinforces Epic’s position of leadership in real-time 3D technology, and accelerates our ability to improve the way people play, work, and interact with the world.”

Source: Games Industry

 

Game Deals in 2018 Worth a Record $25 Billion

Digi-Capital has revealed that games deals have already gone past the $25 billion mark in the first 9 months of 2018, making this year a record year. However, previous experience suggests that we may be in for a sharp decline very soon. 2014 was a fantastic year for mergers and acquisitions but immediately following that we saw a sharp decline to the lowest numbers in a decade. MMOs and MOBAs in mobile and PC sectors saw significant investments despite the fact that these genres are in a decline. Much of it came from Tencent who has been quite busy diversifying and throwing money at companies.

While gaming mergers and acquisitions have hit a near record high just one single deal accounted for nearly half of the total. This was when South African based media group Naspers sold 2% of Tencent for more than $10 billion. That’s a 60,000% return on its original investment.

Games IPOs seem to be following a three-year pattern since 2010. They will have a big year followed by two quiet ones and then repeat. 2017 was a record year with $17.1 billion but that number has dropped 90% to just $1.1 billion in 2018. That suggests that 2019 will also not be a very strong year for IPOs. Which raises questions about Green Man Gaming who has delayed their flotation twice now.

Source: Digi-Capital

 

Steam Reaches 90 Million Monthly Users

In just over a year the number of active monthly users of Steam has grown by 23 million according to a new report from Valve. In January they had a peak concurrent users at 18.5 million. This was at the height of PUBG’s popularity. The growth comes, in part like so much of the industries growth this year…from China. In China, the number of people using Steam doubled from 15 million last year to 30 million this year.

What does all of this mean for Valve? More money of course. But, there may also be some complications with their expansion into China as the government cracks down harder every month on games, especially foreign ones.

Source: Steam

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find a time machine and invest in Tencent.

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MMO Money: Tencent’s $20 Billion Loss and Fortnite’s Decline

After having taken a little bit of time off for the end of convention season the weekly online gaming business article is back with more amazing news. We have Superdata’s latest gaming revenue charts, the UK’s weekly gaming chart, a little bit of lockbox news, and a company that lost $20 billion in value and is still going strong.

 

Superdata July Charts

Fortnite's Decline

Superdata released their monthly look at the gaming charts around the world with some interesting findings for July. First up, League of Legends drops down to second in terms of earnings on PC. It was overtaken by Dungeon Fighter Online which is massively popular in the east. In fact, only 2 of the top 5 PC games at the moment are from the West; LoL, and Fortnite. Speaking of Fortnite, the game’s earnings were only up 2% in July over June which is prompting many to say that the game’s peak is now behind us and Fortnite’s decline is imminent. However, it is still growing…for now. And, if they can get past all the security issues, Fortnite does still have the Android release coming which will be massive for the game’s population and revenue.

Overwatch, despite having a very stable player base is seeing revenue continue to drop month after month. In fact, the game is no longer charting at all but looking back as far as December, this isn’t the first time that has happened this year. It was also the case in February and April. In December 2017 and January it was number 10 on the PC chart. It hasn’t appeared on the chart for PC again since then. Looking at the charts for all of 2017 Overwatch ranked number 2 on the revenue charts for all Premium PC games. So, while it may not be on the charts right now, there is every chance for it to come back as it has done previously. On the other end of the spectrum, No Man’s Sky had its best month since it launched, and GTA V had its second best.

Fortnite still hasn’t managed to make it into the charts for Mobile games and in fact, the mobile chart changed very little from June to July. The one change was Fate/Grand Order overtaking Monster Strike. Until Fortnite has a global release on Android we’re unlikely to see it push into the mobile charts. Even then, the early security issues may have done enough lasting damage to make sure they don’t chart.

Source: Superdata

 

Tencent Market Value Drops by $20 Billion…but its ok

Tencent mobile financials - MMOGames.com - Your source for MMOs & MMORPGs

If any other company besides Tencent had lost $20 billion in market value the company would be done for. For Tencent though, that was just 5%. While they did lose a massive amount of money, the real story is why. China has been cracking down on games from other countries for quite some time. Tencent has been able to profit off of this. They know the laws better than any Western studio so they can offer to publish the game in China and deal with all the red tape themselves, but recently China has been making it even harder for game studios.

What triggered this massive loss for Tecent was China’s new regulation that will restrict the number of new online games that are released as well as implementing age-appropriate restrictions on games, including how long you can play them. The reason they give for doing this is the massive number of nearsightedness found in Chinese youth. Though there hasn’t been any scientific backing of the claim that screen time has any impact on vision. All of this puts Tencent’s current business model in jeopardy and they will have to make some changes if they want to continue. If you’re interested in reading more on this check out our recent news post that goes into more detail.

 

UK Charts Gaming Charts

Minecraft MMO Money: Tencent's $20 Billion Loss and Fortnite's Decline

The UK is one of the few countries that release gaming charts on a weekly basis. We’ve decided to add them to our weekly business article as they give us some idea of how games are performing, not just in the UK but among all western audiences. At the top of the charts this week was F1 2018, managing to hold out against a new game on the chart, PES 2019. In third is Grand Theft Auto V which actually climbed one place from last week. PUBG managed to climb up from 11th to 7th this week. Amazingly, Minecraft is still in the top 20, last week it was at 14 and this week it dropped to 20. Check out the top 10 for the week ending on September 1st below.

This Week Game Last Week
1 F1 2018 1
2 Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 New Entry
3 Grand Theft Auto V 4
4 Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy 3
5 Yakuza Kiwami 2 New Entry
6 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 5
7 PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds 11
8 God of War 6
9 Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate New Entry
10 Fifa 18 10

Source: Press Release

 

Lootboxes

Overwatch Winter Wonderland - Christmas Loot Boxes

There hasn’t been a whole lot to talk about on the lootbox front. It seems like the world is slowly moving on and forgetting the topic altogether. Or maybe there’s a whole lot going on in the background that is going to take time to come into being. Either way, the big news recently is that Blizzard is disabling Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm lockboxes for Belgian players. Earlier this year Belgium was one of the first countries to investigate lootboxes in online games and issued threats to ban multiple games. Valve very quickly took action for CSGO and Dota 2.

Blizzard announced that they would be doing this on the official forums. In it they said…

“In April 2018, the Belgian Gaming Commission published a report that was endorsed by the Belgian Ministry of Justice in which they concluded that paid loot boxes in Overwatch are considered gambling under local law. While we at Blizzard were surprised by this conclusion and do not share the same opinion, we have decided to comply with their interpretation of Belgian law. As a result, we have no choice but to implement measures that will prevent Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm players located in Belgium from purchasing in-game loot boxes and loot chests with real money and gems.

No matter what, we want to make sure that our players around the world have the best entertainment experience possible. While players in Belgium will no longer be able to purchase paid loot boxes in Overwatch and loot chests in Heroes of the Storm, they’ll still be able to earn them by playing the games, and they’ll still have access to all in-game content.

These measures will be implemented shortly. We also remain open to further discussions with the Belgian Gaming Commission and Ministry of Justice on this topic.”

Source: Overwatch Forums

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MMO Money: EA Eyes Battle Royale and Crowfall Hits Funding Milestone

We’re back again with another look at the world of MMO business. This week we’ve got more funding milestones, Superdata has released another month’s revenue report, and there’s more lootbox news. Oh, and we can’t forget the Battle Royale games. Battle Royale forever!

 

Crowfall Hits Funding Milestone

Crowfall Hits Funding Milestone

ArtCraft Entertainment has now raised $20 million from a combination of investments, partnerships, and their crowdfunding efforts. The Kickstarter campaign finished with more than $1.7 million donated back in March 2015. Later that same year they had raised $10 million through investments. Now, in the time since then, they’ve doubled their money and raised another $10 million. This was announced in a press release by the company in which they also announced an international distribution agreement that will see Crowfall released in Russia and the CIS.

 

Source: Press Release

 

Netease’s SpatialOS Investment

Netease has invested $50 million in SpatialOS which they’re calling a small equity stake to act as a strategic investment. How anyone can consider 50 million anything small is beyond me. Improbable has said that they’re establishing a presence in China to support game developers while also actively seeking other partners in Asia. In the press release announcing this investment, they also say: “the investment will increase our ability to help game makers in China and beyond to build previously impossible games, by helping game makers to benefit from a neutral, openly available technology platform supporting the next generation of online gaming.”

At the moment, SpatialOS is being used by Worlds Adrift, Mavericks, and Fractured. Last year they also received a half a billion dollar investment from SoftBank. What does this all mean? We’re like to see a whole lot more games made with SpatialOS in the future. Though, it should be noted that earlier this year Chronicles of Elyria dropped SpatialOS. It’s not clear yet if Netease will be using SpatialOS in any of their future games, but it certainly doesn’t seem like it’s outside the realm of possibility.

Netease was also in the news recently for another reason, they’re taking over publishing EVE Online in China starting in October. They’re also responsible for bringing Blizzard games to mainland China.

 

Source: Official Announcement

 

At EA Battle Royale Is On Everyone’s Mind

During EA’s Q1 earnings call executives fielded questions from investors and it seemed that everyone had Battle Royale fever. There were questions about if Battlefield V’s model might resemble Fortnite. EA held firm saying that the game’s Battle Royale mode would be just that, another mode. But there was also a hint at the possibility of EA releasing a comparable game in the future. “We’re interested in experimenting with a free-to-play standalone game that might be in a shooter genre or another genre. But I don’t think that’s how we’re looking at the Battlefield stuff right now.”

EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson also said that the company is open to cross-platform play. “We’re looking at key franchises in terms of how we should deliver cross-platform play in a similar way that Fortnite has, especially some of our titles that have a broad and diverse player base,” he said. “The ability to bring PC to mobile or mobile to console can bring family and friends together, and we think that’s an important part of our future development profile. Expect more from us on that front in the future.”

So, expect more Battle Royale from EA in the future.

 

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

 

Top Grossing Games in June

Superdata released their monthly look at the top grossing games with a look at June. PUBG got a massive boost thanks to the Steam sale. In June the game sold 4.7 million units, but at a reduced price. That being said it was still the second best month the game has ever had. On the list, PUBG jumped from 9th to 3rd for PC.

Pokemon Go also had a fantastic month, they were previously in 7th for mobile games back in April but have now jumped up to 3rd. They owe their success to the warm summer months and to very popular changes to the game which have brought a lot of players back. Including regular community events like the upcoming Eevee event in which Eevee will be a whole lot more common and boosts will last longer.

Much of the rest of the list remains the same, however.

 

Source: Superdata Report

 

Vainglory Made $50 Million Since Launch

Mobile MOBA Vainglory is one of the great successes of the MOBA genre and is widely considered the best mobile MOBA available. So it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise that they have brought in $50 million since they launched in 2014. This actually makes it the third most successful mobile MOBA behind Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends. 32% of that revenue comes from the United States while Japan is the next highest at about 12%. Almost 64% of all revenue comes from iOS which isn’t really much of a surprise given that it launched as an iOS-only title. While everyone keeps talking about battle royale games it is nice to see former trends can still succeed.

 

Source: Sensor Tower Report

 

Lootboxes

For Dutch players of Dota 2, it is now plainly obvious what is contained inside lootboxes now. They’re following in the footsteps of Path of Exile who have done this previously. In doing so they put the power in the hands of the players, letting them decide if they want to buy it or not. While some people have said that it has taken the thrill out of opening the box, others welcome it as they’re now getting only what they want to pay for. While Valve hasn’t come out and said that this is because of the Dutch Gaming Authority’s ruling earlier this year, it isn’t a stretch at all to assume that it is. Yay progress!

Meanwhile, Rocket League has published a blog post which has the drop rates of crate rarity levels and they promise that any changes they make in the future will also be announced. The rates range from 55% to 1% and also include Painted and Certified Attributes.

 

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun, Rocket League

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MMO Money: Champions Online Subscription Controversy and GTA V on the Decline

GTA V on the decline as the game is starting to show its age. Meanwhile, Fortnite is continuing to smash records as it is shown that Battle Royale players are more invested in their games than other gamers. Star Citizen made the news for a $27,000 ship pack, and we got the latest game charts from Superdata.

Champions Online Creates Controversy with Subscription Changes

Champions Online Nightmare Invasion Event

You don’t usually hear much about Champions Online in the news. The game is silently carrying on as it always has. But on June 1st the game found itself in a bit of a controversy over announced changes to subscriptions. In fact, it was going to drop subscriptions altogether. While there were some fears that this was signaling the beginning of the end for Champions Online that actually wasn’t what had fans up in arms. The new premium pack that was going to replace subscriptions had one thing, that fans are massive fans of missing, Freeform character slots. Fans were so vocal about their displeasure that Cryptic has delayed the changes to address the issue.

 

Bless Online Launch Disaster

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have heard that Bless Online had a disaster of a launch. Endgame content was missing, features you’d only see in bad mobile games were there…it was and still is a mess. If you want to learn more about Bless, its messy launch and why you really shouldn’t be surprised by it check out the article I did on the history of Bless Online. But right now you might be asking, why is this in the business column? Well, that’s because Steam was giving back refunds past their usual limits. So the bad launch is also hurting Neowiz’s bank account.

 

Funcom Q1 Report

Funcom has had one of its best quarters in a very long time thanks to the sales of Conan Exiles, which they also pointed out is now officially Funcom’s best selling game of all time. Secret World Legends didn’t get much of a mention, just a promise of more content and events. They also reminded everyone that they are working on a new game, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, which is due out in the second half of this year.

 

Star Citizen Offers Ship Pack Worth $27,000

star citizen like eve online

Once again, if you’ve been living under a rock you may have missed Star Citizen releasing a ship pack that they’re selling for $27,000. Even worse, to see what the pack offered you had to have already spent $1000. Did anyone buy one? The world may never know. What we do know is that a lot of people had something to say about it. In their defense, Star Citizen claimed that this pack was requested by players. If you’re curious what you could have bought instead here’s an article we did right after the news broke.

 

PUBG Sues Fortnite

The battle royale of the Battle Royale games has taken a bit of a nasty turn as PUBG has sued Fortnite developers Epic Games. The lawsuit, which is taking place in Korea, states that Epic Games plagiarized PUBG’s interface and in-game items. Many fans see this as a low blow from PUBG Corp as well as an attempted money grab and an attempt to keep Fortnite out of the Korean marketplace. It will be interesting to watch how things progress in this case while Fortnite continues to dominate gaming.

 

Battle Royale Gamers More Likely to Spend

Data from Newzoo shows that Battle Royale players tend to spend more money on games than other gamers. They’re also more engaged than those who play other core competitive games like CoD, CSGO, Overwatch, LoL…and so on. 88% of Battle Royale players are likely to spend money on games vs 75% in these other competitive games. Also, more than 80% of Battle Royale players watch live streams of game content. It’s 67% for competitive games.

From the report, we’ve also learned that Fortnite appeals to a younger, more casual audience vs PUBG. PUBG players are more likely to identify themselves as core gamers.

 

Superdata April Report on the Gaming Industry

GTA V on the Decline

Fortnite is continuing to break records for yet another month. But the real story from Superdata for April is that GTA V is finally starting to show its age. In fact, GTA V Online has been declining every month so far in 2018. This is most likely due to the popularity of Fortnite and the lack of new content from Rockstar. Meanwhile on mobile Honour of Kings brought in $185 million in revenue in April. In comparison, Fortnite made $296 million on console, PC, and mobile in that same time period.

 

Tencent Gets Majority Stake in Path of Exile Creator

Tencent continues its domination of the gaming world by getting a majority stake in Path of Exile’s creator Grinding Gear Games. In the announcement, they quickly tackled any concerns that this would mean the game would be changing by saying that the studio would remain independent.

 

Lootbox Roundup

Talk about lootboxes seems to have calmed down some in the last couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to talk about. The first news is that Webzen has decided to pull Mu Origin out of the Netherlands over lootboxes. The game will no longer be playable in the country as of June 20th. In the announcement, Webzen directly stated that this was in response to the recent decision from The Netherlands Gaming Authority against in-game lootboxes.

EA has also taken a bit of a stance against lootboxes, at least in Battlefield V which they’ve promised won’t have them. They also said the game won’t have premium passes. What they haven’t said however is what will be replacing both of those things in their business model.

Finally, GamesIndustry.biz put out a fantastic article on some things the president of the ESA said recently about lootboxes. In a speech at the Nordic Game Conference, he compared the lootbox controversy to the WHO’s gaming disorder crusade and the US government’s attempts to link video games and violence. He also spoke out against government regulation, effectively saying that the government couldn’t possibly understand well enough to have input. It’s an interesting article if you’re invested in the lootbox controversy.

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MMO Money: Top Grossing Games of March and Tencent Breaks Records

Superdata has released their list of the top grossing games of March, and nobody knows what is going on with Daybreak Games. Plus there’s fantastic news for Tencent who are breaking records with money and there is a lot to talk about around the lockbox saga. Find all of this and more in this week’s MMO Money.

 

Top Grossing Titles in March

MMO Money: Top Grossing Games of March and Tencent Breaks Records

Superdata has put out their monthly list of the top grossing games for PC, Consoles, and Mobile and there has been a move in the top of the charts. Dungeon Fighter Online took the top spot from League of Legends who held it in February. This came on the back of their third-anniversary celebration and a limited event that challenged players to level up new characters. Fortnite and World of Warcraft both overtook PUBG which slipped to seventh on the list. Speaking of Fortnite, it is now the largest free to play console game of all time! This is in terms of revenue generated and monthly active users. Also in March, it increased revenue by 73% from February to generate $223 million across all platforms.

 

Daybreak Layoffs and Rumors of New Games

Everquest

Daybreak has been having an odd couple of weeks, to put it mildly, and no one really seems to know what’s going on exactly. It started with their (maybe?) Russian parent company being investigated. Then they came out and said that no, they weren’t owned by that company at all! Despite many documents saying otherwise…Massively has done an amazing job covering it all and one little paragraph wouldn’t do the whole scenario justice so be sure to check out what they’ve been saying. The most recent updates though have been that there are confirmed layoffs. Not long after the layoffs, a rumor came out saying that they were working on Planetside 3 and Everquest 3. Also part of that rumor is that both Everquest and Everquest 2 are getting their last expansions next year.

 

Dota 2 on the Decline

New data from Superdata shows that Dota 2 is on the decline. Ever since the 7.00 update in late 2016, Dota 2 has been on a slow decline in popularity. The downward trend picked up steam in the last few months though. The emergence of the Battle Royale genre could be one of the reasons for this decline. Dota 2 is also approaching 5 years old, at which point it’s perfectly normal to see a declining population. It isn’t the end for Dota 2 though, Superdata thinks that Dota Plus can provide a steady revenue stream for the game. This means it could keep going for some time.

 

Tencent is Breaking Records with Investments

Tencent mobile financials - MMOGames.com - Your source for MMOs & MMORPGs

According to data from Digi-Capital, Tencent was involved in 40% of all money invested in game company funding over the last 12 months. They were also part of more than three quarters of all industry mergers and acquisitions. Tencent’s largest acquisition was the $2 billion deal for Vivendi’s stake in Ubisoft.

2017 was a bit behind 2016 when it came to market investments and mergers and acquisitions. In 2016 the industry reached a peak with $28.4 billion invested, whereas 2017 saw only $22 billion worth, though $17 billion of that was in mergers and acquisitions.

Finally, Digi-Capital predicts that the software and hardware market revenues will reach $160 billion this year and be more than $230 billion by 2022, just 4 years from now.

 

Lootbox News

The biggest news in the Lootbox controversy in recent weeks was Belgium calling out Overwatch, CSGO, and Fifa 18. The Belgian government has even gone so far as to say that these companies are violating the law with their lockbox mechanics. An announcement from the Minister of Justice said in a press release that the loot boxes must be removed and… If that does not happen, the operators risk a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 800,000 euros. When minors are involved, those punishments can be doubled.” Things got serious, fast! An EA spokesperson spoke with Eurogamer saying, “We strongly believe that our games are developed and implemented ethically and lawfully around the world, and take these responsibilities very seriously. We care deeply that our players are having a fun and fair experience in all of our games, and take great care to ensure each game is marketed responsibly, including in compliance with regional ratings standards. We welcome the dialogue with Minister Geens on these topics, as we do not agree that our games can be considered as any form of gambling.” Belgium hasn’t set any deadline for companies to change their games so it may be some time before we see anything else come from this.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, four out of ten popular games they studied were found to be in violation of their Betting and Gaming Act. The Gaming Authority didn’t say which games they studied or which games were in violation but Dutch language news site NOS reports that Fifa 18, Dota 2, PUBG, and Rocket League are the four games in violation of the law. Unlike Belgium, the Netherlands has given the companies a June 20th deadline. The Netherlands is also pushing for EU-wide legislation on lootboxes.

Based on player feedback, Tera has revamped their lockbox system. They made sure each one will contain something the player will find useful and you can also find out what is in each box.

Then finally, there are what seems like conflicting reports from Superdata and Juniper Research on the future of lootboxes. Superdata is saying that game marketers will be pushing the idea of “no loot boxes” this fall more than things like “60fps” and “4K HDR.” While Juniper Research is saying that loot boxes will be a major factor in industry growth over the next 4 years. Juniper has also likened loot boxes to gambling, so it’s not that they necessarily stand behind the practice. Superdata, on the other hand, believes that the anti-lockbox sentiment will continue to grow and developers will find other ways to monetize their games. Specifically, they point at Fortnite: Battle Royale which brought in $126 million in revenue in February without selling a single box. Superdata also acknowledges that lockboxes aren’t going away anytime soon with games like Overwatch making over $600 million from them.

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MMO Money: MMO Business News for February 2018

Another month has come and gone which means it’s time to start taking a look at the MMO business news for February 2018. This month we got lots of good news from our favorite game developers with their quarterly reports, the Better Business Bureau paid a visit to Star Citizen, and of course, there was more to be said about lockboxes.

 

FFXIV Population Growth

As part of Square Enix’s financial report, we learned that FFXIV has seen a growth in population. Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest X both saw an increase in subscribers and a boost in disc sales thanks to expansions. Square Enix on the whole, however, saw sales that were a bit flat. This was because the company didn’t release many blockbusters. Profits, on the whole, were up for the last 9 months of 2017.

 

Funcom’s Best Year

Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden MMO Business News for February 2018

Funcom had a great 2017, their most profitable year ever, in fact. The studio made $23.2 million in revenue and $6.64 million in profit. In 2016 their revenue was only $7.3 million. All of this means there are a lot of exciting things coming in Funcom’s future, starting of course with Mutant Year Zero which was announced at the end of February. It also means we can expect new content for Secret World Legends sometime soon.

 

Greed Monger Issues Refunds

Just when you thought you’d never hear about Greed Monger ever again, it’s back in the news. Former developer Jason Appleton has started giving refunds for those who Kickstarted Greed Monger way back in 2012. He wrote on Kickstarter that he was limited to $2,000 a day on Paypal but that refunds would be coming. Turns out the Greed Monger guys aren’t greedy after all.

 

Pay to Play on the Decline

Pay to play MMOs are down 9% in January according to Superdata’s report on January. There wasn’t a whole lot of change in the top grossing titles by category from December to January. You can see the top 10 in all three categories below.

Oddly enough, Superdata still has faith that VR can have a strong future. Earlier in the month, they said that VR has nowhere to go but up, which of course means that it’s at rock bottom right now.

 

NCSoft Quarterly Report

For NCSoft, this was the quarter that included Guild Wars 2’s expansion Path of Fire which more than doubled the game’s quarterly revenue year on year. This makes quite the comeback as Q2 2017 was the worst quarter on record for Guild Wars 2. Revenue is up 87% for the entire company, though it doesn’t compare to Q3 when Lineage M released in Asia. Aion, Lineage, and Lineage II all saw a decline, while Blade and Soul had a strong quarter. There’s a lot of hope for 2018 which will see the release of Blade & Soul II, Aion Tempest, and Lineage II M.

 

Star Citizen Meets BBB

Star Citizen creators Cloud Imperium met with representatives of the Better Business Bureau of California, which was described as an introductory meeting as well as cordial and constructive. The goal of the meeting was to encourage Cloud Imperium to improve communication and transparency on production schedules. The BBB seemed quite pleased with the meeting and are hopeful for the future of the game.

 

Activision Blizzard Has Record Quarter and Record Year

Console Overwatch vs PC - Communication

Net revenue rose 6% to $7.02 billion for the year with $2.04 billion of that just in the final quarter. $4 billion, that’s more than half of the revenue, came from microtransactions. Blizzard also notoriously doesn’t report player numbers anymore, but they did say that Overwatch had 40 million active users during the quarter. It isn’t all good news though, as PC and console business is down 4% and 3% respectively. This decline came from how few major releases the company had in 2017. There was, however, growth in mobile and ancillary revenues like merch.

 

Massive Investment in Kakao

Kakao Games, the folks behind Black Desert Online, received a massive $131.6 million investment package. It came as a bundle from five different companies; Tencent, Netmarble, Bluehole, Premier Growth-M&A PEF, and Actozsoft. With this investment, Kakao plans on expanding globally and acquiring other studios. We’ll be able to watch as Kakao expands and pinpoint it back to this investment. It’s good to be Kakao right now.

 

Nexon Yearly Report Looks Up

hit nexon korea

Thanks to successes like Dungeon & Fighter in China, Nexon reported a 28% increase in revenue in 2017 over 2016. That means they brought in a total of $2.2 billion, with 72% of that revenue made from PC games and 28% from mobile. If you break down the revenue by country, China accounts for 43% of it, followed by Korea at 40%, and Japan tied with North America with 6% each. Nexon also took the time to split its stock at the time of the report.

 

Marvel Heroes Revival Attempt

A group on Indiegogo claims to be raising funds to bring back Marvel Heroes, but it looks like it’s a little too good to be true. The company behind it is tied to a diploma mill college and seems to have a fake address. For that reason, I won’t be linking to the Indiegogo campaign and I encourage you to do your research before you give them any money. Sadly, this appears to be a scam attempt on the Marvel Heroes community.

 

H1Z1 Population Crash

Just before H1Z1 launched in February it became clear that the population of the once popular title had declined more than 90% in just half a year. A number of factors contributed to the decline, but competition in the battle royal genre seems to be the biggest factor. Since launching on the 28th there has been a boost in population, however, that boost seems short-lived as SteamCharts shows that numbers are declining once again.

 

Netmarble Financials Down

The last quarter of 2017 didn’t bring the best news for Netmarble. Revenue went up some, however, net profit was down. Something that was quite notable about revenue is that South Korea only counted for 32% of it as opposed to the 69% in the first quarter of 2017. Mobile MMORPGs are still driving profits with games like Lineage M and Tera M. Netmarble has several high profile mobile games coming in 2018, along with a game for Nintendo Switch.

 

Lockboxes: The Continuing Saga

The continuing saga of lockboxes could almost be a weekly column all on its own. More and more politicians are getting involved, and more governments are too. In Germany, the German Youth Protection Commission is examining the problem as a potential gambling concern and may ban certain elements. It’s expected that the commission will reveal what they decide sometime in March. This is all apparently based on an unpublished study from the University of Hamburg which looked at game sales and business models. It ultimately decided that actively targeting whales is a typical feature of gambling markets. It will be interesting to watch where that goes next.

In Sweden, lockboxes may be classified as gambling by 2019. This, according to a Public Administration Minister, is coming about because “It is obvious that there are many people suffering from gambling addiction, who also get stuck in this type of gambling and lose money because of it.”

In New Hampshire, Senator Maggie Hassan has taken up the cause. She sits on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and recently asked FTC nominees on their opinions on gaming addiction and lockboxes. All four nominees said the issue is one they’d like to address.

The ESRB has proposed a new label on games that feature microtransactions. It won’t be explicit to lootboxes because a large majority of parents don’t know what a lootbox is. The proposal does little to change anything and feels more like they’re just trying to get government officials out of industry business though. The ESRB still doesn’t require publishers to reveal the odds for their lockboxes.

And finally, Sea of Thieves has taken a stand to say it will never have lockboxes. Instead, it will have microtransactions. Go Sea of Thieves!

 

And that’s a wrap on the MMO business news for February 2018. Thanks to the popularity of the column and how much there is to talk about these days we’ll be publishing these articles twice a month now. And no, there won’t be a column just about lockboxes, or at least I won’t be writing it. It’ll destroy my soul.

The post MMO Money: MMO Business News for February 2018 appeared first on MMOGames.com.

2017 Online Games Financial Review

Can you believe we’re already a month into 2018? Seems like the perfect chance to take one last look back at 2017. Specifically, we’re looking at money and how well individual games and the industry as a whole did. We’ve got the top games from Steam and an incredibly detailed report from SuperData. So let’s dive into the 2017 Online Games Financial Review.

 

Steam Best of 2017

Steam released very vaguely defined charts for five different categories looking back at 2017. Without giving any specific numbers, they lump games into groups that can tell us which performed the best.

 

Top VR by Revenue

The VR category was listed by medals with platinum at the top. 12 games made this category including Fallout 4 VR, Job Simulator, and Superhot VR.

 

Best Early Access Grads

It’s no surprise to hear that PUBG is one of the 12 best performing games that left Early Access. It’s also in the platinum category with ARK: Survival Evolved, Battlerite, Divinity Original Sin II, and Slime Rancher. Of all these titles only one of them is free to play, that’s Battlerite. Everspace is the only VR title to make it into the Platinum category.

New Releases Each Month

Steam broke new releases down by month, giving us the best as measured by revenue. Only listing the online/multiplayer ones below.

January: Conan Exiles, Avorion
February: Blackwake, Golf It, The Wild Eight, For Honor, theHunter: Call of the Wild
March: Day of Infamy
April: UEBS
May: Star Trek Bridge Crew, Black Desert Online, Friday the 13th
July: Citadel Forged with Fire, Dark and Light, Foxhole, Next Day: Survival
August: Absolver, Robocraft
September: Total War: Warhammer II, Holdfast: Nations at War
November: World of Warships, Call of Duty: WWII
December: YLands, OrbusVR, PUBG

 

Top Sellers

The top games by gross revenue for the year includes quite a few titles we cover here at MMOGames. Grand Theft Auto V, PUBG, Warframe, H1Z1, Ark: Survival Evolved, Rocket League, Dota 2, CSGO, and Rainbow Six Siege are all in the Platinum category. Other bestsellers include FFXIV, Smite, Paladins, The Division, and The Elder Scrolls Online.

Most Played

Finally, there’s the Most Played which is, to me at least, the most interesting category of them all. These are the games with the highest peak simultaneous players in 2017.

Over 100,000 Simultaneous Players: Warframe, PUBG, ARK: Survival Evolved, CSGO, Dota 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Grand Theft Auto V, and H1Z1. The only game to make that list that isn’t multiplayer is Payday 2 which does allow Co-op.

50,000-100,000: Path of Exile, Rocket League, Conan Exiles, Rust, Arma III, Paladins

25,000-50,0000: Dead by Daylight, The Division, Total War: Warhammer, Unturned, Counter-Strike, 7 Days to Die, Black Desert Online, Battlerite, Elder Scrolls Online, For Honor, FFXIV

15,000-25,000: No Man’s Sky, Call of Duty WWII, Absolver, Smite, Shadowverse, Friday the 13th The Game, The Forest, World of Tanks Blitz, War Thunder

What does all of this mean? Not a whole lot really. It gives us a vague idea that these particular games on Steam are doing well, or at least were at one point in the year. If you want to read the full lists check them out on Steam’s Best of 2017.

 

Kickstarter Video Games Raises $17.5 million in 2017

Unfortunately, this number isn’t broken down into specific types of games, but we know that on the whole there weren’t many MMOs on Kickstarter this year. Though 2017 was also the year we saw Ashes of Creation become the most funded MMORPG on Kickstarter of all time. Shadow’s Kiss also had quite a successful Kickstarter campaign but generally, it seems that Kickstarted MMOs are on the decline. Perhaps because there hasn’t yet been a big successful launch.

 

Star Citizen

star citizen like eve online

Speaking of big successful launches, Star Citizen was the clear winner for Crowdfunding in 2017. Star Citizen, on its own, raised $34.91 million in 2017. That’s more than double all video games on Kickstarter last year. However, it is down from recent years. In 2016 they raised $36.11m and in 2015 they raised $35.9m. With that kind of decline, they could keep raising funds and not drop below $1 million until 2046. Who knows, by then the game may have finally released.

Source: Polygon

 

SuperData

Superdata have released their year in review report and it is fascinating! One in three people on the planet play free to play games on PC and mobile platforms, that’s 2.5 billion people. Digital games made $100.5 billion dollars in 2017. $59.2 of that was from mobile games, $33 from PC games, and $8.3 from consoles. Meanwhile, eSports generated $756 million last year and it is projected to breach the 1 billion mark in 2018. Gaming video content brought in $3.2 billion. The most noteworthy thing to look at is the $14 billion leap in mobile game spending from 2016. SuperData credits Asian publishers with this jump thanks to games like Arena of Valor and Fantasy Westward Journey. In fact, these two titles were the top earners in mobile games, bringing in $1.9B and $1.5B respectively. Other titles on the top 10 include Clash of Clans (at 5), Lineage 2: Revolution (7), and Pokemon Go at number 9 with $890 million.

Free to play titles account for 69% of the PC’s $33B market. League of Legends was at the top of that list bringing in $2.1B in revenue. Dungeon Fighter Online and CrossFire both also brought in over 1 billion dollars. Other games on the list include World of Tanks, Dota 2, Roblox, Maplestory, Hearthstone, Blade & Soul, and FIFA Online 3.

I found the chart looking at the premium PC market to be particularly interesting. With Eastern audiences, it’s very clear that mobile is king. We can also see that reflected in how many mobile games are coming out.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds brought in 12% of all of premium PC’s revenue. However, the biggest surprise on the list of the top revenue had to be Guild Wars 2 which brought in $87 million, putting it at number 8. Fantastic for a game that’s 5 years old now. It’s also interesting to note that most of the games on the list are multiplayer.

Twitch is dominating gaming video content, something that we already knew, but it is a bit of a surprise to see that 54% of all gaming video content revenue comes from Twitch. Youtube accounts for just 22%. That’s less revenue than the Other category. Though with all the demonetization and poor support is it really any wonder that Youtube struggles to bring in the revenue?

Skipping through their report a bit, the final interesting thing of note is that Augmented Reality saw more investment than Virtual Reality in 2017, despite the fact that headset sales are higher than they’ve ever been. In all honesty, it looks like the technology is just too expensive for most people and so VR hasn’t had the success it was projected to have a couple of years ago. Bigger companies seem to be moving on from VR, leaving it a playground for smaller studios and indies.

The post 2017 Online Games Financial Review appeared first on MMOGames.com.