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Author Topic: Investor Press Release  (Read 22127 times)
Miasma
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Stopgap Measure


on: August 10, 2012, 09:44:46 AM

Doesn't sound good.

Funcom reported in a stock notice the 6th of July that the company intended to update the market on The Secret World today. This update is based on current sales, press and gamer feedback and early indicators of subscription levels following the free 30 days game-time included in the game client.

Development since launch

Following the launch of The Secret World on the 3rd of July 2012, Funcom's share price has decreased significantly. The company attributes this mostly to the aggregate review score, the "Metascore", for the game at MetaCritic (www.metacritic.com) together with other public sources for tracking the performance of games.

While there are very positive reviews, there are as well mixed or average reviews from various press outlets, giving an aggregated score for The Secret World of 72 out of 100, which is to be considered low, and not in line with the positive feedback received during the beta phases from both press and players. Funcom is of course disappointed with achieving such a Metascore. A game like The Secret World, which is not based on a well-known brand, is normally dependent on positive press reviews to achieve successful initial sales, in addition - but not limited - to other factors like word of mouth.

Scenarios for The Secret World for the first 12 months following launch

Funcom has on several occasions presented two financial scenarios for the first 12 months following launch of the game; please refer to page 17 in the 1Q 2012 presentation *). Funcom does not consider it likely that either of them will be met.

To improve sales going forward, Funcom is currently enhancing distribution by launching the game on the Steam platform as well as focusing on key areas for improvement of the game and on-going activities on content updates, sales initiatives and communication. The effect of all these initiatives together with other factors impacting sales are difficult to predict, but based on the available early data, one scenario is that sales for the first 12 months following launch will be less than half of what was presented in the "Conan-like" scenario. It should be noted that the sales amount in the "Conan-like" scenario is significantly higher than for the game "Age of Conan", due to the assumption of better retention implemented in the scenario. Also it should be noted that the company has significantly lower operational cost for The Secret World than what was the case for Age of Conan. As less initial sales than expected is considered an indicator of impairment, the company is currently evaluating the need for recognizing an impairment loss for the game in the profit and loss statement.

Retention

Funcom is pleased to see that gamer satisfaction is high, with user score of 8.4 out of 10 and higher on www.metacritic.com and other sites like mmorpg.com. This is in line with the beta surveys and beta players' feedback that the company received prior to launch. The company considers this a positive indicator of high customer satisfaction, and a solid foundation to build on the positive and engaged community Funcom has established with The Secret World.

First indication of churn is more positive than for Age of Conan, and the in-game store is performing as expected. The add-on packs are performing better than expected. Also higher than expected sales are going directly through the online download stores like EA's Origin and Funcom's own storefront, generating more profitable sales for the company.

A possible scenario going forward is that the game will sell less than both of the two above mentioned scenarios the first 12 months following launch, but with high customer satisfaction, it will generate a more stable subscriber base than the game Age of Conan. Over time, this will enable Funcom to retain more customers and generate higher revenue.

Immediate cost-adjustment initiatives

Funcom is currently implementing several cost-adjustment initiatives due to the expected lower initial revenues from The Secret World to secure future positive cash flows.

Next update

The next update of The Secret World will be given in the 2Q 2012 report to be published 28th August.

Badhoevedorp, The Netherlands, 10th August, 2012Funcom N.V.
This information is subject of the disclosure requirements acc. to 5-12 of vphl (Norwegian Securities Trading Act)
calapine
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Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 09:49:21 AM

So that 4 out of 10 douchebag reviewer with his blog now affects stock prices? Especially since there are only about 8 reviews on metacritic. Awesome...

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Lantyssa
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Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 09:58:57 AM

Yep.  It's really bad to peg performance to metacritic, but then the stock market is insane these days anyways...

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Segoris
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Reply #3 on: August 10, 2012, 10:37:51 AM

Reports like this should also show reviews and critcisms of the dbags reviewing on metacritic, would make this more fun to pay attention to and give more insight as to how out of touch some reviewers truly are.
Modern Angel
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Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 10:46:03 AM

Expect serious bloodletting. Been chatting with by best friend. I'm fucking gutted for them, but I'm also seriously pissed off about Metacritic being a metric which guides job loss now.
calapine
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Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 11:15:43 AM

So what does that mean? Falling stockprices lead to employee layoffs leading to less future development and content, resulting in another failed MMO-experiment on live-support in the F2P garbage bin?

Can someone cheer me up, please?  Heartbreak

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trias_e
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Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 11:26:42 AM

Nothing has pissed me off more recently than seeing the absolutely atrocious reviews of this game.  People reviewing beta events and passing them off as release reviews by delaying the review (http://www.g4tv.com/games/pc/46075/the-secret-world/review/).  PC Gamer giving a 69/100, despite the fact that the review reads as though a much higher score should have been given to it (and I'd imagine it would have been higher if it hadn't been lol-funcom making the game).  And now knowing that because of these hacks people will lose their jobs over it...Fuck reviewers and fuck metacritic.  This is a system which includes Tom Chick because he slaps a score on the end of his inane blog posts, and ignores far superior reviews (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/07/03/wot-i-think-the-secret-world/) due to lack of quantization.  And people take this seriously?  Sad.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 01:33:12 PM by trias_e »
Segoris
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Reply #7 on: August 10, 2012, 11:29:54 AM

So what does that mean? Falling stockprices lead to employee layoffs leading to less future development and content, resulting in another failed MMO-experiment on live-support in the F2P garbage bin?

Can someone cheer me up, please?  Heartbreak

Pretty much what it seems like. As for cheering up, either take solace in knowing that at least it's not ff14 levels of shitty. Otherwise, if still needed, I'm sure a picture of a kitty or cookie or both can be posted

Sadly that still won't change the fact that metacritic as a metric is bullshit

Nothing has pissed me off more recently than seeing the absolutely atrocious reviews of this game.

I have to say that I don't mind absolutely atrocious reviews, people can, will, and should have their opinions and that's fine. What's disgusting is atrocious reviews based on months old product which has had many updates and corrections since the reviewer played said item for what most likely amounted to about an hour's worth of time. That is compounded by what is going on now with potentially putting people out of work beceause someone's a piece of shit that somehow gets paid to be a fucktard.
Modern Angel
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Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 11:55:22 AM

It's complete nonsense. If we're at the point at which a game which is getting overwhelmingly good word of mouth from the players ends up with the creators getting shitcanned because of reviewers in the most corrupt and payola form of entertainment journalism which exists, that needs to be called out. Forcefully.
HaemishM
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Reply #9 on: August 10, 2012, 11:57:17 AM

Basing a review of Secret World on beta is a really fucking bad idea. Hell, I played it in beta and wasn't going to buy it. I'm glad my wife messed up and ordered two copies so I was kind of "forced" to play it, and it's really shitty that metacritic scores are determining whether people get laid off or not. This is one of the most obvious situations of "reviewing an MMOG without giving it enough time" really fits, because it takes probably halfway through Kingsmouth before the game really starts to shine. It passed my 30-minute test for MMOGs (if it ain't in anyway fun or interesting after 30 minutes, it never will be) while SWTOR did not.

So I guess F2P in six months is probably accurate.

Nevermore
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Reply #10 on: August 10, 2012, 12:30:29 PM

Unfortunately at least part of this is due to the sins of Funcom's past coming home to roost.  If this exact same game had been released by Blizzard, it would be hailed as the Next Big Thing.

Over and out.
Modern Angel
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Reply #11 on: August 10, 2012, 12:38:33 PM

OR! or! Reviewers could review the game at hand and not worry about who made it. Which is nuts in a payola scam scheme like gaming journalism, but we have to cling to our ideals.

The only sin from the past worth mentioning is AoC's flub, which would have given a better cushion if it had gone differently.
Threash
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Reply #12 on: August 10, 2012, 12:47:24 PM

This is disappointing, this game deserved to do well.

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Modern Angel
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Reply #13 on: August 10, 2012, 12:50:18 PM

CFO is tossing around the term "in excess of 10%", which is actually way better than it seemed an hour ago.
Ginaz
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Reply #14 on: August 10, 2012, 12:53:13 PM

While the initial outlook might be bad, long term things start to look better.  Player retention seems like it will be high, growth might be steady and the revenue from the item shop is good.  Most "investors" are nothing more than gamblers looking for big profits in a short time.  Fuck those guys.  And fuck gaming "journalists".

I'll pre order you SWTOR if you let me put my lightsaber in your sarlaac cave
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Ingmar
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Reply #15 on: August 10, 2012, 01:15:20 PM

I'm not sure how to drive a stake into Metacritic, but it needs to be done.

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Lantyssa
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Reply #16 on: August 10, 2012, 02:11:21 PM

Can we critique metacritic?  "1/10, would not use to rate again"

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HaemishM
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Reply #17 on: August 10, 2012, 03:06:49 PM

I will say, I do actually use Metacritic. Only, I don't use the pro reviews part, I look at the user reviews.

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Reply #18 on: August 10, 2012, 03:08:12 PM

I will say, I do actually use Metacritic. Only, I don't use the pro reviews part, I look at the user reviews.

Those are if anything even worse, if you're just looking at the numbers. People go on their little crusades to 0/10 a game because they don't like some choice, etc., without actually playing the game.

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kildorn
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Reply #19 on: August 10, 2012, 03:13:10 PM

I'm not sure how to drive a stake into Metacritic, but it needs to be done.

Part of the problem is that the good review sites bailing on Metacritic just makes the site worse. A few sites refuse to put scores now so that you read the review. But all this means is they're no longer used for the metacritic ranking.

I thought metacritic was on it's way out for publisher metrics though. There's some other review aggregate site they're switching to which will turn into a pile of shit in a matter of months again.
trias_e
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Reply #20 on: August 10, 2012, 03:20:06 PM

I will say, I do actually use Metacritic. Only, I don't use the pro reviews part, I look at the user reviews.

Those are if anything even worse, if you're just looking at the numbers. People go on their little crusades to 0/10 a game because they don't like some choice, etc., without actually playing the game.

Generally speaking, they're alright.  The only problem is people flip out over big name games that don't meet their expectations.  High user scores can usually be trusted in my experience, but low user scores are often the result of hysterics.
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Reply #21 on: August 10, 2012, 03:22:02 PM

I don't follow the score, I read what people ACTUALLY WRITE about the games, good and bad. Telling the shills and the shitheels apart is pretty easy.

Rendakor
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Reply #22 on: August 10, 2012, 03:23:16 PM

Generally speaking, they're alright.  The only problem is people flip out over big name games that don't meet their expectations.  High user scores can usually be trusted in my experience, but low user scores are often the result of hysterics.
This logic makes no sense. If a game gets good reviews, it's probably good, but if it gets bad reviews it's probably not actually bad. So all games are good.  swamp poop

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Ingmar
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Reply #23 on: August 10, 2012, 03:28:32 PM

Generally speaking, they're alright.  The only problem is people flip out over big name games that don't meet their expectations.  High user scores can usually be trusted in my experience, but low user scores are often the result of hysterics.
This logic makes no sense. If a game gets good reviews, it's probably good, but if it gets bad reviews it's probably not actually bad. So all games are good.  swamp poop

Not at all. The point is that 0/10 ratings artificially depress game scores. Almost no game that has ever been released truly deserves a zero. I have exactly one on my list (Elemental, as if I needed to say it).

And yes, there are shill reviews that artifically increase them as well, but those are generally fewer in number because they don't result from organized 4chan campaigns to protest that they made Shepard a ginger, or whatever.

EDIT: 10/10ing a game that only deserves a 6 or 7 also moves the dial less than 0/10ing the same game.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 03:39:30 PM by Ingmar »

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trias_e
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Reply #24 on: August 10, 2012, 03:38:37 PM

Generally speaking, they're alright.  The only problem is people flip out over big name games that don't meet their expectations.  High user scores can usually be trusted in my experience, but low user scores are often the result of hysterics.
This logic makes no sense. If a game gets good reviews, it's probably good, but if it gets bad reviews it's probably not actually bad. So all games are good.  swamp poop

I never said that all games that get bad user scores are actually good.  Or even most.  But there are some games with low ratings, especially big-name games with high expectations, that are brought down by angry hysterical gamers giving unfair 0/10 ratings.  If you look at the site and check out the ratings, you'd see that for the most part user scores look solid, but there are some glaring exceptions on the low end.  Diablo 3 and Mass Effect 3 have 4.0's for their average user score.  This isn't indicative of the quality of these games, whatever you want to say about their shortcomings.  

Yeah, so what Ingmar said.  It's certainly true that some gamers may be giving unfair 10/10 ratings to games they enjoy as well, but as he said there is less impact if the game should be a 7 or 8.  I also think in general the angry gamers are going to be more vocal than the happy ones.  The user scores are more often lower than review scores, probably for this reason.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 03:49:32 PM by trias_e »
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Reply #25 on: August 10, 2012, 03:39:48 PM

Never been on metacritic but it sounds like the popular clique table in the cafeteria in high school... only this high school is filled with geeks and gamers. Pass.

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Reply #26 on: August 10, 2012, 04:39:57 PM

*Sigh*

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fstocklink.no%2FArticle.aspx%3Fid%3D95293&act=url

Quote
Funcom management: - we have sifted errors

By: Karsten Olav Coldevin - StockLink.no
Published: 08/10/2012 1:35:41 p.m. - Updated: 10/08/2012 1:37:57 p.m.   
More Sharing ServicesShare
The company sees itself forced to cut the number of employees.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in Funcom Bjorn Toften, said sales figures. (AA Nilsen / Stock Link iMarkedet)

This story was first published on iMarkedet Xpress.

- The date the update was known and communicated and, in our opinion comes at a reasonable time, and we're still in an early phase of the game, says Bjorn Toften, finance director of Funcom in connection with the current disappointing update from the company.

Sales of the new game The Secret World is now suggested to be half of what The Age of Conan delivered. Read more here .

Read also: - The game has flopped , and Schibsted alerts cutbacks .

He also thought it was prudent to wait until the company had a first indication of the proportion of buyers of the game that decided to move to a subscription to the game.

- The indications on the subscription side is positive, but we have only early numbers and we will closely monitor those who come close to the time where they must decide whether to go to a subscription.

For a narrow
The company believes one of the main reasons for the low sales are reviews of the game that provides a meta score of 72 percent.

- When the game is built on a well-known brands, we need a higher score among the press, he says and adds that the reviewers criticized among other bugs in the game.

He also sees that there is a risk that the company has been charged against a too narrow target audience.

Toften is now keen to have a positive cash flow in the company and must now make substantial cost savings in the company.

- This includes staff reductions, says have and emphasizes that he does not raise capital on the agenda today.


(Google translated from Norwegian)

Quinton
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Reply #27 on: August 10, 2012, 05:36:40 PM

That's really unfortunate.  There are some issues, but it seems pretty damn good for an MMO launch.
Miasma
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Stopgap Measure


Reply #28 on: August 10, 2012, 06:19:14 PM

I don't know if this is real but someone is claiming a bunch of GMs were laid off today.

http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/360114/page/1
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Reply #29 on: August 10, 2012, 06:26:41 PM

Quote
and second AoC's launch was bad because the Norweigan government forced the company and all of it's employees to take a 1 month vacation right after launch due to labor laws .  This is why AoC's launch was so bad.  None of the problems in the first month could be addressed because none of the developers could come to work.

 awesome, for real

Threash
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Reply #30 on: August 10, 2012, 06:37:43 PM

I assume this means all those promises of monthly content updates are as likely to happen as swtors now?

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Abelian75
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Reply #31 on: August 10, 2012, 06:56:33 PM

God dammit.  I mean, this doesn't come as a surprise, given that I was so put off by the Funcom brand that I almost didn't even try this game (and I try every MMO), but this is probably my favorite game in a while.  Definitely deserves to do at least OK, and CERTAINLY didn't deserve a remarkably low metacritic score.  Such a goddamn shame.
Modern Angel
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Reply #32 on: August 10, 2012, 07:00:19 PM

Quote
and second AoC's launch was bad because the Norweigan government forced the company and all of it's employees to take a 1 month vacation right after launch due to labor laws .  This is why AoC's launch was so bad.  None of the problems in the first month could be addressed because none of the developers could come to work.

 awesome, for real

I think everyone in the world should have the Norwegian summer vacation but there's a hefty kernel of truth to the bit about AoC.

Also, I heard on pretty good authority that the GM staffing for TSW launch was heavily slanted toward temp/contract employees, rather than salaried positions as they had for AoC, specifically to make it easier to do this.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 07:02:46 PM by Modern Angel »
Cadaverine
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Reply #33 on: August 10, 2012, 07:25:39 PM

It's a damn shame, alright.  This will inevitably put a dent in their sub numbers/sales, making it even harder for Funcom to keep it afloat.  And yet again, all the wrong lessons will be taken from it all.

I blame Tom Chick.

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Venkman
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Reply #34 on: August 10, 2012, 08:29:35 PM

Jeezus. I just got back from vacation, wondering if there'd been any folks quiting. Now instead I find that instead, the game may go belly-up simply because they didn't hit early sales.

It's fun to blame metacritic. It's one of the only games in town for the vast majority of investors who are a) not going to play a game; and, b) certainly not going to read a review of it.

But I don't think their 72 was the problem, much as it makes it an easy target. I'd go instead with everything folks have been saying since the first teaser content went on their site. It's a cool setting, but it bears no resemblance to anything people have gotten used to. It's not western nor eastern fantasy, it's not a known IP, the game mechanic itself isn't quite like anything else, it's from the same people who made AoC which is still recent in everyone's mind, and AO, which I'd guess most veterans still regard as one of the worst launches ever. And this game was largely for MMO veterans.

Heck, given all this, I'd have thought management would be dancing at a 72.
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