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Author Topic: NCsoft Expects Sales of 500,000 Game Copies in U.S.  (Read 11571 times)
Arthur_Parker
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on: May 18, 2004, 05:47:47 AM

Thought this was a brave statement

Quote
NCsoft Expects Sales of 500,000 Game Copies in U.S. This Year
LOS ANGELES, May 13 (Yonhap) -- NCsoft Corp., South Korea's biggest online game company, forecasts sales of 500,000 copies of its online games in the U.S. market this year, its chief executive officer Kim Taek-jin said Thursday.

Last month, NCsoft launched its English versions of "Lineage II" and "City of Hero" in the world's largest gaming market.


Interesting interview with Kim Taek-jin.

Strange view that the Asian market is at a more "mature" level and I wish he had expanded on exactly why.
schild
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Reply #1 on: May 18, 2004, 06:02:21 AM

This statement (given the fact he already knows how unpopular Lineage 2 will be) leads me to believe that they expect Tabula Rasa to luanch before the end of the year. They'd have to start the beta next month or in July if this is true. I just don't see City of Heroes breaking 300k anytime soon (though I'd love to see it break 1,000,000 users) and I definately don't expect Lineage 2 to break 150k, hopefully ever. It's just crap.
eldaec
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Reply #2 on: May 18, 2004, 06:54:08 AM

How do they define their year?

Also, I agree with schild's numbers if applied to total subscriptions for CoH and L2, but have no idea how much subscriber churn they experience. If we're expecting 100k L2 subs and 200k CoH subs and suggest that 50% of purchasers will have quit by then (given the history around here I'd expect something closer to 80% of people reading this to quit CoH by christmas), that still gives us 600k copies floating about.

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Soukyan
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Reply #3 on: May 18, 2004, 06:57:12 AM

500,000 copies

Sounds to me like they're talking box sales, and if so, that's not a horribly high estimate. Regardless of subscriber retention, a box sale is a box sale.

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schild
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Reply #4 on: May 18, 2004, 06:59:05 AM

I'd be confident their year started with the day Lineage II and City of Heroes got released to retail outlets. Now, they could easily launch City of heroes in Europe, not change the ingame language and add at least 50% more people. Especially since it seems you can no longer buy a CD key online (removing it was a stupid move, but possibly necessary).
Alrindel
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Reply #5 on: May 18, 2004, 07:10:19 AM

If they have signed a distribution deal for Europe or Asia then I'm sure removing the online purchase option was a condition of the license.
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Reply #6 on: May 18, 2004, 07:14:05 AM

I figured they got pressure from Best Buy. That 500lb gorilla can scare the shit out of just about anyone.
Kyper
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Reply #7 on: May 18, 2004, 08:11:07 AM

Quote from: Soukyan
500,000 copies

Sounds to me like they're talking box sales, and if so, that's not a horribly high estimate. Regardless of subscriber retention, a box sale is a box sale.


I think you're right.  He means box sales.  That's an achievable goal, but they will need a big marketing push over the summer and closer to the holidays.  If CoV were to come out before Christmas, I would say he's underestimating their box sales, but it's not due out until 2005.  

Is CoH for sale in comic book stores yet?  I think they can sell at least 100k copies of the game to MMO newbies that way.
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Reply #8 on: May 18, 2004, 11:08:42 AM

Don't forget Gulid Wars. NCSoft has L2, CoH and Guild Wars. L2 probably wasn't a huge success in comparison to other American games like EQ, but it was more successful than they had expected it to be. CoH is successful. Guild Wars will likely be successful by pulling customers from similar online games in the same genre as Diablo and first person shooters and introducing them to MMOG concepts. I'd like to konw what their current sales are with just L2 and CoH. All the same 500,000 boxes between all three games seems like a sure bet.

Quote
Strange view that the Asian market is at a more "mature" level and I wish he had expanded on exactly why.

He tells you  why:
Quote
As far as the US is concerned, the infrastructure for playing online games still has a lot of growth ahead. So the environment there is different from that of Asian markets, where the game infrastructure has hit a much more mature level. Therefore, it is one of our tasks to make an appropriate business model to fit such different environments.

He's talking about infrastructure and needing to design games that run well on dial-up.

I also get the impression from reading past interviews that they feel as if the Asian market is more mature because there are more players who have been playing MMOGs for far longer. When they release a MMOG in Asia they don't have to spend a lot of effort explaining what a MMOG is and why players might want to play. American MMOGs are still faced with a large group of potential customers who may have heard of MMOGs but  have no idea what a MMOG is or why they might be interested in playing one.
Sky
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Reply #9 on: May 18, 2004, 11:16:34 AM

American infrastructure is a total mess. It irks me that this isn't a bigger issue (not just broadband, a luxury, but the power grid and other critical stuff).

The fact is, when I lived in the country, the only way I could get the cable company to run a line down my road (from their line at the end of the road 400ft away) was to pay for it in full myself. All equipment and labor! For something that would have paid for itself in a couple months. Ridiculous. Ask Grimwell, he's got similar issues.

How is broadband ever going to become dominant if the providers aren't interested in installing it at their profit?

Arthur_Parker
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Reply #10 on: May 18, 2004, 11:33:16 AM

Quote from: Pug

He tells you  why:
Quote
As far as the US is concerned, the infrastructure for playing online games still has a lot of growth ahead. So the environment there is different from that of Asian markets, where the game infrastructure has hit a much more mature level. Therefore, it is one of our tasks to make an appropriate business model to fit such different environments.

He's talking about infrastructure and needing to design games that run well on dial-up.

I also get the impression from reading past interviews that they feel as if the Asian market is more mature because there are more players who have been playing MMOGs for far longer. When they release a MMOG in Asia they don't have to spend a lot of effort explaining what a MMOG is and why players might want to play. American MMOGs are still faced with a large group of potential customers who may have heard of MMOGs but  have no idea what a MMOG is or why they might be interested in playing one.


I didn't think he was, if you compare internet access at home in America with at home in Korea then I believe more Americans will have it, though that's just a gut feeling.  He doesn't mention bandwidth at all, COH and L2 have not mentioned special dial features that I am aware of.

Comparing the bandwidth including cyber cafes puts a different spin on it, you also agree in your last paragraph that he might be referring to the infrastructure in terms of what the players have experienced.  Which is exactly what I was interested in hearing more on, also consider English isn't his first language.
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Reply #11 on: May 18, 2004, 11:59:18 AM

Never go with your gut when you can Google.

http://www.chiefexecutive.net/depts/technology/197a.htm
Arthur_Parker
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Reply #12 on: May 18, 2004, 12:03:28 PM

Ok, I stand corrected.
Alrindel
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Reply #13 on: May 18, 2004, 12:04:36 PM

Quote from: Sky
American infrastructure is a total mess... when I lived in the country, the only way I could get the cable company to run a line down my road (from their line at the end of the road 400ft away) was to pay for it in full myself.

That isn't "infrastructure", though, that's "last mile", and new wireless technology will (eventually) solve this problem.
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Reply #14 on: May 18, 2004, 12:22:24 PM

If you don't think 80% of the people reading this won't quit CoH by the time SUMMER rolls around, you must be new here.
Pug
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Reply #15 on: May 18, 2004, 01:40:14 PM

Quote from: Soulflame
If you don't think 80% of the people reading this won't quit CoH by the time SUMMER rolls around, you must be new here.

Indeed.

Considering that we are talking about the financial side of NCSoft, the fact that some players will quit CoH by Summer, and I'm bored; what do you think of the idea of a multi-game subscription fee?

The idea of a multi-game subscription fee was kicked around in another thread. I feel that NCSoft is in the perfect position to offer a multi-game discount subscription because NCSoft has so many online games.

Some pros of a multi-game subscription for players would be:
    [*]Value in a reduced cost to play multiple games[*]Ability to try several games without the commitment of making an additional investment[*]Ability to return to a previous game without the need to resubscribe[/list:u]
    Some pros of a multi-game subscription for game companies would be:
      [*]More players paying more money[*]Longer player retention[*]An established customer base to market new games to[/list:u]
      Here's what I'm thinking; players get bored of playing the same game and need variety. Single player games can be bought, played, shelved and then replayed again whenever a player feels like it. Subscription games pressure players to "get the most out of the game" by making them feel as if the time that they are not playing is wasted money.

      The pressure created by the subscription business model is bad for both the game companies and the players. When players feel pressured to play they tend to spend more time playing even when they'd rather take a break. Playing a game when you don't really feel like playing increases the bandwidth charges and costs associated with the number of simultaneous players for the game company and shortens the players' interest span. Playing a game when you don't feel like playing will make you burn out.

      Most players are like me. Cheap. Most players won't subscribe to multiple MMOLGs at the same time. We find the best one of the bunch, plunk our money down and play until we are bored with it. Once we're bored we cancel our subscription, find the next best game, and repeat. We rarely ever pay for more than one MMOLG at a time.

      Offering every game at http://www.plaync.com for $25ish a month would seem to be a good value to me and a boon to NCSoft. There's no way I'd pay for any two games at $12/mo each. I'm too cheap. But the idea that I could play anything they offer and have access to future releases at $25ish/mo is doable. I'd get the variety I want and wouldn't feel forced into playing any game just because I'm paying for it. NCSoft would get more money from me than they would by offering the games separate. NCSoft could then use demographics to determine which titles were being played the most and concentrate their design efforts and finances on furthering those titles while repairing or replacing the less used titles.

      What's everyone else think? Would multi-game subscription services be good or bad for either the players or the game companies and why or why not?
      Venkman
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      Reply #16 on: May 18, 2004, 04:03:23 PM

      I couldn't agree more. An NCSoft all-access pass for $25? I'd pay that in a heartbeat. But only after Guild Wars and Auto Assault launch. Right now I only play CoH, and my lauding of NC Soft really is based on those titles. Tabula Rasa is too far down the road, and too not-done, to gauge.

      As to NC Soft hitting 500k sales this year? Doable, particularly with Guild Wars, which has the benefit of mass-marketability by virtue of not having a monthly fee. It's the closest NC Soft comes to Blizzard in this area, and one main reason I consider NC a company to watch.
      schild
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      Reply #17 on: May 18, 2004, 04:40:17 PM

      Quote from: Soulflame
      If you don't think 80% of the people reading this won't quit CoH by the time SUMMER rolls around, you must be new here.


      If you don't think that same 80% won't buy City of Villains to gank some n00blers by the time release rolls around, you must be new here. Of course, they have to get it out by next May - which would be one year after release.

      As for Guild wars, all they have to do is market it as "The New Game From the Makers of Diablo, buy it whores!!!"
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      Reply #18 on: May 18, 2004, 04:44:54 PM

      Buying an expansion one year after release has nothing to do with how long people will play the original.  Not to mention by the time the expansion rolls around, there will be some new shiny this crowd will be drooling over.

      I'll be over here, laughing at the lot of you.
      SirBruce
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      Reply #19 on: May 18, 2004, 04:45:21 PM

      I think 500K copies is entirely reasonable.  Perhaps a bit optimistic, but sales forecasts always are.  They set goals to strive for.

      Bruce
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      Reply #20 on: May 18, 2004, 04:50:03 PM

      500k copies is batfuck insane.  CoH has done what, 100k?  L2 probably half of that?  I somehow doubt Guild Wars and others buying CoH and L2 will make up 350k boxes.  It took EQ years to reach that number, now NCSoft thinks they can bust into the market just like that?

      300k is doable.  400k would be a stretch.  500k?  Why not a million billion?  That's almost as reasonable.
      Pug
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      Reply #21 on: May 18, 2004, 05:32:13 PM

      I'd love to know more about the numbers, too. Google serves me well but there are few articles that give up to the minute sales figures.

      http://www.hoovers.com/ncsoft/--ID__117239--/free-co-factsheet.xhtml
      "Within two weeks of the North American launch of Lineage II and City of Heroes (both also MMORPGs), more than 150,000 subscribers had signed up."

      http://pc.ign.com/articles/514/514032p1.html
      "Two of the newest mmorpg games, City of Heroes and Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle, have collectively drawn 160,000 subscribers since they both launched on April 28th." {article date of May 12, 2004}

      I've got some kind of unhealthy fascination with NCSoft.

      I gave Ms Cleo a call and asked her about NCSoft's projected sales figures. She responded with, "All signs point to yes."
      Venkman
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      Reply #22 on: May 18, 2004, 06:51:23 PM

      Quote from: schild
      If you don't think that same 80% won't buy City of Villains to gank some n00blers by the time release rolls around, you must be new here. Of course, they have to get it out by next May - which would be one year after release.

      Gonna stop the "if you" train :) Keep in mind that CoV is not open PvP. It pits groups against each other in the context of missions in "cross-over" zones (I think that's what Cryptic calls 'em), where Villains are sent via missions to do things that Heroes are alerted to go and stop. That means levels-based, which means no open PvP.

      As to this intellectual masturbation about 500k? You guys are forgetting about the other fucking six months of the year, including Holidays.
      schild
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      Reply #23 on: May 18, 2004, 06:59:30 PM

      6 months? Shit, I was thinking 11 months. City of Heroes just came out what? 3 weeks ago? They should start counting their north american fiscal year with the release of their first 2 products.
      SirBruce
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      Reply #24 on: May 18, 2004, 08:10:09 PM

      Quote from: Soulflame
      500k copies is batfuck insane.  CoH has done what, 100k?  L2 probably half of that?  I somehow doubt Guild Wars and others buying CoH and L2 will make up 350k boxes.  It took EQ years to reach that number, now NCSoft thinks they can bust into the market just like that?

      300k is doable.  400k would be a stretch.  500k?  Why not a million billion?  That's almost as reasonable.


      CoH has 100K subscribers, but units sold is probably 30% more.  Ditto L2.  Remember that Tabula Rasa is still slated to launch this year, and NCSoft continues to sell boxes both here and in Asia.

      Bruce
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      Reply #25 on: May 18, 2004, 09:19:25 PM

      The L2 and CoH release date was undoubtedly day one of this milestone year. They may intend to release all of Guild Wars, Tabula Rasa, Auto Assault and City of Villains inside of 12 months. They may also be negotiating with other games companies to publish and host their creations too. They will publish at least two, and very likely four updates to L2, as it is an episodic game. Despite the churn it will suffer from, that will generate some box sales itself. By its eighth month, it'll be a $9.95 box for a game of which the diehards bleat "no, honest, its much better since the last publish".

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      Signe
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      Reply #26 on: May 18, 2004, 09:19:33 PM

      No box for Lineage.

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      Kyper
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      Reply #27 on: May 18, 2004, 11:58:52 PM

      Quote from: SirBruce
      Quote from: Soulflame
      500k copies is batfuck insane.  CoH has done what, 100k?  L2 probably half of that?  I somehow doubt Guild Wars and others buying CoH and L2 will make up 350k boxes.  It took EQ years to reach that number, now NCSoft thinks they can bust into the market just like that?

      300k is doable.  400k would be a stretch.  500k?  Why not a million billion?  That's almost as reasonable.


      CoH has 100K subscribers, but units sold is probably 30% more.  Ditto L2.  Remember that Tabula Rasa is still slated to launch this year, and Lineage continues to sell boxes both here and in Asia.

      Bruce


      Exactly.  NCSoft is talking about boxes and downloads sold, not active subscriptions.  So what if people quit?  Retention is another issue entirely.
      It's important, but it's not what Mr. CEO is talking about in that interview.
      SirBruce
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      Reply #28 on: May 19, 2004, 12:18:25 AM

      Quote from: Signe
      No box for Lineage.


      Fixed the typo.

      Bruce
      Sky
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      Reply #29 on: May 19, 2004, 11:42:37 AM

      Is it retail sales or distribution sales? Stocking all the wal-marts in america with a dozen copies can really inflate numbers.

      HaemishM
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      Reply #30 on: May 19, 2004, 12:11:49 PM

      Quote from: Soulflame
      500k copies is batfuck insane.  CoH has done what, 100k?  L2 probably half of that?  I somehow doubt Guild Wars and others buying CoH and L2 will make up 350k boxes.  It took EQ years to reach that number, now NCSoft thinks they can bust into the market just like that?

      300k is doable.  400k would be a stretch.  500k?  Why not a million billion?  That's almost as reasonable.


      500k is completely reasonable. CoH is at over 100k, L2 is at over 50k I think. Guild Wars WILL sell better than both of them and make up the difference.

      Why? 1) No subscription fee, 2) Easy to get into gameplay, 3) Like Diablo on b.net, only better (arguable). The big one being #1. It may not have as many players long-term, but I can see it moving 350k copies easily.

      eldaec
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      Reply #31 on: May 19, 2004, 12:29:12 PM

      Quote from: schild
      Especially since it seems you can no longer buy a [city of heroes] CD key online (removing it was a stupid move, but possibly necessary).


      You can still buy a key online.

      I just looked - button is still there. (log on to your playNC avccount, manage account screen, purchase online function)

      They just don't mention it on the site linked to from the huge banner on the front page saying BUY CITY OF HEROES NOW YOU FOOLS.

      Why they don't mention it in the place everyone will look I have no idea.

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      Alrindel
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      Reply #32 on: May 20, 2004, 08:05:37 AM

      Presumably because they don't want to antagonize retailers, who have been pretty good to them so far.
      Cuular
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      Reply #33 on: May 21, 2004, 03:43:31 PM

      And that they are limiting the ordering of online keys to non-US and Canadian addresses sucks too.
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