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Funcom financial report – delays The Secret World launch

May 26, 2012

Funcom has released a financial report for the first quarter of 2012 with a presentation. A key piece of information is that they have moved the launch date for The Secret World by two weeks, to July 3rd (June 29th for those that have early access). This is also announced on the TSW web site, along with some details about two additional beta weekends.

The launch delay is due to “market reasons”, which I think can mean just about anything that may have  a positive impact on the game sales. I don’t mind waiting another two weeks personally. It is the second time they change the launch date for the game, 2 months the first time and now 2 more weeks. I think it is positive to see that launch dates are not set entirely in stone and that they allow to give themselves a bit more time. Is that enough? Only time will tell.

The report also states that beta sign-ups have been higher than for Age of Conan. Also logins, played time and repeated visits have been higher than for Age of Conan.

They seem to have calculated on two scenarios for the financial outcome of the launch:

  • Target scenario
    30% better sales than Age of Conan in the first year – which seem to amount to about 1.3 million copies. Also better retention where they estimate almost 500K will remain subscribers. In addition to this the calculate on additional sales amounting to 35% of subscription revenue from the in-game store.
  • Age of Conan scenario
    Essentially this is roughly the same numbers as Age of Conan had when they launched – sold 1 million copies in the first year, estimate 280K subscribers remains, which is slightly higher than for Age of Conan.

I really like the game, but I doubt though that they will get close to 500K subscribers. Not because they will screw up, but simply because I think most subscription-based new MMO launches will have difficulties with that today. Even if they do a pretty decent launch I think the numbers will be closer to the Age of Conan scenario numbers simply because the market is different now than it was four years ago when Age of Conan launched.

Age of Conan and future MMOs

The financial report also covers the current revenue for Age of Conan, which has dropped significantly. They point to that this was due to the launch of a major competitor in the 4th quarter of 2011. So that would most likely mean SWTOR.  Revenue had dropped to less than half of what it was 6 months earlier.
It would be interesting to see if there had been similar dips for other MMOs of if others may have done better – if so, which ones did better then?

The financial report also mentions that Funcom has another “large scale MMO” in concept stage at the moment, plus another “free-to-play MMO” in development. In this context, Bloodline Champions is considered a “free-to-play MMO”, so that might be a bit different from what others may consider an MMO.

Interesting though is that the game direction for these future MMOs points to player-driven content and community engagement, as well as multi-platform engagement.

I think multi-platform engagement may include various mobile devices primarily – part of the game experience may be accessible from a mobile device. It will be interesting to see what approach they will take to player-driven content; I am happy that they point in that direction for future games.

But that probably will be some time before anything is told to the general public. Right now the focus is on the launch of The Secret World in a bit over a month.

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Categories: The Secret World
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