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Funcom Q4: revenues down, but MMOs “cash flow positive”

Wednesday, 5th March 2014 03:21 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The Secret World developer Funcom noted a dip in revenues in its end-of-year financial report, but its catalogue of MMOs are doing fine.

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Fourth quarter revenue was $4.27 million, down both quarter-on-quarter from $5.33 million (Q3 2013) and year-on-year from $7.78 million (Q4 2012, when The Secret World launched).

Funcom blamed the reduction on “a smaller amount recognized in revenue from previously recorded deferred billings” of The Secret World, and weaker sales due to competition.

Although Funcom had expected and noted lower revenues, it said marketing campaigns to increase activity had been successful, and that the player base of its large-scale MMOs – The Secret World, Age of Conan and Anarchy Online – had held “relatively stable”.

“All games in the large-scale MMO segment are cash flow positive and will remain so in the foreseeable future,” it added.

As a result of investment in the upcoming Lego Minigures Online and Funcom’s multiplatform Dreamworld platform, the developer has significantly less cash on hand.

Lego Minifigures Online has received positive feedback on gameplay and visuals during beta tests, Funcom said, but a mixed reaction to usability. The user interface will be overhauled before the next beta. Open beta is expected in northern summer.

The developer had quite a lot to say about its plans to transition to mid core games focused on known properties, with smaller development budgets and cross-platform play with tablets. Lego Minifigures Online is the first game to be produced under this new strategy. Funcom said press and stakeholders seem to have been unaware of its efforts to restructure; it promised to be open to press.

In addition to Lego Minifigures Online, Funcom is working on external mobile projects, on contract.

Regarding the recent investigation by Norwegian financial authorities, Funcom said only that no staff members have been charged, and that it has no idea when the investigation might wrap up.

Thanks, Polygon.

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2 Comments

  1. TheWulf

    Welp, The Secret World is the only true MMO I’ll actually play at this point, all others are fairly terrible. I mean, I also like Marvel Heroes and Guild Wars 1, but I don’t think of them as being quite in the same genre.

    Champions Online was my one go-to experience, until it was ruined by Cryptic North. CO is now the poster boy example of why one of the worst things you could do is hand over all of your balance issues to one, sole person who happens to be an amateur and has little prior balancing experience (Gentleman Crush). That did CO in. It was a ghost town before due to all the bad choices they made, the first being the day one patch right after beta. But GmC has finally killed CO for good.

    He’s ham-fistedly underpowered every class and now you just feel like a civilian who could barely hold their own, rather than a super hero. It’s become closer to WoW in that the one joy of a game like City of Heroes or Champions Online was to take on huge groups of stuff. That was the point. I’ve heard the WoW fans at CO say ‘if you want to do that, go fight lower level stuff,’ but that’s not what CO was ever about.

    I mean, bank robbers and mobsters never told Spider-Man to go and deal with lesser thugs. He could take on Fisk and his cronies at the same time. At this point, as sad as it is to say, even Super Hero Squad Online is a better superhero experience than Champions Online. And you have no idea of how much it pains me to say that, since I loved CO and stuck with it through so much.

    It’s just a matter of time now until it goes the way of City of Heroes. Why aren’t we allowed to have one fun MMO where we can feel like superheroes? Why not? Marvel Heroes manages to do this, but it still feels like the reason it’s like that is more because it’s a (good) Torchlight-style game rather than because they want it to be a good superhero experience.

    Meanwhile, in The Secret World, you can still take on pretty sizeable mobs of stuff even though you’re not a superhero, and you can do this solo. I love that. There’s nothing I hate more about MMOs than the WoW approach of being glued to the spot in combat, slowly exchanging blows with a single foe, and dying if another foe happens to get involved. To me, that’s not fun. I like feeling like a superhero, rather than an impotent civilian.

    But yeah, CO at the moment is being balanced as though it were a WoW-clone, which is stupid. And that has broken the game, because it was never meant to play that way.

    Oh well. So long as they don’t fuck up TSW, I’ll play it.

    Don’t fuck this up, Funcom. I mean it. You have the last MMO available where you can actually feel like a superhero. People will play it because of that. And people like myself have nowhere else to go at this point, whereas grind-slaves continue to get new options.

    Sigh.

    Oh well. I’m glad TSW is doing well for them. I actually, really am. And I still feel so bad that my initial exposure to the game was so negative. Which had a lot to do with badly made trailers and exposure to the Illuminati. It put me off the game because I thought it was going to be as badly written as Dreamfall, and admittedly parts of it are (Illuminati et al), but then other parts (Templars) are handled fairly well.

    At least better than other MMOs, anyway. Not TLJ quality, but still good.

    So, yeah, here’s hoping TSW sticks around.

    #1 7 months ago
  2. TheWulf

    Oh. If you’re curious just how bad the situation with Champions Online? The balance changes annoyed so many players that even Lohr, a long time fan, just gave up on maintaining the wiki. It wasn’t worth it. Having to document stupidity is never worth it — so the CO wiki (once at champions-online-wiki.com) is now dead.

    These are really the death throes of CO. If any MMO developer happens to be listening… can we have another good superhero MMO where we’re allowed to feel like superheroes? Please?

    I enjoyed CO because you were arresting people rather than engaging in mass, psychopathic slaughter. You’d see people you arrested prior later on in the game, a la Batman. There’d be prison breaks and such. I’m a softie, murder for the sake of murder actually makes me a bit queasy, even in a video game. If it’s done for morality, justice, and there’s just no other way (like you’re taking down the equivalent of Hitler — Caesar in New Vegas et al — or you’re dealing with irredeemable psychopaths), I can handle that.

    But in MMOs, it feels like you kill for the sake of killing.

    This guy stole my hat. Go get it back!

    0/1 – Guy killed
    0/20 – Guy’s friends killed
    0/1 – Hat

    #2 7 months ago

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