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NCsoft’s profit falls in Q1 on falling popularity of AION

NCsoft Corp., the country’s second-biggest online game publisher, said Tuesday it posted 155.4 billion won ($142.23 million) in sales and 46.1 billion won in operating profit in the first quarter, both figures down from the same period last year.

In its quarterly earnings report, the Seoul-based firm said that its sales and operating profit slipped 7 percent and 40 percent year-on-year, respectively, as the number of overseas players of its popular online game AION dropped.

AION is a MMORPG, or massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

When compared to last quarter, the company’s sales dropped 2 percent from 158.97 billion won, but its operating profit increased 16 percent from 39.85 billion won, according to its officials.

The company, however, said that its figures for sales and operating profit were fixed at 155.5 billion won and 40.7 billion won, respectively, when applying the new Korean International Financial Reporting Standards.

Taking a closer look into regional sales, NCsoft recorded 101.3 billion won in sales in Korea, followed by 20.2 billion won in Japan, 7.1 billion won in North America, 5.5 billion won in Europe and 5.3 billion won in Taiwan from January-March, its officials said.

In total, it made 16 billion won in royalty fees, officials added.

Although the number of people playing the company’s online game AION fell in other countries, it was still the top seller, recording 61.4 billion won in sales in the first three months, followed by Lineage 1 and 2 with 38.5 billion won and 30.8 billion won in sales, they said.

“We’ve successfully gone through with an undisclosed test of the game Blade and Soul for the first time in April and will go ahead with another private test of another online game dubbed Guild Wars,” said NCsoft’s chief financial officer Lee Jae-ho.

“We will establish momentum in terms of growth in 2012 and beyond by the release of big-hit games.”

The online game company, established in 1997, has published a number of popular games, such as Lineage 1 and 2, City of Heroes, City of Villains and Guild Wars, which is played by many overseas.

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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