Tabula Rasa – 150K subscribers?
I had a look at the NCSoft Q4 2007 earnings report which was released today. There are some interesting numbers there, but first I am going to focus on Tabula Rasa.
In Q4 Tabula Rasa contributed to about 5 billion won in sales, which roughly corresponds to 5 million US dollars. Given that the game was released on November 2nd that would basically be sales of the game itself – no subscription fees.
How much money NCSoft makes one each Tabula Rasa sale is difficult to say – with digital download they do not have any middle men taking any part of the the sales price, which they have when selling the boxes. I do not know how much of the price that NCSoft gets from a box sale. A guess could be perhaps half of the price (excluding VAT or sales tax).
That would mean Tabula Rasa gained perhaps somewhere between 100K and 200K subscribers in the first month, depending on actual box income and ratio between box sales and digital download. The real number is perhaps somewhere in between.
This is probably less than expected for the game. Comments on the report also indicate that expectation was higher and most of the sales was in the US.
Furthermore the forecast for Tabula Rasa for the year 2008 is 15 billion won, roughly 15 million US dollars. That is quite low I think. Either they do not expect many new subscribers and/or that current subscribers will stay for very long.
They are also planning to launch Tabula Rasa in Japan in the second half of 2008.
Listening to the recorded conference call for the earnings report, a few things were mentioned affecting the less than stellar sales of Tabula Rasa:
- New type of MMO game, more difficult to attract new players
- Bad launch period, too much competition from other game titles (any game, not MMOGs)
- The game was released too early
The forecast for 2008 is a conservative number – they said they hope for better, but it might be more realistic to set this low number. With that forecast they will make a profit in terms of operating costs, but it will not cover for the development costs.
I love the game, so I really hope they can improve on the current state and I think the developers have been doing a great job so far.