Home > Tabula Rasa > Tabula Rasa gets the silent treatment from NCSoft

Tabula Rasa gets the silent treatment from NCSoft

May 25, 2008

A bit over a week ago NCSoft released their earnings report for the first quarter of 2008.
This time I was curious as to how well Tabula Rasa had done after their first report, where numbers for the game was less than stellar.
There has been many updates and improvements to the game, so it was interesting to see how well it has been doing and if this was reflected in sales anything.

In previous earnings reports most of the MMOGs are reported separately, while the other games (casual games, Dungeon Runners etc) get lumped into the category “others”.

Fortunately in this case, Tabula Rasa had it separate entry for the sales of the game. Unfortunately, the numbers were not particularly good, roughly 1.8 million USD for the quarter, a whopping 2% of the total sales for the quarter.

When I looked at the “operating metrics” section, Tabula Rasa was not included at all. This section includes the other larger MMOG titles (Lineage, Lineage II, Guild Wards, City of Heroes/Villains), but no mention of Tabula Rasa. Other online games such as Exteel or Dungeon Runners are not mentioned here either. So neither of those are probably considered worth mentioning for investors.

In the part that talks about future development and sales during this quarter, Tabula Rasa is not mentioned at all, but all of the titles in the operating metrics section are mentioned.

So there are probably no new and big investments in the game in order to boost the game, more likely that the dev team got some resources to keep it running and do some updates and see if they can improve numbers, but not anything significant.

1.8 million USD is still a fair amount of money though, but they are hardly going to get the invested money back anytime soon with those amounts though.

So how many subscribers may the game have now? Looking at the sales numbers for Q1 2008, the Tabula Rasa numbers are about 1/3 of the City of Heroes/Villains sales numbers. In the opering metrics section for City of Heroes/Villains, they report close to 135000 in “monthly access”. That could translate into the same amount of subscribers, although some are probably trial accounts.
Using that as a base for calculations and assuming subscription fee, retail price and split between US and Europe is roughly the same that would mean Tabula Rasa subscribers/monthly access would be around 1/3, i.e. around 45000.

As I mentioned in my entry from the previous earnings report, NCSoft had forecasted around 15 million USD for 2008 for the game. 1.8 million is less than half of what would be needed for that forecast, if the earnings would be divided evenly throughout the year.

I feel sorry for the development team here, because I think the game deserves to have a larger player base. But the staying power is not good enough to keep a lot of people for a long time and likely not enough new blood coming in. If they would extend the trial to be a bit longer than the few days the current one has, they might get more people wanting to play if for a few months at least.

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Categories: Tabula Rasa
  1. JengaFett
    May 25, 2008 at 12:50

    I think that NCSoft is going to stay clear of any number dealing with TB for now until
    it reaches the full year.

    Going OB so early really hurt TB, a lot. I played it back then, but it fell short of its hype.

    I think this game would be best if it went F2P.
    I would try Tabula Rasa again only if it went free to play with microtransactions.
    Archlord is doing better now than it was when it was subscription based model.

  2. sente
    May 25, 2008 at 15:24

    The problem with microtransactions in Tabula Rasa’s case is that there is not a whole lot that would make the game more worthwhile to play if you paid for certain things.

    Reasonably good weapons and armor are cheap and not in short supply. Really good weapons and armor are more expensive and rare, but the effect on gameplay is not that huge.

    Respecs and xp boosters can be bought through prestige, as many other things – which are obtained through control point fights, one of the things that people generally like in the game. So why would people pay for avoiding something that they probably like doing anyway for free?

    They would have to change a number of things in game for microtransactions to be a viable option to actually get income from and I am not sure that would work out.

    But I think adding an option to pay for a certain number of hours gameplay in addition to the subscription fee would be a better option. It is a game well suited for jumping in a bit every now and then to blast aliens and other players, so this would probably attract more of those that might not want to pay a regular subscription fee, but do not mind spending a few coins on the game from time to time.

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