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Funcom Revenues Inch Down As Conan Subscribers Stabilize

Norwegian developer Funcom has seen quarter-on-quarter revenues down slightly at $7.7 million, but claims stabilized subscribers for PC MMO Age of Conan after a disappointing launch.
Norwegian developer Funcom has seen revenues of $7.7 million in the first quarter of 2009, but claims stabilized subscribers for PC MMO Age of Conan after a disappointing launch. According to the firm: "Improved subscriber retention for Age of Conan and a significant increase in new customers in Q1 compared to Q4 has led to a stable and solid subscriber base during the first 4 and a half months of 2009." However, it's worth noting that improved relative subscriber retention and increased new users may still mean that overall subscriptions are dropping. Since the PC game's May 2008 launch, subscriber figures fell far short of expectations, leading to the closure of 31 out of 42 servers. In fact, the revenue figure, while massively increased from a year ago's $963,000, when Conan hadn't launched, is actually slightly down from the $8.7 million in revenues in the previous quarter. Nevertheless, the company further notes that "the subscriber level of Age of Conan has been stable during 2009 and the average playtime per subscriber and the average subscription period have improved." In addition, Funcom also says it has $40 million in cash reserves as of March 31, thanks largely to royalties from Korean partner Neowiz and increased box product sales -- Funcom's shipped 1.2 million copies of AoC. Funcom is also currently developing The Secret World MMO, and says its financial position and organizational plans are well-positioned to back its promotion and launch. 100 employees are currently working on the title. Overall, the company is attempting to paint an improved picture from the end of 2008, when CEO Olav Sandnes resigned alongside $23.3 million in losses - much in one-time charges over the disappointing launch. [UPDATE: Subscriber retention and new user comments clarified.]

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