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NCsoft Reports Record Earnings On Aion, Lineage Gains

Seoul, South Korea-based MMO publisher NCsoft reported record Q4 profits of KRW71.22 billion ($61.26 million), thanks to "solid" sales of the MMO Aion and "revitalized" Lineage sales.
"Solid" sales of the flight-based MMORPG Aion and a "revitalized" Lineage franchise led Seoul, South Korea-based NCsoft to post record profits for its fiscal fourth quarter, ended December 30. NCsoft profits for the quarter were KRW71.22 billion ($61.26 million), up over 1,000 percent year-on-year. Sales were up 99 percent year-on-year to KRW197.28 billion ($170.13 million). The PC-focused online game maker released Aion in South Korea in November 2008, with the title appearing in Western territories in September last year. NCsoft previously expressed hope that the game would be second in the U.S. only to World of Warcraft. Initial uptake of the game was strong in North America and Europe, with the game selling 970,000 boxed units in its opening days across the two territories. During the quarter, Aion accounted for 48 percent of the sales. Lineage 1 followed with 27 percent of total sales, and Lineage 2 was next with 20 percent of total sales. The Lineage series has been a reliable money-maker for NCsoft, primarily in the East. The original was introduced in 1998. For the fiscal year, NCsoft posted profits of KRW185.39 billion ($159.86 million), a year-on-year rise of 623 percent. Sales rose 83 percent to KRW634.74 billion ($547.33 million). Aion captured 43 percent of annual sales; Lineage 2 26 percent; and Lineage 1 23 percent. NCsoft's rebound is a welcome return to form for the company, as the firm's big MMORPG release from the previous fiscal year, Tabula Rasa, failed to gain traction with audiences and ultimately shut down just over a year after release. NCsoft CFO Jaeho Lee said in August last year that he wanted to "erase that memory [of Tabula Rasa] from our performance." NCsoft, which publishes the City of Heroes franchise, is readying another major MMORPG with Guild Wars 2, reportedly slated for 2011.

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