NCsoft Profits Fall 43 Percent On Blackstar Costs

NCsoft reported a 43 percent year-over year drop in profits to $7.7 million, a decrease was due to a write-off expense for costs associated with The Blackstar Chronicles. The futuristic MMO, in development by Spacetime Studios, was ultimately dropped from NCsoft's lineup, and Spacetime will be pursuing the project on its own.

If not for the write-off, NCsoft stood to gain in profit 48 percent on the quarter and 8 percent on the year. The publisher's sales increased 4 percent to $84.3 million on the popularity of the Lineage series in Asia and strong performance for Guild Wars and City of Heroes in North America and Europe.

In particular, NCsoft said its first quarter brought all-time record sales for Lineage II, which launched in 2003 and continues to be the company's top-selling title with 35 percent of the publisher's total sales.

NCsoft's U.S. sales reached $10.4 million in North America and $8.5 million in Europe, and $9.2 million in Japan, numbers dwarfed by its $47.7 million performance in Korea, which accounts for 57 percent of the publisher's total sales.

Later this year, NCsoft will launch its third closed beta for Aion, slated for a launch later this year. NCsoft will also roll out a more casual online portfolio with Point Blank, Punch Monster, Dragonica and Love Beat

"As proven once again in the Q1 financial results, we strongly believe our key franchise products, such as Lineage and Guild Wars, will meet our sales target with a strong customer base and continued content updates going forward," said NCsoft CFO Jaeho Lee. "We plan to ensure the smooth launch of many new products in the next two to three years, which will strengthen our position as a global leader in online games."