Monday, February 23, 2009

Age of Conan - Turmoil and a CEO buy up

What a wild day for Funcom.

Their 4th Quarter reports hit today with a shockwave of loss and dismay. There was good news hidden within, but it was hard not to look at their numbers and see pain!

First, for a brief synopsis, check out Broken Toys..

"Funcom announces $23 million loss last quarter based on $22 million depreciation of Age of Conan expenses, CFO resigns."

This of course started a riot on the forums as the "Fail" train took off in full force.

Disaster I tell ya!!!

The next announcement was of the current CFO leaving. Actually leaving for another "industry"...WTF? First Gaute Godager, the original game director leaves gaming, now the CFO!

But, in other news, revenues were up 6.8 million compared to the previous quarter, and customer retention is now stable, and players are staying subscribed longer and playing more often..(bet it has to do with...oh I don't know...being able to run longer than 2 hours...), if we could read MORE players coming back...maybe next time.

Anyways, as pundits of the 13 year old persuasion were throwing financial's around like they knew what it all meant (I am 46 and I sure don', the stocks closed today with a surprise announcement..

"The CEO of FunCom, Trond Arne Aas, bought 250 000 FC stocks before Oslo stock exchange closed today."


Why would he buy such a huge amount of stocks unless he knows something we don't? I researched why a CEO would buy stocks and it all boils down to "confidence". Hmmm.

Does the main dude finally think he has let all the riff raff go, and now they can actually be a better company?

It was announced that AoC launched in Poland and Russia today (the Polish version was bought out by none other than CD Projekt...the awesome company who made The Witcher)...maybe they are seeing good results there?

All I know is this just all became really weird...and to top it off...I racked up an amazing 47 hours last week in game..

I have not done that since my GW days way back...

The latest patch introduced some weird bugs, so I am praying those get fixed, and hopefully DX10, then a winback program. AoC COULD actually get it's act together..

Hope so, as I am having too much fun to quit (at least until Resident Evil 5 comes out in 3 weeks, then I will take a rest and cut back on my time...)



Scott said...

Got a laugh out of the spewing blood on CD Projekt's AoC site! Still wondering if they won't find a way to (perhaps license the Dreamworld engine from Funcom?) bring the Witcher to the MMOG scene.

Funcom does need to issue a statement about this flap though. Ignoring it won't help matters if/when they do a "come back to Hyborea" campaign. A little transparency and honesty with consumers can go a long way...

Anonymous said...

The depreciation is just about cutting down the percieved value of Age of Conan (most likely) brand/game as an assett.

They do not expect it to be as valuable over the years as they originally anticipated, so they cut it down to a more realistic level in the books.

As for Mr Trond Aas acquisition for 250K stock, in the extraordinary board meeting in December he was given 500K rights to purchase stock in the company as part of his compensation plan. The old 375K rights he had not used yet were cancelled.
In both cases he probably had been given a good price to buy the stocks (i.e. below market level), although it does not tell at what price the new and the old rights were at.

Reading the financial report one of the things they do plan is to start with a free trial for AoC, in order to get more subscribers.

The two causal MMOs (one Java-based, one browser based) are expected to enter beta in Q4 2009. There were 14 and 17 people work on each one, so those seem to be low cost, budget and risk projects.

I will probably have another go at the game soon, with some of these updates, server merges etc. My old guild in the game is dead and gone and was more or less on life support when I was playing last time. A good opportunity to search for new blood ;)

Hudson said...

Game has less subscribers now than EQ2. OUCH