The Secret World kind of snuck out to the market in between all the loud explosions of SWTOR and 38 Studios collapsing and Guild Wars 2 ramping up to cover the world in fire or something. Which is a shame, because it’s pretty much everything MMO pundits have been looking for – a classless somewhat free-form advancement system where you can literally ‘respec’ between fights, with quests that actually reward out-of-the-box thinking (such as map coordinates in morse code, left for the player to decipher) set in a smart modern-day world of zombies, demons, snarky Illuminati and magic oral sex.
Yet, thanks in part to launching with some fairly broken quests, the final Metacritic listing wasn’t that good – based on a dozen reviews of that early fairly broken release such as this very low score by Tom Chick. And in today’s market, METACRITIC IS EVERYTHING.
As seen by this briefing by Funcom to stockholders:
While there are very positive reviews, there are as well mixed or average reviews from various press outlets, giving an aggregated score for The Secret World of 72 out of 100, which is to be considered low, and not in line with the positive feedback received during the beta phases from both press and players. Funcom is of course disappointed with achieving such a Metascore. A game like The Secret World, which is not based on a well-known brand, is normally dependent on positive press reviews to achieve successful initial sales, in addition – but not limited – to other factors like word of mouth.
Funcom has on several occasions presented two financial scenarios for the first 12 months following launch of the game; please refer to page 17 in the 1Q 2012 presentation *). Funcom does not consider it likely that either of them will be met.
This update, as you would expect, caused Funcom’s stock to tank.
(Update: and also the Funcom CFO to announce that layoffs of at least 10% of the workforce are incoming.)
For future reference: this is why we can’t have nice things.
It's cool, he's ready for the fierce Canadian winters
Probably inevitable given the disappointment of Age of Conan’s launch. What’s interesting is Funcom’s attempt to become Canadian:
Funcom, which currently employs around 300 staff worldwide, is attempting to shift the bulk of its workforce to Canada to take advantage of a 37.5 per cent salary reimbursement from the state of Quebec, and with salaries generally lower there the company could stand to cut around half of its wage bill.
That would explain all those studios in Montreal…
Funcom announces $23 million loss last quarter based on $22 million depreciation of Age of Conan expenses, CFO resigns.
Shortly after Age of Conan launched, Funcom saw subscriber levels of 400,000, which rocketed up to 700,000 within a few months.
While Funcom’s cash position remains robust at USD 39.4 million, the company reported a full-year net loss of USD 33.8 million. According to estimates by DnB NOR Markets, subscriber levels for Age of Conan are below 100,000, reports E24.
However, revenues in the fourth quarter of 2008 rose to USD 8.7 million, up from USD 1.2 million year-on-year, due to subscription revenues from the MMO.
Today’s angry candy: It’s always sad when the bloom is off the rose.
Funcom, now lovingly deemed “Failcom” by a good portion of the planet
Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself “Why the hell would Funcom devs read this…?” The answer to that is I’m going to personally e-mail it to every one of them.
Complete with personal attacks on every Funcom employee who ever gave a public interview! Points for the self-labelled “intentional Godwin”…
I bet its safe to say the majority of the Age of Conan team was just doing what they were told. Kind of like the Nazis were doing what they were told when they started cooking people.
…but come on. At least work the words Vidkun Quisling in there somewhere. Doesn’t anyone read history any more?
Extra bonus points for surrounding the article with ads from Age of Conan gold farmers.