Don't read too much into deflated annual Guild Wars 2 sales

NCSoft is doing just fine.

NCSoft's 2013 report shows Guild Wars 2 making steadily less money than it used to.

There's a dramatic difference between autumn 2013 ($32m) and autumn 2012 ($112m), but there would be, because Guild Wars 2 launched in late summer/autumn 2012.

Sales fell sharply at the start of 2013 then dwindled each quarter thereafter, with a tiny uptick at the end of the year. The net result: GW2 developer ArenaNet made 30 per cent less money in 2013 than in 2012.

NCSoft didn't break out numbers but we know GW2 sales were 3.5m in August 2013, a year after release. We also know 3m of those had happened by January 2013, hence the sharp drop-off in money earned.

What does it all mean - is Guild Wars 2 slipping into obscurity? That's exactly the question I asked ArenaNet recently.

The answer was a mixture of 'it's normal a year after release', 'we're very happy' and 'we were the fastest-selling MMO in history'.

What's more, sales could rocket again when the game launches in China this year - a territory World of Warcraft owed a huge chunk of its playerbase to. There are also launches in NCSoft's home country of Korea, in Southeast Asia, in Russia and in Brazil planned - all potentially huge markets.

And, of course, there are big new-content plans for the game itself, including a world-altering finale to an ongoing storyline, a big features update in the summer and almost certainly an expasion pack at some point.

Guild Wars 2 sales may have slumped, then, but they were high to begin with and there are numerous reasons they could bounce back up.

What's more, ArenaNet owner NCSoft recorded a net profit in 2013 ($134m) that was more than twice 2012's ($65m), so I don't think anyone's panicking just yet.

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