Thursday, February 15, 2024

Pearl Abyss Q4 2023 Earnings Call

On Thursday morning Seoul time, Pearl Abyss held its earnings call for the 4th Quarter of 2023. The big news is that the South Korean company was in the black in 2023, with a net profit of ₩15.6 billion ($12.1 million). In 2022 the South Korean game maker lost ₩41.1 billion ($35.6 million). Still, operating revenue fell 13.6%, from ₩386 billion ($298.8 million) in 2022 down to ₩333.5 billion ($255.5 million) in 2023.

Black Desert did not have a particularly good year in 2023. For the year, all the games in IP earned ₩255.5 billion ($193.5 million), a decline of 13.8% from 2022's ₩293 billion ($227.3 million). Year over year, Black Desert revenue dropped by 15.6% in the fourth quarter compared to Q4 2022.

By comparison, the EVE IP was the star of the earnings call. Quarter-over-quarter, EVE IP revenue was up 24.3% to 19.9 billion ($15.1 million) in the fourth quarter. Year-over-year, revenue was up by 15%. For the entire year, though, EVE IP revenue was essentially flat. The ₩73 billion ($55.9 million) was only 0.7% greater than 2022's 72.5 billion ($56.3 million). And due to currency fluxuations, revenue in US dollars was down by 0.7% in 2023. Still, with the fourth quarter recording the highest amount of users in EVE in 5 years, the executives on the call highlighted the EVE IP more than in any other call since I began covering the Pearl Abyss earnings calls at the beginning of 2019.

When the subject came to growth opportunities, the IPs created by Pearl Abyss didn't sound too promising. The PC version of Black Desert Online might receive government approval to enter the Chinese market. The executives also talked about porting Black Desert over to the next generation of consoles. The company is also looking to add additional content for The Land of the Morning Light expansion and some sort of new PvP-centric activity in BDO.

Of course, the wet blanket over any excitement is the continued state of development of Crimson Desert. Despite talk of putting on "the finishing touches", the only major activity concretely planned for 2024 is a major marketing push in the second half of the year. While not coming out and admitting such, don't expect Crimson Desert to launch until 2025.

No, the excitement lay with the projects under development at CCP. EVE: Vanguard, the first person shooter undergoing player testing, was touted a few times as an effort to extend the life of a 20-year-old game. The only possible bump in the road was the disclosure that CCP's London office will move to another location. But is that due to the need to cut costs or because the existing space is too small?

CCP does have a game that will fully launch in 2024: EVE: Galaxy Conquest. The mobile game is currently in localized testing and is expected to launch sometime this year. 

And finally comes the blockchain game, Project Awakening. We have not heard a lot about the game since its initial reveal last year. But the Pearl Abyss executives teased CCP would showcase the game during the first half of the year.

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