By region, stable sales of Lineage and Linage II led to first quarter sales of KRW 50 billion (US$53.8 million) in Korea, KRW 12.9 billion (US$13.9 million) in North America, KRW 7.8 billion (US$8.4 million) in Europe and KRW 8.1 billion (US$8.7 million) in Japan. NCsoft also realized KRW 3.7 billion (US$3.4 million) in royalty income. Taiwan, which has been included in first quarter consolidated earnings for the first time, recorded sales of KRW 2.3 billion (US$2.5 million). Korea sustained a moderate quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year growth in sales of 2%, while both North America and Europe saw sales drop 28% quarter-to-quarter. However North American and Europe saw sales increases year-to-year of 14% and 102% respectively. By game title, sales of Lineage recorded KRW 30.4 billion, Lineage II KRW 32.8 billion (US$35.3 million), City of Heroes /City of Villains KRW 6 billion (US$6.5 million) and Guild Wars KRW 11.5 billion (US$12.4 million). The percentage breakdown of sales by game title shows Lineage and Lineage II with 38% and 41%, respectively, followed by Guild Wars with 14% and City of Heroes/City of Villains with 7%.
NCsoft's first quarter operating income recorded KRW 17.1 billion (US$18.4 million), a quarter-to-quarter increase of 11%. The growth is attributed to efficient allocation and execution of resources which resulted in visible success in containing costs. The implementation of a constant monitoring system including a Project Review Committee and a Milestone Review Committee was the main driver of the success. As a result of these efforts, operating costs dropped 10% from the previous quarter.
NCsoft's CFO Lee Jae-ho said, "Our first quarter sales and operating income rose 9% and 96% respectively. Furthermore, we expect to attain sustainable growth in the second half after releasing a string of new game titles starting with the much anticipated closed beta testing of Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa on May 2. The game's first primary markets are North America and Europe."
In Korea, the company plans to launch full service for Aion within the year after carrying out closed beta testing in the summer. Also NCsoft plans to introduce in May the first phase of the upgraded version of the service platform PlayNC with integrated accounting and payment functions. In North America and Europe, Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa and the new expansion, Guild Wars: Eye of the North will hit markets in the latter half of the year.