CCP announced that 2011 revenues for the company were $66 million, up from $59 million in 2010, and that the player base for EVE Online stands at more than 400,000 subscriptions, an increase from the “nearly 360,000″ reported in their 2010 financial statement.
2011 was quite a year for CCP, with the double whammy of the Incarna expansion features disappointing a large segment of the player base and the realization that they were over-reaching their financial abilities juggling EVE Online while developing both Dust514 and a World of Darkness MMO.
The former ignited in-game protests and a confrontation with the CSM that lead to a refocus of development and eventually to the much heralded Crucible expansion this past fall, while the later lead to layoffs and putting World of Darkness MMO on the back burner.
A tough year and quite a bounce back from a precarious state.
I was a little bemused to see that their new chief marketing officer was David Reid (now officially @CCP_Pokethulhu.) formerly of NCsoft and Trion Worlds and famous in my mind for the “Tabula Rasa is Triple-A and Here to Stay” interview, given just before they announced the game was going to close. That interview and other weasel words that have come out of his mouth in the past tends to taint anything he says in my mind. That is my bias however, and may be unfair.
But when he says things like, “the company has been excited to embrace new models, in addition to the traditional subscriptions offered by EVE,” I start to wonder which side of his mouth he is speaking from at any given moment. Did he not get briefed on the whole Incarna, Noble Exchange, gold ammo rumor fiasco? Did he think he was just speaking to investors and that EVE players might not read his statement?
Granted, he is not saying that EVE specifically will be embracing new models… well, except in China I gather… but would you think after the summer of protest the company as a whole might be more circumspect on the subject. Again, he might just be saying what he thinks potential investors want to hear, since Free to Play and items stores are still hot stuff and the CCP CEO is talking bring the company public with an IPO.
The IPO thing is a bit a jolt as well. Coming from Silicon Valley and having been through the IPO thing a couple of times, you only go public for two reasons.
You either need a cash infusion to finance an expansion of the company and the new projects that come with it or the founders/investors want to cash out. (Or, in the US, if you have more than 500 stock holders or people are transferring enough of it around that the SEC makes you go public.)
Now, given that they had to cut back on staff in 2011 and put the World of Darkness MMO on hold, this could be a play to expand operations so that the company can afford to do three things at once.
Or this could be a large investor who wants to get their money out of the company.
I suppose we shall have to wait and see.