Bluehole Turns Its Loss into Surplus in Just One Year through Battlegrounds

Nov 22, 2017

It is estimated that Bluehole will make at least $184 million (200 billion KRW) in operating profit this year. It is expected that Bluehole will make surplus this year by making a rapid increase from its performance last year when it made $22.9 million (25 billion KRW) in loss. It was able to make such a turnaround through its PC online game called ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ that was released through Stream on the 24th of March and even received ‘South Korea’s grand prize for best games’.
According to Bluehole’s quarterly report, Bluehole had made $117 million (127.7 billion KRW) in operating profit this year until the end of third quarter. It made a huge turnaround as it had made $10.4 million (11.3 billion KRW) in loss during a same period from last year.
Most of its profits from Bluehole Ginno Games (currently PUGB) turned into operating profit. PUBG, which developed ‘Battlegrounds’, had made $126 million (136.8 billion KRW) in operating profit (equity method gains) until the end of third quarter. Because PUBG is a 100% subsidiary of Bluehole, its operating profit is applied to Bluehole’s operating profit.
Steam usually deduct 30% of sales from entire games as commission and calculates the balance after two months. Considering this practice, profit from ‘Battlegrounds’ from January to September will be reflected as profit from end of March to July. This indicates that PUBG made more than $120 million (130 billion KRW) in profit just in four months.

Spectators who visited booths of Bluehole and PUBG at G-STAR 2017
<Spectators who visited booths of Bluehole and PUBG at G-STAR 2017 >

Because ‘Battlegrounds’ is a paid game, sales during an initial stage of its release is going to be huge. Even if sales from ‘Battlegrounds’ started to slow down after July, it will still be possible for Bluehole to make at least $184 million (200 billion KRW) in operating profit this year. It is scheduled to make additional sales during fourth quarter through Kakao Games’ ‘Battlegrounds’ service in South Korea and contracts with Chinese companies. Bluehole made $22.9 million (24.9 billion KRW) and $26.6 million (29 billion KRW) of losses in 2016 and 2015 respectively.
Bluehole, which is free from making losses year after year, is planning to actively develop its 2018 businesses. It is going to expand IP of ‘Battlegrounds’, which has already secured solid fandom throughout different parts of countries. Starting with Chinese service, it is going to release ’Battlegrounds’ for Xbox by working with Microsoft. It is also going to prepare foundation so that ’Battlegrounds’ have a long run through eSports contents.
Out of mobile games, Netmarble Games’ ’Tera M’ has come to the front. There are high expectations for its success as the original online game ’Tera M’ has huge fandom in South Korean and Japanese markets.
Netmarble Games is also working on a last stage of development of ‘Air’, which is a PC MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) with a goal of releasing in 2018. Developers for popular South Korean PC online MMORPGs such as ‘Aion’ and ‘Tera’ have gathered to develop ‘Air’.
Demands for high-quality PC online MMORPGs are high as there are continuous demands from foreign markets such as North America, Europe, and Asia.
As South Korea’s game industry, which was seen as a ‘factory for online games’, reduced amount of development editing after 2010, amount of competitions has reduced as well. PC online MMORPG called ‘Black Desert’ developed by Pearl Abyss has proved market demands as it has become popular in North America and Europe.
Staff Reporter Kim, Siso | siso@etnews.com

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