During NCSoft quarterly financial conference call held on Friday, Managing Director Nah Seong Chan talked at length about the performance of Blade & Soul and about the future of the game.
According to Seong Chan’s speech the initial response of the market was very strong, but an issue related to lack of content emerged, leading to “attrition” in account retention and slowing down the game’s performance considerably.
The future is not so bleak, though, as the company expects many of the dormant accounts to be reactivated thanks to the upcoming expansion (that still don’t have a specific release date besides Q2 2013). A preview update with limited contents has already been released and it already brought many players back.
To further brighten the scenario, the game has entered its closed beta phase in China (where it will be operated by Tencent) on may the 7th, and preparations for the Chinese launch are ongoing and on schedule. NCSoft expects the game to be very successful in the Chinese market due to the positive response to the beta. There have been a lot of queues to access the servers, and while precise numbers for the participants have not been disclosed, they’ve been defined as equivalent to an open beta in Korea (which means a whole lot of people).
Much to my dismay, the whole conference call didn’t include a single word about the worldwide launch of the game. This compounds worries created by the fact that the English official site has been dreadfully silent since December despite promising news by the new year. I actually pinged NCSoft’s PR Manager Lincoln Davis asking a clarification on the situation, but I only received a laconic “we have nothing to share at this time.”
Personally, I’m led to believe that the publisher is waiting to fully solve the content-related issues of the game before moving on the unforgiving western market, but this is only my personal speculation. We can only hope to hear something positive from them soon.