Netmarble reports a 'drag' in second-quarter sales but has hopes for the future

A new Marvel title and the acquisition of social casino developer SpinX point to a more profitable third quarter.

Marvel Contest of Champions developer Netmarble has announced total second quarter sales of $516.5 million. That’s an increase of $4.3 million from first quarter sales, but a decrease of 15.8% year-over-year. However, Netmarble believes the next quarter’s earnings will make up for dampened expectations thanks to Marvel Future Revolution’s launch on August 25.

“Despite solid results from Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds’ June launch in key Asian countries, the increase in initial marketing costs put a significant drag on second quarter profitability,” Netmarble CEO Seungwon Lee said in a statement. 

“However, we expect the return on this investment to be positively reflected in our performance for the third and fourth quarters of 2021. Looking toward the next quarter and second half, we’re optimistic the launch of Marvel Future Revolution in 240 countries on August 25 will fortify Netmarble’s competitive edge in the global gaming market.”

Marvel Contest of Champions accounted for 13% of Netmarble’s sales, as did The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross. The Seven Deadly Sins is part of what App Annie considered one of the three pillars of mobile gaming--titles with high production values and popular appeal. As such, it’s evident which of Netmarble’s two leading games has long-term earning potential.

In 2019, Contest of Championsbroke the record for mobile earning in a single day with $2.7 million in player spending. During July, the mobile Marvel grossed $11 million, while The Seven Deadly Sins generated$4 million.

For context, Sensor Tower data showsSpinX’s six-title-strong portfolio grossed $16 million on the iOS App Store alone in the last month.

Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds may not have eased Netmarble’s fiscal concerns this past quarter, but it did help make MMOs and RPGs the publisher’s most profitable genres. They contributed 32% each to Netmarble’s total sales, followed by casual games at 25%.

However, that could change in the next quarter. 

Lee also cited Netmarble’s recent acquisition of casino game developer SpinX Games as another factor he predicts will bear fruitful results for Netmarble in the upcoming quarter. SpinX is behind so-called social casino titles such as Cash Frenzy: Slots Casino and Jackpot World: Casino Slots

Casual games were another of App Annie’s mobile pillars in its recent report. Their simple mechanics and social connectivity make the genre appealing to a broad range of audiences, and that’s partly why analysts believe mobile gaming will continue to turn high profitseven after the pandemic ends.

The spate of mobile acquisitions will likely continue as well, whether they be casual publishers such as SpinX or Ludia, RPG makers, or sports developers like Nordeus and Playdemic.

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News Writer

Josh is a freelance reporter and critic who’s appeared on PC Gamer, Upload VR, and SPIN online, among others. Outside of games writing and work in digital marketing, he also has an academic background in history and public relations. You can usually find him outside playing with his Belgian Malinois when he’s not working or spending too much time in Final Fantasy XIV.