(LEAD) NCSOFT Q1 net profit down 50 pct on sluggish sales

South Korean game developer NCSOFT Corp. said Friday its first-quarter net profit halved from a year ago due to sluggish sales of its popular mobile titles. The company posted a net profit of 57.1 billion won (US$41.7 million) for the January-March period, down 50 percent from 114.2 billion won a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing. Its operating profit plunged 68 percent on-year to 25.7 billion won from 81.6 billion won, and revenue fell 16.9 percent to 397.9 billion won. The earnings exceeded market expectations. The average estimate of net profit by analysts stood at 28.2 billion won, according to a survey by Yonhap Infomax, the financial data firm of Yonhap News Agency. NCSOFT said the weak bottom line for the first quarter was led by a decline in mobile sales, which accounted for 63 percent of the company's quarterly sales. Sales of mobile games tumbled 24.6 percent on-year to 249.4 billion won due to sluggish demand for its signature "Lineage" series. In particular, NCSOFT's major game title "Lineage W" (2021) posted 82.8 billion won in sales, down 58 percent from a year earlier. But PC online games saw their sales remain nearly unchanged at 91.5 billion won. By market, sales in South Korea reached 259.4 billion won, accounting for 65.2 percent of the company's overall sales, followed by Asia with 69.2 billion won, and North America and Europe combined with 36.6 billion won. Source: Yonhap News Agency