Wargaming: From Tanks to Banks, The Untold Financial Story (Part IV of IV)

Part IV: “Going Belly Up”

(Photo courtesy of United States Air Force)

This is the final installment of Wargaming: From Tanks to Banks, The Untold Financial Story (Part IV of IV) “Going Belly Up.”  Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the series.  I know it has been a lot of fun for me.  In Part IV we will estimate what the WG income statement for 2017 looks like.  It’s not pretty and is no doubt down from last year and the year before.  Heads will roll once the final tally comes in, but it looks like they already have with all of the changes to the company structure over the past twelve months.  Servers have been consolidated and offices have been shut down or relocated.  They are on a cost saving spree these days it seems, and this income statement will reveal why.

Like a tank flipping when you hit a pebble with the new horrible game physics, this company is doing everything within its power to find ways to lose money.  From spending $32 million to still have no idea what eSports is, to making games they know nothing about (Master of Orion) that bomb miserably.  WG has been hellbent on shoveling money into a barn fire and watching it burn like a bunch of drunken sailors.  But now that the faucet is getting clogged they are starting to pinch pennies.

After spending $32M, World of Tanks developer Wargaming is still figuring out esports

I firmly believe if not for the Christmas “Gift/Loot Boxes,” WG would have lost money this year.  I estimate that they made roughly $40 million worldwide with loot boxes and those figures are included in each server’s financial total.  Lord knows they didn’t make any money on the Black Friday Feast Package.  Anyone who bought that bag of shit could have just given the money to a beggar on the street pretending to have no legs because he would have spent the money better (wine, women and song).

All server revenue estimates are based on the formula from these two websites:

http://wot-news.com/stat/server/us/norm/en

http://ftr-wot.blogspot.com/2013/05/how-much-does-wg-earn-from-various.html

The number of active players per week is the most important stat in my opinion and I used the updated values for 2017 along with the formula for how much people spend on each server for the game.  WG CEO Victor Kislyi once said only 25% of players ever spend anything on the game.  I lowered this to 22.5% due to players leaving the game who were experienced and most likely paying customers and also due to the frustration people are having with the game.  This is due to years with no new standard battle maps and the mostly bottom tier MM patch which has hurt tier eight game-play and likely their tier eight premium sales.

I had to do educated guesses on World of Warships and World of WarPlanes based on server population and similar demographic spending habits of each region.  WoWPs is doing very poorly and there is a good chance they will discontinue the game at some point in the near future.

The Master of Orion estimates are based off of Steam sales for the newest version which totaled $6.5 million since 2016.  They also sell earlier versions for which the numbers aren’t listed and are hard to figure out, so I might be slightly generous on the Master of Orion number which includes all versions of the game since WG bought the license from the Atari bankruptcy.

Research and Development and Selling General and Administrative expense include the salaries of all employees and any material costs like rent etc. for these functions.  I looked up the average salaries of employee types the company hires and estimated that two-thirds of them are in R&D, while the other third is in SG&A.  The Non-Recurring Events expense is the cost of moving servers, closing offices and hiring new people.  The Cyprus tax rate is 12.5% and is the Income Tax Expense number.  Hellenic Bank lost .20 cents a share in 2017 and WG owns almost 50 million shares, so they lost close to $10m on paper.  I included this in Operating Expenses because I ran out of room on my table.  It should be under Non-Operating Gains and Losses category but you get the idea.

2017 was a close call and a warning shot.  It was, unlike the out of control RNG in-game, a realistic look at a company whose expenses went hog wild.  They are coming back down to earth now and are getting serious on saving money across the board and hoping the players stick around after the HD update in March.  This update may tax the computers of many of its players, possibly sending them off to other games, so there more risk in this update than any other update in the past.  2018 will be a make or break year for WG.  Will populations continue to drop or will there be a rebound?  Only time will tell, so let’s have a look (all numbers in thousands, so add three zeros).

 Income Statement (in thousands)
 Revenue
 World of Tanks (servers)
      Russian 194,884
      EU 77,142
      NA 34,249
      SEA 4,107
 World of Warships 35,000
 World of Warplanes 1,500
 World of Tanks Blitz 18,400
 Master of Orion Series 4,000
 All Other Revenue 4,000
 Total Net Revenue 373,282
 Operating Expenses
 Research and Development 238,000
 Selling General and Administrative 103,000
 Others (including $9.89m loss HB share-value) 12,000
 Non-Recurring Events 1,500
 Total Operating Expenses 354,500
 Operating Income or Loss 18,782
 Income From Continuing Operations
 Income Before Tax 18,272
 Income Tax Expense (12.5% Cyprus TR) 2,284
 Net Income 15,988

37 Responses

  1. Mr_Alex says:

    @landedkiller

    Have you tried using search terms like Victor Kislyi on search engines like Google

  2. landedkiller says:

    I did and that Bloomberg article lists his primary associates. Sometimes I wish I was a hacker then I could hack into emails and such. It would be rather interesting if we found a hacker that could get into Victor Kislyi’s email.

  3. Shadora says:

    The populations are dropping faster than expected on NA since Christmas and the small bump due to the new Russian tank-line fizzled very quickly. The game is barely managing to get 20k prime time. I think part of the issue is the tanks are nothing special and play like every other tank. The IS-M has the same alpha with more pen than the IS one tier higher and the 268-4 (or whatever it is) is the typical “shoot gold rounds at me to pen” tank.

    The HD maps will see a bump in pop, but if people try it and leave soon after this could be a long year in NA for WG. They are wasting so much time on ascetics and none on the core issues for which people are leaving the game. The MM is an absolute disgrace. The RNG is terrible and makes it a pointless game. The “always bottom tier” format is making this a game to pass on.

    The game essentially is dead from a playablility standpoint. I have said if before on this board, the game has a dead feel to it and no one is at the wheel to even acknowledge the problems, forget about even working to fix them. This game could fall off the face of the earth this year. This is a company in trouble and they continue to ignore their player base like everything is fine. Amazing how out of touch they are.

    The game simply has too many problems to address with any one fix. They made it so much worse introducing OPed premiums that you have to fire gold at to pen and then compounded the problem with “always bottom tier” MM and then changed the higher tier tanks to try to rebalance them for the new MM. Everything they do breaks the game even more. There is no simple fix for the mess they are in. They most likely are just hoping it will all get better with HD maps, but I do not think it will make any long-term difference.

  4. landedkiller says:

    Well Shadora I put your table on the forum here http://forum.worldoftanks.com/index.php?/topic/562989-the-core-problem-of-world-of-tanks/#topmost
    let’s see how long before wg takes it down

  5. Mr_Alex says:

    Any bets from the commenters here as to when Wargaming themselves are forced to shut down completely or declare insolvency or etc?

  6. Thing 1 says:

    No telling man. It could be a decade before that happens if at all. They still have a good following in Europe, so they can ride that out for at least the next 8 to 10 years I would think unless they fuck up as bad there as they did here. (Which considering those fuckers wrote the game to suit only them is highly unlikely.)

    They’ll just keep downsizing and firing people and closing offices as their profits dwindle down and down. I’m thinking it’ll be at least a decade before they go under for good unless they come up with another hit game, which considering that every single game they’ve ever done other than WoT has been pretty much a complete flop isn’t highly likely.

  7. Insurrectional_Leftist says:

    So another words, they just got lucky and stumbled across a one-hit-wonder. Which if we knew the real truth behind the scenes they most likely stole from someone else to begin with, ex: In the very early beginning when Ubisoft was around first writing the software during the primordial nebulous times, Wargaming most likely shove them out in front of a train, legally, or bullied them around until they left etc… Something along those lines most likely? Some type of senario, right ?

  8. Insurrectional_Leftist says:

    And if so? To what Alex is saying, “How much longer for the NA Server is the more critical question for some of us?” For those of us with an account, ( or accounts ) that want to see those accounts moved on to “Where, is the question?”

  9. Thing 1 says:

    They sort of did steal it.

    Originally, they were partnered with Ubisoft (who have a very long history of good games). The way it worked out, Wargaming stopped paying Ubisoft for its programming so they left the project, but most of the heavy lifting had already been done by then.

    Ever since, the game has gone to shit. That’s why it was so very good at first release for a year or so, then just got shit after shit after shit hurled into it.

    Wargaming can’t build a good case of fucking hemorrhoids, let alone a fucking game by themselves. They’ve failed miserably every time they’ve tried.

  10. Zeedox says:

    @Thing !,
    That goes with my theory that none of the original architects or senior programmers are left. Perhaps a couple of then-junior developers but no one with in-depth system knowledge. Hence the bug(s) introduced during each version update.

  11. Thing 1 says:

    Exactly.

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