Thu, Aug 23, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Soft-World bets on classic title reboots

SMART CHOICE:The company is gearing up to launch a mobile version of its self-developed ‘TS Online,’ which offers higher margins than distributing foreign titles

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Soft-World International Corp (智冠) is betting big on nostalgic marketing as it prepares to reboot classic titles on smartphones in the second half of the year.

Following the success of other revivals such as the smash-hit Lineage M, Maple Story M and StoneAge M, the company is gearing up to launch a mobile version of TS Online (吞食天地) next month, a classic massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was first released on PC in 2003.

TS Online could push Chinese Gamer International Corp (中華網龍), Soft-World’s game development subsidiary, back into the black at the end of this year, Soft-World chief financial officer Chung Hsing-po (鍾興博) told an investors’ conference in Taipei yesterday.

TS Online could be the first hit title that was wholly developed in-house, which offers much higher margins compared with distributing games made by other studios, Chung said.

“It has become evident that players are every receptive to old favorites,” Chung said, adding that a slew of classic titles that have gone mobile have quickly soared to the top 10 games on the iOS and Android app stores.

If TS Online makes it to the top 15 on app stores, it could easily bring annual sales of NT$50 million (US$1.63 million), Chung said.

The game has attracted more than 60,000 players since pre-registration began last month, he said.

The company plans to launch two more “M” titles next year and in 2020, while intellectual-property licensing deals with Chinese game developers would add momentum to revenue growth, he said.

The company also plans to consolidate its digital marketing businesses to prepare for an initial public offering in the first half of next year, he said.

Soft-World has begun to consolidate its payment and financial technology (fintech) ventures after racking up losses of more than NT$90 million at the end of last year, of which NT$60 million were attributed to fintech and payments.

The company is to merge its fintech and payment units with Neweb Technologies Co (藍新), its 59 percent-owned investee.

Under Neweb, the company would focus on providing payment gateway services for smaller chain store operators in a move to boost coverage of ezPay (台灣支付), its mobile payment app, while also winding down costly promotional campaigns, Chung said.

Soft-World’s net income in the first half dropped 30.74 percent annually to NT$181 million, with earnings per share of NT$1.43, while sales tumbled 70.85 percent year-on-year to NT$2.38 billion.

The company said that Chinese Gamer, which reported a net loss of NT$33.97 million, and fintech and payments units, which together posted NT$35.85 million in the red over the period, had caused a NT$21.31 million impact on its books in the first half.

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