Blade & Soul beats Diablo 3
NCsoft’s latest release Blade & Soul has kept its lead over Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo 3 following the game’s commercialization last week.
The massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) secured 17.16 percent of Internet cafe user occupancy compared to Diablo 3’s 15.64 percent on Wednesday, according to game research firm Gametrics on Thursday.
The Korean offering emerged as the victor over the weekend after commercialization,
NCsoft announced it would charge a monthly fee of 23,000 won starting Saturday for Blade & Soul but the gap between the two games widened over the weekend.
According to a report by the research firm, Blade & Soul’s popularity will only increase due to the start of the summer vacation that will see more students heading to Internet cafes.
“The martial arts themed RPG game drew much expectation even before release and has spectacular graphics and meticulous, beautiful characters,” said the report. “Users will enjoy the fast pace and originality of the game play systems.”
It also compared the game to the Korean company’s previously launched Aion saying, “(Blade & Soul’s) business day user occupancy is similar to that of Aion, but the weekend occupancy is higher.”
“Blade & Soul’s total Internet cafe user time of 182 million hours for Sunday is 63.6 and 69.9 percent higher than previous MMORPGs Aion and Tera respectively,” said Kim Chang-kwon, an analyst at Daewoo Securities. “The game is showing results far greater than previous expectations.”
The game’s female users currently account for 31 percent, lower than Aion’s 35 percent. But this is higher than Lineage’s 27 percent and Diablo 3’s 24 percent, and can be deemed a success in securing users, said Kim. He added that the user rate for Blade & Soul is 39, 29 and 24 percent for those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. The diversity of age group makes it easier to sustain user loyalty.
Diablo 3 maintained the top spot here at Internet cafes for five consecutive weeks and hit 430,000 simultaneous users at one point according to Blizzard, but figures have been in general decline since NCsoft started open beta tests for its new game on June 21.
NCsoft has invested over 55 billion won in Blade & Soul for over five years. Company chief executive Kim Taek-jin stressed that the game has tried to avoid the usual medieval fantasy theme widespread in RPGs to make it more Korea oriented.
A professor specializing in cultural content, who declined to be named, said that there are still some challenges left for Blade & Soul. “The most important thing for online games is providing continuous content after their launch. Korean users have a reputation for fast content consumption, and NCsoft must keep them satisfied.”