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

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.

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

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. Gomez_Adams

    If they only cleared 16 million, they’re in much worse shape than I thought originally.

  2. Thing 1

    Kind of a sharp fucking contrast to all those billion dollar claims isn’t it?

  3. Mr_Alex

    @Thing1

    From what Shadora wrote, I do not expect World of Warships in terms of Asia, EU and North America to last long at all

  4. Mr_Alex

    @Thing1

    Also this presents a new question as well, how long will Wargaming as a whole company last as well, I would not be surprised if Wargaming goes into bankruptcy or insolvency and then another company takes over

  5. landedkiller

    It is interesting to see how little they have made in one year. This could possibly be the last year of wargaming if the losses are big enough. We will know for sure later in the year it would be nice to do an update on this every three months perhaps. Though if their bank that they own collapses then they will collapse shortly after.

  6. Shadora

    It is possible they made more or less, but I believe the net income is correct within +/- $10m. The two things we do not know is if they have any debt which would create interest expense and if any losses have been carried over from previous years on past investments.

    We do know WG bought 30% of Hellenic Bank in 2013 for what was believed to be $40 million Euros, but I have my doubt that this is correct because the stock price at the time was about 2.37 in October of 2013. A 30% stake would have cost about $142m, being that they bought 30% or 60m shares. There is a possibility there was a new stock offering since then, but if there wasn’t, WG has lost $80-110m just by owning this bank in the past 5 years.

    WG is in trouble, but they have time to right the ship by cutting labor expenses and R&D. They are a bloated company ATM with the amount of workers they have and may need to cut it down about 25-30% across the board to save roughly $65m. They also should anticipate losing another 10% revenue from WoTs this year, which equates to about $30m, and leave the map crew to keep making HD maps for the next 2-3 years.

    I think WoT is still making good money, while WoWS is breaking even and WoWPs is losing money. They tried to create a new cash cow with WoWS, but it is very hard to do in the gaming world, and you really can’t fault them from trying.

    They will not be going bankrupt imo, unless they are saddled with major debt that we do not know about. All they have to do is not allow expenses to exceed revenue by cutting costs as the game population decreases. They know the numbers and they can stay ahead of the downward trend.

    My opinion is that their best bet to increase revenue is to focus on getting players who have left WoTs back somehow. I do not think HD maps will though. The population will increase for a few months, but if you have noticed for the last few years, WG has promotion after promotion of some kind to keep people logging into the game. On NA when they have a promotion, the servers peek out at around 25-27k, and when they don’t around 20-21k.

    If the HD maps are too demanding on players with older systems, they might lose a lot of players. That is the largest risk they currently face, especially considering the game is losing about 10% of it’s players or more per year.

  7. landedkiller

    Well I stopped going into World of Tanks due to my lack of progression in that game I used to play it everyday a year ago. I stopped when I was treated to a bad experience at the Let’s Battle Tour. The only thing that would bring me back would be a faster progression system. Hd maps I’ll look into, but in the end I see myself not going in due to the lack of honesty from WG.

  8. Icon_Charlie

    The Firing of the 100 or so employees will save them a minimum of 2.5 million to 4.5 million on the payroll. The lease in Emeryville those would be high is not the main issue of cost. So 117 jobs lost… 12 Gained in Texas = 105 people that they do not have to pay for in wages, benefits (such as sick time and vacation, employee insurance (if you get hurt on the job), unemployment insurance, health benefits.

    (Just a few things I am aware of at one time being an employer of people)

    General expense (such as day to day material being used) any additional perks given by the company… AND then the lease which by the way is a fraction of the total amount of the personal amount and now you are looking at a savings of close to 5 million on closing the Emeryville location.

    Oh there is a lot that is going on with WG corporate land. A lot of numbers… are… interesting.

    Pissing off NA server region does have its consequences. We spend money. So with the loss of their player base they came up with this Premium bullshit tanks that forces players to fire premium rounds, The rigging of the Matchmaking (Russian Slot machine)… The Russian Bias (why of course) and the soft stating of the game to make up with the losses.

    Yea I can see that Big boss Viktor was a Billionaire. He probably added up the gross profits for a few years while ignoring the losses for that year.

    Misinformation. Dis-information. Smoking Mirrors. Bankruptcies to hide what the actual finances are.

    Yea Typical corrupt practices done by some pretty dumb people.

    But overall a good read. It’s good to see other people delve in and see that something is not right with its numbers.

    Wg should have stayed in Russia Land. They might have done better overall over there instead of spreading out like they did. And realized that “Russian Style” of management does not work well in the US.

    Also for the Record. I will say that I believe that actual profit is worse than what is suggested. I believe that those numbers are closer to 0 and maybe even in the negatives.

    I believe Washington if going to be next to leave… The cost of doing business up there is the same as it s in Emeryville, Since I know it is stupid expensive in doing business up there…

    From there its either Shitcago or Texas that gets the ax when their leases run out.

    I believe that will be stealth cuts of employment in Europe and in Russia land as well.

  9. Shadora

    Icon_Charlie:

    I think you are right on Washington and we will continue to see more money saving changes made by WG.

    I totally agree with your statement on Russian companies not being able to translate to doing business in NA and have felt this way for years. I think I can summarize why in this statement: “You are not doing me a favor by letting me play your game, but give me what I want and I will open my wallet. Continue to ignore what I ask for and I will just play something else even if it has nothing to do with your game or keep my wallet closed.”

    With all of the numbers WG analyzes, you would think by now they would realize that their older tanks are too expensive and should come down from the $50 range, to the $33 range. Not when on sale, but their regular price.

    WoTs is faltering badly, due mostly to the hubris of the company. They ignored players for three years and made HD maps that no one asked for. This is not a good business move. Three years is too long to be playing on the same maps. Making new tanks does not make the game better for the majority of players. The game itself has been stagnant for three years. The new game modes have failed. The game has a stale feel to it and I think the HD maps will help with this, but i think it will be short lived because there will only be 25-28 HD maps.

    They need to pump out maps once every three months for the next three years to have the same amount they have right now.

  10. Shadora

    I would also like to add that I think the game is terrible since patch 9.18. The always bottom tier MM is complete trash, the slot machine RNG is trash and the landslide games are trash. they have a broken game on their hands because they neglected the game for three years doing things no one asked for.

    The game might be a lost cause at this point, only time will tell. But, most of the games aren’t playable and most of the time you are either catching up to your team rolling someone or you are getting rolled. It really is garbage when you sit and think about how bad the game has become. You are lucky to get one game every five games that is playable and this is what will kill WoTs.

    There also is no end is sight and they are no closer to figuring out how to fix it than they were three years ago and a great case can be made that they are only making it worse. I don’t think the game-play has ever been worse than it is right now.

  11. Meatslab

    @Shadora and everyone one else who just seems to be perplexed with why WG hasn’t fixed anything. Its simple. They don’t believe it is broke. They design the game they want, not what its paying customer wants. “Working as intended” That’s a Russian for you.

  12. Shadora

    Meatslab:

    I’ve seen the way they do business and I am not perplexed by why they do what they do. When you ignore customers they go away. It is as simple as that. They have ignored players for years and now they are going away. At some point their way of doing business will either keep them in business or it won’t. My guess is it won’t. It is up to them at that point to change or to continue to lose players until they go bankrupt or sell the company.

    They have already lost the most lucrative per capita player (NA) in shockingly fast fashion. There aren’t many other lucrative markets left where the game is not out already. The only thing left is contraction. Worldwide, the game has been losing players, it’s not just NA.

    If they want to keep doing things the way they are doing, they need to get used to laying off people, shutting down offices and dwindling revenue numbers.

  13. landedkiller

    When will they collapse in NA I guess is the question? We know that they will just keep going on in Russia and Asia for awhile longer once they leave this market.

  14. Thing 1

    They already have, Killer. That’s why they’re doing this. That’s why 117 people got shitcanned, an office got shut down, a server got shut down, game modes got removed, leagues were all shut down and more.

    They’re a “software developer” that got run out of the software capitol of the world because they could no longer afford it.

    This IS the end. Essentially the entire staff in North America was shitcanned, a skeleton crew was retained, and they’re doing the whole thing with remote management from Europe. NA is, for all intents and purposes, dead.

  15. Mr_Alex

    @Thing1

    I heard from my cousin who plays on World of Warships and WOT on the Asian Server mention to me that the Wargaming Asia branch is also laying off people as well

  16. Shadora

    As Thing_1 mentioned, WG has essentially pulled out of NA. They realize the game does not warrant the cost of having that many employees in the NA region and will instead consolidate the logistical operations with Europe and their main headquarters. They are no longer expanding, but instead retracting.

    The NA server will continue to operate as a separate entity until the population decreases enough to have to transfer accounts to Europe. Your guess is as good as mine as when this will happen, but I’m guessing somewhere just under 10k peak hours population.

    In the last two years the game has lost a lot of players worldwide. WG cannot fully control how many players join the game or continue playing, but they can control how much they spend on the game. At this point they are doing cost saving measures across the board and restructuring their company to not have overlapping management and decision making processes. They are centralizing the company structure.

    They will be watching very carefully the reaction to the new maps and hoping they attract new players and bring back some old players. My opinion is they will delay the new maps for a couple of more months, but I could be wrong. The HD maps will be a major change to the game that the cost may outweigh the benefits. Only time will tell, but many old players will come back to at least try the maps, so they will be a 2 or 3 month boost of older players but might lose some players with machines that can’t run the game well enough to play it.

    No one will know the result of the new maps until two or three months after their release. When the newness of the HD maps wears off, they have to focus on what is next. The MM will still be broken. The RNG will still be no better than a faulty slot machine. The OPed tier 8 premiums will still be in the game. The rampant premium rounds usage at tier 8 through 10 will still be the norm.

    Will the HD maps offer only a temporary boost or will they retain players? No one knows the answer to this question, but we do know the other factors will remain the same, and those factors have been what players have complained about upon deaf ears for many years. The logical answer to this question is they will provide a temporary boost but it will not sustain. They need to do more to keep players engaged, but it doesn’t seem like they have any answers right now. I’m not saying they never will because I can think of many things they could do to generate revenue and new games modes to encourage people to play and I’m not a developer or employed in the gaming field at all and I’m sure you can too.

    I do not hope failure on the company. Truth be told, but I want to see the rebirth of brilliance to the game to a more desirable, fun and engaging experience which it has lacked for some time. A new purpose to play so to speak. It is out there just waiting to be discovered.

  17. Shadora

    With all of that said, the game remains a complete pile of garbage since patch 9.18. It is not sustainable and if they don’t undo to MM and lower the RNG, this game will be a memory, and a bad one.

    The game is very far away from being competitive and the players have gotten worse. The teams are inept and most games blowouts. It is a mess so bad it doesn’t seem redeemable, but who knows.

    One thing is for sure, HD maps will not fix these issues. If they think they can put a on bow on this bag of shit and call it a day after the HD maps, they are sadly mistaken. This is a dysfunctional game in complete disarray.

    The game is a fu*king mess and they only have themselves to blame.

  18. Mr_Alex

    @Shadora and Thing1

    The only way I see World of Tanks, Warships and etc reborn or rebirth is either it is sold to another gaming company which has the people or leadership who know what they are doing if you know what I mean

  19. Gomez_Adams

    They have already failed.

    You simply CAN NOT attract new players when your system punishes them by putting them up against players that have played for YEARS.

    New player: No crew skills / No modules on tank / No equipment on tank / No premium consumables on tank.

    Current player: 4 or 5 crew skills / Fully researched tanks / high end equipment / premium consumables.

    It’s a slaughter even BEFORE you take knowing the maps and where to set up into account.

    World of Tanks is a game that if you’re not already VERY familiar with it and have a VERY good crew in a VERY good tank, you simply have no chance. Ever.

    That’s why nobody stays. The only “new” players World of Tanks gets anymore are rerolls looking to improve their stats.

  20. yeangigi

    @Mr_Alex
    I cant agree with you anymore. I hope the while Wargaming Corporation could be sold to another company (only but not to EA…[email protected][email protected]). I guest WG have need to be bankrupt first,then WG will have a real chance to rebirth.

  21. landedkiller

    Since we are talking about companies buying up this game I suggest Activision would be a good choice. They have a few series that have been going on for awhile not to mention they own World of Warcraft which has been going on forever. The more I think about the games in their current state the more I am reminded of when Activison listened to their playerbase more than some other companies like EA. My dream is that ACtivision buys out the license for World of Warships NA and World of Tanks NA much like Kongzhang in China. Heck I would even take Valve at this point too maybe Bethesda takes the Tome game from Wg. It just makes so much more sense for Activision to make the aquistion of these titles.

  22. Thing 1

    Nobody will ever buy out this game. Ever. Wargaming will go under before they ever sell. Might as well get any idea of that ever happening out of your heads.

  23. Icon_Charlie

    Only those businesses from Eastern Europe of China would purchase this game. Only a corrupt organization from a corrupt region of the world will buy a corrupt organization.

  24. Thing 1

    You’re missing the point, Charlie.

    It’s not that nobody would buy it. It’s that Wargaming will never sell it. They would rather see it vanish from the earth than sell out.

    They wont even make simple changes that the player base wants. Why? Because it’s THEIR game and they’ll fucking do it THEIR WAY and FUCK YOU if you don’t like it. As all the shills on the forum always said, “you wont be missed”.

    They’ll never, ever sell out. It would matter if EA through a billion dollars at them they’d say, “Fuck you! We know what we’re doing!”

    And then watch it all go down in flames and claim it was all part of the plan. It’s what they’ve done since day one.

  25. landedkiller

    Trying to track down their ceo con man is hard can’t find much on Victor K.

  26. Mr_Alex

    @landedkiller

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

  27. landedkiller

    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.

  28. Shadora

    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.

  29. Mr_Alex

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

  30. Thing 1

    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.

  31. Insurrectional_Leftist

    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 ?

  32. Insurrectional_Leftist

    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?”

  33. Thing 1

    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.

  34. Zeedox

    @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.

  35. Thing 1

    Exactly.

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