Chinese online game developer and operator Giant Interactive (NYSE: GA) has announced its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2009. Net revenue for the quarter reached RMB 276.0 mln (USD 40.4 mln), representing a 4.9% decrease from RMB 290.2 mln in Q3 2009 and a 21.8% decrease from RMB 353.1 mln in Q4 2008.
Net income for the fourth quarter 2009 was RMB 197.8 mln (USD 29.0 mln), in line with RMB 197.7 mln in the third quarter 2009 and down 31.9% YoY from RMB 290.3 mln in Q4 2008. Net income declined from the same period last year as the company remained in a transitional period following the cancellation of certain monetization features in ZT Online during the third quarter 2009.
Revenue from online games in the fourth quarter totaled RMB 273.7 mln (USD 40.1 mln), representing a decrease of 4.8% from RMB 287.5 mln in Q3 2009 and a 22.2% decrease from RMB 351.9 mln in Q4 2008. Online game net revenue decreased sequentially and year-over-year quarterly as ZT Online experienced continued pressure from the cancellation of selected in-game monetization features, such as "Treasure Box," during the third quarter 2009.
The company reported the following performance metrics:
- Active Paying Accounts ("APA") for online games in Q4 2009 reached 1,138,000, an increase of 2.7% from Q3 2009 and a decrease of 11.8% from Q4 2008.
- Average Revenue Per User ("ARPU") for online games was RMB 240.5, a decrease of 7.3% from Q3 2009 and a decrease of 11.8% from Q4 2008.
- Average Concurrent Users ("ACU") for online games was 485,000, an increase of 14.0% from Q3 2009 and a decrease of 12.7% from Q4 2008.
- Peak Concurrent Users ("PCU") for online games was 1,391,000, an increase of 8.6% from Q3 2009 and a decrease of 7.6% from Q4 2008.
For the full year 2009, net revenue decreased 18.2% to RMB 1.3 bln (USD 191.0 mln), while net income attributable to the company's shareholders decreased 22.9% to RMB 859.3 mln (USD 125.9 mln), from RMB 1.11 bln in 2008.
Throughout Q4 2009, the company was encouraged by signs of increasing stability and positive growth momentum in the performance of ZT Online as the effects from the cancellation of "Treasure Box" diminished. Supported by a strengthening ZT Online and expected contributions from new games such as ZT Online Green Edition, the company anticipates a return to sustainable top-line growth in the first quarter 2010. However, Giant does not expect profit to move in-line with revenues in the near term due to an expected reduction in contribution from certain non-operating factors such as financial incentives.
Giant also revealed its gaming pipeline for 2010:
Giant plans to launch open beta testing for MMORPG ZT Online at the end of the first quarter 2010. The ZT Online Green Edition, or "Green ZT," will begin open beta testing at the end of the first quarter 2010.
Giant plans to begin open beta testing for its self-developed 3D fantasy MMORPG King of Kings III near the beginning of the second quarter 2010.
Giant plans to proceed to engineering testing on MMORPG ZT Online II at the end of Q2 2010.
Closed beta testing on 3D MMORPG Dragon Soul is expected to begin during Q3 2010.
A revised version of medieval strategy browser game The Golden Land is also expected in Q1 2010.
As part of the Win@Giant program, XT Online, which recently entered the ultimate limited closed beta testing phase, is expected to unlock new content for level 100 characters and undergo further beta testing to accommodate a larger scale of gamers. My Sweetie, also part of the program, has been updated during the holiday season, and a new version of the game is being developed that will feature combat and an upgraded client-end engine that supports full-screen play.
Finally, Giant plans to localize free-to-play MMORPG Allods Online, which it recently licensed from game developer Astrum Nival, and expects to make a commercial launch in late 2010.
To see Giant Interactive's full earnings report, please click here.
Keywords: XT Online Allods browser game free-to-play Giant Interactive Golden Land King of Kings III ZT Online ZT Online II Astrum ARPU closed beta Internet pipeline revenue open beta Q4 2009 MMORPG GA Win@Giant ACU APA PCU Dragon Soul Green ZT My Sweetie self-developed game online gaming 3D game localization fiscal report