The Secret World A Great Step Forward For MMOs, Funcom Somehow To Recover From This Failure

The Secret World kind of snuck out to the market in between all the loud explosions of SWTOR and 38 Studios collapsing and Guild Wars 2 ramping up to cover the world in fire or something. Which is a shame, because it’s pretty much everything MMO pundits have been looking for – a classless somewhat free-form advancement system where you can literally ‘respec’ between fights, with quests that actually reward out-of-the-box thinking (such as map coordinates in morse code, left for the player to decipher) set in a smart modern-day world of zombies, demons, snarky Illuminati and magic oral sex.

Yet, thanks in part to launching with some fairly broken quests, the final Metacritic listing wasn’t that good – based on a dozen reviews of that early fairly broken release such as this very low score by Tom Chick. And in today’s market, METACRITIC IS EVERYTHING.

As seen by this briefing by Funcom to stockholders:

While there are very positive reviews, there are as well mixed or average reviews from various press outlets, giving an aggregated score for The Secret World of 72 out of 100, which is to be considered low, and not in line with the positive feedback received during the beta phases from both press and players. Funcom is of course disappointed with achieving such a Metascore. A game like The Secret World, which is not based on a well-known brand, is normally dependent on positive press reviews to achieve successful initial sales, in addition – but not limited – to other factors like word of mouth.

Funcom has on several occasions presented two financial scenarios for the first 12 months following launch of the game; please refer to page 17 in the 1Q 2012 presentation *). Funcom does not consider it likely that either of them will be met.

This update, as you would expect, caused Funcom’s stock to tank.

(Update: and also the Funcom CFO to announce that layoffs of at least 10% of the workforce are incoming.)

For future reference: this is why we can’t have nice things.