Norwegian MMO developer Funcom reported a $22.8 million impairment charge during its fiscal Q4 ended in December, due to lower-than-expected revenues of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures.
Funcom said in a Monday statement that it continues to "invest heavily" in Age of Conan, which released in May of 2008, as 120 employees (not including customer service) continue work on the game.
The number of Age of Conan subscribers declined during the quarter, although Funcom said the subscriber base has been "relatively stable" in 2009, which is believed to be a result from improvements to the game implemented last year.
The developer continues to market the game in new territories, and aims to "revitalize" interest in the core markets as well.
Operating loss for the quarter totaled $23.4 million, compared to the comparable quarter a year ago, which saw losses of $2.8 million. The impairment charges related to Age of Conan were the main driver.
The company reported $40 million in cash as of December 31, 2008.
Funcom is also working on two casual MMO games, with betas for both expected to launch in Q4 2009.
The next "full-fledged" Funcom MMO is The Secret World, a project that Funcom says is "progressing well." There were currently 80 people working on game as of Q4 2008. The game is using the next version of the Dreamworld tech that was used in Age of Conan as the core game engine. "This will reduce the technical risk of the project significantly," Funcom said.
Amidst the operating losses, CFO Olav Sandnes announced that he is resigning from the company, although he will remain on board until a permanent replacement is found. His resignation comes months after that of Age of Conan director Gaute Godager, who said he was "dissatisfied" with the game.
Funcom also confirmed that in December, Pieter van Tol replaced Jan Inge Torgersen as managing director for Funcom Switzerland.
Excluding customer service personnel, Funcom employed 302 workers as of December 31, 2008, down from 318 workers at the beginning of the quarter.