$22.8 million of Funcom's fourth quarter loss resulted from the "lagging performance of Age of Conan," according to GamesIndustry, despite a year-over-year increase in subscription revenues from $1.2 million $8.7 million. While the MMOG experienced considerable early success with over 700,000 registrations only a few months after its May 2008 release, E24 (translated here) claims the game now has fewer than 100,000 active players. Funcom said that while the game was the third-best-selling PC game in the U.S. behind World of Warcraft and Spore, it was victimized by "shorter average subscription periods than anticipated." Despite that, the company said it was committed to launching the game in new territories as well as "revitalizing Age of Conan in existing core markets."
"Funcom is a company with a substantial potential based on a unique combination of skill sets in a fast growing global market," Funcom CFO Olav Sandnes said after announcing his departure. "I wish [Funcom CEO] Trond Aas and the rest of the organization all the best in realizing the full potential of the company." Sandnes will stay on as CFO until the company can find a permanent replacement, at which time he will leave to "take up a new position in a different industry."
Age of Conan has suffered from difficulties big and small since before its oft-delayed release which led to the termination of Funcom co-founder and Age of Conan Lead Designer Gaute Godager in September 2008. Godager, who also said he planned to pursue a career outside the game industry, expressed his "dissatisfaction" with the game when he left the company. Shortly after, Funcom went ahead with plans to cut the number of servers supporting the game from 49 to just 18.