Nexon’s Q1 net income hits $154 million, up 60% year-on-year

Free-to-play game giant Nexon posted better than expected results in its Q1 2012 earnings report last week, reporting revenues of 30.3 billion yen ($379.5 million), up 46 percent year-on-year and 37 percent quarter-over-quarter. Net income climbed 60 percent year-on-year to 12.3 billion yen ($154 million).

Nexon credited its earnings to strong performance in China, where revenue increased 89 percent year-on-year to 15.1 billion yen ($189.1 million) and accounted for 49.8 percent of Nexon’s total revenue for the quarter. The company’s North American revenue was the only anomaly among the report, declining 19 percent year-on-year to 1.3 billion yen ($16.2 million). Nexon blamed the decline on a hacking attack and ongoing stability issues.

The company highlighted the strong performance of several new titles, including Cyphers, Mabinogi Heros and the mobile version of its classic Kartrider Franchise, Kartrider Rush. According to Nexon’s earnings report the free-to-play racing game has been downloaded more than 8.2 million times to date between iOS and Android.

Nexon’s monthly active users declined 3.9 percent year-on-year to 82.8 million, but were up 3.5 percent over the company’s Q4 2011 total of 80 million MAU. Nexon also reported 10.9 percent of users paid in Q1 2012, up from the 8.3 percent of paying users the company reported in Q1 2011. Average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) increased to 1,761 yen ($22.05) in Q1 2012, up from 1,427 yen ($17.87) ARPPU in the same period a year ago.

Based on its strong performance during the quarter, Nexon is raising its guidance for the 2012 fiscal year. The company is predicting full-year revenues of 108.3 billion yen ($1.35 billion) up 24 percent year-on-year. Net income is expected to hit 37.8 billion yen ($473.4 million) for the full fiscal year.

Originally a Korean company, Nexon raised $1.17 billion when it made its initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange last year.  The company’s market cap is currently $7.8 billion — higher than both EA’s ($4.77 billion) and Zynga’s ($5.86 billion). The free-to-play giant is the latest publicly traded Japanese game company to report record revenues, following bumper earnings reports from DeNA and GREE, both of which reported net sales in excess of $500 million for the most recent quarter.