Shanda Scores On Role-Playing Phenomenon

Shanda, a Chinese video-game company, reports strong growth in its first quarter, on the back of the growing popularity of Internet role-playing games.
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The Chinese video-game company

Shanda

(SNDA)

continues to exploit demand for the hugely complex role-playing games that people play over the Internet -- which would appear to suggest that in times of economic pain, real life might just not cut it, by comparison.

The company, based in Shanghai, said first-quarter revenue jumped 42% from the year-ago period to $162 million, and that its bottom line surpassed Wall Street estimates. Adjusted per-share earnings came in at 80 cents, Shanda said, above analysts' expectations of 74 cents.

Including items, the company said, it earned $52.8 million, or 78 cents a share.

Shanda pulls in most of its revenue from the so-called "massively multiplayer online role-playing games," or, in the abbreviational lexicon of the Internet, MMORPG. Revenue in that business rocketed 47% to $138.2 million.

In another indication of role-play's increasing popularity, Shanda said 7.2 million paying users are now involved in its MMORPG games, up more than 22% sequentially from the fourth quarter.

The company is one of a handful of Chinese companies that specialize in online role-playing universes.

Shanda's American Depository Receipts ended trading Wednesday up 1.75% at $61.46, on a volume of 3 million shares. Their average daily turnover is 1.2 million.

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