Home > Blackstar, City of Heroes, Dungeon Runners, Guild Wars, Lineage II, MMO Games, Tabula Rasa > NCsoft consolidates Western operations, cuts development

NCsoft consolidates Western operations, cuts development

September 11, 2008

NCSoft seems to be in the position of merging their operations, creating an NC West with headquarters in Seattle. ArenaNet is located in the neighbourhood there, so I guess that shows how well the performance of the former US HQ in Austin has been received by the main HQ in South Korea.

ArenaNet’s Guild Wars have certainly been the most successful Western title for NCSoft, followed by City of Heroes/Villains.  The Lineage titles have not been doing so well and the more recent titles of Dungeon Runners and Tabula Rasa also have their share of problems. 

The development efforts on some future game in Austin was cancelled, and now NCSoft is also reducing staff in their UK office. This seems to include cancelling development of new titles that they had ramped up before – much in line with what NCSoft seems to have been doing in the US.

Since NCSoft has both cancelled some titles under development and also cancelled publication of titles developed outside NCSoft (e.g. Blackstar), they seem very much to put more focus on fewer titles. 

I can understand why they are doing this from a business perspective, it does makes sense. It is a bit too bad that their various efforts did not turn out well since they have at least had an innovative ambition here, trying new business models, new/different genres while most of the other major Western MMO companies mainly has been stuck in the fantasy-game-with-subscription-fee-model type of games.

I do hope that this also means that the separation of servers for US and EU sides in City of Heroes/Villains will be gone soon. NCSoft has removed the previous arguments for keeping them separate. At least one shared pool of servers would be an improvement from now, even if they do not go all the way to a serverless set-up a la Guild Wars. But at least Cryptic contemplated that before

So I think this also means that the major titles we are going to see next from NCSoft will be Aion and Guild Wars 2 and that is about it for a foreseeable future. City of Heroes/Villains will get some more love. If Tabula Rasa manages to get some more subscribers they might still be around also, but they are not in a particularly good position now.

The name Garriott was also completely absent from the press releases surrounding this re-organisation. Interpret that as you want.

  1. September 12, 2008 at 16:05

    The name Garriott was also completely absent from the press releases surrounding this re-organisation. Interpret that as you want.

    Thank god? He overstepped his bounds, mucked around and ruined the original vision of TR. This is why it exists in it’s sorry state.

    As to Aion and GW2, we must also look at Blade and Soul as another title in development from their Asian sources (even though we have no news on it yet.)
    It looks quite impressive though, and uses a “Kung Fu” type fighting system. A Soulcaliber MMO per se…
    Of course I am projecting as I would prefer a more realtime combat system as of late.
    And it is SOoooo pretty, I just LOVE the way it looks.

    But, dreams seem to be getting smashed as the old way of the MMO (WAR) will be the big seller….

    But, I can rely on Jeff Strain. He is the man.

  2. sente
    September 13, 2008 at 00:05

    Tabula Rasa is great in some areas, but do suck in some others. And they neglected some areas more than they should have, IMHO.

    But I think they problem there was that they had too many false starts and with this last attempt they focused just on a few things, possibly due to budget and time constraints. That was not good enough.

    You are right that I forgot about Blade and Soul. Might still be some time away though, as I recall from previous plans they had only Aion lined up 2008, Guild Wars 2 in 2009 and possibly something a bit after that – but they have also cancelled some titles.

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