NCsoft consolidates in the West

Korea-based MMOG publisher rebrands Western operations under one label; new focus to be on big-budget online games.

It turns out that the shake-up at NCsoft's Austin studio was just scratching the surface of the major changes in store for the South Korea-based massively multiplayer online game maker. After online reports earlier today that NCsoft would be shuttering its European operations, the publisher confirmed that it would be restructuring its entire US and European subsidiaries to operate under a single, unified label, tentatively titled NC West.

As part of the move, NC Interactive, NC Europe, NC Austin, and ArenaNet will now all fall under the NC West label, which will focus on creating MMOGs for the Western market. NCsoft expects to announce a final name for its Western-focused subsidiary in the near future. Although NCsoft's US hub NC Interactive had previously been based in Austin, Texas, the publisher said today that NC West will be headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Past and present ArenaNet brass will be well represented in NC West's executive ranks. Former ArenaNet studio manager Chris Chung, who oversaw the development of the developer's Guild Wars franchise and went on to manage global publishing at NCsoft's Seoul headquarters, has been named CEO of NC West. ArenaNet cofounders Jeff Strain and Patrick Wyatt will reprise their roles at the newly labeled subsidiary as president of product development and chief technical officer, respectively. David Reid, who joined NCsoft in March, will assume the role of president of publishing at NC West.

In an interview with Kotaku, Reid laid out the rationale behind NCsoft restructuring its Western operations, saying that it was geared toward refocusing the company on big-budget MMOGs. "This transition is really about ratifying a completely dedicated business to the triple-A titles," said Reid. "We would consider ourselves in the class of five-ish companies in the world that can be successful in this market. We are a leader here and we are doubling down in those efforts."

Part of those efforts, Reid noted, relate to NCsoft moving away from casual MMOG development. In August, the publisher said that the 21 positions eliminated at its Austin studio related to the free-to-play, ad-supported Dungeon Runners, as well as products that "we have not previously announced and were in prototype phases." Another factor for its consolidation is the publisher's focus on the console space. Last year, the publisher announced that it had entered into a partnership with Sony to develop online games for the PlayStation 3.

Reid said that an additional 12 positions have been eliminated at the publisher's Austin studio as a result of the consolidation, and an NCsoft representative confirmed for GameSpot that 58 positions "have been identified as potentially redundant" at the publisher's UK office. "Most of those positions are from the product-development organization there," the NCsoft rep commented.

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44 comments
joeborg14
joeborg14

The first Guild Wars was amazing! Don't fix what's not broken!

nonoyawns
nonoyawns

If Guild Wars 2 were to come out in 4th quarter 09 for both the PS3 and PC (allowing the two to connect), it could be a huge hit. PS3 could use a big name MMO, and the most hardcore Sony fans are big on Eastern RPGs, so their adoption of Guild Wars' style wouldn't be too big of a stretch. This combined with the fans of the first (who are plentiful) will no doubt lead to a great success. BUT, some things are necessary for the success of the game: 1. Must be free. The first GW found a niche with those who didn't want to shell out 15 a month, yet enjoyed MMOs. 2. Don't go overboard on graphics. Most people ARE NOT updating their systems during these tough times, and high requirements could kill the game. 3. Adopt what worked in WoW, but retain most of what made the first so great. Keep the fundamental style of GW the same (group and pvp emphasis), but add some of the WoW ideas to the PVE aspect of the game. Look forward to GW2!

damthegames
damthegames

ill support this guys any time ,, id like to see more stuff from the new guild wars 2 maybe a video or something , or some images

Viper11023
Viper11023

Less news agout gw2 the better, wow needs to pass its "greatness" through the ranks and its "hype" needs to die first. I expect an good video sometime around January or Feb.

nish2280
nish2280

I WANT GUILD WARS 2!!! i wonder what they are making on the PS3 :O im sure it will be good

burn6
burn6

that is some major restructuring, I hope this doesn't affect the existing games like guildwars,and give us the guildwars2 already! I hope they will release a collector's edition instead of a pre-release bonus pack like warhammer online did. Because I will buy it for sure! I bet all guildwars fans and players today are going to get guildwars2. I mean come on, it is the best free to play MMO and rivals the leading MMOs today. And I hope they should forge one great continous lore unlike the 3 guildwars with eotn, although they are interconnected, and surely it will add a lot of anticipation and excitement to the fans of this game.

Caemyr
Caemyr

I hope this doesn't lead to the cancellation of Tabula Rasa

Dixteel
Dixteel

that reminds me...I like GW a lot but also had some small complaints: 1. Most armor doesn't look that good (some are pretty blend...some looks like just simple textures) 2. Being a more anti social person, sometimes I want to finish the missions solo on my own time. But in the later mission it's so difficult, it's not possible to complete a mission without other human players in the party. (or maybe it's possible, but just way too difficult). I hope they can balance it for solo play as well.

mattwbrad
mattwbrad

Guild Wars always felt empty though. I thought the game would be more about the story, but it's basically a more graphical version of Gaia Online.

buzzguy
buzzguy

Holy crap. That's a large number of pink slips. Hopefully those guys and gals can find quality work somewhere else.

Adam_the_Nerd
Adam_the_Nerd

I am liking this! Big-budget MMOs! Make's GW2 sound all the more promising. The only thing I'm not liking is the Sony partnership. The last 2 MMOs to go with Sony (Star Wars: Galaxies and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes) were screwed up due to their involvement.

atopp399
atopp399

"NCsoft moving away from casual MMOG development"

"refocusing the company on big-budget MMOGs"

These two statements make me very happy :)

Seuloup
Seuloup

PEELEDBANANA: If you only have 600 hours logged into the game, there's no way you've done it all. I"ve logged over 2000 hours and havne't finished everything. Course, I do a bunch of AB and tend to make a lot of charas...

Kenji_Masamune
Kenji_Masamune

from what I recall about L2, they still have another 2 or 3 more expansions to go before it's 'complete'. Loved L2, but the xp grind is just about as bad as EQ, so I hope they make it better than wow's grind or I just might have to private server L3 when it comes out

Flame_Blade88
Flame_Blade88

Yeah I remember during the Sony press conference during E3 2007 they mentioned the partnership with NCsoft. I was wondering when they were actually going to start something.

Dixteel
Dixteel

hmm...intersting. This could be a smart move. There was a brief preview of GW2 a while ago, looks very promising. But after that no further news. Partnership with Sony eh...If GW2 would go onto PS3...that would be nice.

aura_enchanted
aura_enchanted

more delays = NOT COOL cmon ncsoft start doing what u do and churn out sum titles. no wonder uve been cutting people your not doing anything between now and your nearest release date (which btw is a long way off)

Tekkor
Tekkor

Translation.... We have been bleeding money doing a bunch of crappy korean mmo's and plan to try to churn out better stuff once we finish cutting a bunch of peoples jobs to pay for it.

vortex_gw
vortex_gw

GW2 should've been in beta test already according to the only news about the game but... well the game won't be coming out soon. SO don't wait for it.

vortex_gw
vortex_gw

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

beckoflight
beckoflight

Show me Lineage 3 allready ...c'mon leave the L2 expansions & do a good new game !

Feibie
Feibie

gimme gw2 already

KOSMOSEngineer
KOSMOSEngineer

Guild Wars rules!! So why are so many software companies based in Seattle?

ssjdagas
ssjdagas

As long as they keep supporting Tabula Rasa, I just bought the game after having really liked the trial.

Warlock89
Warlock89

I lived in Korea around the times all these awesome NCSoft games were coming out. Along with some Nexon games. Good times man. All those games were free to koreans. Guild Wars. City of Heroes/Vilians. And way before Warrock and GunZ came to america, along with Maple Story. I know a lot of those games are free here too. But City of Heroes/Villians and Guild Wars were free to download and play.

Merl57
Merl57

well maybe they can put all the focus into GW2 now but I am not going to switch MMO's

ExplosiveChorro
ExplosiveChorro

cant wait for guild wars 2 was a hardcore player for 2 years on the original but now i dont have time for it. when guild wars 2 releases ill probably start back up again. and no monthly fees!!!!!

ascalon94
ascalon94

yeah i am also waiting for GW2 i currently have had the games over 28 months! we need gw2 plz surprise us with a spring release date

ChrnoTrigger
ChrnoTrigger

DiscGuru, i'm pretty sure they've made a contract with Sony for creating MMOs for the PS3, so they probably got tons of money just for that. :P

Franko_3
Franko_3

Yay, more $ to support Guild wars 2. /cry I want it so bad... Atleast guild wars is still well populated :)

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Whatever NC Soft needs to do to survive, I vote yes on. Their allegiance with PS3 is misguided though. The epically slow dev time on the PS3 is prohibitive to AAA MMOG's within the remaining life cycle. Not to mention the software sales for new IP on the PS3 is abysmal. Comparable to how things were on the Nintendo Game Cube.Having said that, it's all about Aion yo.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

PolskaKing
PolskaKing

Wow they are making their companies inside a company to one company for real.

Devin-God
Devin-God

Guild Wars 2 will be amazing. as long as its free. Does Aion cost monthly? hopefully not. but yea. Guild Wars 2 and Diablo 3 will be amazing.

DefHalan
DefHalan

should I get GW or just wait for the 2nd?

Targzissian
Targzissian

Must have Guild Wars 2... Also, I wonder how this affects Richard Garriott and Tabula Rasa.

PEELEDbanana
PEELEDbanana

Where is GW2???? I need it! 600+ hours into GW and i have nothing left to do! Please hurry up NCsoft, at least give us a release date.

runstalker
runstalker

Glad they're focusing all their cash on big budget offerings like Aion and Guild Wars 2, not crappo free-to-play casual nonsense and bling gnomes.

limpbizkit818
limpbizkit818

As long as they still pump out decent games I don't really think this matters too much.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

Jeez i would hate to be working there, dread mode engage :S :(