Major Layoffs at WildStar Dev Affect 60

Carbine Studios cuts "around 60" jobs, in addition to further layoffs across NCSoft.

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Just four months after the release of sci-fi PC MMO WildStar in June, developer Carbine Studios has cut "around 60" positions, in addition to further layoffs at publisher NCSoft's western business unit.

This according to a statement received by Polygon, which says the job losses were part of a "restructuring of key operations with [NCSoft] West."

NCSoft added that it remains committed to its major MMO franchises such as WildStar, Aion, Lineage, and Guild Wars, though it also plans to move into the mobile and tablet markets. NCSoft saw "staff reductions" across all its Western business units, except for Guild Wars developer ArenaNet, according to the statement.

An anonymous source told Polygon that the layoffs at Carbine affected employees "across all levels." Carbine--which was founded in 2005 by former Blizzard Entertainment veterans--is based in Aliso Viejo, California. The studio had 200+ employees before the job cuts this week.

WildStar is the studio's only game so far.

NCSoft's full statement on the staff reductions is below.

"Today we announced a restructuring of key operations within NC West. As a result of this restructuring, we are implementing staff reductions across our Western operations with the exclusion of ArenaNet. While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment.

Moving forward, we will continue to focus on our core development capabilities and the intellectual properties (WildStar, Aion, Lineage, and Guild Wars franchises) that have made NCSOFT what it is today. However, we are looking to move into new business segments like mobile and tablet games as well as explore emerging technologies.

Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavors."

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Avatar image for ArchoNils2

Well, how many are still playing it? I played it for about a week and got bored by it. Sure the graphic style and battle system seemed interessting at first, but the world, story and quests are just boring

Avatar image for keithy21

People still blaming the fee I see, I actually believe it's the gameplay, features, style, sandbox/themepark type of game that makes an MMO worth paying monthly for. I don't think the fee has anything to do with it, I know people want a free game to play then shelve it after a few days playing it but Wildstar won't even be worth playing when it's F2P either...the game just isn't fun.

No MMOs that have come out have been worth paying a monthly fee for really. They are dumbed down stripped down versions of WoW...hardly have any features, linear, themepark, not enough options to cater to different play styles, etc...

Why pay for a stripped down barebones version of WoW? I think they should just stop trying because it's a waste of money.

I think SWTOR could have been the next top dog if it stuck with the style of SWG, more leveling worlds, open space freedom, sandbox...dam, I was really hoping SWTOR was going to be an upgraded version of SWG but instead of course it was a barebones stripped down themepark version of it.

Avatar image for Stiler

How many more mmo's will it take before someone at the big publishers realize, If you make an mmo that's the same basic formula as WoW (IE Theme park world, trinity class setup, loot grind focus, raid end game) you can not charge a subscription or expect to obtain anywhere near WoW's sub?

The market is littered with many many WoW type of mmo attempts after WoW, most of othem are either shut down or have went F2p.

In this day and age to compete in the mmo marketplace you need to either offer something new and different (which most don't) or offer it f2p for people to try out and make money through microtransactions/expansions.

Avatar image for jld1985

Is this because the game is not doing well? I followed Wildstar long before release, but once they announced you had to pay for a sub and the game, I totally lost interest at that point although I tried the Beta and thought it was pretty good.

Avatar image for blackace

Charging large fee for MMO will get you no where fast. Those days are over. $15 a month is way too much to pay to play a MMO. This was just one of the reasons I stopped playing WoW & EQ2 and started playing Guild Wars and Planetside 2. I would have loved to have given Wild Star a test run, but I'm not going to pay a month fee for it. I had already played Lineage 2 for a full year before cancelling that crappy game. I wished I had stayed with City of Heroes. Now that was a great MMO.

Avatar image for oflow

I'd gladly pay $15/mo for an actual innovative mmo, but not a wow clone no matter how polished. I played in the beta of this game and it's actually decent, but it's not sci fi enough for my tastes. I need a gamma world or a mechanoid invasion mmo not a reskinned wow

Avatar image for Dissentioncc

<< LINK REMOVED >> I always laugh when people say this. $15 a month is too much money? Hah, broke ass mofos. Seriously, when it comes to something as huge as an MMO like WoW, $15 for an entire month of play time is nothing. It's basically the price of going to a movie or eating at Applebee's. I just resubbed to get ready for the expansion, and I've never felt like the $15 was some huge barrier. It's $15 ffs, not $50.

Avatar image for yumyumnomnom

<< LINK REMOVED >> WoW still doing strong despite it's $14.99/month fee. The market just needs to understand it can't compete with WoW in terms of charging an mmo for that price. You just need to make one really kick ass and compelling mmo and that isn't easy.

Avatar image for Khasym

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Actually I disagree. I don't think it's a problem so much of the price. But with WoW,you are getting a game ten years old. Right now, you can get the game, and all the expansions, with the 6.0.2 content for $20. That's a lot of gaming time, not counting the multiplayer.

To bust WoW out of the top spot, and charge $15 a month, you need to give MORE than WoW does for their subscription. And not more as in "locking off content from the game, and unlocking it for a fee" more. I mean something that makes that monthly subscription more valuable than WoW's monthly.

Avatar image for Bsgifford05

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> As much I want Wildstar to be a huge success I have to agree.

Avatar image for Suaron_x

@Khasym WoW has the market cornered on gamers who are willing to shell out $15/mon to play an MMO. So you take those 6-7 million gamers and another 1-2 million gamers worldwide and you have a ceiling of about 8 million people willing to pay $15/mon to play an MMO. Therefore your market is limited.

The biggest reason people won't leave WoW, is that they've worked so long and hard on getting their stuff, they don't want to start all over from scratch. Especially, when almost every other MMO plays exactly WoW. Seriously, what's the point of switching?

Also, nobody wants to grind another character from level 1 in vastly unpopulated lower level regions. This prevents new players from growing the WoW community, despite any shortcuts/conveniences Blizzard offers to speed the process. Despite all the expansions, the old raids are just that, old raids that nobody plays and/or cares about. Raids are a major component of the game. Even the 5 man instances (not designed for max level) are dead. The same thing happens in every other MMO. So if you're not in the door from the beginning huge areas become unpopulated quickly and the fun of the experience isn't there. If there's not a market grabbing MMO, people aren't leaving WoW, and really only the Old Republic had a cache big enough to shake WoW and it failed miserably.

Price is a major factor for MMOs. To dethrone WoW you've got to convince people to leave WoW and/or you must attract new customers. When the prices are the same WoW will beat it's clone every single time.

Avatar image for Khasym

<< LINK REMOVED >> You're right. But you're never going to woo WoW players away, with the boxed game. There's so much content there, that no new MMO can ever hope to match WoW for the "And we have all these great lands you can explore" fee. Unless it takes someone with the dedication to playing WoW, a year or more to go from start to max level and raiding, it's not even a fight worth having.

That's why I said competitors need to bring something to the monthly subscription. That IS something WoW hasn't explored. But, if they can make that $15 feel like it's going to something BEYOND just paying for game access, something that people WANT to pay for, they can sell the game for free, and work solely off the subscription. That would come at WoW from an unexpected angle.

Avatar image for Suaron_x

Video Game Developer Roadmap to Unemployment

1) Start a new MMO

2) Make it P2P, using the WOW model

3) Wait 6 months

Avatar image for Techtroll

So much for the new megaservers lol

Avatar image for oflow

That was just a code word for server merges from lack of players

Avatar image for HackedLife

Great news. This means F2P is just around the corner. Can't really feel sorry for them making such a stupid decision. The market for subscription MMOs is dead (WoW withstanding). ESO isnt too far behind. I don't know why more developers are not looking at what Guild Wars is doing. $60 up front, then have an in game store with cosmetic and convenience items to support the game.

Avatar image for Suaron_x

<< LINK REMOVED >> Why is F2P great news? Reducing the staff 60% is pretty drastic...that pretty much relegates this studio to expansions/updates and server maintenance. F2P will add a bunch of inconveniences...which to me will be more than I'd be willing to suffer though to play an MMO. I don't understand see studio after studio go down in flames following the WoW model. Notice ArenaNet suffered no layoffs, so that model must be far more effective. Maybe ArenaNets model should've been the basis for Wildstar. Why not have $5/mon P2P subs and/or free game copies with say a 6 month sub?

Avatar image for PETERAKO

Wildstar is going to become a F2P game, is it? Well good luck with that. Usually this kind of transitions end up in a mess(SW:TOR).

Avatar image for helldragonzer

<< LINK REMOVED >> it doesn't necessarily have to be F2P, they could instead do the opposite, give the game away and start a sub service, which is even worst.

Avatar image for helldragonzer

<< LINK REMOVED >> The again there is a whole of F2P games, mostly on Steam that have been well received, a good example is LoL and Dota (though eventually you will have to spend money in some form or another, but at least the core game is still free).

Avatar image for deg22

@PETERAKO I can see how that worries you, it totally overshadows the fact that those 60 people lost their jobs and means to support their family.

If there is one thing coming out of all this sadness, I hope its going to be that the game industry will never listen to "hardcore" gamers ever again.

Avatar image for helldragonzer

<< LINK REMOVED >> Hardcore gamers are people that don't have jobs to support the games they play all day long.