NCsoft confirms new layoffs

Guild Wars publisher plans to cut 70-90 support positions in US, Europe as part of final Western-focused label reorganization; rehire up to 80.

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In September, Korean massively multiplayer online role-playing game company NCsoft announced sweeping plans to restructure its North American and European operations under a single, unified label: NCsoft West. Immediately, the initiative resulted in NCsoft laying off about 30 employees from its Austin, Texas studio and establishing an NCsoft West headquarters in Seattle, Washington.

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Today, NCsoft announced what it plans to be the final element of its corporate restructuring efforts, revealing an additional round of layoffs that it expects will affect 70 to 90 employees. The cuts will primarily come in support services, and an NCsoft West representative assured GameSpot that no in-development projects will be adversely affected by the cuts.

"In order to solidify and streamline company operations across all NCsoft West territories, we are implementing some structural changes this week which will impact 70 to 90 employees," an NCsoft West representative told GameSpot in a statement. "We are working with these employees to determine the best fit for approximately 80 alternate positions within the company."

"The European office is transitioning to have a stronger focus in marketing and sales, with many of the existing disciplines being consolidated in our studios on the US West Coast and our headquarters in Seattle," said NCsoft West. "Additionally, we are transitioning to an embedded quality assurance (QA) model in which the QA staff works in our studios directly with the development teams, providing support throughout the entire development process.

"This finalizes the NCsoft West reorganization plan which began last September, and the resulting structure will better support the company's direction," the statement concluded.

Like many other game makers, NCsoft has been left grappling with a rough economic environment. As part of its most recent earnings announcement in November, the publisher saw profits fall 50 percent to 5.0 billion won ($3.58 million) on sales of 78.3 billion won ($56.1 million). The results were made all the worse on news that celebrity game designer Richard Garriott would be exiting the company, and that his unsuccessful sci-fi MMOG Tabula Rasa would go offline at the end of this month.

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