Thursday, November 13, 2008

NCSoft - NOW what?

The news is grim each day for the company. From the Austin cuts earlier this year, Auto Assault playing dead (and winning that contest btw!) to Tabula Rasa and CoH showing dismal numbers (ok CoH/CoV have been noted to be profitable, but not a "best seller")..

Whats a poor MMO developer to do?

Maybe stop ignoring their most popular IP?

First up. Where is Guild Wars 2. Where is the information on this title. Why is their largest selling title's (almost 6 million players own a copy) follow up just wasting away.
The last release was Eye of the North in August of 2007.
Unless 2009 is to be the year of GW2, I am pretty much assured that NCSoft will bite the dust in North America at least. Or at least continue to dive in their profits.

Their Asian subsidiaries do not suffer the same fate as Lineage and Lineage 2 still hold those audiences.
With close to a million players in each title (mostly Gold Farmers, but lets not judge here...), the games keep them afloat...

Barely.

How will Aion fare? Their current developed title, is on schedule for an early 2009 release date. Does this game have the pull that Western audiences want in their MMO?
News has been slim. Yet, there is no NDA as well, so we as players can pretty much find out anything we wish.
This is not 100% Asian developed either, with certain parties from Europe and NA having their hands in the development (examples are the push for WASD controls).
But, the Anime like characters has always been niche.

But, can this "niche" be 200k+ players? This seems to be the magic number right now.

I think a lot rests on Guild Wars 2 coming out by the end of 2009. If it does not, then what is a company to do with so many fledgeling MMO's?

Do we see an SOE all in one price model coming down the road?

Would you pay 25 bucks for CoH/CoV, Tabula Rasa and Lineage 2? Or add Aion onto that list maybe as an incentive?

The next 3-4 months will be interesting for NCSoft. Hope they can pull off something soon.

9 comments:

brenda said...

They also have Dungeon Runners.

If they had an all-in-one thing like SOE's station pass, would I subscribe? Well, GW has no subscription fee. I do subscribe to CoH, though I rarely play and am considering dropping it until I get the urge once again.

With Dungeon Runners and GW being f2p, it would be really hard to argue the benefits of subscribing to an all-in-one package.

Openedge1 said...

@Brenda

I never think of dungeon runners, thanks to it's Mythos like qualities...and this statement after the consolidation of Austin NCSoft

Dungeon Runners is as healthy as it's ever been, and is still a vibrant part of the NCsoft portfolio. It's just that it's a different sort of business, and one that is a very successful kind of business overall, it's just not where NCsoft is going to continue investing its product development publishing resources, going forward.

Hard to read that..."very successful" and "not going to continue investing.." in the same paragraph just does not read like further development to me.
So, I just kind think of it as "not existing"

Right now, CoH/CoV, Tabula Rasa and Lineage 2 are the most viable games with scrips, with Aion down the road (I also forgot Exsteel, but it is another free game...hmm...how many of those do they have?)
So, can these be worth a one monthly fee?

(Hmmm...when you look at that, a triumvirate of Sci-Fi, Superheroes and Fantasy...that could work...)

Zeebrat said...

I was going to email you some AION news, but I couldn't figure out how I would possibly email you. Luckily you made this post today and what I had to link was relevant.

AION had to turn down people for the Open Beta in Korea. Too many people signed up.

Here's the link to the translated article.

http://www.aionsource.com/forum/news-announcements/9159-translation-aion-kobt-reaches-150k-concurrent-users.html

So even if it doesn't do too well here, the Asian market is already eating it up. Which means its likely to stay open here if nothing else. Here's hoping more Western people give AION a shot. It looks like it'll be worthwhile.

Openedge1 said...

Hooray
That IS good news.

I have kept them in my radar. The game DOES look promising as it promises no change...

Why is that promising you say?
(ok...enough promises)

That they plan to adapt all they have learned from previous MMO's and make better mechanics.

I also like there is not the "Elf/Dwarf" tilt, and the flight option will be quite fun.

All the vids I have seen have me salivating...but I know better than to get hyped at this point.

I will wait patiently for more news...and hopefully an Open Beta for the US.

Zeebrat said...

You and me both. They say they really want this game to do well in the Western Market. Hopefully they start pandering to us over here.

They have added, a lot, of customization to the Korean Open Beta for the characters. I can't wait.

They also added a lot of new animations for the characters. Everyone. To prove this point, a link to the new video for the Chanter(healer/buffer.) throwing out some nice combat animations.

Chanter Video

There's links to all the other classes from there.

Zeebrat said...

Okay last one I promise...

Particularly impressive video of the new Templar(tank) powers/animations.

Templar Video

Openedge1 said...

Ok...

Templar...the pick up and throw and the shield slam are fun.

The animations seem speeded up, but probably for the video.

Time will tell I guess.

thanks for the vids

Crimson Starfire said...

First up. Where is Guild Wars 2. Where is the information on this title. Why is their largest selling title's (almost 6 million players own a copy) follow up just wasting away.

Mate, I wish I knew. I worry that the lack of information on Guild Wars 2 is a result of development taking longer than intended. I'd love GW2 to be released early next year, but I can't see it happening to at least Q4 2009 (maybe even longer). I'm also worried that the prolonged release of GW2 will put it in competition with SW:TOR, which will be disastrous for NCSoft and ArenaNet.

adingworld said...

I'm not concerned that there is no news about Guild Wars 2. In fact I am glad that they do not seem to try to build up some hype long before release like Mythic and perhaps Funcom tried.

With the exception of ArenaNet and City of Heroes/Villains pretty much everything else from NCSoft developed in the West has been canceled or is running on minimal resources.
I would be willing to bet that they are extra cautious with GW2 and make sure they do not end up like Tabula Rasa.