Thursday, September 20, 2012

Regarding NCSoft

I'm not likely to ever pay money to NCSoft (the maker of GW2) since on August 31st, with no warning to anyone, they fired the entire staff at Paragon Studios (developer for City of Heroes). 80+ people lost their job in San Francisco. At the same time, announced they were closing the payment services immediately and shutting the CoH servers down at the end of Nov.

City of Heroes was a steady and profitable game (it was a bit low on subscribers but netted $800k/month consistently the months leading up to and including August). They did this because they want to cut American and European assets and have plans to shutdown all American and European studios in the near future.

The developers were about to release a new update (it's on test server with at most 2 weeks left to fix bugs) and had the next 4 updates in the works. Absolutely NO warning to the developers, they came into work that Friday and before lunch found out they didn't have a job to go to the following Monday.

GW2 and Blade and Soul were the reasons for this. You can find corporate releases on how they lost millions in the development of those two games and they cut one that was profitable so they could dump the American game studio that develops it.

It's not a matter of money to them as the CoH community has come forth and pledged $250k that would be donated off-the-cuff to keep the game running without any idea of an amount needed to be raised.

The CoH community ALSO started a fundraiser to pay for lunch for ALL the employees at Paragon Studios to go to a favorite nearby restaurant. There was a $1000 cap on the fundraiser. It took less than 3 hours to raise $1045 and MOST of the community didn't get to donate due to being at work before the cap was reached. There is currently talk about running another $2000 cap fundraiser for the developers since so many of the community WANT to donate and the first fundraiser reached cap so quick.

I am a gamer and was interested in GW2, I've played a majority of NCSoft games, but when you want to dump 80+ Americans out of jobs in a barely recovering economy, you've lost my money for the rest of my life, and earned the right to have the above information given out to ANYONE that will read it.

I have restrained myself to posting just facts in this post, though I'm sure you can tell the ....frustration over this. Yes, I played City of Heroes for 8 years, since day 1. But the way they put those 80+ Americans out on the street with no warning whatsoever is infuriating. Sure, they should be able to find jobs to move on to, but if you are a coder, put yourself in their shoes. If even one of the employees has issues finding work, it could have been you if you were working there.

If you haven't paid for GW2, take all this information into consideration.

If you HAVE paid for GW2, make your own decision. I wouldn't want to encourage anyone to not get their moneys worth out of something you paid for, but have this information at hand if you ever consider putting out more money to an NCSoft-based game or service, and think it over.


  1. I will never play another NCSoft game if CoH goes under. But their other games are Fantasy-based, a genre in which I have no interest. So my saying I won't play their games is about as meaningful as me (as someone who does not drink coffee) saying that I will boycott Maxwell House.

    Excellent post.

    1. Excellent post and very well said... So many people are feeling this very thing,I am for sure not going to solisit anything ncsoft if CoH is closed, for one reason, how we as a community were treated on the announcement

  2. I can say I agree with you! I got hooked on COH by my big bro who not only plays the games but writes comics from it!! Good ones too!! And once I got hooked this summer after Free-2-Play was released...can you imagine how HOT I was when told the game is ending??? HELL NO!! I will be and have moved to Champions (but still play COH until the end!) Maybe...just maybe in those little minds of theirs, they will change their minds and bring the developers back and kick start this baby again!! One can only hope.....

    1. I tried Champions. Unfortunately, it's just not for me. The graphics are far too cartoony for my taste, and the gameplay just didn't do it for me. I sincerely hope that someone makes a decent Superhero MMO after CoH shuts down.

      As far as NCSoft goes, I understand shutting games down for business reasons. If they had done so in a reasonable matter I wouldn't have held it against them. Mind you, I still would have been disappointed, but I probably would have kept playing Aion, and I likely would have tried GW2 and Soul and Blade...which I will not do now.

  3. I was a bit excited for GW2 to come out...I subscribed to updates, looked at all the news each time there was news...all the while, playing CoH and CoV...when it was released, I wasn't sure I wanted to leave CoH, I had tried Aion and found it too similar to World of Warcraft, which is NOT very cooperative (lots of selfishness and anger)...I play support toons, so I do need to have a team in most of my roles, so I cancelled Aion and stayed with CoH, where people jump at the chance to help another player!!! game time is precious to I kept logging in to CoH, where I found a community of funny, happy and helpful players that could pound a teammate in PvP, or help others in PvE...I found people that were mature, didn't have to use coarse language (unless it was on a channel where there were no kids), didn't expect others to do for them what they could do for themselves, and I ended up finding real friends in this game...some I have never met, and some I have met, but all of them feel like family to me...which means the people that create and develop our toons must also be like family, since they are the basis of the game...they are the developers. For them to be treated like this, was appalling...I was stunned at the lack of professionalism with which they were treated. I was going to buy was my husband...we won't be purchasing GW2...ever.

    We will find something else to play, but as long as I live, I will never play an NCSoft product again, nor any, nor ALL associated sites linked to by NC Interactive, its subsidiaries and affiliates, including NC Interactive sites around the world. This includes any third-parties under agreement with NCsoft, any parent, subsidiary or affiliate of NCsoft, or any employee, agent, supplier, licensee, customer, distributor, shareholder, director or officer of NCSoft and/or any or all of NCSoft affiliates. period.

  4. Agreed, NCSoft will not get a penny out of me ever again if they do not come to some other solution regarding City of Heroes instead of just coldly dumping it to make their near-term books look better. Clearly they do not give a crap about their American or European audience and should just pull back to Korea and stay there.

    I mean, it makes pretty clear sense that it would be entirely to their benefit to sell the game to someone who will keep it going. Not only would it be a financial gain (not only making the books look better by dumping Paragon Studios, but also adding in the sale of the game, turning it into an even more profitable prospect for them), but it would also do a lot to avoid alienating previously loyal customers in this market. Even if they are planning to leave the NA market entirely, it's pretty short-sighted to essentially burn the bridge behind them by being jerks to their former customers. Why not withdraw with more grace than that so you might still have some of those customers if you return to this market?

    Also, if they think that getting rid of City will somehow make all those players move to their new games...WRONG. Different genres (and fantasy is already over-represented in MMOs), different dev teams, different community, AND a lot of City players who are going to wash their hands of NCSoft.

    Simply killing the game makes absolutely no sense on any front.

    If they kill City anyway? I will never pay a red cent to them ever again. Aion struggling in the West? I've played it, I would play it again, I would have eventually spent money in the store, but now I won't. I will quit it if they kill off City. After all, fantasy is not hard to come by in the gaming market. Next time I will not choose an NCSoft title, that is certain. Won't even give them a chance.

    Now if they sell City off and allow it to live? All will be forgiven and they will not lose another Aion player (though I will certainly be more cautious about investing myself deeply in any of their titles after this). I might even consider GW2. :)

  5. I bought GW2 and though I love COH, arena net is another developer under the publishing umbrella of soft. However, they are also here in America. Unfortunately boycotting gw2 just hurts more American jobs.

  6. I agree with what you've said and actually surprised about the 250k part - was no aware of that.
    Atm when i do finally get some cash in im yet decided to buy gw2 or not, and it's not about shoving it to NcSoft it's more the fact - yes its (meh) fantasy and i know players from CoH who play it either due to the pre order stuff, gone their cos CoH has closed down or like me mates who you don't want to loose contact have gone there.
    Tho my first hope is CoH survives somehow and we get to continue playing the game.

  7. "GW2 and Blade and Soul were the reasons for this. You can find corporate releases on how they lost $600million in the development of those two games and they cut one that was profitable so they could dump the American game studio that develops it."

    They lost $600million?

    Don't you mean $6million in the quarter? Because if they lost $600million, i am *certain* that it would have been over the CoX forums.

    Also, there has been *no* statement as to how much the games cost to develop. Sure, you can *assume* that the loss was due to the development of the games... but how about the advertising? How about the fact that Aion's income decreased by about $14million between Q1 and Q2 of 2012?

    Side note: Their overall revenue increased by roughly $3million from Q1 to Q2 of 2012. So the loss must be from something else increasing (and not falling game revenues)

    So what else came in to increase their expenditure? Advertising for the games I can understand, but advertising is *not* development.


      Annual report showing products/breakdown for NCsoft, published earlier in August 2012.

    2. I know the report you are reading from, I have read it several times. It does *not* say anywhere in that document where the supposed $600million loss comes from.

      It does however show that their operating profit being roughly $6.8million in the red, with their net income being roughly $6.4million in the red.

      It does *NOT* show anything with them loosing $600million

    3. Edited to millions in development losses. I DO know it was specifically B&S and GW2 to which the losses were attributed. Also, it's unbelievable to me that Aion went COMPLETELY free (you can play ALL content without paying for anything) yet CoH is the one to get yanked, especially with the past 3 yrs of steady income.

    4. Thanks for the change... the reason why i was questioning the amount, is because $600million in development costs (not including advertising extra's) would put each of them as the most expensive games *ever* developed, dwarfing even high estimates for SWTOR (which some people have said cost $250million to bring to the market).

      I would be intrigued to see how much B&S brings in during its opening quarter, seeing as it got released at the *very end* of Q2 for NCsoft (30th June), so any advertising costs for that would still be large, whilst the title was not bringing in any money (well, one days worth)

      The same for GW2, although it would only have one month of earnings to show for in Q3.

      I am suprised that whilst Aion went completely F2P it has *still* managed to pull in 16x the amount that CoX has... and to be fair, it was the 1st *major* quarter drop for the title (granted it had a an earnings drop between Q1 2012 and Q2 2010 of about $9mill, so this most recent decline was surprising).

      If you saying that it should have been dropped for that, then CoX should have been dropped a *long* time ago

      Side note: NCsoft *do not* run Aion in Europe, it is licensed out to Gameforge. I am going to assume that all NCsoft is seeing from this is just the licence fee's.

      And yes, CoX has had 3 years of "steady income"... however the change over to F2P did *nothing* to increase its earnings either.

      side note 2: there are limitations on the F2P side of Aion in the western market... so whilst you might be able to play the game to cap with no limitations, you still hit brick walls... which strangely enough sounds just like City of Heroes and its F2P style as well.

    5. I'm surprised that Aion has that much (granted, I'm curious if that is a total for Aion worldwide or jsut US since CoH isn't really in the Far East (super heroes just aren't a thing over there apparently), I had played for a while (got 2 characters to 50 when that was the cap and 6 more to 30-44 with one being a heavily twinked PvP toon) and I haven't found that 'wall' or any limitations with a free account over when I had a paid account. (Tho I can say that it seems like an across the board nerf has happened as my characters (even twinked ones) can't handle what they used to.) And with NCSoft licensing Aion in Europe, I would hope that they would see the possibility of doing the same with CoH since the F2P hybrid didn't lose any income.

  8. I have to wonder what NCSoft would charge to sell Paragon Studios? It's not like any of the properties are going to be u secular for them...

    Kickstarter anyone?

    1. Kickstarter has been mentioned but it's intended for new projects. There are other sites that it could work for but without having a number to shoot for it's kind of hard to go for a fundraising project.