NCsoft celebrates as some employees box up their belongings.
Following rumors of layoffs yesterday, NCsoft has announced the formation of NC West, a new subsidiary that will take over operations for western regions including the United States and Europe. In an apparent consolidation move that should have resumes being dusted off, NCsoft appears to be carving their staff down considerably.
It's always nice to congratulate the people being appointed to their new positions, but the press release does not discuss in any way the impact of these high level people being removed from their current companies. What is going to happen to the current NCsoft subsidiaries? In an interesting move, the Executive Producer of Guild Wars 2, Jeff Strain, is being promoted to President of the newly founded NC West. Where does this leave GW2?
Here is the press release in its entirety:
NCsoft Announces Formation of "NC West"
CEO Taek Jin Kim Promotes Chris Chung, Jeff Strain, David Reid, and Patrick Wyatt
SEOUL, Korea, Sept. 10, 2008- NCsoft Â® Corporation (KSE: 036570.KS), the world's leading publisher and developer of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), including award-winning franchises Lineage Â®, Guild Wars Â® and City of Heroes Â®, today announced the formation of "NC WestÂ". A wholly-owned subsidiary of NCsoft with operating responsibility for western regions including the US and Europe, NC West will be led by Chris
Chung as CEO, Jeff Strain as president, product development, David Reid as president, publishing, and Patrick Wyatt as CTO as well as yet unannounced European executives.
NCsoft's existing subsidiaries NC Interactive, NC Europe, NC Austin, and ArenaNet will be led as a unified organization under NC West with a dedicated focus towards becoming the world's premier western publisher of MMOs. NC West is the tentative name for the organization, and the company expects to announce final naming and corporate structure in the near future. NC West's headquarters is planned to be established in Seattle, WA by the end of 2008.
Chris Chung, previously CEO of NC Interactive, has a long history with NCsoft. He began his tenure at NCsoft's ArenaNetÂ® studio, where he managed that studio's business and helped launch the multi-platinum selling Guild Wars franchise. Chung later went on to become the chief publishing officer for NCsoft's Seoul headquarters. Prior to NCsoft, Chung spent more than five years at Microsoft and later co-founded a marketing research firm. As CEO of NC West, Chung will continue to report directly to NCsoft CEO Taek Jin (TJ) Kim.
"We are confident that by combining our subsidiaries into a unified global organization under Chris Chung's leadership, NC West will become a more powerful force to be reckoned with in the western MMO market," said TJ Kim. "Chris has become a guiding force within our company and has been extremely successful at every position he has held with us. His detailed first-hand knowledge of all aspects of our business is invaluable and will help establish NC West as a global leader."
Jeff Strain was formerly the president and co-founder of ArenaNet, a company he formed with Patrick Wyatt and Mike O'Brien when they left senior roles at Blizzard Entertainment in 2000. Additionally, Strain held the position of executive producer of Guild Wars 2Â prior to taking this new role. Strain will report directly to Chung and manage all NC West development studios across all existing and future products. Strain will also direct the production of NCsoft's Asian-developed titles for NC West territories.
David Reid began with NCsoft in March 2008 as vice-president, marketing for North America. Reid came to NCsoft from Turner Broadcasting's GameTap, where he served as vice-president, marketing. Prior to that, he worked at Microsoft as director of global platform marketing, where he launched the Xbox 360. In his new role, Reid will continue to report to Chung and will lead franchise management, marketing, public relations, sales, and customer support for NC West.
As a founder of ArenaNet, Patrick Wyatt led the development of the network and server technologies for the Guild Wars franchise, and directed the architecture and deployment of ArenaNet's global game network infrastructure. Before co-founding ArenaNet with Strain and O'Brien, Wyatt was the vice president of research and development for Blizzard Entertainment, where he led programming for the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo franchises. As CTO for NC West, Wyatt will report to Chung and will focus on platform technology development, network operations, and systems engineering.
"There is an unparalleled opportunity for growth in the massively multiplayer online market," said Chris Chung. "By combining the strength of our US and European teams, NCsoft has the best global infrastructure to win in new and existing markets, and the best developer talent capable of creating blockbuster MMO franchises."
About NC West
NC West is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Korea-based NCsoft Corporation, a world leading publisher and developer of massively multiplayer online games including Lineage/Lineage II, Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Richard Garriott's Tabula RasaÂ®, and AionÂ®: The Tower of EternityÂ. More information about NCsoft can be found at www.PlayNC.com.
NCsoft, ArenaNet, Lineage, City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, Tabula Rasa, Aion, The Tower of Eternity and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
At least they still list Tabula Rasa in the "About" section. Stay tuned, there is certainly more to follow.
I think that drastic times call for drastic measures, and I truly hope they can save the companies and the games. My heart goes out to the people who's lives are really effected - the employees and of course the gamers! Does this surprise you, or is this what you'd expect of any company trying to compete against SOE, Blizzard, and Mythic? What do you think is going to happen with Tabula Rasa and Guild Wars 2? I've started the NCsoft discussion in the forums.