Posted Fri, May 08, 2009 by Ethec
Welcome to the 1,075th Edition of Loading...
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In yesterday's Loading... Garriott's Gambit, we reviewed the gritty details of Richard Garriott's lawsuit against NCSoft in what will become the strange final chapter of Tabula Rasa. We knew that Richard's brother, Robert, is president of NCSoft America. But thanks to an anonymous emailer, we discovered that he was on the NCSoft board of directors at the time that his brother (forcibly or voluntarily) left the company. Is there a sour grapes element to this lawsuit? We can only speculate, but we'll dish what details we have in Loading... Family Feud.
We'll also wash off the gossip column-ness and congratulate EVE Online on six years and counting, look forward to Baltimore Games Day with Mythic Entertainment this weekend, and note that Blizzard's latest earning report shows that WoW is still an epic cash cow.
Coyote is back in a big way at Ten Ton Hammer, and his daily column explores all things geek with Coyote's trademark wit in It's All Geek to Me. Read it daily at Ten Ton Hammer!
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You've probably seen the campy daytime game show Family Feud, but instead of Richard Dawson or Richard Karn hosting, this Family Feud episode has another Richard at its center (let the record show I went with "Richard," not "Dick", I do like the guy!) - Richard Garriott, with the heretofore unexplored angle of his brother Robert's role in all of this. They're doing the face-off, but you get to decide whether to keep the question or pass. Not passing? Let's play the feud!
Robert, Richard's older and less space-inclined brother, is listed at MobyGames as President of NCSoft America. Dating back to before their Origin days, Robert was by all accounts the left brain - the business saavy one - while Richard was the right-brainy creative type. It was an excellent match, at least for the eighties, nineties, and early aughts. Then came the drawn-out Tabula Rasa affair, but even as late as the end of 2007, Robert retained high hopes for Tabula Rasa: "We founded Destination Games in April 2000 in part to release this game, and while I give my brother Richard some grief now and then about the length it took to produce it (though, I must admit, the game you see today is the result of work since 2004), I’m very proud of Tabula Rasa". That's an ugly quote to bring up now, but I think it shows that Richard's more taciturn brother wasn't among the largely disinterested, bottom line-fixated suits that just about every company can produce.
In addition to being Pres of NCSoft America, Robert also served on the NCSoft Board of Directors from March 2006 to March 2009, according to the NCSoft investor relations website. His brother's farewell letter was posted on November 11, 2008. Would Robert, as a representative of both NCSoft America's business interests as well as a representative of the stockholders on the board, have been party to his brother's dismissal, when tens of millions worth of stock options were involved, as well as a looming PR challenge? Survey says: yes.
Let's examine the evidence that this lawsuit is more about sour grapes than a legitimate legal claim, and I apologize in advance for having way too much fun with this Family Feud analogy.
Whatever the outcome of these lawsuits in the lightning round of this particular Family Feud episode, it really seems like there's more to this story than was initially reported. Here's hoping that whatever the relations between the brothers Garriott at present, family will come first and this all has a quiet resolution.
To cleanse our palette of the gossip and speculation, three quick news bits. Huge grats to CCP and EVE Online, which celebrated its sixth anniversary on Wednesday. Here's to six and sixty more. Two, Ten Ton Hammer will be on-hand at Games Workshop's Baltimore Games Day this weekend. If you will be too, look for the Ten Ton Hammer blue and yellow shirts and say hi. If you can't make it, drop your WAR questions in the Loading... forum and we'll see if we can't get answers (premium members have dibs!).
Finally, Activision Blizzard's earnings beat expectations yet again. Did they really? Is anyone really expecting Blizzard not to make skads and skads of money? At last year's studio tour before BlizzCon, I was really hoping to see a Scrooge McDuck-style gigantic money vault and maybe go for a swim ("for the hoard!") but, sadly, the best they could do was a hole in the ground where a 12' orc statue now stands.
3 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 24 in May! 551 in 2009!
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-Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team