NC Soft Layoffs

Fuck. Sorry Lum. Hope it was not unexpected for you and the others. Good luck with future endeavors.

Lum has plans.

Hehe, nice ceiling cat pick and positive attitude.

Alan Dunkin, you ok? Check in please :) :)

Financial data released recently:

Maybe Garriott is going into space to escape.

Was Alan on the dungeon runners team? He did post about it a couple of times. I know we have some guys from arenanet on these boards, but they wouldn’t be affected.

NC put all their apples in one basket with tabula rasa. It’s a real shame. Just a couple of years ago they were doing amazingly well, riding high on that lineage money, buying up dev studios with wild abandon. I always figured it would come to tears.

Here’s hoping GW2 makes it through OK. Aion too, I guess.

Ouch, didn’t realise Tabula Rasa was tanking so hard.

Although I guess $1.9 million revenue seems like a healthy amount of players.

Assuming that it’s mostly subscriptions and not new box sales, that’s about 45k players. Less if you split some of that income off to account for box sales.

The last time I logged into TR, they’d dropped the instancing of outdoor zones (at least the lower ones), and about half the players running around the first area were trial accounts.

Yeah, TR had a lot of potential, but not really sure what happened there. It didn’t help they probably shelled out a bunch of money for Richard Gariott’s name. He was probably too busy learning Russian for his space flight.

One day I, honestly, want to read a book written by someone on the inside of one of these $100 million development projects that did not exactly succeed. A story faithful to what happened, of course. I know some of you in the Biz know how it happens, but it seems like a hell of a chance just to chase down another Holy Grail in a genre of PC gaming which is still young and has few success stories.

I guess they figured worst case, there is always the Lineage money. According to those figures above, they were right.

TR had a 6 year development time with a couple of from scratch restart. Lets say it cost $40m, for a nice round reasonable number, if possibly low. That $1.9m is quarterly, so $633k per month, at $15 per player, equals a grand total of 42,200 subscribers. Ouch.

Obviously they started with more than 42k, and we know that they made $5m in box sales in Q4 2007, since NC released that information. TR retailed 11/07, so it’s been out 9 months now. Just as a rough if again likely to be generous guess, lets say that their average number of subscribers after the first month was 100k. 100,000 * 15 = 1.5m * 8 = 12m. My best back of the napkin educumated guess is that TR brought in $15-$20m over its lifetime… with a budget of ~$40m. Obviously it’s only downhill from here.

That’s rough.

Hey Lum, how about updating that HOI2 AAR, huh?

Nowhere to go with it, unless you want to read a breathless blow by blow account of being steamrollered by an unstoppable Germany if I’m fool enough to attack them!

Sorry to hear about that, Lum. I hope Webwars turns out great.

As for NCSoft, I think they’re refocusing their efforts to their in-house studio in Korea that’s developing a few promising titles, namely an action online game called Blade & Soul, which features art and character designs by the Magna Carta guy ( Hyung-tae Kim ) who’s pretty famous in Korea. Yes, that is a choreographed in-engine video.

There’s also Metalblack: Alternative that looks like a 4-player online co-op version of Alien Swarm with phat lewt and levels/skills and Steel Dogs, which looks like Death Rally. Not bad, all in all. Certainly looking better than Tabula Rasa.

I’m at so I certainly can’t speak with any authority on happenings at Austin but GW2 is not affected by any of this at all. As the press release that NCsoft put out recently said, all of the layoffs are a result of NCsoft refocusing their efforts so I am pretty certain that means that games like Aion are also unaffected by all of this.

On another note, I also hope Alan made it through ok. Not sure if he was on DR or not.

I’m going to copy the post that I made in the Midway thread over here.

Good luck, everybody.

You don’t need to write a book. Sims Online for example was very simple: they hired random producers with no experience and no knowledge off the street, Will Wright talked vaguely of big ideas and didn’t actually do anything or design anything, nobody had any plan at all for what the game actually was supposed to be, they seized in desperation upon an architecture that wasn’t appropriate for Sims (or at least they didn’t implement a remotely Simslike game with it), they talked big and set hard deadlines and suddenly realized it wasn’t going so good so forced hundreds of people to do crunch time for most of a year without a break. Then the marketing department pulled some strings, got a Newsweek cover story, handed out copies of said Newsweek to everyone on the team, autographed by some guy named Rusty that had had nothing to do with the project and 90% of the team had never heard of, and then marketing went “woo!” and went off to play golf or something without really knowing anything about what sort of game it was they were selling. All the upper level execs who had been mismanaging everything up to this point then declared victory and reassigned themselves to other projects, trailing clouds of glory, just in time to be the hell out of the way when the fallout from the fact of its being an utterly crappy game started hitting.

You only need to see one or two of these things up close before you start recognizing the patterns and danger signals in other projects. Well, if you have the brains of a five-year-old. Some - in positions of authority - obviously don’t.

Were you an insider on that project Rollory or is this from your magic 8 ball?

Saw it coming, didn’t make it any better.

Did you predict it on your blog?

Being layed off is stressful as hell. I wish you good luck in finding a new gig. Hopefully you won’t have to move since you like Austin.


Edit: Woah! Quick turn around. Gratz Lum!

I’m curious about the name, John Galt Games. Isn’t he the character in Atlas Shrugged?

I also notice that they’ve got an office in Kuala Lumpur! Oh my.