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NCSoft Austin Lays Off 25% of Staff
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by K. Samwell on June 23, 2006 in Gaming

One of the most prolific MMORPG companies in the world looks to be having bigger troubles than many have imagined. The NC Austin office total employee count is down to 230, from the 300 it was a few days ago. It is currently unknown exactly who were laid off, but it’s known that some key members inside the company are no longer there.

One of the most prolific MMORPG companies in the world looks to be having bigger troubles than many have imagined. The NC Austin office total employee count is down to 230, from the 300 it was a few days ago. It is currently unknown exactly who were laid off, but it’s known that some key members inside the company are no longer there.

NCsoft’s Austin business has announced an immediate restructuring within its organization that included the difficult task of reducing members of its workforce. The online games industry is one that is continually changing with the scaling up and down of business based on product launches and product development schedules.

Over the past two and a half years NCsoft has launched six major titles into the North American market and has grown with each title launch. As the company continues to grow its live products and prepares its next set of major online game releases for later in 2006 and 2007, the company sees a slowdown in its launch pattern and the need to streamline its business.

For this reason, NCsoft has reduced its 300 person workforce in Austin by approximately 70 people to accommodate this change. This decision has no impact on the schedules of any projects currently in development and service to NCsoft’s current games will continue without interruption.

Sadly, of those 70, our friend Valerie ‘Pann’ Massey, Community Coordinator for the Auto Assault team and beloved long time community personality, was affected by this cut. We here at Techgage wish her, and all those affected by this cut, only good fortune for their futures. I have faith that we will once again see our beloved GM’s and Community staff in other realms, until then, all the best.

What’s this mean for the future of NC Soft in the US? Less than two years ago, they were the primary players in the MMO market… the ones that other companies, such as Blizzard, wanted to catch up with. Lineage 1 and 2, combined, had well over 5 Million total subscribers, although that number has since dwindled. NC Soft is Korea is still going strong, despite losing 30% of it’s stock in the last month, but the future is questionable there also.

To help split up the numbers more, f13.net gave info about which groups this layoff session included. 80% of the Game Masters are gone, in addition to a staggering 90% of their Tech Support. Lastly, 75% of their QA is also cut. Aside from management, it looks like they are trying to keep staff to a bare minimum.

Will Richard Garriots Tabula Rasa be a saving force for NC Austin? Or Dungeon Runners for that matter? The future looks bleak for our recently reviewed Auto Assault, which is rumored to have less than 10,000 subscribers. $150,000US income per month for any MMO is not usually considered ‘decent’, so the future of that game specifically is cloudy. City of Heroes also has reports of declining subscribers, but no rough estimates are available at this time.

What’s in the future for NC Soft in the US is to be seen, but lets hope things will not get any worse.


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