Author Topic: NCSoft Stockwatch  (Read 326524 times)

Atlantea

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #200 on: November 05, 2012, 05:52:58 PM »
Considering that Arenanet and Carbine Studios are American studios, I would be inclined to disagree with your statement that NCsoft is unwilling to use american/european developers. It would probably be more accurate to say that NCsoft are unwilling to support something that doesn't fit in with their roster of game. Now, if something *does* appeal to them, then I believe that they would support it, especially if it is suitable for their own market. For something that is suitable for the US market alone? Possibly not.

That's an interesting point. How DOES Arenanet fit into all of this? Why are they allowed the amount of autonomy that they obviously are?

In fact it is possible for a gamer who's not in touch with gaming news to pick the product up off the shelf and completely miss the fact that this is an NCSoft product, with the absolute minimal NCSoft branding in the product. Though Arenanet are wholly owned by NCSoft, their "leash" seems to be amazingly loose.

Is it simply because of the proven track record with GW1? But if that's the case, why wasn't Paragon Studios given such freedom? 

Why the HELL did Arenanet get to develop Guild Wars 2 and Paragon Studios repeated efforts to make COH2 were shot down???

Something doesn't add up here. NCSoft is paranoid about all Western effort EXCEPT Arenanet and Guild Wars? The Hell??

Is it simply that GW 1&2 are Fantasy Games and the business model of Micro-transactions fits better with the Korean "model"? 



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P51mus

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #201 on: November 05, 2012, 06:09:56 PM »
Now, I'm not presenting this as what happened either.  We can't know.  But I can tell you that this is precisely what gets most companies and products shut down.  They are given deadlines and performance targets, with a certain amount of leeeway, but at a set point a blunt decision is made with no grey area.  It either hit the target or it didn't.  If 5 years of knowing targets didn't let people hit them then another 5 months won't either.

But the Paragon Studios team, all of them, were surprised by the closing.  If there were targets to hit, they were never told about them.  Which is pretty ridiculous.

Osborn

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #202 on: November 05, 2012, 06:14:37 PM »
But the Paragon Studios team, all of them, were surprised by the closing.  If there were targets to hit, they were never told about them.  Which is pretty ridiculous.

Or if there were targets to hit, they were hidden from the development team up until Black Friday.

That said, some responsibility for 'hitting targets' has to lie in the hands of the Publisher. The Developer can make a great game, but if the Publisher doesn't actually, you know publish the darn thing with any sort of advertisement budget, I'm not sure how entirely that's the development team's fault.

"Here, you have the best aim in the world. Hit this target... without a crossbow or anything to fire." is still a recipe for setting them up to fail.

And despite that they were still running in the black and making progress on the game at a somewhat fantastic rate, especially for an 8 year old game. So they were given nothing to fire and still hitting (known) targets with thrown rocks.

That's pretty impressive for a team in a genre that's in itself failing in general just based on shear saturation.

Ammon

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #203 on: November 05, 2012, 07:15:26 PM »
But the Paragon Studios team, all of them, were surprised by the closing.  If there were targets to hit, they were never told about them.  Which is pretty ridiculous.
Every company I've known to be closed through not hitting its targets is surprised they were not given an extension, or more understanding.  Every single one.  Or they say the targets were not realistic, or some other reason why they thought that they'd be the exception.  But as I say, its a hard rule that protects the professional gambler - there are no exceptions.

We know that time and again City was supposed to be revitalised and turned around. 

CoV for instance was supposed to bring in a whole new mass of players, almost doubling the player base by adding in villains and pvp to draw in new customers the game had not attracted before.  It most definitely failed to hit the performance it had promised, and instead, split the existing playerbase, such that each side seemed a bit less populated than before, and starting the disatisfaction about how hard it could be to find redside teams.

Of course, that was all under Cryptic, so lets look at ... Going Rogue.  Yeah, that hit all its targets didn't it?

Closing the French and German language support seem like a target in the original plan?  A sign of success?  How about closing the Offices in the UK for Europe?

Plans are usually about either growth, or milking cash during a sunset period.  City was not growing, so anything in that plan of five years about growth was not being hit.  Yes, the Market brought in extra revenue ... but did it take the income back to CoH's strongest point of subs?  Did it undo 5 years of declining player numbers?

We know, and have known for some years, that CoH has never been close to attaining what it had hoped to.  We just don't know how many of those hopes were actually the basis of financial performance targets.  The only persons who could tell us would be the head of Paragon Studios and the CFO there.

Again, I'm not putting thise forward as anything but an example that one doesn't have to get into conspiracy theories to speculate.  Occam's Razor will always say that failure to hit performance targets for Growth (and the game was shrinking, not growing) is alone enough reason to close many businesses.

The bottom line is still the same, it was profitable, but not profitable enough to run, but the current thinking on the value of the property is higher than anyone has come close to bidding.  Those are facts, and all else is speculation, which barring insider financial reports and reading contracts, are just blind guesses.

We should spend most of our time working on changing the valuations of what it is worth to sell, and what it is costing to keep closed, rather than on speculation and guesswork that we can never prove, and doesn't change the underlying need of what we must do.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2012, 07:23:52 PM by Ammon »

P51mus

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #204 on: November 05, 2012, 08:27:55 PM »
We should spend most of our time working on changing the valuations of what it is worth to sell, and what it is costing to keep closed, rather than on speculation and guesswork that we can never prove, and doesn't change the underlying need of what we must do.

Yes, and what we do know is that the game was profitable, the game devs believed they were doing well, and I believe this is the first MMO shut down that was still profitable and said shutdown was because of the publisher running it (I don't know whether SWG was profitable or not, but that was shut down because lucasarts pulled the license on it).

The notion that something can be shutdown because it's not profitable enough and not in danger of going negative any time soon, and that the fans of it can be prevented from having access to it, is a horrible one and something I think can gain traction outside of our community.

Fear of Valve disappearing with their games is the biggest concern people who don't like Steam have, and that's a company with a sterling reputation, has committed to patching all games on their service for offline if they ever go under (I believe they've already prepared them actually?), has an offline mode for those games anyway, and has commited itself to never letting itself get bought out by anyone.


Luna Eclypse

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #205 on: November 05, 2012, 08:42:36 PM »
So yeah, how 'bout dem NCsoft stock prices, eh?

Their value is down to ₩203,500 today; a little over $186 USD if I'm reading the chart right.

Do we have enough severe PR attacks in reserve for after Nov. 30? I reckon there will be a hard drop in their stock value the closer we get to Shutdown, we should have some critically timed press coverage ready to go to capitalize.
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P51mus

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #206 on: November 05, 2012, 09:59:03 PM »
Do we have enough severe PR attacks in reserve for after Nov. 30? I reckon there will be a hard drop in their stock value the closer we get to Shutdown, we should have some critically timed press coverage ready to go to capitalize.

I dunno, but election season in the US is almost over.  Election day is tomorrow (VOTE! If you haven't done so yet, and are in the US).

Should be easier to try and get coverage in non gaming news sites after this.

dwturducken

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #207 on: November 05, 2012, 10:04:21 PM »
I'm currently reading a book by Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis on "digital assassination." It's interesting stuff, but there is nothing much in it that I would openly advocate. In fact, I wouldn't even openly discuss any of it on these boards.
I wouldn't use the word "replace," but there's no word for "take over for you and make everything better almost immediately," so we just say "replace."

Colette

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #208 on: November 06, 2012, 12:27:28 AM »
"Digital Assassination?" I so not like the sound of that. Remember to stay blueside, all. No lies, just the truth as loud as you can.

Atlantea

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #209 on: November 06, 2012, 12:48:04 AM »
Since NCSoft doesn't deal in truth - only in lies - I'd say that to them - Truth = Assassination.

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dwturducken

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #210 on: November 06, 2012, 03:03:12 AM »
Nope! Blue-side, all the way. Just saying: it's interesting reading.
I wouldn't use the word "replace," but there's no word for "take over for you and make everything better almost immediately," so we just say "replace."

Luna Eclypse

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #211 on: November 06, 2012, 03:42:28 AM »
I would advocate that... but that's because I'm vindictive when it comes to useless overpaid corporate scumbags. And that is why I'm not participating in spreading the truth because I'll just start entertaining myself with off-color slander like "NCsoft makes murder porn." (Because I have a dark sense of humor).

So, good luck to those that are staying blue side in the fight. Make sure to lock the padded room after I go in so I don't cause any trouble.  :-X
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Victoria Victrix

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #212 on: November 06, 2012, 04:19:08 AM »
We should spend most of our time working on changing the valuations of what it is worth to sell, and what it is costing to keep closed, rather than on speculation and guesswork that we can never prove, and doesn't change the underlying need of what we must do.

Ammon's right.  Stay on target.  We can speculate and investigate all we want after we get City revived.  For now, we need, badly, to keep focus.
I will go down with this ship.  I won't put my hands up in surrender.  There will be no white flag above my door.  I'm in love, and always will be.  Dido

Kaiser Tarantula

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #213 on: November 06, 2012, 04:23:59 AM »
Ammon's right.  Stay on target.  We can speculate and investigate all we want after we get City revived.  For now, we need, badly, to keep focus.
So... just what's the goal then?

Communicate to investors that CoH as it stands is worth less and less with every passing hour, since it's currently generating no revenue and isn't returning anything in exchange for the cost of keeping it?  That CoH's value will drop precipitously when the game is closed, because a large number of dissatisfied customers who feel the closure was premature will simply cease purchasing NCsoft products altogether?  That NCsoft is digging itself a grave when it comes to profits by acting in such a xenophobic way towards its western customer base?

What's the message we need to be getting out, and to whom should that message be directed at?

Victoria Victrix

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #214 on: November 06, 2012, 05:00:11 AM »
We need to spread two kinds of messages, the overt, and the covert.

The overt:

Attack NCSoft at every possible angle. 

Remind gamers every time an NSoft game turns up in the news that they are the Gamekiller; that time and money invested in an NCSoft game is pouring time and money down a hole, because it can be yanked out from under you without warning at any moment.  This means we have to be vigilant about articles and news-stories and make sure that the comments sections are flooded with our statements. 

Attack NCSoft on non-gaming fronts.  Flood feminist sites with items about the misogynistic nature of Bits and Tits.  Flood Parent sites with the soft-core nature of Bits and Tits, and suggest that if this is NCSoft's new direction, they might want to think twice about letting their kids play any NCSoft game.  Remind the parents of special needs children that NCSoft yanked a tool that had offered demonstrable help to children like theirs out from under those children--and deprived those in the future of that help.  Remind senior citizens that NCSoft yanked a game that they could have been playing with their grandchildren.  Use your imagination.  Above all, make it clear that we are not going away and will continue to point out why they are a company no one should do business with.

The covert:

Spook the stockholders with what we are doing.  Make sure they know what we are doing.  Watch for articles in business journals and sites about NCSoft and add comments about what we are doing.  It probably won't even matter if we make NCSoft lose subscribers; the fact that we are still at work could spook them and drive stock prices down.

As Ammon said, the important thing is to make it clear that we are not going away, that we are going to spend the same time and energy we spent in gaming on bringing the pain back to NCSoft, and that their reputation is eroding and it is going to cost them an increasingly expensive PR campaign.  And that the only way to make us go away is to sell the City to someone who will care for her.
I will go down with this ship.  I won't put my hands up in surrender.  There will be no white flag above my door.  I'm in love, and always will be.  Dido

Undercat

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #215 on: November 06, 2012, 05:11:34 AM »
That's an interesting point. How DOES Arenanet fit into all of this? Why are they allowed the amount of autonomy that they obviously are?

I wondered about the same thing, but chalked it up to the fact that GW2 had been in development for several years and it didn't seem reasonable that NCsoft would kill ArenaNet before trying to recover some of their investment---especially since they have no motivation to "punish" anyone there, unlike Tabula Rasa with the Garriotts. Besides, it seemed to me that the axe might have swung over ANet next, maybe a year or so after launch, but now, after a bit more digging, I'm not so sure....

Considering that Arenanet and Carbine Studios are American studios, I would be inclined to disagree with your statement that NCsoft is unwilling to use american/european developers. It would probably be more accurate to say that NCsoft are unwilling to support something that doesn't fit in with their roster of game. Now, if something *does* appeal to them, then I believe that they would support it, especially if it is suitable for their own market. For something that is suitable for the US market alone? Possibly not.

I'm now inclined to agree with this statement. Considering that half of WoW's 10 million or so subscribers are in Asia, any game that doesn't have a future in Eastern markets could be assumed to be throwing away a huge chunk of potential revenue---perhaps even the majority of it. ArenaNet has apparently been quite savvy to that fact, targeting GW2 to fit the Asian market from the start; CoX, on the other hand, had no perceivable future there. Not only does ArenaNet have potential value in the East (reference), but it would seem they have been singing pretty much the same song the Garriotts were singing years ago; namely, that they will deliver a WoW-killer:
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O'Brien [president of ArenaNet] is confident the game [GW2] will overtake "World of Warcraft," the market leader produced by Irvine, Calif.-based Blizzard Entertainment, where he and ArenaNet's other founders worked before starting their studio in 2000. (ref)
...and, given historical precedent, this may be precisely what Kim wants to hear...
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ArenaNet kept its autonomy and creative direction, in part because it has enthusiastic support from NCsoft Chief Executive Taek Jin Kim, a gamer and game designer. O'Brien said their conversations tend to be about game design, and Kim wants "to make games that he's proud of, that gamers are going to love and that are going to be the No. 1 games in the industry." (ibid)

One of the things that formed my opinion about NCsoft's xenophobia were repeated negative reports in Korea Times, for example:
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Garriott's departure from NCsoft was seen as inevitable, as the company has never been pleased with his work ethic.
...
"And it seems like the company has been evaluating foreign developers more cautiously since all the trouble with Garriott," said an industry watcher. (ref)

Yet it seems that NCsoft is still chasing the dream of a WoW-killer. Even after Garriott. So perhaps the closure of CoX was, indeed, not merely a reactionary and xenophobic withdrawal from the American market as either a production or consumption endpoint, but a judgment on the behalf of Kim and NCsoft that "little people don't matter." I find that a little more palatable than a nationalistic tantrum...but not by very much.

As for how the development cost of TR was calculated, to assume that none of the acquisition costs of the Garriotts were credited to the TR project would be to assume that none of their costs were, since the same article describes Richard's total take as being a figure that appears to arithmetically combine his buyout deal and stock option exercise. That, frankly, would seem a little odd to me. But it is irrelevant. While I still feel that NCsoft was stung by the Garriotts, and that the episode had some impact on their relationship with American developers, I concede that it may not have been quite that simple. As I said, I take that as a very small consolation, but right about now, I'll take whatever I can get.

Undercat

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #216 on: November 06, 2012, 05:41:45 AM »
Remind gamers every time an NSoft game turns up in the news that they are the Gamekiller; that time and money invested in an NCSoft game is pouring time and money down a hole, because it can be yanked out from under you without warning at any moment.  This means we have to be vigilant about articles and news-stories and make sure that the comments sections are flooded with our statements.

Yes. Regardless of NCsoft's present position with respect to American game development, the fact remains that they exhibit inexcusably callous behavior toward any toys (and customers for those toys) that are no longer of interest to them. Eighty-million-dollars was way out of line, by any reasonable metric for valuation (although I admit that non-stratospheric earnings multiples were put out of fashion by the dot-com boom).

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Attack NCSoft on non-gaming fronts.  Flood feminist sites with items about the misogynistic nature of Bits and Tits.  Flood Parent sites with the soft-core nature of Bits and Tits, and suggest that if this is NCSoft's new direction, they might want to think twice about letting their kids play any NCSoft game.

That might work for some fraction of the overall gaming population...but the fraction is probably not very large. The players of CoX are somewhat different from those in other MMOs I have tried, which is one of the reasons I like it. Consider also that B&S is presently NCsoft's most popular title in Korea. The majority of MMO gamers are probably male, like myself, and have little or no aversion to innocent T&A. In fact, I consider the idea of fantasizing about killing another human being (PvP) to be orders-of-magnitude more offensive than animated titillation. Why not start a crusade about that? Such topics can rapidly polarize people into religiously-devoted camps and could ultimately hurt the aims of the save-CoH crowd more than help it.

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Remind senior citizens that NCSoft yanked a game that they could have been playing with their grandchildren.

This is a problem with the genre as a whole, as far as I'm concerned. It's one of the things that bothers me most about MMOs: they have no durability. I can go to gog.com and buy dozens of games that are 10-15 years old, enjoy them whenever I want to, play them with future generations, etc. No such guarantee exists for MMOs as a whole. Want to play vanilla WoW? Out of luck...gone forever, never to be seen by another soul again. It was simply a service, not art. That's kind of depressing, actually.

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As Ammon said, the important thing is to make it clear that we are not going away, that we are going to spend the same time and energy we spent in gaming on bringing the pain back to NCSoft, and that their reputation is eroding and it is going to cost them an increasingly expensive PR campaign.  And that the only way to make us go away is to sell the City to someone who will care for her.

I whole-heartedly concur. Just please be careful what you do. Large corporations do not need to win in court: they can bankrupt small litigants in pre-trial.

Ammon

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #217 on: November 06, 2012, 05:42:43 AM »
Attack NCSoft on non-gaming fronts.  Flood feminist sites with items about the misogynistic nature of Bits and Tits.  Flood Parent sites with the soft-core nature of Bits and Tits, and suggest that if this is NCSoft's new direction, they might want to think twice about letting their kids play any NCSoft game.  Remind the parents of special needs children that NCSoft yanked a tool that had offered demonstrable help to children like theirs out from under those children--and deprived those in the future of that help.  Remind senior citizens that NCSoft yanked a game that they could have been playing with their grandchildren.  Use your imagination.  Above all, make it clear that we are not going away and will continue to point out why they are a company no one should do business with.
And don'y forget one of the strongest accusations of all - NCsoft callously closed a studio putting all of its staff, including but not limited to 80 developers, out of work.  Add in the managers, office staff etc and that's a LOT of people who were fired while working hard and earning profit for their parent company.  How's that for how NCsoft treat loyalty and respect people?

A change of focus would have been putting Paragon to work on something else.  Firing everyone as a reward for years of profitable service is business, but of the worst kind.

To an extent, I would honestly suggest that we play down the pornographic angle of Bits and Tits.  Nothing helps a product succeed more than being told it is disgusting, overtly sexual, or forbidden and bad for you.  How much of the success of Fifty Shades of Grey is down to all the discussion about it being pornographic? 

Parents railing against a game for being overly sexual will make every teenage boy in the world want to play.  Doesn't mean we can't use it for getting feminist support, but we need to be careful that this message is always targeted specifically to that audience.  Not somewhere young men will read it and become more interested in seeing what all the fuss is about.

On top of that, we could be seen as attacking another game.  Isn't our aim to unify players of other games to our cause, not to show them in our actions that we are yet another community of gamers who belittle the tastes of other gamers?  Attacking Blade and Soul directly sends the wrong message, sadly.  If we can use it to get coverage in mainstream, then I believe some of the mixed message may be a cost worth paying.  But if we can instead show understanding and support for all gaming tastes, I believe we'll be more likely to inspire that same supportive acceptance from other gamers too.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 05:48:11 AM by Ammon »

Quinch

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #218 on: November 06, 2012, 05:50:56 AM »
Well, on account of Bits and Tits, there's also the demographics angle. If the portrayal of female characters is grossly insulting, and male players play it in expectation of scantily-clad co-players, then they'll be sorely disappointed by their absence. I mean, if I were a girl, I'd jump at the chance to play as seven feet of legs with a pair of novelty lemons stapled to two inches between my hips and neck, but that's just me.

Then again, I suppose there'll still be female characters around. I mean, dock workers need love too.

P51mus

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Re: NCSoft Stockwatch
« Reply #219 on: November 06, 2012, 08:56:32 AM »
On top of that, we could be seen as attacking another game.  Isn't our aim to unify players of other games to our cause, not to show them in our actions that we are yet another community of gamers who belittle the tastes of other gamers?  Attacking Blade and Soul directly sends the wrong message, sadly.  If we can use it to get coverage in mainstream, then I believe some of the mixed message may be a cost worth paying.  But if we can instead show understanding and support for all gaming tastes, I believe we'll be more likely to inspire that same supportive acceptance from other gamers too.

I prefer mentioning how I can't trust NCSoft anymore.

That, and the blade and soul female characters are so exaggerated they're the opposite of attractive to me.