Following rumors yesterday that NCsoft's U.S. MMO division had instigated significant layoffs that included 80 percent of its GMs, 90 percent of its tech support staff, and 75 percent of its QA staff, as well as a number of people from other areas within the company, the company has now issued an official statement confirming 70 redundancies.
A post on website f13.net
, which cited an unnamed developer-only message board as its source, attributed the layoff numbers to a drop in subscribers for the company's flagship City of Heroes/City of Villains
PC MMO titles, which is allegedly at just over 100,000 subscribers, as well as poor sales of the recently released Auto Assault
(which it claims has yet to see more than 10,000 subscribers since its April launch), as well as costs attributed to the ongoing development of Tabula Rasa
NCSoft has now responded with an official statement confirming layoffs, though not necessarily in the percentages cited in the F13 posting, commenting: "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."
The statement concludes: "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."