NCsoft says that with 400,000 preorders, its MMO Aion
is set to trump rival major MMOs launching this year -- promising "the biggest MMO release in recent years" when the title launches next week.
Developed in Korea, Aion
is better-tailored to Western tastes than other Eastern imports, NCsoft asserts. s currently up and running on around 225 servers across South Korea, Taiwan, China, and Japan. The game generated 40.6 billion won ($32.7 million)
in revenues for NCsoft's most recent fiscal quarter, excluding royalties -- a strong start.
The publisher has never made a secret of its large-scale ambitions for Aion
in the West; CFO Jaeho Lee has said it "could be the second [most] successful MMO in the U.S. market next to World of Warcraft
's apparently unshakable market dominance has presented a challenge for many publishers who've tried to launch major MMOs in the West only to achieve mixed results at best.
Titles like Funcom's Age of Conan
and Electronic Arts' Warhammer Online
launched to very strong initial commercial reception with heartening early user figures, but never dented WoW
's userbase -- and later merged servers and laid off staff when launch spikes bled off in the weeks and months post-release.