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NCSoft: Company History


NCSoft: From Lineage To City Of Heroes

Mr. T.J. Kim created his company by the name NCSoft in March 1997. One and a half years later, in September 1998 the company unveiled its first product on the market and it was the game called Lineage or also known as lineage 2 classic. Furthermore, in 2001 NCSoft created its subsidiary in the United States and called it NC Interactive. The newly incorporated body was based in Texas in Austin. In a few years, it becomes NCSoft West. It became possible after a successful acquisition, which was led by Robert and Richard Garriot who helped to acquire Destination Games. A couple of years later, in 2004, the company created its first MMORPG products by the names City of Heroes and Lineage II.

In the same year, NCSoft started its expansion to Europe. A newly created subsidiary was based in Brighton in the UK. Thanks to the expansion, on 4th February 2005, City of Heroes has become available for players in several European countries. Afterward, European services for two other company’s products such as Blade and Soul and Wild Stars have become available.

The same year, the company started to publish its first-ever MMO Guild Wars Prophecies made for Arenanets. It was followed by two campaigns such as Factions and Nightfall and a marvelously made expansion called Eye of the North. The company made further actions in publishing activities by making Guilds of Wars 2 available to players and carried on doing so up until 2015. Hearts of Thorns replaced the game in that year.

It was obvious that NCSoft was managing all organizations that belonged to the company in the West. For that reason, NCSoft made a formation with its subsidiary on 10th September 2008. The headquarters of a newly created body was opened in Seattle in Washington State.

The next milestone for the company was recorded on 8th July 2011, when talks with SK Telecom took place. The subject of the talks was the acquisition of Ntreev Soft Co. Ltd. It was anticipated that talks with regards to the acquisition will be completed in a month. However, it took approximately seven months before the deal was made and brought to the very end. NCSoft bought out 76% shares of Ntreev, so on 15th February 2012, $96.7 million was paid.

More actions with regards to acquisitions were made in 2011. Hotdog Studio has become the sphere of interest for NCSoft. This mobile games maker was based in the South Korean capital Seol. This company was its activities in the production of phone and smartphone titles. The most famous of them was Dark Shrine. Hotdog Studio was also bought out in the same year.

It was crucial to start to produce MMORPG games as it occupies a vast niche of the market. As a result, in June 2012 NCSoft launched their first-ever game in this field, which was called Blade and Soul since the time Aion launched as far as in 2006.

It was not long before such a successful company as NCSoft could become the subject of the acquisition by a larger organization. So, in 2012, a company called Nexon acquired a 14.7% stake in NCSoft. The estimate of the deal was equal to $688 million. However, a few years later in November 2015, all shares were sold back to NCSoft and the deal was closed.

There were spectacular developments on 19th November 2015 as the media was screaming about a new deal that NCSoft Tiger Studios tried to form. The formation of the two companies was successful. Tiger studios were based in California in a town called San Mateo. Its prime activities were to adopt titles for mobile devices that were made in Korea for use in Western countries. The company also successfully developed its own games for portable devices.

A source code was stolen in Seoul

Unprecedented events took place on 27th April 2007. On that day Seoul Metropolitan Police has made a statement confirming that NCSoft’s former seven employees were under suspicion of selling a code from the newest release of the Lineage III game. Apparently, the code from the new game was sold to a company based in Japan, whereas potential damage could be amounted to as much as $1 billion.

The lawsuit with regards to

NCSoft found itself in a scandal in 2008 when CEO Thom Kidrin made a claim that his company opened a lawsuit against NCSoft. The subject of the conflict was a “scalable virtual world for thousands of users”, which had been patented by Mr. Kidrin’s company. It was claimed that NCSoft was involved in patent infringement. It became apparent that this is going to be a very long process and there could be a lot of hearings in these proceedings. In a few years’ time, the companies tried to settle the problems. On 23d April 2010, the case was eventually settled. The media desperately tried to find the details of the settlement but it was strictly confidential. However, in a few months, on 10th July in the same year, there was a request to reopen the case.

Termination of Richard Garriott

One of the NCSoft games was utterly unsuccessful and it was Tabula Rasa. The lead developer by the name Richard Garriott was terminated from the company as a result. Mr. Garriott had to disagree and launched legal proceedings against NCSoft for compensation that amounted to $24 million. In his suit, he asserted that he has lost millions of dollars because he was forced to sell his 400 thousand shares of NCSoft. He pleaded that NCSoft was also responsible for fraudulent activities by forcing him to resign from the company. At the end of the process, he was awarded $28 million for the received damages. The war of wards inevitably followed when NCSoft said that Mr. Garriott is trying to turn his former employer into his personal cash machine and his departure from the company was nothing but to catch the ride to outer space to the International Space Station. NCSoft launched an appeal and presented the case by stating the very questionable work ethics of its former employee. There was an $84 million investment into the game but it was unsuccessful but the company still has pulled the plug on it. After that Mr. Garriott left the company. The gentleman was scrutinized when he boarded into a $30 million private jet supposedly belonging to a Russian businessman. The former employee won the appeal and collected another $4 million from NCSoft. The overall damages, which NCSoft had to pay to his former employee amounted to $32 million in total.

City of heroes and Paragon Studios a closed

The company had to take another unpleasant step by putting Paragon Studios into the liquidation process. The process was announced on 31st August 2012. The game project called City of Heroes also came to the end at last. Lost op players had to disagree and as many as twenty-one thousand signed the petition with regards to the shut-down. Lots of criticism was widely expressed on social media.

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