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City of Heroes Reaches Sunset, NCsoft Paying the Price 290

Posted by Soulskill
from the old-mmos-never-die dept.
KingSkippus writes "At midnight Pacific on Saturday, December 1, NCsoft shut down the City of Heroes servers for the final time. Since announcing the closure, a group of players has been working hard to revive the game by getting attention from the gaming press, recognition from celebrities such as Sean Astin, Neil Gaiman, and Felicia Day, and assistance from fantasy author Mercedes Lackey. Meanwhile, NCsoft has been drawing negative publicity, including a scathing article about the shutdown from local news site The Korea Times, noting that the game was earning $2.76 million per quarter and that 'it is hard to comprehend what NCsoft means when they say they closed it for strategic reasons.' NCsoft's stock price has fallen over 43% since the announcement in August, almost 30% below its previous 52-week low, right when investors were counting on the success of the recently launched Guild Wars 2 to help boost the company."
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City of Heroes Reaches Sunset, NCsoft Paying the Price

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:10PM (#42195339)

    Look, I think that more MMO's should allow for playing on alternate servers. And I appreciate that players put a lot of time and effort into building their characters.

    But when you buy a MMO, you have to know that it's not a permanent thing.

    • by Dinghy (2233934) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:21PM (#42195459)

      But when you buy a MMO, you have to know that it's not a permanent thing.

      Yet amazingly, Everquest [everquest.com] and even Ultima Online [uo.com] are still running, after 13 and 15 years respectively.

      • by crazyjj (2598719) *

        Yes, there are many MUD's that have been running even longer. But that's citing the *exception*, not the *norm*. Most MMO's, like most MUD's, have a certain shelf-life.

        • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@comcast. n e t> on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:29PM (#42195547) Journal
          I wouldnt say most. Most bad ones yes, but good ones have that have active player bases usually survive for a long time. I played FFXI for years before giving it up and even with the release of FFXIV they smartly did NOT kill the FFXI servers which turned out to be a good thing considering how poorly the newer game was received.
        • by Dinghy (2233934) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:31PM (#42195565)

          Yes, there are many MUD's that have been running even longer. But that's citing the *exception*, not the *norm*. Most MMO's, like most MUD's, have a certain shelf-life.

          True, and the *norm* for shelf life is typically when the expenses start to outweigh the income. It sounds like the plug was pulled on this far earlier, if they're taking in $900k/mo.

          • by runeghost (2509522) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @08:03PM (#42198469)

            This is the elephant in the living room of western capitalism that is seldom discussed. A corporation makes a reasonable profit doing what it was founded to do, employees are happy with their work and their pay, and customers are satisfied with the nature, quality and price of what they are buying. There are no signs of impending collapse, for internal or external reasons. And yet, it all gets torn down in search of higher rate of return, or a more profitable quarter, or bigger bonuses for a handful of executives.

            • by Crosshair84 (2598247) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:41AM (#42202893)
              The other elephant in the room is that this strategy very often bites you in the ass very badly. The vast majority of corporations, like the one I work for, doesn't do such stupid things because the boss/owner is in the business for the long term.

              One of our competitors dropped a lot of smaller facilities in one state they serviced because they weren't making the return they wanted. We snatched up as many of those contracts as we could. How did that bite our competitor you may ask? Because now we had a sizable market share in that state. Sure it was with the small facilities, but looking at a map it looked impressive. Soon word spread to the larger facilities about our services. When the contracts came up for renewal at the larger facilities, we had credibility, a good reputation to back us up, and a map showing the sizable coverage area we had. Our competition started to lose some of the larger, much more profitable facilities because they didn't maintain their less profitable ones.

              In the past, people made money off company stock through dividends. Under a gold standard, inflationary credit expansion was difficult and limited, any artificial credit expansion was cut short by people demanding payment in gold and the resulting recessions, required to clean up the errors made during the artificial boom, were relatively mild. The only way to make money was by long term investment in plant and equipment, to increase production and lower costs, and then pay out the company profits in dividends to shareholders.

              Today, under a government monopoly of fiat currency, the best way to "make" money is to get cheap credit from the central bank, or the large banks who have special favor with the central bank, and slosh it back and forth in the market. Whoever gets the new fiat money first benefits because they get to buy before that inflation has trickled into the economy and caused all prices to rise. That "sloshing" is why we see some prices rise more than others and at different times.

              Of course, sloshing around printed fiat currency doesn't make society more wealthy, It makes a select few richer by stealing the existing wealth from the poor and middle class via inflation.
      • by Grimbleton (1034446) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:29PM (#42195551)

        Though some would argue UO died years ago and was replaced by an incompetent imposter.

        • The funny part is how many different places people put that 'death'. Some put it at the introduction of Tram. Others at Publish 16 which reined in the tamers and bards. Others at Age of Shadows which transformed it into an item based game...

      • by OrangeTide (124937) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:30PM (#42195555) Homepage Journal

        These MMOs are ultimately operating a service. Expecting them to operate it indefinitely is a bit naive.

        That said, it sounds like NCsoft's shutdown was premature. If a service brings in more revenue than it spends, why not keep running it? If it's a matter of getting it off the books and getting it off the executive radar, then spin it off into its own business as a wholly owned subsidiary. There are a lot of alternatives that don't amount to throwing a revenue stream in the garbage.

        • by rahvin112 (446269)

          Thanks to GE and their CEO's like Jack Welch US CEO's have been led to believe that if you aren't making 20% on it you should shut it down. This is the reason many successful and profitable business have been shut down or sold to the Chinese, because it was not making "enough" money. In most cases we'll never get those jobs back.

          So blame GE and their former and current management for this view that MBA's now hold.

          • I'm not entirely sure this is an MBA oriented issue -- NCSoft, though global, is a South Korean company. It would be difficult to accurately infer a cash growth-based motive for dropping it. It could be technical, or artistic reasons, or the big one -- the people capable of growing the game in terms of interesting play, simply weren't there. Perhaps they retired, left the company, or are being vectored off to GuildWars.

        • by Jeng (926980) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:22PM (#42196319)

          The company who started Everquest stated that they would not shut down the servers as long as there were active players. Who knows what will happen down the line though.

          Also, they are still developing for this game, just a week or two ago the 18'th expansion was released.

          I do not think there is any other MMO with anywhere close to the amount of content that Everquest has.

          If you only played when the game first came out you would never recognize it as the same game.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            I stopped playing Everquest when I became aware it was a Sony product. Because of their corporate practices, their support of RIAA and their proclivity toward suing their customers, I would not play it if the game lined my pockets with real gold. Sony taking ownership of any game I play is a switchable offense.

            • by Phrogman (80473)

              As bad as Sony was and is, Verant was even worse when I played EQ. Patches would arrive with zero warning and completely change a class or some other aspect of the game. No notes, no warning, and often no logic behind changes that was apparent. Sony was actually an improvement on things. Admittedly it was early in the world of MMOs so things were less polished but it was very frustrating.

              As for shutting down COH when it was a viable game, its beyond me what their thinking must have been. The game was playab

        • That said, it sounds like NCsoft's shutdown was premature. If a service brings in more revenue than it spends, why not keep running it?

          Well, the submission was quite obviously from a fanboy - and leave out much more than it includes.

          Among the key facts that it leaves out is this - the number of players has been steadily declining for years. It may currently be bringing in more than spends, but that's not a situation that's going to last indefinitely. The curves some players published shortly after

        • These MMOs are ultimately operating a service. Expecting them to operate it indefinitely is a bit naive.

          That said, it sounds like NCsoft's shutdown was premature. If a service brings in more revenue than it spends, why not keep running it? If it's a matter of getting it off the books and getting it off the executive radar, then spin it off into its own business as a wholly owned subsidiary. There are a lot of alternatives that don't amount to throwing a revenue stream in the garbage.

          Yeah, I expect them to operate indefinitely actually. They are basically are running a service attached to a database that a client connects to. This should basically have an operating cost of keeping a server plugged in, which isn't much. If there are enough shards operating that it requires dedicated administration, then there is going to be enough income to support it. Unless the code was VERY poorly written, the only way that you aren't going to make a profit by keeping it plugged in is through manage

      • by michrech (468134)

        Asheron's Call is still up -- 14 years now, if I'm not mistaken...

        • It hit 13 years in November. Still a subscriber of two accounts. Populations suck but the game is still fun.
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:22PM (#42195467) Homepage

      But when you buy a MMO, you have to know that it's not a permanent thing.

      Which is why a casual gamer like me looks at a game with an on-line component and says "I'll pass".

      I'm too old and lame to feel like getting my ass handed to me by a 12 year old, so any form of online play for me is a negative instead of a positive.

      I want to be able to pop a game in the console, and play. I don't want to care if they have decided to shut down the server, or if they have some terrible DRM which requires me to be connected to the internet. If your game can't work on a console which has no internet connection, I am not interested in your product.

      This sounds like one of those situations in which someone published a decently successful game, and then decided to leave the players out in the cold as they move onto other things. I suspect an awful lot of people will look at subsequent NCsoft titles and wonder if it will be playable in a few years.

      • by pubwvj (1045960)

        Which is why a casual gamer like me looks at a game with an on-line component and says "I'll pass".

        Agreed. Especially if the game only allows company servers. A game with open servers is more interesting and more likely to be long lived.

      • by Chas (5144) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:24PM (#42196339) Homepage Journal

        This was one of the beauties of CoH.

        It was RIDICULOUSLY casual-friendly. And it was widely acknowledged that PVP in the game was a half-hearted attempt at best. Far FAR more development time went into PVE and MAJOR QOL improvements, where you don't have to worry about competing with "A. Random Kid" on the internet. Just play how you want to. Team when you want to. Do whatever you want in the game. No competition unless YOU desire it.

        • It was RIDICULOUSLY casual-friendly.

          As a five year resident of the City - no, it really wasn't. There was considerable grind, and unless you wanted to play only a limited handful of the available archetypes that could solo well... you pretty much had to play on a team. And after the release of the Mission Architect and the game transforming into the City of Farmers... that could be difficult, even on Freedom. (By far the most populated server.) When the Incarnate system launched, along with the raid ba

          • It was RIDICULOUSLY casual-friendly.

            As a five year resident of the City - no, it really wasn't. There was considerable grind, and unless you wanted to play only a limited handful of the available archetypes that could solo well... you pretty much had to play on a team. And after the release of the Mission Architect and the game transforming into the City of Farmers... that could be difficult, even on Freedom. (By far the most populated server.) When the Incarnate system launched, along with the raid based WoW style endgame, life was pretty much over for the casual player.

            Far FAR more development time went into PVE and MAJOR QOL improvements

            True, mostly. QOL improvement lagged greatly as the dev team was wedded to an iron schedule and consistently committed to new shiny over polishing the dulled and older bits.

            8 year resident here, up to the last day. Not sure how long ago that 5 years was, but COH of late had been very not-grindy in nature (YMMV, of course). Issue 24 (the one in beta when the axe fell) had a TON of QoL changes and additions coming, including solo Incarnate play. Ever since Matt Miller took over as Lead Designer the game had become VERY casual player friendly.

            Oh, and Virtue had by far the highest population. :)

            • 8 year resident here, up to the last day. Not sure how long ago that 5 years was, but COH of late had been very not-grindy in nature (YMMV, of course)

              From five years ago until closing day, and while the lower level grind pretty was much cleared up after Posi and War Witch took the reins - the 30/35+ grind remained. (Remember the old saw "welcome to level 40, you're halfway there"?) And yet more grind (for Incarnate experience) came in after Issue 22.

              So no, it didn't become much more casual player friendly

    • Exactly. I play a couple MMO's. In fact I let my XBL subscription lapse as I found that I could have more fun playing some of the Free-2-Play games and spending $20 a month on in game currency or a subscription to get stuff rather than spending $60 every few weeks for a new XBox game that usually I got tired of in a few days.

      But I don't expect it to last forever. I view it as no different than going to a movie or to a bar both of which I'd spend $20 or more every time I go rather than $20 a month for pro

    • True, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KingSkippus (799657) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:37PM (#42195641) Homepage Journal

      This is true, we always knew that the game would shut down at some point. However...

      The MMO genre of game is especially conducive to getting people to invest enormous amounts of time, effort, and money into the product. The average City of Heroes launch day veteran has probably spend between $1,500 and $2,000 on this game, many much more. And many have spent thousands of hours playing--not just mashing buttons, but coming up with creative stories, even contributing to user-generated content areas such as the Mission Architect system that allowed players to create their own custom enemies, contacts, mission objectives, dialog, etc. In other words, what NCsoft doesn't realize is that at this point, we have just as much stake in the game as they do (some would argue more), yet they hold the ultimate authority to unilaterally declare, "Okay, game over, we're going to destroy years of your effort and a large monetary investment." Not because the game wasn't making money--it was--but because they're undergoing a corporate "realignment" [pcgamer.com].

      Not only that, but in the process, they laid off over 80 employees at Paragon Studios, the Mountain View, California development studio that built and maintained City of Heroes. Before the shutdown announcement, a group of employees and investors tried to acquire the IP from NCsoft to keep the game running, but NCsoft wouldn't sell it. After the shutdown announcement, thanks to the SaveCoH movement, another attempt was made, but again, NCsoft wouldn't play ball, even releasing a statement that they had "exhausted all options" in trying to sell the game. Excuse me? Exhausted all options? They hold the IP. Now that the shutdown has come and gone and the community has largely dispersed, practically speaking, it's worth zero. It's impossible for them to have "exausted all options" unless and until the ink is dried on the page transferring the game and its IP to another company or organization that can run it.

      Not only that, but this isn't the first time that NCsoft has done this. This is the fifth game in as many years. Auto Assault. Exteel. Dungeon Runners. Tabula Rasa. Now City of Heroes. Clearly to me, the company is an MMO killer. The players of City of Heroes aren't the first group of people to have their hard work and investment destroyed, and apparently, NCsoft doesn't really care very much that it's systematically destroying communities and the output of people's creative expression. As a gamer, why the hell would I ever want to buy a game like Guild Wars 2 or any of NCsoft's other games? Answer: I wouldn't, and they won't be seeing any money from me again.

      So does NCsoft have the legal right to shut down City of Heroes, lay off everyone at Paragon Studios, and carry on as if nothing happened even though the company's own investor relations statements indicate that the game was steadily profitable and it had the overwhelming support of its development staff and management? Sure, no one is disputing that. However, I do firmly believe that NCsoft, and MMO game companies in particular, have an ethical obligation to do everything they can to plan for a game's sunset ahead of time and be willing to release the game property to another company or third-party organization willing to take over running it if one is willing to (which, in this case, there were multiple parties interested in doing so). To not do so shows an immense amount of disrespect for your customers, and you run the risk of generating the negative publicity and outcry such as the one NCsoft is facing right now.

      • > what NCsoft doesn't realize is that at this point, we have just as much stake in the game as they do (some would argue more),

        You are 100% correct. Sadly, business (& artists) just don't understand the aspect of "community".

        The game without its players is just a ghost in code. Likewise, you could have the greatest movie ever, but without anyone seeing it, parody it, it wouldn't really mean anything.

        Part of the problem is that we are moving into a new paradigm -- "Community Content Augmentation."

        • sadly, we'll probably never know, since the only people who know are in Korea
        • by Chas (5144)

          Sadly, too many MMO companies just don't understand the value of community.

          Yeah. That was one of the great things about Paragon Studios. They DID understand the value. These guys went out of their way to make sure we knew how much they understood and appreciated the community.

          Too bad their parent company were a bunch of oblivious morons.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:14PM (#42195385)

    "shut down the City of Heroes"... "for strategic reasons"... "to help boost"... "the success of the recently launched Guild Wars 2".
    Seems pretty clear to me.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      Well put, sir (or madam).

      ...and me without my mod points...

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      I'm not sure how shutting down CoH would have helped GW2 post launch. Especially since CoH was more or less run independently by Paragon Studios, who have no real connection to ArenaNet. The target audiences are even completely different. Lastly, since GW2 lacks a subscription, it would be difficult for one to take away from the other financially.

  • Its fine for the maker to host the main servers and all, but really the door should be open for users to do thier own hosting.

    • by Genda (560240)

      There you go, a distributed processing game where you run a client but also host a piece of the global server. That way the game processing scales with the user base and there's nobody to say "See ya" except perhaps the game master controlling the distributed services. Wonder how you would minimize the latency problems? Oh well, I'm no gamer, this is for those among you more heroic than I.

  • by Sydin (2598829) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:16PM (#42195411)
    It's been fairly obvious since the initial announcement that a lot of people are interested in seeing City of Heroes continue, and going to extreme lengths to make it so. If NCsoft really does not, for whatever reason, want to continue to host it, than why not just pass it off to somebody else? I'm sure they could have sold off the servers to somebody and at least gotten some salvage value. Hell, they could have brokered a deal were whoever they sell it to still charges a fee to play, which NCsoft gets a percentage of. It's just boggling to me that there is very obvious money to be made, yet a company seems to have no interest in making it.
    • by seebs (15766)

      Because they suck at running it.

      Did you ever actually USE the "Paragon Market"? That was not developed by Paragon. It was developed by ncsoft (or someone else they hired). And it was spectacularly bad; like, I don't think I know anyone who does web development who couldn't probably do a better job in a day. Literally. Not hyperbole, not exaggerating. It was below the level of what you'd get if you went through a standard Rails tutorial.

      So what happens if they sell it to someone competent? It does better. An

      • by srmalloy (263556) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:59PM (#42195999) Homepage

        So what happens if they sell it to someone competent? It does better. And ncsoft loses face.

        NCSoft has lost face already. Their stock value has been sliding since the day of the Unity rally on the Virtue server, and their stock sank another 7.8% after the release of the Korea Times article questioning the business acumen of shuttering the game in the first place.

        Without access to the reasoning behind the decision, I have no way to be sure why they decided to close the game -- particularly with it making a profit of about $2.75M a quarter -- but I believe that it was done to conceal the fact that they were already demonstrating their incompetence. NCSoft has brought to the Western market a number of MMOs rooted in the style of the games that are their bread and butter in the Asian market, with a heavy emphasis on grinding for rare drops, patronage of the in-game store, and PvP. That these games kept doing poorly and getting closed (Aion having shown "disappointing performance" in the last quarter), while City of Heroes -- almost the antithesis of the Korean style of MMORPG -- kept making a steady profit created the appearance of NCSoft not being able/willing to understand the Western market at a time when they were making an effort to become a major online gaming provider. With the ugly counterexample gone, NCSoft could rationalize that they just needed to find the right subject, rather than a different playstyle, to make an MMO popular in the Western market.

        • by Megane (129182)

          the appearance of NCSoft not being able/willing to understand the Western market

          So instead, they closed it and removed all doubt.

        • Same goes for Japanese developers...they just don't "get" the American market these days. In the old days, on consoles anyway, they didn't have fair competition, Nintendo and Sega obviously showing favor to fellow Japanese companies.

          Now...they actually have to compete with top of the line formerly PC centric US and EU dev houses and they just can't do it.

          Look at Sqaresoft/Square-Enix and FFXI, it came out after the lessons that could be learned from SCEA's EQOA (done by American team) and they still got it

        • > NCSoft could rationalize that they just needed to find the right subject, rather than a different playstyle, to make an MMO popular in the Western market.

          I disagree. Part of the problem is that NCSoft has traditionally had shitty UI design and implementation along with some bone-headed game design principles. (i.e. The retarded Shaman's Rookery jumping puzzle in Guild Wars 2 http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Shamans_Rookery [guildwars2.com] )

          I've been playing Guild Wars 2 for the last few weeks and the UI is such an as

    • by sp332 (781207)

      The company is trying to move players over to another game. The whole point is not to let players keep playing this game, so they'll look for a new one.

      • That's right. Players will be very encouraged to take up a new game, spends hundreds of hours building up characters, only to have everything throw away in a few years when the next big game comes out. It's sort of the opposite of building brand loyalty.

      • by srmalloy (263556)

        The company is trying to move players over to another game. The whole point is not to let players keep playing this game, so they'll look for a new one.

        When Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa shut down, players were offered free time in some of NCSoft's other games. No such offer was made to the City of Heroes playerbase. Although, frankly, given the stink we raised about the shutdown, I'm not really surprised that they didn't extend such an offer, although it wouldn't have been very practical -- Aion is "Completely Free", so we could already have just moved over to that game, Blade and Soul wasn't out yet to move players to, and the Lineage and Guild Wars MMOs

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:17PM (#42195417) Journal
    You can't shut down your cash cow just because you're banking on your shiny new toy. What if the new toy flops? If SE had shut down FFXI prior to the diasastrous launch of FFXIV 1.0, the company would have gone bankrupt. All that time, the revenue from XI kept them afloat.

    If CoH was bringing in profit, however small it was, then there was no good reason to shut it down, no matter what "strategy" they're trying to go for. You can't push players from one game to another - MMOs don't work like that. They'll play both or none at all, and neither game has little bearing on which one that is.
    • by Rakishi (759894) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:03PM (#42196063)

      You can't shut down your cash cow just because you're banking on your shiny new toy. What if the new toy flops? If SE had shut down FFXI prior to the diasastrous launch of FFXIV 1.0, the company would have gone bankrupt. All that time, the revenue from XI kept them afloat.

      CoH was not their cash cow, it made 2% of their revenues. I love how you make long arguments while knowing nothing of what you're talking about.

      If CoH was bringing in profit, however small it was, then there was no good reason to shut it down, no matter what "strategy" they're trying to go for. You can't push players from one game to another - MMOs don't work like that. They'll play both or none at all, and neither game has little bearing on which one that is.

      Profit is hard to define or rather it can't be looked at in isolation. Killing CoH means NCSoft can leave the North American market, 98% of their revenue is in Korea. So they can shut down their US offices, data centers, marketing, get rid of Korean personnel with N. America knowledge, Korean managers dealing with N. America and so on. Lot's of secondary costs that can be lowered or gotten rid of totally. Just saving the time and hassle (late hours, mis-communication, flight costs, etc.) of communicating with the North American offices may be worth it. So even if CoH was profitable in isolation, once you add in all those other North America costs that get saved it may very well be a loss. Either way NCSoft clearly didn't want to deal with the hassle.

      • Killing CoH means NCSoft can leave the North American market, 98% of their revenue is in Korea. So they can shut down their US offices, data centers, marketing, get rid of Korean personnel with N. America knowledge, Korean managers dealing with N. America and so on. Lot's of secondary costs that can be lowered or gotten rid of totally. Just saving the time and hassle (late hours, mis-communication, flight costs, etc.) of communicating with the North American offices may be worth it. So even if CoH was profitable in isolation, once you add in all those other North America costs that get saved it may very well be a loss. Either way NCSoft clearly didn't want to deal with the hassle.

        That's it exactly. But it still doesn't explain why they didn't sell the game to a company that would keep it running. That decision can only be described as short-sighted and evil.

        Either way, I wouldn't trust any game NCSoft is running in America. They might close them down at the drop of a digital hat. Gamers outside of Korea should stay far, far away from anything NCSoft tries to sell.

        • by Rakishi (759894)

          That's it exactly. But it still doesn't explain why they didn't sell the game to a company that would keep it running. That decision can only be described as short-sighted and evil.

          Possibly no one was willing to buy it from them or the cost of a transition was judged as too high given the offers (removing proprietary code, transition servers, etc).

      • So it comes down to NCSoft not wanting to have to try to create/market/sell games that appeal to whatever the Korean word for "gaijin" is?

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      If CoH was bringing in profit, however small it was, then there was no good reason to shut it down, no matter what "strategy" they're trying to go for

      There's risk and opportunity costs though.

      Capital invested in it might be able to generate more profit doing something else. Large cash flows relative to profits make for a large risk if the income side of the stream drops for some reason and the costs reductions lag.

    • by Talderas (1212466)

      If CoH was bringing in profit, however small it was, then there was no good reason to shut it down, no matter what "strategy" they're trying to go for. You can't push players from one game to another - MMOs don't work like that. They'll play both or none at all, and neither game has little bearing on which one that is.

      This is not an entirely true statement, unfortunately other events make it more muddy.

      CoH cost $X and was bringing in $Y revenue for a profit $Z. If by applying those same $X dollars to Project K and generating $A revenue and $B profit, if $B > $Z it makes sense to close down CoH and invest in Project K.

      Your logic only works in an environment where you have infinite resources and time. The real world has neither.

    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      You can't shut down your cash cow just because you're banking on your shiny new toy.

      Why not? It works for Wall Street! Oh, wait...

  • Played it years ago. Loved it. It spoiled me for when I then went to see what WoW was all about. CoH was light years ahead of WoW in every aspect from character creation, to UI, to game play. Loved playing a healer in CoH. Tried one in WoW and absolutely hated it. Here's a hint Blizzard...the act of healing should NOT draw aggro.

    So long CoH and thanks for all the years of fun.

    • Healing *did* draw aggro in CoH. It's just that Tanks in CoH were much, much better at pulling that aggro back onto themselves.

      Hint to other games: If a character class is supposed to play a role, let them be the best ever at that role. There is no other game that has balanced yet indestructible Tanks like the ones in CoH.

    • by Xenx (2211586)
      No offense, but the act of healing very much should draw aggro. You're telling me you wouldn't take out the guy keeping the rest of them alive? It's only logical.
  • Difficult to comment without having the inside scoop, but "sudden-death-by-beancounter" seems to be an increasingly common ailment in the electronic age.

    Was either deemed superfluous, not worthy of the time, and I can hear the famous "can we just move on to focus on the core IP development" from the accounting department.

    All arguments in which players having developed an emotional bond and deep attachment to the game has little if no place at all anymore; even though ironically that was the very thing
  • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:51PM (#42195883) Homepage

    As a player of CoH I've been watching this all unfold for months, and it's just sad on every level. Obviously sad for the players and developers, but there's a greek tragedy that is looming over NCSoft as well.

    The 'strategic reasons' that caused NCSoft to shut down CoH is that they just don't understand the product -- an easy-to-play game friendly to casual players with little or no PvP content. That kind of thing doesn't sell in Korea and doesn't make sense to NCSoft's Korean masters. They have made a decision to consolidate their games along the Korean 'grind-and-PvP' model, possibly with a centralized game store using common currency, as some other large game producers have done. CoH could not be adapted to that model. Advertising in America would be additional cost for a marketing department that only understands Korean game culture. So they decided to effectively pull their games out of America and focus on what they know best back at home.

    It's a strategy, I guess. They'll still sell games in America, but they'll be anglicized versions of Korean grindfests with little or no marketing. GW2 is a prime example...and the players there are beginning to understand that, with the GW1 gameplay replaced by ridiculous grinds and a 'pay to win' cash market, not to mention characters from the korean alphabet creeping into the American version of the UI.

    Frankly I wouldn't trust NCSoft to keep any game alive in the Western market, not now and not for another year. They don't want to do business here. They don't want to make the kind of games that casual players enjoy. They want to have a stable full of Lineage clones, and cutting off a profitable CoH is the first step towards that strategic goal.

    It's just a tragic display of hubris. They were even too short-sighted to consider selling the game. Just sad, all around. RIP, Paragon City. I'll remember you for letting me be a hero.

    • Yes, grandiose conspiracy theories are sad... especially when they fly in the face of facts.

      The fact is, CoH was a minor portion of their revenue - and that portion and the revenue was steadily dropping as CoH's subscriber base continued it's long decline. It was a year or so, at most, from going negative, to no longer being profitable.

  • Not only is it a grindfest, bots run rampant in the game due to the general lack of attention by GM's/HGM's to do anything effective.

  • I have fond memories of this game when it first game out. I believe it was the first super-hero MMORPG.

"Out of register space (ugh)" -- vi

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