NCsoft Forms New Western Subsidiary, Layoffs Expected

NCsoft is consolidating its U.S. and European subsidiaries into a new Seattle-based organization called NC West to handle Western operations, and though it has declined to confirm, the publisher is widely expected to lay off employees from both Austin and
NCsoft will consolidate its U.S. and European subsidiaries into a new wholly-owned organization called NC West, to be established in Seattle by year's end, the company announced today. Incorporating existing NCsoft subsidiaries NC Interactive, NC Europe, NC Austin, and ArenaNet, NC West will be responsible for the U.S. and European regions, and will be led by Chris Chung as CEO, Jeff Strain as president of product development, David Reid as president of publishing, and Patrick Wyatt as CTO, in addition to yet-unannounced European executives. In the process, the Lineage and Guild Wars publisher is expected to lay off employees from both its Brighton, UK and Austin, Texas offices. Widespread media reports pegged the number of layoffs planned at the publisher's Brighton studio at about 50 employees. Citing anonymous sources, reports as many as 70 Brighton employees will lose their jobs as the studio stops work on an unannounced MMO in development there, though NCsoft declined to confirm when contacted by Gamasutra for comment. NCsoft founded the Brighton studio with just 3 employees in 2004, but thanks to a grant from the UK's South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) just over a year ago, the company expanded those offices. It's yet unclear what will become of the grant or whether NCsoft had received any of those funds thus far. As for the Austin group, NCsoft confirmed layoffs last month of some 21 employees, a day after the publisher's second quarter fiscal results showed profits down 42 percent. At that time, NCsoft also cut staff from its Dungeon Runners team, as it decided to indefinitely suspend plans to port the client to other platforms. It is unclear whether today's reports refer to these or new layoffs in Austin; NCsoft directed all requests for comment to today's NC West announcement, which made no mention of any layoffs. "We are confident that by combining our subsidiaries into a unified global organization under Chris Chung’s leadership, NC West will become a more powerful force to be reckoned with in the western MMO market," says NCsoft CEO Taek Jin Kim. "Chris has become a guiding force within our company and has been extremely successful at every position he has held with us. His detailed first-hand knowledge of all aspects of our business is invaluable and will help establish NC West as a global leader."

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