NCsoft is reportedly shifting away from games as it looks to increase its focus on the non-games Internet services sector.
Despite recently acquiring the rights to the City of Heroes franchise, forming a new US studio and declaring its intentions to tap the next-gen console market, NCsoft’s stock has almost halved over the past two months as investors have raised doubts over the commercial viability of its online games business.
As NCsoft’s online games business shows signs of decline, CEO Kim Taek-jin is increasingly favoring investment in the non-games online services sector, according to The Korea Times. Having already invested in a number of social-networking services this year from in-house software studio Openmaru, the company reportedly aims to take the fight to leading portal operators such as Naver, Daum and SK Communications.
“After games, the Internet has become my new dream,” Taek-jin said last week. “The Openmaru studio is the first step to create a more open Internet environment by providing easy-to-use technologies.”
With sales of NCsoft’s Lineage series declining and an average critical response to its latest effort, Tabula Rasa, The Guild Wars publisher posted operating income totaling 9.7 billion won ($10.7 million) for the most recent quarter, down 44 percent from the comparable period in 2006.
However, in light of the recent flurry of activity occurring at the company’s games arm, reports that NCsoft is ready to shy away from the sector appear over exaggerated. According to NCsoft’s PR chief, Kim Joo-young, "NCsoft’s main business has been games, and will be games. "Our sales are 100 percent from game business."