The biggest announcement from you guys recently has been the Sony deal. Could you explain how important this agreement is to NCsoft, what it means to you, and give us an idea of what type of games you will be releasing on PSP and PS3?
This is the first step by NCsoft into the console publishing and developing arena, so as you can imagine it is a huge deal for us. We are delighted to be working with such a well respected force in the video games industry as Sony Computer Entertainment.
We are the first online publisher to nail our flag to the mast and say that we will work on fully fledged online video games for consoles – and those consoles will be Sony’s.
Why choose Sony? What do you feel the format holder offers over and above a company like, for example, Microsoft or Nintendo?
The great thing with Sony is that every machine that goes online we know has the potential to be a customer of ours. We have a vast and well established infrastructure already for online gaming and being able to plug this directly into the Sony systems means we can hit the ground running.
Other platforms have a more complicated way of bringing online games to market – that works for some publishers that don’t have already have the infrastructure – it just wasn’t right for us.
Do you think the MMO genre is underexploited on consoles at the moment when you look at its runaway success on PC? What will you be doing to change that?
MMOs are practically non-existent on consoles. We will bring a variety of franchises to consoles that will give the consumer many different ways to enjoy their games, from free-to-play through to subscription based titles.
Does console gaming require a different approach to PC MMOs? How will your Sony games differ from your PC releases?
To a degree, PCs and console’s at the highest end have similar graphical requirements, but the user interface and to some degree the play styles expected on the different platforms need to be addressed so that we offer the right experience for each type of consumer on the right platform.
NCsoft has made a lot of noise about Tabula Rasa, and its potential to shake up the genre. Do you think some MMOs are getting stale? Is there a lack of innovation as a whole in the genre?
MMOs are not necessarily getting stale, it is just that the variety of genre within MMOs is limited. The majority of successful MMOs have been in a fantasy world setting and because of this and the risks involved with developing MMOs this seems to be the norm and what’s considered a safe setting for an MMO.
Tabula Rasa breaks this mould by having a science fiction setting. But it’s not just the setting that makes Tabula Rasa different, it also challenges things such as in-game AI, character development and combat systems. Most people who have played MMOs will know that there is a certain formula that the majority of MMOs follow for what a battle should be like or how non-player characters should behave. Tabula Rasa challenges those. We are looking forward to it.
Do you think the Sony deal will help to bring MMOs more into the mainstream and encourage other companies to take similar steps?
I think that NCsoft can help to bring MMOs to a much wider audience, now that we are able to commit to an outstanding platform such as that which Sony has provided.
How has your news and content games portal PlayNC performed since launch? What will you be doing to expand upon the success its achieved so far?
PlayNC is currently a destination where all NCsoft customers can manage their game accounts and get the latest information on NCsoft’s current and upcoming games. As our game portfolio expands so will PlayNC, we are constantly adding new features to it and it will evolve into a community portal for all our players.