The Korea Herald


NCSoft to tear loose from Lineage: CEO

By Moon Joon-hyun

Published : Nov. 19, 2023 - 15:32

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NCSoft CEO Kim Taek-jin speaks during a surprising appearance at the company's booth in G-Star 2023. (NCSoft) NCSoft CEO Kim Taek-jin speaks during a surprising appearance at the company's booth in G-Star 2023. (NCSoft)

BUSAN -- NCSoft CEO Kim Taek-jin declared the company's strategic shift from its traditional roots in Lineage, its series of massively multiplayer online role-playing games -- or MMORPGs -- to diverse gaming genres, responding to a downturn in earnings and a shift in gamer preferences.

The CEO made this announcement during an unexpected appearance at the company's booth at G-Star 2023 gaming expo held last week in Busan.

"Our objective is to delve into a multitude of gaming genres that resonate with all kinds of trends in the global gaming industry. Expect to see NCSoft will broaden its horizons in the coming years,” Kim said.

NCSoft's recent financial report pointed to challenges, with a decline in third quarter 2023 earnings. The company reported a decrease in consolidated revenue and a significant drop in operating and net income, primarily due to the waning interest in its mobile Lineage series.

Marking its return after an eight-year absence from G-Star, NCSoft unveiled a slew of new titles, stepping away from its predominantly mobile gaming focus, which has historically generated over half of its revenue.

The new game lineup from NCSoft included a diverse array of genres for different tastes. "LLL" is a looter shooter, blending the excitement of action shooting with elements of role-playing. "Project G" is the company’s first real-time strategy game, where planning and tactics are crucial. "Puzzup Amitoi" caters to puzzle enthusiasts, while "Battle Crush" is an action-packed brawler game, emphasizing combat skills. "BSS" is a collectible role-playing game, inviting players to build and enhance a team of characters.

But there is not a complete exit from NCSoft's bread-and-butter format. A standout release is "Throne and Liberty," an MMORPG for PC and console, set for a Dec. 7 release. The game promises to differentiate with dynamic environments and large-scale guild wars.

Battle Crush and BSS are nearing their release early next year, with later releases for LLL and others.

The diversification reflects a growing trend in Korea, where console gaming is gaining ground. Four of NCSoft's new games are primarily developed for consoles, marking a departure from its mobile-centric recent past.

Kim also noted the changing demographics in gaming, indicating a shift toward genres and styles that were once considered niche.

"We're seeing a new generation of gamers shaping the market. Genres once considered niche are now hitting the mainstream. As player preferences evolve, so does our game development, and we aim to be at the forefront of this change,” he said.