'Wildstar' going free-to-play this fall

May 28, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

Carbine Studios is the latest MMO maker to move its game to the free-to-play space. The company announced today that its MMO Wildstar will transition from a monthly subscription based payment model to free-to-play this fall - and only a year after launch.

Players will still have the option to purchase a monthly membership that will provide additional perks including convenience bonuses, game enhancements, and additional slots for characters, costumes, the in-game bank, supplies, and decor items. The client will be free to download and install.

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Layoffs hit NCsoft

April 9, 2015 - GamePolitics Staff

MMO maker NCsoft  has initiated another part (the "final phase") of its restructuring plan announced last October by eliminating some internal customer support positions from NCsoft West. Those positions will now be covered by what the company calls an external provider.

An affected NCsoft employee tells Polygon that the company has cut 16 jobs from its Austin office. The anonymous former employee claims that the office's entire customer support team has been let go.

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NCSoft Invests $4.8 Million in Lezhin Entertainment

April 17, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Online game maker NCsoft has invested an estimated $4.8 million in South Korean web comics firm Lezhin Entertainment, according to GII.

NCsoft said that the ₩5 billion ($4.8 million USD) investment in Lezhin will offer opportunities to leverage its IP in new ways, and that it will also allow Lezhin to leverage its portfolio of intellectual property for creating interactive entertainment.

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Tera Lawsuit Settled

August 10, 2012 -

En Masse Entertainment has settled a lawsuit with NCsoft over its massively multiplayer game Tera. The company best known for Lineage and City of Heroes sued the publisher of the game over claims that former NCsoft employees (who were developing the game under a new studio called Bluehole) had swiped assets from Lineage III and used them in the creation of Tera. Apparently the two companies have come to some sort of amicable agreement.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

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NCsoft Files Lawsuit to Block North American Launch of TERA

January 26, 2012 -

NCsoft has filed a lawsuit against the developer of the upcoming MMO TERA to stop it from launching the United States. The MMO publisher and developer filed a lawsuit at the beginning of this month against developer Bluehole Studio, claiming that it stole software and assets from NCsoft. The Korean studio employs a number of former NCsoft employees who worked on Lineage 3.

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Richard Garriott Documentary Hits Theaters January 2012

November 21, 2011 -

First Run Features announced the U.S. theatrical premiere of the award-winning documentary Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott’s Road to the Stars, a documentary about Richard Garriott’s lifelong quest to become the first son of an astronaut to go into space. Man on a Mission opens January 13, 2012, in theaters and VOD platforms nationwide. Man on a Mission is directed by Mike Woolf and produced by Brady Dial.

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EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

September 3, 2010 -

A judge’s ruling earlier last month that Craig Smallwood’s lawsuit against Lineage II maker NCsoft could continue (a suit in which Smallwood claimed he was addicted to the game), could have an impact on End User Licensing Agreements (EULA).

A lawyer at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy named Steven Roosa took to his blog (thanks Slashdot) to discuss the Smallwood case, using the headline “A Software License Agreement Takes it on the Chin.”

Roosa detailed NCsoft’s attempt to stop the lawsuit by using Section 12 of its User Agreement, which is entitled “Limitation of Liability.” The judge eventually only partially granted NCsoft’s motion to dismiss.

Roosa wrote:

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Law Blog Discusses Lineage II Plaintiff’s Chances of Victory

August 27, 2010 -

A law blog contributor believes that the Hawaii man suing Lineage II creator NCsoft for making the game so addictive has an uphill battle in order prove his case.

Craig Smallwood sued the game maker after reportedly spending 20,000 hours playing Lineage II between 2004 and 2009. He claimed that NCsoft neglected “to warn or instruct or adequately warn or instruct plaintiff and other players of Lineage II of its dangerous and defective characteristics, and of the safe and proper method of using the game.”

In a column on the blog LegalMatch.com, "Rusty Shackleford" asks if such a case demonstrates the need for tort reform, or if the plaintiff and court are “on to something.”

On Smallwood’s chances:

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Man With 20,000 Hours into Lineage II Sues NCsoft

August 20, 2010 -

Craig Smallwood of Hawaii has a lawsuit in the works against the creator of Lineage II, claiming that he became so addicted to the game he became “unable to function independently in usual daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed, bathing or communicating with family and friends.”

In a Wired piece on the suit, Smallwood, in his proceedings, claims to have spent 20,000 hours playing the game between 2004 and 2009. He claimed that developer NCsoft is negligent because it failed “to warn or instruct or adequately warn or instruct plaintiff and other players of Lineage II of its dangerous and defective characteristics, and of the safe and proper method of using the game.”

The suit appears to be moving forward as the presiding judge refused to dismiss some of Smallwood’s claims earlier this month.

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Garriott Verdict Out of this World

July 30, 2010 -

Noted space travel enthusiast and legendary videogame developer Richard Garriott (aka Lord British) can now afford a few more trips into orbit following a $28 million win resulting from a lawsuit brought against former employer NCsoft Corp.

Garriott was issued stock options (valid through May 30, 2011) when NCsoft bought his company Destination Games in 2001. A clause, however, dictated that the options would expire in the event he voluntarily left the company.

A news release from Garriott’s attorney firm Fish & Richardson claims that Garriott took a leave of absence in order to travel aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. During his post-flight quarantine, however, “Garriott was informed by NCsoft that his time with the company was over.” NCsoft argued that his termination was a voluntary resignation.

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NY Firm Sues MMO Creators

September 23, 2009 -

PalTalk Holdings Inc. of Jericho, New York has filed a patent lawsuit against a slew of massively multiplayer online videogame makers.

Filed on September 14 of this year, the suit targets Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sony Online Entertainment, Sony Corporation of America, Sony Corporation, Activision Blizzard, Inc., NCSoft Corporation, Jagex Limited and Turbine, Inc.

PalTalk alleges that the defendants all use PalTalk technology in an unauthorized and infringing manner and says it has “suffered damages in at least the tens of million of dollars” at the hands of each defendant. The company is seeking a jury trial.

In 2002 PalTalk purchased patented technology from HearMe that allows "efficient handling of communications between players necessary to maintain a consistent game environment for all players,” covering a “number of aspects of online gaming, including communications through a group messaging server.”

The case was filed in Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division, a region, according to Boston.com, known for being “plaintiff-friendly.” The site also notes that a similar lawsuit by PalTalk against Microsoft in 2006, for use of its technology in the Halo series, resulted in the software giant eventually licensing PalTalk’s technology.

GP has the full 16-page complaint in PDF form for your perusal here.

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Richard Garriott Sues NC Soft Over Millions in Stock Options

May 6, 2009 -

The once-happy business union of Ultima series creator Richard Garriott and Korea-based MMO publisher NCsoft turned vicious at its end, according to documents filed by Garriott with U.S. District Court in Texas.

Kotaku broke the news of the lawsuit yesterday, but GamePolitics has the details - and they're ugly.

Garriott, best known for the Ultima RPG series, alleges that he lost millions when NCsoft manipulated him into cashing out stock options earlier this year after firing him late in 2008. Garriott's dismissal is news in itself, as his departure from the company was presented to the gaming community by NCsoft as voluntary.

From the complaint:

In... November 2008, Chris Chung, President of NCSoft's North American operations, informed Mr. Garriott that NCSoft has decided to "part company." Although Mr. Garriott objected to his dismissal, Mr. Chung insisted that the decision was final - Mr. Garriott had to go.

 

As Mr. Garriott prepared to leave NCSoft, however, Mr. Garriott learned that NCsoft had internally re-characterized his termination by Mr. Chung as a "voluntary" resignation... This mischaracterization had profound and detrimental effects on Mr. Garriott's stock options: if NCsoft terminated Mr. Garriott's employment (which it did) then the options - worth tens of millions of dollars - would remain in effect until 2011; but if Mr. Garriott resigned voluntarily (which he did not), then NCsoft might have terminated those options... within ninety days of his departure...

 

NCsoft forced Mr. Garriott into a Hobson's choice of exercising his options... and forced him to sell into one of the worst equity markets in modern history...

Garriott claims that he not only lost millions by prematurely selling his options, but also incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liability associated with the unwanted deal.

Garriott's well-publicized turn as a space tourist also comes up in the suit:

Following the lauch of the Tabula Rasa game, Mr. Garriott took a leave of absence... to pursue a different kind of launch... Mr. Garriott used the considerable media coverage surrounding his space-launch to publicize and promote Tabula Rasa for NCsoft. For example, Mr. Garriott send a coded message to the Tabula Rasa player base during his space launch...

 

NCsoft terminated Mr. Garriott's employment while he was still in quarantine from his space flight...

 

Despite Mr. Garriott's repeated objections, NCsoft refused to retract its misstatements regarding the nature of Mr. Garriott's departure and the cancellation of his stock options...

In his lawsuit, Garriott alleges breach of contract, fraud and negligent misrepresentation on the part of NCsoft. He clams to have suffered "more than $27,000,000 in actual damages."

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of Garriott's complaint here.

75 comments

Obama Goes Questing in MMORPG

March 5, 2009 -

Clearly, there are some hardcore Barack Obama fans among the beta testers of NCsoft's upcoming MMORPG Aion: The Tower of Eternity.

Massively brought the video at left to our attention, in which some Aion players have employed the game's robust character creation utility to get the Prez into the action:

NCsoft really didn't have this in mind when creating the game's lore, but some rather inventive beta testers have created something which show off just how good Aion's character creation is. The end result is a player-created video that depicts Obama in ways his publicity people never anticipated, as an Elyos 'kicking ass' and saving trees on the road to ascension as a Daeva... Yes, this may piss off a few people -- namely the POTUS -- but it's all in good fun.

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RedMageOh hey, a news station is trying to scapegoat gaming. That takes me back. https://twitter.com/GamingAnarchist/status/63754361236507443208/29/2015 - 1:40pm
Big PermA link to TB twitter with Matt Lees in the replies - https://twitter.com/Totalbiscuit/status/52528604482949939208/29/2015 - 12:16pm
Brad GlasgowWhy would he say the company lies about getting abuse? Oh, because people don't abuse GG?08/29/2015 - 10:38am
Big PermBrad - Matt Lees was also quick to say the company "Gamers Gate" lies about getting abusive messages thinking they were an official GG channel08/29/2015 - 9:11am
Goth_SkunkMGSV: The Phantom Integrity - A Rant by RazörFist. (NSFW on account of language). RazörFist discusses the latest batch of unethical journalist conduct, with a caveat. - http://ow.ly/RwXYT08/29/2015 - 7:10am
Goth_Skunk@Brad: I can.08/29/2015 - 6:13am
Goth_SkunkI assume "Stacy" is a pseudonym. After reading what she went through, I would not be one bit surprised if it is.08/29/2015 - 6:13am
Goth_SkunkA Year of #GamerGate: From Neutral To Anti To Neutral To Pro by "Stacy" - http://ow.ly/RwVeT08/29/2015 - 6:12am
Brad GlasgowI can't believe Matt Lees deleted his positive review of Ethan Carter because Chmielarz is sympathetic to GG.08/29/2015 - 5:30am
Goth_SkunkA GameDev's Year With #GG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly by Adrian Chmielarz - http://ow.ly/RwSCd08/29/2015 - 5:18am
Goth_SkunkDespite not being a fan of fighting games I had to check out that R Mika trailer. Loved it. Still won't buy the game though, on account of Isuckatstreetfighteritis.08/29/2015 - 2:42am
MechaCrashI use a Dynex DX-840 headset, but it's discontinued. :( I wanted a mono headset so I could keep the other ear free for my speakers, but it has the bonus of being very light and comfortable, so you don't notice it.08/29/2015 - 12:41am
Big PermSora - I was just having a slow day at work earlier. Now I'm home with vidya!08/28/2015 - 7:54pm
ZippyDSMleeSora-Chan: Blender is easy compared to 3Dmax :P08/28/2015 - 6:51pm
Sora-Chantime to take up a hobby? maybe messing around in GIMP to make wallpapers? use qCAD to design somethin? open Blender and stare at it for a couple hours trying to figure what does what?08/28/2015 - 6:41pm
Big PermAlso, yes. I've been spamming the shoutbox. I don't have much going on today, don't judge me08/28/2015 - 3:25pm
Big PermThanks, but yeah. Not sure I wanna drop that kind of cash :P I don't even mind the sound quality of my krakens, it just hurts to wear em after a couple hours.08/28/2015 - 3:25pm
Sora-Chan@Big Perm: I'm a bit of a fan of the Omega Recon3D headset from SoundBlaster. Though it is a bit expensive.08/28/2015 - 2:36pm
Big PermI actually need to look into a new headset. I have those green razer krakens and I would not suggest them. Though maybe they're better for people without glasses08/28/2015 - 11:32am
Big PermI've never heard if Apple was dominant in Japan.08/28/2015 - 11:25am

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