Korea's NCSoft At Crossroads?

ncsoftceo.jpgThere's been some mixed press for NCSoft as of late: their European arm has just gotten a hefty grant from a British foundation, but profits are sagging and employees in the Korean office have been jumping ship on a fairly regular basis. The Korea Times has an article talking to NCSoft's CEO, Kim Taek-jin. With a pretty high turnover rate for employees and profits stagnating, it would seem that the company needs to do something different - and soon.

Other than the financial overload, the "Tabula Rasa'' project was one of the big reasons many employees of NCsoft lost their confidence in CEO Kim. He hired Richard Garriott and his brother Robert Garriott in 2001 by allegedly paying 16 billion won ($17 million) in cash and 1.5 million shares in stock options, worth 50 billion won. But the brothers failed to deliver the product as promised, and the project has been protracted for six years.

"One of our annual events is to listen to Kim saying: `This year, we will finally release Tabula Rasa in the market,' in his New Year speech. I heard it four times since 2004,'' said a company insider last week. "The only person in the company who have trust in the Garriotts is the CEO,'' another said in 2006.

While the CEO was spending a great amount of the company's budget and resources on the project, many other talented Korean employees deserted him. In fact, the average service length of NCsoft employees is only two years, according to its annual financial report.

Pissed off employees are never a good thing to have in a company. An analyst also points out that NCSoft is targeting mostly the hardcore gaming population, which has a limited depth of market. Will expanding efforts in other parts of the world pull NCSoft out of the apparent slump, or just make problems more apparent?

NCsoft CEO Stands at Crossroads [The Korea Times]


    This is the first real negative news I have heard in recent times about NCSoft/Tabula Rasa. I wonder how much jumping on the bash NCSoft wagon this really is.

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