NCSoft's Vidal Talks MMOs Past, Present and Future

vidal.jpgNCSoft’s COO, Sebastien Vidal talked with about the MMO business in the site’s first of several interviews kicking off its MMO week. Vidal started by revealing the secret of NCSoft’s success in the MMO market.

Our publishing and development strategy has always been to provide a wide range of titles from subscription based to free to play, from fantasy to science fiction. And there is even more diversity to come in the next few years, both on the business model and genre sides.

Unlike some publishers who focus on one or two MMO titles, typically within the fantasy setting, our strategy is to provide players with a portfolio of online gaming options, catering for all tastes and payment options, for both hardcore gamers and the casual audience.

The interview takes a look at current plans for NCSoft’s line up and also gives readers an idea of what the future holds for several of it’s MMOs. You’ll find information on Lineage and Lineage II, Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 and a bit on Aion as well. Vidal also touches on City of Heroes and City of Villains.

Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa has been a big project for NCSoft. Vidal talks a lot about the complexity of the game, which has had a very rocky start. NCSoft has been concentrating on balancing and polishing existing content rather than rushing to add more “end game” elements. The company plans to initiate a series of online trials in the middle of May to get more people to try the game, and hopefully stay.

Vidal is confident MMOs have a future on consoles. In fact he feels the change is inevitable. He stated NCSoft’s deal with Sony is just the beginning.

Well, in the end it’s just a platform – the important thing is the game itself, and whether you’re playing with a keyboard and mouse, or a control pad…a game designer can come up with something good for either interface.

So I can’t see any reason why they won’t do well on consoles – it’s a huge market, although the biggest market right now is the Nintendo Wii and DS, which aren’t the best platforms for MMOs.

But all the consoles, including the DS, can go on the web and browse, so really the platform is the web, and the console is simply the interface for the web. So I think in the future, for me, you can design a game for the web and it will be playable on any platform – the DS, Wii, PS3 or anything.


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