NCsoft hit once again while in the spotlightA total of 19 Korean companies are currently taking part in the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, one of the largest global trade events for games and other electronic entertainment and education-related products. Taking place in Los Angeles until Friday, the exposition is where the “who’s who” of the computer and video game industry get together to show off their new technologies and products.
Only three of the Korean companies ― NCsoft, Webzen, and Yedang Online ― have their own booths, though. Those booths, incidentally, aren’t lemonade stall-sized: Think something around the size of a small mansion.
NCsoft, which is attending E3 for the fifth year, is showing off its new massive multiplayer role playing game, Aion: The Tower of Eternity. Other games by the companies on show include Tabula Rasa, Dungeon Runners, Exteel, Guild Wars Factions and Auto Assault.
But as much as the industry is interested in the success of these companies in the expo, many are curious to see whether NCsoft will emerge from the event “unscathed.” The company has hit hard times; it reported a bad first-quarter performance last week and is currently being sued by about 200,000 people whose private information was illegally used to create accounts on Lineage, one of NCsoft’s most famous games. The stolen information was used mainly by Chinese “professionals” to create game accounts, but the people whose identities were stolen allege that NCsoft should have taken stricter measures to secure the accounts.
How does this relate to E3? Ironically, or perhaps unfortunately, NCsoft has had to deal with repetitive “scandals” whenever it has attended a foreign game show.
During last year’s E3 expo, the company was conducting a mass upgrade of Lineage 2 in Korea. During the process, however, files that contained personal information of users were not coded, and for five days, users’ IDs and passwords were exposed.
In February this year, another mishap occurred while NCsoft was attending the Taiwan Game Show. During that time, prosecutors found out about the aforementioned case in which people stole personal information to create tens of thousands of Lineage accounts.
At Webzen’s booth, three games are on display: Huxley, Project Wiki and Soul of the Ultimate Nation (SUN). The main attraction is Huxley, a massive multiplayer online first-person shooting game involving humans battling mutants in a science fiction/urban setting that will be released for both the Xbox 360 and PCs in fall. SUN is also a massive multiplayer online RPG, but is available only on PC. Project Wiki, also PC-exclusive, is a casual role-playing game with a fairy-tale theme reminiscent of Legend of Zelda.
Yedang Online, a relatively small company that caught industry-watchers by surprise by setting up an independent booth, is displaying its dance game, Audition, as well as another self-developed MMORPG.
by Wohn Dong-hee