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MMO Week: Diversity is NCsoft's strength

NCsoft's diverse portfolio differentiates it from the competition according to European COO Sebastian Vidal

For a relatively young company, NCsoft is proud of its global success to date - something that its European COO attributes to the company's diversity.

"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," NCSoft Europe's Sebastian Vidal told

"Within our portfolio, we can provide many styles of theme, such as fantasy, sci-fi, comic book, warrior robots and so on, as well as a variety of style of play, whether it's PvE, PvP or PvEvP."

Further, NCsoft has a variety of payment options including monthly subscriptions, one off retail payments, free to play and microtransactions. This diversified portfolio strategy is how NCsoft differentiates itself from the competition, Vidal said.

While it was initially a challenge for the company, the account system NCsoft developed makes the process of interacting with players much smoother.

"Having this vision from the beginning clearly helped a lot, though," said Vidal.

"Looking back, the experience and the technology we have developed as a business over the past ten years now provides us with a very strong competitive advantage.

"Our next step is to take that formula of online gaming and bring it to the console audience."

Last year, NCsoft announced a strategic partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment and its plans to develop titles for the PlayStation 3 and PSP platforms.

Vidal downplayed the significance of MMOs making the transition to consoles - noting that the important thing is the game itself, and that game designers can come up with something good whether the interface is a keyboard and mouse or a control pad.

"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."

The complete interview with Sebastian Vidal is now online.

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