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NCsoft to trim European office?

50 positions under threat as MMO publisher mothballs Brighton-developed title

NCsoft is preparing to trim its European office in Brighton by around 50 people, has learned.

According to a number of sources close to the company the move is set to be made following the decision to stop work on the untitled MMO that was being developed there, a game that was announced this time last year when the office underwent significant expansion.

That expansion, which was to be funded in part by a GBP 950,000 grant from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), is now to be reversed as the company streamlines its business. It's not thought that NCsoft would have received any of that money so far.

It is also thought that the company's troubled MMO Tabula Rasa will be discontinued at some point in the coming months due to continuing poor subscriber numbers.

The game, led by Richard Garriott enjoyed a high profile launch earlier this year, but has failed to capture the imagination of the gaming public, and one source told a few months ago that the company "would kill for 300,000 subscribers right now," when comparisons were made with CCP's Eve Online.

Earlier this year, NCsoft Europe's MD, Geoff Heath, told that the company had been able to increase profits while sales remained flat by utilising "good housekeeping" techniques, although it would appear that last month's 42 per cent fall in net income has demanded action.

Following those financial results 21 positions were cut at the company's Austin office, but speculation that Tabula Rasa was to be discontinued wasn't addressed.

NCsoft has so far declined to offer official clarification on the news, but an official statement is expected in the next 24 hours.