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Garriott leaves NCsoft as profits dive

"New interests" made him do it.

Tabula Rasa creator Richard Garriott has resigned from Korean publishing company NCsoft.

Garriott's decision came just before NCsoft revealed a 50 per cent drop in profits in the last quarter.

However, in his announcement to players, Garriott said it was his spell as a space tourist that made him decide to leave.

"Many of you probably wonder what my plans are, now that I have achieved the lifelong dream of going to space," Garriott said.

"Well, that unforgettable experience has sparked some new interests that I would like to devote my time and resources to. As such, I am leaving NCsoft to pursue those interests."

Garriott became a key executive at NCsoft when the publisher bought his development studio, Destination Games, during the development of Tabula Rasa.

However, despite a long and expensive development, Tabula Rasa has not been a great success, selling just 61,000 copies in the US according to NPD.

The game has been widely blamed for the fall in profitability at NCsoft, although the publisher has publicly stuck by it and pointed the finger at its experiments with free-to-play gaming instead.

Alongside the 50 per cent fall in profits for the July to September quarter, NCsoft reported that Tabula Rasa was responsible for only 2 per cent of its revenue, according to Gamespot.

Subscriber numbers for Tabula Rasa were conspicuously absent from the report. Of its other games, Korean institutions Lineage and Lineage II have a very healthy 881,979 and 857,351 players respectively, while City of Heroes still manages a respectable 124,939. 5.59 million people have accounts for the subscription-free Guild Wars.

Garriott thanked players and developers alike for sticking with Tabula Rasa. "I am very grateful to you loyal players for sticking around through what I think we can all honestly say was a rough launch.

"I thank the development team for pushing hard to get polish, updates and new content out every month since launch... A feat that I think is unusual in MMO development. They have a lot to be proud of."