NCSoft Corporation, the Korean company which runs some of the world's most popular massively multiplayer titles including the Lineage series and the recently released City of Heroes, has announced its intention to open a European division.
The company plans to make an investment of some 3.2 million UKP (around 4.8 million Euro) in the establishment of NCSoft Europe, which will be headquartered in London and focused on releasing and servicing NCSoft's titles in this territory.
The company plans to launch massively multiplayer titles Lineage II and City of Heroes in Europe before the end of 2004, with further games being launched down the line. NCSoft hopes to become a leading provider of online titles in Europe, where the online game market is expected to be worth some $3 billion this year, growing to $5 billion in 2005.
At present, as well as its Korean headquarters, NCSoft also operates in China, Taiwan, Japan, North America and Thailand. The company intends to use its European subsidiary to build on the market for Korean exports in this territory, which currently accounts for only 2 per cent of Korean game exports - trailing North America (5.7 per cent) and Japan (6 per cent).
The new NCSoft Europe division will be headed up by Climax Group chairman Geoffrey Heath, an industry veteran who worked with Activision during the Atari 2600 era and also has a track record including work for companies such as Origin, Maxis and Mindscape.
"NCSoft is a business that has captured the imagination of gamers across Asian and US markets," Heath commented in a statement on his new role. "Europe is the next step for the company as it grows a global online games network."
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