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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NCSoft takes a beating on its home turf

And now, your moment of schadenfreude: A Korea Times article calls the closing of City of Heroes "unethical."

Admittedly, I don't think it's a matter of ethics; I think it's simply a dumb business decision.   But the fact remains that when Mercedes Lackey called it unethical, the paper printed it as the headline.

I find it delicious that the bad press from this poor decision has followed them home. And oh look, their stock price is still falling:  it started at 158,500 Won and plummeted to 141,000 in the span of a day. (It's since recovered slightly to 147,000.)

Coincidence that this happened the day after the article came out?  You tell me.

1 comment:

C'nor said...

Note: This is probably me being overly touchy. Also, I'm probably projecting things onto the situation, and rambling considerably. Feel free to ignore this.

Honestly? I'd have to say it is unethical. I never played it, but, from what I've read, it had a community that was built over the course of years, real time. 
To cut off service were it no longer profitable would be understandable. Unfortunate, yes; regrettable, for certain. But they are, in the end, a business, and to retain something that, while ostensibly generating revenue, is actually an expense, and one providing nothing, from the viewpoint of the business as a whole, in exchange for the money lost, would not be a thing one could reasonably expect; even were it supporting itself and nothing else, it would be, if not as clear-cut, justifiable that they would not feel able to continue supporting it when it was, while not bleeding them monetarily, taking up time that, presumably, those working on it could be spending on more profitable ventures. 

But cutting off service when it was still making enough money to provide a profit is not. At best, it means that they, for no real reason, chose to separate people who may have known each other for eight years. In under a year, one can get extremely close to someone, even if you have never met them, and don't plan to; extrapolating from there is simple. 

At worst, it means that they might be cutting people off from their only support networks, the consequences of which would, naturally, be bad.

(In case anyone thinks that's ridiculous, I know someone through a forum who, for various reasons, primarily social stigma (she cuts herself and is, fairly often, suicidal), and the fact that a lot of the people she knows are part of the problem, has, at most, one other person, also not someone she knows IRL, as her support network. Since we met, I've talked her out of killing herself three times.)

Was anyone in such a situation on CoH? Who knows. But the actual existence of such players, or the lack of them, is not my point, since, for practical purposes, no-one can tell, which means that, since NCSoft was not aware of their non-existence, and, for that matter, so far as I can tell, didn't even have evidence they probably didn't, meaning there was a definite possibility that they did exist, and, despite that, NCSoft chose to, for no good reason, risk cutting them off from their support networks. 

I'd say that making a choice like that is pretty unethical, even assuming that they only knowingly chose to cut people off from their friends and never considered anything worse, wouldn't you? 

(Of course, I suspect you already know about how close you can get to people online, given this post: [http://lurkingrhythmically.blogspot.com/2012/11/thank-you.html], but... See the disclaimer at the top.)

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