Update 2: David Reid has told Kotaku.com that NCsoft will now be focusing on triple-A MMO titles, and moving away from lighter ones. Creating several online games for PS3 with Sony will also be important.
In the midst of intense speculation and rumor, NCsoft today announced that it will be merging several subsidiaries under a unified banner, with a headquarters to be sited in Seattle. According to the press release, 'NCsoft's existing subsidiaries NC Interactive, NC Europe, NC Austin, and ArenaNet will be led as a unified organization under NC West with a dedicated focus towards becoming the world's premier western publisher of MMOs.'
This throws new light on reports of job losses at NC Europe, and indeed gives a greater clarity to the recent events at NC Austin. The job losses at NC Europe are not yet tallied, with reports varying from 50 to 70 employees, but we can confirm, with great personal sadness, that Stephen 'Rockjaw' Reid is one of those affected. Rockjaw was the Creative Concepts manager at NC Europe, well regarded by the community, and the driving force behind many successful events, not to mention putting in sterling work for Draw the World Together.
NC NorCal, the home of City of Heroes, is conspicuous by its absence from the list. This may be because the recent move to a new studio combined with heavy reinvestment in the CoX property means the studio can be left to itself.
Gamesindustry.biz, who broke the news before the official release, have also provided information that the press release has not confirmed, and which must remain in the 'rumor' category for now: the claim was that 'the company's division in Austin, ArenaNet, is expected to face a number of job cuts, while the remaining staff will be relocated to Seattle.' This is uncomfortably close to recent rumors regarding the possible future of the Austin studio.