NCsoft has big plans for their fantasy MMO Aion in the west, and they're hoping to emulate their Asian success in the North American market. Kris Graft reports for Gamasutra that Aion generated 40.6 billion won (USD 32.7 million) in Q2 2008, which he notes is a strong start. In an earnings call, NCsoft CFO Jaeho Lee said, "I believe the performance of Aion in the US and European markets will be very successful. ... We are guessing that Aion will be -- could be -- the second [most] successful MMO in the US market next to World of Warcraft."
Bold optimism, to be sure. What really caught our attention, though, was that Graft pointed out a mention of the now dead-and-buried Tabula Rasa during that earnings call, another title NCsoft once had high hopes for in western markets. In answer to a question about how many boxes of Aion will ship as opposed to Tabula Rasa, Gamasutra quotes Lee as having said, "It's very unfortunate to hear the name of Tabula Rasa at this conference call... and we all want to forget and erase that memory from our performance."
Lee stated that their poor handling of Tabula Rasa (his wording: "We did a very poor job with Tabula Rasa") could have an impact on retailers taking orders for Aion, but he said that the situation is improving as anticipation for the game builds.
Have a look at the full story over at Gamasutra and let us know -- are their expectations of trumping every other MMO running in the US, well, unrealistic? (At the very least, the phrase "WoW-killer" was never uttered.) And does World of Warcraft's subscriber base really need to be the sole standard by which the success of all other titles are measured?