Gaming News: Can The House Of Mouse Help Save The CITY OF HEROES?

Written by Starburst Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Gaming News

In the ongoing saga to prevent NCsoft shutting down the long running MMO, City of Heroes, players have reached out to the Disney corporation for help. Read the Press Release below for all the details...


A group of gamers battling to save their online world from destruction have reached out to Disney® for help.

Four members of the Save City of Heroes® campaign, with the support of other key individuals have contacted Disney Interactive®, asking for their help in collaborating with NCsoft® to save their beloved game from oblivion.

NCsoft, who currently own the franchise, announced on August 30 they were pulling the plug on the long-running MMO, with the game scheduled to be closed on November 30. In the process of shutting down the game, NCsoft laid off the 80-strong staff at Paragon Studios, based in Mountain View, California.

The announcement caught nearly everyone by surprise, as the game had still been operating successfully and with ongoing development, including an expansion in open beta stages. It was also one of the quietest MMO shutdown announcements, as it was not sent to investors, press, company's news section or even the game's own support staff.

Almost immediately, a massive online campaign was launched that saw the residents of Paragon City, the Rogue Isles and Praetoria send letters, masks and capes to NCsoft in a bid to get them to work with the players to find a way to keep the online game running. An online petition calling on NCsoft to keep City of Heroes running has attracted over 21,000 signatures.

The closure of the #1 superhero online game of all time, which generated over $180 million in revenue, was home to over 100,000 players and 43 million avatars, was still in full development at the time that NCsoft announced they were ‘pulling the plug’. It still had one of the top customer retention rates in the industry – no small feat for a game eight years old with seemingly no advertising budget.

A unity rally held in September saw thousands of players log into show their support for the game, and the developers.  A fundraising effort to take all 80 staff of Paragon Studios out for dinner hit its target in just three hours.

But the fans’ pleas have been met with a blunt ‘no comment’ from NCsoft, who refused to discuss the reason behind the game’s closure, or the attempts they claim to have made to keep it open.

NCsoft’s wall of silence around the closure has resulted in Starburst Magazine®, the UK’s longest running science-fiction calling on its readers to boycott the game publisher “until such time that they start to treat their customers with decency, honesty, and most of all – respect.”

Author Mercedes Lackey, who helped to draft the pitch to Disney, said:

“We believe that Disney and City of Heroes are a perfect match; Disney now owns Marvel and two impending Marvel MMOs which are slated to be mirror opposites of the cooperative, community gameplay fostered by City of Heroes.

“By reviving City of Heroes, Disney will be able to satisfy the gaming desires of every player of MMORPGs.

“In addition, Disney has the reach to effortlessly give City of Heroes the exposure it never had under NCSoft’s regime of benign neglect--and City of Heroes will provide Disney with some extremely unique cross-marketing opportunities.

“Disney has always understood and fostered community and loyalty--something NCSoft never did.

“We believe that acquiring City of Heroes will provide Disney Interactive with the logical extension of their games for kids and teens, offering a game that literally the whole family can play.”

One of the players, Tihomir Kadic, was also a part of the group who put the pitch together added: “It’s easy to throw words like ‘unique’ and ‘irreplaceable’ around, especially now that online gaming is entering an explosion, but as any City of Heroes player will openly say, calling it that would be, if anything, an understatement.

“Not only because of the myriad ways a player could be, in every sense of the word, an individual, not for the expansive options for play, not for the immensely open and welcoming community, or maybe not even the confluence of these and countless other things.

“Perhaps the most irreplaceable thing about it was - is - how many rules of MMOs it broke. How many expectations it turned on its head.

“In a genre where it’s common to keep the players chasing the carrot by constantly moving the stick away, it’s almost inconceivable for a MMO to try - and succeed - to keep its players simply by letting them have fun, on their time and most importantly, on their terms.

“To borrow an adage, it is a game where shared joy is increased - and there is a lot of it to go around.”

Another player, and an Internet Marketing Specialist, Ammon Johns, who has also been involved in the project said: “The business case for acquiring City of Heroes is easy to make.

“It is the most successful and profitable superhero themed MMO ever.  More than that, it still has untapped potential - it is a game that was woefully short of any commitment to marketing, and in my professional opinion, was terribly mismanaged by NCsoft.

“Investors have been critical of NCsoft’s poor handling of international business, and City of Heroes is almost a perfect example of the justification of such.

“By contrast, Disney is a paragon of a company that is truly in-touch with the global market, and indeed the family market.

“One knows that Disney could make a huge success of the game, and make it a key component in their reach across the modern media of family entertainment.

“I’ve dealt with a huge range of Internet based businesses over the many years of my career, and I’ve rarely seen a better all-round opportunity than City of Heroes presents.

“If I only had a few spare millions I’d have been sorely tempted not to share it with Disney at all, and go for it myself.”

Members of the Save City of Heroes campaign are expected to support the plea with a letter writing campaign, due to begin any day now.


Share your comments below or on Twitter @STARBURST_MAG

Find your local Starburst Magazine stockist HERE, or buy direct from us HERE. Our issues are also available as fully interactive iPad editions, loaded with multimedia, and can be downloaded via Apple HERE.

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0 #18 HeatSpike1 2013-05-21 21:03
Thank you for taking the time to get the word out about our cause! The chances are now greater for City of Heroes to return, and also greater for inquiring a NEW crowd of players to join our battle-hardened, dedicated, compassionate, and ever loyal community! City of Heroes a great game & it deserves to be just that. Thanks again for your support in helping #SaveCoH

0 #17 Quantum 0 2012-12-08 21:16
Thank you for covering our cause! I loved playing City of Heroes with my best friend that lives hundreds of miles away. Please bring it back!
0 #16 John Robey 2012-12-03 10:21
Thank you, StarBurstMagazi for this article. Even as consumers got Coca-Cola Company to bring back Coke Classic in 1985, I am hoping fans and players of MMO-gaming both within and outside of the City of Heroes community will assist us by adding their voices to ours in attracting a new publisher to acquire the rights to City of Heroes. While each MMORPG has unique appeal, City of Heroes is an enduring, critically acclaimed classic enjoyed by kids, parents, and grandparents. I won't extol it's many virtues in a comment but simply ask like-minded gamers and fans to please consider joining our efforts. Your support means a lot! Thank you!
+1 #15 Rien 2012-11-30 14:52
Thanks so much for the wonderful article!

We aren't giving up yet. This game is and forever will be the best in the genre. I hope Disney saves us!

I will do anything so save our home. Anything!
+1 #14 Master Gabriel 2012-11-29 19:39
The City of franchise represents the proverbial mirror image of the Marvel acquisitions. In the Marvel continuity you have a static iconic set of characters. With the CoH franchise you have the opportunity to be the main character. CoH / Marvel crossovers become possible. Their is something in this package for everyone.
+1 #13 Chad M 2012-11-29 17:12
I have been in City of Heroes for 8 years now. The community is the best there is. My oldest daughter was looking forward to learning how to play the game to break into MMO's, but with shutdown she is heartbroken. Hopefully Disney will help us and keep the city alive. This community has saw me through divorce, re-marriage, and the death of my oldest daughter. It truly is irreplaceable. #SaveCOH forever!!
+2 #12 Heather Downey 2012-11-29 14:45
thank you for the story! And thank you Starburst for your support! Save city of heroes! I would LOVE to have Disney take on the game. Can you imagin having to do missions for say "Tony Stark"? I would kill to have him as a contact. Or how about a Rogue Island contact of Black Widow. Talk about giving Ghost Widow some competition!!
+2 #11 DamienRay 2012-11-29 14:36
Thank you, thank you for your support STARBURST !! Here's to hoping the Mouse is feeling generous. 8:)
+2 #10 Viridian Surge 2012-11-29 10:47
Thanks for covering City of Heroes and it's community. Here's hoping, that the House of Mouse can revive Paragon City.
+3 #9 daisy mayhem 2012-11-28 23:43
Our family looks forward to playing city for many years to come. Come on Disney save a City!
+3 #8 Jason the Nero 2012-11-28 23:37
Long or otherwise, one more shot at this is worth it. Go team City! #SaveCoH :)
+5 #7 @Ms Lith 2012-11-28 15:27
Thank you for covering the #SaveCOH efforts in such depth. The letter writing campaign has begun, mine are already in the mail.

We all know this is a slim hope, but a slim hope is better than none. We continue to fight to save Paragon city, as we've been doing for eight years.

We are heroes. This is what we do.
+5 #6 Artillerie 2012-11-28 14:46
A buy up of CoH by Disney could only be a good thing in the long run. Thank you Starburst for covering this.
+7 #5 Globetrotter 2012-11-28 11:44
We love Paragon City. We love our characters and nope the Disney Company can save them.

Thank you for giving so much attention to our cause!
+8 #4 Knight 2012-11-28 10:00
A nice and in depth article, thanks Starburst!
+9 #3 Rae 2012-11-28 08:43
Thanks so much for running this.

We know damn well that it's a long shot. But it's not like we've got anything to lose in asking, right?

Thank you, Starburst, for everything you have done to support the SaveCOH campaign. You are a wonderful, wonderful magazine.
+9 #2 Thomas Hughes 2012-11-28 07:48
Thanks for covering this campaign. We really love our City and would love to continue playing there for many years to come.
+9 #1 Mercedes Lackey 2012-11-28 06:42
Thanks for everything you have done for City of Heroes and the movement to save it. You do know that anything I can do in return for you, I will, right?

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