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2K Sports, Nike Announce NBA 2K6 Partnership

Representatives from Take-Two publishing label 2K Sports and sports manufacturer Nike have announced a deal to include a wide range of Nike products in the forthcoming
Representatives from Take-Two publishing label 2K Sports and sports manufacturer Nike have announced a deal to include a wide range of Nike products in the forthcoming NBA 2K6 basketball simulation. NBA 2K6 is due to be released this autumn in the U.S. for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles, where its main competitor will be Electronic Arts’ NBA Live 06, which is also officially licensed from the National Basketball Association. With Take-Two choosing not to value-price the game at $19.99 or equivalent, as it did in 2004, the new partnership with Nike illustrates a new attempt to differentiate the again full-priced series from rival titles. This is especially important since EA's exclusive deal with sports network ESPN in January 2005, with EA in the process of assuming the former signature brand of the Sega/Take-Two sports titles. The ESPN/EA deal has not yet kicked in, but has likely led to Take-Two looking for major new licensing partners such as Nike. NBA 2K6 itself will feature Nike footwear and other company brands such as Jordan and Converse. Use of the various footwear will resulting in accurately modeled performance boosts to the in-game characters, and the Nike iD shoe customization feature will also be simulated in a game for the first time, according to a company spokesman. Over 200 featured athletes will be wearing the same Nikes shoes that they use in real life, with additional shoes being unlocked as the NBA basketball season goes on through the use of “secret codes”. Finally, the game will be featured within the NBA.com website and the Nike Basketball website, while collector’s editions of 2K Sports/Nike shoes will be released bundled with a copy of the game. "The relationship between 2K Sports and Nike is about the natural union of two leading brands synonymous with sports, competition and innovation," said Erik Whiteford, vice president of marketing, 2K Sports. "Through this relationship, our aim is to deliver a truly unique basketball experience that taps into the intense passion and energy of the sport." "Partnering with an industry leader like 2K Sports allows us to deliver new and rich experiences with the Nike brand and also to provide more authentic gameplay for the consumer," said Ralph Greene, US Basketball Brand Director at Nike.

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