2K Sports will partner with Chinese operator Tencent to co-develop and distribute the online version of its NBA 2K
in China and other Asian territories.
2K has a multi-year license for the online game that will allow it to include NBA teams and both current and retired players in the title. "The incredible popularity of basketball in Asia combined with the love of online games in that region makes this a very exciting project for 2K," says label president Christoph Hartmann.
According to Niko Partners, the online gaming market in China grew 61 percent
year over year to $2.75 billion, and is projected to reach $8.9 billion by 2013, thanks to an expected 120 million in online players. Publisher Take-Two often says that entering Asian markets through localized business models and online play is part of its overall revenue strategy.
2K says over one billion Chinese viewers watched NBA programming in the region for the third year in a row. NBA global merchandising executive VP Sal LaRocca calls the partnership with Take-Two "a unique opportunity for us to continue to reach our fans and further grow the game of basketball in China."
Adds Take-Two Asia president Hubert Larenaudie: "In line with our strategic mandate to create a large footprint for our games in Asia, NBA 2K Online
will also be released in Taiwan, South Korea and Southeast Asia, where numerous NBA basketball fans are eager to play their favorite sport online."
Tencent sees the co-development relationship with Take-Two as an opportunity for "creating a new distribution platform for game developers and publishers to reach out to the largest online community in China."
"In addition to building partnerships with top game companies in the world, we are positioned to capture this market potential via the execution of our unique platform strategy, which enables us to continue to grow our user base and provide a diversified portfolio of products to game players in China," says Tencent president Martin Lau.