Publisher THQ has announced an exclusive, worldwide agreement to publish video games based on the Ultimate Fighting Championship brand through 2011, as the company apparently looks to diversify beyond its existing, troubled WWE deal.
Apparently, the games will feature many of the past and present UFC superstars and UFC champions, and rights also include all other UFC event content including the Octagon - the fighting brand is becoming increasingly popular in North America, with pay-per-view events racking up hundreds of thousands of viewers in 2006.
The deal includes games for all current and next-generation consoles, PC and handheld platforms, in addition to certain wireless rights. Rights also include online, downloadable and multi-player capabilities in connection with the various gaming systems. A previous UFC game published by Crave was released in 2002.
However, THQ's relationship with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has become a matter of speculation after this announcement, with WWE recently suing THQ
claiming “improper sales” of video game titles in Asia, a continuation in part of a long-running lawsuit
also involving toy maker Jakks Pacific.
"Ultimate Fighting Championship and THQ represent the perfect marriage of rich content and proven development capabilities," said Kelly Flock, executive vice president of worldwide publishing, THQ. "The UFC brand has seen tremendous growth in recent years with wild popularity among the core gaming demographic. This relationship serves as an extraordinary addition to THQ's world-class license portfolio as we continue to expand our competitive sports offering."