2K Sports, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, is a publishing company which is renowned for its sports based video games including The Bigs, NHL 2K and NBA 2K series. Now 2K Sports has announced that it has partnered with the Internet services company, Tencent Holdings, to develop an online version of NBA 2K for the Asian market.
Christoph Hartmann, President of 2K explained, “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. For the first time, 2K is developing an online game combining our expertise in making the best-selling and top-rated NBA 2K video game franchise with the proven ability of Tencent for developing and operating highly successful online game communities in China.”
To develop this online simulation game, 2K Sports has secured a multi year license which includes all the NBA teams along with retired and current NBA players. Sal LaRocca, Executive Vice President, NBA Global Merchandising Group exclaimed, “The NBA is excited to expand our relationship with 2K Sports to bring an online simulation basketball game to our fastest growing audience in the world. This is a unique opportunity for us to continue to reach our fans and further grow the game of basketball in China.”
Hubert Larenaudie, President of Take-Two Asia said, “This is a landmark agreement for the newly created Take-Two Asia, and all elements are in place to deliver the most successful online sports simulation game China has ever seen. 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.”
China’s online gaming revenue saw a year on year growth increase of 61 percent in 2008 generating USD 2.75 billion. The online gaming market is expected to reach revenues of USD 8.9 billion by 2013 with close 120 million people playing games online.
Ben Feder, Chief Executive Officer of Take-Two commented, “I’m pleased to announce our first strategic move in what is now the fastest growing online game market in the world. Given the universal appeal of sports, specifically NBA basketball, we believe that our partnership with Tencent to make NBA 2K Online is the perfect entry point for Take-Two into this market. NBA 2K has revolutionized the basketball gaming genre and we are confident that its best-in-breed pedigree can be fully leveraged in China with the support of our valued partners at Tencent and the NBA.”
Martin Lau, President of Tencent stated, “We are excited about the partnership, through which Tencent can bring this popular PC-based NBA game title to eager online game players, while also creating a new distribution platform for game developers and publishers to reach out to the largest online community in China. China’s online games market is at a nascent stage and we believe that the opportunities are just beginning to unfold. 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.”
NBA’s popularity is growing in China. For three consecutive years, more than a billion viewers have tuned into NBA programming to support to their favourite teams. 2K Sports and Tencent Holdings plan to distribute NBA 2K Online in China and other markets like Taiwan, South Korea and Southeast Asia. The release date of the game and prices have not yet been announced.