Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) today announced the development of a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) based on its successful Civilization franchise. Through a previously announced partnership with renowned South Korean-based studio XLGAMES and under the leadership of its CEO and MMOG design luminary, Jake Song, Civilization Online (working title) is being designed from the ground up as an entirely new online-only entertainment experience for the Asian market. Civilization series creator, Firaxis Games, and XLGAMES have been lending their respective expertise and vision to developing Civilization Online. Mr. Song is highly regarded for his integral role in creating the popular Korean MMORPG, Lineage, which has attracted 43 million players. For this project, he is leading a team of more than 100 people in Seoul, making it one of the most ambitious online game development initiatives taking place in South Korea. Firaxis Games is widely known for its long and distinguished history with Civilization, its leading strategy franchise, which has sold-in more than 11-million units worldwide, and includes the critically acclaimed and commercially successful releases of Sid Meier’s Civilization V and Civilization V: Gods and Kings. Earlier this month, Firaxis Games launched XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which has received excellent reviews from consumers and the media. “Making our intellectual property available to delight consumers wherever they are is an important component of our long-term growth strategy,” said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two. “Our online and mobile social projects in Asia are enabling Take-Two to further broaden its global footprint and captivate audiences across a myriad of screens, platforms and business models. If successful, these projects will enhance our core business with revenue and profit streams that are higher margin and more stable over time.”
“Over the last four years, we have been focused on creating an ambitious portfolio of online and social games with some of the most revered companies in Asia such as Tencent in China, Nexon Korea Corporation and XLGAMES in Korea, GREE and CyberAgent in Japan,” added Hubert Larenaudie, president of Take-Two Asia. “The consumer response for NBA 2K All Stars and NBA 2K Online has been very encouraging. With the upcoming releases of Pro Baseball 2K and Civilization Online, Take-Two is uniquely positioned to delight gamers throughout Asia.““2K is committed to supporting the growing Asian market by bringing our best IP and strongest franchises to the most popular online platforms in each territory,” concluded David Ismailer, chief operating officer of 2K, a wholly owned label of Take-Two. “ Civilization Online is an example of how 2K can leverage its successful franchises, beyond sports, to create entirely new experiences in genres that resonate with customers in this region.” The announcement of Civilization Online, underscores Take-Two’s strategic approach to delivering interactive entertainment experiences for Asia through a series of partnerships with local, best-in-class companies that leverage their development capabilities, strong distribution channels and intimate knowledge of regional consumers. Over the past several months, Take-Two has been actively working on several online and mobile social projects in Asia, including:
- NBA 2K Online - free-to-play NBA simulation from 2K Sports on the Tencent Games portal in China that launched commercially on October 24. NBA 2K Online is being co-developed by Tencent and Visual Concepts in Shanghai. The online game service builds on 2K Sports' award-winning basketball simulation franchise in an exciting MMOG format, matching an engaging NBA 2K simulation gameplay with entirely new RPG activities, such as character personalization, quests and achievements.
- NBA 2K All-Stars - free-to-play, official NBA mobile social game that is currently available on GREE’s social networking platform in Japan. The title, developed by CyberAgent, has attracted more than 300K users in less than 60 days**. 2K is also partnering with GREE to develop mobile social games based upon its Civilization and Pirates! franchises.
- Pro Baseball 2K – an online baseball simulation game created by 2K Sports in partnership with Nexon for Korea. Currently in development with Nexon and 2K’s team in Seoul, the game will utilize the engine from 2K Sports’ popular console baseball series. Due for open beta release during spring 2013, Pro Baseball 2K will deliver the high-quality presentation and simulation gameplay that 2K Sports is known for, featuring authentic and true-to-life representations of the professional players of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO).
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