According to a market-research survey cited by Take-Two Interactive, China is now the world's fastest growing market for online games. Performed by the firm Nikko Partners, the study estimates that China's online gaming revenue totaled $2.75 billion in 2008, a 61 percent increase from 2007. Meanwhile, the NBA continues to enjoy immense popularity in China. For the third consecutive year, over 1 billion people in China have watched NBA programming throughout the basketball season.
Take-Two's touting of China's growth was a preamble to its announcement of a new game, NBA 2K Online, that will quench China's thirst for both online titles and the NBA. Armed with a multiyear license by the NBA, the 2K Games label will develop the online sim, which will include all the league's teams and many current and retired players. It will also be released in Taiwan, Korea, and Southeast Asia, although Take-Two did not provide launch-date information for any territory.
"I’m pleased to announce our first strategic move in what is now the fastest growing online game market in the world," said Take-Two CEO Ben Feder. "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 Online will be published for the PC using the technology of Chinese Internet portal giant Tencent. The massive Shenzhen-based company boasted 411 million users as of March 31, and operates 67 casual games and five massively multiplayer online games. It also runs mainland China's popular free instant messaging service, Tencent QQ.