Turbine inks deal with Shanda

Asheron's Call developer in "strategic partnership" with online game operator in China; Shanda will also lend development chops to Turbine games in that market.

Turbine, the developer and publisher of Asheron's Call, the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons Online, and Middle-Earth Online, has struck a multiyear deal with China's largest online game operator, Shanda.

Terms of the deal, including duration and specific number of games covered, were not revealed, but the partnership will kick off with the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons Online, due to North American gamers in November.

While Atari is publishing the game in North America and Europe, Turbine retains publishing rights in Asia. Shanda will act not only as the localization partner for the game, but also lend a hand with content nuances for the Chinese market. The two companies will "cooperate extensively in developing and localizing" that game and others for Chinese gamers, Turbine said yesterday in a statement.

"Shanda has become a gateway into the Chinese online gaming market," said Jeff Anderson, president and CEO of Turbine. "This agreement signals Turbine's commitment to a long-term presence in China."

In the contentious world of game publishing in China, Shanda considers itself the largest in terms of revenue and number of concurrent users on its game servers. The company says it often tallies 2 million concurrent users playing its games.

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