Basketball is wildly popular in China and so are online games.
Seeing big revenue in that combination, 2K Sports announced today that it will create an online version of pro hoops game NBA 2K for the Chinese market. Chinese Internet portal Tencent Holdings will partner with 2K Sports on the deal.
Licensing for the game includes all NBA team along with current and retired players. 2K Sports president Christoph Hartmann is quoted in a press release issued this morning:
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.
Online gaming was a $2.75 billion business in China in 2008 and more than a billion Chinese viewed NBA programming during the just-completed season.