Shanda Networking Co signed a strategic agreement with South
Korea's No. 1 game designer NCsoft yesterday to share their strong
expertise in research and development and game operations, the
partners said yesterday in Shanghai.
"Shanda is a leading company in game operations, and NCsoft is a
global leader in game design. Therefore it is a win-win
cooperation," said Tang Jun, Shanda's president who used to be
Microsoft China's president.
Under the deal signed yesterday, Nasdaq-listed Shanda will
acquire an exclusive license for NCsoft-developed game AION, which
is a 3D MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game), in
China. The game is expected to launch in the second half of next
year in the domestic market, according to NCsoft, which has
developed Lineage and Lineage II.
Shanda, China's No. 1 online game firm, has invested in NCsoft
China for a 30-percent stake with a registered capital of US$9
million. NCsoft China will be in charge of the company's game
operations in the country and will provide related
Although Shanda may have done well to get the license for AION
as a qualified MMORPG game, there are still risks, according to
Credit Suisse, which rated Shanda "neutral."
The game may be delayed to 2009, and Shanda will probably have
to pay US$5 million to US$10 million as license fee, higher than
the popular MMORPG game, the World of WarCraft, which is operated
by Shanda's rival The9, according to Credit Suisse.
NCsoft's games, such as Lineage, Lineage II and Guild Wars, were
launched in China through various partners but they received
worse-than-expected market response.
In the second quarter, China's online game market revenue
totaled 2.65 billion yuan (US$353 million), a massive 185.3-percent
growth year on year. The MMORPG game revenue contributed 84.5
percent to the industry's total revenue, according to iReseach, a
Shanghai-based IT consulting Co.
(Shanghai Daily November 8, 2007)