Giant Interactive, the company that's been making the rounds via a fantastic article on Zhengtu Online, their unholy marriage of gambling, flagrant RMT, and the usual MMORPG aspects, is moving into yet another area by securing the license to operate the Swiss-based MMORPG Empire of Sports in China. I admit it, I don't get it - what's the appeal here? - but with Giant at the helm, do we have real gambling on virtual sports events to look forward to? Giant will be running the game in Mainland China, as well as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau - the company has really been rocketing to prominence in the past couple of months. The full release is after the jump.
SHANGHAI, China, Jan. 10 /Xinhua-PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Giant Interactive Group Inc. , one of China's leading online game developers and operators, announced today that it has secured an exclusive license from Switzerland-based Empire of Sports Ltd. to operate Empire of Sports, a new sports-based massively multiplayer online role playing game, in the Greater China region, including the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. The license has a term that expires on September 15, 2011.
Empire of Sports Ltd. is a joint venture founded by Infront Sports & Media and F4, a leading European computer game development company. Empire of Sports, the first online-game developed by Empire of Sports Ltd., represents a virtual sports world, in which players assume the role of a single character throughout the entire game. The result is a new gaming experience, especially with regards to team sports, which allow players to compete in virtual international events against other players. Among the high quality multiplayer sports games available at the launch of Empire of Sports will be basketball, tennis, skiing, and a series of fitness and training games. Adding to the reality and authenticity of the games, real referees were consulted throughout the design and development process in order to simulate and incorporate real-world game rules.
Wei Liu, President of Giant, commented, ''We are very excited to announce this new licensing agreement. The sports game genre remains a largely untapped market in the Greater China region, and we believe Empire of Sports represents an ideal entry point and growth opportunity for Giant. With the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games nearing, we believe interest in sports-related games is poised to increase. Given the high quality, professional design and input from respected sports authorities on the development of Empire of Sports, coupled with our leading nationwide sales and marketing network, we believe Giant will be well positioned to capture share in the growing sports game market.''