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Shanda plays with NCsoft in China

Online gamer to develop with top designer

BEIJING — China’s top online gamer, Shanda Networking, has pacted with South Korea’s No. 1 game designer, NCsoft, to share expertise in research and development and game operations.

Shanda will take a 30% stake in NCsoft China with registered capital of $9 million. NCsoft China will be in charge of game operations in the country and will provide related technologies.

Shanda has also been granted an exclusive license to operate NCsoft’s 3-D massive multiplayer online role playing game “AION: The Tower of Eternity” in mainland China.

“AION” is set within a mythical world involving the Angelic and Demonic races and the growing common threat posed by the emerging Draconic race. The game is expected to launch in the second half of next year in the domestic market, according to NCsoft, which has previously developed “Lineage” and “Lineage II.”

In the second quarter of this year, China’s online game market revenue totaled 2.65 billion yuan ($353 million), a year-on-year rise of 185%, and the vast majority of that income came from massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), according to iReseach, a Shanghai-based IT consultancy.

NCsoft chief exec Tack-jin Kim said Shanda is an ideal partner with its proven track record in operating MMORPGs, its nationwide distribution platform as well as its strong marketing capabilities.

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