Source: ESPN.com & 2KSports.com
After months of speculation, rumors and fierce negotiations, Take-Two Interactive has officially acquired the exclusive rights to the WWE video game license for the next five years and will publish the popular wrestling franchise as part of its 2K Sports brand.
Video game publisher THQ, which has held the exclusive WWE gaming rights since 1999, was forced to sell its assets after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court struck down its potential sale to Clearlake Capital Group in January. Prior to the court’s ruling, however, THQ and WWE held a private bid for the wrestling franchise, and according to Casey Collins, WWE’s executive vice president of consumer products, the bidding process was more about finding the right partner than grabbing the most cash.
The series, which will continue to be developed by Yukes in Japan, will combine the studio’s signature gameplay with 2K’s commitment to authenticity in WWE 2K14, the latest iteration of the popular, long running series. With the addition of the WWE franchise, 2K will continue a highly-successful, 15-year tradition established by past WWE titles. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"WWE series is a great addition to our stable of triple-A titles, and we’re very happy with this exclusive agreement with our new partners," said David Ismailer, Chief Operating Officer for 2K. “We look forward to capturing the excitement of WWE and marrying it with the same commitment to authenticity and entertainment that we give to our NBA 2K and MLB 2K franchises.”
2K has a strong history in growing premier sports simulation titles, evidenced by the incredible commercial success of the NBA 2K series, with more than 15 million units of NBA 2K11, NBA 2K12 and NBA 2K13 sold-in worldwide to date worldwide. This year, in the first week of its release, NBA 2K13 sold 49 percent more copies in the same time frame than the franchise’s previous record-holder, NBA 2K11.
2K’s reputation for outstanding quality and dedication to authenticity are a perfect fit for WWE,” added Casey Collins, Executive Vice President, Consumer Products for WWE. “This new partnership will ensure that WWE continues to be one of the leading video game brands in the world and we look forward to continuing the franchise with the benefit of their expertise across a variety of platforms.”
“The development work on the WWE franchise is impressive, and we’re excited to combine our background in developing the NBA 2K series with theirs in this new partnership,” concluded Greg Thomas, Executive Vice President of 2K Sports. “Fans can expect the most authentic WWE experience on game consoles this fall.”
Developed by Yukes, WWE 2K14 is not yet rated by the ESRB and will be available for consoles in the fall of 2013.