Take-Two Interactive has shut down a 150-person game studio in China and stopped development on Borderlands Online, which would have been a free-to-play online game in the Asian market. The move is another sign that taking Western games and developing them for the Chinese market is a tough and expensive task.
China has become the major gaming market in the world, with about $15 billion in sales across online and mobile games, according to market research reports.
The 2K China studio was based in Shanghai, with offices in Shanghai. Take-Two is the publisher of games such as Grand Theft Auto V, and it is the 15th-largest publicly traded game company in the world. Take-Two did not shut down Visual Concepts China, the Chinese studio in Shanghai that created and operates NBA 2K Online, and it is still planning to launch Civilization Online in Korea. 2K also still has a game-testing office in Chengdu, China, which is also not affected.
In a statement, a spokesman for Take-Two confirmed, “We are excited about the opportunities to expand our business in Asia, and we remain committed to delivering triple-A offerings for that region. At this time, we can confirm that we are closing 2K China. We determined that the additional time required to finish current projects at the studio, particularly Borderlands Online, would not yield a favorable return on investment.”
The spokesman added, “We are working with affected staff to identify other opportunities within the company where possible. The costs associated with the closure will not materially impact the company’s financial results. This decision does not affect our team behind NBA 2K Online, which has been and continues to be highly successful for our company. In addition, we look forward to the commercial launch of Civilization Online in Korea during this fiscal year.”