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It looks like 2K Sports has caught a tiger by the tail, in more ways than one.
Today, the Take-Two publishing label announced that it’s not only acquired PGA Tour 2K developer HB Studios but that it’s also signed a multiyear deal with Tiger Woods, one of the greatest golfers to ever play on the pro tour. 2K Sports did not disclose financial details of either transaction. This year’s game, PGA Tour 2K21, has sold nearly 2 million copies since its release, in part because of HB Studios’ capability to mix easy-to-learn, understandable controls and other mechanics of golf (like reading greens, ball spin, and so on) with a good-looking presentation. It’s just a fun golf game, and I talked to HB Studios about making this game and its reception during a pandemic in October.
As part of the deal, Woods will have his name and likeness in future editions of PGA Tout 2K. When 2K Sports also said that it would appear on “any other golf games published by 2K during the partnership term.” When EA developed a PGA Tour game, Woods was the cover athlete from 1998 to 2013. EA dropped Woods following several years of scandal and poor play. Oddly enough, this deal comes a month after Woods was injured in a serious car crash in February.
When asked if the series would bear Woods’ name, a 2K Sports spokesperson said, “We’re not ready to make any announcements regarding the title or direction of future entries in the PGA Tour 2K franchise just yet but we look forward to sharing more details when the time is right.”
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2K’s last acquisition was Pixelgun Studio in 2020. It scans NBA players and other athletes into games.
When EA stopped making golf games, HB Studios helped fill the void with The Golf Club. When 2K acquired the rights for the PGA license, it made The Golf Club 2019 featuring PGA Tour.
HB Studios got going when Jeremy Wellard founded it in 2000 in Nova Scotia. Over the past 20 years, it’s shipped 51 titles with 30.5 million in sales, along with helping make 21 other games.
With HB, 2K’s current studio stable includes:
- Visual Concepts
- Firaxis Games
- Hangar 13
- Cat Daddy Games
- 31st Union
- Cloud Chamber
Visual Concepts, Cat Daddy, and HB have developed sports games. Saber Interactive has also worked on sports games for 2K, but it now falls under the Embracer Group’s banner.
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