SEGA Corporation today announced plans to enter the China market's online game business.
In preparation for full-scale business operations in China, the company has established a branch office in Shanghai — SEGA (Shanghai) Software Co., Ltd. SEGA considers the China market to be critical for growth in the multiplayer online game business.
With more than 10 million online gamers, China has become a key component in SEGA's global strategy to become a market-leader in the online game business segment. The company plans to establish the regional business through its local branch offices, with multiplayer online game content designed to appeal to market-specific tastes and demand.
SEGA is planning to launch the following PC online games in China.
(1) Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst (PSO BB)
SEGA has reached an agreement to provide Zarva Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd., the subsidiary of Zarva Technology Group Co., Ltd–one of the biggest IT companies in China–with a license to operative Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst, the continuation of a marquee franchise that has brought hundreds of thousands of virtual wizards and warriors to life on console and PC platforms. The first title in the franchise–Phantasy Star Online–was released for Dreamcast in 2000 and subsequently on the Nintendo GameCube, Microsoft Xbox, and PC.
SEGA will partner with Joyzone Networks Co. to bring CTRacer to China. The Korean beta for CTRacer began in March 2003 and has reached 3.75 million subscribers as of the end of June, 2004. The consumer service in Korea is scheduled to launch in Autumn 2004. CTRacer is a Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) racing game co-developed by SEGA and Hyundai Digital. The title allows up to 5,000 people to simultaneously compete in races. Players connecting in virtual communities can customize their own cars by purchasing items such as performance parts and paint schemes.
(3) Shenmue Online
SEGA has reached an alliance agreement with JC Entertainment Corp. in Korea to co-develop and co-publish Shenmue Online. SEGA also has an agreement with T2 Technology Holdings Inc. to allow T2 technology to handle the Chinese online game operation of Shenmue Online. The commercial launch will take place in 2005. Shenmue Online is a PC MMO Action Role-Playing Game (RPG) based on the Dreamcast Shenmue franchise.