Officials from Take-Two Interactive have confirmed that the company has purchased all the outstanding capital stock of Sega's California based sports development studio Visual Concepts and its wholly-owned studio, Kush Games.
This accounts for all of the development teams for the popular ESPN 2K brand of sports titles. The purchase price was approximately $24 million in cash and includes the rights to all intellectual property associated with the sports titles, as well as rights to the 2K brand.
The agreement also provides that Take-Two and Sega will work together to bring sports titles developed by Visual Concepts to Sega's arcade business. Additionally, Take-Two is negotiating an agreement with Sega whereby Sega will publish and distribute the 2K series of sports titles and certain other Take-Two games in Japan and other Asian territories.
It is not clear what effect this will have on Sega's arcade-derived sports titles, such as Virtua Tennis
and Virtua Soccer
, but since the ESPN range has previously focused on U.S. sports only, and the games were not developed by either Kush or Visual Concepts, these are assumed not to be affected by the deal.
Since Take-Two will no longer be able to use the ESPN brand to promote the range, due to a new arrangement between ESPN and Electronic Arts
, the company will be launching a new publishing label, 2K Sports, to deal with the sports titles.
Take-Two also took this opportunity to announce a whole new parent publishing label, 2K Games. This replaces Globalstar as the main non-Rockstar publishing brand for Take-Two, and "will incorporate Take-Two's internally-owned development studios Visual Concepts, Kush Games, Indie Built, Venom Games, PopTop Software and Frog City Software, as well as the team at Take-Two Licensing." However, the GlobalStar brand will still be used for some budget titles.
With specific regard to the Visual Concepts purchase, Greg Thomas, president of the studio, commented: "Take-Two has been an incredible partner with whom we've experienced great success. Take-Two has the formidable marketing and distribution resources necessary to compete and win in this business, as well as an increasingly rare passion for creating truly new and innovative games for consumers. For us, giving consumers the best games possible has always been the very top priority, and we look forward to taking our sports titles even further with Take-Two."