Shanda, based in Shanghai, will offer the game exclusively in China, Trion Worlds said in an e-mailed statement today. The multiplayer role-playing title will be available in the Asian country this year, it said.
The new game may help Shanda compete with bigger rivals in China including NetEase.com Inc. (NTES), the local operator of “World of Warcraft,” and Tencent Holdings Ltd. (700), the biggest Chinese Internet company by revenue. Trion Worlds said it signed up more than 1 million active players for “Rift” in four months, gaining more than $100 million in revenue in North America and Europe.
“This is an important push for us,” Lars Buttler, Trion Worlds’ chief executive officer, said in an interview. “China is by far the biggest market for online games in Asia and it is going to be over time the biggest market for gaming in the world.”
Trion Worlds, based in Redwood City, California, operates development centers in San Diego and Austin, Texas, according to its website.
China had 513 million Internet users at the end of last year, according to data from the government-sponsored China Internet Network Information Center.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at email@example.com