The sports of baseball, basketball and now wrestling? - Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
No announcement has been officially made yet, but IGN has reported that the WWE video game franchise will be sold to Take Two Interactive Software, Inc., parent company of 2K Games. What this means for the style of future WWE games is to be determined.
Well, the wait is almost over, Cagesiders. According to the official WWE Games twitter account, we should be bracing ourselves for a positive announcement about the franchise's future very imminently:
"We don't have any details to share yet, but there WILL continue to be WWE Games. Stay tuned for more information and some exciting news!"
Even before that tweet had been posted, f4wonline.com had reported that a deal was in place with a company to acquire the WWE video game license from THQ, which is bankrupt and will soon be out of business, but nothing was official as the paperwork had yet to be completed.
All that was known about the mystery purchaser at the time was that it wasn't the favourite Electronic Arts (EA), who had produced the WCW Mayhem video game in 1999 and last year had bought the rights to the UFC Undisputed series from THQ.
A couple of weeks ago, we reported that the WWE video game franchise would be sold at an auction that was held yesterday, but this was actually incorrect, as it was treated as a separate entity and the sale was being hammered out behind closed doors, because it's one of THQ's most lucrative assets and it involves the intellectual property of an outside party.
In this rapidly developing news story, IGN has already leaked the name of the expected buyer - Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., who owns 2K Games, 2K Sports and Rockstar Games:
"Sources have indicated to IGN that the WWE game franchise will be sold to Take Two, parent company of 2K. Terms of the sale are unknown at this time, as details have not been finalized. These negotiations appear to have taken place outside THQ's formal auction process."
The assumption seems to be that the WWE property will fall under the 2K Games umbrella, but what this would actually entail in practice is currently shrouded in confusion, as our Vox Media sister site Polygon.com reports:
"Take-Two is the parent company of 2K Games and 2K Sports. The latter subsidiary currently publishes two major annual sports franchises, NBA 2K and MLB 2K, both of which are developed by in-house studio Visual Concepts. It's unclear at this point if Visual Concepts would also develop Take-Two's WWE games, if the publisher plans to hire an outside developer for the franchise or if it will even release a WWE title in 2013."
It's possible that Take-Two may just decide to keep Yuke's Co. Ltd as the developer, who have been making pro wrestling games in Japan since 1996 and been involved in the production of every WWE game of the last 13 years, which would mean very little change to the game engine. That would be the safe option for everyone concerned, so not knowing the politics involved, I guess that's what will happen.
Given that no-one here tabbed Take-Two as the eventual winning bidder, what are your thoughts Cagesiders at this surprising development? At least they're ending up with a company on a much sounder financial footing than THQ was over the past few years.