Fans of Take-Two Interactive's (Nasdaq: TTWO ) Civilization franchise may want to dust off their passports and start brushing up on Korean.
The edgy video game publisher is working on a new version of the game, but don't hold your breath waiting for a stateside release.
Take-Two fans are used to having to wait. When will it finally announce a release date of Grand Theft Auto V? Even the company's latest financials -- originally slated to be released tonight -- won't be out on time. Hurricane Sandy forced the New York-based company to postpone its report. Yes, it's a popular and legitimate excuse this week, but unlike companies that are rescheduling with hard replacement dates, Take-Two is simply telling investors that it will let them know later when it will be ready.
That's typical for Take-Two.
However, the real reason that U.S. players will have to wait for the new Civilization game is that it will be introduced in South Korea instead.
Asia offers something that the stateside market can't, and that's growth. Stateside video game industry sales have fallen in recent years, but in Asia -- South Korea and China, in particular -- the appetite for strategy and fantasy games is growing.
Take-Two won't head into South Korea alone. Even the mighty Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI ) went through Chinese leaders to introduce its games into the world's most populous nation, turning to NetEase.com (Nasdaq: NTES ) for World of Warcraft, and more recently teaming up with Tencent for its Call of Duty franchise.
How big is the growth opportunity in Asia? Well, analysts see NetEase, Giant Interactive (NYSE: GA ) , and Changyou.com (Nasdaq: CYOU ) -- big players in the online games that are so popular in China -- all growing revenue at double-digit clips this year, and again come 2013. Stateside leader Activision Blizzard, on the other hand, is projected to grow its business by 4% this year and less than 2% next year.
The opportunity for the smaller Take-Two in Asia is material, and that's something even Take-Two's history of delays can't hold back.
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