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Sony Online Entertainment signs Asian deal with Gamania

Massively multiplayer market leader Sony Online Entertainment has signed a new deal with one of the largest operators of online game titles in the Asia-Pacific region, Gamania, which will see the companies collaborating on the localisation and launch of EverQuest II in the territory.

Under the terms of the new alliance, the companies will establish a joint venture in the Far East, with the initial task of launching and operating EverQuest II in a range of markets including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea, along with several others.

However, while the new Taiwan-based joint venture will be localising the title for the Far East, its work will not stop there - with a project dubbed EQeast designed to "culturalise" EverQuest II for the Asia-Pacific markets.

It's envisaged that the EQeast project could include the redesign of character models, translation and re-recording of voiceovers, adjustment to controls and user interface, and a number of other changes designed to make the American-developed MMORPG title more palatable to the Asian markets.

Moving forward, it's expected that the joint venture firm will develop and publish Asia-specific expansion packs for EverQuest II, as well as working on new game development projects designed to enhance the positions of both Gamania and SOE.

"Asia is becoming a huge focus for online games and online gaming companies across the globe," according to Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley. "The future of Sony Online involves having a significant presence in Asia, which is not something we could do as quickly without a partner who has the knowledge and abilities to help us bring our games into these diverse markets."

"SOE believes there is a real opportunity to attract a large number of new subscribers by working with local partners to specifically engineer our games to address the needs of players throughout Asia," he continued. "We feel that Gamania is the right partner to combine forces with in order to make this happen."

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.