Activision Inc. and Vivendi today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to combine Vivendi Games -- which includes Blizzard Ent, creators of WORLD OF WARCRAFT -- with Activision, creating the world's largest pure-play online and console game publisher. The new company, Activision Blizzard, is expected to have approximately $3.8 billion in pro forma combined calendar 2007 revenues and the highest operating margins of any major third-party videogame publisher.
MTV Networks announced plans to make every clip from every episode of SOUTH PARK available for free online next year, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The move comes on the heels of the Viacom company's success with streaming THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART. Back in August, Comedy Central signed an unprecedented deal with SOUTH PARK creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to share revenue on SOUTH PARK episodes across the Web, mobile phones and videogames.
Mumbai-based mobile phone content provider Hungama Mobile has entered into an agreement with Paramount Digital Ent. for the distribution of interactive content in the Indian market.
Paramount Digital is part of the Paramount Pictures Corp, a unit of Viacom Inc.
"With extraordinary growth and more new mobile subscribers than in any other country, India presents a great opportunity for our rapidly expanding global business," Paramount Digital Entertainment VP (Asia Pacific) Pradeep Mittur said.
Netflix Inc. and NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution announced an agreement through which current episodes of the network's top-rated prime-time series HEROES can be watched online by Netflix subscribers the day after their network airings.
The deal follows NBC Universal's announcement that G4 and Mojo will be the off-network cable homes for HEROES and makes Netflix the exclusive SVOD outlet for the series and the third arm of the studio's syndication deal.
1C Publishing EU has brought the first anime-style action game developed in Russia to markets in Europe. The RPG/action game developed by Gaijin Ent. features more than 20 weapons and lethal spells to counter various enemies in many locations throughout a fantasy universe.
In the game, the young heroine Oniblade follows a map to an abandoned temple, which stirs up an ancient war between The Light One and The Dark One -- two creatures that used to be brothers until their fight for supremacy divided them.
For more info go to www.oniblade.com
In the first week of the 2007 holiday shopping season, Nintendo of America has sold more Nintendo products than at any other time in its history. This includes more than 653,000 Nintendo DS systems, 350,000 Wii consoles and millions of games and accessories throughout the United States.
Nintendo DS set a new all-time sales record for Thanksgiving week, eclipsing the previous mark of 600,000 Game Boy Advance systems sold during the same period in the U.S. in 2005. Nintendo DS remains on track to be the top-selling videogame system of 2007.
Super-Ego Games announced that it has tapped renowned New York City comedians to write and voice its recently announced game RAT RACE, the first-ever episodic console game, coming to the PlayStation Network this winter. The company has enlisted comedic talent from the NYC stand-up comedy circuit and from popular shows including SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN, FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS and more. Comedian Victor Varnado leads the group as head writer and voice director at Super-Ego Games.
Cookie Jar Ent. announced that online role-playing game MAGI-NATION: BATTLE FOR THE MOONLANDS is heading into beta testing in December.
Kenneth Locker, SVP of digital media, Cookie Jar Ent., said, "Our young viewers are extremely Internet-savvy and routinely monitor their TV shows online. With this project we will extend that connection and enable players to have a fully interactive experience with their favorite characters in one of their favorite worlds."
Sega and Valve announced an agreement to deliver a lineup of new Sega titles to customers around the world via Steam, the leading online platform for PC games. The new available games include UNIVERSE AT WAR: EARTH ASSAULT, THE GOLDEN COMPASS, SEGA RALLY REVO, SEGA REVO, WORLDWIDE SOCCER MANAGER, FUTBOL MANAGER and more. In addition to the new games, Sega titles previously released on Steam to customers in North America, such as MEDIEVAL II: TOTAL WAR and ROME: TOTAL WAR, are now available to Steam gamers in Europe and most of the world.
We close the month with more videogame coverage: Tom McLean reports on four hot cinematics: HALO 3, MASS EFFECT, HELLGATE: LONDON and TABULA RASA. Meanwhile, Paul Peszko explores the making of ASSASSIN'S CREED, Ubisoft's first next-gen game. Also, McLean uncovers CafÃ©FX's inspired work on THE MIST.
New Line Cinema has acquired Ilion Animation Studios and Handmade Films Int'l's PLANET 51, launching a new push into animated feature distribution for the 40-year-old studio, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
In a twist on the alien invasion flick, the inhabitants of Planet 51 are paranoid that aliens will invade. When astronaut Capt. Charles "Chuck" Baker arrives mayhem ensues and the Earthling must befriend a young Planet 51-ian to get back home.
Sony Computer Ent. America (SCEA) has launched PlayStation Store for the PC in North America, enabling PSP users to access games, video content and services over the Internet through a personal computer. The free service allows users to establish an account, download free content or purchase content directly from the store to their PSP without the use of PlayStation 3. Users who already have a PlayStation Network account can use their existing username and password to log in to PlayStation Store for the PC.
Multi-platform kids' service Kabillion has launched a new kids- and pet-friendly microsite in conjunction with Crazy Pet, LLC., a U.S.-based interactive entertainment and educational licensing company that promotes pet-derived values. In addition to participating on Kabillion's VOD and broadband channels, Crazy Pets will also provide interstitial programming featuring live-action joke videos, animated shorts and tips for proper (and fun) pet care and training. The strategic partnership taps into the U.S. pet industry market, which generated an estimated $38 billion in 2006.
Music-based game developer Harmonix, MTV Games, and distribution partner Electronic Arts have announced the arrival of ROCK BAND SPECIAL EDITION BUNDLE for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at retail stores across America.
Award-winning Frankfurt-based game developer Crytek GmbH is licensing its world-famous CryENGINE 2 to Germany's Hochschule Darmstadt. Beginning in the winter semester, Crytek not only will supply the software, but also will provide students with lectures on game concepts and game design, computer animation, and engine technology -- thus helping them develop innovative concepts for new games and realize them.
Sierra Ent., a division of Vivendi Games, announced that ALIENS VS. PREDATOR -- REQUIEM, an action game exclusively developed for the PSP, has shipped to retailers nationwide. The title is based on the upcoming movie from 20th Century Fox and from the creators of the award-winning original AVP for PC.
Passion Pictures has just completed a cinematic trailer for the opening of the music videogame ROCK BAND. Created by Harmonix, a leading developer of music-based games, ROCK BAND is a new platform for music fans and gamers to interact with music as never before, challenging users to master the lead/bass guitar, drums and vocals as solo artists or cooperatively as part of their own band.
Passion Pictures worked on the ROCK BAND cinematic with Harmonix Art Director Ryan Lesser, who reviews 3ds Max for VFXWORLD.
Who's Vivendi Games and Sony Pictures gonna call? The Ghostbusters.
The game company and film firm are partnering on a new GHOSTBUSTERS videogame, featuring the voices and likenesses of the original stars Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, VARIETY reports. Vivendi's Sierra Ent. plans to release the first title in a potential franchise in fall 2008.
TERMINATOR rights holder The Halcyon Co. has formed a game unit and has made an adaptation of its forthcoming TERMINATOR SALVATION: THE FUTURE BEGINS film its top priority, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The company plans to release the game on all formats in conjunction with the film's release in summer 2009.
Sony Pictures Ent.'s multi-platform company Crackle has announced that Bebo's Open Media will join their list of viral distribution partners, which includes MySpace, Facebook, hi5, AOL, Piczo and WordPress among others. Content for the new channel will be programmed by Crackle's in-house team of editors to ensure both appropriate and addictive entertainment for Bebo's 40 million-plus users around the world.
For the first time ever, Marvel Comics is making its comic book vault available via its new online subscription service Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.
Brash Ent. announced the development of a JUMPER videogame, to release alongside the film of the same name from 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises. JUMPER is the science fiction-action-thriller directed by Doug Liman (THE BOURNE IDENTITY), and starring Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson, Jamie Bell, and Samuel L. Jackson.
GameTap launched today "A Complicated Woman," the final episode in the premiere season of its new animation series REVISIONED, which features story and art from legendary comic book illustrator Jim Lee of Wildstorm/DC Comics.
Atari Inc. announced that DRAGON BALL Z: BUDOKAI TENKAICHI 3 has shipped to retailers in North America for the PlayStation 2 and will be arriving for the Wii later this holiday season. DRAGON BALL Z: BUDOKAI TENKAICHI 3 is rated T for Teen and is available for $49.95.