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Sony Acquires On-line Gaming Company Verant Interactive

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) announced it has acquired the on-line game company Verant Interactive, Inc. and named digital gaming executive Kelly Flock as president and CEO of Sony On-line Entertainment (SOE). Verant will be blended into SOE, which will base its operations in San Diego, California. The new arm of Sony has been responsible for operating the popular on-line games EVERQUEST, TANARUS and SOVEREIGN. Verant President John Smedley will become SOEs executive vice president and chief operating officer. In turn, the new SOE CEO Flock will oversee the development of interactive games by SOE and Verant and SOE's Web site the Station@sony.com, which features WHEEL OF FORTUNE, JEOPARDY! and TRIVIAL PURSUIT ON-LINE. Previously at interactive game company 989 Studios, Flock was responsible for the creation of the sensationally popular EVERQUEST. During its evening peak, more than 60,000 people play EVERQUEST simultaneously, acting as adventurers and dragon slayers. "As the pre-eminent executive in the interactive gaming community, Kelly Flock is perfectly suited to build on Sony On-line Entertainment's leadership position and lift it to new levels of excellence," said Howard Stringer, chairman and CEO of Sony Corporation of America (SCA). "With his great talent and creativity, we're delighted that Kelly will continue to work his digital magic in the extended Sony family." Flock said, "I continue to believe that on-line gaming is the fastest-growing, most exciting area of interactive entertainment. It is a great honor to be able to rejoin the pioneers at SOE and the EVERQUEST development teams, under John Smedley's direction at Verant, in furthering our goal of facilitating the next evolution in games. Sony On-line Entertainment has the edge in technology and content, and I am excited by the opportunity to create and lead the next mass-market category of gaming."

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