Industry giants Nickelodeon and THQ will soon be creating and publishing videogames based on original characters and storylines, with the ultimate aim being multi-media franchise development. The networks ongoing success in creating movie and television properties, coupled with THQs expertise in videogame development, marketing and distribution, makes this a potent publishing partnership with proven success in all entertainment media. THQ and Nickelodeon have already risen to the top of the kids' videogame market with their RUGRATS releases for PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color. THQ's RUGRATS videogame library boasts sales of more than 4 million units in the U.S. alone, with retail sales of over $125 million. This year, the two companies will release their first games for a number of different Nickelodeon properties, including ROCKET POWER, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS and WILD THORNBERRYS. THQ will also create games for JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS, Nickelodeon's newest franchise, slated to debut in theatres this December 2001 and as a TV series in Fall 2002. "While our main objective is to publish videogames based on original, fun and irreverent characters, the perfect property would transcend the world of videogames into TV, movies, online, magazine and consumer products," stated Albie Hecht, Nickelodeon's president of film and TV entertainment. "Nickelodeon will leverage the power of MTV Networks and Viacom to market and promote our original videogames like no one else can. We look forward to working with THQ to bring these original multi-media franchises to life." "THQ has established itself as a top provider of game content on every game system," stated Jeff Lapin, vice chairman and COO, THQ. "Working with Nickelodeon to build original properties across media including television and film adds a very exciting dynamic to our business." Under the new agreement, THQ will publish and distribute the videogames while Stephen Youngwood, Nicks VP of interactive and book publishing, will manage the relationship from the Nickelodeon side. Both companies are presently accepting and evaluating game submissions.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.