Digital news bytes
In true sleeping-with-the-enemy style, Sega has announced that it will start producing game software for two of its stiffest console competitors-Nintendo’s Game Boy and Bandai’s Wonder Swan portable player. Eager to recoup fiscal net losses of US$368 million, Sega has turned to its rivals in hopes of tapping new profit pools. The first title to come out of the deal will launch this fall, and is rumored to be Sega’s popular Sakura Taisen game.
Glendale, California-based Knowledge Adventure is gearing up to add two new licensed CD-ROMs to its PlayZone line this winter. Based on Jim Henson Television’s preschool tube hit, Bear in the Big Blue House teaches kids ages three to six
about the five senses as they explore the Big Blue House. BBC bright star Noddy will go digital in Noddy: Playtime in Toyland, a 3-D title that teaches the four to six crowd curriculum skills through arcade-style play. Both games will hit retail shelves in time for the holidays with an estimated street price of US$30 each.
THQ, keeper of console licenses for hot properties like the Rugrats, the WWF and Star Wars, has acquired Pacific Coast Power & Light, a San Jose, California-based software studio specializing in PlayStation and Nintendo 64 game development. THQ will need the extra expertise to deliver its ambitious release schedule, which includes: Yoda Stories (CGB, fall, US$29.99); Disney/Pixar Toy Story 2 (CGB, fall, US$29.99); Rugrats: Studio Tour (PlayStation, winter, US$39.99) and Rugrats: Time Machine (CGB, winter, US$29.99).
The Good Ol’ Duke Boys and General Lee will make their digital debut in November as Southpeak Interactive (Cary, North Carolina) steps up production on PlayStation title Dukes of Hazzard-Racing for Home. Aimed at boys ages 14 and up, the US$39.95 driving game follows Bo and Luke Duke on a cross-county race to win enough money to save their farm from foreclosure. Southpeak will release a US$34.95 PC CD-ROM version of the game in first quarter 2000.
City, California’s Electronic Arts has inked a three-year deal for the exclusive interactive rights to publish PC titles starring U.S. ice queen Michelle Kwan. Skedded for a holiday 1999 release, Michelle Kwan Championship Figure Skating will be the first game to come out of the agreement. The title, which targets girls ages eight to 13, allows players to choreograph routines, design costumes and e-mail highlights of their performances to friends.