Montreal-based Ubi Soft signed an agreement with Les Editions Dupuis out of Belgium to develop and distribute games and software under the Papyrus and Spirou licenses. Based on the Papyrus TV series, the first game scheduled is Papyrus the Curse of Seth, due out in France in October 1999. The educational adventure game for PCs is set in ancient Egypt. It will be followed by a Color Game Boy title, to be released in November. Ubi Soft will release a Color Game Boy title based on the Spirou license in 2000.
Microsoft has come up with a built-in chaperone for kids hoping to play games on the sly. Windows Game Manager is a password-based blocking program, complete with a rating system, that parents can use to exercise some control over their kids interactive play. The program has been in development for over a year and will be included in Windows 2000, due out by the end of `99.
THQ has inked a five-year licensing deal with Saban Entertainment for the Power Rangers property. The agreement covers North America, Europe and South America for console stations including Nintendo and Sony. The first games coming out of the deal are scheduled for release in fall, 2000.
Infogrames, in cahoots with DreamWorks, will march out Antz for Color Game Boy in October (US$29.95). The game won’t stray far from
the movie, starring Z, who must endure acid-spitting termites, gummy shoes and a laser-like magnifying glass that threatens to atomize him at every turn.
Mattel registered a vote of confidence in NewKidCo via a purchase warrant for two million common shares-almost half the special warrants available in a recent private placement offering by NewKidCo. In other deal-related news, Activision has taken over Expert Software and Ubi Soft inked a five-year worldwide licensing deal with Suzuki Alstare Racing. The agreement will pave the way for motorcycle game development. Suzuki Alstare Racing, the first game in the proposed series, will appear on Dreamcast in the fall.
More signs of the coming apocalypse? According to a recent findings from The NPD Group, retail sales of licensed, wrestling-related video games catapulted 472% in 1998, generating US$233 million. Though less impressive, licensed wrestling toys also fared well, enjoying a169% climb in sales for the same period, pulling in a respectable US$119 million. The two main contenders who have been duking it out in the wrestling merchandise wars the WWF and WCW, each appear to be claiming supremacy over the other in the video game category. Last year, WCW controlled 56% of video game sales, while WWF grabbed a dominant 72% share of toy sales.