Infogrames licenses anime’s crown prince in hopes of usurping Pokémon
Banking on the continued success of anime properties in the video game category, Infogrames has picked up the interactive license for FUNimation’s Dragon Ball Z. The imported franchise may be poised to steal some of flagging Pokémon’s thunder as the half-hour toon is netting an average 1.5 million viewers on Cartoon Network, and its Club Z has 400,000 kid members and is growing at a rate of between 1,000 and 2,000 kids a day. Infogrames’ license covers all platforms, and the company was in the midst of constructing a product rollout timeline at press time.
Going on a software hunt,
gonna catch some big ones. . .
Microsoft is gearing up for the summer 2001 launch of its top-secret console entry X-Box by going on an acquisition hunt for high-end game developers. The latest indie software prodco to get caught in the Bill Gates net is Digital Anvil, the Texas-based company behind a much-anticipated space-combat sim title called FreeLancer. Microsoft and DA have been working collaboratively to develop PC titles since 1997, so the merger isn’t really a shocker. DA will be in good company in the Microsoft family, joining recent pick-ups like: FASA Interactive Technologies, creator of the best-selling MechWarrior CD-ROM franchise; Access Software, of LINKS golf sim series fame; and Bungie Software, whose upcoming Halo action-adventure title stole the show at E3 2000 with its unbelievably realistic 3-D graphics.
Stan Lee Media shuts down
Despite evolving a unique on-line strategy of growing web entertainment franchises around established music icons like The Backstreet Boys and Mary J. Blige, Stan Lee Media has closed its doors due to a breakdown in financing. When stock prices fell below US$1 per share, SLM was unable to complete its recently announced US$2.2 million in bridge financing. A few top-level execs are still hunting for new financial solutions, but the rest of the studio’s 140 employees have been laid off and production has ground to a halt.
Shockwave staves off e-extinction
by merging with AtomFilms
In keeping with the adage `There’s strength in numbers,’ Shockwave.com and AtomFilms have merged. The deal seems made in heaven for both parties: Shockwave gains access to 150 million viewers via AtomFilms’ off-line distribution relationships with broadband services, TV broadcasters, airlines and home entertainment companies, while AtomFilms gets an on-line showcase for its 1,500 short films and toon series.