Sony a prized partner for next-gen mobile phone games
Looking for high-quality game content that will win marketshare in the third-generation (3G) mobile phone network realm, London, England-based Vodaphone Group has inked an alliance with Sony’s PlayStation division. The new partners will eventually develop new game software applications that span the two tech platforms. Initially, however, they will concentrate on apps that allow phone users to connect with their consoles and access game tips via text message services. Although a timeline for the project is still being hammered out, these services will first roll out in Europe.
The Vodaphone/Sony deal is far from exclusive; in fact, the console giant signed a similar agreement with Japan’s DoCoMo that extends to the mobile phone company’s six international partners, one of which, Hutchison 3G UK, will rival Vodaphone for 3G services in Britain.
Warner Bros. grows global Internet legs
Despite the worldwideness of the web, Warner Bros. has embarked on a campaign to roll out country-specific websites across Europe. The plan calls for building in local content highlighting films, television, original programming (short films and webisodes based on WB brands like Marvin the Martian and Mad magazine) and kids entertainment and activities (centered on Harry Potter and Looney Toons, among other library fare). The first site, www.warnerbros.co.uk, launched in February, and will be followed by a German site in Q2 and sites in France, Italy and Spain later this year.
Knowledge Adventure regains software license for Mattel’s girl and tot brands
Mattel has granted Knowledge Adventure an interactive publishing license for all of the toyco’s girls and infant/preschool brands, including Barbie, Generation Girl, Fisher-Price and Rescue Heroes. Knowledge Adventure held the same license until five years ago, when Mattel acquired The Learning Company and brought all of its interactive activities in-house. Under the new five-year worldwide deal, Knowledge Adventure will roll out eight girl-skewing PC and console titles in 2001, as well as four new preschool offerings. A Rescue Heroes Game Boy Color title will lead the way in July, followed by a PSX version in August and PC titles for Rescue Heroes and Little People in October. Know-ledge Adventure will also be re-releasing its Front-line and Value-line products with new packaging that reflects the distribution change. Vivendi Universal Interactive Publishing, the new post-merger moniker of Havas Interactive, will distribute the titles Stateside and abroad.
Interplay picks up Matrix rights
Interplay Entertainment has picked up the much-coveted video game license for Warner Bros. blockbuster sci-fi pic The Matrix. The multimillion-dollar deal will see the Irvine, California-based developer create CD-ROM and next-gen console titles based on the movie and two planned sequels, the first of which is slated for theatrical release next year.