Game developers turn to Hollywood

A new generation of game players is coming into the market. Will games based on hit TV shows and movies turn them on?

Creating games based on popular movies or television shows is the gaming industry's new effort to appeal to the wave of consumers taking over the gaming world. This is a break with the past, when many games based on popular titles in other mediums -- like "Star Trek" and "Jurassic Park" -- were big on name but poor on game.

"In the past, it has been understood that if a game carried a movie or TV show title, it did so because it was a weak game," said George Jones, editor in chief of Computer Gaming World.

"But that will change," he said, "because games are becoming more complicated as a result of the higher-end features being integrated into consoles and PCs."

As game hardware and software prices fall, a new generation of consumers is becoming attracted to the market, executives said. So using titles or brands that consumers already know is becoming a popular strategy.

Six of the eight new titles that Fox Interactive announced at E3 last week were grabbed from its stable of movie and television licenses.

With a film studio in its stable, Fox already has titles that have a mass-market recognition and are likely to have more appeal to casual gamers, according to Angela Edwards Emery, director of communications.

While hard-core gamers enjoy complicated plot lines and technology, casual or mainstream users prefer subjects they already understand.

Such consumers account for most game sales, but hard-core gamers can't be ignored, either -- they account for 30 percent of the spending and 15 percent of the market. So many gaming software companies such as Activision are creating a greater mix of titles for both audiences. To hit a better balance of offerings, 10 of the 22 game titles Activision announced at E3 are licenced from movies or television programs, said Ethisham Rabbani, vice president of global brand management.

And this crossing of entertainment industries won't stop. With DVD gaining popularity, movies and games are set to converge. Pokémon, anyone?

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