MTV Networks' gaming division has partnered with Bruckheimer to create new and original video games and launch a "game incubation studio"--marking the producer's first foray into video game development.
Bruckheimer's gaming studio will house a team of creative, tech and marketing pros who will work with MTV Games staff on all phases of game development--from idea-generation and storytelling, to production, distribution and promotion. MTV's Executive Vice President of Programming Enterprises Jeff Yapp and Vice President of Electronic Games and Interactive Products Bob Picunko will oversee the relationship between the two divisions.
Some industry observers view the deal as a major coup for MTV Games, because Bruckheimer's industry clout could make it easier for the network to obtain the rights to properties like the CSI franchise. Jonathan Epstein, president and CEO of in-game ad company DoubleFusion, said it makes sense for traditional media and game makers to step up integration efforts. "For a long time, people have wondered why the industry hasn't done a better job at harmonizing traditional media properties with video games," he said. "But the financial and creative incentives haven't been aligned for game companies in the way that they are with this."
Epstein added that franchises like the "Lord Of The Rings" series showed the industry that collaboration could be done in a way that was beneficial for developers, movie studios and the gamers. "At the end of the day it's incumbent on everyone to make good games, and it works best when all the elements of success are in place," Epstein said.
An MTV spokesperson declined to comment on possible ad tie-ins. "We're working on finding staff, and not even discussing what the ad integration would look like," the spokesperson said. "It's too premature to have any answers."
Epstein agreed that it was too early to speculate about possible offerings, but said that Viacom's ability to distribute games across multiple mediums will ramp up the likelihood of Bruckheimer MTV Games becoming huge franchises.
"Some advertisers buy games for reach, some buy for brand and some for both. And the games that come out of that studio will probably be able to support all of those goals," Epstein said.