National Geographic Distributes Video Games - InformationWeek

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7/18/2007
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National Geographic Distributes Video Games

The deal calls for two of Big Fish Games' most popular products to be delivered through National Geographic's online and physical contacts.

Big Fish Games has found a new distribution channel -- a partnership with National Geographic Ventures.

The deal, announced this week, calls for two of Big Fish Games' most popular products to be delivered through National Geographic's online and physical contacts. National Geographic will deliver Hidden Expedition: Everest and Travelogue 360: Paris to its audience, becoming Big Fish Games' largest principal network partner affiliate to date.

Both games will be branded as part of a series that fits with National Geographic's mission to inspire people to care about the planet. They will include custom modifications like links to related features on nationalgeographic.com. For example, Everest players will be able to view National Geographic's archives of video, photographs, stories, and other editorial material from Everest expeditions.

"We believe these games are a natural fit for National Geographic and our audience," Paul Levine, VP and head of National Geographic's Games Group. "We want to inspire people to explore our world through these cutting-edge games while promoting our mission and core values of great adventure storytelling with stunning images."

In Everest, players race around the world as part of their mission to ascend Mount Everest. The game came out in late May and already is the top-selling casual game of 2007. It features world-class mountaineer Ed Viesturs, who was part of an IMAX team filming its ascent of the mountain during the 1996 disasters that resulted in two nonfiction books: the best-seller "Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster," by author and mountaineer Jon Krakauer (Anchor; 1998), and "The Climb: Tragic Ambitions On Everest" (St. Martin's; 1998), by Russian mountain guide Anatoli Boukreev, who saved his clients' lives.

The Paris travelogue game allows users to explore and discover secrets throughout Paris, while putting together a feature for a travel magazine. The game's 360-degree photographic scenes earned it the Casual Games Association's award for "Best Technology of 2006."

Paul Thelen, CEO of Big Fish Games, said the partnership broadens his company's reach while allowing users to tap into National Geographic's resources.

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