EA announces first wave of Hasbro video games
SAN FRANCISCO |
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Electronic Arts Inc ERTS.O on Monday announced upcoming games based on popular Hasbro Inc HAS.N properties such as "Monopoly" and "Littlest Pet Shop", an important part of its push to make video games for a broader audience.
As part of a licensing deal struck in August, EA will bring classic family games to a range of game systems and devices, said Chip Lange, vice president of the company's Hasbro game studio.
"This is the first wave of a very long deal," Lange said. "All these games are being designed with the thought of bringing people together, whether physically or through technology."
The first wave of games will hit mobile phones this spring and will include versions of "Monopoly", "Trivial Pursuit", "Risk" and "Yahtzee".
Games based on the girl-oriented "Littlest Pet Shop" and boy-focused "Nerf N-Strike" will come out for Nintendo Co Ltd's (7974.OS) Wii console and DS handheld.
EA is also working on versions of "Monopoly", "Scrabble" and other titles for several consoles that will be announced later this year. Lange did not give details, but other major consoles include Sony Corp's (6758.T) PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 machines and Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) Xbox 360.
The Hasbro deal is important to EA because the company is trying to capitalize on a shift towards so-called casual games triggered by the Wii's runaway success.
Casual games are loosely defined as those that can easily be learned and played. They appeal more to groups outside the traditional video game audience of young men.
For its part, Hasbro is eyeing the partnership as a way to extend its key franchises into the digital realm as video games increasingly encroach on traditional forms of entertainment such as movies and toys.
Lange said the games would be more than just digital copies of their real-world counterparts, designed with the capabilities and usage patterns of each device in mind.
For instance, mobile users will be able to play "Monopoly" in quick chunks only a few minutes long. On a game console, players will be able to breeze through the game in 30 minutes, rather than the hours needed to finish the board game.
"We're not just creating digital ports of these products," Lange said. "We're taking these brands and creating great games based on them."
(Reporting by Scott Hillis; Editing by Braden Reddall)
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