Titles and Sites in the Works
November, 1996 (Vol 2, No 11)
Each month indelibleNews! prints industry news, gossip, scoops, and insider information you won’t find anywhere else. Jump directly to Alliances, Children, or Net News. Or start at the top:
The war over Duke Nukem add-ons continues. GT Interactive, creators of the game, won their suit against Micro Star, which released 300 player-created levels pilfered from the Internet. All Micro Star has to do to stay in business, though, is change the packaging. Now Micro Star has announced a sequel to Nuke It, containing 1,000 player-designed levels.
GT Interactive isn’t focused entirely on Micro Star; they’re still doing business elsewhere. They bought CPTV, Inc.’s 50% stake in Off World Entertainment, for $6.8 million. They did this because Off World is developing Soul Storm, a hot new up-and-comer for 1997. GT also plans to release more than 30 games this year, including Amok, SPQR, Bedlam, Scorcher and id Anthology.
Philips Media has fired 120 employees, leaving 16. This suggests they are likely to continue removing themselves from the CD-ROM business, rather than trying to start over again.
Sierra On-Line is trying a unique approach to multi-player Internet gaming – they’re giving it away. Use Sierra products online and you pay only ISP connect charges. Blackjack 2.0 kicked it off. Trophy Bass 2 is coming soon.
Virgin Interactive, which owns a majority interest in Viacom New Media, will consolidate with it. Then they’ll be able to keep a closer watch on product development, the better to “reach profitability more quickly.” 70 people will be “affected”, though it’s not clear if that means they’ll lose their jobs.
Graphix Zone Inc. may have let TAFKAP get away, but they’re still trying to lead the interactive music field. They just released Herbie Hancock Presents Living Jazz, Willie: The Life and Music of Willie Nelson, and Under the Covers. They also announced a Doors disc, for Summer 1997.
Sanctuary Woods, which had a bad 1995 and 1996, has gotten a second wind: $4.5 million in financing, which will be used to get the company on its feet again. The cash comes mostly from “large institutional investors.”
Spectrum Holobyte got the rights to the upcoming Star Trek flick, Star Trek: First Contact. Look for the Windows 95 game, featuring the Borg, sometime in the future.
Sega of America is trying to head off the Nintendo 64 blitz with a blitz of their own: the Sonic Six-Pack. Six new Sonic games across five platforms (Saturn, Genesis, PICO, Game Gear and the PC) will be released this fall. There’s a $10 million marketing campaign, including a 100-by-120 foot Sonic balloon for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
MAXIMA New Mediahas kicked off their new series of literary classic CD-ROMs with Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense. The disc comes packaged with the hardcover book and audio CD, all for $18.95.
Three books by Dr. John MacArthur Jr. are being made into CD-ROMs by Logos Research Systems, Inc. The titles, “designed to help Christians better understand and apply the Bible by better understanding some of its key truths and doctrines,” are called The Power of Suffering, Different by Design, and God: Coming Face to Face With His Majesty.
InfiNet’s 365 “Cool Site of the Day” winners gathered in New York City’s Webster Hall on October 7th to see if they had been chosen “Cool Site of the Year.” The winner, Discovery Channel Online, was announced by Penn Jillette, the talking half of Penn and Teller.
If you’ve been waiting to play Magic: The Gathering head-to-head, you’ll have to wait a little longer. MicroProse will soon release software that enables modem, network, and Internet play, but it’s not out yet.
The International Interactive Communications Society announced at the IMA Expo that they are eliminating all print communications, and will provide only electronic ones to its membership. James Griffith, IICS President, said: “It is imperative that we take a leadership position in interactivity and not focus on expensive, static, paper-based newsletter or mail.” Hmmm, we’ve been thinking along the same lines
The Polar Express, from Houghton Mifflin Interactive, now includes a link to the Share the Spirit web site. Share the Spirit invites people to submit stories about how they kept the holiday spirit alive. For every 25 emails HMI receives, they donate The Polar Express (print version) and other books to childrens hospitals. Last year they received 23,000 emails and delivered 1,000 books. If you don’t have The Polar Express CD-ROM but you want to get involved, stop by http://www.polarexpress.com.
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Acclaim Entertainment,admitting that they waited too long to jump off the 16-bit bandwagon, wants to orient themselves toward the future. That means developing strong products with companies like Ocean. To kick things off, Acclaim will release their Tunnel B1 game.
A $40 million partnership between National Geographic Interactive and Mindscape Inc. will result in a new line of software, in at least four languages, based on National Geographic content.
BMG Interactive has commissioned BLAM!, a development group, to make a new Legend of Zelda for 1998. The original Zelda, which inspired Robin Williams to name his daughter Zelda, was a smash hit on Nintendo during the mid-80s.
Berlitz Publishing Co., co-creators of the Think & Talk series of foreign language CD-ROMs, has signed an agreement with SoftKey International giving them exclusive rights to that series. The other co-creators of the series were The Learning Company, a division of SoftKey.
When Softkey got hold of The Learning Company, MECC, and Compton’s Home Library, we knew it was only a matter of time until they started cashing in on their back list. Now there is the SoftKey Virtual Store where visitors can browse through 70 CD-ROMs and buy their favorites. Browsing, in this case, means looking at packaging and prices; there are only a few interactive demos.
Hasbro Interactive and CyberDice are joining forces to bring Outburst, Taboo, and Jenga to CD-ROM. They will also develop three original titles.
Arch Publishers Group has acquired the distribution rights to EJL Production’s Public Shelter, Jayne Loader’s CD-ROM based on her film Atomic Caf.
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Broderbund is promoting Write, Camera, Action! with a contest that offers two grand prize winners trips for four to Orlando, tickets to local theme parks, and more. Kids 7-12 must write an original script based on a premise provided by Broderbund.
The holiday season is coming, and Edmark wants to take advantage of it. They’re bundling some alliterative classics into a Limited Edition
Holiday Bundle (Millie’s Math House, Bailey’s Book House, Sammy’s Science House and Trudy’s Time and Place House). They’ve also got some new titles in the Mighty Math Series: Zoo Zillions, Calculating Crew, and Cosmic Geometry.
GT Interactive, obviously planning to conquer the world (see NEWS), are pushing their Just Me and My Mom CD-ROM with an exhibit at EPCOT Center, advertising in PC publications and 60,000 Mercer Mayer books, and 750,000 free demos sent to educators.
GT also has a finger in the Putt-Putt pie. They own Humongous Entertainment, which is putting out two new Putt-Putt titles (value-priced at $14.95 each). They are Putt-Putt and Pep’s Balloon-O-Rama and Putt-Putt and Pep’s Dog on a Stick.
Two professional journalists will lend their skills each month to Computer Curriculum Corporation, which is sponsoring online newspapers created by middle schools. The first issue, available now at http://www.cccnet.com, featuresRalph Bunche Middle School from Harlem, New York, assisted by Peter Howe from the Boston Globe and Janelle Brown from HotWired.
A new book, The Parents’ Guide to the Information Superhighway: Rules and Tools for Families Online, boasts an interesting combination of developers, including the National PTA, the National Urban League, and the American Libraries Association.
Tom Snyder Productions and Ocean Challenge, Inc. proudly present Class Afloat, a package for grades 3-9. For $249.95 annually (the cost can also be split up by semester), classes book passage on the educational voyage of the Concordia. That means access to the Internet site, a bi-weekly newsletter called Class Afloat News, a teacher’s guide, a world tracking map, a video, and a poster.
Philips Media, Busch Entertainment, and Entertainment Drive’s yDrive.com have partnered to sponsor a theme park vacation giveaway and a web site for kids 7-12. They’re hyping Philips’ new Kid Pro game brand.
Stickybear’s Math Splash, coming from Optimum Resource, Inc., teaches math through activities like Island Hopper, Overboard, Rapid Fire, and Submarine Shoot. If it’s not fun, it’s sure not from lack of trying. And for that demanding audience of 1-5-year olds, Optimum is releasing At Home with Stickybear – just banging on the keyboard gets results with this one.
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Rolling Stone magazine and Excite Inc. have created The Rolling Stone Rock Guide, which reviews over 1,000 music and pop culture sites.
DK Publishing’s Amazing Animals TV series airs on the Disney Channel, so it makes sense that Disney’s web site should advertise it. Stop byto enjoy games, contests, sounds and graphics.
The “promotional module,” from The Myriad Agency in collaboration with Simon & Schuster Interactive, may be the first example of Internet content syndication. Experience the title-specific “promotion modules” – sites that collect content which has already been marketed to other sites – at http://www.teachkids.com, http://www.gfguide.com, http://www.actionlearn3d.com, http://www.scarry.com, and http://www.aboutme.com.
Jazz Central Station has worked out well enough for N2Kthat they’re debuting, on November 1,Classical InSites.
The first 25,000 members to join the Total Entertainment Network (a national, multiplayer gaming network) will enjoy “special introductory pricing.” Twenty games will be available, for starters.
Web Review is back online, thanks to an agreement with Miller Freeman, Inc., whose Web Techniques print magazine will now be sampled at the site.
Motor Boating & Sailing has a new web site, wherethe magazine’s standard editorial content will be presented alongside up-to-date information on buying a boat.
Music, art and politics are the subjects of Fine Magazine.
BigYellow now lists 16 million businesses, 5 thousand advertisers, 75 million residences, and 7.5 million email addresses, all for free. Check it out.
911 Entertainment is planning a “super site” on the WWW. Their focus is music, but their method is party, party, party. Steve Salyer, former Electronic Arts brass, says “We’re building an online party that celebrates youth culture through music.” There’s an idea.
Rough Guides, who make travel guides, want to get into music on the Web as well. They’re creating the Encyclopedia of Rock (which will initially appear in print) by soliciting comments and reviews from Web surfers.
Request an absentee ballot online at X-Ballot. The site has already formed an alliance with Rock the Vote, and is linked to other political web sites, including those of the Republican and Democratic parties.
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Revised: November 24, 1996.