BY: Derrik J. Lang
LOS ANGELES – ‘Sesame Street’ video games will now be brought to you by the letters W and B.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has signed a deal with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization which produces “Sesame Street” in over 140 countries, to create and publish a series of games for various platforms based on the 40-year-old children’s series starring Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover and all their neighborhood pals.
The partnership comes three months after Sesame Workshop and Warner Bros. announced Warner Home Video would distribute ‘Sesame Street’ home videos. The companies said they see the latest partnership as an opportunity to create entertaining and educational interactive content for preschool-age children, an audience they said is underserved by game publishers.
“There’s a big open hole in the market,” said Russell Arons, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment senior vice president of marketing. “This is the first generation of parents who grew up as gamers. Unlike prior generations where people weren’t sure of the value of video games, these are people who know there’s value and fun for the whole family.”
After appearing in a gaggle of games in the 1980s and 1990s for computers and previous generation consoles, the “Sesame Street” gang have been largely absent from the gaming landscape in recent years. The last console title based on the children’s series was “Sesame Street Sports,” a 2001 action game developed by Bonsai Entertainment for various platforms.
No specific titles or release dates were announced as part of the deal between Sesame Workshop and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Arons said the publisher hopes to utilize video and motion controller technologies, which will be available for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 later this year, for the new “Sesame Street” games.
“That makes it very easy and is developmentally appropriate for preschoolers, as opposed to dealing with a very complex controller,” said Terry Fitzpatrick, Sesame Workshop executive vice president of distribution. “We also think that kind of technology will make it incredibly fun for parents with a preschooler to be engaged around a gaming activity together.”
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is the division of Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. responsible for publishing games based on such franchises as Looney Tunes and DC Comics as well as movies like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Terminator Salvation.” They have also released original games, such as last year’s “Scribblenauts” for the Nintendo DS.
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