The velociraptors are about to go interactive.

MCA announced Tuesday that it has formed Universal Interactive Studios, a new unit that will develop and publish interactive software. The new division will be headed by MCA executive VP Skip Paul and Robert Biniaz, who was named chief operating officer.

While a number of MCA’s various divisions have begun to extend their product lines into the interactive world, the company acknowledged that it was time to establish a dedicated division to help MCA participate in the developing arena of interactivity.

“In order to maximize our effectiveness, Universal Interactive Studios will, when appropriate, work with other MCA business units to utilize existing marketing and distribution capabilities,” MCA’s president and chief operating officer, Sid Sheinberg, said in a statement.

According to MCA, the new division will be fully staffed and will develop properties in-house, as well as working with outside developers. The division hopes to make alliances within the software community, including acquisitions of and investments in existing software companies.

“The idea of the company is to model it on a movie studio,” said Biniaz. “There will be in-house production as well as relationships with outside creative people.”

News of MCA’s foray into the interactive world was well-received by members of the high-tech community.

“It’s really a perfect fit,” said one Silicon Valley executive. “With all they have at their disposal, especially with their relationship with Steven Spielberg, they could really become a powerhouse in the interactivity area.”

Not surprisingly, the new division’s first endeavor will be “Jurassic Park Interactive,” a software title for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer system that will be released early in 1994. MCA and Matsushita are equity partners of the 3 DO Co., with Skip Paul as their representative on the 3DO board of directors.

It is also expected that UNI Distribution Corp., a unit of MCA Music Entertainment Group, will play an important role in the distribution network for MCA’s new interactive software titles.

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