Fox hopes to score with sports vidgames

Newly created Fox Sports Interactive to start rolling out games in 1998

Fox is taking sports electric, hoping that the success of its four-year-old sports television broadcast programming will rub off on a new sports-themed line of video games.

Two Fox divisions, Fox Sports and Fox Interactive, are joining forces to launch a line of interactive sports-themed electronic games for the $5.5 billion video and computer game marketplace. At the same time, Fox Interactive announced a development agreement with U.K.-based game developer Gremlin, already known for its Actua Sports game series.

The newly created Fox Sports Interactive will start rolling out its games in 1998 with separate hockey, golf, tennis and soccer titles. The games will be available in multiple formats, including Sony’s PlayStation and on CD-ROM for personal computers.

The games are to be supported by partners and endorsements, the first of which is the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Assn. for a game to be released at the start of the 1998-99 hockey season.

“We intend to bring to gaming the same attitude that Fox brought to sports broadcasting and combine it with the outstanding gameplay that is synonymous with our key developer, Gremlin,” said Jon Richmond, president of Fox Interactive.

Fox Interactive has already released games inspired by several of Fox’s successful film franchises, including the “Alien” and “Die Hard” series, and “Independence Day.” The division said its first original property, “Croc,” has shipped 700,00 units on PlayStation in its first two months of release.

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