Sony, WildTangent pact on Web sites for pix

Cyberbiz Brief

Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment has inked a production deal with online gamemaker WildTangent to create original properties for the Web sites of its upcoming pics. Deal also includes an undisclosed investment by SPDE in the small company.

First project to bow on the Web, beginning at the end of March, is a series of interactive titles based around Sony’s summer pic “A Knight’s Tale,” skedded to hit theaters in May. In what it calls an audio visualizer, the beat of the music determines a knight’s movement, camera angles and lighting. The play-by-email edition, enables opponents to be challenged via email, with players vying for honor, glory and bragging rights on the Arena Web site, where their knights join battle in real-time 3D combat. The game will be released in mid April.

Sony was attracted to WildTangent’s Web Driver technology, which enables the creation of interactive animated content for Web sites. Deal now secures WildTangent as a partner in Sony’s upcoming ScreenBlast venture, expected to bow in the coming months with original entertainment content.

WildTangent, founded and headed by Alex St. John, plans to show off the technology and announce more deals at the Game Developer’s Conference, including one with Mattel, later this month, as well as announce a series of funding from various heavy hitters around gaming confab E3 in Los Angeles in May.

“WildTangent’s technology is an ideal vehicle for Sony Pictures to entice audiences and build excitement for our movies,” said Dwight Caines, veep of Internet marketing strategy for Columbia Pictures. “The combination of interactivity and animation is so extraordinary, it takes the audience to new heights, immersing them in the film’s actual environment. This is the first of many projects with WildTangent.”

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