New game in old media

Business lines blur between vidgames, H'w'd

As big media takes steps to get into the business of vidgames, the biggest players in the vidgame space are taking steps into traditional media.

Nintendo, one of the three big console makers along with Sony and Microsoft and one of the largest game publishers, last week announced plans to establish an in-house unit to create animated pics based on its properties like the Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong.

A few weeks ago, No. 1 publisher Electronic Arts co-founded a music publishing company that will promote new acts within EA’s games and then help sign them to album contracts.

So while big companies like Time Warner, Disney and Viacom dabble in games, vidgame giants are testing the waters in traditional media.

Smaller publishers like Midway and THQ can’t afford that tack, and are likely to be looked at as acquisition targets by showbiz congloms.

But big players like EA and Nintendo are simply too big to be acquired.

And with Nintendo’s $755 million cash hoard and EA’s $2.5 billion, both companies are positioned to invest in new media businesses to expand their brands, rather than just sitting back and watching the big congloms invade their space.

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