Started in 1888. Financial supporter for the first expedition to the North Pole. Photographs from the first flight over the South. Presence on the first orbital space flight. Present on the moon - from the Far East to the home front, from the icy north to the deepest ocean depths, in its first hundred years National Geographic was a pioneer of exploration. It the last fifteen, it’s been a pioneer in the evolution of media.
Today, there are 31 local language editions of the National Geographic magazine reaching forty million people a month. The TV shows, distributed on branded cable channels, beam to 250 million households in over 160 countries. The website hosts more than ten million people a month. National Geographic is available in Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, Hebrew, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Arabic, Spanish, even Serbian.
In September, embracing technology, a Mobile division was launched. In early October, the brand’s website National Geographic.com launched a portal for user-generated video. Today, a gaming division was added to the expanding digital media mix.
Ted Prince, COO of National Geographic Ventures (NGV), the company’s for-profit subsidiary, announced the formation of the group. The team will be responsible for publishing and developing titles across console, portable, online and mobile platforms. The goal, Prince said, is part of a broader strategy to create and distribute “unique consumer experiences and content on multiple platforms and devices.”
Mimicking a strategy used by other media companies entering the gaming market for the first time, the new division will rely on a combination of in-house development and external partnerships to produce their titles.
Externally, Namco Bandai and Sony Computer Entertainment have both been tapped to help develop and bring "Nat Geo" branded games to the console marketplace.
National Geographic’s first in-house title, developed to help promote an upcoming feature on biblical King Herod’s tomb, is being offered as a free flash-based web game. A more complete, fee-based, downloadable title for PC, Mac and the iPhone will also be available.
Another four in-house titles are scheduled for release in December, or sometime 2009. Namco Bandai’s “National Geographic: Panda” and Sony’s “National Geographic: Africa” are slated for November release too.
Paul Levine, SVP of NGV’s extended platforms group will head up the division. Experienced gaming executive Chris Mate, formerly VP of publishing at Take 2 Interactive from 1998 to 2006 has been hired to act as GM.
Related Articles from Metue
•NPD October: Gaming Sales Hold Up
•National Geographic gets Musical
• Discovery Channel Premiers Full Length Programs Online
• EA at the Movies
• Paramount has “Scene It” Buys Gamemaker Screenlife
• Gaming Convergence: TV and Movie Crossover
•Paramount to Turn Three Movies into Games
•Gaming and Movie Convergence: a retrospective timeline
•Convergence Watch: Ubisoft buys Movie Special Effects Shop Hybride
•Paramount Gets Their Game On
•Gaming and Music Convergence: Guitar Hero Aerosmith Debuts
•Gaming Evolves: EA’s Dynamic Gaming and Digital DNA