Big Brother maker Endemol is to launch a virtual world where people can take part in familiar games and shows.
Virtual Me will allow these avatars to compete in online versions of Deal or No Deal, Fame Academy and Big Brother.
Endemol and computer game company Electronic Arts said the site would be launched “in the coming months”.
So another MMO which will mean another avatar to play same old games – not exactly the innovation I am hoping for ?
“With Virtual Me we are at the forefront of a new, hybrid form of entertainment that takes gaming beyond the console,” said Gerhard Florin, Executive Vice President and General Manager of EA International.
“Endemol is a great partner to help us bring together the best of TV and video games for an offering that can appeal to mass market audiences and change the face of entertainment.”
Keith Stuart from the Guardian writes:
“This is about two giants of their respective entertainment niches staking a claim in the goldrush that is – or very soon will be – converged interactive media. Clearly, simply passing licensing deals between TV, videogames and the web is now considered a passe method of expanding brands. As Endemol chief Peter Bazalgette almost begrudgingly puts it, “We’re told that people are starting to spend more time online than they are watching TV. Both markets are now important and this has huge implications for content creators.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Virtual Me pans out. If it genuinely contains competitive elements based around Endemol’s TV brands, we’re into interesting territory, where consumers watch and interact with their favourite shows almost seamlessly. Let’s face it, which Big Brother fan doesn’t fantasise about what they’d do on the show? The potenital ARPU from viewers goes far beyond the quick phone calls they make to evict contestants. In the future, there may be hundreds of subscription-based interactive Big Brothers running online. If Endemol and EA are clever, they’ll promise to run channels showing the best of the day’s online content as a spectator event – giving fame-hungry punters another shot at the Chantelle dream.”