But the UK-based interactive entertainment company has a few other plans up its sleeve.
Pepper's Ghost, the UK-based interactive entertainment company, has decided to focus on optimizing its three development tools - Inkubator, ACT 3, and MUMM-E - rather than to push a product out this year. "We weren't happy with the tool set, so we won't launch a product this year," says Managing Director Godfrey Parkin.
The company will most likely target the fourth quarter of 1998 for any product releases - announcing the title at next years E3 - "if the market is ready."
This year, says Parkin, Pepper's Ghost wants to get Inkubator into as many hands as possible for maximum exposure. The product is in alpha right now, with beta scheduled for late September.
Nearly two years old, Pepper's Ghost was founded on the principle that interactive entertainment needs to be more like television to capture the mass market, and that the people capable of coming up with the creative ideas are shut out of the industry by the technology. "One of the problems is trying to produce in a development environment," says Parkin. "If you cut programmers out of the development cycle, you enhance creativity."
To that end, the company has focused on developing Inkubator, a storytelling tool that mimics the familiar idea of tacking 3 x 5 cards on a wall, and that shields non-tech types from the gory programming details. Ideas created in Inkubator can be plugged into ACT 3, an avatar creation tool, and then into MUMM-E, the engine builder that puts out completed TV-quality product for video, online, and CD-ROM.
Pepper's Ghost will give Inkubator away for free, retaining first refusal rights to any products created with it. For now, it will keep the other two tools in-house. "We want other people to bring us their stories," says Parkin. "We have stories to tell, but we don't want to tell our stories."
Though still unable to discuss details, Parkin says the company has several projects in negotiation, including a late-night adult comedy soap opera, a Saturday morning TV series, a virtual pop band, and a virtual host for a cable magazine show.
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