BizSpots: Sweden, 2K Sports, MTV, Kuma, Nyko, Hotrocket

Swedes unite; 2K veep departs; MTV veep promoted; Legacy says sorry; Kuma partners with USNI; Nyko accessorizes; Hotrocket deals with Fog.


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Swedish developers unite
While US gaming publishers and developers have their interests served by the unified Entertainment Software Association, the Swedish gaming industry in years past has been fractured into two trade organizations. Today, those two groups--publisher-oriented MDTS and developer-focused Spelplan-ASGD--announced they would become a single entity, the Swedish Games Industry. The new trade group will be the public voice representing the more than 1,000 people currently working in the Swedish game industry. Notable Swedish studios include Massive Entertainment (World in Conflict), Digital Illusions CE (Battlefield 2), Avalanche Studios (Just Cause), and Starbreeze Studios (The Darkness).

2K Sports VP of marketing hits showers
Speaking to analysts in April regarding the publisher's near-future goals, Take-Two's new management team explicitly called out its 2K Sports label as an area needing to be addressed. Today, the publisher announced it would be parting ways with Erik Whiteford, 2K Sports' VP of marketing. Whiteford had headed up 2K Sports' marketing department since 2005, during which time the brand transitioned away from its ESPN-affiliated games. Prior to joining with Take-Two, Whiteford helmed advertisement and marketing for competitor EA Sports.

Ex-GameTrailers CEO heads up MTV game group
MTV today announced it would be promoting Jon Slusser to senior vice president of its Spike digital and video games arm. Formerly the CEO of GameTrailers, Slusser was brought on board when MTV purchased the gaming-focused site in late 2005. Slusser's new responsibilities include managing the impending merger between iFilm and Spike TV, as well as providing strategic direction to the Viacom-owned broadcast network by continuing to lend oversight to game-community support service Xfire and GameTrailers.

Publisher apologizes for UK Law & Order flap
Yesterday, UK distributor GSP announced it had pulled Law & Order: Double or Nothing from retail shelves due to its inclusion of a photo of murder victim James Bulger being kidnapped by his assailants. Today, Legacy Interactive, developer of the game, issued a formal apology via its Web site. President and CEO Ariella Lehrer states, "The image was included in the game years ago and without any knowledge of the crime, which occurred in the UK and was minimally publicized in the United States." Legacy has also created a patch for the game that removes the photo, and has stated the photo will be removed from all future printings of the game.

Kuma joining the Navy
Since 2004, Kuma Games has rapidly recreated real-life battles featuring US soldiers and marines in its episodic game KumaWar. Now, the independent developer is adding another branch of the armed forces to its portfolio. Speaking to GameDaily today, Kuma CEO Keith Harper revealed his company has entered into a partnership with the US Naval Institute to bring a new line of content that reenacts missions undertaken by Marine and Navy personnel. Beginning this Friday, the episodic games will be available through both USNI's and Kuma's respective Web sites.

Nyko ships two peripherals for PS3
Last year, peripheral maker Nyko released a slew of PlayStation 3 accessories in tandem with the console's November launch. Today, the company announced a follow-up to its original line of accessories for the console has shipped to retailers. The first of its new offerings is the ChargeBase, which is able to charge up to four Sixaxis controllers at once. Also available now is the BluWave universal remote control, which can be used to access movies and music with Blu-ray, DVD, and CD devices. No pricing information for either peripheral has been announced.

Rocket launches through Fog
Fog Studios, facilitator of rights-management and development agreements, today announced it had signed with Edmonton, Canada-based Hotrocket to collaborate on upcoming multiplatform entertainment concepts. According to Hotrocket CEO Ken Bautista, Hotrocket's products attempt to incorporate "narrative-driven experiences" that use Web, mobile, and in-home devices to provide education-oriented entertainment. The company has won several awards in recent years for its platform-spanning approach, including recognition from Canadian telecom giant Telus and first-place honors in this year's international "Pitch It!" competition at the KidScreen Summit in New York.

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