BizSpots: Traveller's Tales, Multiverse, CBS, ESRB, more

Lego Star Wars dev buys mo-cap studio; Multiverse raises $4.2 million; CBS to broadcast WSVG; ratings board sends signs to indie retailers; Morhaime, Moore, others keynote Casual Connect Seattle and AGDC.


Traveller's Tales makes second acquisition of the year
Lego Star Wars developer Traveller's Tales has announced the purchase of Centroid Motion Capture, which recently opened a branch at Britain's famed Pinewood Studios. According to managing director Jon Burton, "[Pinewood] is where some of the biggest films in the country are produced and will increase our presence in the filmmaking industry." The Centroid acquisition is the second of the year for the recent BAFTA winner. In January, it bought independent developer Embryonic Studios, which specializes in film-to-video game adaptations for popular franchises, such as Harry Potter, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica.

Multiverse finds funds for the metaverse
With analysts predicting a doubling in size of the massively multiplayer online game landscape over the next four years, the roof continues to be blown off the emerging MMOG market. Providing infrastructure to the massively multiplayer market is Multiverse Network, which announced $4.2 million in funding this week. While the company isn't a household name in the MMOG space, it was a primary contributor of technology that fueled the rapid growth of the Internet in the '90s. "Similar to what we experienced with the Internet in 1995, our vision today is to spark explosive growth of 3D virtual worlds," said Multiverse CEO and cofounder Bill Turpin in a statement.

CBS brings WSVG to network TV
With its acquisition of music discovery/social networking site still gracing headlines, CBS has made another move to attract the 18-to49-year-old demographic. The media conglomerate will bring the Intel-sponsored World Series of Video Games to network TV for the first time, with four hour-long broadcasts scheduled as part of its Sports Spectacular lineup. Gamers can expect to witness the digital brutality on Sunday, July 29; Sunday, August 19; Saturday, November 17; and Saturday, December 15. Featured games include Fight Night Round 3, Guitar Hero II, and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

ESRB signs head to an indie retailer near you
Last year, the Electronic Software Rating Board teamed with two prominent US senators and two megaretailers to broadcast its ratings to the masses. Now, the ESRB is turning its attention to the local level, announcing a partnership with 10,000-plus independent retailers to provide in-store signs via the May issue of Ingram's Entertainment Preview magazine. Bob Geistman, senior VP of sales and marketing for Ingram and chairman of the Entertainment Merchants Association, said, "Providing this signage to these thousands of stores will undoubtedly help...stores to offer their customers information that is vital to the way they buy and rent games."

Keynote speakers for games conference circuit announced
Two stops on the US game-conference circuit booked some of the industry's top brass this week. The Casual Connect Seattle summit, which runs from July 17-19, will feature a keynote by Microsoft's feisty executive VP of interactive entertainment business in the entertainment and devices division, Peter Moore. Also speaking will be Steve Youngwood, executive VP of digital media for Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids.

Meanwhile, farther down south, the online sect will be interested to know that Austin Game Developers Conference will feature a keynote address by Mike Morhaime, president of Blizzard Entertainment. Also speaking with be Sulka Haro, lead designer of the Finnish virtual world Habbo. The event takes place at the Austin Convention Center from September 5-7.

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