The BBC is returning to video games and a number of their franchises are potential projects. BBC Worldwide is researching possible publishers and developers to mould series like Doctor Who and Top Gear into video games.
Where the broadcaster’s children shows will mainly be targeted towards the DS and Wii, others like Doctor Who could make their way to anything from the iPhone to the PlayStation 3. The BBC’s MD of licensing Neil Ross Russell comments:
We are open to conversations with anybody in games about all kinds of business models to see how we can extract more value.
Outside of Disney we have the most well-known line-up of children’s characters around the world.
However, the BBC won’t only be outsourcing their projects, with the broadcaster returning to the possibility of creating their own games after the closure of their Multimedia Division in 2005. Dave Anderson, head of multimedia development at BBC Worldwide, explains:
We’ve been reactive to the market in the last few years. There were a few opportunistic licensing deals, but we were largely aggregating and holding on to our properties to wait and see how the market developed.
Russell added: What we’re trying to do is build the brands here – this is not about opportunistic licensing. If we wanted to do that we would have done more with these key brands over the last few years.
This move has been reflected by the BBC hiring former EA executive Robert Nashak as EVP of the broadcaster’s digital entertainment division. Nashak comments:
As a long-term admirer of BBC Worldwide, I know it has great potential in digital entertainment simply by the quality and variety of content it has to offer. I’m extremely excited to be playing a leading role in realising this potential and growing its audience base around the world.
So, which games developer would you task with Doctor Who: The Video Game? And do they really need to develop a Top Gear game, when the show’s test track will be featured in Gran Turismo 5?