Major win for Gazillion Entertainment, a gaming startup no one ever heard of before today. Gazillion is announcing a 10 year exclusive deal to build online video games around Marvel Entertainment’s (MVL) inventory of 5,000 comic book characters, including everyday names like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the Hulk.
Expect the first game, called Super Hero Squad, to debut sometime in 2010 following a TV show of the same name, reports Venturebeat.
All of which raises the question, why should Marvel grant licence to its characters to a relatively unknown gaming studio, instead of trying to build games itself? Marvel has achieved phenomenal success branching directly from comics into movies.
Variety has the answer, in a Q&A with Marvel exec Simon Phillips:
There are different types of games we could do, like MMOs casual games, and console games. But we just started to finance own movies and our own animation. We want to see how all of that goes before we start to go down the route other studios are on of financing a wide range of different types of video games. From a licensing perspective, the type of deal we did with Gazillion that gives us a collaborative effort is the way in which we plan to go in the future.
We don’t know the full terms of the Marvel-Gazillion deal, all we know is that Gazillion is exquisitely financed with over 300 employees already. But online games will keep getting bigger, and 10 years is a long time.
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