What Does MTV's Bruckheimer Game Deal Mean?

Plenty of press about Hollywood mogul Jerry Bruckheimer’s deal with MTV to produce video games for the Viacom (VIAB), but very few details. What we know: The producer of “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “CSI”, etc is entering some kind of JV with MTV to produce new video games, and the games won’t be based on any of Bruckheimer’s previous movies or TV shows (that’s a good thing). That’s about it.

Viacom, like every other media company, is really interested in video games: Last year it acquired Harmonix, maker of “Rock Band,” last year and has committed to spending $500 million on video games and interactive entertainment by the summer of 2009.

Lots of coverage notes that the deal represents Hollywood’s newfound interest in games, but that’s overstating the case a bit: Recall that Atari, many moons ago,  was a Warner (now TWX) unit; that Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks plans once called for a video game division; and that more recently, “Lord Of The Rings” director Peter Jackson spent a ton of time on a disappointing game version of “King Kong”. What would be new: Proving that Hollywood talent can actually add value to the game business.

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