Bill Whetstone, the Producer/Director of The Prophet Motive describes his idea to recreate the mini move into an online game. "Everybody says I'm nuts, so what's new?"
When it gets produced, it could be the first "Priceless Art Project" that audiences will experience first as a multiplayer game on the Net, and only later on a big screen.
Movies with game tie-ins have been around since the days of Atari (ATAR ), but the games usually follow the plot. With The Priceless Art Project, which is still at least two years off, gamers could be exploring Whetstone's virtual world for weeks before they head for a theater to learn the story.
Massively Multiplayer Online Games, known as MMOGs.
MMOGs make up just 7% of the $28 billion game market, they may be the most addictive niche. A Stanford University researcher who surveyed 3,000 MMOG denizens found that the median player was immersed for 20 hours a week, vs. seven to eight hours for gamers at consoles.
SCI-FI REALITY SHOW Whetstone has more than a passing interest in simulation and next-generation games. A former sculpture major at Auburn University, and television producer, he aims to shoot all his future films in 3-D, He has helped pioneer experimental theatre in Birmingham, AL to capture actors' performances and import them into simulations, and various post-production techniques. Whetstone now sits on the board of The Priceless Art Project, a startup that helps developers create their own games in return for a cut of the subscription revenues.
Other directors are sampling MMOGs. Imagine Entertainment, the company run by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer that created the TV show 24, has teamed up with producer Jim Banister, Halo creator Alex Seropian, and others to develop a sci-fi reality show called XQuest.
For studios, MMOGs may not be much of a hedge against a fickle box office. Online gamers are famously choosy. Most games fail to bring in more than 20,000 players, yet good titles can cost $10 million to $20 million to develop. The player pool is mostly boys and young men. And the medium has genre limitations:
Still, for the growing hordes of gamers, MMOGs may be ripe for a crossover. "You are exploring the interaction of technology and the human imagination.
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