Ever caught yourself screaming at your television screen because your favorite character just can't do anything right? Think of Penny's and Leonard's breakups and makeups on "The Big Bang Theory."
French video-game developer Ubisoft is trying to join forces with Hollywood to let viewers take control over what happens on TV like you would in a video game.
"Game consoles could help make TV smarter," Ubisoft's Chief Executive Officer Yves Guillemot said in an interview this week. "The point is to make the audience more involved, by letting it decide what happens on-screen, for example. That's something the video-game industry is very familiar with."
As a new generation of gaming machines from Microsoft and Sony prepare to hit the market in time for the holidays, some 275,000 video-game fans are rushing to Cologne, Germany, for this year's Gamescom, Europe's biggest video-game conference. Game developers say they see big appetite among consumers for traditional games as well as new entertainment experiences.
Guillemot is one of five brothers who, between them, founded two of France's biggest video-game success stories, Ubisoft and Gameloft. Guillemot has pushed Ubisoft to invest in movie-making as part of the Ubisoft Motion Pictures unit. The division in the past months has been busy casting actors for films based on game franchises "Watch Dogs" and "Assassin's Creed." His influence in the tech and entertainment industries could help realize his vision for interactive TV.
"Content producers are using special effects we use in gaming, while we're hiring actors, and creating characters and story lines deep enough to build a movie on," Guillemot said while sitting in Ubisoft's booth at Gamescom. "With next-generation consoles, we're moving a step further toward bringing these two worlds -- films and gaming -- together."
Ubisoft's Raving Rabbids brand, with games featuring crazy rabbits with a tendency to scream incessantly, has spawned a 26-episode cartoon series produced by the Motion Pictures unit. The TV show debuted this month in the U.S. on Viacom's Nickelodeon cable channel for kids.
Guillemot said the next step will be to link the "Rabbids" TV show to a second screen -- a tablet, for example -- to let viewers steer the plot. Though technically possible today, this hasn't yet been done, he said. The new generation of gaming consoles bring technology to the market that producers can use to give viewers more control in the near future, he said.
Deciding how your hero's adventure ends may be in the cards sooner than you think if Guillemot gets his way. Watch out, Penny and Leonard.