Activision Secures "Dream" Deal

Activision, Inc. today announced that it has come to a new agreement with DreamWorks Animation SKG that extends its rights to the Shrek license in addition to granting the publisher the rights to other DreamWorks properties -- financial terms were not disclosed.

Access to the DreamWorks portfolioAlthough, under its current agreement, Activision has already published games based on DreamWorks' CG-animated films Shrek, Shrek 2, Shark Tale and Madagascar, the new "long-term, broad-based strategic alliance" not only provides Activision with exclusive rights to Shrek 3 and any future installments with the big green ogre, but it also gives the publisher the ability to develop and publish video games based on DreamWorks' upcoming movies, including films currently in development, such as Rex Havoc and How to Train Your Dragon, as well as upcoming movies like Bee Movie and Kung Fu Panda.

Under the terms of the deal, Activision receives publishing rights worldwide "for all current and future console platforms, the PC and hand-held devices." Furthermore, if the company wishes, it also will be allowed to develop additional games based on the properties during non-film years, and to publish games based on each property's sequel.

Lucrative licensesIt's no secret that a solid license can be a key to generating big revenue, even if a game with said license only gets average review scores in the enthusiast press. Moreover, games based on popular movies like Shrek or Madagascar are perfectly suited to target the children's market.

In fact, Activision's Shrek 2, Shark Tale, and Madagascar across multiple platforms have collectively shipped more than 10 million units to date on a global basis. NPD data shows that Shrek 2 was the #1 best-selling children's video game in the U.S. for calendar 2004.

"Our association with DreamWorks has resulted in some of the most critically acclaimed and successful movie-based video games ever," elated Robert Kotick, Chairman and CEO, Activision, Inc. "This announcement enables us to continue to build on our strong creative collaboration and underscores Activision's ongoing commitment to developing exceptional games based on the highest quality intellectual properties and brands."

Added Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation SKG: "Activision is a market leader in developing computer-generated movie properties into video game franchises. Working with Activision, we hope to deliver an unprecedented level of collaboration between the movie and the video game."

With next-gen technology offering graphics that are ever closer to CG animated movies, Activision intends to use the power of the next-gen consoles to make the experience of playing games based on DreamWorks' IP even better. Also, at a time when cost of development is rising, this new agreement could be a major boon to Activision, as these licenses should, for the most part, prove to be quite lucrative.

"The new generation of gaming platforms will help us expand our computer-generated movies into interactive entertainment like never before," commented Anne Globe, head of Worldwide Consumer Products and Promotions for DreamWorks Animation. "We look forward to working with Activision to extend our stories and characters into rich worlds of interactive entertainment."

Currently, Activision is working on developing games based on Over the Hedge, which is set to debut in May 2006, as well as the aforementioned Shrek 3, which is slated to hit the silver screen sometime in 2007.

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