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NEWS ANALYSIS : PLAYING THE INTERACTIVE GAME : A High-Tech Hollywood Alliance : Microsoft Venture With DreamWorks: Taming the Shrewd

March 23, 1995|JULIE PITTA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

For this Wednesday, at least, the Dream Teamers said they had no such concerns.

"We've spent a tremendous amount of time in the last six months with Bill and his team," says Jeffrey Katzenberg. "A collaboration is something that starts from a place of mutual respect. To say that we respect one, another is a vast understatement."

Stay tuned.

* POWERFUL ALLIANCE

DreamWorks teams up with Microsoft. A1

* CROWDED FIELD

Many enter interactive game field. D12

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

The Emerging Battle

The masterminds behind the DreamWorks-Microsoft venture won't be the first to bring interactive entertainment to your television set or personal computer. A look at the video game makers, movie studios and software companies that have dabbled--to various degrees and with varying success--in this burgeoning market:

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday March 24, 1995 Home Edition Business Part D Page 2 Financial Desk 1 inches; 32 words Type of Material: Correction
Virgin Interactive--The company developed a "Lion King" video game for Sega game machines, but had no involvement in the personal computer CD-ROM version. The company's role was misstated in a chart that appeared Wednesday.

The PC Companies

Companies that specialize in interactive video games for personal computers are doing the best in the emerging interactive game market. Among them:

* Electronic Arts: This San Mateo, Calif., company is the leading producer of personal computer games.

* Virgin Interactive: Virgin's "The 7th Guest," a mystery set in a haunted mansion, is one of the most popular interactive games of all time. The Irvine company also worked with Disney to create "The Lion King" CD-ROM game and has other titles based on movies.

* Broderbund: With titles including "Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego" and "Just Grandma and Me," this Novato, Calif., company dominates the educational software market.

The Studios

Hollywood studios have anxiously turned their movie products into games, often with the help of software companies. Not all have been successful.

* Disney Interactive: This Disney division was launched in December, 1994, displacing an earlier software unit that had limited success.

* Time Warner Interactive: One of several Time Warner interactive units, the company has produced an interactive game based on "Demolition Man" and the popular "Hell Cab."

* Paramount Interactive: This Viacom New Media subsidiary distributed a title based on the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" television series that has sold more than 100,000 copies.

* Fox Interactive: Sales of this company's first title, "Pagemaster," fared about as poorly as the movie of the same name.

* Universal Interactive: This year-old firm's first product, a "Jurassic Park" CD-ROM for Sega systems, has been a slow seller.

* Sony Imagesoft: Makes games based on movies like "Dracula" and "Last Action Hero" for Sega--but has yet to score a blockbuster hit.

The Video Companies Traditional video game makers have paired with studios and software firms to make interactive games, but their transition into the world of PC games has been rocky.

* Nintendo: This company's reputation rests on traditional cartridge-based home video games.

* Sega: The other big power in cartridge games--but pushing hard to expand into CD-ROM--Sega lists its most successful products as those based on its original character Sonic the Hedgehog.

* Acclaim Entertainment: This Glen Cove, N.Y.-based company's most famous title is "Mortal Kombat."

TOP PC GAME TITLES FOR 1994

Doom II (GT Interactive)

Myst (Broderbund)

Sim City 2000 (Maxis)

5 Ft 10 Pack Vol. 1 (Sirius)

Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft)

Tie Fighter (LucasArts)

Star Wars Rebel Assault (LucasArts)

7th Guest (Virgin)

Sim City (Maxis)

Outpost (Sierra On-Line)

GAMES vs. MOVIES

Revenue for CD-ROM and video games lags behind box office revenues, but not by much. In billions of dollars:

1994*

Games: $4.03

Movie box office: $5.40

* Figure for games is a projection.

--KAREN KAPLAN

Sources: Dataquest, PC Data, Times reports. Researched by JENNIFER OLDHAM / Los Angeles Times

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