'Mr. Blockbuster' tries video games

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

TEXT OF STORY

KAI RYSSDAL: There was another sign today of just how enormous the video game business is. One of the big names from movies and television says he wants in. Jerry Bruckheimer has signed on to produce video games for MTV. MTV and its parent company Viacom are pouring half-a-billion dollars into interactive entertainment. Hoping Bruckheimer can do there what he did for CSI and Pirates of the Carribbean.

>Jeremy Hobson reports.


JEREMY HOBSON: It's easy to figure out what's in it for Bruckheimer.
The video game market is $35 billion ars a year and growing. And the games themselves are cheap to make.
As Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter puts it:

MICHAEL PACHTER: There's no Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp to pay.

Nor are there elaborate sets or expensive special effects. Here's entertainment industry analyst Hal Vogel:

MATT VOGEL: It takes maybe a top-notch video game $20 million to put that together. To make a Jerry Bruckheimer film, $150-200 million.

Vogel says for MTV, which is just getting into the game business, choosing Bruckheimer makes sense as well. He knows how to tell a story, how to develop characters, and he's a master of visual effects.

VOGEL: If you had to make a good first choice, he would be the one.

And video games are looking and sounding more like feature films everyday. But some analysts aren't quite so sure Bruckheimer's skills will translate to interactive media. One of them is gaming analyst Billy Pidgeon.

BILLY PIDGEON: What I'm concerned about is directors and writers trying to control the process in a narrative fashion when it is not really a narrative medium.

And Bruckheimer won't have the help of the popular stories and characters he's become famous for. He'll be developing games from scratch. If the experiment works, analysts say, you'll know it when his video-game characters show up on the big screen.

I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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