Spike TV Gets in the Game
Posted by jgaudiosi :: Hollywood & Video Games
Spike TV is the latest network to jump on the bandwagon of popular WWII videogames. The network has teamed up with Activision, Best Buy and Gamespot.com for a new reality show competition that will air as part of "Game Head." The competition will allow 16 gamers to compete in a real boot camp to promote "Call of Duty 3." The winner of the competition will win VIP tickets to the Spike TV VGAs, a home entertainment system from Best Buy and a trip for two to Normandy, France. Last year, the History Channel worked with TV production house Foglight Entertainment to create a two-hour documentary that was shot in Normandy starring actor Ron Livingston ("Band of Brothers"). That show, which aired in two parts, used Ubisoft's "Brothers In Arms" videogame to tell the true story of the soldiers of the 502nd.
WWII remains a popular videogame genre, more so than any other war. There are three major franchises covering the war from Electronic Arts' "Medal of Honor," to Ubisoft's "Brothers In Arms" and Activision's "Call of Duty." All three of these franchises are heading to next generation consoles, with "Call of Duty 2" ranking as the best-selling Xbox 360 game since launch.
There are plenty of opportunities to blend videogames with both reality show concepts and with WWII games. The boot camp aspect of the Spike TV show is a variation on the popular reality show concepts that are out there. It's always entertaining to see how gamers that are good with a controller react when challenged to do the real activity in the real world. There are certainly a lot of different directions this type of program could go.
The largest influx of videogame coverage is coming from professional gamers. DirecTV airs its recently taped videogame competition on September 8 and is heavily promoting it on air. It's the first of three competitions for this year that will lead to a full season next year. Other networks like USA and GamePlay HD will feature videogame coverage throughout the year. I was able to watch some of GamePlay's recent "Project Gotham Racing 3 Championship" in HD and the coverage was just like watching a real race. It's HD gaming that will turn videogame programming into a true spectator event. And those producers who are able to dream up new ideas or partner with the right game companies will profit going forward, as more mainstream people play games in their free time.