History Channel Wants Gamers in a Shootout

Cable television network The History Channel has entered into a partnership with controversial New York-based Kuma Reality Games to developer three online games in association with the second season of the History Channel series Shootout. The games will be released online simultaneously with specific upcoming Shootout episodes, and let players step in to three famous battles—Iwo Jime, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Tet Offensive—to relive history. The online games will be available for free, supported by advertisers—the games will offer sponsors both in-game ads and ad placement surrounding the games.

"We are really excited to extend the viewer experience for Shootout with this cutting-edge, companion video game from Kuma," said Dolores Gavin, Director, Historical Programming for The History Channel. "Season two of Shootout was developed with gamers in mind. We think that the unique perspective of the series combined with the immersive nature of the game will allow our viewers to experience history in a whole new way."

The Shootout series uses CGI animation sequences to analyze and re-enact famous gun battles, ranging from Wild West gunfight to military operations like Guadalcanal and recent action in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

"We are helping TV take its place in today’s exploding game marketplace," said Kuma CEO Keith Halper in a statement. "The ability to reach key consumers is greatly enhanced for advertisers by combining TV’s reach and brand impact with games’ immersive nature, relevance to key consumers and unique messaging capabilities."

Kuma Reality Games is widely known for creating modern-day war games with controversial content, with CEO Keith Halper admitting any public relations and media coverage—like what you’re reading now—is free advertising, whether it’s good or bad. Kuma developed the Kuma: War video game based on the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and laced play with actual battlefield images. Players download new missions each week, enabling players to take on the roles of U.S. troops fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. Sometimes painted as war profiteers cashing in on the actions of U.S. troops, Kuma has tried to manage its public image by launching a PR offensive, giving free game access to anyone with a .mil address, and supporting organizations which honor veterans and U.S. military casualties.

The second season of the History Channel’s Shootout begins November 3, 2006.