National Geographic Plugs Into Video Games

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National Geographic&mdashlworld-renowned, more than a century old, and one of the largest non-profit educational and scientific organizations on the planet—has announced it’s diving into the 21st century by forming National Geographic Games, a new division that, in conjunction with Bandai and Sony Computer Entertainment, will release family-friendly gaming titles based on National Geographic’s primary themes and media content. The titles will span consoles, mobile devices, portable game units, and online properties, and the first title—Herod’s Lost Tomb—is due this month.

Some of the game titles—like Herod’s Lost Tomb—will be developed in-house, while others—like forthcoming National Geographic: Panda and National Geographic: Africa—will rely on partnerships with outside developers, The group plans to launch games for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Network, PCs, and mobile devices like the iPhone. Herod’s Lost Tomb will be a free download for PC, Mac, and iPhone, and a Flash-enabled version is available online. All the games will support National Geographic’s mission of motivating people to care about the Earth.

National Geographic has tapped former Take-Two Interactive and Bethesda Softworks executive Chris Mate to head up the games group.

“The launch of our games division furthers National Geographic Venture’s cross-platform strategy of creating and distributing unique consumer experiences and content on multiple platforms and devices,” said National Geographic Ventures COO Ted Prince, in a statement.