Warner Bros. Pacts with SCi, CodeMasters

Warner Bros. has announced it will be buying a 10.3 percent stake in SCi Entertainment Group, the parent company of Eidos Interactive Ltd., developers of the Tomb Raider,Deus Ex,Hitman,Carmageddon,Just Cause, and Conflict gaming titles. And the deal doesn’t stop there: Warner Bros. and SCi have forged an agreement to develop and distribute game based on selected Warner Bros. Entertainment properties, including some of the company’s crown jewels—like Looney Tunes——along with current hits and money-making juggernauts like Batman.

“These agreements represent a further step in SCi’s development as one of the world’s leading publishers of interactive entertainment,” Jane Cavanagh, Chief Executive of SCi, in a statement. “The licensed properties extend and strengthen our product portfolio through globally recognized titles such as Batman,Looney Tunes including brands such as Bugs Bunny and the classic Hanna-Barbera catalogue including brands such as Tom and Jerry.

“Investing in SCi further solidifies our commitment to the rapidly growing interactive and gaming space,” said Kevin Tsujihara, President of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. “This deal is consistent with our core strategy of delivering high quality entertainment based on some of the world’s best-loved brands for all formats and channels. We look forward to working with SCi to build games the fans of these brands will truly enjoy.”

The licensed properties and game rights include the DC comic mainstay Batman,, teen soap The OC, handheld games based on the Looney Tunes character stable (Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales, etc.), up to twelve game based on Hanna-Barbera titles like The Flintstones,Tom and Jerry,Wacky Races,Yogi Bear, and Huckleberry Hound, and other assorted animated properties including Loonatics Unleashed and the new DC Comics-based Legion of Super Heroes.

As part of the agreement, Warner Bros. will provide warehousing, logistical support, merchandising, and media buying services to Eidos in the United States. “The properties also include content with a broad demographic appeal. Significantly, the partnership with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group in the United States links us to the distribution network and buying power of one the world’s largest media companies,” said Cavanagh. “The additional investment provides us with the firepower to accelerate growth initiatives such as increasing our development capacity and our new media and online strategies.”

Not to stop there, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group has entered into a game distribution agreement with U.K. video game developer CodeMasters, Inc. to distribute the company’s titles in North America beginning in April 2007. Titles included in the deal include DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road,Overlord,Clive Barker’s Jericho, and Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will also handle sales and marketing of the games in North America.

“This partnership allows the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group divisions to combine strengths to distribute Codemasters’ games, which have global appeal, throughout North America,” said Kevin Tsujihara, President, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. “Employing the expertise of our gaming division and our powerful home video distribution services, we will bring Codemasters’ products to consumers within the ever-growing gaming marketplace.”

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