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E3: Spears Lends Talent to Technology

17 May, 2001 By: Seth Goldstein

Britney Spears is lending her talent, charisma and bare midriff to the cutting edge of home entertainment.

A five-year-old company, Enroute Inc., has signed the teen sensation to appear in its debut FirstPerson DVD, enabling viewers to watch events unfold in an “immersive” 360-degree landscape.

Enroute made the announcement at the opening of the E3 trade show in Los Angeles. FirstPerson was previewed in a Video Store Magazine Hollywood Summit forum held last March during the International Recording Media Association conference in Indian Wells, Calif.

Spears will provide the missing content, but consumers probably won’t get to see her until next year. “It’s very hard to say” if the FirstPerson program will reach stores in 2001, says Paul Cha, Enroute executive v.p. and cofounder.

Cha is blending clips from several Spears concerts, backstage material and interviews in a game format.

Game designers typically take 18 to 24 months from start to finish.

Cha expects to finish FirstPerson in less time.

Video is nearest to completion. With a controller, the user can watch Spears in broadcast-quality action from any angle. “It’s a live, first-person experience. We offer things that bring the viewer closer to Britney,” Cha says.

Whether she will be part of the interactive game “is something we’re discussing now,” he continues. “She has lots of control over creative and that’s definitely an influence on how it will come out.”

Meanwhile, Enroute hopes soon to strike a game publishing deal to cover retail distribution. Nintendo and PlayStation programs typically cost $20 to $60, and FirstPerson should be “somewhere between,” Cha predicts.

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