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HIVE EXCLUSIVE: ‘Dr. Dolittle 2,' More Games Due With Nuon

17 Aug, 2001 By: John Gaudiosi

VM Labs is working on several new Nuon-enhanced movies, including Dr. Dolittle 2, for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, and has a full slate of Nuon video games scheduled for the next year, including threePlayStation ports from Activision.

Nuon DVD hardware and software technology is designed to enhance theviewing experience, through features such as zoom. The hardware also plays games.

On the video side, Dr. Dolittle 2, due Oct. 23, will be the next title inFox's multititle commitment to the new technology.

“We got a lot of interesting feedback from Bedazzled [the first Fox Nuon title] and it will be interesting to see how a younger audience respondsto the Nuon technology with Dr. Dolittle 2,” says Peter Staddon, Fox v.p. of marketing.

“We've designed the menus for a younger audience, focusing on the bear from the movie,” says Paul Culberg, president of VM Labs. “I think theDVD will appeal to a broad audience.”

Staddon says Fox will continue to support Nuon in the near future. “What's the downside to putting Nuon-enhanced features on the disc?” he asks. “Nuon is very efficient in its use of disc space, so there's onlyan upside.”

Fox will continue to study the impact Nuon has on DVD sales. “Dr. Dolittle 2 will be a test to see if the attention Bedazzled received was because it was the first DVD to include Nuon technology or because people are interested in the technology itself,” Staddon says.

He says, if time permits, this fall's anticipated The Planet of the ApesDVD will get the Nuon treatment as well.

Culberg says the company is talking to another major studio and several smaller video companies about Nuon-enhanced products. Culberg believes this fall will see an increase in Nuon-enhanced DVD player sales, thanksto the Sept. 1 price reduction of Samsung's 501 Nuon DVD player to $199. “The sub-$200 price point really makes this a competitive product,” Culberg says.

VM Labs will add to its roster of four Nuon video games (Merlin Racing,Tempest 3000, Freefall 3050 A.D., Space Invaders XL), which retail at $29.99 each. Three PlayStation games from Activision — Shanghai: Mah-Jongg Essentials, due in the fourth quarter, and Star Trek: Invasion andPitfall: The Mayan Adventure, coming in early 2002 — are being ported to Nuon. The rest of the game lineup includes Bust-A-Move 4 and Monopoly, slated for September; The Game of Life, aMaze, Myst, Sorry! and Speedball 2100 for the fourth quarter; Nuon Board Games and Nuon Casino for first quarter 2002 and Pong for second quarter 2002.

While Nuon is not marketed as a gaming machine, VM Labs will continue to target the “unsuspecting gamer” with its mass market Nuon video games, which are seen as “added value” to the consumer, Culberg says.

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