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Publisher Bringing Video to Game Boy

22 Mar, 2004 By: John Gaudiosi

Video game publisher Majesco Sales, best known for its console game BloodRayne, has had success with Nintendo's Game Boy Advance (GBA) since the portable system's launch. Beginning mid-May, Majesco turns the 20 million GBAs and GBA SPs into movie players. Using its proprietary Game Boy Advance Video technology, which was demonstrated at last year's E3 show, the game publisher can compress 45 minutes of video on a 16MB cartridge.

Majesco has been busy this past month, securing the rights to popular animated kids' TV shows to port episodes to GBA. The company has a deal with Nickelodeon to bring episodes of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dora the Explorer,” “Jimmy Neutron,” “The Fairly OddParents” and “All Grown Up” to its Game Boy Advance Video product catalog (www.gba-video.com). Content will vary depending on the shows. Four 11-minute episodes of “SpongeBob” will fit on a single cartridge, while two 22-minute “Dora” episodes will fit on a cart.

Majesco also cut a deal with 4Kids Entertainment to publish a total of 12 episodes of 4Kids' cartoon programs, including “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Sonic X.” Like the Nickelodeon deal, Majesco's GBA Video products will be crosspromoted on 4Kids Entertainment's Fox Box programming block and Fox Box Web site.

Nintendo will separate the GBA Video line at retail with a new larger box, which will be distinguishable from current GBA games, according to Liz Buckley, product manager, Majesco Sales. Retailers, including Wal-Mart, will have separate displays set up for the GBA Video lineup, which will retail for $19.99 each. Buckley said 12 titles will be rolled out at launch, and additional content will be released throughout the year.

Nintendo is working on 32MB cartridges -- which are expected to be ready this year -- that would allow Majesco to fit an hour-and-a-half of video on a single cart, opening the door for movies.

“We're initially targeting kids 8 to 12 years of age to establish retail space and the GBA Video brand, but we're talking to licensors of TV and movie content that will focus on an older audience,” Buckley said. “We have big plans for this holiday.”

Buckley said such rentailers as Blockbuster and Hollywood Video are already interested in selling and renting GBA Video.

“Once we've established GBA Video at retail, we believe these initial titles and our later catalog will be perfect for the rental channel,” Buckley said.

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