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Paramount gets into games publishing

Michael French
The march of big media into games continues apace: following bolstered games divisions at Warner Bros and Disney, now Viacom-owned Paramount has announced its intention to enter games publishing - as we revealed earlier this month.

A story on Variety confirms the move. Paramount's first slate of games will be based on new film IP or its back catalogue of properties, with an emphasis on casual, handheld and mobile games.

Paramount also said that it is pursuing a variety of funding models to bring its games to market in 2008.

"We are entering into deals now where we will be publishing games this year," said Sandi Isaacs, Paramount's senior VP of interactive and mobile.

"There's going to be a slate where in some cases we're publishing, in some cases we're co-publishing, or in others we're funding development and another publisher buys it. It's important for us to have a flexible model."

Paramount will keep licensing some properties to other games publishers, but Variety adds the new commitment is a formal statement of intent that 'could easily run into the tens of millions of dollars'.

To ensure the move into games goes smoothly, Paramount has hired development veteran Matt Candler as its VP of interactive development. Candler will handle developer deals at Paramount, having worked at Grind Games and Seven Studios previously - he started his career at Activision, where he worked with Isaacs.

Former Sega and Fox exec Luke Letizia also joins as executive director of interactive licensing, managing projects licensed to other publishers.

Paramount parent firm Viacom already has another game interest already - sister company MTV owns Harmonix and recently told us that it plans to up its spending on games. Plus, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone owns publisher Midway.

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