Nickelodeon invests in online

$100m to be spent over next two years developing online games
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Nickelodeon is to splash out some $100 million over the next two years to develop online games aimed at children as its looks to tap into the fast growing casual games sector.

The investment will pay for a raft of new subscription services, multiplayer games and virtual worlds for children. 2008 and 2009 will see the arrival of several new products from Nickelodeon.

These will include myNoggin, a subscription service of educational games for pre-schoolers and parents that will be offered with cable companies Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Insight Communications.

The company is also planning to launch the Nick Gaming Club, another subscription service featuring multiplayer games and three-dimensional avatars that members can use to interact with other subscribers.

Existing games services such as AddictingGames Website, which will debut a variety of casual virtual worlds, will be expanded, while the popular Neopets site will be renamed Neostudios and focus on developing online virtual worlds.

"Particularly in the kids' space, with more than 86 per cent of kids aged eight to 14 gaming online, we see great momentum for online casual gaming," said Cyma Zarghami, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group president.



How online changes everything

Some of the biggest financial transactions involving games companies in recent years have been by traditional media buying studios in the online space. From Vivendi merging with Activision to Disneyâ??s acquisition of Club Penguin, big media moving into games have tended to stick with what they know â?? massmarket entertainment.