It’s as upsetting as it is admirable, but everything Simon Cowell touches seems to turn to gold: And now he’s fixing his sights firmly on the video games industry.
According to an interview with the high-waisted mogul in this month’s GQ, Cowell is teaming up with Topshop entrepreneur Philip Green to launch an entertainment empire dubbed ‘the new Disney’.
Unsurprisingly, part of the venture involves video games – a market which Cowell admits he has as yet failed to capitalise on.
"I should have had 20 games [by now]," said Cowell. "If you’ve got a game that’s worth more than our shows and we’re in 100 countries, something is a bit out of control.
"X-Factor should have been the initial vehicle to have Activision come to us and say: ‘You’ve got all the [consumer] traffic. Can you help launch Guitar Hero?’"
After the interviewer reminded Cowell that his shows on both sides of the Atlantic didn’t heavily feature guitars, Cowell replied: "I’d put guitars on my show to get Guitar Hero."
According to the article, Cowell phoned Sony CEO Howard Stringer ‘the other week’ and asked him to meet with Green to thrash out an agreement over future video games.
"He came to London and we got on well," said Green. "Without being rude or conceited, he knew what we were on to was going to shape the future… He sent his Board [over] from New York."
He added: "I said [to them]: ‘Look at what we can do together. You’ve got massive manufacturing capability. You’ve got retail business. You’ve got PlayStation. You’re one of the biggest TV suppliers in the world. He [Cowell] is one of the most watched men on TV!… Suddenly, people started to say: ‘You’re right.’"
Green also mentioned Guitar Hero to highlight his belief in Cowell’s huge potential in the video games market:
"Look at Guitar Hero," said Green. "It’s a billion dollar business. [Simon’s] got more viewers, more hits, more everything – and he hasn’t even got a website!"