Tony Hawk – Time To Innovate?

Posted by: Matt Vella on March 11

hawkinnovate.jpgInteresting tidbit in USA Today (of all places) about Activision’s (ATVI) plans for the aging Tony Hawk franchise of skateboarding games. The series has been a steady money-maker, selling some 30 million copies since its early 1990s debut. But the most recent installments have gotten some middling reviews and Electronic Arts (ERTS) scored a hit last year with a new skateboarding franchise Skate. (It featured some neat games-meet-Web 2.0 type of features including the ability to upload gameplay videos to the net.) Will Kassoy, an Activision senior vice president, told the paper that the company has an initiative underway to reinvent the series, but wouldn’t elaborate much beyond that. The mystery plan – which may or may not be substantive – is apparently dubbed the “Tony Hawk Innovation Plan.” Indeed, the longer and more successful a franchise the more difficult it is to create innovative, disruptive gameplay. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what long-in-the-tooth franchises from The Sims to Tony Hawk do to keep things fresh in the next 12 months.

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No longer child's play, the booming global games market is worth billions of dollars. In Games, Inc., BusinessWeek Innovation writer Matt Vella and Tokyo correspondent Kenji Hall analyze emerging business trends in video games and interactive entertainment. They’ll examine everything from button-mashing, chart-topping, console games to serious games commissioned by big corporations to train staff. They’ll also map the evolution of expansive virtual worlds and go behind the strategies at companies that are turning play into big business.

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