On the heels of its own growth and traffic records, Viacom's MTV Networks has said it plans to invest more than $500 million over the next two years to the "development and distribution" of its gaming business across the globe.
Spearheaded most notably by its MTV Games division, which, following its acquisition of Guitar Hero
developer Harmonix, the company said it also saw traffic up 20 percent for the first six months of 2007 across its portfolio of game-related sites.
The latest records show that 47 percent of MTVN audiences accessed game-related content on Nickarcade.com, Neopets, Shockwave and AddictingGames, as well as casual game sections on CMT.com, COMEDYCENTRAL.com, MTV.com, Nick.com, VH1.com and other MTVN branded sites. AddictingGames alone, said MTV, saw 9.2 million U.S. visitors in the last recorded month as part of its global 14.7 million visitor audience.
Its GameTrailers property also saw a record domestic 1.4 million unique U.S. visitors as part of a 4.7 million audience, with more than 1,000 videos posted during the week of E3 alone, and its Xfire brand saw a rise of registered users up 139 percent over last year to 7.7 million.
Looking forward, MTV says one fifth of its $500 million pledge will be put into its Nickelodeon Kids & Family Group to develop and distribute gasual games and platforms, including an agreement with Nokia to bring Shockwave's Flash Lite mini-games to Nokia phone customers around the world.
It also will see the highly anticipated launch of its Rock Band
franchise for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this holiday season, the first game to come from Harmonix since its acquisition.
Said MTV Networks chairman and CEO Judy McGrath, "Gaming is a focal point of our vertical entertainment strategy to superserve our loyal and passionate audiences with engaging experiences, and the success of all our properties, everything from AddictingGames to the virtual games on Nicktropolis to the award-winning Rock Band
, really has put us in a leadership position. As we continue to take our brands narrow and deep to serve our targeted audiences, we are investing over $500 million in the next few years towards building our games business, worldwide, across all of the brands."