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MTV's Nickelodeon To Invest $100M In Online Casual Games

At the Casual Connect gaming conference in Seattle, MTV Networks' Nickelodeon Kids and Family group announced it plans to invest $100 million over the next two years in the development and distribution of casual online games and virtual worlds.
MTV Networks' Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group has announced its commitment to invest $100 million over the next two years in development, distribution and creation of casual gaming titles, sites and platforms. According to the company, the investment is a part of MTV's strategy to secure a leading role in the gaming space -- including casual, console and handheld games, as well as related media. The Group's president, Cyma Zarghami, made the announcement at the Casual Connect gaming conference in Seattle, WA, in a keynote address delivered by Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group's Executive Vice President of Digital Media, Steve Youngwood. According to the Nickelodeon Kids and Family group, the investment will produce several initiatives in the next two years, including the myNOGGIN edugaming subscription service for preschoolers (available in the fall), new multiplayer games and tournaments in the Nicktropolis online world, the kid-friendly subscription-based Nick Gaming Club (launching in 2008) and The-NGames.com, which through a recently-announced partnership with AddictingGames, will create a massive online casual gaming site focused solely on teen girls. Additionally, the investment will support the expansion of AddictingGames to include casual MMOGs with the introduction of AddictingWorlds. AddictingGames recently partnered with Habbo, adding another virtual world to its existing partnership with sister site Neopets. The company says increased emphasis will be placed on user-submitted games on the site, including more prominent upload capabilities and game-making engines. The company also says that increased Shockwave focus will be placed on the creation of games that will also provide opportunities for prominent integrated advertising. Jigsaw Video will be the first app to launch, while Shockwave plans to link itself more closely with family-targeted brands within Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group, like Nick-at-Nite television, to give advertisers the ability to promote their messaging across multiple platforms. Shockwave will also increase its publishing of downloadable games with Carrie the Caregiver Episode 2: Preschool, scheduled to come out later this year. Neopets will also be transformed into Neostudios, the company says, which will focus on developing new virtual world gaming experiences online while continuing to grow and evolve the existing ones. The first of these will launch at the end of 2008 with the goal of launching a new game every other year. "Particularly in the kids' space, with more than 86% of kids 8 to 14 gaming online, we see great momentum for online casual gaming," said Zarghami. "This investment will not only benefit our audiences, but also our marketing and distribution partners."

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