Lifetime Networks, the pioneer of TV for women on cable networks, has seen the future: online dress-up games. The company announced today that it has acquired South Korean casual gaming startup Roiworld.com for an undisclosed price.
New York-based Lifetime will open a game development studio in Seoul to create more online games. By early next year, Lifetime plans to have a U.S. version of the site with more than 1,000 casual games targeting females beginning early next year. The games will focus on the “dress up” genre, where members dress up avatars, or characters, in virtual cloting and share the creations with their friends in social networks or virtual worlds.
Andrea Wong, Lifetime chief executive, said that the Lifetime audience wants to have an escape from real life, whether on TV with the Lifetime channel or in the digital realm with something like Roiworld. Lifetime already has a deal with Real Networks, which provides online games for myLifetime.com.
Kris Soumas, head of Lifetime Games, will oversee the entire games effort. The game studio in South Korea will be run by Kiseo Kim, founder of Roiworld.com. The deal is the latest connection between traditional media and the video game industry. The Sci-Fi Channel is working with Trion World Network to create an online game based on a TV show under development. But some of those ventures are fraught with peril. Brash Entertainment, which is making movie-based games, recently laid off 20 employees.
Roiworld has plenty of traction. It had 2.8 million monthly unique visitors in September and 117 million page views. Lifetime Entertainment Services is a joint venture of Hearst Corp. and Disney.