Apparently, running pictures of naked women on its web site isn’t a big enough draw for Playboy Enterprises. Now the company is going to post video games on its site as well.
Playboy Enterprises said today it is diving into a video games alliance with German online game publisher Bigpoint. Bigpoint will help Playboy create games for distribution on Playboy.com. The first game that will be posted on the Playboy site is Bigpoint’s urban crime game, Poisonville (pictured above), an action-oriented massively multiplayer online game in a fictional city where crime and corruption rule. In the game, players will discover “beautiful, Playboy-caliber women.”
Playboy’s new video game publishing label will launch more formally at the end of 2010 with games that target Playboy’s primary demographic of 18-year-old to 35-year-old men. It’s one more example of how web sites want to get users more engaged by offering them addictive entertainment such as games. Playboy has had other forays into video games, but it is frequently criticized on that front for selling sex to kids; that’s why the company has targeted adult men with its games such as Playboy: The Mansion, in past years.
“One of our core competencies involves using our brand to present quality content,” Paul Lee of Playboy told PaidContent. “Gaming is a growing, mainstream area. And part of our plan is to extend Playboy’s brand into the mainstream.”
Playboy isn’t saying how much it will spend on games, but it says the financial commitment is significant. The games will be ad-supported for now, but many of Bigpoint’s games are free-to-play, where gamers can play for free and pay real money for virtual goods such as better weapons.
Bigpoint is partially owned by the Peacock Equity Fund, the venture arm of NBC Universal, as well as U.K.-based private equity firm GMT Communications Partners. One of its big titles in the works is Battlestar Galactica. Bigpoint isn’t well known in the U.S., but it has more than 135 million players in 25 languages. The Hamburg, Germany-based company has 500 employees. Chicago-based Playboy has been in a bit of a drama as it tries to figure out its future as either a public or private company. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is attempting to take the company private.