Now playing at the movies: Videogames
As audiences shrink, movie theaters are betting that multiplayer games on the big screen will be the next blockbusters. Business 2.0 reports.
(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Audiences across the pond are testing what could be the next in-theater blockbuster: videogames played from the comfort of your stadium seat.
Canadian company TimePlay Entertainment has turned the Odeon Huddersfield cinema in England into a high-tech bingo hall. For $8 per half-hour, audience members use 10-inch color touch-screens to play a single multiplayer game -- tug-of-war, bingo, trivia contest -- competing to win as much as $20,000.
Questions and results appear on the 30 foot screen. "Cinema is a perfect venue for participatory experiences," says Jon Hussman, the 47-year-old founder and president of Toronto-based TimePlay.
It's also a hedge against declining movie attendance and the rise of HD home entertainment.
"We have to embrace interactivity," says Robert Steele, VP for strategy and corporate development at 1,500-screen National Amusements, "or the cinema will quickly disappear."
Steele hopes to install the first TimePlay system in the United States by 2008. A TimePlay installation costs $75,000. (A similar system in Spain, CineGames, costs nearly $400,000 to install; it features high-end PCs and plays games like Electronic Arts's Battlefield 2142.)
Hussman expects his system to be deployed on more than 100 screens by the end of 2008 and is investing $9 million in software development.
Already green-lit: big-screen games based on SpongeBobSquarePants and the game show Deal or No Deal.click here.