Vivendi Licenses Marvel Superheroes For Online Games

Posted on September 27, 2002

Vivendi Universal Publishing (VU Publishing) and Marvel Enterprises, Inc. have announced a 10-year worldwide licensing agreement which grants VU Publishing's Games division (VU Games) the right to develop and publish online massively multi-player (OLMMP) games based on Marvel's superheroes. The first OLMMP title under the new agreement is targeted for release in 2005. The announcement was made jointly by VU Games Chairman and CEO Ken Cron and Marvel COO Bill Jemas.

The deal provides VU Games with access to the entire Marvel library of over 4,700 characters. Additionally, VU Games has obtained the rights to release titles in multiple languages across all existing and future platforms enabling OLMMP game play, including PCs and console-based systems.

"We believe there are only a few franchises existing today that are compelling enough to be a leader in the massively multi-player games market and Marvel's universe of superheroes is clearly one of them," said Ken Cron, Chairman and CEO of Vivendi Universal Games.

OLMMP games, which allow thousands of players to interact online simultaneously, represent a key area of growth for the multi-billion dollar video game industry. Marvel and VU Games will share in revenues generated by subscription fees, product sales and in-game advertising.

"Marvel wanted to make an aggressive move to establish a strong presence in the burgeoning online gaming arena, and this relationship with VU Games puts us right on the ground floor," Marvel COO Bill Jemas said. "Marvel is perfectly suited to massively multi-player gaming as we are a `universe' unto ourselves. Our fans like to live and breathe their favorite characters and this gives them the opportunity to do that 24 hours a day if they like. Our superheroes have been extremely successful in the video game world as evidenced by the best-selling status of our Spider-Man, X-Men and Blade franchises. By every measure, this is by far the largest and best electronic game deal in the history of Marvel."

This online project marks the latest partnership between Marvel and VU Games, which is also developing next generation video games inspired by The Hulk feature film. A leading publisher of PC, console and online-based interactive content, VU's portfolio of development studios includes Black Label Games, Blizzard Entertainment, NDA Productions, Sierra Entertainment and Universal Interactive.