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National Geographic gaming anyone?

Do you have a subscription for monthly copies of the National Geographic?  If you do then great news is here, if not then this great news is really targeted at you.  The National Geographic, known for it’s beautiful photography and fascinating articles, is teaming up with Namco and Sony to bring a meld of science, history, and the environment to consoles around the world as well as to PCs and mobile devices.

Chief operating officer of National Geographic Ventures, Ted Prince, said, “The launch of our games division furthers National Geographic Venture’s cross-platform strategy of creating and distributing unique consumer experiences and content on multiple platforms and devices.”

The National Geographic games division is already promoting its debut software to the masses. Titled “Herod’s Lost Tomb”, the game was developed in-house and is now available via download for either the PC, Mac and iPhone.

Paul Levine, the head of National Geographic’s new gaming division, has said, “Our global audiences love to play games, and we plan on creating games in-house as well as working with leading global publishers to develop entertaining games that engage those audiences in a relevant way.”

Developed in partnership with outside developers, Namco and Sony, more games are on the horizon, including “National Geographic: Africa” and “National Geographic: Panda”, and although you must take a step back in awe of the imaginative names that the National Geographic have given to the games, you can also see the potential that these games will have on the market.

In “Herod’s Lost Tomb”, players are submerged into game-play developed from an article that will be published in the December issue of the National Geographic as well as a television show based on the life of King Herod.  The game is free to download from the National Geographic’s website.

Other games itching to find their ways into your homes and palms are “Sudoko Traveller: China”, “Rain Forrest”, “Greencity” and “From the Bottom Up”.

The platforms that the National Geographic will be hoping to develop games for are the Nintendo Wii (obviously…it’s the highest selling console out there!!), the Nintendo DS, Playstation3, PCs and mobile consoles including the iPhone.

Members of the team working on the National Geographic Games includes Paul Levine, the senior vice president of National Geographic Ventures, alongside former Take2 Interactive (Grand Theft Auto IV) executive Chris Mate, also known for his work with Bethesda Softworks, who created Fallout 3.  Mare will be on the crew as a general vice president and general manager of the games division.

Ted Prince went on to say that, “Paul’s strong background in cross-platform media, interactive entertainment and business building and development combined with Chris’ expertise in the video game industry and product development will ensure that National Geographic Games extends our mission globally and makes the National Geographic brand more meaningful to a broader audience.”

Personally, the whole proposal excites me, and I hope that we do see this new direction being taken by video game developers, where the word fun can be associated with learning.  However, it is going to take a brave developer to make this connection a reality and it is not certain yet if the National Geographic is on to a winner with their list of games.

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