It's a massive business, worth more than $20 billion annually in software and hardware sales alone. Its influence reaches every corner of our society and is as mainstream as it comes. I'm not talking about the television industry, believe it or not. I'm talking about video games.
Interactive games, like so many of the products and trends in the marketplace, come straight out of the "everything old is new again" file. Flashback to 1960, when CBS aired the show "Video Village," produced by Heatter-Quigley, the creators of "Hollywood Squares." The show was built around a "living board game" concept. It was my all-time favorite game show.
Two contestants were tokens on a life-size game board with three streets: Money Street, Bridge Street, and Magic Mile. Players rolled a giant six-sided die in a birdcage-like contraption, and their partners would advance along the course.
The same year, Milton Bradley released a board game "home version" of the game. For a kid with dreams of being in the TV business, who was obsessed with "Video Village" the show, the board game was a dream come true. It let me play along at home and imagine I was part of the game and story. Call it interactive video 1.0.
Thanks to the power of the Internet--specifically eBay--I found the board game again recently. It was a little dusty and worn, but with memories as vivid as the money cage. What a great title for a concept that would prove to be prophetic. "Video Village": a world connected in a community of video.
Then as now, the power of the "Video Village" brand was driven first by exposure on television, before becoming a tangible product that consumers could play and interact with at home. The show itself was a brand that people, myself included, became passionate fans of and wanted to play themselves rather than just passively watch.
Today, several CBS shows have become the inspiration for video games, with many more to come. Our current titles include:
- CSI: Fatal Conspiracy available on multiple console platforms
- CSI: Crime City for Facebook
- CSI: DS for younger audiences
- Amazing Race for Wii
It's just more proof that fans love our shows so much that they are eager to experience them in new and interactive ways. This speaks to the power of world-class content to capture people's imaginations and inspire them to extend the TV experience to exciting new platforms. It's a whole new world for entertainment brands, and we are excited to be playing along.