Discovery putting animals in video game world

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NEW YORK -- Might we see "Meerkat Manor: The Video Game"?

Discovery Communications is partnering with the second-biggest U.S. video game publisher, Activision, to make animal-themed games, Discovery CEO David Zaslav said Wednesday at the Reuters Media Summit.

Activision will make the games for several game systems, with the titles tied to Discovery's Animal Planet channel, which airs popular shows such as "Meerkat Manor" and "Orangutan Island."

A Discovery spokesman initially said that games would be based on those shows, but the company later told Reuters that no decisions had been made yet on specific titles.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal lets Discovery tap one of the fastest-growing segments of the entertainment industry, one that is seeing an explosion of games that appeal to younger and older players outside the core audience of teenage boys.

"We are really trying to get away from being a cable company and into being a content company," Zaslav said. Discovery Communications is owned by Discovery Holding Co, Advance/Newhouse Communications and its founder, John S. Hendricks.

The nature games are expected to be released in late 2008.

Activision is riding high on strong sales of its original games like "Guitar Hero 3" but also has a strong portfolio of titles based on licensed properties such as "Spider-Man" and "Transformers."
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