'Idol' game for online version

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Online video game company King.com has signed a multiyear license for "American Idol" from FremantleMedia for the U.S.

The rhythm-based Web browser game features licensed cover songs from the Fox show, including "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "The Greatest Love," "Lady Marmalade" and "I Want You Back." Shortly after launch, "I'm a Slave for You" will be added, and additional songs will be updated over time. The game will be available through AmericanIdol.com, Yahoo.com and King.com.

Multiple versions of each song have been recorded, which will allow the singer to go off-key seamlessly depending on the player. Each player will be judged by and receive comments from generic judges. The game, which is free to play, also will re-create sets from the TV show.

"The idea behind the game is to really re-create the experience of going before the 'American Idol' jury," said Robert Norton, vp business development in the U.S. at King.com. "Players will create a personal avatar and dress them in costumes and then use the cursors on the keyboard to sing and dance to the music."

Toby Rowland, co-founder and co-CEO of King.com, said the company spent more than $250,000 to create the game. "It's the most expensive casual Web game ever made," he said.

Konami Digital Entertainment recently released a PlayStation 2 game, "Karaoke Revolution Presents American Idol," which features the voices and likenesses of "Idol" judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson. That game allows players to sing into a microphone to a variety of cover songs on sets from the show and then get feedback from the judges.

Rowland said the plan is to cross-promote the online game with the show's Web site and potentially with the show itself. He also plans on working with "Idol" contestants to play the game online against consumers.

King.com also features video games based on "Deal or No Deal" and "1 vs. 100" in the U.S. In Europe, the site has "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and "Big Brother." While the FremantleMedia deal for "Idol" is for the U.S., other territories are expected to be announced.

"We are extremely impressed with King.com's track record of implementing hit television-based shows online and are pleased to offer 'American Idol' fans a more compelling way to interact with their favorite show beyond just watching it on television," said Jason Turner, director of licensing at FremantleMedia North America.
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