"Kinect Nat Geo TV" game for Xbox
Cable, long a part of Nintendo’s Wii game portfolio, is joining Xbox 360’s Kinect library. Today marked the launch of the “Kinect Nat Geo TV” game. Nat Geo is the first cable network to distribute its content through Kinect’s interactive gaming platform (PBS launched its “Kinect Sesame Street TV” game today as well). Kinect’s remote-free technology allows people to interact with games using a motion-sensor camera and voice recognition.
Part game, part TV show, Kinect Nat Geo TV features 8 episodes of Nat Geo Wild’s “America the Wild,” hosted by Casey Anderson and his Grizzly Bear friend, Brutus. They’re mini-versions of the full hour-long show (about 25 minutes a piece), which originally aired on the network earlier this year.
Most of the game’s interactive component comes into play through the show’s added elements called “sidetracks,” which take kids out of the actual show and into another experience. Those extras include custom video shot by Grizzly Creek films, producers of “America the Wild,” specifically for the Microsoft game.
“There are a whole variety of ways to interact,” said Brad Dancer, Nat Geo’s SVP of Audience & Business Development. Kids might get points for calling out when they spot an eagle, for instance, or be asked to decide—individually or as a group—on what path on the adventure to take next. There’s also a full immersive experience, in which participants themselves become the animals and their living room, scanned by the Kinect, is transformed into a wild habitat.
The business goal, according to Dancer, is two-fold. First and foremost, the net hopes the game will build exposure for the young channel. And obviously retail revenue is a top priority. “The definition of TV is constantly changing,” he said. “We want to find out how viewers will interact to our content.” The goal is to “build a next generation of explorers, if you will.” Given the net’s work with schools and education in recent years, said Dancer, the partnership between Kinect’s learning experiences and Nat Geo was a “natural fit.” On whether networks should be present on more OTT platforms he said that this is a game rather than a TV subscription. However, he added, “it’s important to understand how people are consuming content.”
In the future, Nat Geo hopes to use content for the game that has aired on the network more recently. It’s also looking at ways to expand the 2-way interactions to adults. “There are a lot more opportunities,” including party games, he said. “That’s the next stage for us.”