Officials from Electronic Arts have announced a new "creative partnership" with Dutch television production company Endemol, for a new online offering named Virtual Me, which is aimed at bridging "the divide between traditional TV and video games".
Endemol operates a number of subsidiaries in countries including the UK, USA, Latin America and India. The group has gained worldwide success adapting simple reality and game show formats for different national audiences, including Big Brother, Deal or No Deal, Fear Factor and Fame Academy.
The new Virtual Me project will include avatar creation technology from Electronic Arts, allowing users to create realistic looking avatars which can then be used to socialize in online environments. The avatars will also be able to compete in virtual versions of talent shows such as Fame Academy and Operación Triunfo, as well as game shows such as Deal Or No Deal and 1 vs. 100.
The two companies will create an integrated team to share expertise in their respective fields and develop entertainment formats and software for a range of platforms, including TV and online. The first use of the Virtual Me technology will debut in Endemol's internationally popular Big Brother TV show.
Peter Bazalgette, CCO of Endemol commented: "We're told that people are starting to spend more time online than they are watching TV. Both markets are now important and this has huge implications for content creators. Our opportunity with Electronic Arts is to develop ideas that fully embrace the way people are consuming entertainment today."
Gerhard Florin, executive vice president and general manager of EA International said, "With Virtual Me we are at the forefront of a new, hybrid form of entertainment that takes gaming beyond the console. Endemol is a great partner to help us bring together the best of TV and video games for an offering that can appeal to mass market audiences and change the face of entertainment."