Cable television network Nickelodeon has acquired the full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, including worldwide rights to television, film, and video games -- and although not mentioned in the official statement, likely also the property's original medium of comics.
Nickelodeon -- a subsidiary of Viacom's MTV Networks, which also owns video game publisher MTV Games -- bought the Turtles for $60 million from the Mirage Group, which had owned the franchise rights since 1984, and 4Kids Entertainment, which had served as the franchise's licensor for eight years on behalf of Mirage.
There have been over 20 games based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles over the past two decades. Most were published by Konami, but more recently Ubisoft has had the license, releasing games based on the 2007 film and, this year, a downloadable remake of the Konami classic Turtles in Time, as well as the team-based Wii brawler Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up.
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shares a comedic sensibility with the Nickelodeon DNA, with added layers of action and fantasy that have kept this property an evergreen favorite with multiple generations of audiences," said Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group president Cyma Zarghami. "We are extremely happy to have the opportunity to be able to focus on this property and creatively re-introduce it to a new generation of kids."
Moving forward, it is possible that MTV Games or another Viacom subsidiary will look to take publishing of the games in-house, particularly with MTV Games seeing considerable success in the game sector thanks to subsidiary Harmonix's ongoing Rock Band series.
The group has been consolidating game properties recently, and next year Nickelodeon's existing licensing agreement with THQ, which has THQ publish numerous properties owned by the network, will expire, giving Viacom the chance to reevaluate its licensing strategy.