The National Geographic Society, best known for their long-running magazine, has just made an interesting announcement. Their next venture in their for-profit operations is video games. This month, National Geographic Games, a newly formed division within the company, will launch three gaming products to be soon followed by another in December and three (so far) are planned for next year. The games will be developed for major gaming consoles, handhelds, and mobile platforms, including, yes, the iPhone.The successful science and educational organization
There are few people out there who don't have fond memories of flipping through the pages of a National Geographic magazine, admiring the award-winning photography that graced its pages as our eyes widened to the wonders of the world around us. Since its launch in the "ancient" times of 1888, the world has gotten a lot smaller, figuratively speaking. Television, air travel, and, of course, the internet, have allowed us to explore much more of the world than ever before. To some extent, the information age has impacted, if not the magazine's sales themselves, the sense of wonder that was once to be had when perusing the magazine's articles and images.
To keep up with the changing times, the new National Geographic Games division (NGG), will attempt to connect with people once again on the platforms of our modern age, including the Wii, Playstation 3, Nintendo DS, PC and Mac, the PS3 Network, and the iPhone. There will also be free Flash games online at nationalgeographic.com/channel. As always, the company's goal is to encourage people to explore their world, this time though, it's through play.
Lest you think these games will be wimpy attempts at educational experiences, it's worth nothing that Chris Mate, a former executive at Take2 Interactive, the company behind "Grand Theft Auto," will serve as VP and GM of the games venture. Hopefully, his history, which also includes Bethesda Softworks, will bring some spunk to the usually dry "learning is fun!" gaming experience.
The first game to launch will be "Herod's Lost Tomb," an online game which blends in content from both the December 2008 issue of National Geographic magazine as well as the National Geographic Channel feature broadcast on the biblical figure King Herod, architect of the ancient world.