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Fun and Games at MTV

6/27/2005 10:34 AM Eastern

MTV: Music Television said Monday that it has launched its MTV Games division.

The network said the unit will work in-house through its newly created interactive-entertainment studio, along with industry partners, to produce and market original video-game titles.

MTV added that MTV Games will forge strategic marketing partnerships with game publishers.

Under the first such deal, MTV will participate in a royalty-sharing structure with Midway Games Inc.

The first title the two parties will collaborate on is upcoming arcade-racing video game “L.A. Rush,” which will feature MTV branding throughout the game world with the crew from West Coast Customs from the network’s hit show, Pimp My Ride.

The soundtrack for the game will contain more than 75 songs from over 20 artists, including Twista, Lil' Kim, Big Boi and DJ Rap.

Two more games under the Midway deal will be announced at a later date.

MTV Games will be overseen by Jeff Yapp, executive vice president of MTV Networks Music and Logo Enterprise Group, who reports to that unit’s chief operating officer, Rich Eigendorff.

Tony Calandra, senior director of MTV Interactive Products, will manage the new division, and Joseph Varet, director of MTV business development and strategy, will oversee MTV Games' business partnerships and strategic relationships.

Jamie Leece, formerly president of Take Two’s Gotham Games division, will serve as MTV Games' executive producer, and senior producer Marc Nesbitt will oversee project production and creative.

"In 1996, we launched MTV Films with the hopes of discovering some risky and bold stories to tell,” MTVN Music, Logo and Films Group president Van Toffler said in a prepared statement. “Nine years later, I'm ecstatic about what we have accomplished, and today, we launch MTV Games with a similar objective -- incubating breakthrough gaming concepts that embrace creative risk-taking and push the boundaries of interactive entertainment.”