Mattel signs interactive software deal

Mattel has signed a deal with two software companies, to develop video games and interactive services, based on its range of toy brands, which include Barbie and Fisher-Price.

Knowledge Adventure, a unit of Vivendi Universal Publishing, will produce software for the company’s girls, infant and pre-school divisions, including Barbie, Diva Starz, Fisher-Price and Power Wheels.

Mattel has licensed its boys division, including Hot Wheels and Matchbox brands, to THQ, a Californian company which produces titles for hand-held devices and games consoles.

President and chief executive of THQ Brian Farrell says: “The Hot Wheels and Matchbox brands provide a wealth of content for games.”

The company plans to release six Hot Wheels and Matchbox titles this year, on PC, PlayStation and GameBoy Color formats.

THQ is looking for a group marketing director. Colin Brown, who holds the position, is leaving in March to go travelling in Australia with his family. Brown is responsible for the company’s international brand strategy.

Vivendi Universal Publishing chief executive Angus Touraine says the licensing deal will strengthen the company’s position.

Traditional toy companies, such as Mattel and US rival Hasbro, have struggled to make inroads into the games and software industry.

Mattel sold its software company, The Learning Company, to the Gores Technology Group last October.

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