The NBC Universal games division is going to be shutting down less than three years after it was expanded. While this won’t be the end of games made from intellectual property owned by NBC Universal, it will mean that they will no longer be producing it in house.
NBC Universal Games Are No More
VentureBeat reports that NBC Universal has decided to shutter their in-house gaming division, opting instead to license out their IP to developers and publishers who are interested in making video games. This will lower the potential revenue that they’ll make from video games based on their work, but it will also offload the costs and risks to developers hired to create these works.
The company has a lot of properties it could potentially leverage for video games including Jurassic Park and the entire catalog of Dreamworks Animation which includes beloved film franchises like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda.
Chris Heatherly’s Unfortunate Fate
The closure of NBC Universals games publishing business is likely a staggering blow for Chris Heatherly, an Executive Vice President at Universal Brand Development. While many employees are going to be reassigned within the company, several are going to be leaving at the end of the year and Mr. Heatherly is one of them.
This is the second time in a decade that Chris Heatherly has found himself out of a job. Previously, he worked for Disney — a megacorporation that also made the decision to stop producing video games in-house.
Universal Brand Development released a statement on the closure, which we’ll reproduce below:
Given the realities of the increasingly competitive nature of the mobile games landscape, Universal Brand Development (UBD) is shifting its investment and approach in Games to opportunities that don’t require mobile self-publishing. This will allow UBD to deepen their licensing and partnership opportunities across all gaming platforms. As a result of this shift, the team has undergone a restructuring to be better positioned for long-term success.
Based on our recent organizational re-alignment, we’re working with our development partners on alternative publishing paths for some of the games in our mobile portfolio. Specific details for each title will be announced at a later date.
Chris Heatherly will continue in his role with Universal Brand Development until the end of the year, in a transitional capacity.
In the future, games based on NBC Universal’s IP will be handled by game developers outside of the studio. As for Mr. Heatherly, here’s hoping that he lands on his feet — though it may want to move on from trying to make video games within film companies for now.
What do you think of the NBC Universal games publishing division shutting down? Did they release any titles in the last two and a half years that you particularly enjoyed? Let us know in the comments below!