It's a James Patterson World

Posted on August 24, 2007

Bestselling author and target of Stephen King's vitriol James Patterson is going virtual. Patterson has signed a deal with casual videogames developer and publisher Oberon Media to create a series of games targeted at women.

Multiyear deal calls for Oberon to produce numerous games with Patterson's brand name, most likely in the mystery or romance genres. Some will be based on Patterson's existing books, others on original stories. Oberon will distribute games online and for cell phones. Elephant Entertainment will distribute the games at retail locations for PCs and, potentially, Nintendo's Wii and DS consoles.

By pacting with Patterson, the publishers are trying to emulate Ubisoft's success making action and stealth games under the Tom Clancy brand. Vivendi has a similar deal to make games based on Robert Ludlum's books. "The casual games market is right where I am, with about 70% of my readers and their players being female," Patterson said. "A lot of people who read my books may think they don't like games, and we can reach that audience for the first time."

Casual games, which are typically easy to pick up and play for just a few minutes, are one of the hottest areas of the vidgame biz. Many of the big publishers, such as Electronic Arts, are investing money in titles aimed at people who don't own an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 and don't typically play games. That aud primarily consists of women and middle-aged people -- precisely the market Oberon and Elephant plan to target with their Patterson games.

"We're trying to explore new ground and broaden the market with this deal," said Oberon VP of publishing Don Ryan.

Casual games are good to play on your cell phone or PDA when you're stuck in line or trapped in a doctor's waiting room without a good book. Or for playing on your PC when you're supposed to be working. Casual games are hot, hot, hot and Patterson is well on his way to having his stories available in every medium under the sun. Everywhere you turn, there will either be 1) a new James Patterson book or 2) a James Patterson game to play. And that's just the beginning.

Wait until virtual reality and hologram technology really takes off. You'll be able to spend all your waking hours inside a James Patterson novel. We get to be Alex Cross, though. You can be one of the victims of a serial killer.

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