>> Tuesday, March 10, 2009
In the past years we posted the news articles about CD-i that were published in american newspapers from 1988 up to and including 1993. Today, we continue with the next year: 1994. Former press posts: 1991, 1992, 1993.
Philips Media teams with Interplay, Virgin - Philips Media is focusing on multi-platform CD-ROM software development and has made agreements with Virgin Interactive Entertainment, Full Moon Entertainment and Interplay Productions. Philips latest CD-interactive player is scheduled to be released in Jul, 1994, for under $300. Other platforms for which the company is developing software include IBM- and Apple-compatible computers and videogame units. Philips Media has entered into longterm multititle deals with InterPlay Productions, Virgin Interactive Entertainment and Full Moon Entertainment as part of its strategy to put new emphasis on producing software across a range of hardware platforms. On the hardware side, Philips will unveil a newly styled CD-I player that will break the $300 price point and be available beginning in July. Sales for Philips' CD-I player in the U.S. have been sluggish during the past few years, but Scott Marden, president and CEO of Philips Media, says orders have more than doubled from a year ago. The announcement of Philips Media's software development alliances emphasizes the company's focus on producing titles across hardware platforms and its newfound interest in creating CD-ROM titles. "We will produce at least two titles with each of the software developers and up to 10 titles over the next several years," says Marden. Philips Media is the software group whose focus Marden has changed since he came aboard more than a year ago. Marden says he won't sign off on a software development proposal unless there are plans to produce the title across multiple platforms. The first titles that Virgin will create for Philips Media Games will be Creature Shock, a space game in which players try to save the human race from extinction, and Lost Eden, an adventure game pitting humans and herbivorous dinosaurs against carnivorous T-Rex dinosaurs. Philips Media is now developing its titles on four separate platforms: CD-I, IBM- and Apple-compatible CD-ROMs and videogame formats. Philips Media has more than 200 software titles on the market and will create another 60 titles within the next year and a half, according to Marden. The company is trying to foster the development of new titles and is seeding many projects for separate labels for various software niche markets. Those market segments include games, children's, special interest and reference, and European publishing. Philips Media is also looking at music videos and movies on optical disk formats, such as CD-ROM and CD-I. Marden says Orion is the latest Hollywood studio to begin putting its films on disk. Paramount, MGM and PolyGram films already have pressed some of their films to optical disk for playback with a CD-I player and a special adapter. Thirty films and 12 music videos are available in this format, says Marden, adding that more than 100 films will be available by the end of 1995. He says encoding has cost the studio approximately $20,000. The optical disk-based films retail for $24.95. Philips has been aggressively courting the creative community across entertainment industries, including motion picture companies, game developers, popular musicians and recording companies, as well as special effects experts. Marden says Philips Media is working with PolyGram on a project surrounding the upcoming Woodstock festival and is creating a new music software division. Marden believes it will be at least three or four years before there is a mass market of homes with an addressable cable system and a next-generation set-top box. "It will be a long march, and there is a lot of overpromising going on," Marden says. There are niche software markets today that are viable, he says, and he expects that as the installed base for CD-ROM and other platforms grows there will be a wealth of compelling software to meet the market demand. "Consumers will demand a different experience when interactive content can be delivered over a pipeline rather than a packaged media," Marden says.
VIRGIN DEAL BOLSTERS CD-I CONFIDENCE - Three state-of-the-art movie-style games are to be developed by Virgin Interactive (338a Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5AH; +44/81/960-2255) for first release on CD-I simultaneously with PC CD-ROM, marking significant vote of confidence in CD-I format. Philips has acquired worldwide CD-I rights for which Virgin will get distribution royalties, but CD-I versions are being developed at Virgin's expense with no up-front payment from Philips--unlike previous deal for CD-I version of breakthrough Virgin title "The 7th Guest", which involved Philips funding all necessary full-motion video CD-I development with no financial risk to Virgin. First title will be space adventure "Creature Shock". Meanwhile, CD-I release of "The 7th Guest" has been delayed until April 1994 due to unexpected level of additional development work necessary to CD-ROM version.
Philips to add CD-ROM versions of CD-i titles - Philips Media will issue at least 20 of its CD-i titles on CD-ROM by the end of the year and plans to eventually offer all of its CD-i titles on CD-ROM for both PC and Macintosh, according to Scott Marden, Philips Media president and CEO. In addition, sources say several new titles will be released simultaneously on CD-i and CD-ROM. The first are expected to debut in the fall, with others to follow in the first quarter of 1995. This marks the first break in the company's commitment to its proprietary Compact Disc-interactive format, introduced in 1992. Philips executives says 300,000 CD-i machines had been sold worldwide by the end of '93, an unimpressive sales figure, according to analysts. That compares with 11.4 million CD-ROM drives sold worldwide, according to Infotech, a Woodstock, Vt., research firm. However, Marden denied that the company's foray into CD-ROM marks a departure from its commitments to CD-i. Rather, he said, it's a sign that Philips views interactive software as a business similar to its record holdings (including Mercury, Island and A&M Records) and said the availability of new and better programs will help CD-i grow. Marden added that the firm is investigating electronic delivery of its titles, and characterized the move to exploit other platforms as in keeping with expansion plans. Some observers take a different view of Philips's efforts in CD-i and its long-term plans in interactive entertainment. Philips has been quietly approaching its CD-i developers to ask about CD-ROM, according to a software publisher. "Most CD-i titles will appear on CD-ROM," the publisher said. "Anyone who has CD-i titles knows Philips is converting." Asked about the implications of the move, the publisher predicted the slow waning of CD-i, though noting that "Philips won't kill CD-i because [its development] has been ego-driven." Philips's Family Entertainment divisions will issue three CD-i titles - Cartoon Jukebox, Hanna Barbera's Cartoon Carnival and Sandy's Circus - on CD-ROM this fall, according to division president Sarina Simon. Some CD-ROM titles, which Marden wouldn't specify, will be converted to CD-i titles. Philips Consumer Electronics Co. and its related entertainment companies, including Philips Media, have been fending off speculation about their commitment to CD-i and their interest in other formats for some time. In an unusual move, Philip's PolyGram division last week formally denied rumors that it is negotiating to acquire Virgin Interactive. "We are not in negotiations, nor have we ever been," said a PolyGram spokesman, quoting CEO Alain Levy.