REDMOND, Wash., and NEW YORK — March 15, 2006 — Microsoft Game Studios and 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE) today celebrate the introduction of “Viva Piñata,” a high-energy, mass-appeal entertainment property created by Rare Ltd. that brings a vibrant world of living piñata animals to video games, television and beyond. The “Viva Piñata” universe showcases an engaging cast of colorful, wild-roaming piñata animals that entertain and challenge imaginations.
“Viva Piñata” will offer a number of entertainment elements enjoyable for everyone — from kids to adults. The “Viva Piñata” world will include a Saturday morning 3-D animated television series, slated to premiere this fall on 4Kids TV™ on FOX, that is produced and created by 4Kids Entertainment, known for such powerhouse properties as Yu-Gi-Oh!®, Pokémon®, Cabbage Patch Kids® and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®. An immersive video game developed by Rare Ltd. exclusively for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system is scheduled to debut this holiday worldwide, enabling gamers to create and customize piñata-filled adventures in their own evolving world. The 4Kids Entertainment licensing program will result in additional licensed products launching in 2007. Additional information can be found at http://www.vivapinata.com.
“With ‘Viva Piñata,’ we are introducing a revolutionary brand that will entertain, inspire and excite children, families and creative minds around the globe,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Corp. “With Rare and 4Kids Entertainment we will best showcase the vibrant world of ‘Viva Piñata,’ enabling a mass audience to have an immersive experience via the animated television series, the Xbox 360 title and related merchandise.”
The “Viva Piñata” universe showcases an engaging cast of colorful, wild-roaming piñata animals including Hudson Horstachio.
“Viva Piñata” — The Animated Television Series
The “Viva Piñata” television series is set to air in the U.S. in fall 2006 on 4Kids TV — 4Kids Entertainment’s four hours of children’s programming broadcast Saturday mornings on FOX. In this comedy series, created by 4Kids Entertainment, a cast of piñata “friends” embark on wild adventures on Piñata Island. The appealing characters and their charming personalities are sure to entertain and stimulate the series’ audience as they accompany the piñata characters on their zany adventures.
“We are very excited about partnering with Microsoft to share the ‘Viva Piñata’ universe with the world,” said Alfred R. Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment. “The potent combination of the Microsoft Game Studios and 4Kids will ensure that the ‘Viva Piñata’ world, including the video game, television series and merchandising program, attracts a worldwide audience.”
“Viva Piñata” for Xbox 360
Set to release this holiday season worldwide, “Viva Piñata” is a customizable, social and spontaneous game that invites players of all ages and skills to explore an immersive world where they are challenged to create and maintain a living garden ecosystem that grows in real time. Beginning with a few basic tools, players build and take control of their environment to attract and host more than 60 species of wild piñata, utilizing hundreds of customizable elements to create their very own distinctively unique thriving paradise.
“Viva Piñata” gameplay continues to evolve with new content available via the Xbox Live® service and the ability to play, trade and interact with more than 2 million gamers via the online service.
Following the strategic alliance previously announced in January 2006 with Microsoft, 4Kids’ exclusive representation agreement includes all broadcast, home video, music and merchandise licensing rights on a worldwide basis for the “Viva Piñata” property.
About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. The system was launched in Europe, Japan and North America in the 2005 holiday season and was launched in Colombia, Korea and Mexico in 2006. The system will also be launched in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan later this year. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.
About Xbox Live
Xbox Live is the first and only unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy to find the friends, games and entertainment people want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox Live connects more than 2 million members across more than 24 countries together to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, free playable game demos, music videos and movie trailers, as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.
About Rare Ltd.
Rare Ltd., one of the world’s leading video game developers, was founded in 1985 by Chris and Tim Stamper. Based in the United Kingdom, Rare is the mastermind behind some of the most popular video games available, including multimillion-dollar sellers “GoldenEye 007,” “Perfect Dark®,” “Banjo-Kazooie®” and “Donkey Kong 64.” In November 2005, Rare released “Perfect Dark: Zero™” and “Kameo™: Elements of Power™” for Xbox 360, the second-generation video games console from Microsoft, and continues to entertain the world with the upcoming release of “Viva Piñata.” For further information visit www.rareware.com.
About 4Kids Entertainment
Headquartered in New York City with an international office in London, 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE), is a global provider of children’s entertainment and merchandise licensing. 4Kids, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, provides domestic and international merchandise licensing; product development; television, film, music and home video production and distribution; media planning and buying; and Web site development. For further information, please visit the Company’s Web site at www.4KidsEntertainment.com.
About 4Kids TV
4Kids TV, 4Kids Entertainment’s four hours of children’s programming broadcast Saturday mornings on FOX, features popular animated series for both boys and girls including Magical DoReMi™, Winx Club™, Bratz®, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®, Sonix X™ and G.I. Joe Sigma 6™. For more information, please visit www.4Kids.TV.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Microsoft, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Perfect Dark, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark: Zero, Kameo and Elements of Power are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. or Rare Ltd. in the United States and/or other countries.
Rare Ltd. is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
The information contained in this press release, other than historical information, consists of forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. These statements may involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Important factors beyond the Company’s control, including general economic conditions, consumer spending levels, competition from toy companies, motion picture studios and other licensing companies, the uncertainty of public response to the Company’s properties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s expectations.
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