Coincidentally aligned names aside, Sky and Skybound will work together to create second-screen experiences to publicise and drive engagement around its shows. There may even be an eye to create some revenue spinners down the line.
Skybound, chaired by comic book creator Robert Kirkman, has already helped develop numerous narrative-driven titles around The Walking Dead property. It also has a substantial back catalogue of critically acclaimed original games too.
It will create mobile narrative gaming experiences around new and existing Sky properties. it will emulate its work with The Walking Dead where it developed episodic, player-choice narratives that captured the tone of the show and the comics.
It believes many of its IPs and dramas in particular will benefit from gamification in the coming years. Sky’s release said: “Skybound Stories will seek episodic and character-driven narratives where the player becomes the protagonist, making choices that matter to the storyline.”
Sky outlined that its recent productions included Britannia, Babylon Berlin and Gomorrah, perhaps giving a hint at the titles we can expect to be developed.
Gary Davey, managing director of content at Sky, said: “I am very excited about this venture. This is comic books for the iPhone generation. Interactive story-telling, designed for mobile consumption is a fascinating new field for us. And it’s great to now explore it with the masters of the craft.”
John Jelley, vice president of business development at Sky, added: “As gaming continues to broaden in appeal with a higher quality of IP, the boundaries between games and video are gradually disappearing. This joint venture will help us find innovative new ways for customers to experience the shows they love – in a natively interactive format on any smartphone.”
Dan Murray, president of Skybound Interactive, added: “A constant goal at Skybound is to deliver new and existing fans with the best content possible. Our deal with Sky allows us to dive deeper into already cherished worlds in a creative way, inviting players to become a part of the story.”
Across Europe, Sky boasts 23 million customers, taking in an annual revenue of £12.9bn. It is not the only broadcaster looking to gamification to drive viewer engagement. Netflix is also experimenting in the same space.