Shaun White wheels into new video game territory

Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:43pm EDT
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By Liana B. Baker

NEW YORK Oct 26 (Reuters) - Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist snowboarder Shaun White is turning away from the slopes and concentrating on skateboarding -- in a new video game.

It is new video turf for White, the freckled, carrot-topped champion snowboarder who was dubbed "the flying red tomato," early in his career, and who is best known for his double McTwist on the half-pipe.

His last two snowboarding video games sold so well, 4 million worldwide, that he was asked to make a new game in a genre dominated by skating legend Tony Hawk, whom White counts among his friends.

"We had the best selling snowboard game two years in a row so I had the opportunity to do a skateboard game," White explained in an interview.

The result is "Shaun White Skateboarding" which publisher Ubisoft released on Oct 24 in North America. The PlayStation 3 version will be released on Oct 28 due to a manufacturing glitch.

White, 24, is savvy to want to take another bite out of the sports video game market, a popular genre in the $60.4 billion global video game industry. Sports brands like Madden NFL and FIFA can pull in major profits in an industry that dwarfs Hollywood's box office take.

White's video game is set in a gray world that only livens ups and transforms into a skate park as players pull off and land tricks. While the game's urban landscape might lack snow, it's hardly out of White's element.

White, 24, splits his year competing in snowboarding and skateboarding. He was the first athlete to compete and win medals in both the winter and summer X Games, which are organized by U.S. sports broadcaster ESPN, in two sports.   Continued...

<p>Olympic snowboarding gold medallist Shaun White arrives at the 2010 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, California July 14, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>