White, Phelps spin Olympic gold into videogames

Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:35am EST
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By John Gaudiosi

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - After scoring big wins in the Olympics snowboarder Shaun White and swimmer Michael Phelps have set their sights on another prize -- videogames.

The Gold medalists are parlaying their prowess on the slopes and in the pool into sports games that feature their likeness and promote active lifestyles.

White has completed "Shaun White Snowboarding," with Ubisoft while Phelps has partnered with start-up game publisher 505 Games for a series of videogames for iPhone and consoles. The first game is due hit stores in the spring 2010.

"I believe this will be a tremendous opportunity to help continue my quest to raise the profile for the sport of swimming," Phelps, a 14-time Olympic gold medalist, said in a statement.

Although both are famous sportsmen tying a superstar athlete to developing a game for phenomenal athletes consoles like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 can be risky.

"Phelps is the most phenomenal athlete I've ever seen, but as someone who actually was a world class swimmer, I can't think of anything more boring than a swimming videogames," said Michael Pachter, videogame analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities.

Activision's Tony Hawk skateboarding franchise, which has generated over $1 billion since launching in 1999, is the only current game that carries the name of a single athlete.

White, who's a mainstream brand thanks to his exploits in both skateboarding and snowboarding in the X-Games, has spent the past two years working with Ubisoft's acclaimed Montreal development studio on his new snowboarding game.   Continued...

<p>A scene from the game "Shaun White Snowboarding" is seen in this handout photo. REUTERS/Ubisoft/Handout</p>