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Hollywood Player, a site that cleverly merges two popular online activities — casual social gaming and movie trivia — went into public beta today. The brainchild of Dave Long and Bill Kuper, who created the bestselling, DVD-driven board game Scene It?, the startup repackages content from new and classic Hollywood movies into a number of web-based games.
While there are countless casual games overlaid with movie themes already on the market, I’m particularly impressed by the sleekly produced quality of this site’s offerings, which take full advantage of broadband connectivity and Flash-powered graphics. For example, the jigsaw puzzle game doesn’t just challenge you to reassemble pieces of a static movie still, but animated fragments of an entire scene. My favorite, Well Connected, plays like a mad cross between Guitar Hero and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon in that you have to connect movie stars by their films as their headshots fly toward you. Seasoned casual gamers will likely enjoy these titles, but so will fumble-fingered game noobs who also happen to be film buffs. You can compete with other users in leaderboards and use the site’s Facebook connectivity to bring your friends into the fun. (Multiplayer games and other social aspects are coming soon, Long and Kuper told me in a call yesterday.)
As a business, Hollywood Player has a lot of revenue streams. In this beta phase, there’s Amazon affiliate links to buy the movies featured in the games. Premium content and sponsorship deals will be announced soon, Long and Kuper tell me, including partnerships with several Hollywood studios. As with so many social games nowadays, digital goods will also be a future revenue source. Right now, you can use the Hollywood Credits earned from gaming to buy movie-related sweepstakes tickets. Or if you prefer, you’ll also be able to donate those credits for in-kind cash donations to a designated charity — a brilliant way to leverage gamer activity for a higher purpose. Because at least that way, you won’t feel like you’ve totally wasted your time just idly clicking on Angelina Jolie’s head.
Image courtesy Hollywood Player.