December 20, 2010: Kobe Bryant, who currently leads all players in fan voting for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game, plans to get into another game with as much enthusiast as he has devoted to his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant is working with Endemol USA, the domestic division of a worldwide production company specializing in entertainment programming, for a social network-based game that is expected to appear on FaceBook and elsewhere. Social gaming publisher 6waves will co-produce the new game and Bryant will also play a key role in the creative development.
The as yet untitled game would give players the opportunity to win real prizes and experiences, such as autographed memorabilia from Bryant or tickets to attend a Lakers game. The social game expands Bryant's alliance with Endemol, which earlier this year produced an online video series, Dream Makers: Kobe Bryant, a series of eight Webisodes filmed at the Kobe Bryant Basketball Academy in Southern California.
In addition to co-producing the game, Endemol USA said it would "secure sponsorships and brand integrations. 6waves would "manage the development and distribution of the game" on Facebook and other top social networking and gaming sites worldwide.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity to transform the world of social games. . . . [with a] global entertainment icon such as Kobe Bryant."
The deal with Endomal is part of Bryant's strategy to build his brand worldwide. He recently signed a deal with Turkish Airlines to appear in domestic and international marketing, has a deal with Sona.com, a Web production company based in China and has the best-selling jersey in China and Europe. In addition to annual off-season basketball trips, Bryant was part of the gold medal USA Basketball team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and will be part of the squad playing at the 2012 Summer Games in London.
“Expanding into the exciting world of social gaming feels like a natural progression for Endemol and we are thrilled to collaborate on this project with Kobe Bryant, one of world's most talented athletes, and the gaming masterminds of 6waves," David Goldberg, chairman of Endemol USA, said in a statement. The company produces or has produced such TV shows as Big Brother, Wipeout, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Fear Factor and Deal or No Deal.
According to Rex Ng, co-founder & CEO for 6waves, “This is an unprecedented opportunity to transform the world of social games. While social games are incredibly popular, they have never included a global entertainment icon such as Kobe Bryant. Social gaming is still a fairly young platform, and we are going to completely change the experience for the player.”