Tomb Raider firm moves on from violent video games

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The Independent Online

SCi Entertainment, the company behind the iconic Lara Croft Tomb Raider game, said yesterday it expects video games to become a more mainstream entertainment format over the coming years, as more titles emerge that are targeted at younger players and adults.

Rob Murphy, the finance director, said: "Our core audience is 18- to 30-year-olds that play Hitman, but there is a growing audience of people that do not want to play first-person shooting games. Video games are increasingly appealing to a wider audience."

Titles such as Grand Theft Auto, made by the US developer Rockstar, and SCi's Hitman have attracted criticism for including extremely violent elements. However, the success of titles such as RedOctane's Guitar Hero, which teaches guitar riffs, has helped change the industry's perception.

Mr Murphy said games such as Lego Star Wars appeal to a much younger audience than more violent titles, and he said he expects games such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? to sell well to an older audience.

Yet it is still high-profile franchises such as the million-selling titles Tomb Raider and Hitman that drive SCi's sales. Mr Murphy said the developer was keen not to become too reliant on one title and has high hopes that new titles such as Just Cause will become strong franchises.

SCi also said it plans to release 19 games this year, including a new Tomb Raider and Championship Manager title, compared to nine last year.

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