Hong Kong’s animators catching World Cup fever

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The Independent Online

Coverage of this summer’s footballing World Cup from South Africa will be unprecedented in its scope with advances in technology enabling viewers to watch the games on everything from their laptops to big screens at their local 3D cinema house. But some canny people in Hong Kong are taking things even a little further.

One local television station – unable to come to an agreement with the company which has the rights to broadcast the games live here –  are planning on simply replaying the action in a digitally generated form, thereby creating a “virtual’’ World Cup they believe will be a hit with kids obsessed by online games.

Free-to-air broadcasters TVB are keeping fairly tight-lipped about the exact details of their grand plans, other than to say it will not infringe on copyright. “Youngsters will like the technology,’’ a TVB spokesperson told the “South China Morning Post”. “It is something similar to games.’’

Gordon Chin Kwok-tung has instead opted to create a World Cup of his own – and his animated TV series has just started screening on television in South Africa.

Chin’s Hong Kong-based Puzzle Animation Studio has produced the first series of “AI Football GGO’’ ( http://www.aifootballggo.com) over 52 episodes of 22 minutes and hopes to sell it on to around 60 countries.

The action centres around various teams of football playing robots – not too dissimilar to some of the “real’’ playing plying their trades for millions in the world’s top professional leagues.

“We saw the opportunity to create something that would be linked to the World Cup and the reaction so far has been pleasing,’’ Chin told Relaxnews. “This is a first for a Chinese animation and shows just how far the industry has come. We can now compete globally.’’

“We have toys lined up, an on-line game and hopefully a movie. So these are exciting times.’’

 The real World Cup kicks off on June 11.