Let The Hobbit games begin

Not only is Peter Jackson a great filmmaker, but the veteran genre director is also intimately familiar with the gaming world.

As you may recall, Jackson tried to get the Halo movie made, and was also involved in the making of the King Kong game that coincided with the release of the movie.

Now with the first installment of The Hobbit hitting theaters on December 14, there are a number of Hobbit games on the way as well, which shouldn’t be a surprise because the Lord of the Rings series were a perfect vehicle for a movie / gaming crossover.

As the L.A. Times and the Hollywood Reporter both confirm, Warner Brothers, which is releasing the Hobbit series, is partnering with Kabam, a company from San Francisco that primarily codes free-to-play games. Warners and Kabam will produce two free-to-play games tied into the films that we’ll be seeing this fall: The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age and The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-Earth.

As the Times explains, Armies is a military strategy game, and Kingdom is a game you can play on your smartphone or tablet. In addition to the free to play games, Warners Interactive has two other Hobbit games coming this fall, Lego Lord of the Rings and Guardians of Middle-Earth.

As we’ve reported here on TG, a number of companies are adopting free to play as a way to potentially fight piracy, and this Fall is shaping up to be a big season for gaming. As Ben Fritz of the Times writes, “With four different titles coming out this fall, Warner is betting that the marketing and publicity onslaught that has already started for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey could be a boon to its video game business as well.”

And as the Reporter notes “there are fewer licensed games for consoles as Hollywood opts for the growing free-to-play online games space, as well as the booming mobile market.” So apparently, with the new Hobbit games, this is precisely the direction Warner Brothers is headed.

As Kevin Chou, the CEO of Kabam, said, “Kabam’s unique ability to blend the art of game design and the science of free-to-play distribution makes us a natural fit to partner with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to deliver thrilling games via the web and mobile devices for The Hobbit film fans around the world.”