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'National Geographic' Gets Into Games

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NEW YORK National Geographic is getting into the video game business.

Through its for-profit unit National Geographic Ventures, the nonprofit National Geographic Society has created National Geographic Games.

The division's first game, "Herod's Lost Tomb," was developed in-house and is a free download for PC, Mac and the iPhone. After that, NGG is coming out with games for Nintendo's Wii, Sony's PlayStation 3 and handheld devices.

Some will be developed in-house while others will rely on partnerships, such as "National Geographic Panda" from Namco Bandai and "National Geographic: Africa" from Sony.

Chris Mate, previously an executive with Take-Two Interactive Software and Bethesda Softworks, was named gm of NGG.

NGG is expected to focus on building games that further its theme of spreading geographic knowledge.