Slot machine maker International Game Technology is getting first dibs through a new licensing deal on developing new gambling titles based on movies and television shows owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Eric Tom, IGT's executive vice president of North America sales and global services, tells The Associated Press its exclusivity deal with the distribution and production giant will help cut the time needed to create games based on movies, because Reno-based IGT will have early access to titles.
"You want to grab the opportunity as soon as possible," Tom said.
"These games take a long time to develop," Tom told the AP. "Knowing that this theme is something that might be significant in pop culture then allows us to start building games with a certain level of confidence."
That means slots for blockbuster hits like "The Dark Knight" or "The Hangover" _ two titles IGT has already developed casino games around _ could be out in as little as six months after theatrical release. Tom said a slot machine for "The Hangover" took about one year to develop after the movie was released. It was released to the public in conjunction with the theatrical premiere of the comedy's sequel.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The catalogue of titles owned by Culver City, Calif.-based Sony Pictures includes dozens of hits, including films like "Men In Black" and "Spider-Man," as well as television shows like "Community," "Married With Children" and "Breaking Bad."
IGT has already developed gambling titles based on "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune," both owned by Sony. Slot machines based on "Wheel of Fortune" are some of the most popular on casino floors today.
Tom said developing compelling slot machines based on Sony's titles will still require access to actors and creative developers who worked on the original works.
But he said the goal is to give gamblers another connection to pop culture.
"These TV shows and movies have a way of creating this emotional moment," Tom said. "(The slot games) allow somebody to relive that moment."
Oskar Garcia can be reached at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia