Saw this story on BusinessWeek Online reporting that EA, long time friend of the movie-based game, is going steer their floating behemoth into the bluer waters of original IP. From the article: "EA's ambitious goal is to create more such innovative, internally developed games while lessening the company's dependence on professional sports and Hollywood movie franchises."
As I've stated in this blog many times (more often within the comments section), there are only a limited few linear media IPs that can reliably, consistently cross the chasm into the non-linear games market. These are IPs, like Spider-Man, Star Wars, Harry Potter, LOTR, and James Bond that have strong characters, a mythology providing a strong story backbone, and built-in hooks that translate into compelling gameplay (web slinging, Bond's gadgets, light sabers, etc.) I have contended for the past decade that there are less than a dozen linear IPs (out of 100's of 1000's of novels, movies, TV shows, etc.) worthy of being turned into games (not including sports licenses and kids licenses -- kids will always go with what they've seen before on TV and in movies).
Poor EA! Brokeback Mountain, Crash and Munich just aren't game material. And so they'll have to actually think of their own game ideas!
Publishers need to home grow their original games for three overwhelming reasons:
 It's more profitable in the long-term, because original hits add tremendous ongoing stability to a company (sequels).
 Home grown hits elevate the company's stock price, because they get full credit for the value of the IP. IPs can be worth 100's or millions of dollars. The GTA IP alone is probably worth $800 million or more. In 2002 the Max Payne IP sold for nearly $50 million. Bottom-line: IPs add a LOT of value to the bottom-line.
 Ownership of an IP allows the publisher to fully benefit from transmedia exploitation (as opposed to being the one being exploited). What this means is that the publisher benefits from movies, TV shows (Earth Worm Jim and Sonic, for example), novels, amusement park rides, novels, and anything that may stem from the IP. Again, adding bucks to the bottom-line.
In 3D Realm's history, even recently, we've been approached dozens of times to make games based on movies, including The Matrix and Men in Black. We've always turned down these offers in less than a heartbeat. And the reason is simple: We come out much better off by making our own IP, rather than working on someone else's. Publishers like EA, perhaps, are starting to learn this, too.
Something else interesting from the article, EA is adopting something of a When It's Done attitude: "Another change is that homegrown projects will be given more flexible deadlines. Since these projects won't have hard release dates like sports or movie titles, [EA's president of Worldwide Studios, Paul Lee] believes it makes more sense to develop them until the team feels its idea is fully realized. "In the past we have committed to ship dates with large development teams before we had a game design," says Lee. "That is changing....We're going to have the best games and release them when they are ready."
Next in the news, cheese discovered on the moon...