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Harry Potter computer game to launch
with TV and poster campaign

LONDON - As parents steel themselves for the November 16 debut of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone movie, EA Games has unveiled a computer game of the same name.

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The game will be in shops on the same day as the movie is released and is expected to sell more than 1m copies in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The launch of the movie and all its tie-ins is expected to be the largest grossing entertainment launch of all time.

Produced by US company EA Games, it will be available for PC, PlayStation, Game Boy Colour and Game Boy Advance for between £26.99 and £29.99. Like the movie, it is the first in a series of four, based on each of JK Rowling's best-selling books.

The £1.4m marketing drive will be headed by a two-week TV campaign on Sky One and children's cable channels as well as Channel 4 and Channel 5. The campaign will also use posters, showing a reflective mirror with a pair of glasses and wand that will allow the viewer to look like the young wizard. OWP Create handled the creative side, with media planning through Mediacom.

The target audience is seven- to 14-year-old Harry Potter fans, the majority of whom will already have a home PC and cable television. However, the game producers expect that many children and adults who have never played a computer game will buy it because of the strength of the Harry Potter phenomenon.

Al King, marketing manager for EA Games, said, "Any happy, bright, creative and imaginative child will love this game. It is the chance to be Harry Potter in Harry Potter's world. Children who buy this role-playing game are also likely to own high-quality games such as Tomb Raider, James Bond and Fifa."

The game will go on sale in all major electrical and entertainment retailers as well as supermarkets. The game itself includes scenes taken from the book and movie, as the Harry Potter character has to complete a variety of tasks such as solving puzzles, racing on broomsticks and fighting trolls. Voiced using soundalikes, the game took 18 months to create.

Earlier this year, soft drinks giant Coca-Cola was named as the controversial global sponsor of the Harry Potter film, in a deal reportedly worth $150m (£104.3m).

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