Feisty little Bratz dolls are doing wonders for THQ Inc.'s attempt to win the hearts of young girl gamers.
The Agoura Hills game developer is set to release three new video games based on the popular brand, after the company's "Bratz Rock Angelz" game sold 1.5 million units in 2005 and "Bratz Forever Diamondz" game sold 1.6 million units last year.
Both years, the NTD Group ranked the Bratz videogames as the top selling girl's videogames.
Among the three new games, "Bratz: The Movie" is set to be released around the time of the August release date of the film based on the MGA Entertainment brand and created by Avi Arad Production and Crystal Sky Pictures. The game is being developed for PlayStation2, GameBoy Advance and Wii video game console.
"Bratz: 4 Real" and "Bratz Super Babyz" are being designed for Nintendo DS and Windows PC.
"Girls are a growing segment of videogame players," said Bob Aniello, THQ's senior vice president of worldwide marketing. "Just as we're number one among boys, it made sense to extend more games to girls."
Among adults, women gamers dominate Web-based, casual games and most aren't hardcore, console gamers. Younger girls, however, don't discriminate. They apparently like the console games as much as the boys do, the company said.
"The business among women and girls is very, very strong," Aniello said. "And you're going to see us being even more aggressive to that demographic in the future."
A Los Angeles-based start-up has developed technology that automatically downloads online weather reports to a sprinkler system so that it shuts off when it rains and turns on when it's sunny.
The sprinklers can also be controlled from any computer through a USB device and wireless technology.
Cyber-Rain got its first round of funding from Momentum Venture Management LLC. The company declined to disclose the amount of funding.
"You see sprinklers running on the side of the road all the time when it's raining," said Momentum's partner Jonathan Niednagel, who serves as Cyber-Rain's chief executive. "Not only is the system automatically controlled through a PC that downloads the weather condition, every time your shrubs get watered, you actually get information back on how much water was saved."
That amounts to about 36 percent of water saved per household, he said, which translates to a 50 percent savings on the water bill.
The $295 unit is being sold on the company Web site. Niednagel said that the item is also retailed in specialty catalogs, but the company's main clients are homebuilders.
CSC Defense Deal
Computer Science Corp. has won a five-year blanket purchase agreement to provide technical and consulting services for Defense Finance and Accounting Service centers across the country.
Under the terms of the $250 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, the company will offer a range of consulting services, including supply project management, equipment maintenance, software development and maintenance, data warehouse development and management, systems integration and financial management and economic analysis.
The contract follows a similar agreement with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in 2002.
Rysa Pitner has been named the chief marketing officer of LA-based Shopzilla Inc., a comparison-shopping Web site.
Pitner joined the firm from Synapse Group, a subsidiary of Time Inc., where she was executive vice president and chief marketing officer. She has 15 years of experience in online and offline marketing, design and publishing.
Staff reporter Booyeon Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 230.
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