First Broadband Net for Video Games Created by TBS
Turner Broadcasting is going online to do for video games what it did for classic movies.
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The Time Warner Company unveiled GameTap, a broadband entertainment network that combines games-on-demand and original programming into a subscription program that the company stated was the first of its kind. Turner's strength is branded networks, and they are in the process of creating an immersive environment for games much in the same way they were so successful with others like CNN, TCM, and the Cartoon Network. GameTap is GameTap is scheduled to go live in the fall with 300 games at any one time, according to Dennis Quinn, TBS' Executive Vice President of business development. This is said to be way bigger than just playing games, though that is the primary purpose. GameTap also will offer specially created original programming that will include coming attractions, interviews, back stories and more -- all cross-promoted with existing Turner activities. Quinn advised that they want to expand the gamer's playground, and their understanding of games.One example of a program under development has the working title of "Tapped In." It will present special features, highlights and coming attractions with a feel familiar to fans of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming. In fact, the current choice of host of the block's "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" is among those conducting interviews. Quinn said the games are licensed outright to provide the most flexibility in programming. "We're going to promote and create just like we do for TV," he said, adding that GameTap will offer themed programming, marathons, series spotlights and other content packages. The pricing has not been completely ironed out but is probably going to range at about $10-$20 per month for an unlimited access subscription. And the library of available game titles will be refreshed at a rate of about 10 games per week. They are starting with a catalog of about 1000 game titles from 17 different publishers. And Quinn said that they should be adding another 5 publishers and more than 100 additional games prior to their launch date. And cable companies have been very receptive to this new network because it has the ability to drive more broadband business to those providers. The goal for this service is ultimately interactive television. This is business opportunity that Turner is very adept at leveraging.GameTap will organize their content into categories such as the genre, original game platform, editor's picks, and even user favorites. The user will make a selection and review the "InfoCard" that will list the original release date, platform, publisher, description, and screen shot. It will also list any bonus material and may possibly include classic commercials and original Turner programming. The design is developed with ease of use in mind. It allows the user to become exposed to different games and in new ways. Now here's one drawback. You know how movies are not released on cable until they have played out in the theater, and have been released on video/DVD? That is the way this will work also. There will be no current movies on the system. They will collect these games into their library after a period of time adequate enough to allow the publisher to obtain as many New Release sales as possible before going to GameTap. But in this way, publishers hope that GameTap will increase their game's product cycle, allowing them to add to their bottom line and not detract from it. Additionally, the subscriptions will be limited to two computers, connected to the internet, and they must have about 5GB of free disk space available for the service to use. Currently GameTap works on PCs running Microsoft's Windows 2000 or XP with 256MB RAM and an average video card. GameSHOUT will bring you more on this technology as it develops.