GameTap Updated - Classic Gaming Multiplayer and More

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GameTap for PCGameTap for PCI keep reporting on these guys like some type of corporate shill, but I think it's hard to argue with the monthly value and the service's focus on classic gaming, now taking small steps towards mulitplayer goodness. Really, when my time permits, I simply must give this a try. I'd like to implement on my regular PC and my arcade machine, so hopefully there's a way without me having to choose one system over another (I'd be using only one at a time and there's no way I'd pay twice).

Anyway, here's the press release:

GameTap Adds Multiplayer Competition, Instant Messaging To The Mix

With its next iteration, the largest broadband entertainment network now offers multiplayer game functionality and enhanced community features

ATLANTA – July 19, 2006 – GameTap, the first-of-its-kind broadband entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), is bringing social networking and multiplayer action to its online gaming arena. Unveiled today, the next generation of GameTap includes highly anticipated community features such head-to-head game play and Instant Messaging (IM). Online multiplayer capabilities have been added to a dozen games in GameTap’s roster of 580 games, and new online multiplayer functionality and turn-based games will be added on a regular basis.

“GameTap is leading the industry in digital distribution with the most games and video on demand at an affordable price,” said Stuart Snyder, GameTap’s General Manager. “Beyond the largest games catalog and exclusive new content, we’re looking for our community to help drive what’s next.”

Challenge Games

In order to foster a robust multi-player gaming community, GameTap will introduce a dozen online simultaneous and turn-play games. With GameTap’s “Challenge Games,” players can put their skills to the test against others by challenging them to some of the greatest turn-based and head-to-head games. Among the highlights are turn-based hits like Burger Time, Galaga, Zaxxon, and Pac-Man. Initial head-to-head games include such favorites as King of the Monsters, 1941: Counter Attack and Bust-A-Move.

“The only thing more fun than playing video games, is talking trash while you’re playing,” said David Reid, vice president of marketing at GameTap. “Whether you’re cheering a teammate on or ribbing an opponent, gaming and chatting are a natural pair.”

Communicate, Compete On GameTap

GameTap users now have multiple ways to communicate with each other from within the GameTap application. A GameTap branded Instant Messaging feature has been integrated into the service that allows users to easily chat with other users within the GameTap network. In addition, GameTap now features a dozen new chat lobbies centered around each of the new online Challenge Games to allow users to freely chat and challenge each other in a group setting. As an added convenience, the AIM® service has also been seamlessly integrated into GameTap to allow existing and new AIM® users to simultaneously access the AIM® network with their AIM® screenname and chat with their AIM® buddies without having to leave GameTap.

To register for GameTap, visit www.gametap.com where you can sign up for the leading broadband gaming network for $9.95 per month and get your first two weeks free.

Comments

Bill Loguidice
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Great points, Matt. The

Great points, Matt. The other upside with GameTap that you hinted at is that all this stuff plays through ONE single interface. You don't need to load MAME or Atari800Win or NESticle or whatever might be appropriate for a particular game, it's all taken care of. To me, it's hard to argue with a service that offers unlimited play of everything from Genesis games like Sonic the Hedgehog to Ultima II on the PC and various classic arcade games, on top of modern stuff like Splinter Cell. I'm sure the original creators, developers and publishers get little to nothing in return (after all, the rights for a lot of this has changed hands multiple times, people have moved on, etc.) in a lot of the cases, but given the current reality of the world we live in, that's not going to happen anyway and really isn't our problem from a game playing standpoint.

To me, putting everything else aside, where else can you play from a growing library of games (500+), new and old, multi-platform, for an unlimited amount of time from a single interface for $9.99 a month. Let's throw in online multiplayer on select games not designed to support it and a new animation channel (yes, they added cartoons), and you can see that they're trying VERY hard to make this an ultimate stop for gamers. I love the idea, now I just have to get around to giving it a try for myself to see if there are any gotchas among all the nice bullet points.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Mark Vergeer
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my inquiry is forwared to the appropriate persons

My official inquiry is forwared to the appropriate persons at Gametap. An answer might come soon I hope.

-= Mark Vergeer - Armchair Arcade editor =-

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Matt Barton
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Article on Game Tap in San Francisco Chronicle

Check this out:
They're back: The return of the classic video games
. Looks like even the mainstream media is noticing the resurgence of classic gaming brought on by GameTap and Xbox Live Arcade. The author of this piece has a quotation from Nintendo that makes me wonder if the Wii isn't going to try to harness the power of all its classic NES and SNES lineup in a similar type of package.

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Bill Loguidice
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Nintendo definitely will

Nintendo definitely will through their virtual console on the Wii, it's just a final question of whether they will charge per game or a monthly or annual fee. I suspect it's going to be a per game charge, with access to the overall service being free.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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Bill Loguidice
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RealNetworks Casual Game Service

This article is interesting in that it talks about RealNetworks partnering with someone to offer their casual games in Germany: http://www.gamespress.com/link.asp?i=1231976405621&pk=63558208 .

It seems just being on the Internet does not make you a worldwide business. GameTap is no doubt in the same pickle with being exlusive to North America right now (or is it just US?).

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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Bill Loguidice
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Uru Resurrected on GameTap

Again, not to sound like a shill, but there must be some serious gamers running the show over at GameTap: http://au.gamespot.com/news/6159420.html

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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Mark Vergeer
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Still no word on enquiry.......

As of yet I still have no answer on my enquiry ( Fri, 07/21/2006 - 8:58pm) if Gametap is considering to offer any gaming services in Europe. Perhaps they have forgotten me?

-= Mark Vergeer - Armchair Arcade editor =-

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Bill Loguidice
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GameTap 1 Year Anniversary Specials - First International Foray

The one year for just under $60 seems like an awesome deal, particularly since they're adding music and television content!

GameTap Celebrates First Birthday By Heralding New Era In Digital Distribution

New, Innovative Content and Lifestyle Programming Set Stage for the Future of Online Entertainment

ATLANTA – October 17, 2006 – GameTap, the first-of-its-kind broadband entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), celebrates its first birthday today. With more than two-thirds of active Internet users in the U.S. now connected via high-speed DSL or cable systems [1], broadband is more prevalent and accepted in the American home than ever before. Boasting a 70 percent conversion rate, with seven out of ten who try the service converting to subscribers, GameTap is rapidly evolving its role as the broadband leader in the video game lifestyle space.

On its first anniversary, GameTap currently features:

* The largest collection of video games on-demand with more than 700 of the greatest titles ever, including Far Cry™, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six ® 3 Gold
* The worldwide exclusive debut of “Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock” TODAY only on GameTap
* Over 50 Challenge games including Street Fighter Alpha 3, Pac Man, Dig Dug, Bust-A-Move, Combat, and Pong
* Six more new episodes of Computer Lab
* Original GameTap TV shows such as Quick Hit, featuring Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and Jay Jay talking about their new Twisted Sister Christmas album, currently being world premiered on GameTap.com
* A growing library of celebrity interviews, “making-of” shorts, and game trailers
* Parental controls that enable parents to select games and content appropriate for each child in the family
* For the younger set, edutainment titles such as Putt Putt, Jump Start, Clue Finders, Mighty Math, Lego, and Math Blaster
* A limited-time birthday deal: for the price of just one console game ($59.40), consumers can subscribe to GameTap for an entire year

“The future of GameTap is continuing to offer more dynamic, innovative and exclusive content that drives people to the network and keeps them there longer,” says Stuart Snyder, GameTap’s senior vice president and general manager. “We have spent the last year putting our resources towards understanding what consusmers really want in gameplay. By offering more original content for everyone, from adventure to MMO games to family-friendly titles, we’re continuing to make a wide spectrum of entertainment easily available and affordable to gamers of all ages.”

Since its inception one year ago, GameTap has become the industry’s “virtual game shelf,” adding original and episodic games such as Telltale Games’ “Sam & Max: Culture Shock” based on Steve Purcell’s madcap crime fighting duo, and the upcoming “Myst Online: Uru Live,” Cyan World’s massively multiplayer online game that’s part of the top-selling “Myst” video game franchise.

GameTap Goes International

After a year of continued success domestically, GameTap begins its worldwide ascent today with the Canadian market. In addition to over 600 great games, GameTap Canada will offer the same new episodic and MMO games exclusive to GameTap U.S., as well as family-friendly titles and GameTap TV, the exclusive broadband video channel with original gaming content and entertainment, 100% on demand, all dedicated to the gaming lifestyle. GameTap subscribers in Canada will enjoy the same features that GameTap is so well-known for in the U.S.: ease of use, robust parental controls and ability to challenge friends online or team up with over 50 multiplayer and Challenge games.

The Console you Already Own

As console prices and individual game titles soar in price, the PC continues to gain momentum as an optimal option for gaming. Nielsen//NetRatings estimates that more than 95 million American Internet users had broadband access as of February 2006. Following years of double-digit growth, broadband now reaches a record 68 percent of active Internet users in the U.S. (Overall Internet penetration in the U.S. reached 74 percent at home in February 2006.) (1) Nearly 80% of U.S. households have at least one PC and the average home has two. By 2010, three out of four global online households will connect to the Internet via broadband.(2) With these statistics, GameTap is perfectly positioned to give consumers unrivaled value through “the console you already own.”

“PC penetration and broadband usage have skyrocketed over the past few years, and so have prices for consoles and individual game titles,” says David Reid, vice president of marketing for GameTap. “In this environment, for an investment of $9.95 or less per month, GameTap emerges as a tremendous value that provides endless hours of original programming and access to more than 700 games, including exclusive episodic content such as Sam & Max and ”Myst Online: Uru Live?”

Breaking the Entertainment Barriers

Commensurate with the gaming industry itself in 2006, GameTap also saw a dramatic rise in “community play” interest. GameTap responded by offering over 57 multiplayer-focused “Challenge” titles and 60 “Leaderboard” titles where players can post their high scores. 2007 will see even more offerings in this category, with more original MMO titles to come.

Continuing to prove itself as a destination with something for everyone, GameTap not only introduced a slew of new kid-friendly entertainment and educational games such as Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego, and Jump Start, but its new set of parental controls is the most robust in the industry. The new filtering feature enables parents to select games and content appropriate for each member in the family.

“We’ve made a commitment to ensuring that everyone gets what they want at GameTap,” said Snyder. “No matter how large our subscriber base, we’ll always be nimble enough to respond to what our community needs, whether it be more exclusive and original content, more adventure or MMO titles, or hotter TV programming. We’ll continue to break the entertainment barriers in 2007 and beyond.”

Get a Year’s Subscription for the Price of a Console Game in October

As part of its birthday celebration, GameTap is offering consumers in the U.S. and Canada a limited-time offer. From October 12-22, 2006, gamers can sign up for an entire year of GameTap, including original, “behind-the-scenes” content on GameTap TV, for the price of just one console game at $59.40. With this offer, subscribers will have access to 700 of the greatest titles ever; exclusive, original content like all of the upcoming Sam & Max episodes; original GameTap TV shows such as Tapped In, Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Quick Hit, and in November, the premiere of GameTap Tracks with Twisted Sister performing Heavy Metal Christmas exclusively for GameTap; celebrity interviews, “making-of” shorts, and game trailers; a slew of edutainment titles, and the most robust set of parental controls in the industry.

To register for GameTap, visit www.gametap.com and receive a free trial. For a low monthly price, subscribers with a broadband connected PC can enjoy unlimited access to more than 700 video games and 600 video shows with new titles and programs added every week.

About GameTap
GameTap is the leader in digital game distribution and broadband entertainment. Launched by Turner Broadcasting in 2005, it now delivers more than 700 authentic versions of the greatest console, computer and arcade games on demand, including original and exclusive episodic properties. In addition to games for every age and interest, GameTap offers more than 600 original entertainment programs, popular video streams and thriving virtual communities to broadband-connected PCs. Continually updated with new games, programs and features, GameTap is a downloadable application that supports navigation and game play using keyboard and mouse, as well as most USB peripherals. Go to www.gametap.com and expand your playground.

About Turner
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment products around the world and the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry.

CONTACT:

Clint Bagley
Access Communications for GameTap
415-844-6250
cbagley@accesspr.com

Misty Skedgell
TBS, Inc.
404-885-4396
misty.skedgell@turner.com

And on supporting independent developers

GameTap Forms New "GameTap Original" Label To Support Independent Publishers And Developers

New Imprint to Focus on Episodic and Independent Game Development

ATLANTA – October 17, 2006 – In honor of its first birthday, GameTap, the first-of-its-kind broadband entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), is bringing new opportunity to the gaming community with the formation of the “GameTap Original” label. Through this new initiative, GameTap will continue what it started with the introduction of “Sam & Max” and “Myst Online: Uru Live” and partner with more independent developers and publishers to bring innovative new video game titles to fans.

The goal of GameTap Original is to identify talented creators and enable them to take a new approach to games by providing a publishing infrastructure where sell-through isn’t the sole metric for success. Since GameTap gamers are already monthly subscribers, there is no additional cost to branching out and trying a new and exciting game.

“Gaming is a creative industry by nature, and GameTap is committed to supporting innovation on the PC platform,” said Ricardo Sanchez, GameTap’s vice president of content. “Video games are also becoming increasingly more expensive to develop, which is a hindrance to the pure creativity of the industry. GameTap Original will break down some of that barrier.”

With the digital distribution model rapidly gaining prominence in the video game industry, GameTap’s established broadband network is in a unique position to open the door for independent developers who are overshadowed in the high-stakes next-generation console environment. Supporting its new GameTap Original label, GameTap will be the premiere sponsor of the 9th Annual Independent Games Festival, held in conjunction with the 2007 Game Developers Conference to celebrate the innovation and creativity of independent game developers.

GameTap is already working with multiple developers and is opening up the submission process to designers with creative and innovative game ideas. “Sam & Max: Episode 1,” which launches today exclusively on GameTap, and the upcoming “Myst Online: Uru Live” are two examples of franchises that GameTap has co-published and helped bring back to life.

In addition to being the new home for vanguard independent games, the GameTap Original stamp will identify soon to be announced episodic games based on renowned TV and film franchises.

“Licenses are the perfect vehicles for episodic game development because players already have a relationship established and can immediately start enjoying the experience,” said Sanchez. “We’re working now with a number of license holders and developers on new episodic series that are really going to excite gamers of all types, from hardcore to the casual.”

GameTap Original is interested in games from all genres and for all demographics. For those with an interesting game already developed, GameTap Original is evaluating titles for distribution on the network. For submission guidelines and more information, email: gametaporiginal@turner.com.

GameTap gives subscribers unlimited access to more than 700 games at any time, along with over 600 original TV shows and videos that cater to fans of the video game lifestyle. To register for GameTap, visit www.gametap.com where you can sign up for $9.95 per month, or take advantage of the limited time birthday deal: an entire year of GameTap for less than the price of one console game ($59.40).

About GameTap

GameTap is the leader in digital game distribution and broadband entertainment. Launched by Turner Broadcasting in 2005, it now delivers more than 700 authentic versions of the greatest console, computer and arcade games on demand, including original and exclusive episodic properties. In addition to games for every age and interest, GameTap offers more than 600 original entertainment programs, popular video streams and thriving virtual communities to broadband-connected PCs. Continually updated with new games, programs and features, GameTap is a downloadable application that supports navigation and game play using keyboard and mouse, as well as most USB peripherals. Go to www.gametap.com and expand your playground.

About Turner
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment products around the world and the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry.

CONTACT:

Clint Bagley
Access Communications for GameTap
415-844-6250
cbagley@accesspr.com

Misty Skedgell
TBS, Inc.
404-885-4396
misty.skedgell@turner.com

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

n/a
Bill Loguidice
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GameTap - I'm finally going for it

With the 50% off the 1 year subscription and the confirmed ability to have the client software installed on more than one system, I'm going to finally try and put it on my arcade machine, main PC and work laptop PC tonight, and hopefully even my wife's laptop. There's just too much content for this not to be fully worth it.

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

n/a
Bill Loguidice
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Wow!!! Finally installed GameTap...

So I quickly signed up today (I guess yesterday based on the time) since it was the last chance to get the 50% off offer of $59.40 for the entire year. This is intended to go on my MAME Arcade cabinet, but I tried it on my main PC to make sure my account activated correctly.

Anyway, I installed it and besides the flashy menu looking soft on my LCD monitor (must not res up to your current settings), I had no issues whatsoever installing and starting up. I was greeted with the rather nifty menu, which, while perhaps a bit overdone, does allow easy navigation with a keyboard, mouse or joystick, the latter being helpful for an arcade cabinet. Nevertheless, it's an arcade-like experience going in and a nice touch, with preview images of every category and every game that goes on a rotational menu. You can see that by going to the GameTap Website, which has a tour thingy.

With all that said, I went straight to the games menu. To my shock, you have the choice of playing: Commodore 64, Windows (newish PC games), Sega SG 1000, Sega 32X, Neo Geo, Sega Master System, Dreamcast, DOS (Infocom, Broderbund, etc.), Game Gear, Genesis, Atari 2600, Intellivision, Arcade (MAME-style), "Originals" (Sam & Max!), "8-bit" (which is code for NES), etc.! As an additional option, you can play music, videos and animation. Again, all amazing stuff, but particularly useful for a home MAME arcade machine. It's very "jukebox" friendly. I also like the fact that like MAME, the controls are keyboard-based and therefore fully configurable. Don't like what the fire button is? Go to the controls and just press a different key.

Obviously not every game for all of those systems is available. Some systems have a few dozen games, some have one, but the fact that they're there at all is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. If this isn't the ultimate companion to Xbox Live Arcade and the Wii Virtual Console, I don't know what is.

I'll give a full report when I get a chance to really kick the tires and also install it on my MAME cabinet.

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

n/a

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