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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

GameTap Goes HBO

On Oct. 17, GameTap will launch two new exclusive games that illustrate the company's current, cable-inspired strategy. Its first episodic title—which bears a bluntly TV-like title—is Sam & Max: Season 1. The game features the adventures of a dog-and-bunny detective team, based on existing comic-book characters. Its first installment, Culture Shock, will debut exclusively on GameTap, and the second episode is scheduled for December (although there's no exact date confirmed). On the same day, GameTap unveils the relaunch of Uru Live, a once-popular online massively multiplayer online (MMO) game that's part of the Myst franchise.

Also on Oct. 17, the company is expected to officially announce its new GameTap Originals label, which will feature games created by GameTap in conjunction with independent game developers, designers, and publishers. Think of HBO Originals—from fellow Time Warner (TWX) affiliate Home Box Office—such as the critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning hits The Sopranos and Six Feet Under, shows that established HBO as, basically, a studio or production company, and you get the picture.

"Before, we concentrated on the greatest hits of video games—which wasn't too different from a lot of cable-TV stations," says Stuart Snyder, GameTap's general manager. Indeed, GameTap's early identity was built around its online library of classics such as PacMan (the title list of previously released games is now up to 700). That's not too different from HBO's first incarnation as a channel showing only previously released movies.
-- What's On GameTap? (BusinessWeek)

I'm still waiting for on-demand games to really "pop". Steam just annoys me and iTunes only loves the iPod it seems. I haven't tried GameTap yet - the PC is still sitting lonesome and unplugged. worked for me for a while, but then their library seemed to dry up somewhat.

Is there a day coming, though, when we'll play games in way similar to watching TV? We've got episodic content and digital delivery in the pipeline. Will there be a point where gamers will get together on a Tuesday night to play the next exciting release of a game's storyline?

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Anonymous said...

I'm about this (-> <-) close to signing up for GameTap. Three reasons: Sam & Max (which will only be "exclusive" until November 1), Uru Live (reborn!), and the fact that all of this leads into a half-off deal because they just opened up to Canadian subscribers.

Hmm.... access to over 600 games, for a year, for only $60. Not bad.

Josh said...

Uru Live might be a tempting offer indeed, this is true. Might even run on the Cheapbox.