The announcement was made jointly by Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and CEO of Showtime Networks and Peter von Schlossberg of Broadband Libraries, who is the venture's General Manager.
On Broadband Networks will operate a turnkey, fully integrated, private label broadband game service for cable modem and DSL high speed access providers. With homes with high speed broadband connections at an all time high of 50 million households and the game market generating revenues of $9,000,000,000 and growing, On Broadband is poised to help cable and telecom companies tap into this market segment as easily as flicking a switch.
The service will provide a robust collection of full feature games and interactive software, which consumers previously had to purchase at retail. It will include free games, a game store with over 500 games available for purchase, subscription offerings (which support both online and offline game play) and game related content including game reviews, cheat sheets and tips & tricks. Consumers will discover, preview, sample and purchase new and classic games in a unique 3-D environment far superior to what's available online today.
The service combines Showtime Networks' promotional, programming and marketing expertise with high-speed access providers and the game/interactive industry experience of Broadband Libraries. On Broadband Networks provides that "tipping point" moment of integration that will benefit everyone involved -- high-speed access providers, game publishers, and gamers.
"SHOWTIME has always prided itself in bringing creative, profitable opportunities and high-quality programming to our affiliates," said Blank regarding the joint venture. "On Broadband builds on that model, offering high-speed access providers with a unique opportunity to extend their brands into the fast growing and lucrative game space."
According to von Schlossberg, "We've spent the last 18 months developing this new delivery model and have kept gamers top-of-mind so that our service will allow broadband providers to give their subscribers the best possible game experience. This was built from the ground up exclusively for them."
Pascal Brochier, President, Global Retail, Vivendi Universal games, is an early advocate for On Broadband Networks. "The forecasted growth in the digital distribution of PC games over the next few years will only be achieved by initiatives like this that allow consumers a better merchandised games experience with sampling and simplified downloading."
There will be six free full-feature games worth $120 in retail value available each month that users can download with unlimited play. At the end of each month, they can purchase the games from the Game Store, with over 500 titles available to trial, rent, or own.
The service will offer players free access to popular game and interactive software from the following categories: Strategy/Simulation, Action/Adventure, Racing/Sports, Family, Lifestyle/Reference, Kids.
On Broadband's service will also offer a subscription component, providing a larger selection of games from each of the same categories and offering users a more targeted alternative to the "All You Can Eat" subscription packages available online today. This will include a special children's subscription section that will be walled off from the adult experience, and will be programmed by grade level to insure appropriateness of content and parental control.
The service is scheduled to launch the second quarter of 2007.