Turner Sets GameTap Price Point

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Turner Broadcasting System said Tuesday it would charge $14.95 per month for a subscription to GameTap, the video game service for broadband-connected PCs it plans to launch on Oct. 3.

For that monthly fee, subscribers will get access to a network of hundreds of video game titles, including those made for arcades, home console systems, and PCs. The games can be accessed from two household PCs after installing Turner’s proprietary software. Games are then downloaded securely over the user’s broadband connection.

Turner officials said the cost was competitive with other digital subscriptions for “massively multiplayer” online games or the Netflix video-rental Web site.

Turner will offer a two-week GameTap trial with unlimited access to the service.

The trial is a “virtual open house,” said Dennis Quinn, executive VP for business development, TBS Inc. “While two weeks is not nearly enough time to explore the full depths of GameTap, it's a great opportunity for an introductory self-tour."

Earlier this summer, Turner announced it had locked up licensing deals with game publishers Activision, Atari, Intellivision Lives, Midway, Namco, Sega and Taito. All told, the company has licensed about 1,000 games.A Turner spokesman said about 300 games will be available when the service launches, with five to 10 games added to the network each week.

GameTap will also include game-themed original programming. Subscribers will be able to watch streaming video of short segments, game trailers, celebrity features, game "survival guides," and advertisements.

GameTap is intended to extend the revenue window for video games, emulating the “second wind” DVDs and pay-per-view afford movies and TV shows, said Quinn. “Behind the $14.95 fee is the game industry's first post-retail channel that rewards the people who have made these great games possible."

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