August 22, 2005

Games on Demand Move By Microsoft

Microsoft finally decides it's time to jump onboard the net online playing of games. Why they couldn't respond/engage this market sooner is a good question since they are now playing catchup game ironically.

Renting entertainment could be the wave of the future, and Microsoft isn't about to miss it.

The company that brought us "Janus," the digital rights management (DRM) scheme that allows subscription music services like Napster On The Go to exist, has announced a deal with Exent, of Bethesda, Md., a provider of "games on demand" technology.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will allow six of its most popular personal computer games to be delivered to online gamers through Exent's on-demand technology, which is used by broadband providers such as Comcast, Yahoo, Bell Canada, Turner Broadcasting and RCN.

Licensed to the on-demand service -- which costs from US$4.95 to $14.95 a month for access to anywhere from 50 to 300 titles -- are Microsoft's "Age of Empire," "Age of Mythology," "Dungeon Siege," "Mechwarrior," "Rise of Nations" and "Zoo Tycoon" product lines.

Committed to Expansion:

"We are definitely committed to helping expand the PC games market and the PC games industry so we've licensed some of our IP [intellectual property] on the games for Windows platform to Exent to put on their service," Microsoft Game Studios Global Group PR Manager Genevieve Waldman told the E-Commerce Times.

Jarad Carleton, an IT Industry Analyst with Frost & Sullivan in Palo Alto, Calif., praised the Microsoft move.

"The concept is a good one because one of the well-known aspects of computer gaming in general is that the majority of the revenues from a game title will come within the first quarter it is released," he told the E-Commerce Times via e-mail. "It appears that Microsoft is making a well thought-out business decision that should open the door to increased computer gaming revenues for the company."

Posted by keefner at August 22, 2005 02:28 PM