January 10, 2007
Showtime's Upcoming Broadband Gaming Service

News broke late last week that Showtime, the network that has developed a reputation for interesting television shows in the past couple of years, are branching out even more, this time into the broadband gaming business. Showtime is a CBS property.

Plans were announced last Thursday for Showtime to launch On broadband Networks with Broadband Libraries, a gaming company. Plans are for the On Broadband Networks product to be branded separately from Showtime itself.

The gaming network is expected to launch later in January, joining C3 partner Turner Broadcasting's online subscription gaming channel GameTap.

According to Daisy Whitney with TelevisionWeek, "On Broadband is designed as a private label gaming network that cable operators can offer to high-speed Web customers. The gaming service will include several pricing options: free games, more than 500 games for purchase, and a subscription offering."

MarketingVOX reports, "Launching this spring with six full-feature games with unlimited play, On Broadband Networks will also feature 500 games marketed with a free-trial, rental and purchase options," pointing to the growing broadband gaming market as "a place for smaller game companies to go in the face of big-publisher dominance in the game industry."

Candice Lombardi with CNET writes, "At the end of each month, players will have the option to buy any of the featured games."

Tim Surette with GameSpot points out that "other content will include reviews and cheats, similar to GameTap."

The market should be able to hold multiple providers for broadband gaming options, so it will be interesting to see if Showtime is correct in thinking that its extant relationships will make distributing a product like this easy to pull off.

Nabeel Hyatt at brinking writes, "With the social aspects of online gaming, the video game industry is surpassing its legacy as "simply" a tool for fun and is beginning to get the reputation it deserves as a legitimate "third place." Big media loves that combination of entertainment and social connection that they found so intoxicating in social networks, so expect them to start upping the anti in games," concluding that, "the entrance of telcos and big media into online gaming is likely a boon for both game developers and publishers."