Turner Broadcasting System will charge a $14.95 per month subscription rate for the fall debut of its GameTap broadband entertainment network and give subscribers a two-week trial period for unlimited access.
The first network of its kind, GameTap allows subscribers to access a huge vault of games, ranging from the early arcades to console and PC titles, using a broadband-connected PC, as well as original Turner programming.
"Playing is believing," said Dennis Quinn, evp of business development, TBS Inc., referring to the free trial. "GameTap is such a new concept that we wanted to unlock the 'vault' as a kind of virtual open house. 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."
The rate is comparable to that of other video entertainment subscription offerings. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games predominantly charge about $15 per month. "MMORPGs have set the bar, and we feel it's a good one for the kind of value GameTap delivers," said Quinn. He added that one of the most successful Internet-driven DVD subscription service charges $17.99 monthly for its most popular DVD rental plan.
GameTap offers untapped value of stellar game titles whose launch lights have faded," Quinn said. "Movies get a second chance on TV, DVD, and pay-per-view. But until GameTap, even a high earning videogame title winds up on an auction site, in used game shops or garage sales. 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."
GameTap (www.gametap.com) is accessible from up to two household computers per subscriber. To access GameTap, players securely download and install Turner-developed client software from www.gametap.com that acts as a gateway to the GameTap vault. Because games reside securely on the PC, not across a network, they act just as if they were still on the console or at the arcade. GameTap supports navigation and game play using keyboard and mouse, as well as most USB peripherals.
Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (www.tnt.tv), a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment products around the world and the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry.