Videotron To Deploy Zodiac's Multiplatform Games System

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Canadian cable operator Videotron is shooting to roll out a multiplatform, interactive games platform in the fourth quarter of 2011 based on Zodiac Interactive's interactive TV and converged digital media system.

The MSO, which has about 1.8 million cable TV customers, expects to launch casual games -- such as card games -- before the end of the year. The Zodiac system will provide integrated functionality across TV, mobile and PC platforms, so users can maintain the same session across all screens, according to the companies.

Zodiac's platform "not only provides us with the means to excel in today's hypercompetitive marketplace of tomorrow, but also the tools to extract maximum value from legacy systems without any large capital expenditures," Myrianne Collin, vice president of marketing for Videotron's consumer division, said in a statement.

Videotron signed the deal with Zodiac in February 2011. The cable operator's initial arrangement is a revenue-sharing model, although other models are possible, Zodiac Interactive CEO Brandon said.

"Certain content will lend itself to revenue share, other types of content will lend themselves to a transactional model, or it could be subscription fee," he said. "The games almost become superfluous, because the platform is content-independent."

According to research firm In-Stat, the casual gaming market across all platforms was estimated to be $7.3 billion in 2010 and is set to more than double by 2014.

Other customers of Hicksville, N.Y.-based Zodiac Interactive include Cablevision Systems, which is using the vendor's PowerUp framework software running on Cisco Systems' native set-top box environment to run several interactive applications and services.

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