WorldGate to Launch Gaming Fare

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WorldGate Communications Inc. is catching the gaming bug. The interactive TV service and software supplier is debuting a multi-tier gaming strategy with the introduction of its Go!TV Games Network.

The strategy includes the gaming network — complete with newly created games — a 24-hour gaming channel to help promote the interactive fare, plus chat and two-way player functions to enliven the experience.

"To help advance the deployment of interactive TV services, WorldGate has created a variety of features and applications that are intended to add significant value to a cable operators' basic digital tier," WorldGate president Gerard Kunkel said in a statement.

The gaming service takes advantage of WorldGate's thin-client architecture and Channel HyperLinking technology currently used in digital set-tops. That technology will allow users to link specific video segments directly to games, contests, promotions and other real-time programming events.

The network features a variety of interactive card, casino, kids, strategy and trivia games. Users can compete against players in the same household or against WorldGate users around the world.

Simultaneous chat functions will allow users to communicate with each other during the game.

WorldGate also is launching the Go!TV Gameroom, a 24-hour video channel to promote the interactive gaming network. The channel will feature Game Jockeys offering gaming tips, upcoming game announcements, video vignettes and monthly leaderboard winners. WorldGate is also planning various tournaments associated with its games, and will feature video interviews with the winners on the promotional channel.

In addition to single player games like tic-tac-toe, solitaire and hangman, WorldGate has created games specific to its service. In one game called Destroyer, each player controls a fleet of battleships.

WorldGate is suggesting a retail price of $1.95 per month for all multi-player and multi-household games plus chat. A smaller number of basic tier games would be available for inclusion on current digital tiers.

In both cases, WorldGate will collect licensing and service fee revenues.

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