PARIS, France, 4th May 2006 - GOA, the France Télécom-owned publisher of online games, will be launching GOA.COM in the 2nd half of 2006. A first for the European market, GOA.COM is an online gaming portal with a difference. The hub will host a range of high-quality multiplayer games with mainstream appeal - all free to play. But gamers will be encouraged to purchase optional content via micro-transactions to customise their onscreen alter egos - such as new weapons, attacks, costumes and skills ("ingame items").
The new site will be launched in the 2nd half of 2006 with three as-yet-to-be named games. Unlike many online services offering simple Java and Flash based games, GOA.COM will host only titles that are of equal quality to PC games sold at retail. At launch, the games will be supported by online rankings and a variety of ingame items. New game content will be released regularly, ensuring there is always a fresh supply of fun and exciting things to do for the players. Players will be able to purchase various ingame items on GOA.COM, via micro-transactions such as SMS, IVR, Direct Debit and other means of payment. Some ingame items will be released as limited editions, allowing players to be in-game show-offs.
"Everybody loves showing off, from the way we personalise our clothing and hairstyles to the cars we drive and houses we live in. There is a real growing trend towards personalising our technology too as seen in the rise in popularity of mobile phone ringtones, personalised wallpapers and even mobile phone jewellery", commented Ghislaine Le Rhun, Senior Vice President of GOA.
"GOA.COM allows players to personalise and show off to others in a virtual space, while at the same time enjoying competitive multiplayer gaming at its best."
"Korean business models are exploiting this human desire to great effect, offering online games and portals where customisation is king. It is from these innovative and proven Korean business models that GOA.COM takes its inspiration in offering free to play games bolstered by downloadable content purchased by micro-transactions."
Additional games of varying styles and genres, including sports and science fiction, will be added to GOA.COM's portfolio throughout the site's first year. The site will also evolve to include exciting new community features, such as cutting edge communication tools to allow gamers to chat with teammates and rivals.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
So-called "Online Gaming" is increasing in popularity the world over and Korea is recognized as the leading market in the sector. This is both in terms of the technology being used and the types of games available, as well as the diversity in age and gender of the online gaming community subscribing to new titles and portal services. In fact, female players - traditionally a minority in Western online titles - are in ample supply in Asia. According to recent research, about 20 per cent of players of the casual racing title "Kart Rider" are female and players have purchased some 20 million cars in the game*. Players are even able to record and post race replays and scores on a community website, along with screenshots of their lovingly customized vehicles. This goes some to demonstrating the potential for success for portal-based online gaming services in Europe.
* Source: Wired Magazine, 4th April 2006
GOA is the videogames department of France Télécom's "Content Division", which benefits from six years experience in the management of massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Forerunner of this activity in Europe, its teams conciliate expertise with passion for games and lean on France Télécom's technical platform to offer the best of online games to European players.