Virgin Games and GDI to launch 3D Online Gaming Platform
Downloading of video games to grow rapidly after launch of new platform that aims to replicate functionality of iTunes
Virgin Games and Game Domain International (GDI) today announce the completion of the world's first tests on a 3D PC games platform, paving the way for a lucrative new market in the games industry.
The two companies expect the new 3D 'virtual world' platform, A World of My Own (AWOMO) to expand a games market already valued at $25b*.
The platform offers many key advantages over existing technologies - including rapid download speeds enabling play within minutes instead of hours, far greater security, and improved ease of use for the customer.
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin said: "This is a really exciting development for us, as it gives us the opportunity to do for PC Games what iTunes has done for music. The GDI technology will revolutionise how the mass market will play games, and will give them more choice for less money."
The PC games industry is plagued by high distribution costs and piracy which has hampered the growth of this market. Several of the world's major games publishers have already registered their support. The Koch Media Group, Europe's largest PC games distributor, working with major brands such as EA, Ubisoft and Deep Silver, were one of the first to witness this new technology in action. At the recent demonstration, their reaction was so enthusiastic that negotiations are already well advanced in preparation for the AWOMO launch.
Koch Media are one of the pioneers of on line distribution and work with e-tailers such as Metaboli and Gamesload and have many years experience in on line delivery but are constantly looking for ways to improve their service.
Roger Bennett, former director of ELSPA, the games industry association, said: "After twenty one years in the computer and video games industry, I can honestly say I have recently seen in operation the most unique technology that can bring the most potential value to the industry."
Chris Gorman OBE, director of GDI, says, "The highly alluring combination of being able to download a game in minutes instead of the existing standard few hours and the promoted mega cash prize gaming tournaments will create a Mecca of opportunities for sponsors and promoters to target the vast gaming community."
GDI intend to launch their AWOMO platform later in 2007 with a large selection of games available in order to meet the huge international demand expected.
*Various collated estimates gleaned from DFC Intelligence, Screen Digest, ABI research, PwC, NPD and Chartrack
Sarah West, Ash Spiegelberg, Raphael Mazet (020 7404 5959) ASpiegelberg@BrunswickGroup.com
Notes to Editors
Virgin Games is a wholly owned trading division of Virgin.com Limited. Virgin Games operates in the following areas: Virgin Casino, Virgin Bingo, Virgin Poker and Virgin Skill. Each has a different selection of games on offer and offer a range of promotions, tournaments and jackpots. As well as cash, players get the chance to win a range of Virgin products and services, such as a holiday on Necker - Richard Branson's private island.
Game Domain International Ltd. (GDI) was founded in January 2006. Its founder, Wikalo S.A., is an investment group targeting new media technologies. Wikalo S. A. is the owner of a brand new technology to distribute electronic gaming. The owner has transferred all IPRs of this technology exclusively to GDI. The company is currently preparing for the launch of a revolutionary gaming platform and will start its operational business in the 3rd Quarter of 2007. The company's vision is to set up the largest existing content platform hosting the largest gaming community worldwide.
Chris Gorman has headed several successful ventures in both retail and technology businesses. Chris was a founder shareholder in UK mobile phone retailer DX Communications, and then went on to create the internet services company, Reality Group. He has also led the acquisition and sale of several retail businesses and has various other business interests such as getfitwellness.com, Quintessentially and purplelounge.com. Chris has received many business awards and in June 2005 Chris received an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to business. Chris is a regular speaker at business events; he has featured in several business related TV shows; he lectures in schools and universities and has been awarded an honorary professorship in business at Paisley University. He is Vice Chairman of the Entrepreneurial Exchange and is a Patron of YouthWorks and Governor of the Royal Scottish Academy for Music and Drama.
Roger Bennett ran ELSPA (The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) since it was founded in 1989 and he later retired at the end of July 2006. ELSPA was established to give a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.
Bennett has been one of the most visible figureheads within the British games industry. He oversaw the introduction in 1994 of the UK's first voluntary age rating system, the creation of the weekly sales charts compiled by Chart-Track, the commissioning of an annual industry report and was also involved in the development of a new constitution for the industry's European representative body in Europe, the ISFE.
Koch Media Group, Europe' s largest PC games distributor, was formed by Austrian entrepreneurs Franz Koch and Klemens Kundratitz in 1994 during the huge global growth of interactive software.
Based in Basingstoke, Koch media publishes and distributes software for a range of formats including PC, Game Cube, XBOX and PS2 as well as future platforms and consumer electronics devices. Koch Media differentiates itself by offering value-added services to its business partners including full software publishing, marketing and PR management through a highly experienced team. In 2006, Koch was appointed by Nintendo as its preferred distribution partner in Britain and Ireland.
Koch Media's own publishing operations include Deep Silver games publishing and Europress which develops and publishes games for a younger audience. Third party publishing partners include, Eidos Interactive, Codemasters, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Sony Online Entertainment.