RealTime IT News

Soon the 'Real' Games Begin

Taking a giant step into the games industry, RealNetworks Inc. signed a deal to license the GameSpy.net multiplayer technology for use in RealArcade, a games service that the streaming media company plans to unveil to consumers later this year. The deal with technology and service provider GameSpy Industries, based in Irvine, CA, was announced today at the Game Developer's Conference in San Jose, CA. Financial arrangements between the companies were not disclosed. The agreement means that users of the GameSpy Arcade online games service, as well as users of the new RealArcade service and users of many popular retail games will be able to participate in one common directory and play against one another in a seamless fashion, the companies said. Developers will only need to integrate a single multiplayer technology in order to reach GameSpy Arcade and RealArcade users. Consumers will benefit from the scale of community, increasing their likelihood of finding the perfect multiplayer match, the companies said. Seattle-based RealNetworks said its RealArcade developer service -- available now -- will provide game creators with the tools and services they need to build, package, distribute and sell PC games online. The RealArcade consumer service is scheduled to be formally launched in the second quarter of this year. "Working together, GameSpy and RealNetworks are focused on establishing one of the largest multiplayer networks for digitally distributed games," said Andrew Wright, general manager of the Games Group at RealNetworks. RealNetworks first entered the games industry last year when it launched its Real.com Games Web site, which it says has generated five million downloads in just 11 months. GameSpy.net is an infrastructure of software, back-end servers, bandwidth, and network operations personnel that keep games with online features up and running. The company says its GameSpy.net infrastructure currently tracks over 20,000 game servers, hundreds of thousands of files and millions of gamers. More than 40 game developers and publishers have already announced support for RealArcade, including developers such as Valve Software, Monolith, Zombie Entertainment and Small Rockets, and top game publishers such as Sierra Online, Midas Interactive and ARUSH Entertainment.