Microsoft has announced that it plans to support the digital download service soon to be launched by On Broadband Networks, a recently announced joint venture between CBS-owned cable television network Showtime and edutainment publisher Broadband Libraries (Curious George Learns Phonics). Announced in January, On Broadband will be a private label game download service aimed at cable TV companies and DSL providers.
At an announcement made during the 2007 National Association of Broadcasters conference, Microsoft pledged support for the service, confirming that it will provide software solutions and consulting services for On Broadband Networks in order for the new company to “rapidly develop and deliver a powerful broadband games platform for high-speed access operators and their customers.”
In order to achieve this goal, Microsoft's consulting services have been tasked with building the technology's initial infrastructure, as well as providing software quality assurance and software development for the project. Among the Microsoft software solutions included as part of the game service platform and customer contact center are Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Microsoft Live Communications Server, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Windows Live Service Agents.
On Broadband Networks' upcoming service is described as offering a client-based application that, when downloaded to a PC, will allow a user to access all 'wide collection of full-feature games.' Company officials note plans to offer new game releases on the same day as their retail counterparts, as well as niche titles or those that have enjoyed only limited retail space. Some offerings will be free and some available for purchase, while a subscription option will also be available.
In addition, On Broadband officials have noted that other game related content, such as reviews, cheats, and tricks, will also be made available. The venture is expected to see revenue from fees from broadband companies, subscriptions, the sale of games, and advertising.
“Microsoft has been instrumental in helping us execute on the vision we had for transforming the way games are distributed,” said Peter von Schlossberg, executive vice president and general manager, On Broadband Networks. “We’ve been able to design and build the service in a fraction of the time and cost of other similar ventures, largely because of Microsoft’s commitment to driving this effort forward.”