Verizon Communications has announced a new Games on Demand service which will enable subscribers to play popular PC games on their televisions from the comfort of their couches and easy chair, using Intel’s Viiv technology plus a wireless game controller and remote control. What’s more, gamers can use the free PlayLinc services to set up private servers, multiplayer games, and chat between up to 32 players.
“We’re creating a graphics-rich, big-screen game-playing experience for the entire family,” said Colson Hillier, director of new product development for Verizon. “The games that families now enjoy on their PCs will become larger than life, more fun to play and accessible in virtually every room of the house, through linkages between a family’s PC and their TV. This is an extension of Verizon’s commitment to provide customers with the content and service they want, whenever they want it, and however they want to receive it.”
The service requires a Viiv-enabled PC running Windows Media Center Edition 2005, broadband Internet from Verizon, and (of course!) a decent TV you can drive from your media center PC. With the help of a wireless game controller and Media Center remote, users can play a variety of PC games on their televisions from the comfort of their couches or easy chairs, rather than hunched over a computer in a cramped, drafty corner of the house. Subscribers access the Games On Demand service through the Media Center menu system using their remote control: users get no-installation click-and-play access to a number of games across a wide range of genres and content types, including games which appeal to children, teen, and adults. Users can schedule game downloading (some games begin playing even before the download is complete) and choose games based on rating, genre, and other criteria.
Via PlayLinc, users can launch their own game server (complete with server-based voice capabilities for up to 32 players) and chat using AIM and both in-game and on-game chat. Users can track when their friends are available for online play and manage teams, and enables users to host LAN-enabled games over the Internet via a virtual LAN.
Verizon’s Games on Demand will run $9.95 a month over and other service fees from Verizon.