Infoseek today launches GO Games, a new center in the GO Network portal. A wide variety of individual and multiplayer games will come from partners Total Entertainment Network (TEN), San Francisco, Mplayer.com, Mountain View, Calif., and PrizePoint Entertainment, New York.
"We looked at our queries and figured out what users want," said Dana Glorie, games producer at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Infoseek.
TEN will provide GO with its classic games including backgammon, spades, hearts, chess and checkers, while Mplayer.com will bring multi-player PC action, adventure, simulations and sports contests. PrizePoint will offer what company officials call "reward entertainment": prizes and points for winning arcade, strategy, casino and chance games. Accrued points can be used to compete for prizes in auction-style events. Prizes on PrizePoint include cash and freebies from promotional partners.
"We shared a similar vision with GO," said PrizePoint co-founder and vice president of marketing and business
development Frank Blot. "The entertainment content on the Web needs to have a broad appeal." Blot said PrizePoint, which launched in March 1998, has developed the technology to create and mount games, to award, notify and fulfill prizes, and to deliver ads. The PrizePoint model can be extended to other sites. "Anyone who has a Web site can add reward entertainment to their site," he said. The business model includes various levels of participation by other Web publishers.
According to Seema Williams, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, the launch of a games channel should help build an audience for GO. "What's a must-have for Web sites is the over-used term 'sticky content,'" she said. "Games are a good little feature to keep consumers interested when they're out to blow 10 minutes and they don't want to buy a book or check their stock quotes."
Even more interesting may be the cash prizes; GO will give away $500 twice every day through the end of March.
Each game company will provide ad inventory, part of which will be sold by Infoseek. "There are normal ad banners, but also some interesting opportunities," Glorie said. "We'll also have the ability to do our own special promotions every month, working with some of our premier advertising partners."