Connected TV gaming forum launched
Thursday, January 7 2010, 13:39 GMT
By Andrew Laughlin,
Digital industry leaders have come together to launch a new connected TV gaming forum to create an open standard for the emerging entertainment format.
Interactive firms Accedo, Betfair TV, PlayJam, RallyPoint and Two Way are behind the initiative, which aims to foster a "common approach" to gaming requirements for connected TV devices, including functionality, features and technical standards.
The forum members will now seek to build further partnerships with other gaming companies, television manufacturers and broadcasters.
Games are becoming a major driver for digital entertainment usage, particularly on internet and mobile phone platforms. According to data compiled by Casual Connect Kiev, casual games on social media websites generate over $500m (£314m) every year in micro-transactional payments.
Digital TV consumption remains a developing market, but the forum partners believe that games can act as a primary motivator for users to connect their TVs to the internet.
Launched in 2000 as an interactive service on the Sky platform, PlayJam's library of 550 casual games has generated in excess of eight billion plays over the past five years on a variety of platforms around the world.
Jasper Smith, chief executive of the UK-based firm, said: "Following the success of PlayJam games via digital TV platforms across Europe, Asia and the US, we believe that the next-generation of connected TVs presents an even greater commercial opportunity.
"However, it is essential for manufacturers and other developers to gain a more detailed understanding of the economics and technology in order to create an optimal environment that maximises both consumers' experience and manufacturers' profits."
Betfair TV chief executive Simon Miller claimed that games and gaming applications will become "key revenue streams" for both manufacturers and operators over the next few years.
He added: "We expect the forum will make a strong case for platform standardisation so that new products can be brought to market quickly and distributed easily."
James Turner, chief executive of Two Way Media, which has created games for Sky, the BBC and Virgin Media, said: "Two Way has been making games for TV for more than ten years so we know that the combination of TV and gaming is a compelling consumer proposition.
"We want to work with others in the industry to ensure that connected TV is an excellent gaming platform, both to play and to develop for, which will ultimately guarantee its commercial success."
Accedo Broadband chief executive Michael Lantz claimed that consumer demand for connected TV gaming is proven, along with a "willingness to pay" for the service.
"At Accedo we remain committed to the vision of connected TV, and will through the forum jointly drive gaming and application requirements and standards for any online TV solution," he said.
However, Rallypoint's Jeff Allen warned that all stakeholders must work together on developing common user interfaces so that consumers do not become "disenchanted with this huge promise".