Officials from PC developer Stardock Entertainment have announced the release of TotalGaming.net: Phase 2 – a relaunch of the company's electronic distribution network that allows users to purchase and download games digitally.
Also known for games such as The Political Machine
and Galactic Civilizations
, Stardock has already lined up agreements with companies such as Ubisoft, Take-Two, Strategy First and others to put their games on to TotalGaming.net. In addition, the company is working with numerous independent game developers to get a number of independent titles onto the service, with current titles including IGF winner Gish
and notable indie titles including Breakquest
and Jets 'N Guns
The first iteration of TotalGaming.net, which launched in 2004, promised a new game every month, plus unlimited access to the games in the TotalGaming catalog for a yearly subscription fee, has now been phased out in favor of this token-based purchase system, though subscribers to the first iteration have been given access to all existing games and tokens for future games.
"We have two distinct goals for TotalGaming.net," said Brian Clair, director of TotalGaming.net at Stardock. "First, we want to provide a proven electronic distribution channel for publishers who want to leverage their classic game assets. Second, we want to provide an outlet to independent game developers to get their games out there."
Users can either purchase games individually or, in a new feature, they can purchase a TotalGaming.net membership for $69.95, which provides them with tokens that can be used to buy the available titles at a discounted rate.
The TotalGaming.net business model does not rely on Digital Rights Management (DRM) but is closer to that used by Apple’s iTunes. The technology, called Secure Software Delivery (SSD), was developed and used for Stardock's corporate software products for several years. Once the game is downloaded, gamers can burn their titles to CD, allowing customers to keep the games indefinitely.
"As game developers, we are intimately familiar with software piracy," said Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock. "Over the years, we have concluded that the best way to combat piracy is to reward your customers with greater value. Our system makes it more convenient to play by the rules than to pirate the games."