Turner Broadcasting, the company behind TBS, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, and CNN, has announced a move into video games with GameTap, a games-on-demand distribution system to be launched in fall 2005.
The GameTap network would provide some sort of multi-system emulator as a platform to play classic games that the user downloads from the service. The software platform will support the standard PC keyboard and mouse, as well as most USB peripherals such as joysticks or game pads. Games will be stored entirely on the host system, but will only operate so long as the user's subscription is still active. Up to two computers per subscription can access the games, but no pricing structure or subscription fees have yet been announced.
The service will launch with 300 games out of close to 1,000 already-licensed titles from 17 publishers, and introduce new games each week. In addition to the games themselves, GameTap will feature "original programming" to provide information and introductions on each game.
Consumer site GameSpot indicated further specifics, suggesting that Sega will provide all of its Sonic the Hedgehog
games, as well as other titles from the Genesis and Saturn consoles. Retro arcade-emulated titles such as Pac-Man
are also confirmed, as well as newer titles including Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
"With GameTap, Turner fills a need in the industry for a viable post-retail sales channel for games," said Dennis Quinn, executive vice president of business development. "We're taking publishers' time-honored content and re-packaging it for new and existing audiences."