GameTap

Last updated

GameTap
Gametap logo.png
Gametap35.jpg
The GameTap 2007-2009 desktop
Developer(s) Metaboli (formerly Turner Broadcasting System)
Operating system Windows [1]
Type Digital distribution
License Proprietary
Websitegametap.com

GameTap was an online video game service established by Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). Dubbed by TBS as a "first of its kind broadband gaming network", the service provided users with classic arcade video games and game-related video content. The service was acquired by French online video game service Metaboli in 2008 as a wholly owned subsidiary aiming to create a global games service.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

Turner Broadcasting System American media conglomerate

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. is a former American television and media conglomerate, part of AT&T's WarnerMedia. Founded by Ted Turner, and based in Atlanta, Georgia, it merged with Time Warner on October 10, 1996. Among its main properties were its namesake TBS, TNT, CNN, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, and TruTV. It also licensed or had ownership interests in international versions of these properties. The headquarters of Turner's properties are located in both the CNN Center in Downtown Atlanta, and the Turner Broadcasting campus off Techwood Drive in Midtown Atlanta, which also houses Turner Studios.

Arcade game Coin-operated entertainment machine

An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are video games, pinball machines, electro-mechanical games, redemption games or merchandisers. While exact dates are debated, the golden age of arcade video games is usually defined as a period beginning sometime in the late 1970s and ending sometime in the mid-1980s. Excluding a brief resurgence in the early 1990s, the arcade industry subsequently declined in the Western hemisphere as competing home video game consoles such as the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox increased in their graphics and game-play capability and decreased in cost. The eastern hemisphere retains a strong arcade industry.

Contents

Features

GameTap was conceived primarily as an online subscription rental service, competing against mail-based services like GameFly. GameTap offered two subscription levels: a Premium subscription with access to the entire content library, and a Classic subscription with access to older console and arcade games running in emulation. GameTap also sold games via the online distribution method. [2] GameTap initially offered a limited selection of games for free play without a subscription, but this option has been discontinued.

Digital distribution is the delivery or distribution of digital media content such as audio, video, software and video games. The term is generally used to describe distribution over an online delivery medium, such as the Internet, thus bypassing physical distribution methods, such as paper, optical discs, and VHS videocassettes. The term online distribution is typically applied to freestanding products; downloadable add-ons for other products are more commonly known as downloadable content. With the advancement of network bandwidth capabilities, online distribution became prominent in the 21st century, with prominent platforms such as Amazon Video, and Netflix's streaming service starting in 2007.

GameFly is an American online video game rental subscription service that specializes in providing games for game consoles and handheld game consoles such as: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, GameCube, Xbox, Wii U, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, DS, 3DS, PSP, and PlayStation Vita.

Emulator system that emulates a real system such that the behavior closely resembles the behavior of the real system

In computing, an emulator is hardware or software that enables one computer system to behave like another computer system. An emulator typically enables the host system to run software or use peripheral devices designed for the guest system. Emulation refers to the ability of a computer program in an electronic device to emulate another program or device. Many printers, for example, are designed to emulate Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers because so much software is written for HP printers. If a non-HP printer emulates an HP printer, any software written for a real HP printer will also run in the non-HP printer emulation and produce equivalent printing. Since at least the 1990s, many video game enthusiasts have used emulators to play classic arcade games from the 1980s using the games' original 1980s machine code and data, which is interpreted by a current-era system.

Originally, GameTap was designed to offer not only video games, but a complete media hub (GameTap TV), taking advantage of the TBS catalog as well as offering original video content, including the animated series Revisioned: Tomb Raider and new episodes of Space Ghost Coast to Coast . GameTap TV has since been discontinued. [3]

TBS (U.S. TV channel) American television channel

TBS is an American subscription television network that is owned by WarnerMedia Entertainment unit of AT&T's WarnerMedia. It carries a variety of programming, with a focus on comedy, along with some sports events, including Major League Baseball and the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. As of September 2018, TBS was received by approximately 90.391 million households that subscribe to a pay television service throughout the United States.

<i>Revisioned: Tomb Raider</i> television series

Revisioned: Tomb Raider is a ten-part animated series based on the Tomb Raider series. It was distributed through the online video game service GameTap from July 10, 2007 to November 13, 2007. The series consists of various animation and comic book talent's renditions of Lara Croft, presented in the form of animated short films. The series was originally intended to conclude on August 23, 2007, but the date for the final episode was changed to November 13, 2007.

<i>Space Ghost Coast to Coast</i> American animated parody talk show

Space Ghost Coast to Coast is an American adult animated parody talk show, created by Mike Lazzo and hosted by the 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Space Ghost. Though the original 1960s series aired as a standard Hanna-Barbera Saturday-morning superhero cartoon, Space Ghost Coast to Coast was a reboot of the series intended for adults, reinterpreted as a surreal spoof talk show and produced using the original artwork. The first two seasons were presented as a serious talk show with subdued jokes, while the later seasons relied more on surrealism, non-sequitur, and parody.

Most multiplayer games can be played by two users on the same computer while many others not originally intended to be played outside of a LAN may be played over the internet by using a VPN client such as Hamachi. A limited number of games have been enhanced with an online leaderboard and challenge lobby, adding internet multiplayer to games that previously could only be played face to face. Every Monday GameTap holds a leaderboard tournament with a different game each week. [4]

Local area network computer network that connects devices over a small area

A local area network (LAN) is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area such as a residence, school, laboratory, university campus or office building. By contrast, a wide area network (WAN) not only covers a larger geographic distance, but also generally involves leased telecommunication circuits.

Virtual private network Allows a private network to go through a public network

A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running on a computing device, e.g. a laptop, desktop, smartphone, across a VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network. Encryption is a common though not an inherent part of a VPN connection.

LogMeIn Hamachi virtual private network (VPN) application

LogMeIn Hamachi is a virtual private network (VPN) application written by Alex Pankratov in 2004. It is capable of establishing direct links between computers that are behind Network address translation ("NAT") firewalls without requiring reconfiguration ; in other words, it establishes a connection over the Internet that emulates the connection that would exist if the computers were connected over a local area network ("LAN").

GameTap Originals

GameTap has funded the development of a number of titles, with the games subsequently premiering as GameTap exclusives. [5] Such games include Sam & Max Season One and Myst Online: Uru Live . [6]

<i>Sam & Max Save the World</i> video game

Sam & Max Save the World is a graphic adventure video game developed by Telltale Games. The game was originally released as Sam & Max: Season One before being renamed in early 2009. Save the World was developed in episodic fashion, comprising six episodes that were released for Microsoft Windows over the course of late 2006 and early 2007. The episodes were initially distributed online by GameTap and Telltale Games themselves, although the later retail releases of the game were published by The Adventure Company and JoWooD Productions in North America and Europe respectively. A Wii port of the game was published in late 2008, and an Xbox Live Arcade version was released in mid-2009.

<i>Myst Online: Uru Live</i> video game

Myst Online: Uru Live is an open source massively multiplayer online adventure game developed by Cyan Worlds. The game is the multiplayer component to the 2003 video game Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. Like Uru, Myst Online takes place in 2000s New Mexico, where an ancient civilization known as the D'ni once thrived. The D'ni had the ability to create portals to other worlds or Ages by writing descriptive books of the Age. Players uncover clues and solve puzzles together; plot developments were added via episodic content updates.

On February 7, 2007, GameTap announced their third original game, Galactic Command: Echo Squad , from independent developer 3000AD. The four-part episodic game is a space combat title formerly planned for launch in the Summer of 2007. However, it suffered from constant delays, and in early 2008, GameTap announced that it had canceled its deal with 3000AD. "It was a good game, it was very solid, but as we were going through, it ended up not being the right title for our audience," says Ricardo Sanchez. "It was a tough call. I think it’s one of the strongest games [Derek] ever made. We put a lot of effort into it...I honestly think it's one of Derek’s strongest games." [7]

On May 15, 2007, PC Gamer magazine premiered the first look at GameTap's newest original game, American McGee's Grimm , a 24 part episodic series by game designer American McGee.

History

GameTap launched on October 17, 2005 with over 300 games and had grown to over 1,000. The service was the idea of Turner employee Blake Lewin. [8] The initial list of game licensees included Activision, Atari, Intellivision Lives!, Midway, Namco, Sega, and Taito. Since its inception, more companies have licensed their software, including: Eidos Interactive, G-Mode, Ubisoft, Codemasters, Vivendi Games, Konami, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Take-Two Interactive, Interplay and SNK Playmore.

On 1 May, 2007, GameTap revised its business model to utilize three different service levels: Visitor, Green, and Gold. The Visitor and Green levels were free, had access to a limited selection of games, and were supported by advertising. Green members registered with the site and received access to a few more games. Gold members were essentially identical to paid subscribers as before.

On November 29, 2007, GameTap announced that as of December 11, over 70 games would be removed from their catalog, many of them Electronic Arts or Interplay titles, likely due to expiration of the two-year licensing agreement with those companies.[ citation needed ]

On January 10, 2008 a GameTap staff member announced the return of the Humongous Games license which restored popular games such as the likes of Putt Putt and Pajama Sam back to the library.[ citation needed ]

On August 6, 2008, Turner Broadcasting announced they were looking to sell GameTap. [9] On September 24, 2008, Time Warner sold the service to Paris-based Metaboli. [10] Turner continued to handle GameTap's operations during the transition period, which lasted until 2009. After the transition, the service became available to non-US/Canadian residents.

On March 31, 2009, GameTap Player was replaced by the plug-in after saying goodbyes to their players, GameTap's business model was again changed - into a GameTap Plug-In; the service was then handled through the website. The subscription levels were changed to Free Pack (selected handful of games for free), a new Classic Pack (reduced-price version of the full service which does not include Windows games), and Premium Pack (the Gold membership). However, due to technical issues, many features offered previously were disabled during the migration. Users with 64-bit versions of Windows could only play games that are marked as 64-bit compatible. GameTap was working on encrypting the rest of their Windows catalog with Yummy encryption to make them 64-bit compatible.

On October 14, 2010, the American office of Metaboli was shut down and all operations moved to Paris, thus cutting all ties with original Turner employees.

Reception

GameTap was criticized for its cancellation process, which required customers to contact live support personnel; such calls were noted by reviewers to be deliberately protracted by support staff in an effort to retain subscribers. [11]

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References

  1. "GameTap". Archived from the original on June 30, 2009. Retrieved June 12, 2008.
  2. GameTap Utilizes Macrovision for Digital Storefront
  3. "GameTap.com - Play Premium Games Online Now or Download Games to Own - PC Games, Arcade Games and Console Games". GameTap.com. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  4. "What multiplayer games can I play in GameTap?". Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.
  5. "GameTap Launches 'GameTap Original' Label".
  6. "Pre-E3: GameTap Signs Sam & Max, URU Live".
  7. Alexander, Leigh. "GameTap Cancels Galactic Command Publishing Deal".
  8. "A look at GameTap". Archived from the original on December 15, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2008.
  9. Leigh Alexander. "Gamasutra - Turner To Sell GameTap" . Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  10. "Gametap acquired by Metaboli, aims to create 'global gaming service'". Destructoid. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  11. "VC&G Review: GameTap", Vintage Computing and Gaming, http://www.vintagecomputing.com/index.php/archives/97, visited June 23, 2006