Verizon Ignites an Online Gaming Revolution With Launch of PlayLinc

NEW YORK - New Age warriors in the online gaming arena now can play on PlayLincTM, a unique, new service from Verizon that provides a better, faster and more entertaining way to wage battle. PlayLinc, which is free, provides a wide variety of features, including free public servers, and the service allows players to host games on their own PCs and invite friends to private Internet gaming sessions.

Verizon also announced the launch of its new online community Web site, games.verizon.com, which showcases PlayLinc and includes forums, frequently asked questions, blogs, gaming news and other features for online gaming aficionados.

PlayLinc and the new Web site are key parts of Verizon's overall strategy to establish relationships with and encourage the growth of a large, loyal community of serious and casual gamers. These relationships with gamers will fuel business opportunities for Verizon, including digital distribution of games, in-game and on-site advertising, promotion of other Verizon services, and increased adoption of Verizon's FiOS and DSL broadband services.

Verizon's introduction of PlayLinc is the result of the company's new relationship with SuperComputer International (SCI), a leading provider of high-performance game-server hosting solutions, gameplay-related services and fully integrated gaming portals. Verizon acquired an equity position in SCI in May.

"PC gamers have long been held hostage, having to rent expensive servers to host games with their friends, or having to take their chances on public servers with ill-matched players of varying skills," said Colson Hillier, director of new product development for Verizon. "It's been frustrating."

Gamers also have traditionally had to use different services to enhance gameplay -- one for chat, one for voice, another for game browsing. Console gamers have been limited in their ability to play a wide variety of multiplayer games from different publishers online.

"We're changing the world for gamers," said Hillier. "PlayLinc sets players free to enjoy online gaming the way it should be -- fun, easy and affordable."

PlayLinc provides gamers with a free, easy-to-use, completely integrated interface that meets all their needs. It also gives console game players the ability to play all their LAN-enabled games online with other games.

Gaming industry analyst Michael Cai of Parks Associates said, "PlayLinc presents a new and very exciting experience for online gamers. It's yet another indication that Verizon understands how to successfully branch out from providing pipes and ping to becoming an entertainment powerhouse. Verizon has a significant opportunity through PlayLinc to not only gain revenue through avenues such as in-game advertising and digital distribution of games, but also attract high-value gaming customers to its fiber-based FiOS Internet and TV services."

PlayLinc provides gamers with a single, easy-to-use interface and all the tools they need for a superior playing experience. PlayLinc's industry-first suite of capabilities includes:

  • Ability for gamers to launch their own servers for free, giving them total control over whom they play with and eliminating expensive server rental fees.

  • Support for PC and console games, expanding the universe of games that players can enjoy together via their PCs. The service is compatible with about 1,600 PC and console games.

  • True server-based voice capabilities that allow up to 32 players to communicate with one another in real time. Other services rely on using peer-to-peer VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services.

  • Seamless integration of America Online's AIM® messaging service, providing gamers a connection to more than 80 million active users, along with industry-leading chat capabilities.

  • Game Area Network (GAN), which allows players to host any LAN-enabled multiplayer game on a virtual LAN -- whether on console, PC or handheld.

  • In-game and on-game chat and Internet browsing, letting players send and receive IMs and surf the net without having to leave their game screen.

  • Buddy tracking, team management and other tools that make team or clan play more organized and enjoyable.

Jason Baker of leading e-sports online news site, GotFrag, gives PlayLinc a rave review, writing, "This has to be the most useful product for gamers since the invention of the mouse." He added, "PlayLinc is the perfect solution for gamers wanting to control their game experience without paying a lot of money for game servers and voice servers. It is easy to use and built by guys who have set the standard for back-end server software in the gaming industry." For Baker's complete review, visit http://exe.gotfrag.com (click on the link for "PlayLinc Client").

The FiOS Connection: Less Lag, More 'Frag'

PlayLinc can be used with any broadband connection, but customers of Verizon's fiber-based FiOS Internet service will benefit from the power of a super-high-speed fiber connection directly into their homes.

"Our research shows that people who use broadband to play massively-multiplayer games have significantly higher expectations around the reliability and speed of their Internet service," said Cai. "Verizon's ability to offer the top reliability and speed of its fiber network, along with an innovative gaming service like PlayLinc, will be very attractive in drawing the high-value gamer audience to Verizon."

In addition to breakthrough download speeds ranging from 5 Mbps (megabits per second) to up to 50 Mbps in some areas, FiOS offers upload speeds ranging from 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps to consumer broadband users. These higher speeds maximize game players' reaction times by minimizing performance lag. In addition, PlayLinc servers are directly connected to the Verizon backbone network. This gives Verizon's FiOS Internet and DSL customers the most direct route over the Internet, with minimal hops and congestion.

"A high-speed connection is crucial," said online gaming champion Micah Ernst, who recently used PlayLinc over a 30 Mbps/5 Mbps FiOS connection to emerge from a field of more than 5,000 registrants to win the FiOS Grand Tournament completed July 29 in California.

"Competing on PlayLinc over a FiOS connection is like driving a Formula One race car instead of your mom's sedan." Ernst said. "The speed was incredible, and lag was virtually non-existent. It's an amazing experience."

Games for Casual Players

In addition to PlayLinc, Verizon offers a variety of gaming services to casual gamers and families. Verizon Games on Demand offers a choice of three packages:

  • Unlimited: Features unlimited click-and-play access to more than 450 full-version PC games for $14.95 a month.

  • Family Place: Provides 250 popular, family-friendly, casual games for $7.95 a month.

  • Quick Pac: Includes 40 fun "lunch break" games for $4.95 a month

These casual gaming services can be found at http://verizon.net/gamesondemand.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 55 million customers nationwide. Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks. Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 252,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.