Verizon Opens Whole New Virtual World of Online Games

NEW YORK -Verizon is asking, "What's your game?" as it launches Verizon Game Services today. The online site at http://games.verizon.net is the place for on-demand, full-version computer and interactive games for all kinds of players. It's for anyone who loves to play games and has a broadband connection.

"Games and broadband are a natural combination," said Bob Ingalls, president of Verizon's Retail Markets Group. "Whether they're into 'Battlefield 2,' 'Diner Dash' or 'Crayola Creation Corner,' gamers are looking for the online experience that fits their needs. Verizon Game Services subscribers can play at whatever level they choose, whenever they choose, with complete confidence in the speed and reliability of their Verizon DSL or FiOS Internet Service connection."

According to Yankee Group, an industry research firm:

  • There are more than 124 million PC gamers in the United States, 58 percent of whom play various types of online games.

  • Among PC gamers, approximately 69 million play CD ROM-based PC games and of these, nearly 14 million play online.

  • Overall, males dominate CD ROM-based PC games, constituting 66 percent of the overall market and 81 percent of those who play online. On average, CD ROM- based PC gamers are 32 years old.

  • About 62 million PC gamers play casual Internet games, with women constituting 50 percent of this segment. On average, casual Internet gamers are 36 years old.

Verizon designed and customized packages for three types of game players: serious PC gamers who buy the latest games and want an online community experience with others like themselves; mainstream gamers, primarily adults, who play personal-computer games for recreation; and casual gamers, including parents, who buy card games, puzzles and educational games and want online safety and security for kids.

"Gamers are a large and diverse cross section of the U.S. population, with various platforms and genres appealing to different segments of the market. Verizon's offer is compelling in that it has components that appeal to both serious and casual gamers," said Michael Goodman of the Yankee Group.

Verizon's game services are powered through agreements, also announced today, with CNET Networks Inc., which provides games content and services through its popular Gamespot site, and Exent Technologies Inc. Verizon already offers free, instant game services through existing agreements with Real Arcade and Wild Tangent.

To promote the services, Verizon will have links to the game services on the portals it offers its new broadband customers. It also is launching a new campaign that will include advertising in mainstream and games-related media, and events such as tournaments and contests to attract serious gamers.

Verizon Game Services include:

Verizon Game Network (VGN): Powered by GameSpot, a leading source for trusted gaming content and a property of CNET Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: CNET), the service is for serious computer gamers looking for faster ping rates and reliable performance. Extending GameSpot's recently launched GameCenter service, VGN provides PC gamers with an "online game-console-like experience" and enables them to customize their game play. VGN utilizes high-performance servers provided by GameSpot and Super Computer International (SCI), yielding lower latency and higher connection reliability for broadband subscribers. VGN members log onto the site with games already loaded on their PCs. With just two clicks, players can create their own customized game servers, track stats for every game they play and use a headset and microphone to chat with friends in and out of the game. VGN also provides player matching, news updates, special member demos and other downloads. After a free two-week trial, the service is $7.95 per month.

Verizon Games-on-Demand: Unlimited --Powered by Exent, the service is for mainstream gamers who like a variety of games. It's similar to fixed-rate movie clubs that mail DVDs to subscribers - but without the mailing. Members have unlimited access to more than 200 streaming, full-version PC games each month for about a third of the cost of purchasing a game. Titles range from the award-winning "Disciples II" series to classic arcade games. New titles are added every week. It's easy to get started, and members do not need to install CDS or patch titles to play: Players simply click and play. After a free two-week trial, the service is $14.95 per month.

Verizon Games-on-Demand: Family Place -- Powered by Exent, the Family Place features popular casual and card games and more than 100 family-friendly titles on a safe and secure site. The catalog includes great children's titles based on brand names like "Clifford the Big Red Dog" and "Crayola," as well as popular casual games such as "Diner Dash" and "Hoyle Blackjack 2005." Members simply click and play, and no CDs are needed. New games are added weekly. After a free two-week trial, the service is $7.95 per month.

In addition to these subscription services, Verizon will continue to offer free, instantly playable Web games and free downloadable demos for games that can be purchased from Real Arcade and Wild Tangent at the Verizon game site.

Verizon, Verizon DSL and FiOS are trademarks of Verizon. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 214,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.