NEW YORK and ATLANTA - Verizon has expanded its involvement in the growing online video gaming arena by acquiring an equity position in Super Computer International Inc. (SCI), a leading provider of high-performance game-server hosting solutions, gameplay-related services and fully integrated gaming portals. Terms of the equity purchase were not disclosed.
A primary focus of the Verizon-SCI relationship will be the deployment of a next-generation, online game browsing and messaging platform called PlayLinc that will give gamers more control over their multiplayer gaming interactions, a richer set of social networking tools and a wider variety of gaming experiences. Among the features gamers can take advantage of on the PlayLinc platform will be support for a variety of gaming platforms, messaging tools including IM and VoIP, dynamic server launching, server browsing, team management, buddy tracking, player invitations, on-game controls and more.
"Verizon's relationship with SCI will help us speed the development and distribution of an advanced online gaming platform with capabilities that we believe no other game messenger currently delivers," said Mitch Dornich, group product manager for new product development at Verizon. "We're bringing together Verizon's strengths in broadband, the Internet, communications and mass marketing with SCI's state-of-the-art gaming technologies and expertise to create an entirely new experience for the online gaming community."
Jesper Jensen, CEO of SCI, said, "We're excited to be joining forces with Verizon. The platforms we are devising will reset the standards and expectations of online game players while simplifying and accelerating their ability to build highly customizable gaming communities and personalized social networks."
Verizon and SCI plan to conduct a limited trial of an all-new, Verizon-branded game browser-messenger powered by PlayLinc and then open the trial to the public this summer. PlayLinc will also be made commercially available to other gaming providers through SCI and Verizon.
Today, Verizon offers online gamers its Verizon Game Network (VGN) as part of its Verizon Games Services collection of on-demand, full-version computer and interactive games (http://games.verizon.net). Based on technology from SCI, the current VGN game messenger application allows users to easily join one another online to play interactive games by creating their own customized game servers, track stats for every game they play, and use a headset and microphone to chat with friends.
In addition to its online gaming services, Verizon has also interacted directly with the large and growing population of serious gamers through its sponsorship of key gaming groups and competitive events. In December 2005, Verizon became a sponsor of the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL), the world's first professional videogames league, and sponsored a North American competitive tournament for the popular "Quake 4" computer game. As part of its CPL sponsorship, the Verizon Game Network provides game servers for the CPL's online Counter-Strike 1.6 tournament, which boasts 40,000 serious players in year-round competition. The CPL has awarded more than $3 million in prizes to gamers since its inception in 1997.
The introduction of the Verizon Game Network in September 2005 and the company's involvement in the online gaming community have established Verizon's credentials as a player in the rapidly growing market.
"When Verizon launched VGN, gamers were wondering what a phone company was doing in the gaming space," said Angel Munoz, founder and president of the Cyberathlete Professional League. "Now they know. Verizon isn't just providing servers; it's also providing the essential tools for launching games, chatting in them, talking in them and much more. We've seen this resonate with the gamers who have used VGN, and we expect that the new applications to come from Verizon and SCI will have a huge impact in the gaming community at large."
Dornich said, "Verizon's local-to-global network assets and deep experience in high-performance data networking translate directly to our ability to deliver a uniquely rich online gaming experience. Regardless of whether you're a serious or casual gamer, stay tuned for more news from Verizon and SCI."
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other communication innovations to wireline and wireless customers. Verizon operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 53 million customers nationwide; one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks; and one of the nation's premier wireline networks, serving mass market and wholesale customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.
About Super Computer International, Inc.
Super Computer International, Inc (SCI) is a well-established provider of gaming client applications, on-game display technologies, backend infrastructure and support for high speed online multiplayer video gaming. SCI has contracts to provide gaming technologies to the majority of the top developers and publishers of multiplayer video games and is considered the next leader in all-in-one multi-platform end-user technology. For more information visit www.supercomputerinc.com