Saturday, March 22, 2008

Online Games by the Hundreds, With Tie-Ins

Viacom, the parent company of Nickelodeon and MTV,
may be moving the most aggressively. On Tuesday, Nickelodeon is
expected to announce the first of 600 original and exclusive games for
its network of Web sites, as part of a $100 million investment in game

The term “casual,” used to contrast with the action-packed console games popularized by Sony and Microsoft,
belies the fact that users devote hours to the games. Studies show that
one-third of Internet users play online games at least once a week.
Millions of children and teenagers play games on sites like Addicting
Games, Miniclip Games and, and social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are also becoming popular platforms for gaming.

With a series of customized sites for different age groups
(preschoolers, tweens, teenage boys, moms), Nickelodeon calls itself
the “biggest gaming network in the country.” Movie studios, video game
publishers, and toy makers are among the top marketers on the sites. In
the online games market, its stiffest competition comes from Yahoo Games, which had 15.5 million unique visitors in February according to the measurement firm comScore.

more than 12 million visitors each, Electronic Arts and are
also leaders in the arena. (By comparison, Microsoft’s online game
network, Xbox Live, has about 10 million members.)

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