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GameTap
Gametap logo.png
Gametap35.jpg
The GameTap 4.0 website
Developer(s) Turner Broadcasting System
Operating system Windows 2000, XP, Vista[1]
Type Content delivery
License Proprietary
Website gametap.com

GameTap is an American online video game service established by Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). Dubbed by TBS as a "broadband gaming network", the service provides users with classic arcade, video games and game related video content. Users can play 21 free games. Subscribers are provided access to hundreds of games for either 99 cents for the 1st month and $9.95 USD a month afterward, or $79.95 USD a year.

Contents

Service details

GameTap launched on 17 October 2005 with over 300 games and has now grown to over 1,000. The service was the idea of Turner employee Blake Lewin.[2] New games are added every Thursday.[3]

GameTap also features video programming related to video games, music, technology, and other animated shorts. As of version 3.5, the video inside the GameTap Player has been phased out and moved completely to the web.[4]

Like many subscription music services, subscribers have access to the entire library; there is no per-game fee. Games cannot be purchased, and are automatically deactivated when the user unsubscribes from the service. A single registered account provides the option for up to eight screen names, and access to games based on ESRB ratings can be limited on a per-screen name basis. However, although the GameTap software and games can be installed on any number of computers, only two screen names under a single registration can be logged in at a time. Therefore, a subscriber can make up to seven extra "sub-accounts" that friends or family can use on any computer with GameTap installed.[5] Users must have a broadband connection, and cannot play GameTap games while disconnected from the Internet.[6]

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.[7]

In the past, to cancel one's account, a customer had to call a GameTap representative or request cancellation through their live chat support service. Some customers (as of April 2006) had reported being pressured to stay subscribed.[8] The ability to cancel one's account online was added to the service in October 2007, although customers were still able to call customer service or use the online chat if they so chose.

Since the takeover of Gametap by Metaboli in 2009 most tech and customer service issues, including cancellations, must be handled by email only, and real-time support is simply not available. Customer may still cancel online.

On May 1, 2007, GameTap announced that the service would change its business model somewhat. There will now be three different service levels: Visitor, Green, and Gold. The Visitor and Green levels will be free while the Gold level will require a subscription fee (pricing is the same as before). A Visitor is a non-registered member of GameTap, and has access to 30 to 40 select games through the GameTap website. These games will have banner ads when played. A Green-level member must register with GameTap (though no credit card information is required) and is given access to a few more games. There will be a short ad video streamed before each game is played with a Green account. The highest tier (gold level) requires a monthly subscription($9.95) or an annual subscription ($79.95). Gold level members will still have ad-free access to all GameTap content in more or less the same way they did before the announcement.

On June 19, 2007, GameTap announced a new partnership with Macrovision to make games for purchase and download through GameTap's new digital storefront where some games can be bought and played offline. Tomb Raider: Anniversary (published by Eidos Interactive) was made available on GameTap June 5—the same day it hit retail shelves.[9]

When GameTap was first launched, a Macintosh version was planned, but now it is no longer the case and Macintosh compatibility is no longer being pursued.

Corporate support

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 November 29, 2007, GameTap announced that on December 11 of the same year, over 70 games would be removed from their catalog, many of them Electronic Arts or Interplay titles. If the Infocard of the game in question was pulled up, it offered this reason:

"Occasionally, GameTap will rotate titles out of our catalog based on the status of publisher agreements and feedback from our members."

One prevalent theory posted on the GameTap message boards is that the two-year agreement with these companies has expired, and Turner Broadcasting System is currently re-negotiating with them.

However, on January 10, 2008 a GameTap staff member announced the return of the Humongus Games license which restored popular games such as the likes of Putt Putt and Pajama Sam back to the library.

Transfer of ownership

On August 6, 2008, Turner Broadcasting announced that they were looking to sell GameTap.[10] On September 24, 2008, Time Warner sold the service to Paris-based Metaboli.[11] Turner will continue to handle GameTap's operations during the transition period, which will last until 2009. After the transition, the service will be available to non-US/Canadian residents.

On March 31, 2009, the GameTap format was changed. The GameTap Player was now changed into a GameTap Plug-In; the service is now handled on the GameTap 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 can only play games that are marked as 64-bit compatible. GameTap is currently working on encrypting the rest of their Windows catalog with Yummy encryption to make them 64-bit compatible.

Supported systems

Titles provided by the service are either specially wrapped executables that are unpackaged when a game is run, or run under an emulator software included with the GameTap software. These systems include:[12]

After downloading a Neo-Geo game or a Arcade game, click play and load. After loading is complete, the Neo-Geo game or Arcade game will enter Attract Mode.

Original games

While GameTap launched with older titles, the success of the service allowed for first-run titles to launch at GameTap. GameTap Originals sets out to "identify talented creators and enable them to take a new approach to games by providing a publishing infrastructure where sell-through isn't the sole metric for success." [14]

On May 9, 2006, a deal was announced to release Sam & Max Season One and Myst Online: Uru Live.[15] Sam & Max: Culture Shock was released in October 2006 and Uru Live was officially released February 2007. GameTap announced in May 2007 that Uru Live would evolve into an episodic game, featuring monthly content releases. On 4 February 2008, it was announced that Uru Live would be discontinued due to business reasons. However, Uru Live is re-launching outside of GameTap (Due to GameTap returning the rights to the creators of the game) as Myst Online: Restoration Experiment (MORE), run by its creators, Cyan Worlds Inc.[16]

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."[17]

On May 15, 2007, PC Gamer magazine premiered the first look at GameTap's newest original game, American McGee's Grimm Tales, a 24 part episodic series by game designer American McGee. The first episode was released on July 31, 2008. American McGee's Grimm Tales is the fourth episodic game from GameTap, making the online service the largest publisher of episodic games. GameTap's vice president of content Ricardo Sanchez has written and presented on the development of episodic games and been featured in articles by the Hollywood Reporter and Gamasutra on the subject.

In addition, GameTap Indies is a program where independent game developers can distribute content though the GameTap service.[18]

GameTap TV

As part of its service, GameTap previously featured TV shows, game trailers, interviews with bands and game designers, and more. As part of a redesign in mid-July 2008, the GameTap TV section of the site was removed[19]. As of November 20, 2008, GameTap TV content has been made available on YouTube[20].

Previous content on the service included:

  • Re\Visioned: Tomb Raider, an animated Tomb Raider series.
  • Ten Years of Tomb Raider: A GameTap Retrospective, a comprehensive look at the franchise.
  • GameTap News, Emmy-winning sneak peeks at upcoming games and highlights from gaming conferences.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast, new episodes exclusive to GameTap.
  • Computer Lab, a GameTap exclusive animated TV show.
  • Tapped In, GameTap TV's Emmy-winning documentary series, exploring landmark games and their creators.
  • Survival Guide, tips and tricks on how to excel in particular games.
  • GameTap Tracks, exclusive performances by various musical artists.
  • Music videos
  • The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the original animated series of Sam and Max.
  • A Day in the Extra Life, what would Pac-Man or Dig Dug say if they could talk?
  • E3 2006 Footage
  • Hyper Five, a top 5 count down show
  • GameTap 10, musicians count down their favorite 10 games, hosted by Dee Snider of Twisted Sister
  • Class of...?, a montage and description of what made the year in question special, including games, with the year being revealed at the end.
  • Challenged, a game show where contestants challenge each other to a GameTap game.
  • Mega Man (the Japanese version, dubbed in English)
  • GameTap Presents, part of the Artist of the Month
  • Play This Game, people who know games suggest hidden gems you may not have played
  • Confessions, short animated series of sub-fictional events related to games usually in a comical matter.
  • GameTap News Daily, the latest video game news
  • Plug and Play, a daily show that features the coolest and latest games, movies, and music
  • Events channel coverage of E3, Tokyo Game Show, Comicon, Lollapalooza, etc

Requirements

The following requirements are suggested for basic use of the GameTap client software. Individual games, Windows games released within the past few years in particular, may have higher requirements. These requirements are listed within the game client. In addition, the hard drive space requirement is a recommended minimum. Each game that the user wishes to play must be downloaded to the user's hard drive, and the space requirement grows with the number of games stored locally.

  • A broadband Internet connection
  • Windows 2000, XP 32-bit (Windows XP 64-bit supports only a small percentage of the games[21]), or Windows Vista 32-bit (crackly sound bug in Vista [22], and 64-bit versions of Vista support only a very small portion of the games )
  • Pentium 4 or Athlon 800 MHz or better processor
  • 256MB RAM
  • 3D video card with 32MB VRAM and DirectX 8.x or OpenGL 1.1
  • 5 GB Hard drive space
  • No drive occupying X: or Y:
  • Some more advanced games have other system requirements

See also

References

  1. ^ "GameTap". http://support.gametap.com/selfservice/template.do?id=1483. Retrieved 2008-06-12.  
  2. ^ "A look at GameTap". http://www.realmofgaming.com/articles/gametap.html. Retrieved 2008-07-12.  
  3. ^ "How frequently are new games added?". http://kb.gametap.cust-serv.com/gametapkb/gametapKB/CONSUMER/esupport.asp?id=35e7aab4-d1cc-4b6a-94af-93a0baefea61&resource=&number=14&isExternal=0&nShowFacts=&nShowCause=&nShowChange=&nShowAddInfo=&activepage=statement.asp&bForceMatch=&strCurrentSymptom=&searchtype=normal&searchclass=&bnewsession=false&selecttype=match. Retrieved 2006-08-05.  
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "How can I manage subaccounts and access personal and family filters?". http://kb.gametap.cust-serv.com/gametapkb/gametapKB/CONSUMER/esupport.asp?id=44e87f6f-3ccc-4795-9acd-a9f4d543d311&resource=&number=2&isExternal=0&nShowFacts=&nShowCause=&nShowChange=&nShowAddInfo=&activepage=statement.asp&bForceMatch=&strCurrentSymptom=&searchtype=normal&searchclass=&bnewsession=false&selecttype=match. Retrieved 2007-06-27.  
  6. ^ "Can I play GameTap on my laptop while traveling?". http://kb.gametap.cust-serv.com/gametapkb/gametapKB/CONSUMER/esupport.asp?id=35612b97-4587-4f4c-9b6f-53bb8edad363&resource=&number=18&isExternal=0&nShowFacts=&nShowCause=&nShowChange=&nShowAddInfo=&activepage=statement.asp&bForceMatch=&strCurrentSymptom=&searchtype=normal&searchclass=&bnewsession=false&selecttype=match. Retrieved 2006-08-05.  
  7. ^ "What multiplayer games can I play in GameTap?". http://kb.gametap.cust-serv.com/gametapkb/gametapKB/CONSUMER/esupport.asp?hotid=7fdca798-b6a8-4680-97ba-1a955562ed74&number=6&nShowFacts=0&nShowCause=0&nShowChange=0&nShowAddInfo=0&activepage=statement.asp&bForceMatch=&strCurrentSymptom=&searchtype=normal&searchclass=&bnewsession=&selecttype=match. Retrieved 2006-08-05.  
  8. ^ "VC&G Review: GameTap", Vintage Computing and Gaming, http://www.vintagecomputing.com/index.php/archives/97, visited June 23, 2006
  9. ^ "GameTap Utilizes Macrovision for Digital Storefront". http://media-newswire.com/release_1052710.html. Retrieved 2007-07-19.  
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ "Game Titles". http://www.gametap.com/home/game_titles/browseTitles.jsp. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  
  13. ^ "GameTap Reveals Sega Saturn License, Plans". 2007-04-06. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=13420. Retrieved 2007-04-06.  
  14. ^ "GameTap Launches 'GameTap Original' Label". 2006-05-09. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=11294. Retrieved 2007-04-04.  
  15. ^ "Pre-E3: GameTap Signs Sam & Max, URU Live". 2006-05-09. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=9231. Retrieved 2007-04-04.  
  16. ^ Sanchez, Ricardo; Warzecha (2008-02-04). "Myst Online: Uru Live Season 2 Status". http://www.mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14595. Retrieved 2008-02-04.  
  17. ^ Alexander, Leigh (2008-02-14). "GameTap Cancels Galactic Command Publishing Deal". http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=17391. Retrieved 2008-04-11.  
  18. ^ "GameTap Indies Distribution Program Provides New Home for the Best Independent Games". 2007-02-27. http://www.gametap.com/home/jsps/pressRelease/2007/20070227.jsp. Retrieved 2007-04-04.  
  19. ^ http://www.gametap.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=21371
  20. ^ http://www.gametap.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=26663
  21. ^ "Gametap Windows 64-bit Compatibility Issues". http://support.gametap.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=5460&task=knowledge&questionID=1327.  
  22. ^ "GameTap Support: Known issues with Vista". 2007-06-08. http://kb.gametap.cust-serv.com/gametapkb/gametapKB/CONSUMER/solutionarea.asp?id=Turner2474. Retrieved 2007-06-08.  

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GameTap
The console image for GameTap.
Manufacturer Turner Broadcasting
Active 2005—present
Total Games unknown (154 present)
← (none) (none) →

GameTap is a subscription-based video game service by Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) available for Windows, Mac OS X (Intel only), and web browsers; the Mac version does not have access to the Windows games, and the web-based version currently only supports a small number of arcade games. Dubbed by TBS as a "broadband gaming network", the service provides subscribers with the ability to play hundreds of games and view game-related video content for a flat monthly fee of US$9.95.

Contents

Service details

GameTap Welcome Screen

GameTap launched with over 300 games and this number has since grown to over 1000. New games are added weekly.

GameTap also features video programming related to video games, including first-run episodes of Space Ghost Coast to Coast with historic figures from video gaming as guests.

Subscribers have access to the entire library; there is no per-game fee. Games cannot be purchased, and are automatically deactivated when the user unsubscribes from the service. Games can be installed on any number of computers, but can only be played simultaneously on two computers per user. Users must have a broadband connection, and cannot play GameTap games while disconnected from the Internet.

Most multiplayer games can be played by two users on the same computer. A limited number of games support online multiplayer.

Corporate support

The initial list of game licensees included Activision, Atari, Intellivision Lives, Midway Games, Namco, Sega, and Taito Corporation. Since its inception, more companies have licensed their software, including: Eidos Interactive, G-Mode, Ubisoft, CodeMasters, Vivendi Universal, Konami, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Take-Two Interactive, Interplay and SNK Playmore.

AOL Instant Messenger is integrated into the GameTap software, allowing users to chat and find multiplayer opponents.

Supported consoles

Besides Windows and MS-DOS titles, and emulations of original arcade machines, GameTap also emulates classic home computers and consoles including:

Original games

While GameTap in its original conception contained only older licensed games and ports from legacy consoles, plans for games released primarily on the service have been mentioned. One of the most well-known of these as of November 11, 2006 is the previously-canceled Uru Live service, scheduled to open for a public beta later in November.

Requirements

  • US or Canadian residence
  • A broadband Internet connection
  • Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or Mac OS X
  • Pentium 4 or Athlon 800MHz or better processor
  • 3D video card with 32MiB VRAM and DirectX 8.x or OpenGL 1.1

External links

Pages in category "GameTap"

The following 154 pages are in this category, out of 154 total.

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A

B

C

D

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F

G

G cont.

H

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

  • Quest for Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero
  • Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
  • Quest for Glory III: Wages of War

R

S

S cont.

T

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