Television

VOOM HD Networks unveils high-definition gaming channel

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MUMBAI: A subsidiary of Rainbow Media Holdings LLC, VOOM HD Networks announced the launch of Gameplay HD, the first high-definition channel solely dedicated to the world of video gaming.

VOOM HD Networks is the provider of the largest suite of high-definition channels nationwide in the U.S. and are available nationally on Echostar's Dish Network. The channel will offer televised tournaments and programming for gamers across the nation.

The channel also announced its first deal with CNET Networks'
Gamespot, one of the leading sources for gaming information, to produce two new series for the channel: GameSpotting, a half-hour series of news, reviews and previews, and CinemAddicts, an hourly series featuring video games in a cohesive cinematic story.

VOOM HD Networks general manager Greg Moyer said, "VOOM provides a platform for viewers who are looking to maximize the power of HD, and in the gaming category Gameplay HD is the leader in this next generation of channels. The channel takes advantage of the growing demand for global entertainment and video gaming and now, with new advancements, the manufacturing of games in high definition. Working with CNET affords us the ability to collaborate with an authoritative voice as we delve into this gaming revolution."

"With HD playing a leading role in next generation game content, we're excited to be working with a partner who shares our belief in developing authentic brand experiences around points of passion to bring the GameSpot name and programming to this platform in a way that celebrates games and gamers in true high-def format," for "This also underscores how far the production values of broadband video have come and how well Internet-native content can translate to the most demanding of broadcast mediums," said CNET's Games & Entertainment division's vice president of strategy and development Keith Bencher.

Mark DeAngelis serves as vice president of programming for Gameplay HD. Earlier, DeAngelis was VP of Creative Services for Rainbow Media, and an independent producer for 15 years, where he collaborated on projects for Madonna and The Rolling Stones, Times, Rolex, and Hearst Entertainment.

"Gameplay HD offers the most comprehensive content dedicated to the video game industry, and delivers it in hi-definition and 5.1 surround sound. Gameplay HD also offers the most worldwide tournament coverage, bringing together gamers from across the globe. We look forward to working with Gamespot to create great originals for the channel that will continue to add to our already growing library of visually stunning HD programming, states DeAngelis.

As gaming becomes more mainstream, it has slowly invaded movies, television, and other forms of mass media. The channel features three tiers of entertainment including news and information from the industry, original series & specials, and tournaments and competitions from around the world. Within each tier of entertainment Gameplay HD will feature games from publishers such as Ubisoft, NCsoft, SEGA and Blizzard Entertainment.

The programming includes:

Original Series & Specials:

The original programming block includes the co-created CinemAddicts with GameSpot, where viewers are presented a cinematic video game experience through some of the best next generation games out there. It brings the stories inside the game to life, in an entertaining way, by bridging actual gameplay with cinematics to deliver a cohesive storyline. Among the games featured are Condemned: Criminal Origins and Prince of Persia:The Two Thrones.

Advanced Training turns the average gamer into an amazing gamer. This innovative series brings the top pro gamers and developers to assist in making you a pro by giving game exclusives, key strategic insights into how to play the game and hidden secrets and tips to give you that definitive edge.

Tournaments:

This month, the channel covers the 2005 digital life Global Gaming League (GGL) Tournament, the leading competitive video gaming league for gamers of every skill level as video gamers compete for their share of $100,000 in prizes.

The Blizzard Worldwide Invitational Tournament event is also covered from Seoul, Korea where the world's best gamers of Warcraft and Starcraft converge at the Coex Center for the finals.

Building on the popularity of gaming in the Asian market, Gameplay HD covers the Guild Wars World Championship in Taipei, Taiwan. Throughout the three months of qualifications and after a fiercely competitive Regional Playoff, six teams have proved their mettle and will be representing their guilds and their regions at the Taipei Game Show. Team members from Brazil, Alaska, Finland and Korea, among other countries, will take the stage to determine who will be the 2006 Guild Wars World Champion.

News & Information:

CNET Networks' Gamespot produces a half-hour series called GameSpotting that features interviews with video game editors, designers and publishers. Games featured include the Xbox 360 high definition games, like Amped 3, and Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie.

The Art of Play show gives viewers a full access pass inside next generation games through stunning gameplay footage, in-game cinematics, and voice-over that take viewers on a visceral tour through each game's highlights. Games featured include: Peter Jackson's King Kong and Beyond Good & Evil.

Price Waterhouse Coopers forecasted video games to eclipse music as the second most popular form of entertainment by 2008 with worldwide consumer spending on video games estimated to hit $55 billion compared to $34 billion for recorded music. According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), U.S. computer and video game software sales grew four percent in 2005 to $7 billion, a more than doubling of industry software sales since 1996. In 2005, the ESA also reported more than 228 million computer and video games were sold, almost two games for every household in America. The worldwide market for video games and interactive entertainment will grow 44% from $23.2 billion in 2003 to $33.4 billion in 2008, according to DFC Intelligence.

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