BT launches assault on computer games sector

BT is launching a computer games system played over phone lines, called Wireplay.

The scheme, which is free to join, will be a direct challenge to gaming over the Internet run by companies such as Entertainment Online. Sega plans to launch a full games service on the Net early next year.

BT will give away 1 million CD-Roms with Wireplay software covermounted on computer magazines.

The company is spending 1.5m marketing the scheme this year, split between consumer press ads and promotional CD-Roms.

Wireplay marketing manager Robert Smith says: “We want to roll out the brand this year and don’t expect to make any money yet. We have a five-year plan.”

Unlike other games systems, Wireplay will not levy any subscription fees. Instead it will make its money through the amount of time spent on the phone. This will work out at 1.50 an hour at evenings and weekends. Entertainment Online charges subscription fees of up to 9.99 per month.

Games on the Net can be downloaded onto a hard drive and stored in the user’s computer. BT claims its games are much faster than rival systems because they use phone lines, which allows users to play more popular racing or “shoot-’em-up” games without continual delays.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here