Sky is the latest media company to move into the lucrative video games sector with the launch of its own online games portal, SkyGames.com.
The company says a move into gaming is a natural step. Globally the video games market is estimated to be worth around £15bn and according to the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association, more than 65 million games were sold in the UK market during 2006 – a 7% increase on 2005 and worth around £1.36bn. Games are seen as a key route to target hard to reach 18- to 34-year-old males.
The online portal will allow users to download around 100 games to be played online or on their PC. Games publishers providing games include Edios, the company behind Tomb Raider and Lara Croft, and Vivendi Universal.
Downloads range from £4.99 to £29.99 and are available through a partnership with IGN’s Direct2Drive, a fellow component of News Corporation. Casual games are available for a 30-minute free trial or for a subscription fee of £6 per month.