ROCKVILLE, MD (June 17, 1997) -- Simutronics today announced
direct Internet access to its popular online multiplayer games: GemStone IV,
DragonRealms and CyberStrike. Simutronics games -- previously available only
through online services including America Online (NYSE: AOL), CompuServe, and
Prodigy can also be accessed directly through new, subscription-based
services beginning July via sites on the World Wide Web.
"After 10 years in the multiplayer online game business, adding direct
Internet access is a great leap forward for Simutronics," said Simutronics
President and Founder David Whatley. "By expanding to the Web, we will
reach the broadest possible audience, provide more gaming choices and deliver
the best service to our customers. Internet game players who have never experienced
Simutronics games will be amazed at their speed and depth, since our games are
tailor-made for online play."
Simutronics is "one of the very few companies that actually knows how
to run online games," according to an April 1997 Forrester Research report,
co-authored by Seema Chowdhury, Entertainment & Technology Strategies Analyst.
Cited by Forrester as the most successful online game company to date, Simutronics
has been profitable for the past seven consecutive quarters. Forrester projects
revenues from the Internet gaming market will jump to more than $1.6 billion
by the year 2001.
"Simutronics is committed to providing universal access to our online
gaming world," said Simutronics Executive Vice President Neil Harris. "The
best way to maximize our business in this growing market is to keep the cost
of game play affordable and to introduce advertising revenue into the mix. Our
low monthly subscription fees are a testimony to this philosophy."
Simutronics Games Most Popular Online
Players are now logging more than two million hours of paid play in a single
month on Simutronics games online. Just as chat rooms have become one of the
most popular uses of the Internet, MUD-style, role-playing games such as GemStone
III and DragonRealms are by far the most popular titles online. GemStone IV
was the first online game to reach one million paid hours in a month. As with
its spin-off DragonRealms, successful play in GemStone IV depends on interaction
and community building activities with other players.
The four games coming to the World Wide Web are :
· GemStone IV is a MUD-style, fantasy role-playing game set in a medieval
world of magic where players team up with powerful allies and earn rewards through
feats of daring. Ever-evolving worlds are created in GemStone IV by the GameMasters,
who are constantly changing the playing field which keeps the game exciting.
In the seven years since its creation, nearly one million people have played
GemStone IV, making it the number one online game of all time.
· DragonRealms, a spin-off of GemStone IV, is a very rich MUD-style game
designed to focus the player on role-playing. Details about the game system
are hidden, so the player has more of a feel of participating in a fantasy adventure.
Like any living world, the game is constantly growing and introducing new experiences
and quests. In less than one year, DragonRealms has grown to be the number two
game in the online world, with over 800,000 paid usage hours per month.
· CyberStrike is an award-winning, true, 3D action game with
arcade action and stereo sound. CyberStrike delivers real-time interaction as
teams of robot Cyberpods compete in a virtual cityscape. Designed from the ground
up for fast action over the Internet and online services, CyberStrike also boasts
tournament play, with scores of teams vying for the season championship. CyberStrike
2 is scheduled for release in Q4 of this year.
In addition to the Internet sites, GemStone IV will also be available on Prodigy,
CompuServe and Genie. DragonRealms will also continue to be available on Prodigy
and Genie. All titles may be accessed via America Online.
Gamers Demographics Have Appeal for Advertisers
The demographics of Simutronics game players create an attractive profile
for advertisers. The two most popular games, GemStone IV and DragonRealms,
have a customer ratio of 85 percent male and 15 percent female players, with
a median age of 40 and a median annual household income of $65,000. For CyberStrike,
the players are 99 percent male, and the biggest group is in the highly coveted
18-25 year old age range.
Unlike most Web sites, Simutronics game sites can deliver highly targeted
advertising to players based on their demographics and preferences provided
through customer profile information. For example, Simutronics can ensure automobile
advertising is displayed only to players over 16 years old.
Pricing and Availability
The new subscription-based services will offer access to GemStone IV or DragonRealms
for $9.95 each per month, with access to CyberStrike priced at $7.95 per month.
Premium subscriptions, enabling players to develop multiple characters and receive
priority VIP treatment in online gaming events, will be offered for select games
at an additional $20 per month.
Until July 19, current Simutronics customers will be given priority registration
for play on the Internet. To sign up for any Simutronics game, players should
the web site for that game. To advertise on Simutronics game sites, send
email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (301) 670-7935.
Simutronics Corp., the leader in multiplayer online games, specializes in the
design, development and management of games created specifically for collaborative
play in virtual online communities. Available on the World Wide Web and through
major online services and publishers including Time Warner and Viacom, Simutronics
titles are the leaders in online play, serving more than 5,000 simultaneous
players nightly and 200,000 players per month with usage well over 2 million
user-hourly monthly. Founded in 1987, Simutronics Corp. is a privately held
corporation with offices in St. Charles, MO and Rockville, MD.