My hairy little friend Finbar has been beavering away on this project for a while, and they're nearing launch now, opening up the service for beta testing. AWOMO is backed by Virgin, about to float at an asking opening of a billion euros (Finbar, lunch is on you), has Activision's ex-CEO at the helm...
‘A World Of My Own’ is a 3D virtual world for gamers, [...] an island paradise for gamers, in which launching a game is as simple as walking into a room in one of the many themed buildings in the environment.
Unlike other online delivery services, which require the entire game to be downloaded before the gamer starts playing, AWOMO delivers the same game playable in a matter of minutes on a standard broadband connection using proprietary technology.
Sort of sounds like magic, doesn't it? Streaming triple-A games, how does that work then? And in a full Home-like 3D world as well...
The CEO carries on, in an interview over at gamesindustry:
"I was sent a release the other day saying how a game was available for the user to play only a few hours after downloading. Well, why the hell do you have to wait a few hours for anything? That's what our service stresses. What is currently taking other sites several hours to download, our system does it in minutes.
"That is proper games on demand. Two hours isn't 'on demand', it's like waiting for a bus," he added.
Apparently he's having some .. issues.. getting game publishers to believe the thing isn't a big setup:
"Frankly, a lot of people have had trouble believing what we've got because it's so different, but once we get through that barrier we seem to have been okay. I've had some presentations where we've had to pull the wires out of the back of the machine simply to prove what we're doing is real."
Although, they've got GAME to sign up, so there's clearly going to be content there.
It's open to beta at the moment so I'm going to have a rummage about. It looks like there's a service subscription biz model - tiered - and that essentially you're renting the games you buy access to; the service's selling-points list certainly states no games cluttering up your hard drive, so it sounds like a centralised, napster-like model. Presumably there'll be plenty of opportunities for discounts and bundles to counter the fact that you won't be owning the game any more, but I'm guessing now.
Here's the functions list in full; it's long, but it encapsulates the service:
- Super-speedy game downloads – in minutes not hours over a standard broadband connection
- You’ll never pay more to play a game in AWOMO than you would buying from a store
- Subscription based but flexible – tiered depending on how much you use the service
- Access a huge library of games including the latest releases with no limitations
- Risk free gaming – no need to hunt down demos; if you don’t like a game, just start another
- Instant gratification – why use mail order when you can play right now!
- Play on any computer – at a friend’s house, at work, on holiday
- Persistent save games – come back to any game where you left off, even years later
- Connect with a community of like-minded gamers with your own avatar inside a 3D world – or for gamers who just want to play, just dive straight in from a 2D menu system
- Find all your gaming news and tips and take part in AWOMO’s tournaments, leagues and ladders
- Doesn’t clog up your hard drive – only stores what you need as you play it
- No disks to lose or scratch
- You can play anyone anywhere in multiplayer while its still streaming – not just others in AWOMO
- You’re always playing the latest patched, full version
- More choice of back catalogue games than in most stores
You can sign up for beta here, and be in with a chance for winning free games for life, too.