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Richard Branson Expanding Virgin Gaming iGaming Empire, by Greg Tingle - 20th May 2010


Gaming, gambling and iGaming fans, have we got some news hot of the press for you. Our bat phone has been running hot hot hot!

For the past few months Media Man and Gambling911 have been keeping you updated on all sorts of exciting developments at Richard Branson's Virgin Group, namelyVirgin Casino, Virgin Games, Virgin Poker, Virgin Bingo, and offshoot, AWOMO (A World Of My Own), with a DGI (Game Domain International) tie in. Last week Branson's Virgin Racing also sponsored Full Tilt Poker.

Richard Branson will unleash the Virgin return to the video gaming sector at the E3 event in Los Angeles, USA, in June.

We understand that a hard launch is being orchestrated, with Sir Branson, the one and only, in attendance. Can't wait to see what the man and his army wear and what sorts of stunts they have up their sleeve, but Branson isn't usually one to disappoint.

Virgin was one of the most successful brands to have ever competed in the video gaming industry, albeit over a decade ago, but 2010 is looking to be a record breaking year for the brands re birth, pardon the pun.

RB was one of the first pioneers - visionaries to see the massive potential of computer software as a global Virgin entertainment business, establishing Virgin Games in downtown London circa 1984. He later moved the core of the operation to Guernsey which has lower overheads and is understood to be more igaming industry friendly!

A Bit Of History

The company acquired Mastertronic and rolled Sega's Master System across the European region.

Sega Europe continued to power along, then Virgin Interactive Entertainment.

In 1994 it lost its Virginity, being acquired by Blockbuster for a cool $250 million, then was purchased by media powerhouse Viacom (which owns about half the media world).

Virgin Interactive Entertainment reached its financial global revenue peak in 1997, bringing home the bacon to the tune of $210 million.

Circa 94 - 98 it shared market dominance with EA (Electronic Arts).

Virgin saw partners and affiliates come on board including such greats Westwood, Bethesda, Capcom, LucasArts and Disney.

Since 2004 Virgin Games has been V's staple gaming brand, other gaming ventures basically on ice... until now!

The new gaming "start up" (of sorts), expected to go public at E3 will see Virgin pro actively exploring partnerships with publishers, content owners, and you get the idea. The timing looks to be right with 'Avatar' type technologies all the rage, movies being adapted to games in record time, and the availability of broadband internet at reasonable prices.

Internet, console formats and more will see the big V feature red hot games, both classics and newbies. Think Space Invaders to Cleo to Avatar, and their cousins.

Gamers are calling for interactive slot games, tournaments, TV and movie brands, and more casino and poker type experiences, in addition to what they already enjoy.

Insiders expect some sort of firm announcement from Virgin at the expo or soon after re return to the mainstream games market.

Punters, fire up the consoles...Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, multi-player PC gaming and more is just around the corner from the man who brought you Virgin Records, V Festival and Virgin Galactic... be excited... we sure as hell are.

At the moment Americans and Australians are not able to play casino, poker or bingo games at Virgin, however with the expansion of Virgin Games, and the push to clear up any gray areas in regions such as the U.S and down under in Australia, the whole suite of Virgin Games may go global sooner rather than later.

Competitors of sorts, PartyGaming - including PartyCasino and poker brands, Betfair and Centrebet, are all said to be watching this space closely. Australia's Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald and News Limited, publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Australian, are also following for both potential deal opportunities and in a journalistic (journalism) capacity. Foxtel has only just got wind of the news, putting out its own gaming related press release less than 24 hours before this publication.

Yep, gamers and igamers... Tomb Raider, Rome Total War, Cleopatra, Flatout, WarHammer Mark Of Chaos, Pain Killer: Black Edition, maybe even Dan Dare and who knows what surprises will be jumping out of your computer once Team Branson turns on the turbo and blasts off Virgin Galactic style. TNA Wrestling, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bill Goldberg, UFC, NASCAR, F1 and Bull Run are all understood to also want to talk turkey and potential deals with Branson and 'V'.

Marvel Entertainment, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Playtech, IGT, World Poker Tour, WSOP, SKY, Harrah's Entertainment, Trump Casinos, Infinity Ward, Sony and Sega remain tight lipped on the Virgin developments.

Virgin Games, AWOMO (A World Of My Own), bring in on... faster than you can say Virgin Racing Inks Deal With Full Tilt Poker! Read about the life and times of Branson and his world of planes, trains and automobiles (and spaceships) on the Media Man International website portal. Hours of entertainment for free.

Virgin remains one of dozens of corporate tech and communications giants seeking clarity on Australian censorship laws, both online and offline.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen of industry sectors they cover

*The writer is has conducted business with a number of arms of the Virgin Group and is a pro active member of Virgin Unite

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AWOMO™ is the world's first 3D games platform dedicated entirely to games and gamers. AWOMO™ will offer the worlds best games, playable within minutes rather than hours. The games are set within a virtual island where the global games community can meet, talk, sample free games, buy stuff, and enter tournaments to win big prizes.

The world's best games.

Gamers are a dedicated and well informed community, who know what's out there and what they want . AWOMO™ will deliver the triple A's along with a comprehensive range of the worlds best games to suit all ages and tastes. What's more – AWOMO™ will feature many 'never seen before innovations from small indy developers and bring back lots of discontinued 'old favourites' to live again alongside the hottest new releases. (Credit: AWOMO).

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Press Release

Virgin Games partners with GDI to launch “A World Of My Own” 3D Online Gaming Platform
12.02.07

Downloading of video games is to grow rapidly after the launch of a new platform that aims to replicate the functionality of iTunes, making it quicker and cheaper for gamers to download their favourite games.

Virgin Games and Game Domain International (GDI) today announce the successful completion of live tests for delivering a wide range of PC games on a 3D ‘virtual world’ platform.

The platform offers many key advantages over existing technologies - including rapid download speeds enabling play within minutes instead of hours, far greater security, and improved ease of use for the customer.

The platform’s name - A World of My Own (AWOMO) is expected to significantly accelerate the growth of the total games market - already valued at $25b* making it bigger than the movie industry. AWOMO will initially make money on a pay per play or subscription basis.

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin said: “This is a really exciting development for us, as it gives us the opportunity to do for PC Games what iTunes has done for music. The GDI technology will revolutionise how the mass market will play games, and will give them more choice for less money.”

The PC games industry is plagued by high distribution costs and piracy which has hampered the growth of this market. Several of the world’s major games publishers have already registered their support. The Koch Media Group, Europe’s largest PC games distributor, working with major brands such as EA, Ubisoft and Deep Silver, were one of the first to witness this new technology in action. At the recent demonstration, their reaction was so enthusiastic that negotiations are already well advanced in preparation for the AWOMO launch.

Koch Media are one of the pioneers of on line distribution and work with e–tailers such as Metaboli and Gamesload and have many years experience in on line delivery but are constantly looking for ways to improve their service.

Roger Bennett, former director of ELSPA, the games industry association, said: “After twenty one years in the computer and video games industry, I can honestly say I have recently seen in operation the most unique technology that can bring the most potential value to the industry.”

Chris Gorman OBE, director of GDI, says, "The highly alluring combination of being able to download a game in minutes instead of the existing standard few hours and the promoted mega cash prize gaming tournaments will create a Mecca of opportunities for sponsors and promoters to target the vast gaming community.”

GDI intend to launch their AWOMO platform later in 2007 with a large selection of games available in order to meet the huge international demand expected.

 

London, 16 February 2007

Virgin Games partners with GDI to launch "A World Of My Own" 3D Online Gaming Platform

Downloading of video games is to grow rapidly after the launch of a new platform that aims to replicate the functionality of iTunes, making it quicker and cheaper for gamers to download their favourite games.

Virgin Games and Game Domain International (GDI) today announce the successful completion of live tests for delivering a wide range of PC games on a 3D 'virtual world' platform.

The platform offers many key advantages over existing technologies - including rapid download speeds enabling play within minutes instead of hours, far greater security, and improved ease of use for the customer.

The platform's name - A World of My Own (AWOMO) is expected to significantly accelerate the growth of the total games market - already valued at $25b* making it bigger than the movie industry. AWOMO will initially make money on a pay per play or subscription basis.

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin said: "This is a really exciting development for us, as it gives us the opportunity to do for PC Games what iTunes has done for music. The GDI technology will revolutionise how the mass market will play games, and will give them more choice for less money."

The PC games industry is plagued by high distribution costs and piracy which has hampered the growth of this market. Several of the world's major games publishers have already registered their support. The Koch Media Group, Europe's largest PC games distributor, working with major brands such as EA, Ubisoft and Deep Silver, were one of the first to witness this new technology in action. At the recent demonstration, their reaction was so enthusiastic that negotiations are already underway to sign off on a range of games to be made available on AWOMO when it launches.

Koch Media are one of the pioneers of on line distribution and work with e–tailers such as Metaboli and Gamesload and have many years experience in on line delivery but are constantly looking for ways to improve their service.

Roger Bennett, former director of ELSPA, the games industry association, said: "After twenty one years in the computer and video games industry, I can honestly say I have recently seen in operation the most unique technology that can bring the most potential value to the industry."

Chris Gorman OBE, director of GDI, says, "The highly alluring combination of being able to download a game in minutes instead of the existing standard few hours and the promoted mega cash prize gaming tournaments will create a Mecca of opportunities for sponsors and promoters to target the vast gaming community."

GDI intend to launch their AWOMO platform later in 2007 with a large selection of games available in order to meet the huge international demand expected.

*Various collated estimates gleaned from DFC Intelligence, Screen Digest, ABI research, PwC, NPD and Chartrack.

 

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