TEN launches commercial service
Multiplayer gaming service Total Entertainment Network (TEN) launched a surprise attack this week, kicking off its national online game service last Monday in order to beat competitors Mplayer and Engage to the punch. And, to make the deal even sweeter, TEN is offering a special introductory rate to the first 25,000 charter members--half the standard rate.
TEN is banking on a healthy list of popular retail games, many of which are exclusive to its service, in order to distinguish it from the current and upcoming competition. On TEN's bill right now are the service's beta selections: Westwood Studios' real-time smash Command & Conquer; 3D Realms' Duke Nukem 3D (exclusive); Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft: Orcs & Humans; and SSI's fantasy adventure Dark Sun: Crimson Sands (exclusive), shareware version of Necrodome (exclusive), and classic war game Panzer General Online (exclusive).
Within the next few months, the service's other promised titles will emerge: Westwood's Command & Conquer Win '95; 3D Realms' Ultimate Duke and Duke Plutonium Pak (exclusive), featuring new weapons and 11 additional levels; Sirtech's real-time god game Deadly Games (exclusive); Eidos's Big Red Racing and World War II flight sim Confirmed Kill (exclusive); id Software's unrivaled first-person shooter Quake; Accolade's planetary conquest game Deadlock; MicroProse's galactic strategy game Masters of Orion II; SSI's retail version of Necrodome; and Maxis's classic city builder SimCity 2000.
However, as if acknowledging exclusives alone won't beat the competition, TEN is also offering an enticing array of pricing incentives. From now through December 31, the first 25,000 charter members who use TEN as their Internet provider and select the hourly pricing structure will receive five hours of game time per month for $4.95 with additional hours at 95 cents instead of $1.95. If you are a charter member with your own Internet provider and select the monthly flat rate, you'll spend $14.95 as opposed to $29.95. If TEN handles your Internet access via the Concentric Network, you'll pay 95 cents an hour for connection time on top of the membership fees.
Finally, all beta testers receive a month of gaming free, including Internet access, while new members will enjoy a trial period of five free hours, including Internet connection time.
TEN also seems to be backing up its claim that it will nourish its gaming community. TEN members can chat with other players nationwide and look up specific competitors' ranking and player profiles. By the holidays, TEN will feature the musings of editors from print and online game publications and email support. And right now, TEN is sponsoring a Duke Nukem level design contest to kick off its service. To become a charter member and download all the software, visit TEN's Web site.