Atari launches online delivery service

Atari on Demand will let broadband-equipped gamers download a limited catalog of games for $14.95 a month.

Hoping to get a jump on the competition, Atari today launched its new online distribution service. Developed in conjunction with Exent, a developer of secure digital delivery software, Atari on Demand will let subscribers download games via the Internet for $14.95 a month. The service will require broadband Internet access.

For some, Atari on Demand will be a bargain. At launch, the service will feature 35 games, including several recent releases--including Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds, The Temple of Elemental Evil, Backyard Basketball, and the Civilization III: Conquests expansion pack--that will sell for less than their sticker prices.

Two dated-but-acclaimed sports titles, Season Ticket Baseball 2003 and Season Ticket Basketball 2003, are also available, along with a pair of aging classics in 2000's Majesty and 1999's Unreal Tournament. Retro gamers can also pick up Atari Arcade Hits, Vol. 1, Missile Command, and Pong.

However, the majority of the catalog consists of games one would likely not pay $14.95 for when they were new. Gunship!, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2: Wacky Worlds, Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare, and Pacific Gunner round out the less-well-reviewed offerings.

Atari on Demand subscribers will also have access to Atari's extensive collection of parlor-game adaptations, including Monopoly, Sorry!, Risk II, Chutes and Ladders, Life, Clue: Murder at Boddy Mansion, and Ultimate Yahtzee (not to be confused with regular Yahtzee). A quartet of children's games--including Tonka: Search and Rescue 2, Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide, Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, and Spy Fox: Dry Cereal--will also be available.

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