Turbine tweaks its business model

Asheron's Call company embraces digital distribution in "turning point" for decade-old developer.

The trend toward game creators turning to the Web and selling directly to consumers continued today with news out of Westwood, Massachusetts, that Asheron's Call creator/publisher Turbine Entertainment was changing its business model. Starting now, the company says it is newly focused on "creating, publishing, and distributing premier online games and entertainment to consumers of all ages."

The key twist implied in today's announcement is that Turbine would become a retail channel unto itself. While the language in the document circulated this morning didn’t state that directly, it did outline how Turbine is positioning itself as a full-service provider of its game content.

Turbine's experienced boss, Jeff Anderson (who cut his teeth in the online space at Ultima-maker Origin Systems, the Austin studio founded by brothers Richard and Robert Garriott), said in a statement, "The pervasive acceptance of online subscription-based games and the increased adoption of broadband will enable new and exciting categories of online video games and services."

Anderson added that Turbine (which is also changing its name, from Turbine Entertainment Software Corp. to Turbine, Inc.) intends to "support our games through launch and beyond with our marketing and service teams, providing a unique and comprehensive online experience for our fans." However, absent greater clarity, Turbine's announcement leaves much room for speculation as to what exactly the new business model is.

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