GameStop, EB digitally distributed

Zuma, Worms, Airport Tycoon among the PC games now being offered online by North America's top game retailers.

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In 2001, EB Games stepped into the digital distribution ring with EB1. Powered by Into Networks' proprietary IntoMedia platform, the service offered several PC games--including Oni, Hitman, Serious Sam, Thief II, Unreal Tournament, and Tomb Raider: Chronicles--online for a limited time. For an average price of $4.99, gamers could download the games and play them for 72 hours--after which time the games would lock up and no longer be useable.

Within months, EB1 shut down, thanks to a tepid response from consumers. However, that hasn't stopped EB--or more precisely, its new parent, GameStop--from taking a second whack at digital distribution. This week, the online stores of both companies, EBgames.com and GameStop.com, launched their own PC-game download centers.

Instead of offering rentals, the stores offer full-sized versions of games for unlimited use. Boasting a catalog of more than 1,000 titles, the catalog includes simple arcade classics like Capcom's 1942 ($9.99) and the original Driver($9.95) and recent games such as 2K's Civilization IV ($49.99). The games list also includes more obscure offerings, such as AddGames Italia's Beach Volley Hot Sports ($17.99) and Atari's Freddi Fish 4--The Case of the Hogfish Rustlers of Briny Gulch ($19.99).

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