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GameStop, EB digitally distributed

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


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, and, 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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