RealNetworks introduces RealArcade

The Internet media company reveals its upcoming developer service for games.


RealNetworks, the company behind the popular RealPlayer and RealJukebox services, has announced its new game developer service, RealArcade. The service is a complete end-to-end system that includes two ways for game developers to create and distribute PC games. One is a self-publishing model that lets developers easily post their games on the RealArcade platform, while the other is a full-service model that includes game development and packaging tools, a digital distribution network, and e-commerce services. Both developer services will provide games directly to consumers through the RealArcade consumer service.

The RealArcade developer service is now available to game developers, and the RealArcade consumer service is scheduled for release later this year. More than 40 game developers and publishers have announced support for RealArcade, including Valve Software, Monolith, Sierra Online, Zombie Entertainment, Small Rockets, Midas Interactive, and ARush Entertainment. Monolith's Tex Atomic's Big Bot Battles will be one of the first games featured in the service. The full-service developer package includes the LithTech 3D game engine, a game packager that will compress files and integrate the installation manager, and global distribution and promotion.

RealNetworks dropped by the office last week to give us a peek at the consumer side of the package. The free service will streamline the distribution of games, letting casual and mainstream gamers find, download, and play games easily, without worrying about lost downloads, patches, or installation options. The service includes free demos of games, along with an integrated service to let consumers purchase the full versions of games directly from RealNetworks. In addition, the service will automatically keep track of what games the user has purchased, allowing them to easily re-install the games if they need to. RealArcade will also feature complete player-matching services for multiplayer games, and it will work with the GameSpy multiplayer network as well.

For more information about RealNetworks, visit the official Web site.

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