A new online games venture, Arena Technik Limited (Arenatek), has been launched in London today. The technology around which Arenatek is based and the community it supports has operated continuously since 1996 initially under BT and recently under Gameplay plc.
The directors of Gameplay plc reached a management buy-out agreement with the founders of Arenatek, whereby Arenatek has acquired all technology assets and software associated with Wireplay™ (one of the longest running b2c gaming services in the world) along with a significant number of physical assets. The ownership of both the Wireplay™ and DoUno brands are included in the deal. These brands achieved considerable consumer awareness and built up loyal gaming communities under the Gameplay banner.
The founders of Arenatek, Tim Gummer and Bruce Heck have developed a managed B2B on-line games service. This game service will specifically address the growing need amongst content owners and network operators to offer cross-platform gaming opportunities for their communities. This includes a suite of applications and know-how that can be tailored to suit the individual needs of each client. The service operates in a channel-based structure that targets player communities. The Arenatek concept is a multi-channel offering that will work across consoles, Interactive TV, PC, Mobile and connected PDA’s. The concept leverages the B2C assets of Wireplay to meet the projected demand for online gaming1.
Arenatek have assembled a highly experienced management and operational team, with broad-based expertise within multi-nationals, Telco’s, games, media and Silicon Valley industries. The two principals, Tim Gummer and Bruce Heck, have had extensive experience in the games industry, Internet and communications industries respectively. Tim Gummer has held senior management positions in the games industry for the last 7 years. Bruce Heck was the CTO for The Lowe Group, a multinational advertising group, responsible for all aspects of digital information transfer through their network covering more than 80 countries.
Arenatek also have a group of industry advisors including Dr. Richard Bartle, considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of online gaming, as well as Richard Warren, the vision behind the original BT Wireplay.
Initial funding for the Arenatek venture has been received from the founders and support has also been given from within the games industry and private investors. The management are currently in discussion with various parties about future projects and investment.
Tim Gummer, comments: "The potential for customer retention, traffic and revenue generation will make the Arenatek proposition very attractive for a number of major players including Telcos, cable companies, ISPs, console manufacturers and game publishers. Companies looking to expand their consumer base will be able to use our white-label offering to deliver world-class gaming services without relying on their internal resources or huge investment in technology development to attract and grow cross-platform communities".
Bruce Heck, says "We will aggregate content and provide technologies and services to enable Telcos, cable companies, ISPs, console manufacturers and games publishers to promote and distribute multiplayer games and entertainment services and manage related communities. Our initial services will be targeted at the PC gamer, although we have already been approached and will be providing technologies and services for other platforms, including console, mobile and iTV ".
NOTES TO EDITORS
Arena Technik Ltd. (Arenatek) was formed in July 2001 to leverage the assets and experience previously gained from running the UK’s largest online gaming service into a business-to-business offering. With the acquired technologies combined with prior experience, Arenatek offers network operators, game publishers and developers custom, full service solutions for online gaming.
A number of physical assets and intellectual property (including both software and brand – Wireplay™) were purchased from Gameplay plc through a management buy-out executed on 31st August 2001.
To date, funding for the Arenatek venture has been received from the founders and support has also been given from within the games industry and private investors.
 Datamonitor forecast in April 2001
By 2005 there will be 111 million regular online games players across Europe and the US (65m US, 46m Europe) with the market value of $3.7bn ($2.2bn US, $1.5bn Europe). The growth in numbers of gamers and revenues will be driven primarily by the growth of broadband connections and emergence of console-based on-line gaming driven by Sony’s PS2 and Microsoft’s X-Box.
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