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Yahoo starts broadband game rental service

56k users need not apply
Yahoo has launched a games service that allows broadband users to rent games over the internet.

'Yahoo! Games on Demand' delivers the game, up to 200mb in size, from a choice of 40 digitally at a cost of between $4.99 and $1.50. The cost depends on the subscription package you choose when you pay. Powering the system is the Game Launcher software, this facilitates the streaming of the game onto your machine.

The games rental market is huge in the US, and is growing in Europe as well, Americans spent $900m last year renting games. Blockbuster, the entertainment rental giant, sees 11% of its revenues coming from gamers trying out titles.

The main limitation of Yahoo’s approach is broadband take-up. Unlike the portal’s other mainly broadband services (such as FinanceVision) this venture is targeted at home users, where broadband penetration is lower. Other online game vending services, such as Real Network’s RealOne Arcade, have focused on micro-payments and small file size games making them accessible to a much larger audience.

Time will tell...

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