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AOL, Electronics Arts Partner on Game Previews

1 Oct, 2002 By: Hive News

America Online today announced the launch of AOL Games' First Play, a new programming initiative to feature exclusive premiere access to online games and video game demos before they are available to the public.

The first of these games will be Electronic Arts' Need For Speed - Top Speed.

In addition to featuring exclusive premiere access to online games, the service will also offer access to interactive assets before they are released, including playable demos of video games and "first look" video content such as game play movies and game images.

The program will include pre-ordering incentives for upcoming game releases including discounts, premiums and early delivery.

The service launches as the demand for online games is reaching unprecedented levels. Jupiter Research reports that it is the number one activity on the Internet, with more than 4 billion minutes of activity per month - more than retail, news, travel, auctions, sports or personal finance. According to comScore Media Metrix, 57 percent of the total online population -- 56 million users -- visited an online game site in October 2001 and by 2006, online, PC and console games sales will grow to $1.6 billion.

"Games are tremendously popular online, and we are thrilled to offer consumers the first chance to play some of the best new online games and video game demos before they are available anywhere else as part of our new AOL Games' First Play program," said Kevin Conroy, SVP and GM, AOL Entertainment. "Our exclusive premiere of the game Top Speed - the latest online game offering from one of EA's most popular series' Need for Speed - is a great way to kick off First Play. As we have done with AOL Music's First Listen, which gives music fans exclusive advance access to the hottest songs and videos, with First Play, we are providing gamers the opportunity to experience the most anticipated new titles first, before they are available anywhere else."

As part of the Need for Speed - Top Speed First Play, AOL Games will also be showing a video demo and screen shot slide show of EA's soon-to-be-released Need For Speed - Hot Pursuit 2 game for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube and PC.

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