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Three-way alliance for game titans
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Shanda Interactive Entertainment, Intel Corp and Sichuan Changhong Electric have established an alliance to develop the market of online games on Web-linked TVs, the three sides said yesterday in Shanghai.


The companies launched an online table tennis game, available both on computer and TV platforms, to catch the sport game booms ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games next year.


According to the agreements, Shanda will provide content including games, Intel will provide related chip and chipset technology, while Changhong - China's second biggest TV maker - will produce TVs with Internet access and built-in hard disk storage, the companies said.


"Shanda is proud to become content provider and the three sides will jointly promote the games including the new table tennis game X-Up," said Tom Zhang, Shanda's senior vice president.


The project has similarities to Shanda's previous EZ-Center plan, which allowed users to access Internet and games on TV with a Shanda-designed set-top box and a wireless controller. The EZ project failed because of the high cost of the hardware and lukewarm market response, industry insiders said.


X-Up, which allows users to play on televisions with motion capture technologies such as Wii, will boost the casual game contribution in the Shanda's total revenue.


Shanda's casual game revenue, which grew six percent in the first nine months, delivered modest growth compared with MMORPGs (massively multiple online role playing game) which had a growth rate of 67 percent, according to Morgan Stanley.


"Shanda's new casual games, like GetAmped, Krazy Cart and TalesRunner (also a sports game) have emerged as major revenue contributors," the US-based investment bank said in a recent note.


The9 Ltd, Shanda's arch rival, has also launched popular soccer games including an online version of FIFA Online.


(Shanghai Daily December 25, 2007)


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