Gameplay HD Offers Extensive Game Programming
Posted by jgaudiosi :: Hollywood & Video Games | Sports & Video Games
Voom HD Networks' 24-hour, high definition videogame channel, Gameplay HD, is making a big push into the hardcore and mass market gaming scene. Available on Echostar's Dish Network, the channel currently has seven original videogame programs airing, in addition to extensive coverage of the rapidly expanding international professional gaming circuit. The channel is moving ahead with HD programming, taking advantage of the HD visuals that Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games offer. Backed by Rainbow Media, the channel has made deals with leading game publishers and pro gaming tournaments and events to expand its coverage for this year.
A few years back, G4 launched as the first videogame channel. The Comcast-owned channel grew in size with the acquisition of Tech TV, but was never able to find a large audience with videogame-only programming. Over the past year, the network has evolved into a "Spike TV Jr." through "Star Trek" programming and "The Man Show" re-runs aimed at the male demographic. While the network still covers games and big game events like E3, ComiCon and the Tokyo Game Show, it devotes more of its airtime to non-gaming programming.
What separates Gameplay HD is the HD factor. I bought my first HD TV over four years ago and when I tuned into the HD offers of DirecTV (the competitor to Dish Network, which I do not own), there were only 10 channels of programming and the bulk of these shows were nature videos. Even today, the HD offerings, outside of the major networks, are slim on satellite. And yet there are 20 million gamers that will have HD TVs this year and Xbox 360s and PlayStation 3s. There's clearly an audience there looking for programming. The HD landscape is a lot more barren than standard definition, which has 500 channels of mostly nothing.
As I've stated many times before in this blog, pro gaming will have a breakout year in the U.S. this year. Much of the new programming that Gameplay HD is focusing on is tournament coverage through the World Series of Games and Global Gaming League. It's coverage of unique Xbox Live tournaments like "Project Gotham Racing 3" and MMO games like "Guild Wars" adds new opportunities to the mix. The network is in talks with many other leagues and companies to bring a lot of pro gaming coverage to the air.
One of the interesting things about this programming, especially when looking at the GameCaster deal and its patent-pending camera technology, is that viewers will be taken inside of the HD game worlds to experience the games alongside of the players. Add in sports games competitions and you can see where this type of programming is headed.