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Video software

mPhase Plays Games With Middleware

Tiny video company mPhase Technologies (OTC: XDSL) said Wednesday it will add a set of pre-packaged games to its IPTV middleware product. (See MPhase Adds Gaming to Mobile TV.) The company says its combo product will help carriers quickly roll out gaming bundles as add-ons to their IPTV services. The games will appear with the video content on the mPhase programming guide.

mPhase came by the games through a partnership with Swedish IPTV content aggregator Accedo Broadband. Accedo licenses TV-centric games from developers and provides them in "white-label" form to vendors like mPhase. (See MPhase Enhances IPTV System.)

Accedo CEO Michael Lantz tells Light Reading his company's games are of the "casual" variety. "These are not shoot 'em-up games." Some of the most popular of Accedo's casual games include casino, puzzle, card, and quiz games, according to Lantz. Lantz explains that the types of games carriers can sell are limited somewhat by the hardware. "You have to remember this is a TV platform that you are controlling with a remote control." So the games can't be too complex, he says.

"This is casual gaming suitable for 5 to 20 minutes of entertainment in front of the TV," Lantz says, drawing a clear contrast with console games that hold players rapt for hours.

These simple, casual games might eventually win a less-fanatical but broader audience than console games like Grand Theft Auto. Analysts say casual gaming caters to the fastest growing segment of gamers: the thirty-something female.

mPhase marketing VP Mary Whelan adds that casual games require much less horsepower to run than the more complex console games. This means that the games in mPhase's middleware platform will run nicely on small and inexpensive set-top boxes, which telcos will like. (See MPhase, Tilgen Team.)

Whelan says mPhase TV+ middleware with games has just become available and hasn't yet shipped to service providers. (See IPTV MiddleWARs: Far From Over.)

It looks as if mPhase, which trades on the OTC market, needs to try something new, as its sales haven't really gone anywhere. According to recent public filings, total revenues for the company were $105,846 for the three months ended September 30, 2006, compared to $380,594 for the three months ended September 30, 2005. Yes, that's only six digits.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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