RealArcade Celebrates 150 Million Downloads

RealNetworks are celebrating the 150 millionth game download through their RealArcade service. Founded in 2001, RealArcade now serves about 1.8 million downloads every week, from a catalogue of over 250 titles. With RealNetworks claiming 45 million downloads of the Arcvade client itself, that means that the average user has downloaded just over three games each.

RealArcade’s games are aimed at casual, pick up and play gaming – you won’t find any Final Fantasy VIIs there as the company wants to cater to customers who just fancy a quick blast of something. Popular titles on RealArcade include Jewel Quest, Shape Shifter, and the favourite in August, Feeding Frenzy. I might download Insaniquarium Deluxe just for the title alone.

“Millions of everyday people are experiencing games for grownups because they find casual games to be simple, accessible, friendly entertainment for the whole family to play,” said Andrew Wright, vice president of games for RealNetworks Inc in a statement: “We’ve been able to capture a lot of that growth at RealArcade by offering a product that consumers consistently rank as one of the best on the Web.”

An internal survey from Real indicates that two thirds of Arcade’s customers are women, and two-thirds of those have children. Almost half of RealArcade’s users say they visit every day, showing that the site is definitely “sticky”.

RealNetworks quite research from IDC: “Against common expectations, this market isn’t comprised of the ‘typical’ gamer, but rather a diverse spectrum of players who would never consider themselves to be gamers. As a result, this market has grown explosively by successfully tapping into new markets,” said Schelley Olhava, of IDC. “Double digit growth rates in the paid downloadable games space alone will result in U.S. revenues of $760 million (€619 million) by 2007.”

The RealArcade platform is DirectX-based, making development of new games, and porting existing titles simpler, but limits the platform to Windows PCs only.

Real Arcade

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?