Mobile platform allows players to compete in classic games such as Tetris and Pac-Man to win real money

XBLA creator and former chief announces mobile platform Sparcade

Greg Canessa, the man behind the creation of Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade and the former head of Blizzard’s network, has unveiled his latest venture.

Sparcade is billed as a combination of real-money and traditional gaming, allowing players to compete with each other in video game staples such as Tetris and Pac-Man to win real-world cash.

Developer GSN Games, which is owned by Sony, has signed deals with EA and Bandai Namco to bring the aforementioned two titles to its service, with a further partnership with Hasbro seeing literary board game Scrabble similarly transformed into a real-money competitive app. GSN’s own Solitaire TriPeaks rounds out the initial offering.

The various games are housed within the Sparcade ecosystem app, which is free to download. Players will be able to compete in alternative free versions of the titles by spending a separate in-game currency – but won’t be able to win any real money in the matches.

“In many ways, this feels similar to the opportunity that inspired XBLA over a decade ago,” Canessa said.

“What we have built with Sparcade represents nothing short of a transformative opportunity for mobile games. From an industry point of view, it’s an opportunity to introduce a completely new business model and monetisation method for mobile. From a developer point of view, it represents a new way to enjoy and interact with (and make money in) your game. And from a consumer perspective, it represents a completely new and different way to enjoy and compete in the games they love, and be part of a passionate community.

“As is the case with anything completely new, especially a new industry category, this will take time. It won’t happen overnight. That is why we are taking the long view on this business, as is our parent company, Sony. We have built Sparcade as a platform that evolves over time, layering in additional games and features. For us, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we are dedicated to building the product and service for the long term.”

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