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Whiz bang boom -- the latest in Internet games


June 20, 1997
Web posted at: 10:16 p.m. EDT (0216 GMT)

From Correspondent Dick Wilson

ATLANTA (CNN) -- The sights are flashy, the noise is deafening and the hype is high-powered at the exhibition where computer game makers strut their stuff.

The "E3" Electronic Entertainment Expo, running Thursday through Saturday, is showing off some of the latest high-tech play.

Computer game playing is on the rise, and the newest trend are Internet games. They can have as few as two players or as many as several thousand linked together simultaneously.


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Some of the biggest players in the computer industry are placing heavy bets on Internet game playing, but the future is unclear.


"Right now, it's in a very nascent stage. We're kind of in the primordial ooze. And we're waiting to see who's gonna crawl out of the pond," said Johnny Wilson of Computer Gaming Magazine.

Two of the best known names at the show are Microsoft and Lucas Arts.

The creator of Star Wars has a soon-to-be-released game version for online players. And the Microsoft game zone offers high-action Internet games such as "Fighter Ace."

Such games are called "massively multi-player games," where thousands of people play each other at once, said Microsoft Vice President Robert Boch.

There's even a new entertainment game based on history. And off in a corner of the 500,000-square-foot exhibition hall are online games without violence, old-fashioned games such as poker, and trivia contests.

"We offer games that families can feel comfortable playing with their kids or having their kids play alone with other people without worrying about it," said Jeff Herscovitz of NetPlay.

What's the next move for Internet game players? Deciding who will pay for their fun -- consumers or advertisers.


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