Catapult Entertainment to ship XBAND for Nintendo; more than 550 Blockbuster locations to join top retailers with sell-through program for Video Game Network.
The XBAND Modem for SNES, with its own operating system and sophisticated features, will sell for a suggested retail price of $29.99 and will be available at Blockbuster Video stores and key toy and software specialty stores in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Dallas.
The XBAND Modem for SNES will be premiered at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) May 11.
XBAND is the only multi-player video game network that offers subscribers a low-cost, one-step matching process and the ability to compete -- in real time from different locations -- playing popular 16-bit titles over a standard telephone line.
XBAND for Sega Genesis is currently available in the five test markets listed above at Toys R Us, Software Etc., Electronics Boutique, Babbage's, Wal-Mart, KMart, KayBee Toys and Target Stores (California only).
XBAND for SNES will be on-shelf in the same stores on June 12, with more than 550 Blockbuster Video stores carrying the full range of XBAND products.
``Nintendo is delighted to license and support XBAND,'' said Howard Lincoln, chairman of Nintendo of America Inc. ``Our ability to offer SNES players an affordable way to connect for true on-line competition and interactive communication takes 16-bit play to a whole new level.''
``We are very excited about introducing XBAND for SNES,'' said Adam Grosser, president and chairman of Catapult Entertainment. ``Our pricing and distribution strategy, coupled with our ability to now reach Nintendo players, will help us realize our goal to bring low-cost connectivity to a mass market. We are also pleased to welcome Blockbuster Video stores to the retail mix.''
Blockbuster Video, Catapult's equity partner along with parent Viacom Inc., will support a sell-through program for both versions with strong in-store merchandising programs. A special ``limited time only'' promotion will offer the XBAND Modem along with a coupon book good for four free video game rentals.
Participating stores will feature significant in-store displays and signage as well as offer a free rental video describing the XBAND Video Game Network. Other retailers will be providing in-store support as well. Catapult will be implementing a national print campaign, heavy local radio support and in-market promotions to kick off and sustain the program.
``We're happy to be a part of this exciting Nintendo launch,'' said Robert Carberry, vice president of technology for Blockbuster. ``The XBAND program will have the added benefit of taking place during the annual Blockbuster World Video Game Championship registrations and qualifying rounds when player traffic into the stores will be especially heavy.''
XBAND is also available nationally through an 800 number -- 800/X4-XBAND -- and, therefore, accessible to gamers throughout the country. While XBAND is designed to deliver low-cost service based on local call matching, in some instances users in areas other than the test markets may need, or want, to go outside their local area to find an opponent.
To provide users a low-cost alternative for long-distance play, Catapult will offer all users a new service in conjunction with MCI called XBAND Nationwide. XBAND Nationwide will allow users to play each other at any time, from any location, for a flat $3.95 per hour. (XBAND Nationwide charges will be in addition to monthly service fees.) The program will launch concurrent with the availability of XBAND for SNES.
The XBAND Network today supports the hit Sega titles Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, Madden NFL '95, NHL '95 and NBA Jam. XBAND for SNES will support Mortal Kombat II, NHL '95 and NBA Jam Tournament Edition. In May, Catapult will bring two additional Sega titles on-line, Super Street Fighter II and NBA Live '95.
Concurrent with the Nintendo launch, Catapult will offer a two-tiered pricing for subscription fees -- $4.95/month for 50 credits, with 15 cents for each credit over 50, or $9.95/month for unlimited play.
Catapult Entertainment was formed to create premier products and services to support networked real-time, interactive entertainment. Founded by senior executives from Sony Pictures Entertainment, General Magic, T-HQ and Apple Computer Inc., Catapult is a private company based in Cupertino.
CONTACT: Catapult Entertainment Inc.
Katherine Ho, 408/366-1735
KillerApp Communications (for Catapult)
Scott Grogin, 213/939-5991
Katie Cotton, 213/509-3700
Golin/Harris (for Nintendo)
Alison Holt, 213/623-4200
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|Date:||May 3, 1995|
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