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GameTap now in Canada, other locations planned

Zack Stern

GameTap, the subscription, all-you-can-eat game download service is expanding into Canada and other international locations. Beginning today, Canadian gamers can pay $6.95 USD each month and are also eligible for the current $59.40 USD promotion for a full year. GameTap plans a bigger worldwide rollout in 2007, with the first quarter goal to reach three or four other English-speaking markets. After that, the company will focus on additional English markets throughout the year, with non-English localizations prepared for 2008.

We assumed that the delay for international release was due to licensing issues -- game distribution licenses vary by region -- however, David Reid, VP of GameTap Marketing told us via email that the wait was unrelated. Reid explained, "We were far more concerned with getting the product right before exporting GameTap out of the U.S. Now, with the original content, robust community features, over 700 games, and GameTap TV programming, we truly feel that we have a strong, comprehensive product ... ."

However, the company can still be challenged by landing local publishing rights. Reid acknowledged that the exact lineup of games will be almost the same for all markets, but not every title will be available. He said, "For any games that are not initially included, especially any particularly notable titles, we will be working hard to bring those to our international audience."

GameTap also announced its "GameTap Originals" brand, a way to publish new content. We already knew about Sam & Max, released today, and Myst Online: Uru Live, being released in December; both of those games will receive the Originals label.

Reid couldn't specify, but said that other developers and titles are on the way. He also said that exclusivity -- Sam & Max will also be offered from Telltale next month -- will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

While the news is anti-climactic for American gamers, Canadians -- and eventually other regions -- can now ponder the subscription-versus-ownership question for themselves.

See also: Gametap for $5 paid in advance

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