Square Enix Coreonline offers top-tier games on the web for free -- if you feed the ad meter

It's not hard to see that offering high-quality games through the cloud has its pitfalls, not the least of which is getting customers to pay. Square Enix may have licked that last problem through its new Coreonline web gaming service. Players can still pony up for the full-priced games or even single levels if they want unfettered access, but the cleverness comes through Coreonline's parking meter approach to ad-supported free play: the more ads you watch and the longer they run, the longer you'll get to play without spending a single coin. As our colleagues at Joystiq found out, however, the current level of OS support is inconsistent. Windows gamers can use Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer to start playing, but their Mac-owning friends have to lean on Chrome for some games and can't even consider running the marquee title, Hitman: Blood Money. Square Enix's library of eligible games will start expanding in October; while there's no guarantee the Final Fantasy series or many other dream games will make it to the roster, Coreonline's approach might just be viable enough to spare us a few raids on the bargain bins.

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SQUARE ENIX Announces COREONLINE, A Technology Service For High Definition Games In The Browser

LARA CROFT, HITMAN, and Other Games to be Made Available on Service

TOKYO, Aug. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- SQUARE ENIX HOLDINGS CO., LTD. today announced a new technology service for high definition games in the browser called COREONLINE. Developed by studio, a wholly owned Square Enix Group subsidiary, COREONLINE allows users to easily play popular, console quality games on the web.

"Square Enix is at the forefront of experimentation of new business and services models in the game industry," said Yoichi Wada, chief executive officer of Square Enix Holdings. "Through our COREONLINE technology service, users can access our content easily through the browser."

Games on COREONLINE are made available via a combination of Google and Square Enix's proprietary technology, which allows for support of Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. COREONLINE is easy to use, allowing players to click on a level and start playing instantly, and giving them the ability to start from any part of the game they wish.

Aspects of the user experience such as saves and achievements are managed in the cloud, and can be accessed from the browser. In the future, COREONLINE services may be a feature of Square Enix's global online services.

Also launched today is a new business model for COREONLINE, enabling free content supported by video advertising, similar to television advertising. Users can elect to skip advertisements by purchasing levels and entire games.

Titles available at launch include HITMAN: BLOOD MONEY, from the famed HITMAN franchise, and MINI NINJAS. LARA CROFT AND THE GUARDIAN OF LIGHT, the award-winning title announced in collaboration with Google at their Google IO event in June 2012, will launch at COREONLINE in October. Also under development for COREONLINE is TOMB RAIDER: UNDERWORLD, from the famed TOMB RAIDER series, and GYROMANCER, the first title available on the service from Square Enix Japan. Further titles from Square Enix's worldwide lineup of content are intended to be made available within the next year.

For more information on COREONLINE please visit