Gamedek Flies Solo

29 April 2004

Looking to take advantage of the growing popularity of online games among women, Arkadium Inc. this week launched the official Web site for its Gamedek games system.

The flagship site, Gamedek.com, debuts 10 months after the product was rolled out via affiliate sites. The resounding popularity of the games at licensee sites, such as Oxygen.com and the New York Daily News' official site, led to the creation of a site specifically dedicated to the games.

Arkadium first rolled out the downloadable version of Gamedek in 201 and increased its presence in 2002 and 2003 by inking deals with main-stream Web sites like Oxygen.com and the New York Daily News' official site. The agreements were aimed at targeting women and casual gamers alike.

The browser-based games offered at Gamedek.com are very similar to those available through the downloadable package, but according to CEO Kenny Rosenblatt, is more suitable to the majority of its customers.

"We have a lot of women playing with us," Rosenblatt said. "They seem to be more comfortable staying within the browser. They are familiar with the refresh button and so forth. It was pretty user-friendly downloadable system but there was such a demand for the browser-based version it only made sense for us to do it."

Users who prefer the downloadable version, he said, will still have that option.

Through the new site, players can take advantage of Arkadium's peer-to-peer games aimed at the casual online gamer. Arkadium bills Gamedek.com as the only ad-free gaming site on the Internet, a major plus in Rosenblatt's eyes.

"It means our players don't have to wait five seconds for games to load because they get hit with an ad," he said. "They don't have pop-ups showing up when they are in the middle of a game either. Not to mention we feel like we have the best technology out there for the backend of these games."

In addition to the site's 60-plus ad-free games, new enhanced features include multiplayer avatars, animated emotions and creative sound bytes. Players can also create their own password-protected tournaments, play for free, download enhanced games and play for cash prizes.

Among the available games is Arkadium's online version of the very popular Reader's Digest game "Word Power," which debuted last month on the Reader's Digest Web site.

Jessica Rovello chairman of Arkadium, said the company has found niche by targeting the casual gamer, however, she also feels that Gamedek.com is one of the most advanced sites on the Internet.

"Gamdek.com takes all of the best features of our previous products and integrates them into a browser setting for anytime, anywhere access," Rovello said. "We're very excited to bring all gamers and our corporate partners the most robust community-based game destination online."

Gamedek also uses instant messaging to connect players in peer-to-peer challenges. Rosenblatt said if a group of friends wants to set up a tournament, Gamedek.com can accommodate.

"If there is a bridge club or a sorority somewhere and they want to get their members together for an online tournament, we can do that with any of our games," he said. "A lot of people are still kind of leery about going online and playing games against people they don't know. This way a group can get together and only allow invited players to join their tournament."

With an ad-free business model, Arkadium relies on turning the casual gamer on to cash-based games and tournaments.

"We make our revenues from those players that buy into tournament and head-to-head competition by taking a percentage of the stake," Rosenblatt explained. "We offer a monthly subscription for those players that tend to play more frequently than others and then users can buy extra add-ons that enhance their avatars and profile."

The goal, he said, is to become the leading gaming portal.

"We want to try and create as many doorways to our system as possible," he said. "Hopefully we can grow it enough to where Gamedek.com becomes a destination site for casual gamers everywhere."




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