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Video Game with International Distribution Deal

News Release 6 October 2008

Clocktower Games Launches ‘Casebook’ Video Game with International Distribution Deal

Dunedin-based company Clocktower Games Limited has signed a contract with the world’s largest online distributor of casual video games, Big Fish Games, to distribute its first online game Casebook, Episode I.

Clocktower chairman Graeme Wong said, “In developing Casebook, we have demonstrated that the technology works. We have captured the attention of the world’s largest distributor of online games. The general consensus so far from industry is that this technology will initiate a new genre in video games.”

Clocktower was formed in April 2007 to create games using technology developed by an associated company, Areograph Limited. This technology uses a digital photographic technique to produce photo-real 3D environments, through which players navigate. The improvement in realism is immense, and is several times faster than traditional techniques, which require months of artist and programming time. A resulting innovation is that, because there is no animation involved, Casebook is able to use real characters and locations, without a jarring contrast between gameplay and video sequences.

The computer games industry was worth $20 billion in 2007. On peak days, Big Fish Games has over 1,000,000 visitors. The first episode of Casebook [See:] will cost around US$7.00 (NZD$10.50) and involves players helping Detective James Burton solve a kidnapping by examining a crime scene for evidence, while the detective interviews suspects. Episode II, which is in post-production and will be released later this year, involves a suspicious death.

Clocktower is now developing the technology for car driving games. This will tap a wider audience than that of the mystery genre of casual games into which Casebook fits.

Clocktower’s chief executive Graham Hambleton says, “Driving games account for up to 10% of game sales, representing a $2 billion international market, but have stalled recently as improvements in graphics have slowed. Graphic realism is a critical feature in this type of game. Our technology could rejuvenate driving games by taking players to actual race circuits, rather than typical polygon animation techniques.”

Earlier this year the company received a Technology for Business Growth grant from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology to produce a proof of concept for the driving game.

Areograph and Clocktower believe the technology has a far wider range of applications than just gaming, ranging from movie and advertisement production to virtual tours of museums and art galleries.

Mr Wong says, “The Company is currently focusing on developing games to showcase the technology and produce a return for its shareholders. Its full potential, however, will likely be realised as the technology is adapted and applied to related fields, such as film and advertising production.”

Currently Clocktower develops online games using intellectual property owned by Areograph, but the companies’ directors are exploring the potential to merge the two. This will simplify relationships and provide the necessary scale for future funding options, bringing with it greater liquidity for shareholders. The decision to proceed with the amalgamation will be put before the companies' shareholders for approval later next month.


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