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Yahoo Growing Online Games

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, February 17, 2005

Growing the online game business at Yahoo! Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's a site that attracts more than 22 million people a month… people who gather to play online pool, poker, chess, mahjong and an ever growing list of games. While many are free, supported by advertising, Yahoo! Games general manager Geoff Graber says subscription services like video games on demand….and games for cell phones are growing…

"It is a very important strategic space for the company. We think we've got a great deal of interaction with our users in the space. And we're making a lot of changes. We're putting investment in in many different areas. Not only on the PC…but on many other devices. For example, mobile…we've got six games already out where we've just been testing the market a little bit with Verizon. But broadband, of course, beyond the PC, might be in the living room for example. And we're also looking at different business models beyond what we're playing with today…advertising and these kind of premium services as I mentioned. There's many others we're going to play with and different kinds of games as well."

Poker is everywhere….but Yahoo! is at a bit of a disadvantage in trying to lure serious players…

"We're probably not going to be an online gambling site, you might guess, because we're a U.S. company and operating here in the U.S. and that's not a legal thing to do here."

Yahoo! does face competition in online games from AOL and Microsoft….but so far, at least, not from search rival Google. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.