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Games networks play

Will red-blooded American males watch a cable channel dedicated to video games?

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Will red-blooded American males watch a cable channel dedicated to video games? Comcast, America's biggest cable TV operator, hopes so-and is pouring $150 million into G4, a network that carries a full schedule dedicated to these high-tech diversions. G4 is the visual version of those gaming magazines sold in supermarkets: lots of pictures, reviews, tips, and news. The network also plays off its website, including a live show where hosts answer questions off the Web.

The channel reaches about 11 million people right now, but G4 faces many of the same issues as Tech TV, an all-computing channel that has struggled for several years. Also, will G4 be able to offer what gamers already get from each other over the Web?

Still, G4 shows the power of the video-game business. With game sales of $10 billion a year, the industry has spawned numerous magazines and countless websites. Many conventional computer stores-especially those in malls-give less and less space to PC products and more and more to game consoles.

Chris Stamper Chris is a former WORLD correspondent.


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