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AOL to Charge Extra for Some Games

June 18, 1997|(Karen Kaplan)

Six months after introducing flat-rate pricing, America Online executives said they will begin charging extra for a revamped package of computer games under the WorldPlay Entertainment brand. Customers will pay an additional $1.99 per hour for the time they spend online playing the premium games against themselves or other AOL members, said Dean DeBiase, president of AOL's WorldPlay unit in Burlingame. The entire package of games will also be available on EarthLink Network and AT&T's WorldNet service, two Internet service providers that compete with Dulles, Va.-based AOL. Some of the games will be developed by AOL Studios and others will be created by outside firms, including Engage Games Online of Irvine. AOL will continue to operate its veteran Games Channel at no extra charge, and Barry Schuler, president of creative development at AOL Networks, said the No. 1 online service has no plans to start charging extra for other types of content. AOL will begin charging for WorldPlay games in mid-July. AOL shares lost 37.5 cents to close at $50.625 on the NYSE.

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