Game time for Showtime

Cable channel's upcoming On Broadband Networks will offer online video game trials, rentals and downloads.

The company that brought you Robert Redford's Sundance Channel, comedy series Weeds and drama series The L Word now plans to offer you video games.

Showtime Networks has partnered with game publisher Broadband Libraries to offer an online gaming channel, the companies announced Friday.

On Broadband Networks, as the joint venture is called, will offer free, subscription, rental and on-demand options to customers who have access to either high-speed DSL or cable modem broadband service.

Scheduled to launch this spring, On Broadband Networks will roll out six full-feature games with unlimited playtime. At the end of each month, players will have the option to buy any of the featured games.

Additionally, On Broadband Network's game store, also set for a spring launch, will sell more than 500 games marketed with a variety of free-trial, rental and purchase options. Users will be able to play the games both online and, for those they download, offline.

On Broadband Networks would be a competitor to Turner Broadcasting's GameTap gaming network that brought back fan favorites like Uru Live. According to analysts, that gaming network has become a place for smaller game companies to go in the face of big-publisher dominance in the game industry.

On Broadband Networks appears to be aiming for that same niche.

"We've spent the last 18 months developing this new delivery model and have kept gamers top-of-mind so that our service will allow broadband providers to give their subscribers the best possible game experience. This was built from the ground up exclusively for them," Peter von Schlossberg, general manager of On Broadband Networks, said in a statement.

Showtime Networks is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CBS television network, which has also branched out into the broadband space. CBS launched its own broadband channel, InnerTube, in May 2006. The channel features some episodes of CBS prime-time television shows, behind-the-scenes shorts and original programming specifically developed for broadband delivery.

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