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AOL prepares to make play for gaming market

The online giant plans to challenge Microsoft's dominance in the gaming world by aggressively targeting gaming consoles and wireless devices.

America Online plans to challenge Microsoft's dominance in the gaming world, a top AOL executive said today.

Though Microsoft holds the top spot for games on PCs, AOL plans to aggressively target gaming consoles and wireless devices, chief operating officer Bob Pittman said in a speech at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, according to Reuters.

Both companies are eyeing interactive gaming and aim to position themselves as the dominant brand in homes full of interconnected devices.

Microsoft has said it is working on its own gaming device, the Xbox. AOL has unveiled its AOL Anywhere project and aims to place the service on wireless devices and Internet appliances.

Almost 80 percent of people using PCs are playing Microsoft games, according to a report from market research firm Media Metrix.

The gaming world is undergoing a metamorphosis driven by interactive game consoles such as Sony's PlayStation 2 and Sega's Dreamcast, Pittman said in his keynote speech.

"The future is that consumers want content anywhere, anytime," Pittman said. "Players will play games on consoles, personal computers, handhelds (and) cell phones."

Sony unveiled the second version of the PlayStation this week, while Sega announced new competitive pricing plans and enhancements to its SegaNet online service. Both companies are positioning their devices to be the linchpins in homes full of connected interactive devices, instead of to be just game players.

Reuters contributed to this report.