“Pogo.com” is a free online gaming website that offers over 100 casual games from brands like Hasbro and PopCap Games. It offers a variety of card and board games like First Class Solitaire and Monopoly to puzzle, sports and word games like Scrabble. It is owned by Electronic Arts and is based in Redwood Shores, CA..
The website is free due to advertising sponsorships. Players can also sign up for Club Pogo, a subscription service that includes premium benefits and does not include advertisements. Games are played in a browser with the Java-plugin or Flash. Games load in a "room" allowing other players to join and chat.
Players can win jackpot prizes and tokens from playing the games on Pogo.com. Tokens are no longer used in sweepstakes drawings as of December 2010. Players can place bets of tokens on some games, such as Texas hold em poker and High Stakes poker. Cash and merchandise prizes are available to U.S. and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec. Players in the UK can win merchandise prizes.
Pogo also offers downloadable games, often "deluxe" or "to go" versions of already-released games, which can be bought and played while offline. Some of these downloadable games include chat and tokens, similar to the original games. Since 2006, Pogo.com has consistently been a top-10 Internet site for U.S. visitors when measured by time spent online.
T.E. Networks first major service was a newly designed version of the Total Entertainment Network (TEN), which it launched in 1996. While the brand remained the same, the feature set was a subset of Optigons version of TEN, with the addition of features related to low latency game play. T.E. Network entered additional partnerships with major game developers, and offered gamers a way to play their favorite games with other people across the country. TEN was an immediate success among the hardcore gaming community. The services initial flagship game was Duke Nukem, and SSIs DarkSun RPG found a solid following on TEN. Ultimately the most popular title would be NASCAR Racing Online, with peak simultaneous usage of about 1700 people.
After the success of Blizzards free Battle.net service for Diablo and their claim that offering online play as a feature of the game boosted retail sales by 10%, PC game publishers started following Blizzards lead and offering free online game play and/or building matchmaking functions directly into the game (e.g. Quake II). This undermined the subscription business model of TEN and its strategy to be the exclusive place to play popular PC games online. In addition, TENs revenue model suffered from the fact that its largest direct competitor Mplayer.com decided to abandon paid subscriptions and moved to a purely ad-supported free play model. With the failure of TEN to reach a critical mass of players, the company needed a new business model and offering to survive.
The company found success with its second major service: a web offering that would become pogo.com. As Internet advertising was starting to gain traction, the company decided to focus on easy-to-access and easy-to-play browser-based games that would appeal to a broad audience and attract enough unique users to drive an advertising-based business model. The corporate strategy shifted from acquiring exclusive game content to securing exclusive distribution relationship, while the client platform changed from a Windows executable to a browser-based java applet. Excite was their first partner. T.E. Network acquired Michael Riccios WebDeck service, which offered Java-based versions of Euchre, Spades, and Hearts that ran in the popular web browsers circa 1998, to accelerate this transition.
In July 1998, the company launched this web-based offering as "Excite Games by TEN" and built a large audience by offering co-branded browser-based games to many of the portals available in 1998. The Pogo.com brand was launched on September 1, 1999, and the company renamed itself to Pogo.com. Pogo grew quickly, eventually outpacing its competition to become the "stickiest game site on the Internet."
Some of their distributions partners included Excite, WebCrawler, Netscapes Netcenter, Prodigy, Geocities, CNET, Snap.com, Road Runner, Go, @Home Network, AltaVista, Sony Station, XOOM, and iVillage. Pogo.coms games and community were very engaging and Pogo.com became the stickiest site among the top-100 Internet sites.
Launched on July 23, 2003, Club Pogo is Pogo.coms premium subscription-based service. Perks to subscribers include exclusive members-only rooms, no ad interruptions, graphic emoticons (smileys), private chat, "Pogo Minis" (avatars) (which later became available to free Pogo members), double jackpot spins, and over 40 exclusive games. Exclusive Club Pogo games include Jungle Gin, Canasta, Jigsaw Detective, Lottso, Mahjong Garden, Texas Holdem Poker, and Word Search Daily, among many others. Club Pogo members can also earn Badges by completing challenges in various games.
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