$70 mil for gamer puts biz biggies in play


Broadband game publisher Trion World Network has closed a $70 million Series C funding round, including investments from Time Warner, Bertelsmann and Peacock Equity, the joint venture between NBC Universal and General Electric.

In another unrelated digital investment, MTV Networks announced Monday the acquisition of social networking company Social Project.

This latest round raises Trion's war chest to close to $100 million as the company looks to change video games from a static retail product to an online-connected, server-based offering.

"Trion is set to redefine today's electronic entertainment sector through its ability to develop compelling broadband-connected games, innovative entertainment content and strong business relationships," said Tom Byrne, managing director and group head of Peacock Equity.

In Trion's server-based gaming model, consumers only have to download a thin client on their PC or console that holds essential graphics and audio. "But everything that makes the game a game — including world data, player data and transactions — will be residing on our very powerful server architecture," Trion co-founder and CEO Lars Buttler said.

Financial terms of the MTVN deal were not disclosed. MTVN already had a minority stake in Social Project, formerly known as Tag World, developer of the company's Flux social networking technology. (partialdiff)