Trion secures $70 mil in investments

Latest round raiseswar chest to close to $100 million

SAN DIEGO -- 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.

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 graphic 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.

There are some server-based games available, but Trion's goal is to offer games with the detailed graphics and intense gameplay found only on disc-based titles, Buttler said, stressing that the participation of such major media companies as Time Warner and NBC Universal is a lot more than these companies making sure they are on the financial ground floor of what could be the next big trend in interactive entertainment.

"They also see partnering with us as a chance to take their own IP into promote it through server-based games," he said.

Trion already is working with NBC Universal-owned Sci Fi Channel on a new TV series/online game, reportedly set to debut in 2010. "We literally have the creative people at Trion and Sci Fi working together, and the TV pilot and game will launch at the same time," Buttler said. "Every week as the story line of the TV show changes, the game will change accordingly, so you'll be able to watch the show and then fire up your console or TV show and explore the world."

Buttler added server-based games allow for multiple business models, including subscriptions, micro-transactions and advertising, while at the same time eliminating any piracy concerns.