Interval Group, the research organisation set up by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has created three new companies to commercialise three projects in the games and Internet markets.
The companies will be funded through venture capital but analysts are speculating whether, even with cutting edge products, the companies can draw sufficient investment.
Two of the companies are addressing what Allen claims are untapped areas of the games world. Purple Moon will market interactive adventure games aimed at seven to 12-year-old children, particularly girls. Interval claims it will corner the virtually unaddressed female computer games market, having done extensive research into how girls' approach to games differs. This idea was also raised by Microsoft a few weeks ago when it made its own stepped-up attack on the seasonal games space.
The second games company, Ogopogo Studios, will market games designed to be played by many children at one time using computer-generated images combined with live video. The intention is to move the child away from sitting at a monitor and keyboard, towards running around acting out role-plays.
The third venture is Carnelian, whose products will enable businesses operating over the Internet to copyright their products and charge subscribers. The system will also enable businesses to 'push' their products to the Internet customer, rather than the customer searching for them.
Details of the three ventures remain sketchy - in typical Interval style sufficient information has been released to whet the appetites of the world media, with details to follow. The companies should be up and running in the first half of next year.
Paul Allen was the co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates and ran the product side of the company until 1983, when he relinquished daily involvement for health reasons, retaining a 13 per cent share. The rest of his life has largely involved taking small IT companies under his wing. The Paul Allen Group now encompasses more than 40 companies.
Interval Research was set up in 1992 as a 'wired world' think tank, under the control of David Liddle. The scope of Interval research stretches from interactive entertainment to online journalism.
The Californian company employs more than 70 specialists in fields varying from film making and cognitive psychology to software engineering. They are given free rein to research anticipated computer use in the future and to develop products based on the results.
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