As a public sector service, it is rare for the BBC to do much which involves users paying money. Most of the games and just about all the content on the BBC site are free to view around the world, regardless of whether or not you have paid your licence fees. In most cases, you do not even have to log in.
However, as the BBC search for new ways to make money in a world that is not really sure they want to continue paying those licence fees BBC Worldwide has launched their very first pay to play game based on the television quiz show, The Weakest Link.
The game has been set up and launched by Amuso.com and the BBC will not be taking money themselves from players. In fact, there is already a version of the game available from the BBC website for free, but this new game can be played for as little as £1, with jackpots typically reaching over £100.
Amuso also run a variety of different games on their site, including the ever popular Bingo.
The BBC is being careful not to have their name associated with any of the perceived stigma of gambling. They believe that their online protection systems should prevent younger users from attempting to gamble, and if a player tries to make a deposit of larger than £50, scanned age verification will be required.
Robert Nashak, Vice President of Digital Entertainment at BBC Worldwide stated:
“BBC Worldwide is always keen to extend a brand beyond the traditional use, and social gaming is one of great interest to us.”
As for the game itself, it plays much like the popular quiz show. Players begin competing against each other answering a variety of questions in a quick fire quiz show style, the winner walking away with the money. The question is whether the success of this kind of game, which will no doubt net the BBC a certain amount of cash every time that it is played, might prompt them to expand their range further and increase the amount of titles on offer, or even include casino fruit machines and more.