The Total Entertainment Network was founded in 1995 through the merger of Outland, the first commercial game network available on the Internet, and Planet Optigon, another small company based in Emeryville, CA. Users paid between $10 and $30 a month for access to TEN's library of exclusive and nonexclusive games, which were generally PC titles that were adapted for online Internet play.
TEN's most popular titles were Duke Nukem 3D, NASCAR Racing Online, Magic: The Gathering, Total Annihilation, and Dark Sun Online. At its height, there were over 25 thousand paid subscribers, with peak simultaneous usage ranging between 1-2 thousand players in the evening hours. In this era before widespread broadband availability and adoption, a key competitive advantage was relatively high quality online play through dial-up connections provided by the Concentric Network, servers distributed at the Internet peering points, as well as games that were optimized specifically for WAN latency conditions.
After the rise of free online play through such venues as BattleNet, TEN was forced to change its business model. The company switched its offering to a suite of web games and renamed itself to Pogo.com. The PC gaming service was shut down in October, 1999, but the web game business grew dramatically. In 2001, Pogo.com was acquired by Electronic Arts, the dominant video game publisher of the era. Several years later, Pogo ranked as one of the top ten Internet sites in the U.S. measured by time spent online.
Two of the founders of TEN have gone on to establish BestInClass.com, a new kind of product research site that offers expert product recommendations. The site currently focuses on identifying the best camera for a consumer's individual needs. Visitors can also select one particular need, such as Canon camera, and browse the experts' top picks for different budgets, sizes, and desired uses.
November 18, 2021 Subject:
A part of gaming history my kids miss a lot
Paying for access to TEN way back was a much better alternative at the time than trying to store a lot of floppy discs and CD's in our tiny little house. They had a lot of good games and we actually had three phone lines so two kids at once could get different games they liked.
I was sorry to see them go and wish everyone who worked there the best. It's too bad this demo CD doesn't actually have the games on it.