, APRIL 9, 2007
 (STAR) By Liv Campo - With the advent of the Internet, people can now meet different people from across the globe. Online chatting has already proven that — thousands of Filipino women, for example, have found their partners through the Internet. But for those who only want to play and have fun, online gaming has always been there to give them that.

Playing online games has actually come second to e-mailing with more than 60 percent of Internet users into it. And most of these gamers — hardcore or neophyte — are males aged 15 to 40.

So what do they get from playing online games? IP e-Games marketing director Ed Pasion said these players may be in a virtual world but they are actually in a real world, most of them, once reserved individuals, becoming more experienced in the world of communication. It is basically playing the game, Pasion stressed, but by doing so these gamers forge alliances with their fellow gamers and that’s where the friendship starts. In fact, IPVG Corp. CEO Jaime Enrique Gonzalez and IP e-Games president Steve Tsao first met online and later became business partners.

"From here they can practice communication and interact with other people," Pasion told the press during a briefing at the Plantation Bay where IP e-Games held the three-day Second RAN Online Global Conference last March 22-24.

The event was participated in by game operators from Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, and China, who all shared their winning strategies in e-Games. Gonzalez and Tsao also shared their own success story and phenomenal rise to Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) leadership in the country.

Of the five online games considered hot in the country today, RAN Online is the second favorite. And it is IP e-Games Philippines, the first online gaming company in the country, to introduce online play for free in March last year. It has 3.5 million registered users today.

RAN Online is a campus-based MMORPG that has become dominant in less than year since it was introduced because of the company’s adoption of the free-to-play model.

Any gamer who subscribes to RAN Online (www.ranonline.com.ph) can play the game for free but he or she can also choose to buy items from the store or have his or her personal store. RAN Online gamers can actually procure the ability to open personal stores to sell their own items to their fellow gamers, and these personal stores sell items that cannot usually be found, but can come at a high price. Thus, Pasion said, the game also teaches their gamers the basics of trading.

For a brief overview of this game, RAN Online focuses on the students of three campuses — Sacred Gate, Mystic Peak, and Phoenix, while a fourth school — Leonine — has mysteriously become dangerous because of the failure of the school’s protective shields that stop their students from mutating, thus players must find out what happened to Leonine as they progress.

Players can create two initial characters which can be later increased with the help of "Character Cards" as they play along as students of the school. They can also be either a male or female student depending on what class they are going to create. And as the game progresses, players can add points or purchase equipment from the stores that can increase their evasion, defense and accuracy. Equipment can also be upgraded, if desired.

During the last quarter of last year, IP e-Games Philippines launched two additional games — Supreme Destiny, a classical fantasy MMORPG for those looking for sword and sorcery, and Audition: Online Dance Battle that gives music lovers the chance to go online dancing using their online characters. IP e-Games Philippines is expected to launch two more online games within the year.

"The Philippines can be the flagship model for online games and developers will take notice of what we have achieved and what we can do," Tsao said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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