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And then suddenly Hitman: Blood Money was free to play in a web browser.
Core Online, Square Enix’s foray into the world of online gaming, is a system that lets you play ad-supported HD games in your browser, where you earn gaming time by watching ads. And they’re launching it with one of the more loved Hitman games, Blood Money, along with Mini Ninjas. I have taken a look, and it’s safe to say the system is in something of a mess at the moment. But it remains an interesting idea.
Square Enix is launching a new Web-based gaming portal that offers some of the company's back catalog for free. The "CoreOnline" service lets you play Hitman: Blood Money or Mini Ninjas by either watching advertisements between chunks of the games, or paying a fee to bypass them.
The CoreOnline site (via GI.biz) only boasts those two games so far, but promises others on the way like Tomb Raider Underworld and Gyromancer. Save data is also stored on the cloud, so you can pick up from a different computer or browser at any time.
This isn't the first time the publisher has experimented with cloud gaming. During the launch of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the publisher included a free OnLive version of the game with every retail copy, leading to a scuffle with GameStop. It appears Square Enix is now more interested in pursuing its own platform, instead of partnering with the beleaguered streaming company.
"Square Enix is at the forefront of experimentation of new business and services models in the game industry," said Square CEO Yoichi Wada. "Through our CoreOnline technology service, users can access our content easily through the browser."