Total Entertainment Network
(TEN) was an online gaming service that existed from September, 1996 until October, 1999. T E Network, Inc., which created and operated the TEN service, was formed from the merger of Optigon Interactive and Outland in June, 1995 when they received their first round of venture capital funding from Vinod Khosla, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
The service offered PC game players a place to play DOS and Windows-based games online with and against other players, to chat, to download game-related content, and to compete for high scores and to win tournaments. The service was bundled with many PC games and offered as a subscription service. Some of the games supported on TEN include Duke Nukem 3D, NASCAR Racing Online Series, Magic: The Gathering Online, ARC, AD&D's Dark Sun Online, Quake, Quake 2, Shadow Warrior, Wulfram, Warheads, Master of Orion II, Blood, WizWar, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Command & Conquer, Panzer General, Twilight Lands, Diablo, Warcraft, Deadlock: Planetary Conquest, Big Red Racing, Myth, and Total Annihilation.
Many online games, especially PC games adapted for online game play, require low and consistent latency to play well. It was a major challenge circa 1996 for consumers to find consistent low latency connections to central servers or to other game players because of the latency intrinsic to dial-up modems and the heavy congestion at the Internet peering points. T E Network, Inc. partnered with Concentric Network Corporation to offer consumers Internet access dial-up numbers that would provide the reliable low latencies they needed to play online games. Concentric optimized their network and their dial-up technology for the TEN service. Concentric also received venture capital financing from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
After the success of Blizzard Entertainment's free Battle.net service for Diablo and their claim that offering online play as a feature of the game boosted retail sales by 10%, PC game publishers started following Blizzard's lead and offering free online game play. This undermined the subscription business model of TEN and their strategy to be the exclusive place to play popular PC games online. As Internet advertising was starting to gain traction, T E Network decided to focus on easy-to-access and easy-to-play browser-based games that would appeal to a broad audience and attract enough unique users to drive an advertising-based business model. T E Nework, Inc. became Pogo.com, Inc. to pursue this new strategy.
The first Total Entertainment Network (TEN) service was an online gaming network and community portal developed by Optigon Interactive. Optigon Interactive was founded by Daniel Goldman and Janice Linden-Reed in 1991 and launched a beta nationally in 1994 via Sprint's X.25 dial-up network.. The brand was developed in conjunction with Alan Buder, from Colossal Picture, and Michael Lipscomb. It was an online service with a DOS client that offered Chess, Checkers, SimCity, email, and chat. The entire executive management team Optigon went on to become the executive management team for TE Network, joined by CTO David King from Outland.