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Netspace opens online game school

Broadband Internet service provider, Netspace has opened a school for anyone who is willing to learn the "art of online gaming."Gameschool, a new addition to Netspace's online game network Gamespace, is the first online school in the country dedicated to teaching people the art of playing online computer games in "a safe and supportive environment".

Broadband Internet service provider, Netspace has opened a school for anyone who is willing to learn the "art of online gaming."

Gameschool, a new addition to Netspace's online game network Gamespace, is the first online school in the country dedicated to teaching people the art of playing online computer games in "a safe and supportive environment".

The school is a free service that aims to attract more people to online gaming.

"The declining price of broadband and improved availability has accelerated the popularity of multiplayer online gaming -- moving the market from niche status to mainstream popularity," said Stuart Marburg, managing director of Netspace.

Marburg said that after talking to customers, Netspace found that newcomers often regarded online gaming as intimidating, frustrating and confusing as there was limited help available or opportunity to learn the skills required to enjoy games. He added that customers also sought for help from more knowledgeable friends on how to play online.

"Gameschool caters for people who are new to online gaming and seeks to provide an environment where they can learn the do's and don'ts, techniques and general etiquette of online gaming in a structured, secure and heavily moderated environment," Marburg said.

Students are able to play online against other Gameschool students on servers that are not open to general users. Students can also take advantage of learning and training materials as well as an online community specifically set up for students.

Gameschool opens with lessons in playing Unreal Tournament 2004 and Half-Life Rally, with more games to be added based on demand.

Class sizes is limited to 12 users to ensure each player "receives the attention they need". He assured that the school will be monitored in order to make sure "game bullies" do not deliberately try and cause grief for new students. Individual tuition is also available outside normal class hours.

Gameschool, which opened on Thursday, is available seven days a week and starts from 8pm to 9pm.

Marburg said that so far they are attracting communities of gamers who are moving away from other ISPs in order to join their friends and enjoy "optimum gaming".

Netspace customers get free download for Gameschool and game services. Marburg said the sessions are using demo versions of the games so students do not have to buy the full version.

There is no age range for interested participants of Gameschool. However, Marburg assures that the school does not recommend games that have adult content.

"The games we have are very mainstream. We don't support people who are playing games with adult classification," he said.

Marburg added that they are not too worried about kids spending more time on the computer to join Gameschool since they found that most gamers who are interested are adults.

"We are big believer of parents supervising their children in using the Internet. However, we are finding that many people who are joining the school or interested to join are actually adults. The kids tend to handle the game relatively quickly," he said.