July 2008 Archives

PixelJunk Eden is now available for the PlayStation 3 through the PlayStation store.
NCsoftNCsoft has added the ability for players to purchase character respecs (respecifications – the re-allocation of character abilities) in its recently combined City of Heroes and City of Villains massively multiplayer online games.
Activision BlizzardActivision Blizzard (merged on July 9) officially reported the stand-alone results for Activision for the fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2008. The numbers were in line with the company's preliminary findings.
Deep Silver, a label of Koch Media, is planning to release Cursed Mountain for the Wii in 2009.
Activision Publishing is collaborating with peripheral manufacturer Logitech to develop and market premium instruments for Guitar Hero: World Tour. Together, they will explore premium instruments for the Xbox360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PlayStation 2.
Lighthouse Interactive has signed on to publish the persistent real-time strategy game Dawn of Fantasy on the PC.
Funcom announced that it is working with Russian publisher 1C to bring a localized version of its massively multiplayer online game Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures to Russia before the end of 2008. This will mark the sixth language that Age of Conan has been localized for.
TurbineTurbine is partnering with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) to release its upcoming expansion to Turbine's massively multiplayer online game The Lord of the Rings Online. WBIE will distribute the Mines of Moria expansion when it is released later this year.
Russian publisher Akella confirmed that it plans to release an English version of its game, tentatively titled Night Watcher, later this year.
Atlus USA's game Spectral Force 3 is now in stores for the Xbox 360.
THQ reported its financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2008.
Crave's game King of Clubs is now in stores in North America for the Wii.
Operation ImmortalityNCsoft and Richard Garriott have announced a remarkable promotion for the massively multiplayer online game Tabula Rasa. When Richard Garriott travels to the International Space Station in October, he plans to bring with him the "Immortality Drive" – a sort-of save game for humanity.
ParadoxParadox Interactive had originally planned to publish TaleWorlds Entertainment's game Mount & Blade in the second quarter of this year. Well, they certainly haven't made that date, but Paradox now says that Mount & Blade is on for a release in North America on September 16 and in Europe on September 19.
Ludlum Entertainment has reacquired the exclusive right to develop, publish and distribute games based on the books written by the late author Robert Ludlum (such as The Bourne Identity and the Covert One series).
MicrosoftIt's Wednesday, and that means that another game has been released for Xbox Live Arcade:
Kuju Entertainment has rebranded its London studio as "Headstrong." Headstrong has developed the Battalion Wars games and is currently working on an unannounced game for Sega, and is exploring other potential projects.
City Interactive has shipped its adventure game for the PC, Art of Murder: FBI Confidential to stores in North America.
Strategy First has released its game UberSoldier II for the PC to stores in North America.
Women's Volleyball ChampionshipAgetec has shipped Women's Volleyball Championship for the PlayStation 2 to stores in North America.
Atlus has delayed the release of Master of the Monster Lair for the DS, originally scheduled for September, until October 21.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts reported the company's preliminary financial results for the fiscal first quarter ended June 20, 2008.
Take-Two InteractiveMLB Power Pros 2008 from 2K Sports, part of Take-Two Interactive, is now in stores in North America.
Namco BandaiNamco Bandai's game Soulcalibur IV is now in stores for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
JoWooD has entered into an agreement with The Games Company (TGC) that will see JoWooD distribute certain of TGC's games internationally.
Sierra Entertainment, part of Vivendi Games (and now Activision Blizzard), has shipped The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor to stores in North America.
Chinese game operator Perfect World has signed a license agreement with United Kingdom game operator Games-Masters.com that will see Perfect World's game Perfect World II reach around forty European countries. The game will be localized into languages ranging from French to Turkish.
As promised in Sony's E3 Press Conference, Sony has launched the "Greatest Hits" collection for the PlayStation 3 today.
THQ's Valusoft label has shipped Hunting Unlimited 2009 for the PC to stores in North America.
SNK Playmore's compilation of classic games, called SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 is now in stores for the Wii.
Disney Online has launched a major content update for its massively multiplayer online game Pirates of the Caribbean Online that adds privateering to the game based on the film trilogy (in turn based on the amusement park ride).
It's been a barely concealed secret for a long time, but the news is finally official: Cryptic Studios (the developer originally behind City of Heroes) has the global rights to develop a massively multiplayer online game based on Star Trek, to be called (gasp!) Star Trek Online.
Ubisoft announced selected financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2008.
Empire Interactive, part of Silverstar Holdings, plans to release Unsolved Crimes on the DS late this year.
NintendoIt's Monday again, and that means Nintendo has released several new games as downloads for the Wii:
Activision BlizzardActivision Blizzard completed the formal combination of Activision and Vivendi Games earlier this month, and is now focusing on integrating the different businesses and franchises. It's been suspected that many of the ongoing Vivendi Games projects would be scrapped, and Activision Blizzard's unit Activision Publishing is shedding some (dim) light on that matter.
MidwayMidway plans to release a compilation of Mortal Kombat games, called the Mortal Kombat: Kollection later this fall.
PopCapPopCap is planning to bring two hidden object games to the DS late this year, Amazing Adventures: The Forgotten Ruins and Mystery P.I.: Portrait of a Thief.

Peggle Coming to the DS

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PopCapPopCap Games is working with Q Entertainment (Meteos and Rez HD) to adapt Peggle for release on the DS in late 2008.
Vivendi reported certain financial results for the first half of the company's fiscal year operations, ended June 30, 2008.
In a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Interplay (the largely defunct game publisher) confirmed that an outstanding dispute has been settled with Atari over the license to create Dungeons & Dragons video games. To end the dispute, Atari has cancelled a Promissory Note under which Infogrames owed Atari $1.05 million. In return, Atari has purchased all the intellectual property rights from Interplay to Dungeons & Dragons games.
Telltale Games confirmed that it is working on an episodic adventure game based on Aardman Animations' Wallace & Gromit. Called Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, the inventor and his even more inventive dog should be released soon on the PC and as a download for the Wii.
BigWorld, an Australian company that sells technology solutions (particularly for massively multiplayer online games) has hired Adam Shaw to head up the company's new Education Program. The program is designed to promote the use of BigWorld's technology to teach about the construction of virtual worlds.
Matrix Games has released the strategy game World War II: Road to Victory, developed by IQ Software.
This week, two new downloadable games are available for the PlayStation 3 through the PlayStation Store, along with a classic game for the PSP:
Mad CatzMad Catz has signed a licensing agreement with Ubisoft that will allow the company to manufacture peripherals for the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Wii, DS and GBA based on the line of Rayman Raving Rabbids series of party games.
Lighthouse Interactive has delayed the release of its strategy game East India Company.
Chinese online game developer and publisher Perfect World has launched an expansion pack for its online game Legend of Martial Arts called The Return of the Storm.

Bully Ships in Japan

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ZeniMax Asia has shipped Bully (the school-themed game from Rockstar Games) under its Bethesda Softworks label to stores in Japan for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2.
TurbineTurbine has released the sixth major content update for its massively multiplayer online game The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.
Crave Entertainment has released its game Purr Pals for the Wii.
Telltale games has released the Sam & Max: Season Two Collector's DVD. The compilation includes the all five episodic adventures from Sam & Max: Season Two along with lots of DVD Special features. The compilation is available to people who have already purchased Sam & Max: Season Two as a download for the cost of shipping.
Mobile publisher Gameloft announced selected financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2008.
Music Video Games (MVG), a recently formed casual game publisher, has entered into an agreement with Rhino Entertainment (part of Warner Music Group) that will see Rhino advising MVG on its selection of music for MVG games.
KonamiKonami is currently working on Time Hollow for the DS. The game is currently scheduled to be released in time for this year's holiday season.
D3Publisher of AmericaD3Publisher of America has launched Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords - Revenge of the Plague Lord for the Xbox 360 as a premium downloadable expansion for its puzzle/role-playing game Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords.
SouthPeak GamesMister Slime from SouthPeak Games has shipped for the DS to stores in North America.
SCi EntertainmentSCi Entertainment, parent of Eidos, reached an agreement yesterday to sell its Spanish distribution business (Proein SL) to Koch Media. SCi has entered into a distribution agreement with Proein so that the company will continue to distribute SCi's games in Spain.
Building on its recent partnership with Kaplan Test Prep, Aspyr Media is working on a "self-help"-style game designed to help students prepare for the SATs.
MicrosoftIt's Wednesday, and that means that two new games have been released for Xbox Live Arcade:
RealNetworks, in collaboration with Mattel, has launched Uno Undercover as a downloadable game. The game is a twist on the traditional Uno card game that has players taking on computer-themed opponents in an espionage-themed story. The game is already available through some online portals, and will reach retail stores later this year.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has signed on with United Talent Agency (UTA), hiring UTA to represent EA's games to pursue development of such games into television and film. Electronic Arts confirmed that a script for a The Sims film is currently in development at 20th Century Fox, and an animated DVD is being developed for its upcoming horror title, Dead Space. EA hopes that UTA will help bring more such projects to fruition.
Zoo Games has shipped Order Up! for the Wii to stores in North America.
Konami's game New International Track & Field for the DS is now in stores.
Atlus USA's game Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns for the DS is now in stores in North America.
SplitFish, the company behind a line of PlayStation 3 controllers (especially the FragFX motion stick and mouse), has entered into an agreement that will see Zurich-based Living Picture be the exclusive worldwide distributor for SplitFish's current and future controllers.
Scholastic Interactive plans to release Goosebumps HorrorLand for the Wii, PlayStation 2 and DS in October of this year.

CDV Opens UK Subsidiary

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CDV Software Entertainment has created a subsidiary in the UK. The UK office will be headed by David Walker, who has formerly held posts at Virgin, THQ and 505 Games. Walker will be supported by Matthew Walker, who will be responsible for the office's marketing efforts.
Square EnixSquare Enix has shipped Final Fantasy IV for the DS to stores in North America.
Earlier this year, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) reported on the weight loss effects produced through Dance Dance Revolution. Today, the ACE released information on the health benefits of playing Wii Sports.
Splash Damage, the developer responsible for Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, is increasing the size of its staff now that it is working on an undisclosed game with Bethesda Softworks.
Casual game developer Rebel Monkey has hired Jeff Kesselman as the company's Chief Technology Officer.
Capcom plans to release Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop for the Wii this winter.
Foundation 9 Entertainment has decided to un-rebrand several of its studios that were grouped under the Amaze Entertainment Studios name.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has once again extended its offer to acquire all the currently outstanding shares of Take-Two Interactive's Common Stock.
NintendoNintendo has released three more downloadable games for the Wii:
by Kyle Ackerman

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was once the biggest event in the world of interactive entertainment. Certainly, to find a show that rivaled E3 in size and importance, you had to go to Japan or Germany. So, for computer and video gaming in North America, E3 was it. Hundreds of journalists, industry analysts and retail buyers vied with thousands of junior retail staff and every fanboy who managed to cajole his way in, to identify the upcoming hits, sleepers, flops and stories of the day. Companies hated it, because to produce a spectacle on that scale, you have to spend staggering sums of money. Developers hated the annual crunch as they tried to get demos done in time for the event. Journalists and businessmen hated navigating the hordes of screaming, sweaty fans trying to make press meetings behind closed doors, even if those closed doors were simply flimsy screens in the middle of the show floor.

So the E3 of old was cancelled, and the E3 Media and Business Summit was born.

Matrix Games, together with the Strategic Studies Group, has released Kharkov: Disaster on the Donets for the PC.
Sony has released several games as downloads for the PlayStation 3 and PSP, including Rayman, Elefunk and Star Trek: Tactical Assault.
Electronic Arts has launched its mobile game Spore: Origins for mobile phones in North America. The game is currently available only through AT&T, but will have more general distribution (and be available for the iPhone) on September 4.
MicrosoftMicrosoft announced its financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter and fiscal year ended June 30, 2008.
NintendoNintendo is proudly gloating about the latest data from the NPD Group, an independent sales tracking company, claiming that around 10.9 million Wii units and 20.8 million DS units have been sold since the launch of each of those two systems.
RoogooSouthPeak Games plans to launch Roogoo, previously released for Xbox Live Arcade and PC, for the DS and Wii.
PopCapPopCap Games' SpinTop label has released Amazing Adventures Around the World as a download for the PC.
cdv Software Entertainment is partnering with Marc Ecko Entertainment to bring I Heart Geeks to the DS in September or October of this year.
Russian publisher 1C has entered into an agreement to acquire its major competitor, Buka Entertainment. 1C and Buka do not currently expect to merge their publishing businesses, but will take advantage of their mutual strengths to develop their respective businesses.
Double D DodgeballYukes Company of America has released its game Double D Dodgeball as a download through Xbox Live Arcade, alongside Konami's Coffeetime Crosswords.
KonamiKonami is currently developing Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore 2 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii.
Publisher cdv Software Entertainment plans to release Lawn Games for the Wii in the first quarter of 2009.
CapcomCapcom has shipped its game We Love Golf! for the Wii to stores in North America.
NCsoftNCsoft has officially merged City of Heroes and City of Villains into a single game. All subscribers to each game now have access to both games. Now, players no longer need a serial code from the other game to unlock both, and City of Heroes customers can now build bases.
Universal Pictures Digital Platforms Group plans to release a game version of the film Wanted that will be published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and is being developed by Grin.
Activision BlizzardActivision Blizzard has launched a self-tender offer that was planned as part of the process of combining the businesses of Activision and Vivendi Games. The offer is to purchase up to 146,500,000 shares of its outstanding common stock at $27.50 per share. This offer is good until 5 PM Eastern Daylight Time on August 13, 2008.
Earlier today, in Sony's E3 press conference Sony confirmed that Sony Online Entertainment is working on a massively multiplayer online game called DC Universe Online
As Sony declared in its press conference today, it is planning a number of new hardware bundles, including a $400 80 GB PlayStation 3.
by Kyle Ackerman

Sony made its E3 presentation this year in the Shriner Auditorium in Los Angeles, a venue that has played host in the past to Microsoft and its Xbox 360-related announcements. On a stage literally dripping in flat-screen LCD televisions, Sony vaunted everything the PlayStation 3 does well – lots of style and spectacle. Led by Jack Tretton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sony presented (in Tretton's words) "A PlayStation brand that's really hitting its stride."

Tretton led the audience through a slew of new features on the PlayStation 3 that promise to make it an incredibly compelling platform, including movies, more downloadable games, and community features such as weather and news. It sounded, and it will be, great... but it would have been better if it had arrived when the PlayStation 3 launched, and not nearly two years later.

NintendoNintendo plans to release another Animal Crossing game, called Animal Crossing: City Folk. The game will provide Wii owners with even more ways to connect with one another through the WiiConnect24 service to share items and discover other players' houses. The game will support the recently announced WiiSpeak microphone for groups.
NintendoNintendo plans to release Wii Sports Resort in the first half of 2009, alongside the Wii MotionPlus accessory. The game will use the ability of the MotionPlus to precisely track movements to let Wii owners engage in activities like sword fighting and throwing a Frisbee. Check out our article on Nintendo's E3 presentation for further information.
Take-Two InteractiveRockstar Games, part of Take-Two Interactive, plans to release Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the DS this winter (so, at the latest, March of 2009).
NintendoNintendo is finally planning to release Wii Music for the Wii this fall. The long-promised software will allow anyone to pick up a Wii Remote or other Wii peripherals and "play" one of around 50 instruments. Check out our article on Nintendo's E3 presentation for more information.
by Kyle Ackerman

Nintendo took the stage this year for its E3 press conference with a quiet and calm confidence. But this was not the vibe of a company that feels it has led the gaming industry into a new segment of gaming that brought millions of new gamers into the fold. This was the quiet confidence of a company with mysterious plans for the future. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's Global President, said that "a true paradigm shift has taken place in the global gaming market." Everyone agrees that Nintendo has opened up a new market and helped popularize casual gaming on consoles. Yet, Nintendo's focus during its press conference was how it plans to change gaming in the future.

Iwata declared that Nintendo strives to continually surprise gamers by "pioneering new paradigms." Iwata and Nintendo's leadership did their best to create the impression that they have plenty of new surprises in store for Wii and DS gamers, but at today's event they unveiled just a few touches, including new games, a microphone for the Wii, Wii Music, the Wii MotionPlus, and new applications for the DS.

Mobile publisher Gameloft has entered into a licensing agreement with Chuck Norris to create a game called Chuck Norris: Bring on the Pain for mobile phones.
Conspiracy EntertainmentConspiracy Entertainment has entered into an agreement with Phenomedia Publishing to distribute Chicken Hunter for the Wii in North America.
Space ChimpsBrash Entertainment has shipped its game Space Chimps, based on the animated film of the same name.
Prey The StarsKoei plans to publish Prey The Stars for the DS this October in North America.
MajescoMajesco has shipped Nancy Drew: The Mystery of the Clue Bender Society for the DS to stores in North America.
Electronic ArtsNCAA Football '09 from Electronic Arts is now in stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and PSP. NCAA Football '09 All-Play is also available for the Wii.
Hudson Entertainment is planning to release Fishing Master World Tour for the Wii in the winter of 2009.
ParadoxParadox Interactive has shipped its game City Life 2008 Edition to stores in North America. City Life 2008 Edition is a city-building simulation for the PC.
What's Cooking? with Jamie OliverAtari plans to release What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver for the DS this October.
Peripheral manufacturer Nyko announced that it plans to release an updated version of its Intercooler peripheral in September.
Eidos, part of SCi Entertainment, confirmed that it plans to release the next Tomb Raider game, Tomb Raider: Underworld, on November 21 in North America and soon after in Europe.

EA to Publish id's Rage

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Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts announced that it is working with id Software (Doom, Quake, etc.) on a game called Rage. Rage will be a first-person shooter that should be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Mac.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts announced that it is creating a game called SimAnimals as part of the line of The Sims games. The game should be released for the Wii and DS in January of 2009.
Electronic ArtsIn it's E3 press conference today, Electronic Arts made a lot of announcements, concerning games and their business. Perhaps the most significant announcement concerned the way in which EA plans to do business, and was mostly ignored by the E3 audience.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts revealed some exciting plans for sports fans and its sports games. EA intends to use the power of the current generation of consoles and internet connectivity to update its sports games, starting with NBA Live '09.

Quote of the Day

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Will Wright, in today's quote of the day (at Electronic Arts' E3 press conference) declared, "Chemistry sets are so nerfed that you could probably eat everything in them and it wouldn't make you sick."

He is, of course, entirely correct.

MicrosoftMicrosoft revealed several new games today, mostly aimed at casual and family gamers. For the full details you should read our feature on Microsoft's announcements at this year's E3, but the new games are:
Activision BlizzardThe recently merged (July 9) Activision Blizzard reported selected preliminary financial results based on the stand-alone performance of Activision in the first quarter of its fiscal year ended June 30, 2009.
MicrosoftAs mentioned in our feature on Microsoft's announcements at this year's E3, Microsoft and Netflix have partnered so that Netflix subscribers with access to Xbox Live will be able to watch their "instant" queue through the Xbox 360. This feature will be implemented in the fall update, and will allow Netflix members to conveniently watch movies that could be watched as streaming video through a PC on the Xbox 360.
by Kyle Ackerman

They say that the Xbox 360 is trailing in the console wars. "They" say. Is that the same "they" that say your shoes are out of style and that Fred or Connie will go home with anyone after a drink or two? Well... yes. It's the enthusiast gaming press saying such things. Microsoft denies it, with the kind of hubris that has characterized past Sony press conferences, where the Japanese giant reveled in its confidence that no one could overtake its recent supremacy in the console space. Microsoft proclaimed its lead, relying on sales figures, upcoming games, and a bevy of features ranging from an interface and avatars designed to emulate the best of the Wii, to family-friendly franchises ripped from previous PlayStations, and Netflix support.

Microsoft may feel that it's in the lead, but it's not afraid to steal the best and brightest ideas from its competition. Read on to see what Microsoft thinks will cinch a lead for its console. Don Mattrick, Senior Vice President of the Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft, was confident enough to proclaim, the "Xbox 360 will sell more consoles worldwide than the PlayStation 3."

Rock Band IIHarmonix, part of MTV Networks, confirmed that it plans to launch Rock Band 2 shortly with Electronic Arts as distribution partner. The game will launch for the Xbox 360 in September, ultimately reaching the PlayStation 3, Wii and PlayStation 2 later this year.
Harmonix, part of MTV Networks, and Electronic Arts plan to distribute the rhythm and music game Rock Band even more broadly than they have already. On July 24, Rock Band will ship to Italy, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. The game will ship for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 in those same territories later this year.
NintendoThis being a Monday, Nintendo has released new downloadable games for Wii users. Today, there are two classic games released for the Virtual Console and one new game released under the WiiWare rubric:

Guitar Hero finds Christ

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Companies like Activision, Harmonix, Konami and Electronic Arts aren't the only ones who have latched on to the rhythm game trend with titles like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Christian publisher Digital Praise is entering the competition with its upcoming entry: Guitar Praise.
Apogee, a company that released games in the 1980s using a shareware distribution model, is returning to publish retail games based on its classic properties, with Scott Miller and Terry Nagy at the helm.
NintendoNintendo plans to release the Wii MotionPlus accessory, although the company wants to hold most of the details for its E3 Media and Business Summit press conference tomorrow. The MotionPlus controller plugs into the Wii Remote and "combined with the accelerometer and the sensor bar, allows for more comprehensive tracking of a player's arm position and orientation." The MotionPlus controller apparently provides "a true 1:1 response" in play. More news tomorrow, we suppose...
The Metadot Corporation, a peripheral manufacturer best known for selling blank keyboards (keyboards with no markings on the keys) is releasing two new keyboards that it hopes will appeal to both gamers and professional typists.
MicrosoftThe rumors have been made official: Microsoft is now offering a larger hard drive with the Xbox 360 console, and offering the old console bundle at a lower price.
AtariAtari hsa hired Jeff Reese as its Vice President of Marketing, further bolstering Atari's executive line-up.
SouthPeakSouthPeak Games plans to re-release the PC version of its role-playing game Two Worlds as the Two Worlds: Epic Edition.
Activision BlizzardYesterday, Vivendi and Activision completed the transaction combining their games businesses and creating Activision Blizzard. Today, to increase liquidity in Activision Blizzard's stock (ATVID) given its stock price, the company approved a two-for-one stock split, The specific date and details of the split will be announced shortly.
AtariAtari plans to release Race Pro late this year for the Xbox 360.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' Mythic Entertainment has launched the "Guild Beta Test" for its massively multiplayer online game Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.
Developer Gamelab and iWin have released Jojo's Fashion Show 2 as a downloadable casual game for the PC.
Brash EntertainmentBrash Entertainment is working on the game version of the upcoming film The Tale of Despereaux and plans to release the game for the Xbox 360, Wii, PC and PlayStation 2 when the film reaches theaters on December 19.
MidwayMidway has hired Craig Duncan to serve as the studio head for Midway Studios in Newcastle, UK. Duncan spent the last five years at Codemasters managing internal and external development.
WolfKing's MVP Trooper Mouse Company: WolfKing
Platform: PC

If you spend much time at all playing first-person shooters, real-time strategy games or other games on the PC where response time and mousing precision are critical, then you know how much better off you are with a high-quality mouse than with that thing that came with your PC, or that your brother found in an old drawer. That makes high-end computer mice important for gamers, and WolfKing has thrown its hat into the ring with the MVP Trooper Mouse.

Games on iTunes App StoreApple has launched the iTunes App Store, selling software applications for the iPod Touch and iPhone. The store went live with around 150 games, including games like:
Perimeter II: New EarthStrategy First has signed on to publish Perimeter II: New Earth, a real-time strategy game for the PC recently announced by KD Lab that continues the tale begun in Perimeter. The game plans to add terraforming to the general formula of RTS games.
Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie SlayersD3Publisher plans to release Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers for the Wii in early 2009.
UK Developer Alten8 has hired Matt Bateman as the company's Head of Visual Arts. Bateman has previously worked at companies including Infospace, Finblade, IOMO, Stainless Games and Wayforward Technologies.
Activision BlizzardVivendi's acquisition of a majority of Activision (that involves transferring Vivendi Games into Activision and creating a new entity called "Activision Blizzard") is now complete.
Deep SilverDeep Silver, a publishing label of Koch Media, plans to release its first game in the US in the second quarter of 2009 – a game called Ride to Hell.
Riot Games, a developer founded in 2006 to create "premium online multiplayer session-based games," has completed a $7 million round of funding that will be used to finance the company's first game.
Take-Two Interactive2K Games, a label of Take-Two Interactive, has signed on to publish Champions Online from Cryptic Studios, the superhero-themed massively multiplayer online game Cryptic announced in February.
Mechanic MasterMidway is planning to release Mechanic Master this October for the DS. The game will have players using the DS touchscreen to build Rube Goldberg machines to perform simple tasks like turning on a light bulb.
SouthPeak Games plans to release Brave: A Warrior's Tale for the Xbox 360, Wii and PSP late this year.
SouthPeak GamesSouthPeak Interactive has hired Jonathan Hales as the company's new Managing Director of European Markets. Most recently, Hales was at Kalypso Media UK, and will focus on developing SouthPeak's portfolio of games in Europe.

Cesario Joins True Games

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True Games, a recently launched publisher of online games, has hired Peter Cesario as its Director of New Business and Product Development.
Natsume plans to release Princess Debut for the DS later this fall.
Konami has released the mobile version of Hellboy: The Stench of Evil for mobile phones. The game features 12 levels inspired by the comic-book demon turned do-gooder.
Double Fusion is partnering with Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe to deliver in-game advertising on PlayStation 3 games. According to Jonathan Epstein, president and Chief Executive Officer of Double Fusion, "We have already received tremendous support from publishers who want to incorporate ads into their PS3 games, across all of the regions of the world."
Randy JonesDeveloper Running With Scissors likes to include celebrities (or long-past B-list celebrities) in its over-the-top shooter games. For the upcoming game Postal III, the game will include Randy Jones, the cowboy from the village people. The game should be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC in 2009, and while the announcement isn't particularly critical, it does allow us to put a picture of Randy Jones to the right.
Dungeon Runners Retail Box Publisher: NCsoft
Developer: NCsoft

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: Pentium 4 1.6 GHz, 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon 9600 or nVidia FX 5700 Ultra video card or equivalent, 1 GB HD space, internet connection, 16-bit sound card, Windows XP or more recent operating system

Someone has to hack. Or slash. Or retrieve 25 warg pelts for some idiot in town who is too lazy to get them himself, despite owning hundreds of powerful magical weapons. That's why the world needs dungeon runners – those foolhardy folk willing to risk their lives to kill tens of thousands of vicious dungeon dwellers, all for the privilege of finding the fancier weapons and armor that will allow them to kill ever more powerful creatures. And the world still needs Dungeon Runners. NCsoft has dispatched the Dungeon Runners retail pack to prove it.

Middleware provider Quazal is thrilled that its Net-Z middleware solution has been approved for Nintendo's 3rd party tools program. Net-Z is networking middleware for online play, and is available right now for Wii developers to license.
Take Two InteractiveCarnival Games for the DS, from 2K Play (a label of Take-Two Interactive), is now in stores.
Oasys Mobile has launched Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon as a mobile game for phones worldwide.
Take Two Interactive2K Games, one of Take-Two Interactive's labels, has brought its game Civilization: Revolution to stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and DS.
Developer Zoe Mode, the studio formerly known as Kuju Brighton that develops games like the SingStar franchise, plans to open a new studio in London.
Mad CatzMad Catz has renewed its licensing agreement with Microsoft to make Xbox 360-branded carrying cases. The agreement covers backpacks, messenger bags and sling bags for carrying the Xbox 360 and its accessories. It applies to North America, Western Europe and Australia.
Game Party 2Midway is planning sequels to two of its compilations of casual-style games. By the end of the year, the DS will receive Touchmaster 2 (sequel to Touchmaster) and the Wii will get Game Party 2 (obviously, a sequel to Game Party).
ActivisionActivision has started a product line it calls "Wee 1st," a line of games that will debut late this year designed for Wii owners and with a more casual bent.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has released another two downloadable games through Xbox Live Arcade:
Futura Gamers Desk Company: LapWorks
Platform: PC

The living room was once the domain of console gamers. Designed for the couch and family television, playing on a game console meant lounging back on the couch and playing a game displayed on the television. PC gaming, by contrast, has always been the overpowered, braniac cousin, confined to an office or back-room, and not introduced to polite company. That's changing. With HD televisions increasingly common, and gaming PCs capable of driving games at the resolutions those HD televisions can support, PC gamers are asserting their own claim to the living room. Lap Works has created the Futura Gamers Desk for those pioneers who want to play first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, and other PC games on the TV in the living room, lounging on the couch.

ActivisionActivision held its special meeting of stockholders earlier today to vote on issues relating to Activision's upcoming combination with Vivendi Games. According to Activision, "All of the proposals required to effect the transaction received more than 92 percent of the shares voted." As such, The transaction should be completed tomorrow according to plan (or as soon thereafter as possible).
Devil May Cry 4Capcom has shipped Devil May Cry 4 for the PC to stores in North America.
KonamiKonami confirmed that Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero is in development for the DS.
Sega's game Beijing 2008 has shipped for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
UbisoftUbisoft is acquiring Hybride Technologies, a Montreal studio that creates visual effects for film and television. Hybride has contributed effects to films such as Sin City and 300. According to Pierre Raymond, founder of Hybride, "The sharing of technological and creative expertise between Ubisoft and Hybride will position the two companies at the head of the pack in an entertainment industry in rapid evolution."
PlayStation 3Sony recently pulled its v2.40 update for the PlayStation 3 that introduced more Xbox Live-like functionality for the PlayStation 3, including trophies for games. Now, Sony has launched the v2.41 update for the PlayStation 3. This is, essentially, the fixed version of the v2.40 update that now doesn't create massive software problems.
Mad CatzMad Catz has secured the license from Ubisoft to make accessories for the Petz brand of games.
MajescoMajesco has shipped Wonder World Amusement Park for the Wii to stores in North America.
Square EnixSquare Enix has shipped Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon for the Wii to stores in North America.
Blitz: The League IIMidway plans to release Blitz: The League II, another game in Midway's extreme football franchise, late this year.
Song Summoner: The Unsung HeroesSquare Enix has released its iPod game Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes through the iTunes Store.
MidwayMidway has shipped the Xbox 360 version of Unreal Tournament 3 to stores in North America.
MicrosoftMicrosoft and Lionhead previously announced that they would release games for Xbox Live Arcade that would communicate with the upcoming game Fable 2. Today, they confirmed that people who pre-order Fable 2 will get access to these games as part of the pre-order.
In an update on his blog, Robert Bowling (Director of Communications for Infinity Ward, developer behind Call of Duty 4) confirmed that the developer has extended its contract with Activision.
Gameloft has launched NFL 2009 for mobile phones in North America. The football game includes all 32 NFL teams and detailed player statistics, allowing mobile gamers to run 2D football games on their phones.
Away Shuffle DungeonMajesco is partnering Mistwalker and AQ Interactive to release Away Shuffle Dungeon for the DS late this year.
Harvest Moon: Island of HappinessNatsume plans to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Harvest Moon series by releasing two more Harvest Moon games before the end of September (along with plush toys).
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts previously launched the MySims line of games for the Wii and DS, offering an even more casual version of The Sims experience. Today, EA confirmed that it plans to release a MySims game for the PC.
NintendoOnce again, it's Monday, and that means that Nintendo has released more downloadable games for the Wii console:
Aksys confirmed several of the games that it plans to bring to North America this fall. The games include:
Atlus confirmed that it plans to bring Persona 4 for the PlayStation 2 to North America on December 9.
CapcomCapcom has decided that it will open up a subsidiary in France.

Ticket To Ride Review

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Ticket To Ride Publisher: Playful Entertainment
Developer: Next Level Games

Platforms: PC and Xbox 360
Reviewed on Xbox 360

Compete against other railroad barons to connect cities with profitable routes, building the most impressive rail network on the continent in this Xbox Live Arcade version of the classic train-themed board game.

Vir2L, a Zenimax company and sister company to Bethesda Softworks, has placed two of its DS games in stores. Both AMF Bowling Pinbusters! and Ducati Moto are now in stores. The first is, obviously, a bowling game, while the second is a motorcycle racing game.
Battlefield: Bad CompanyThe site Games Abyss has posted an excellent review of Battlefield: Bad Company. The summation: "If all of Bad Company's single-player game were like the final mission, and if the multiplayer game included a conquest style of play, Bad Company would be amazing. As it is, it's merely good enough to tide you over until the multiplayer regains the legendary Conquest modes or the knife gets relegated to the kitchen again.
InsecticideGamecock Media Group has launched the first episode of Insecticide for the PC as a download.
Take-Two Interactive2K Games, one of Take-Two Interactive's labels, has signed on Developer Digital Extremes to help develop the PlayStation 3 version of BioShock. The PlayStation 3 version of BioShock is scheduled to ship to stores in October.
Raven Squad: Operation Hidden DaggerSouthPeak Games has signed on to distribute Raven Squad: Operation Hidden Dagger from Evolved Games for the Xbox 360 and PC.
Lighthouse Interactive named Hans Jose as the company's Director of Operations on July 1. Joes will be responsible for operations in the company's headquarters and managing marketing, sales and distribution of Lighthouse's games.
KD Lab is currently working on Perimeter 2: New Earth for the PC, a sequel to the real-time strategy game Perimeter. KD Lab hopes to release the game late this year, with players once again revisiting a world of territory control and units transformable through nanotechnology.
Take-Two InteractiveRockstar Games, the premier label of Take-Two Interactive, has delayed the release of its racing game Midnight Club: Los Angeles.
ActivisionActivision is busy gloating that since its game for the DS, Guitar Hero: On Tour, (that shipped last month), sold around 300,000 copies in its first seven days of availability.
Silverstar Holdings, parent of Empire Interactive, confirmed that the company expects to reduce the number of employees at Empire Interactive by around 30%. The company plans to accomplish this largely by attempting to sell its Razorworks development studio.
Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card GameSony Online Entertainment and LucasArts plan to release to launch an online collectible card game set in the Star Wars universe later this summer.
While dispatching new screenshots for its game This is Vegas, Midway confirmed that the game has been postponed until 2009. When released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, This is Vegas will have players racing, gambling and managing casinos in an effort to return Vegas to its glory as an adult playground after seeing it transformed to a family friendly resort.
Earlier today, Sony launched its v2.40 update, adding trophies to PlayStation 3 games and providing improved access to the XMB (XrossMediaBar) even in games. Unfortunately, the current version of the update has been causing problems, so Sony has pulled the update until further notice so that the update can be fixed.
Strategy First has released Galactic Dream: Rage of War as a download for the PC.
MajescoMajesco Entertainment plans to release Marker Man Adventures for the DS in time for this year's holiday season.
GameStopRetailer GameStop has entered into an agreement to purchase the New Zealand chain of retail stores called "The Gamesman." The purchase should close in mid-July and will add 38 stores to GameStop's total retail presence.
Square EnixSquare Enix plans to release a remastered version of Chrono Trigger for the DS in time for this year's holiday season.
SCi Entertainment GroupIn April, SCi Entertainment confirmed that Infogrames (parent of Atari) was potentially interested in acquiring SCi. Today, Infogrames confirmed that it does not currently plan to make an acquisition offer for SCi. This is largely due to SCi's recent efforts to raise additional capital.
This week, Microsoft has introduced Soulcalibur as a downloadable game for Xbox Live Arcade, as well as new, downloadable content for Wits & Wagers.
Atlus has shipped its game Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 for the DS to stores in North America.
Descriptive Text Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii
Reviewed on Xbox 360

Few expected the original Guitar Hero to explode into an industry, but with Guitar Hero 3 selling over eight million copies, we should expect a few Guitar Hero titles every year now. The latest entry, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, is a tribute to one of rock's most iconic and enduring bands. With a career spanning four decades, many of Aerosmith's titles are instantly recognizable, even to non-fans. In addition to the 29 Aerosmith songs, there are a dozen non-Aerosmith songs included, ranging from The Clash to Stone Temple Pilots. Beyond that, though, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith's essentially gets you half the content of Guitar Hero 3 for the full price, and doesn't include downloadable songs, making this game fan-centric at best.

DT CarnageAgetec plans to release DT Racing for the PlayStation 2 later this summer. The racing game will have role-playing game elements (such as racer development) and will encourage unsportsmanlike approaches to winning.
FuncomFuncom's massively multiplayer online game Anarchy Online has now been operating for seven years. Funcom points out that over that time, players have been online for around 200 million hours of play.
Mastiff's game Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure is now available for download for the PSP through the PlayStation Store.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts is determined that when it releases FIFA Soccer '09 late this year, it will differentiate the experience available on each platform.
The 11th Annual Independent Games Festival is now accepting submissions for the 2009 festival.
Meteor GamesSome of the people behind the Neopets phenomenon have started a game studio called Meteor Games in West Hollywood, California.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has released four mobile games through carriers in North America:

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