January 2009 Archives

City Interactive Hires Roy

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City InteractivePolish developer and publisher City Interactive has hired Roy Campbell as its Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to joining City, Campbell has worked at companies such as THQ, Rage, Virgin and Infogrames.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts plans to release three more games in the Need for Speed racing franchise over the next three months:
MidwayMidway has given its President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Booty an additional role. In addition to his current responsibilities, Booty is now Chairman of the Board, following the resignation of Peter Brown.
PlayStation 3Sony has released two more downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 through the PlayStation Store:
MajescoMajesco Entertainment has revised its previously released results for its financial year ended October 31, 2008. Rather than the previously announced net income of $2.1 million for the year, Majesco is now reporting net income of $3.4 million for the year. The new results are due to the company settling a securities class action litigation for less than the amount that the company expected.
Flying Lab software is launching a new division called Flying Lab Casual to develop casual-style persistent online games. The team will use the expertise and technology that Flying Lab has developed for its massively multiplayer online game Pirates of the Burning Sea to "create original games that feature expansive universes to explore, brilliant graphics and fun gameplay."
Mobile Publisher Gameloft reported its sales figures for its fiscal fourth quarter and financial year ended December 31, 2008.
Warhammer OnlineMythic Entertainment, part of Electronic Arts, plans to release a major content update for its massively multiplayer online game Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning in early March. Called "Call to Arms," the update will add two new careers, a new dungeon and a new Realm vs. Realm scenario.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts plans to release Boom Blox: Bash Party in the first half of this year. This follow-up to Boom Blox will also be released for the Wii and will continue the puzzle game collaboration between EA developers and Steven Spielberg. The game will feature 400 levels not seen in the first game and twice as many multiplayer challenges as the previous game.
NintendoNintendo reported certain financial results for its fiscal nine-month period ended December 31, 2008. More importantly, Nintendo revised its net profit estimates for the year ending March 31, 2009 substantially downward.
KoeiKoei has shipped its game Nobunaga's Ambition: Iron Triangle for the PlayStation 2 to stores in North America. The game is set in Feudal Japan when Nobunaga Oda strove to unite the region, and has players battling on both land and sea to fulfill Nobunaga's... ambition.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has released FunTown Mahjong as a downloadable game through Xbox Live Arcade. For 800 points, Xbox 360 owners can download this tile game and play Mahjong against the AI or against other players through Xbox Live. The game was developed by FunTown World Limited.
The Entertainment Software AssociationAccording to the Entertainment Software Association (the ESA), "Overall computer and video game industry hardware, software and peripheral sales climbed to $21 billion in 2008, with entertainment software sales comprising $11.7 billion of that total figure..." Those are US sales figures and indicate an increase of 23% in software sales than last year.

Afro Samurai Ships to Stores

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Namco Bandai GamesNamco Bandai Games has shipped its title Afro Samurai for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to stores in North America. This is an action game based on the animated mini-series in which a samurai with a large afro seeks to avenge his father's death.
Sim Animals: Original Videogame Score Artist: Winifred Phillips

The soundtrack for the game Sim Animals, by Winifred Phillips and produced by Winnie Waldron, has been released as an independent download through many popular music sites. Fans can download individual tracks or purchase all 19 tracks for as little as $9.

Take-Two Interactive2K Sports, the sports label for Take-Two Interactive, has gotten its game MLB Front Office Manager into stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the PC. The game has players acting as the general manager of a Major League Baseball franchise in an effort to make their team the premier team in the league.
Delta Force 10th Anniversary CollectionNovaLogic has shipped the Delta Force 10th Anniversary Collection for the PC to stores and made it available as a download. The compilation includes Delta Force, Delta Force 2, Delta Force: Land Warrior, Delta Force: Task Force Dagger, Delta Force: Black Hawk Down and Delta Force: Black Hawk Down - Team Sabre.

Coraline Now in Stores

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D3PublisherD3Publisher's game Coraline is now in stores for the Wii, DS and PlayStation 2. The game is based on the film of the same name that should reach theaters on February 6 (in turn based on the eponymous book).
KonamiKonami has launched the mobile version of Rock Revolution through most carriers in North America. The game lets players use their mobile phone to play the drum, bass, guitar and vocal tracks for a selection of popular songs.
Shareholders of Tecmo and Koei approved the previously planned merger of the two companies. In an announcement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the two video game publishers confirmed that they will both be purchased by a holding company on April 1. Koei stockholders will receive one share of the new stock for each share of Koei stock they own, while Tecmo shareholders will receive 0.9 shares for each share of Tecmo stock. Many companies will hold off on scheduling major events for April 1, but Koei and Tecmo are too brave to be cowed by April Fool's Day.
MidwayMidway is thrilled to let everyone know that its game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe shipped around 1.8 million copies for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 combined.
MajescoMajesco Entertainment has released its casual PC game Orchard as a download through a variety of casual game portals. The game has players managing an orchard, harvesting fruit and selling the fruit in an effort to manage a successful business.
NintendoThis week, Nintendo has added two games to its downloadable game portfolio on the Wii:
Casual publisher Big Fish Games has signed a deal with Harlequin Enterprises Limited to make games inspired by Harlequin's line of romance novels. The games should start to be released this summer. In 2010, Harlequin will begin to publish a series of books inspired by the Mystery Case Files series of games. Just think – by September, people will be able to play match-three-style jewel games in which someone's manhood stirs. FI is eager for the first-person shooter spin-offs.
City InteractiveCity Interactive has signed an agreement with Nintendo that will allow the company to develop games for the Wii and DS, expanding City Interactive's portfolio of products.
UbisoftUbisoft reported certain financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended December 31, 2008.
CapcomCapcom plans to bring Mega Man Star Force 3 to the DS in the early summer of this year. The game is an action/role-playing game in which players travel between the physical and digital worlds to defeat enemies. The game will be released in two versions, the Black Ace and Red Joker versions, each with slightly different enhancements for Mega Man.
Sony has dramatically reduced its financial expectations for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2009. Previously, Sony estimated net income for the year of ¥150 billion (approximately $1.7 billion), but now expects a net loss of ¥150 billion. Sony also confirmed certain restructuring plans, involving substantial reductions to its electronics manufacturing business (not its game business).
MicrosoftMicrosoft announced its financial results for its fiscal second quarter ended December 31, 2008. Microsoft also announced plans to substantially reduce its staff to "manage costs." Microsoft plans to eliminate up to 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months, and eliminated 1,400 jobs today.
MajescoMajesco Entertainment plans to release a tactical role-playing game called Dawn of Heroes in the third quarter of this year.
Electronic ArtsNever a company to back away from a successful franchise, Electronic Arts is working on four new Spore-related games for release this year:
CapcomCapcom has signed a development agreement with UK-based Monumental Games that will see Monumental develop an unannounced game for multi-platform release later this year. Monumental's other work includes Football Superstars (an online soccer game) and work on a persistent, online hunting game.
SouthPeak GamesSouthPeak Games has shipped Big Bang Mini for the DS to stores in North America. The game was developed by Arkedo Studio and has players combining elements of fireworks displays with shooting enemies. In the game, players use fireworks as weapons while dodging enemy fire and fireworks debris.
Akinai GamesYukes Company of America has launched a new division called Akinai Games that will focus on downloadable games. Yukes emphasized that Akinai will develop downloadable games for the Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, while plans for the PC and mobile phones are not yet set.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has released another downloadable game for the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade called The Maw. The Maw is an action game in which players eat their way to freedom as an alien creature who can absorb the powers of whatever he consumes. The game is available for 800 points ($10).
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has shipped Sim Animals for the Wii and DS to stores. Both games have players manipulating the environment to help animals survive and thrive in the forest.

Aspyr to Distribute 1C Games

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Russian publisher 1C previously announced that it would publish its own games shortly in North America. Today, Aspyr Media confirmed that it will distribute five PC games for 1C: Cryostasis, Death Track: Resurrection, Men of War, NecroVisioN and 4x4 Hummer. All of these games are scheduled to ship in the first half of this year.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has shipped Skate 2 to stores in North America. This latest skateboarding game was developed by EA's Black Box studio in Vancouver and is available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In addition to the usual skating play, the game offers the "Thrasher Hall of Meat" mode in which players compete to achieve the most gruesome wipeout.
PlayStation 3The v2.60 firmware update for the PlayStation 3 is now available for download. This update provides a new Photo Gallery application that allows PlayStation 3 owners to organize digital photo collections in addition to the usual tweaks and fixes.

Ubisoft Acquires Southlogic

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UbisoftUbisoft has acquired Brazilian developer Southlogic Studios. Southlogic will be integrated into Ubisoft Sao Paulo but will keep its office in Porto Alegre, operating as a satellite development office.

Mini Ninjas Coming This Fall

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Mini NinjasIO Interactive, the developer behind games like the Hitman series, is currently working on a game called Mini Ninjas. The game is in development for the Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, PC and DS and will be published by Eidos (co-published in North America by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment). The game should be released late this year.
PSPSony has released the v5.03 firmware for the PSP, an update intended to improve the stability of the PSP "during the use of some features." The download is currently available.
MajescoMajesco has shipped Wonder World Amusement Park for the DS to stores in North America. The game allows players to enjoy carnival rides and engage in mini-games in this DS version of the game originally released for the Wii.
Square EnixSquare Enix has shipped Star Ocean: Second Evolution for the PSP to stores in North America. This is a remastered version of the classic game, reformatted for the PSP and re-animated cut-scenes. (Does that make this science-fiction-themed game undead?)
Interactive Gaming Software (IGS) has launched its game Commander in Chief for the PC. Developed by Eversim, the game is a geo-political simulation in which players assume control of any country in the world, using data modeled off our own real-life existence.
Sony Online Entertainment purchased PoxNora (an online collectible strategy game) and most of the assets and staff of Tucson-based Octopi studios on Friday, January 16. While SOE did not, technically, purchase Octopi, the substance of the transaction is the same. SOE says that Octopi (probably soon to be renamed SOE Tucson) will work with SOE Denver to maintain and develop SOE's online strategy games.
NintendoIt's a new week, another Monday, and Nintendo has released three more games as downloads for the Wii through the Virtual Console and WiiWare programs:
Take-Two InteractiveIn a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Take-Two Interactive noted that the company's Chief Operating Officer, Gary Dale, will no longer work for the company as of April 15, 2009.
MidwayEarlier this month, Midway came to arrangements with many of its debtholders following issues arising from the company's change in control. Midway confirmed that it has come to an agreement with the holders of $150 million of convertible senior notes, giving the company more time before those holders exercise their option to require Midway to repurchase the notes.
Three new games are available as downloads for Sony's platforms, with two games for the PlayStation 3 and one for the PSP:
Most hardcore gamers forget that no matter which company may be in the lead in the war for the latest generation of consoles, there are still more PlayStation 2 units in American homes than any other console. Sony declared that in December, the PlayStation 2 surpassed 50 million consoles sold.
NintendoNintendo is thrilled to gloat about its console sales in 2008, noting that it sold 10.17 Wii consoles last year in the U.S. and 9.95 million DS units in the U.S. Those are, in fact, impressive numbers, especially considering that those are simply sales from one region.
EidosEidos issued a brief statement acknowledging that the company has been approached on a preliminary basis and that discussions may lead to an offer for the company. Put another way, someone is vaguely thinking about acquiring Eidos, but nothing is set in stone, let alone tapioca.
MajescoMajesco plans to release Puffins: Island Adventure for the DS in the first half of this year. The game lets players indulge in Puffin-themed video games, thereby unlocking pictures of these vaguely penguin-like birds. Since the birds are often found in Canada, Majesco plans to provide music by Canadian artist Alan Doyle. Maine state puffins will feel slighted.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has signed on to distribute Red Eagle Games' upcoming titles based on Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time books as part of the EA Partners program. Red Eagle is working on both stand-alone games and a persistent world game set in The Wheel of Time universe, but no official release date is set.
Lots of browser-based, persistent, online games get announced, and we tend to ignore such announcements until the games themselves materialize. However, the staff at FI are all great fans of the Zork series, and Jolt Online Gaming says that it plans to publish Legends of Zork, a persistent online adventure set in the Zork universe. A launch date is not yet set.

Proein Changes Name to Koch

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In July, Koch Media acquired Proein S. L., a Spanish game distribution business. Now that the new year is underway, Proein has a new name – Koch Media S.L.U. Otherwise, business at this Spanish company continues as usual.

Stamos Joins MindFuse

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Developer MindFuse Games has hired Isa Anne Stamos as its Game Studio Director where Stamos will oversee the production and design of Gatheryn. Prior to joining MindFuse, Stamos served as a producer at LucasArts working on the Star Wars franchise.
Russian Publisher 1C plans to release three of its own games under its own label on February 20, rather than going through a high-profile distributor (such as Atari) as it has done in the past. The three games the company plans to release in the US are all PC games: NecroVisioN, Cryostasis and Men of War. For more details on the three games, click on the above links to see the hands-on previews of each.
Ordinarily, FI refrains from updates on downloadable content, particularly the near-constant stream of new songs released for music games such as Rock Band. But it is noteworthy that today, Harmonix (part of MTV Games) launched the music store for the Wii version of Rock Band. Wii Rock Band owners can now download 20 free tracks and 30 premium tracks at 200 points ($2) apiece. Harmonix hopes to continue releasing additional downloadable content for the Wii, weekly.
MajescoMajesco Entertainment reported its financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter and full-year ended October 31, 2008.
Cartoon Network, in conjunction with Majesco Entertainment, has shipped Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall to stores for the PC and Mac. The game itself goes live tomorrow, and the retail version (distributed by Majesco) is called the "Victory Pack Exclusive" edition. It includes access to the game, four months of game time and an exclusive outfit and weapon set. The game itself can also be downloaded from the FusionFall site.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has signed on to publish Enlight's Restaurant Empire 2 in North America. This sequel should reach stores in April and will, once again, have players cooking and managing a restaurant for fun and profit.
Vir2L Studios, owned by ZeniMax Media and sister company of Bethesda Softworks, is developing Medieval Games for the Wii with the help of developer N-Fusion Interactive. When released, Medieval Games will allow up to four players to participate in medieval-themed casual party games.
In the typical sort of financial maneuvering that goes on in troubled times, Ian Bell the former director of developer Blimey!, has formed a new company called Slightly Mad Studios to acquire the profitable-looking projects of Blimey!. Blimey! was owned by 10tacle Studios, and when 10tacle became insolvent last summer, Blimey went into Administration (a more refined-sounding British way of saying bankruptcy). Assuming the administrators agree, Bell will have managed to keep his company going while shedding certain financial troubles.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has shipped the PC version of its first-person action game Mirror's Edge to stores today. The game has players acting as Faith, a runner who delivers packages off-the-grid by leaping from rooftop to rooftop. Faith becomes embroiled in a societal conspiracy that requires further parkour-style action sequences. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game shipped last year.

Moon Ships for the DS

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MastiffPublisher Mastiff, together with developer Renegade Kid, has shipped Moon for the DS. The game is a first-person shooter in which players find evidence of aliens on the moon in 2058.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game The Lord of the Rings: Conquest is now in North American stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and DS. The game should reach store shelves in Europe by Friday.
FuncomIn response to diminishing demand for its massively multiplayer online game Age of Conan, Funcom has decided to merge the Age of Conan servers. Including the two servers that were merged on January 7, Funcom is paring down the number of servers worldwide from 49 to 18. US servers will feel the brunt of the blow, with 24 servers merging into 6.
Gameloft has entered into a licensing agreement with Fox Mobile Entertainment that will allow it to release a mobile game based on the upcoming film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. The game should be released when the film reaches theaters on May 22.
On January 7, Representatives Joe Baca (D, CA) and Frank Wolf (R, VA) introduced "The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009." The bill was referred to the House Energy & Commerce Committee and would require that games with a "T" rating or higher from the Electronics Software Ratings Board (ESRB) receive a warning label. "The warning label... shall be placed in a clear and conspicuous location on the packaging of the applicable video game and shall state: 'WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.'"
NintendoNintendo's software for the DS, Personal Trainer: Math, is now in stores in North America. This DS title includes 40 math exercises designed to help DS owners improve their basic skills.
THQTHQ is planning to add yet another SpongeBob SquarePants game to its portfolio of releases in March. At that point, THQ will release SpongeBob vs. The Big One: Beach Party Cook-Off, a game based on the planned April episode of the same name. The game will have players assisting SpongeBob and pals in a cooking competition.
NintendoNintendo has released another three downloadable games for the Wii, including two new WiiWare games and one classic port under the Virtual Console label:
EidosEidos (formerly SCi Entertainment) announced that while Tomb Raider: Underworld has sold approximately 1.5 million copies, the company had expected higher sales and is revising its expected revenue estimates. Essentially, Eidos is concerned that retailers will discount the game, it will make less money.
Two more downloadable games have been released for the PlayStation 3 through the PlayStation Network:

Elven Legacy Preview

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Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: 1C's Ino-Co

Platform: PC
Official Site http://www.1cpublishing.eu/

In late 2007, Russian publisher 1C's Ino-Co studio released its game Fantasy Wars for the PC to audiences in North America. Published in North America by Atari, the game was a flawed, turn-based strategy game with fantasy-themed units fighting it out on hex-based battlefields. This time around, Ino-Co is focusing on the Elves of their world with a sequel that continues the play of Fantasy Wars by exploring the world's Elven Legacy, with a game that should be released shortly by Paradox Interactive.

Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts is planning a more significant presence in Sony's Home for the PlayStation that will see an EA Sports Complex built in home that should launch in the first half of this year.
Verbatim TuneBoardHardware manufacturer Verbatim plans to release a line of keyboards for the PC and Mac that it calls "TuneBoards." The TuneBoard will feature integrated stereo speakers and a built in microphone, simplifying the desktop setup for those who enjoy stereo sound or want to use VOIP functions. The keyboards should cost around $70 and will include back-lit keys.
NCsoftNCsoft has released the Mac client for City of Heroes, meaning that Mac owners can now join in the exploration, defense and exploitation of Paradise City by downloading the Mac Special Edition of City of Heroes.
CCP Games plans to release its next major content update for its massively multiplayer online game Eve Online, called Apocrypha on March 10. The new content will see wormholes opening up throughout space that will connect new areas of the universe to the game. Apocrypha will also introduce new epic mission arcs granted by NPCs. On the same day, a new boxed release of Eve Online, distributed by Atari, will reach stores.
Bethesda Softworks plans to release the first downloadable content for its game Fallout 3 late this month – an installment called Operation Anchorage that will be cost $10 for the PC and Xbox 360. The new content will cover the Chinese invasion of Alaska and the resulting American reprisal, and (as you can see from the screenshot) will look very different from the wasteland outside Washington, D.C.
MajescoMajesco plans to release a party game called Drama Queens for the DS in the first half of this year. The title will be a 3D virtual board game in which players take on the role of one of four girls attempting to secure new boyfriends, outfits and BFFs.
Nyko's Wand ControllerNyko revealed three Wii accessories that it plans to bring to stores in April:
Major League Gaming, one of the various groups formed to promote (and profit from) professional gaming competitions, has received an additional $7.5 million investment from Oak Investment Partners. Major League Gaming points out that it has had an average of 15,000 attendees at its live competitions. Now, if only gaming can reach the level of acceptance curling has managed as a sport.
GameStopRetailer GameStop doesn't plan on releasing full financial information until mid-March, but did issue a preliminary report concerning its holiday sales.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts is planning to release a Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 expansion exclusively for the PC in March. The expansion, dubbed Uprising, will be released as a downloadable, "stand-alone" expansion (meaning that it's an expansion pack that doesn't require the original game for play).
Square EnixStarting in April of this year, Square Enix will be the exclusive distributor of Ubisoft's games in Japan, allowing (in Square Enix's words) the company to "invigorate the Japanese game market while strengthening our presence as a global leader in the video game industry."
MicrosoftMicrosoft has released TikGames' hidden-object-style game Interpol: The Trail of Dr. Chaos as a download through Xbox Live Arcade. The game costs 800 points ($10) and has players finding objects in crime scenes to capture a dangerous criminal.
Mad CatzPeripheral manufacturer Mad Catz is just bursting with announcements today to ring in the new Year (and the Consumer Electronics Show). The company has a line of Street Fighter IV peripherals, new Saitek Aviator sticks and a new Cyborg Flight stick:
ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association – a U.K. industry tradegroup) declared that the total sales of videogame hardware and software in the U.K. in 2008 came to £4.034 billion (around $6 billion). This represents a 23% increase from 2007.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts is planning on adding two more MySims games to its lineup this year: MySims Party for the and MySims Racing for both the Wii and DS.
THQThe PC version of THQ's game Saints Row 2 is now in stores in North America. This sequel to Saint's Row is already available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and should ship for the PC to Europe on January 23 and to Australia on February 5.
KonamiKonami has shipped Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero for the DS to stores in North America. This is an adaptation of the game originally released for the Wii in 2006 in which players use the DS stylus to capture Elebits that serve as an energy source for all manner of useful devices.
HudsonHudson Entertainment's game Fishing Master World Tour is now in stores for the Wii. This sequel to Fishing Master once again allows players to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk as a rod and reel to land rare fish.
MidwayMidway games confirmed that it has reached an agreement with the holders of its $75 million 7.125% Convertible Senior Notes due in 2026. As previously discussed, a failure to come to terms with these (among other) debtholders could result in a collapse of the company. Midway reports that it is still in negotiations with the holders of the 6% Convertible Senior Notes due in 2025.
MicrosoftNow that we are into 2009, Microsoft took the opportunity to gloat over the success of its Xbox 360 console in 2008. According to Microsoft, The Xbox 360 has now sold around 28 million consoles worldwide over its lifetime.
Azo StudiosAzo Studios proclaimed its existence to a video game world still hung-over from the 2008 holiday release season. Azo is based in Phoenix, AZ and was formed by Nick Koziupa, Brian Westergaard and Dave Eberly. The company plans both to make games and to market middleware products for developing console, PC and handheld games.
NintendoIt's the first Monday of a new year, but Nintendo is keeping its tradition of releasing downloadable games for the Wii. Today's new downloads are:

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2008 is the previous archive.

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