News: December 2009 Archives

NintendoToday, Nintendo has released another 10 downloadable games between the Wii and DSi:
Square EnixSquare Enix's game Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles - The Crystal Bearers is now in stores for the Wii. This action-oriented game takes place one thousand years after the events of the original Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles with players helping the mercenary Layle escorting a passenger ship when an ancient enemy re-emerges.
Battlefront.com has released PT Boats: Knights of the Sea as a download for the PC. This naval simulation puts players in command of a tiny torpedo boat, attempting to turn the tide of battle with a few well-placed shots.
Today sees two new games released through Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360, Polar Panic and 0 Day Attack on Earth:
Developer Unconditional Studios and publisher Machine have released bittos e as a download for the PC. The puzzle game has players creating and arranging squares to progress through levels. A version of the game should be released for the Wii early next year.
A lot of games available through the PlayStation Store have gone on sale this week, but Sony has also released a number of new downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP. Games newly available this week include:
Paramount Digital Entertainment has released the Mac version of Star Trek D-A-C through a variety of Mac download portals. The game allows up to 12 players to compete in battles between Starfleet and the Romulan Empire, and is based on the recent Star Trek film. The game has already been released on a variety of other platforms.
Activision BlizzardActivision Publishing, part of Activision Blizzard, has placed its game Guitar Hero: Van Halen in stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PlayStation 2. This Guitar Hero game includes 25 Van Halen songs along with a few extra songs from other popular groups. The game should be available in Europe on February 19.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has released the Mac version of Dragon Age: Origins through a variety of download portals. This role-playing game previously shipped for other platforms and has players taking on the role of a Grey Warden, tasked with protecting the world from the darkness set to overwhelm us all.
Game Developer Research, part of the Think Services Game Group that puts on the Game Developers Conferences, released some of the results of its third Game Developer Census today:
Take-Two InteractveTake-Two Interactive has signed a definitive asset purchase agreement that has Take-Two selling its Jack of All Games distribution business to Synnex Corporation. The transaction is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2010. Under the current terms, Synnex will pay $36.50 million in cash for the Jack of All Games business, plus an additional $6.75 million if the business meets certain performance targets and the value of certain assets is verified. While the Jack of All Games business mostly distributes third party software and accessories, Synnex will also distribute Take-Two's software in North America as part of the transaction.
Sony has released a variety of downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store. Furthermore, Sony has launched downloadable comics for the PSP through the PlayStation Store. Some of the newly available downloadable games include:

Take-Two Reports Massive Loss

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Take-Two InteractiveTake-Two Interactive released the results for its fourth fiscal quarter and fiscal year ended October 31, 2009:
Hasbro, parent company of Wizards of the Coast, has filed a lawsuit against Atari (Infogrames), alleging fraud and multiple breaches of contract relating to Atari's licensing agreement for the Dungeons & Dragons brand. Hasbro alleges that Atari entered into an "unauthorized sublicensing relationship with Namco Bandai Partners". Namco Bandai Partners happens to be a competitor of Hasbro. Hasbro wants to terminate the license agreement and also seeks compensatory damages.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has acquired developer AGE Studio, the parent of French developer AGEOD – the studio behind games such as Europa Universalis. The first game that AGEOD will release as part of Paradox Interactive is Rise of Prussia, scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2010.
TurbineTurbine has launched the second major update for its massively multiplayer online game Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited since the game went free-to-play. The update adds a high-level adventure pack called "Dreaming Dark" in which players face off against creatures from the Plane of Nightmares. The game is also experiencing the winter celebration of Festivult and offering a 20% experience boost from December 18 through January 4, 2010.
This week, Microsoft has added two more downloadable games to Xbox Live Arcade, Alien Breed Episode 1 and Puzzlegeddon:
Peripheral manufacturer SplitFish is in the process of shipping the Dual SFX Evolution controller for the PlayStation 3 so that it will reach stores before Christmas this year. This controller is an improvement on and evolution of the FragFX controller that splits the standard PlayStation controller into a mouse-like interface that is extensively customizable and perfect for playing shooters and action games.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has released Europa Universalis III: Heir to the Throne as a download for the PC. This expansion requires the original Europa Universalis III and is available through most download portals. The expansion adds new diplomatic options, a system that provides specific goals for wars, dynastic monarchies and new options for the Holy Roman Empire and Papacy.
Bethesda Softworks, by way of its parent ZeniMax Media, has acquired the right to publish Rage from Electronic Arts. Rage is being developed by id Software, so the acquisition makes sense, as ZeniMax acquired id in June. Electronic Arts will no longer be involved in the publishing, sales or marketing of Rage.
Sony Online Entertainment has launched the 16th premium expansion for its massively multiplayer online game EverQuest. Called EverQuest: Underfoot, the expansion can be downloaded for $40 and includes new areas (with new quests, encounters, items and related abilities) and new tradeskills. The expansion also extends players' target windows and adds an achievement system to EverQuest.
Graffiti Entertainment has shipped Reader Rabbit Kindergarten for the DS to stores in North America. The game is based on the long-running Reader Rabbit series and is designed to help children learn to read by solving a variety of in-game puzzles.
NintendoNintendo has released a downloadable bounty today, with a full 11 games available for download to the Wii and DSi:
AtariAtari's Chief Executive Officer, David Gardner, has stepped down as CEO, although he will retain his responsibilities as a Director of the company. Jeff Lapin, who has served as a Director and Chief Operation Officer, will assume Gardner's CEO duties. Lapin will run things from the Los Angeles office.

Funcom Builds One SweetRobot

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FuncomFuncom has created a new subsidiary called "SweetRobot" to develop and publish social and casual persistent online games. SweetRobot will begin public beta testing on Pets vs. Monsters, one such game, later this month. While the subsidiary may be new, a team of fifteen people has been working on Pets vs. Monsters for nearly two years.
Sony has released a variety of downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store:
PopCap GamesPopCap's game Bookworm (long available for the PC and Mac, and recently released as a download for the DSi) is now in stores for the DS. Now DS owners can construct words with the help of Lex the Bookworm.

PlayStation 3 Updated to v3.15

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PlayStation 3Sony has launched the v3.15 PlayStation 3 system software update. This is an optional update and primarily allows PlayStation 3 owners to transfer data (such as media and saved games) from one PlayStation 3 to another.
This week's addition to Xbox Live Arcade is a port of the classic arcade game QIX, called QIX++. The game can be downloaded to the Xbox 360 for 800 points ($10), and once again has players attempting to box the undulating QIX by cutting off play area with lines. The game is published by Taito, part of Square Enix.
Online game publisher True Games has decided to close its Irvine, California office and consolidate operations in Austin, Texas. While True Games cites the need to have all resources under one roof, the move is, presumably, a cost-cutting measure.
KonamiKonami's game Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for the Wii is now in stores. The game is a re-imagining of the original Silent Hill, with the addition of new nightmare sequences and a new soundtrack.
Telltale Games has released Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 5 - Rise of the Pirate God as a download for the PC. The game is available through Telltale Games' official site and concludes the story arc of the five-part adventure game based on LucasArts' classic adventure game series.
JoWooDDreamCatcher Games, part of JoWooD, has released its Yoga title for the Wii. The software has model Anja Rubik leading Wii owners through a variety of Yoga poses, using the Wii Balance Board or Wii Remote.
AtariAtari's game Puzzler World for the DS is now in stores. The game features a variety of casual puzzles, including crosswords, sudoku, hangman and several others.
NexonNexon has hired Won Il Sue as the company's vice-president of business development. Sue served as Nexon's CEO from 2004 to 2005 and has since served in a variety of posts with gaming companies. He will work out of the company's Los Angeles office on strategic partnerships and "expanding the company's game development channels."
CapcomCapcom's game Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil Zero is now in stores for the Wii. The game is a re-imagining of the original GameCube version of Resident Evil Zero. This Wii version adds support for the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, although an original GameCube controller can be used.
Electronic ArtsThe Saboteur, from Electronic Arts' studio Pandemic, is now in stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. The game features Sean Devlin as he skulks around an open-world based on Paris, battling the Nazi occupation during World War II. This game continues EA's recent approach to downloadable content:
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has released East India Company: Battle of Trafalgar as a downloadable expansion for its strategy game East India Company. This add-on requires the original game, and allows players to experience the naval battle in which the British Royal Navy faced off against the combined French and Spanish fleets.
NintendoNintendo has released a new slate of downloadable games for the Wii and DSi to celebrate the arrival of yet another Monday morning:
Tycoon Games, part of the same ownership that includes the publisher Winter Wolves, has released Heileen 2: The Hands of Fate as a downloadable game for the PC. The game is available through various download portals and has players following the interactive story of Heileen in the tradition of simple adventure games.
NintendoNintendo's game The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is now available for the DS. This latest Zelda game has Princess Zelda accompanying Link on his adventure to save Hyrule. The game builds on the interface used for The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, but giving Link access to a customizable train and the Zelda's ability to control phantoms to progress the adventure.
Exor Studios, together with Akella, has released Zombie Driver as a downloadable game for the PC through the Steam and GamersGate portals. Zombie Driver is a top-down-perspective driving game in which players drive a heavily armed car through streets filled with gruesome zombies.
The Federal Trade Commission released its annual report on the marketing of violent entertainment to children. Needless to say, the FTC and the video game industry had slightly different spins on the report. The Entertainment Software Association (an industry trade group) focused on the areas in which the responsible marketing of video games outpaces that of music and movies. The FTC noted that "the video game and movie industries can do more to limit ad placement on Web sites that disproportionately attract children and teens."
A new selection of downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP has been added to the PlayStation Store:
Take-Two InteractiveTake-Two Interactive reported today that sales of its Major League Baseball games were substantially lower than expected. This, combined with some write-downs related to old inventory, forced Take-Two Interactive to lower its financial guidance. So, to reiterate, Take-Two Interactive's baseball games have been selling more poorly than expected, and Take-Two Interactive doesn't expect strong future sales, either.

THQ to Open Montreal Studio

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THQTHQ announced that it has become the latest publisher to pursue opening a development studio in Montreal. Taking advantage of the locale's incentives, THQ plans to create 400 Montreal jobs over the next five years, making Montreal THQ's largest development facility. The studio should open in mid-2010 and release its first games in 2013.
Electronic Arts, like many retail stores, is partnering with a bank (MetaBank) and card issuer (StorValue Card Solutions) to issue a "rewards" Visa debit card. By making purchases at certain stores, card users get points that can be used to purchase EA Sports games. Frankly, it's hard to see users choosing this debit card over all the other options available, but investors can rest, secure in the knowledge that EA is pursuing every available channel to increase sales and income.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has released Elven Legacy: Magic, the third expansion for the turn-based strategy game Elven Legacy. This expansion adds 15 new campaign missions, new skills and a new hero as players battle an incoming invasion of demonic energy.

Dofus 2.0 Launches Today

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Ankama's long-running massively multiplayer online game Dofus has officially leveled up. A major content update, coupled with a rewrite of the game code has resulted in the launch of Dofus 2.0. To celebrate the update, the game is offering double the game's experience rewards and item drop rates through mid-December.
Band REO Speedwagon has launched its casual game Find Your Own Way Home as a download through several game portal sites. Not only is it interesting to see a band release a (slightly-less-than) $10 game to promote new album sales, REO Speedwagon has clearly identified its target demographic by releasing a hidden-object-style mystery game – a style of game favored by older, female, casual gamers.
THQTHQ has hired anew executive of licensing and merchandising, and also signed a licensing agreement with DreamWorks Animation:
This week's release for Xbox Live Arcade is Call of Duty: Classic. The original Call of Duty, released in 2003, can be downloaded to the Xbox 360 for 1,200 points ($15). This classic first-person shooter has been remastered to display in HD on the Xbox 360.

JoWooD Reports Slight Profits

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JoWooDPublisher JoWooD announced its financial results for the third quarter of 2009, ended September 30, 2009:
KonamiKonami's title Storybook Workshop for the Wii is now in stores in North America. The software includes a USB microphone, and has players reading along to and replaying the recordings of classic stories. The software will then alter the sound recorded by the microphone to sound like various characters from the stories.
UbisoftUbisoft has shipped Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes for the DS to stores in North America. The game is designed as a prequel to Heroes of Might and Magic V, and is a strategy game with role-playing game elements.
UbisoftJames Cameron's Avatar: The Game from Ubisoft has shipped to stores. Available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC, PSP and DS, the game is based on the film of the same name. The title allows players to fight either on behalf of a corporation plundering the resources of the planet Pandora, or as the native Na'vi defending their land.
ConspiracyConspiracy Entertainment has shipped two Th!nk games to stores. Th!nk: Logic Trainer is available for the Wii and DS and is a collection of mini-games designed to promote visual and mental perception. Th!nk: Logic Trainer - Kids for the DS is a similar game, but designed for younger gamers.

Rogue Warrior Reaches Stores

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Bethesda Softworks has released Rogue Warrior for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC to stores. This first-person shooter has players engaging in a covert operation to disrupt a North Korean ballistic missile program during the Cold War.
505 Games has shipped Picture Perfect Hair Salon for the DS to stores in North America. The game has players running their own salon, doing make-up and hair for customers. As with similar games, players can import photos using the DSi camera and then augmenting the look of those photos with the salon software.
MajescoMajesco's game (released in cooperation with Twentieth Century Fox), Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is now available in stores. The game is based on the film of the same name that will reach theaters on December 23, and is available for the Wii and DS. The game has players striving to keep Alvin's chipmunk band on tempo through a series of performances.
TurbineTurbine has launched the latest expansion for Lord of the Rings Online, called the "Siege of Mirkwood." The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood is a downloadable expansion that concludes the Volume II: Mines of Moria plotline, fighting alongside the Elves of Lorien all the way to the fortress of the Ringwraiths.
CCP is taking its massively multiplayer online game Eve Online down for much of the day to launch the next major content update for Eve Online, called "Dominion." This update changes how sovereignty works – the way in which players control space and how players upgrade controlled systems. Dominion also adds an epic plot arc for pirate players, new methods for generating planets and balancing for capital ships. Most importantly, the update provides yet another overhaul of the new player experience.
THQTHQ's game MX vs. ATV: Reflex is now available in stores in North America. The game is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP and DS. This game introduces a new physics engine to the MX vs. ATV racing franchise, allowing players to shift their rider's weight to perform even more sophisticated stunts.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the News category from December 2009.

News: November 2009 is the previous archive.

News: January 2010 is the next archive.

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