News: October 2010 Archives

Destineer announced that it has shipped its game North American Hunting Extravaganza 2 for the Wii to stores in North America. The game features more than 30 different species that can be killed in areas around North America, along with 10 hunting-themed mini-games.
Sega Sammy HoldingsSega Sammy Holdings reported selected financial results for the six month period ended September 30, 2010. Read on for more details...
Sony announced its financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2010. Read on for details concerning Sony's game business...
JoWooDThe Chief Financial Officer of JoWooD, Klemens Kreuzer, is stepping down from the company's management board, but will remain with the company with permission from the supervisory board. Further circumstances were not explained.

Take-Two CEO Departs

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Take-Two InteractiveTake-Two Interactive's Chief Executive Officer announced that he will step down "to travel in Asia with his family for an extended period." Feder will remain a partner in ZelnickMedia (the group that masterminded the hostile takeover of Take-Two Interactive), so it seems unlikely that he's been forced to quit, although he may be contemplating other positions for the future. Strauss Zelnick, already the Executive Chairman of Take-Two Interactive, will also assume the role of CEO. The changes will take place on January 1, 2011.
Big Sims' farming simulation (not surprisingly called Farming Simulator 2011) is now available as a download for the PC. Featuring farm equipment based on that from real manufacturers, the game starts players off with a small farm that can be built into large agribusiness.
NintendoNintendo announced selected financial results for the six-month period ended September 30, 2010. Read on for more details...
Gravity Interactive has commercially launched Dragon Saga (formerly known as Dragonica Online). That means that this 3D side-scrolling action-heavy persistent-world game has new dungeons and has officially launched the item mall.
MicrosoftMicrosoft announced its financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2010. Read on for more details...
It may be Thursday, but that hasn't stopped Microsoft from deviating from its usual schedule and releasing even more Xbox Live Arcade games as downloads for the Xbox 360. Haunted House and Bloody Good Time are both now available for download. Read on for more details.
CapcomCapcom announced selected financial results for the six months ended September 30, 2010.
Woody Two-Legs: Attack of the Zombie Pirates is now available as a download for the PC through portals such as GamersGate. The game has players controlling Woody Two-Legs' pirate ship as he flees from the undead owners of a treasure Woody uncovered. Only by shooting myriad ships crewed by the undead (and an assortment of bosses) can Woody secure his treasure.
Focus Home Interactive has released the Blood Bowl: Legendary Edition as a download for the PC. This version of the violent, fantasy-themed take on American football adds a lot of content to the original Blood Bowl, adding 11 new races to bring the total to 20, and adding a new story mode. The game can be purchased and downloaded through a variety of portals.
ZeniMax MediaZeniMax Media, parent of Bethesda Softworks, announced that it has acquired Tango Gameworks, the developer founded by Shinji Mikami. This acquisition will see Mikami, creator of the Resident Evil series joining the ZeniMax family. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Mikami and Tango Gameworks are already working on a new title for ZeniMax.
KonamiKonami's game Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Tag Force 5 for the PSP is now available in stores. The game lets players compete in the Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D trading card game with around 4,500 digital cards and an extended story mode.
Tomorrow, Sony is launching the beta test for its upcoming PlayStation Rewards program. PlayStation Rewards will be a form of loyalty program, rewarding players for doing things related to the PlayStation 3 (and possibly, eventually, the PSP). Initially only open to certain members of PlayStation Plus and the Gamer Advisory Panel, PlayStation Rewards will recognize the playing of new games, purchasing content (including games and video) and taking surveys. These actions will accumulate rewards (and tiers of status levels) resulting in content rewards such as avatars, themes and PlayStation Home content, and possibly even a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show.
Nexon's massively multiplayer online game Vindictus went live yesterday, meaning that the game has now reached version 1.08 and has a working cash shop where players can purchase avatar items. Vindictus uses Valve's Source Engine, allowing the game to support physics-based interactions in this brutal, persistent world.
AtariAtari has made several changes to its governance and leadership structure. Most prominently, Pascal Cagnihas has resigned from the board, to be replaced by Jim Wilson, who has served as Chief Executive Officer of Atari Inc. Atari's Chief Financial Officer, Phil Veneziano, has also departed and will be replaced by Hindol Datta (currently serving as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for Cryptic Studios).
Microsoft has released more downloadable games for the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade, including a massive collection of pinball tables and a new minigolf game. Read on for more details...
On Tuesday, November 2, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments for Schwarzenegger, et al., v. Entertainment Merchants Association, et al. part of determining whether California's law restricting the sale of video games can go into effect, despite being stricken down by a lower court. For the most even-handed description of the arguments FI has yet seen, check out this summary on the SCOTUS blog maintained by Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP.
Take-Two InteractiveDora's Cooking Club from 2K Play (part of Take-Two Interactive) is now available in stores. Based on Nickelodeon's show Dora the Explorer, this DS game helps teach kids to prepare food.
Take-Two InteractiveDiego's Build and Rescue from 2K Play (part of Take-Two Interactive) is now available in stores. This DS game features Diego from Nickelodeon's show Go, Diego, Go! using Mega Blocks-brand building blocks to build vehicles and objects to rescue animals.

Monopoly Available for the DS

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Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game Monopoly for the DS is available in stores. Based on Hasbro's popular board game, this version allows players to challenge others online.
Take-Two InteractiveDora the Explorer: Dora's Big Birthday Adventure from 2K Play (a label of Take-Two Interactive) is now in stores for the Wii and PlayStation 2. The game previously shipped for the DS and celebrates ten years of Dora the Explorer on television (yet she's still a tiny girl) with exploration and mini-games featuring characters from the series.
Disney Channel All Star Party for the Wii is now available in stores. This casual party game includes 30 mini-games based on Disney Channel shows and movies.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game Hasbro Family Game Night 3 is now available in stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. This compilation of Hasbro games includes Game of Life, Clue, Twister, Mouse Trap and Yahtzee.
UbisoftUbisoft's game Petz: Cats Playground for the DS is now in stores. This latest Petz game simulates kittens so that DS owners can take care of them and play with them.

Deca Sports 3 Reaches Stores

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HudsonHudson Entertainment's game Deca Sports 3 for the Wii is now available in stores. The game includes 10 new family-friendly sports, such as kayaking, lacrosse, fencing and diving.
UbisoftUbisoft's game CSI: Fatal Conspiracy is now available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. Based on the television show, this adventure-style game has players partnering with FBI agent Gene Huntby to solve five connected cases.
Take-Two InteractiveTake-Two Interactive has released Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This compilation includes Grand Theft Auto IV and all of the downloadable episodes so far released for the game.
MicrosoftMicrosoft's game Fable III, developed by Lionhead Studios, is now in stores. This latest role-playing game bearing the Fable name has players taking the crown of Albion, a world just entering the industrial age.
NIS America's game Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman has shipped to stores (and can also be downloaded directly to the PSP). Zettai Hero Project has players taking on the role of a simple passerby who witnesses a fatal traffic accident on the way home from a convenience store. Handed a strange belt by the dying victim, you become the "Absolute Victory Unlosing Ranger!"
Activision BlizzardBakugan Battle Brawlers: Defenders of the Core from Activision Publishing (part of Activision Blizzard) is now available in stores. This latest Bakugan-themed game has players saving the world from Spectra and his Vexos armies. It is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP and DS (and can also be downloaded from the PlayStation Store).
More Downloadable Games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP are now available through the PlayStation Store, including one that gives PSP owners the chance to become the "Absolute Victory Unlosing Ranger!" Read on for more details...
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has released DeathSpank as a download through Steam. Now, PC gamers can also follow the adventures of this Dispenser of Justice, Vanquisher of Evil, and Hero to the Downtrodden in a humorous, action-heavy role-playing game.
UbisoftUbisoft's title Imagine: Resort Owner for the DS is now available in stores. This game aimed at young girls has players operating a resort on an exotic island, planning parties and activities to entice guests.
LucasArtsLucasArts has released Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II for the Xbox 360 to stores. Versions of the game are available for the Xbox360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC and DS. This sequel continues the story of Darth Vader's fugitive apprentice who learns to use The Force with ever more power and grace.
D3PublisherD3Publisher's game Family Party: 90 Great Games Party Pack for the Wii has shipped to stores. This bargain-priced game features all the mini-games previously included in Family Party: 30 Great Games, Family Party: Outdoor Fun and Family Party: Winter Fun.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has shipped Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC to stores. This compilation includes the original Dragon Age: Origins role-playing game along with the Awakening expansion pack and all the content packs so far released.

The Ball Available for the PC

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Tripwire Interactive's game The Ball is now available as a PC download through Steam and will arrive on GamersGate shortly. The game features players exploring ancient Mesoamerican subterranean ruins with only a gigantic ball to help them solve puzzles and battle monsters.

Rock Band 3 Reaches Stores

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Harmonix (part of MTV Games), with help from Electronic Arts, has released Rock Band 3 to stores. Versions of the game are available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and DS, and the game should arrive in stores in Europe by the end of the week. The game launches with 83 songs available on disc, adds three-part vocal harmonies and introduces a keyboard peripheral so that up to seven players can perform together on a single song. Rock Band 3 comes as stand-alone software or in a seemingly-endless variety of bundles including keyboards, MIDI adaptors, guitars and cymbals.
AtariAtari announced that it is following the likes of Turbine's The Lord of the Rings and Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest II by converting its game Champions Online into a free-to-play experience. The conversion will occur in the first quarter of 2011 and will allow players to either subscribe to virtually all content for $15 per month or purchase powers, items, costumes and adventure packs a la carte. Rather than simply because Turbine's model is good business, FI suspects this to be a last-ditch attempt to convert Champions Online into a profitable enterprise.
MajescoMajesco's game Crafting Mama for the DS is now available in stores in North America. This latest Mama game has DS owners constructing craft projects under Mama's stern tutelage.
The Lego Group, together with Warner Bros., has officially launched Lego Universe, developed by Net Devil. This persistent, online game filled with Lego blocks is now available in stores or for download online, allowing players to explore, battle the Maelstrom or just build with Legos. While the game is now in stores and officially launches today, folks who pre-ordered the game have been playing for weeks.
Activision BlizzardActivision Publishing, part of Activision Blizzard, has released Tony Hawk: Shred for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. Available in stores in North America, the game has players both skateboarding and snowboarding, and supports a motion-sensing board controller to help players perform tricks on snow and concrete.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has released The Sims 3: Late Night expansion pack for The Sims 3. Available for the PC and Mac, this expansion adds night clubs, film careers, music careers and the ability to play as a vampire to this ubiquitous people simulator.
Activision BlizzardActivision Publishing, part of Activision Blizzard, has released its game Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011 to stores in North America. The game is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and DS. Developed by Red Octane, this hunting game can also be purchased in a bundle with the wireless "Top Shot Elite" gun controller.
THQTHQ's game WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 has reached stores in North America. Now available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP and PlayStation 2, this latest World Wrestling Entertainment-themed game features around 70 professional wrestlers and the ability to create your own to throw into the ring.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts and Klei Entertainment have released Shank (previously released through Xbox Live Arcade) as a download for the PC through Steam. This brawler-style game follows protagonist Shank on his quest for revenge.
Take-Two InteractiveTake-Two Interactive announced that it will change the end of its fiscal year from October 31 to March 31, bringing Take-Two in line with other video game publishers. While the company said "the change is intended to align its fiscal period more closely with the seasonality of its business and improve comparability with industry peers," it will also have the advantage of making its business results between November 1, 2010 and March 31 2011 slightly harder to compare to past and future years, so expect to see some losses crammed into that period.
NintendoNintendo has released another slate of downloadable games for the Wii and DSi, with applications ranging from a simple light to a new Bit.Trip shooter. Read on for the full list of releases...
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has shipped The Sims 3 for consoles to stores. The game should be in North American stores tomorrow, arriving in Europe later this week. It's been more than a year since The Sims 3 shipped for the PC, and now the game is shipping for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and DS. The Wii version of this person simulation should be available next month.
NintendoArt Academy for the DS has shipped to stores in North America. Nintendo's Art Academy software uses an art instructor named Vince to guide DS owners through artistic concepts that they can practice on the DS screen.
UbisoftUbisoft's game Shaun White Skateboarding is now in stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. The game has players performing skateboarding tricks around a city, adding color and light to the landscape as they perform.
Power Gig: Rise of the SixString from Seven45 Studios, reached stores earlier this week. This music game features a controller that is an actual, six-string electric guitar. The game claims to both be a Guitar Hero-style game and to be able to actually teach Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners to play guitar. The game includes bundles both with a lighter guitar and with a full-size guitar, but is somewhat pricey (the full-size guitar controller costs $250).
Microsoft confirmed that it is disbanding its in-game advertising unit Massive and moving staff and technology from Massive to Microsoft's first-party-ad business. Microsoft acquired massive in 2006, but now wants to focus on "the needs of our first-party gaming advertisers on owned and operated properties like Xbox Live and MSN Games." In other words, Microsoft no longer wants to place ads in other people's games. The company would rather run and sell ads on its own properties, like the Xbox dashboard.
Battlefront.com has released Combat Mission: Shock Force - NATO for the PC as a download (or physical version by mail). This Combat Mission: Shock Force module has three new campaigns and lots of new maps for German, Canadian and Netherlander armies set in Syria.
Activision BlizzardActivision Publishing, part of Activision Blizzard, confirmed that its games ZhuZhu Pets: Featuring the Wild Bunch and Kung Zhu. Both games feature a variety of activities for the ZhuZhu Pets and are available in limited editions packaged with their own ZhuZhu Pets.
Aksys games has released Blazing Souls: Accelate for the PSP, also available as a download through the PlayStation Store. This game has players working with a group of adventurers to end a long-running war with "Human Genomes," a species created by a long-dead god to succeed humanity.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts announced that it has acquired Chillingo, the casual and mobile publisher responsible for Angry Birds. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Chillingo will become part of the EA Mobile unit.
TurbineTurbine, part of Warner Bros., has released Update 7 for its free-to-play massively multiplayer online game Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited. Called "Half-Bloods," the update adds the half-orc and half-elf races to the game, along with a 12-player raid (called "The Chronoscope"), a free adventure pack and the "Endless Night" (Halloween-style) in-game event.
PetroglyphPetroglyph has released a downloadable version of Guardians of Graxia for the PC through Gamersgate.com. Also available as a boxed board game, Guardians of Graxia is a card-based game in which players play spells and creatures on a tiled map.
This week's downloadable games for the Xbox 360, released through Xbox Live Arcade, allow players to hunt for Halloween costumes or jump around as an animated block of meat. Read on for more details on the games...
SegaSega's compilation, the Empire: Total War - Gold Edition is now in stores. This strategy game compilation for the PC includes Empire: Total War and Napoleon: Total War.
Warner Bros.' game Sesame Street: Cookie's Counting Carnival is now in stores for the Wii, PC and DS. This educational game is designed to help preschoolers learn numbers.
Disney's game Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales for the Wii is now available in stores. This game, based on the animated shorts of the same name from the Cars universe, has up to four players reliving wild stories told by the tow truck Mater.
Namco Bandai GamesTime Crisis: Razing Storm from Namco Bandai Games is now available for the PlayStation 3. This latest game in the Time Crisis series of arcade-style light gun shooters supports both the PlayStation Move controller and the Guncon 3 controller.

The Shoot Reaches Stores

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PlayStation MoveSony's game The Shoot is now in stores. This game for the PlayStation 3 console's PlayStation Move uses the motion controller as the gun in this light-gun-style shooter.
Namco Bandai GamesNamco Bandai Games' title Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja - Storm 2 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is now in stores. This is yet another game based on the Naruto Shippuden animated series in which players fight their way through an extended adventure.
Warner Bros.' game Sesame Street: Elmo's A-to-Zoo Adventure is now in stores for the Wii, PC and DS. This educational game is designed to help preschoolers identify letters, sounds and groups of words.
UFO Interactive has released its game Rock of the Dead for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to stores. This mash-up between Guitar Hero-style games and House of the Dead-style games has players strumming guitar controllers to battle the undead.
Namco Bandai GamesNamco Bandai Games' title Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team for the PSP is now available in stores in North America. This fighting game features 70 characters from the Dragon Ball Z universe.
AtariCCP Games, together with Atari, has shipped the Eve Online: Commissioned Officer Edition for the PC to stores. This is the latest retail package for CCP's massively multiplayer online game, Eve Online, and includes 30 days of paid game time.
Namco Bandai GamesActive Life Explorer from Namco Bandai Games is now in stores in North America. This game for the Wii includes a dance-mat-like controller and is designed to provide cardiovascular exercise as players use the mat and wave the Wii Remote while hunting for treasure.
JoWooDJoWooD's DreamCatcher Games label has shipped ArcaniA: Gothic 4 for the Xbox 360 and PC to stores in North America. This latest Gothic game is set 12 years after the events of Gothic 3 and has players adventuring in a world ruled by the protagonist of the previous game.
Sony has released a variety of downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store. This week's releases include a variety of bundles, and a chance to wander the neighborhood in search of even better magical costumes.
Sony Online EntertainmentSony Online Entertainment may already have launched its free-to-play massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, but today the company placed its Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Galactic Pass port in stores. For $20, PC gamers get a 90-day Jedi Membership to the game, 500 Station Cash and a variety of game unlocks.
Her Interactive has released Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge for the PC and Mac to stores in North America. The adventure game has sleuth Nancy Drew on vacation when she encounters a ghost haunting her trip to Japan.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition JeepThe previously rumored partnership between the Chrysler Group and Activision Blizzard has been officially announced. Chrysler's Jeep brand will sell a "Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition" of the 2011 Jeep Wrangler. The jeep will retail for between $31,000 and $34,000 (without optional extras) and is based on the Rubicon model of Jeep. The Call of Duty: Black Ops Jeep will be black with graphics from the game on the roof and front-quarter panels as well as a variety of military-looking enhancements.
KonamiKonami's game Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is now available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in North America. This latest game in the Pro Evolution Soccer franchise revamps the control system to offer players more precise ball control along with tons of new and smoother animations. The game should be released in November for the Wii and PSP.

Vanquish Reaches Stores

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SegaSega's game Vanquish for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is now in stores. Vanquish has players battling to recapture a solar energy generating orbital space facility occupied by hostile Russian forces. The game is already available in North America and should reach Australia and Europe by the end of the week.
KonamiKonami's game Saw II: Flesh and Blood, based on the Saw series of horror films, is now in stores. Available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the game has players coping with traps and puzzles while fighting for their lives, all the while taunted by the enigmatic Jigsaw.
MajescoMajesco's game Flip's Twisted World for the Wii is now available at stores in North America. This puzzle-oriented platforming game puts players in the role of Flip, who discovers a magic book and gets pulled into a universe where everything is cubed and up and down change with a flick of the Wii Remote.
THQTHQ announced that it plans to open a development studio in Montreal, Quebec in the summer of 2011. The studio will be led by Patrice Desilets, who served as Creative Director for the Assassin's Creed games. The studio will develop new properties for THQ.

EA Sports MMA Reaches Stores

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Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game EA Sports MMA is now in stores in North America. Available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the game should reach stores in Europe later this week, and Japan next week. The game pits fighters trained in a variety of styles against one another in ring, hex and cage matches.
ZeniMax MediaFallout: New Vegas from Bethesda Softworks, part of ZeniMax Media, is now in stores. The game is now available in North America for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Fallout: New Vegas should reach stores in Australia on Thursday and Europe on Friday. This newest Fallout game follows a courier, nearly killed for his delivery as he explores the landscape around Sin City, one of the few major cities to avoid Nuclear disaster.

DJ Hero 2 Reaches Stores

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Activision BlizzardDJ Hero 2 from Activision Publishing (part of Activision Blizzard) is now in stores. Available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii, this music game has players mixing popular tracks and is compatible with the turntable controller from the original game. It can also be purchased in a bundle with the turntable controller.
Daylight Interactive's game Good Intentions is available as a download for the PC. Good Intentions is a side-scrolling platformer set in the 17th century in which young blacksmith Marc Lacroix must rescue his kidnapped family.
RailWorks 2: Train Simulator from Railsimulator.com is available as a download from Steam and is on its way to retail stores. This train simulation comes with 13 locomotives and an assortment of cars, but lots of additional expansion content and scenarios can be purchased.
NetflixToday, Netflix has launched versions of its streaming video application for both the PlayStation 3 and Wii that do not require a disc to operate. That puts PlayStation 3 and Wii owners in the same boat as Xbox 360 owners, in that none need to use a disc to stream movies using their Netflix subscription. The update adds 5.1 channel surround sound capability to the PlayStation 3, putting PlayStation 3 owners slightly ahead of their Xbox 360-owning compatriots, at least until Microsoft's fall update brings the Xbox 360 Netflix streaming application up to par.
NintendoNintendo has released a new slate of downloadable games for the Wii and DSi today, ranging from a Final Fantasy game to software that generates Halloween-themed cards. Read on for the full list...
NintendoNintendo's game Kirby's Epic Yarn for the Wii is now in stores. The game presents Kirby's world as a realm of animated yarn, cloth and textiles, offering a stylized platformer for the classic Kirby character.
French game developer Beyond the Pillars has released the first episode of its game Winter Voices as a download for the PC. The game is presented in the style of a tactical role-playing game, but has players taking on the role of a girl trying to overcome the death of her father, and all battles are psychological.
CapcomCapcom's game Lost Planet 2, released in May for consoles, is now available for the PC as a download through major download portals. This sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition has players exploring more harsh environments on colony E.D.N. III, following the partial success of terraforming efforts. Gamers will face horrific indigenous creatures, enemies in power suits and an extensive multiplayer mode.
PM Studios' title DJ Max Portable 3 for the PSP is now available. This game mixes rhythm, music and puzzle games by challenging PSP owners to mix tracks and complete challenges.
Electronic ArtsAt least with the upcoming Dragon Age II, Electronic Arts is taking a new approach to premium downloadable content at release. Previously (as with Dragon Age: Origins), EA included codes with new copies of the game for companions and adventures (that most believe previously would have been included with the game). Used-game purchasers had to pay to get this same content through the usual downloadable content channels.


With Dragon Age II, EA plans to include "over $20 of additional content... [including] an additional playable character and new missions...[and] an exclusive in-game armory featuring a variety of weapons and other digital items." This will come in the Dragon Age II: BioWare Signature Edition. The catch is that if you pre-order the game more than two months before release, you will automatically be upgraded to the "Signature Edition." So, Rather than trying to force new game sales and get extra income from used game sales, EA is now trying to push pre-orders, putting day-of-release purchasers in the same boat as used game purchasers.

FI suspects that this is EA bowing to pressure from game retailers such as GameStop that depend on the used-game business. This is pure speculation, but this move might be evidence that EA still sees GameStop as too critical to its business to be willing to try to steal GameStop's profits (that come from used game sales) at the expense of EA's own finances.

Destineer's compilation of classic arcade games, the Dragon's Lair Trilogy, is now available in stores. This collection includes Dragon's Lair, Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp and Space Ace. All three were laser-disc-based games from animator Don Bluth. Unique when released, (in modern parlance) these games are a series of beautifully animated, unforgiving quick-time events.

FreeJack Officially Launches

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Gamekraft's massively multiplayer online parkour game called FreeJack has launched. As usual, by "launched," we mean that the game has launched its cash shop, meaning that the game is now out of beta testing. The game has players racing around New Jack City using free-running techniques to find shortcuts.
Fearless StudiosAnother recently-formed developer has come out of the woodwork &ndash Fearless Studios. Fearless Studios is based in Marin, California and has several former LucasArts employees as its senior management. Haden Blackman, who worked on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed at LucasArts is Fearless Studios' co-President and Chief Creative Officer. Cedrick Collomb, who worked on technology and game infrastructure at LucasArts, is co-President and Chief Technical Officer of Fearless Studios. Marc Jackson, who has advised companies on funding and founded Seahorn Capital Group, is Fearless Studios' acting Chief Financial Officers, and is working with his own Seahorn Capital Group to help get Fearless Studios on its feet.
Awem Studio recently launched Letters from Nowhere as a download for the PC. This hidden-object style adventure game has Audrey pursuing her husband, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Should FI be surprised that someone always seems to have disappeared in the story attached to hidden-object games?
Sony's game TV Superstars is now in stores for the PlayStation 3. This PlayStation Move game uses the PlayStation 3 motion controller to have players star in five different television shows, ranging from home repair to cooking to a shopping channel. A variety of mini-games have players performing the actions they need to successfully become a star.
Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time from Stickmen Studios is now available for the PC, but only through OnLive. The game will be released on Steam on Friday (October 15), and other platforms (possibly including the Wii) sometime thereafter. The game has players furthering their platforming adventure by inventing tools from found objects and even manipulating time.
Lego RemotePower A has released the Lego Play & Build Remote for the Wii. This is a fully functional Wii Remote that can be customized with Lego tiles or even your own Lego blocks to turn this Wii Remote into virtually any creation. This remote has shipped to stores and is currently being sold by Toys "R" Us.
City InteractiveCity Interactive's game Logic Machines for the DS shipped to stores in North America this week. The game challenges players with a variety of physics-based puzzles that require building machines out of a specific selection of parts.

Find Rock Band Tracks Here

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Harmonix, part of MTV Games, has released a convenient widget to help Rock Band gamers sort through the slightly more than 2,000 tracks available for the game. If you need a way to sort, say, by artist, title, genre or era, use this:

This week's Xbox Live Arcade releases include Sonic the Hedgehog and the story leading up to the events of Dead Space 2. Read on for more details...
NatsumeNatsume's game Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals for the DS is now available in stores. This action-heavy role-playing game has players taking Maxim (a monster hunter) and his companions on an adventure to stop the Sinistrals - the four harbingers of doom.

Just Dance 2 Reaches Stores

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UbisoftUbisoft's game Just Dance 2 for the Wii is now in stores. This sequel to the popular Just Dance has players performing choreographed numbers built around the Wii Remote to 44 new tracks from every era.
Warner Bros. has shipped Super Scribblenauts for the DS to stores in North America. This sequel to Scribblenauts lets players create objects using nouns and change those objects with adjectives. In this way, words become the tools for puzzle solving.
Disney Sing It: Party Hits is now in stores for the PlayStation 3 and Wii. This game has players singing along to 30 music videos from Disney's top talent.
KonamiKonami's game Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes Del Ring is now in stores. Available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, this "Lucha Libre"-style wrestling game features the most popular luchadores from Mexico's wrestling federation, allowing players to control their favorite or create their own, right down to the mask.
This weeks' downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP are now available through the PlayStation Store, including Sonic's latest adventure, the introduction to Dead Space 2 and a variety of downloadable sports games. Read on for more details...
Sony Online EntertainmentSony Online Entertainment has released the 17th major expansion for its massively multiplayer online game EverQuest, called House of Thule. The expansion is available as a download from the Station Store. It increases the level cap from 85 to 90, adds 13 new zones and 18 raids, along with tons of items and improvements to the housing system.
Take-Two Interactive2K Games, a label of Take-Two Interactive, has released Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC to stores in North America. It's been almost a year since the game was originally released, and this compilation includes the original action-oriented role-playing game as well as all of the downloadable add-ons so far released.
Social gaming publisher and developer PlayFirst has closed $9.2 million of additional financing to fund social game development and added several senior staff members. Read on for more details on the debt and equity, as well as the senior hires...

Invizimals Reach the PSP

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PSPSony has released Invizimals for the PSP. Invizimals is available for the 1000, 2000 and 3000 models of the PSP (not the PSP Go), and the retail version of the game includes a camera for the PSP. The game allows PSP owners to use the PSP camera to find creatures hiding around the landscape that aren't visible to the naked eye. These monsters can then be trapped and battled against other players.
FI doesn't bother alerting you to every social game that launches on Facebook, mostly because we would never sleep keeping up with every single thing slapped together to profit off of Facebook's ubiquity. Oceanopolis, however, is a particularly interesting one, because of the way it interacts with the non-virtual world. The game is developed by a subsidiary of Waste Management (a company that provides trash removal and recycling services). At first, the game appears to be aimed at educating the populace concerning sustainable living and recycling. However, Waste Management (through its Greenopolis subsidiary) is building kiosks that accept cans and bottles and reward points that can be spent in Oceanopolis (or for other rewards), presumably instead of the cash refund most states mandate. So, Waste Management is trying to get you to fund your Facebook gaming habit by forgoing the value of your can or bottle deposit, probably hoping you won't notice the few cents or dollars you deposit each time.

Arktos Funds Warmongers

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San Francisco-based developer Online Warmongers expect a $5 million investment led by Arktos Entertainment Group. Presuming that the funding round is completed, Online Warmongers plans to use the funding to complete development on War Inc. Battlezone, a free-to-play online shooter.
Awem Studio recently released The Island: Castaway as a downloadable game for the PC. This simulation game has players acting as cruise line passengers shipwrecked and forced to survive on an island that hides an ancient mystery.
MajescoMajesco's game My Baby 3 & Friends for the DS is now available in stores in North America. This newest installment in the My Baby franchise has players using the DS to touch and speak with a baby, practicing activities and skills that can help the baby's development.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game Medal of Honor is now in stores in North America. The game is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, and should reach stores in Europe later this week. This first-person shooter explores combat in modern Afghanistan and features a robust multiplayer mode.
Sony Online EntertainmentSony Online Entertainment has launched the 58th update for EverQuest II, called "Arcanum Revealed." The update adds a new zone that takes players to the Ruins of Guk in search of the Unseen Arcanum (along with new loot and plenty of tweaks).
CapcomCapcom's game Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes is now available in stores in North America for the PlayStation 3 and Wii. This game from Devil May Cry 4 producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi adds to the Basara series of games by having players take on the role of a Japanese samurai battling thousands of enemies and altering the course of history.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts decided to jump on the bandwagon driven by Capcom's Dead Rising: Case Zero. EA plans to release Dead Space: Ignition this week on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as a "stand-alone" $5 teaser for the upcoming Dead Space 2. As such, folks who pre-ordered the game (from certain retailers) will get Dead Space: Ignition for free. FI doesn't think this is going to work nearly as well as Capcom's Dead Rising: Case Zero. Dead Space: Ignition is an interactive story, with three simple mini-games included. It's hardly the fully-formed episode that was Case Zero. If you want people to pay for marketing materials, they better be damn good marketing materials.
http://www.frictionlessinsight.com/newspics/Logos/Nintendo.jpgThis week's downloadable games from Nintendo have players running around as a lost baby bird, pole vaulting and dealing with disaster at humanity's most important data repository. Read on for more details on this week's releases...
While the official launch date for Lego's massively multiplayer online game Lego Universe, the game (developed by NetDevil) is now live for those who pre-ordered the game. Apparently, if you simply pick up the game the first day it's available, you'll log in to discover the Lego Universe is already built up with "founders."
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive's game Lionheart: King's Crusade is now available for the PC both as a download and a retail box. This real-time strategy game has players participating in the Third Crusade from 1189 to 1192, playing as either King Richard or Saladin.
Netmarble has officially launched Uncharted Water Online. That means that while this free-to-play massively multiplayer online game has been online for a while, the cash shop has now been launched. Developed by Tecmo Koei Games, the game is an historically-inspired game of exploration set somewhere around the 16th century, in which players sail the high seas and conquer territory for their mother country.
11 Bit StudiosA group of Polish developers today announced that they are forming a new developer, called "11 Bit Studios." The studio is based in Warsaw, Poland, and is comprised of staff members formerly at Metropolis Software and CD Projekt. The studio plans to focus on downloadable games for the PC and mobile platforms.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive has released Hearts of Iron II: Iron Cross, an expansion for the original Hearts of Iron II that includes a new game map, 6,000 new events, a realistic technology tree, new units and an improved AI. The expansion requires the original game and is available as a download for $10.
City InteractiveCity Interactive's game Vampire Moon: The Mystery of the Hidden Sun for the DS arrived in stores in North America this week. This hidden-object-style adventure game puts players on the trail of Count Dracula.
Activision BlizzardBlizzard, part of Activision Blizzard, is gloating that its massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft now has more than 12 million subscribers worldwide. Despite the gloat, Blizzard did not clarify exactly how it arrived at this count. While most Westerners subscribe to the game personally, many Asian users access the game through PC cafes where the economics of subscriptions are different. Still, that's a lot of people playing WoW.
ZeniMax MediaZeniMax Media, the parent of game publishers and developers such as Bethesda Softworks and id Software, has raised an additional $150 million of capital. ZeniMax has closed a $150 million investment by Providence Equity Partners, in the form of convertible preferred stock. The company stated that "The proceeds will be used to fund additional growth through increased game development, expanded publishing operations, and strategic acquisitions." Despite that, what limited indications there are for this privately held company suggest that ZeniMax has sufficient cash for operations, and is probably planning further acquisitions.
Mad CatzMad Catz has come to arrangements with its lender to make more cash available for the company to help it get through the holiday season. Mad Catz has amended its revolving asset-backed credit facility with Wells Fargo Capital Finance to allow Mad Catz to borrow as much as $50 million (rather than $30 million, a limit to which the facility will revert on January 31, 2011). These kind of trade-receivables credit facilities essentially allow companies like Mad Catz to borrow money (minus a risk-related percentage) in the expectation of actually collecting payments from retailers. To increase the borrowing limit, Mad Catz had to pay Wells Fargo Capital Finance $100,000.
Microsoft and Twisted Pixel Games have released Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley as this week's downloadable game from Xbox Live Arcade. For 1,200 points ($15), players can download this action game s and sometime platformer in which Captain Smiley leaps into other comic books to "save misguided plot lines."
UbisoftJust in case you still can't get enough of the (more-than-a-decade-old) game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Ubisoft has released another version of the game for the Wii and DS. This latest version allows up to four players to participate simultaneously. FI merely wants to know, "Is this their final edition?"
Sillysoft has released its game Castle Vox as a download for the PC and Mac. This strategy game features simultaneous turn-based resolution with a variety of maps featuring takes on classic board game genres.
Sony has released a variety of new downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store today. Among today's selections are more Japanese games for the Original PlayStation, several games based on television shows and a shooter in which players face endless aliens. Read on for more details...
Jewel Master: Cradle of Athena from Storm City Games is currently available for the DS in North American stores. This match-three-style puzzle game has players engaging in puzzle-style play to gather resources and artifacts to pursue a mission for the Goddess Athena.
UbisoftUbisoft's least-generic sounding title ever, Sports Collection is now available in stores. This compilation for the DS includes 15 arcade-style sports-based mini-games ranging from baseball to ice climbing.
Encore Software, part of Navarre Corporation, has released Hollywood Squares for the Wii to stores in North America. Based on the long-running game show of the same name, the PC version of Hollywood Squares shipped a few weeks ago.
City InteractiveCity Interactive's Jewels of the Tropical Lost Island for the DS is now in stores in North America. This is a conventional match-three game for the DS in which players further their pirate adventure by eliminating matching gems.
UbisoftUbisoft's Petz Fantasy games (Petz Fantasy: Sunshine Magic and Petz Fantasy: Moonlight Magic) have shipped to stores in North America. The two different versions of this DS game have players raising simulated pets, dressing them up in costumes and playing with them. Each version of the game has different petz.
HudsonHudson Entertainment's Oops! Prank Party for the Wii has shipped to stores in North America. This compilation of party games supports up to four players with 100 mini-games.
D3PublisherD3Publisher has shipped Ben 10: Ultimate Alien - Cosmic Destruction to stores. The game (shipping for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP and DS) should be in stores later this week. Based on the Ben 10 television series, this game has players unlocking the ultimate alien heroes that coexist with Ben to engage in action and puzzle sequences.
Namco Bandai GamesNamco, part of Namco Bandai Games, has shipped its game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West for the Xbox and PlayStation 3 to stores in North America. Namco describes the game as "a post-apocalyptic retelling of the classic 400-year-old novel 'Journey to the West.'" Players of this role-playing game take on the role of a man seized by a slave ship as merchandise, seeking to escape servitude.
NexonNexon Japan, part of the Nexon family of publishers that focus on free-to-play online games, has purchased 32% of the outstanding shares of BoomBang Games S.L., a Spanish online game developer. BoomBang Games makes flash-based games aimed at teens, and Nexon expects to help BoomBang expand BoomBang's reach to Spanish-speaking gamers in North and South America.
KonamiKonami has released its game Castlevania: Lords of Shadow for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to stores in North America. Developed by Madrid-based developer Mercury Steam together with Konami's Kojima Productions Studio, this latest Castlevania game features an open world in which players take on the role of Gabriel Belmont tracking down pieces of an artifact that can purify the world of supernatural evil.
O-Games has shipped John Daly's Prostroke Golf for the PlayStation 3 to stores. This is the ("spiritual") sequel to ProStroke Golf: World Tour 2007 is designed to allow players to use the PlayStation Move accessory to practice a natural golf swing. The Xbox 360 version should ship to stores next month.
KonamiKonami, together with Autumn Games, has released Def Jam Rapstar for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. The game was developed by 4mm Games and has players rhyming along to around 40 classic Hip Hop tracks.
Square EnixSquare Enix's game Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light for the DS is now in stores in North America. This role-playing game follows a boy "tasked with saving the world from an unexpected evil." How does that make it different from other Square Enix RPGs? Well, he's an androgynous boy instead of a girl...seriously, though, the game features an "Action Point Combat System" so that players can save up actions in combat to make powerful attacks.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game The Littlest Pet Shop 3 Biggest Stars has arrived in stores in three flavors. All versions of this game in which players indulge in challenges and mini-games with their Littlest Pet Shop pets are available for the DS. The "Blue Team," "Purple Team" and "Pink Team" versions are all sold separately and each include six exclusive "in-game pets and team-themed accessories."

NBA 2K11 Reaches Stores

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Take-Two Interactive2K Sports, the sports label of Take-Two Interactive, has released NBA 2K11, the latest game in its basketball franchise. The game is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, PlayStation 2 and PSP. NBA 2K11 should be released for the Wii later this month. This installment in 2K Sports' NBA franchise adds a "Jordan Challenge" mode that invites gamers to replay moments from Michael Jordan's career.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game NBA Jam for the Wii is now in stores. Versions of the game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 should be released later this year, allowing all major console owners to play this arcade-style basketball game.
CapcomCapcom revised its earnings expectations downward today, but the real news is the reason. Capcom emphasized the strong Japanese sales of its games Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes and Monhan Nikki Pokapoka Airu Mura. The problem, however, was "the large shortfall in sales" for Lost Planet 2, intended as Capcom's flagship game for Western markets.
NintendoNintendo's game Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs for the DS is now available in stores. This latest Pokemon game has players taking on the role of a Pokemon Ranger, protecting the Oblivia region from poachers who steal Pokemon. Rangers can even join forces with legendary Pokemon to protect the land. The game also lets four players participate in multiplayer missions using a local wireless connection.
IBM has released its game CityOne as a download for the PC. This is a "serious," educational game targeted at "business leaders, city planners and government agencies." The game simulates a city, asking players to "balance the city's financial, environmental and sociological interests." The subtext is that IBM is selling products that help city-level systems manage issues like traffic and utilities. Even so, the simulation provides an interesting look at the systemic problems facing large, urban populations.
Sony announced today that it will delay the release of its upcoming massively multiplayer online game DC Universe Online until "early 2011." While not specified, SOE presumably made the decision so that early sales of the game wouldn't conflict with the recently announced launch of the next World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm, releasing on December 7. FI is sure SOE doesn't want to see its game fail due to poor release timing.
Warner Bros. has hired Greg Ballard to serve as its Senior Vice President of Digital Games, reporting to both Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Most recently, Ballard served as Chief Executive Officer of Transpera (a video ad network) and for Warner Bros. he "will oversee the business and strategy aspects of the Studio's digital games business worldwide, including oversight over Turbine.
NintendoNintendo's downloadable games for the Wii and DSi this week include a crazy racing game, a tile-based tabletop game and an educational title, among others. Read on for more details.
Almost two weeks ago, the president of Disney Interactive Media Group (Steve Wadsworth) departed the company. Now, James A. Pitaro (of Yahoo Media) and John Pleasants (of Playdom, now owned by Disney) have been named co-presidents of Disney Interactive Media Group. Pitaro will oversee Disney.com, while Pleasants will oversee Disney's games on all platforms.

Wii Party Now Available

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NintendoNintendo's game Wii Party for the Wii is now in stores in North America. This casual party game is similar in concept to the Mario Party games, with players using their Miis to navigate a game board littered with party mini-games.
MicrosoftMicrosoft announced that Don Mattrick has officially been promoted to the position of President of the Interactive Entertainment Business. Mattrick's promotion was one of three such senior promotions announced today, and while it is certainly a pleasant announcement for Mattrick, it changes little. Mattrick has been in a similar position as a Senior Vice President for some time.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts and its studio Danger Close have been taking a lot of heat for allowing players to take on the role of the Taliban in its upcoming Medal of Honor game. They finally caved to the pressure, and have removed "Taliban" from the game. They haven't changed the game substantively, or even changed the appearance of the former Taliban side. They have, however, removed the word "Taliban." The former Taliban forces will be known simply as the "Opposing Force." In a statement on the game's blog, Greg Goodrich (Executive Producer of the game) wrote, "...because the heartbeat of Medal of Honor has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force."

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This page is an archive of entries in the News category from October 2010.

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