News: July 2011 Archives

S2 Games has converted its game Heroes of Newerth to a free-to-play game. Heroes of Newerth launched just over a year ago and is a game in which players take on the role of hero characters, leading AI-controlled armies to destroy another team's base available for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. It's also a sort-of sequel to Savage: The Battle for Newerth. New players will be able to pay additional cash (or play a lot) to identify themselves as veterans and unlock additional playable heroes.
Sega Sammy HoldingsSega Sammy Holdings (not surprisingly, the parent of both the Sega and Sammy labels) announced its financial results for its first financial quarter ended June 30, 2011. As a whole, the company experienced a quarterly loss, and the video game business performed particularly poorly. Read on for more details...
SonySony announced its consolidated financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2011. Sony's results suffered heavily from a poor global economy, the effects of the recent Japanese earthquake and the cyber-attack on Sony's PlayStation Network. Sony does say that at least the PlayStation Network logins are back to pre-attack levels. Of course, the other (more important factors) still hit Sony hard in this quarter, and game-related sales fell slightly. Read on for more details...
CapcomCapcom announced selected financial results concerning its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2011. While Capcom may have been disappointed with its sales numbers, the company's net income still exceeded the minimal positive income from the comparable quarter in the previous year. Read on for more details...
NintendoYou've probably noticed that Nintendo is often talking about the 3DS, but your friends don't have one. Come to think of it, you probably don't have one either. That's the problem. Reports have been circulating that there just aren't enough games, some people don't like the way the 3D requires a handheld console to be held at a very specific distance, and third-party developers are waiting to see further adoption of the system before releasing expensive games. As a result, there are a lot of ports and a few, adequate, launch titles. Well, it must be true that 3DS sales are grossly insufficient, because Nintendo is dropping the price. The system, currently in stores at $250, will only cost $170 in the United States as of August 12. That (and the fact that Nintendo has massively dropped its full-year profit forecast) suggests that the 3DS is performing poorly. That doesn't mean the system is doomed – Nintendo might still turn things around – but the system is currently faring badly. To compensate early adopters of the 3DS, Nintendo plans to allow anyone who purchased a 3DS (and connected it to Nintendo's network) before the price drop, to download a slew of NES and Game Boy Advance games at no additional cost. That seems like small consolation to FI (for a small console).
GameStopApparently, GameStop is tremendously concerned that it will turn into another Blockbuster – a physical store with an outdated business model. It's not enough that GameStop acquired Impulse to support digital sales, now GameStop customers can purchase downloadable games in-store. It's all the satisfaction of downloading a game, without any of the convenience of doing so from your own home. The only real benefit FI can glean is that it would be possible to trade in used games to purchase online downloads, but we're not particularly keen on enabling GameStop's pawn shop business.
THQTHQ reported its financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2011. THQ suffered from disappointing sales and mediocre-quality games, but read on for more details...
UbisoftThis week's downloadable game for the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade is Ubisoft's From Dust. Downloadable for 1,200 points ($15), the game has players controlling the destiny of a tribe struggling to survive against nature, where their only chance is your divine hand.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has released The Sims 3: Town Life Stuff for the PC and Mac to stores in North America. This expansion for The Sims 3 is available in stores or as a download through leading portals. For owners of The Sims 3, Town Life Stuff adds new venues, lots, exercise equipment, children's play equipment and casual clothes.
THQTHQ, through its Valusoft label, has released its compilation Hunting Unlimited: Excursion 3 Pack for the PC to stores in North America. This compilation includes the hunting games Hunting Unlimited 2011, Hunting Season and Dangerous Safari.
SonySony has released a new slate of downloadable content through the PlayStation Store. This week's releases are for the PlayStation 3, including a multiplayer, science-fiction-themed shooter and an action game based on historical figures. The biggest release of all isn't even a game, it's the Move.me application that allows interested programmers to try out the PlayStation Move controllers. Read on for the full list of releases and more details...
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts reported its preliminary financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2011. Read on for more details...
Namco Bandai GamesNamco Bandai Games' compilation Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions is now available for the 3DS in stores in North America. The compilation brings variations on both classic coin-operated arcade games Pac-Man and Galaga to the 3DS with Pac-Man Tilt and Galaga 3D Impact incorporating the various bells and whistles of the 3DS into the classic games.

Catherine Reaches Stores

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AtlusAtlus' game Catherine for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is now available in stores in North America. The game combines platforming puzzles with adventure-style interactions in which players pursue romance with either Catherine or Katherine.
MicrosoftMicrosoft announced its financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter and full fiscal year ended June 30, 2011. Not only did the company report strong results, but the Entertainment & Devices Division that includes game operations performed impressively with increased console sales. Read on for the details...
UbisoftUbisoft announced selected financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, 2011. Read on for more details...
Mystic Box's game Runespell: Overture is available as a download on the PC through Valve's Steam service. This game mixes role-playing game elements with battle resolution based on a solitaire game that uses poker hands to score hits on opponents.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has released Bastion from developer Supergiant Games and publisher WB Games through Xbox Live Arcade, as well as a console system update. While the console update introduces "no new features that will show up once your system has been updated," Bastion is an impressive role-playing game that can be downloaded to the Xbox 360 for 1,200 points ($15).
UbisoftUbisoft's game The Smurfs, based on the animated film that will reach theaters shortly, is now available in stores. This DS title has players participating in a variety of mini-games ranging from dress-up to cake decoration while also reading along to stories about the Smurfs.
Sega SammySega, part of Sega-Sammy, has released its game Captain America: Super Soldier to stores in North America. Based on the film reaching theaters this week, the game is now available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, DS and 3DS. The game features a mix of acrobatic platforming and action that relies heavily on Cap's Shield as Captain America faces many of his classic foes.
UbisoftUbisoft's latest game from its Just Dance series for the Wii is now available in stores. Just Dance: Summer Party allows Wii owners to dance to 20 new tracks from the '80s onwards and a variety of modes for individuals and groups.
Mad CatzMad Catz has shipped its range of Pro Flight products for PC flight simulations based on Cessna aircraft. The line includes the Cessna Yoke, Cessna Rudder Pedals and Cessna Trim Wheel, all of which are designed to replicate the look and feel of the controls found in the Cessna 172 Skyhawk Aircraft.
UbisoftUbisoft's game Call of Juarez: The Cartel for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is now available in stores in North America. This third Call of Juarez keeps the Wild Western spirit of the previous games, but transforms this shooter franchise into a modern day tale of drug-related violence that spans the United States/Mexican border. The game also supports up to three players in an online cooperative mode.
Paradox InteractiveParadox Interactive's game Supreme Ruler: Cold War for the PC is now available as a download through most portals. This strategy game has players controlling the superpowers during the Cold War, using diplomacy, trade, espionage and military might to be the supreme country in the post-World War II world.
FotonicaDeveloper Santa Ragione has released its free-running game Fotonica as a download for the PC. The game features a one-button interface, allowing players to speed through an abstract environment, timing jumps to further explore the world. Anyone interested can pay whatever they want to download and play the game.
NintendoNintendo has launched a Netflix application for the 3DS. The application is free (although Netflix isn't) and requires an accompanying system software update. None of the Netflix streaming content is in 3D, but this will surely be happy news to those Netflix subscribers... who also have a 3DS... and don't have a better platform on which to watch streaming content... and have plenty of bandwidth to spare... and aren't pissed off about the new Netflix price hikes. Yup... lots of people.
Electronic ArtsEarlier this week, Electronic Arts announced that it plans to acquire PopCap Games. To consummate that purchase, EA needs to raise $550 million in cash. EA arranged for a borrowing facility prior to announcing the purchase, but that arrangement was obviously more expensive than EA felt it should pay. Today, EA announced that it hopes to sell $550 million of Convertible Senior Notes to finance the PopCap purchase. If the placement is successful (and it will be) the notes will be due in 2016 and will be convertible into EA stock. Obviously, EA is still figuring out the price the market will bear, since the conversion rate of the notes is still to be determined, and EA is prepared to issue an additional $82.5 million of these notes if demand exceeds the initial $550 million requirement. To summarize, EA will issue a lot of convertible bonds to fund its purchase of PopCap, as long as it can do so below the cost of the backstop facility it has already arranged.


UPDATE 7/15/11: Electronic Arts has priced the offering and plans to close the transaction on July 20, 2001. The Convertible Senior Notes will pay interest semi-annually and bear an interest rate of 0.75%. The notes will be convertible at approximately $31.74 per share (subject to certain events), and unless certain events occur, will be convertible after April 15, 2016.

Take-Two InteractiveIt's outrage time again on the internet. MCV interviewed Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K Games (and part of Take-Two Interactive). The interview ranged across many topics, but happened to touch upon the return of the X-com franchise as a first-person shooter. That's where Hartmann raised the collective bile of strategy gamers. Read on for more details...
Several locations have information that Sony will only allow high-definition output of Blu-ray discs over the PlayStation 3's HDMI output. Component video cables will no longer support high-definition video output. The information originally came from a memo concerning the newest model of PlayStation 3 (the "K" system), but has been confirmed by Sony as being part of the Advanced Access Content System DRM restrictions for Blu-ray content. While the leaked retail memo may only concern a new model of the PlayStation 3, it's a safe bet that if Sony can patch this into older models, it will.
Gamigo has launched the free-to-play massively multiplayer online game Black Prophecy in North America. The game has been live in Europe, but now has a live cash store in North America, allowing those gamers to full experience this title developed by Reakktor Media. This science-fiction-themed game features real-time combat between two factions, one of which pursued genetic engineering and the other of which explored cybernetic optimization. Gamigo acquired the game (and a stake in Reakktor Media) in January to make this happen.
MicrosoftMicrosoft has released more downloadable games for the Xbox 360, including an arcade-style shooter in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, an updated version of a classic arcade game and a pink, female version of a famous 'Sploding dude. Read on for the full list and more details...
SonyIt's a light day in the PlayStation Store for full game releases. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood can now be downloaded directly to the PlayStation 3 for $40. This game that allows players to explore the life of an assassin in renaissance Rome was released late last year. Also available today is the PSP Mini Mighty Flip Champs! DX ($6).

Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts has entered into an agreement to acquire PopCap Games for a minimum of $750 million, with potential for PopCap principals to make a lot more. The transaction is expected to close in August 2011. Electronic Arts will pay $650 million in cash for PopCap, and has put into place a lending facility that will allow EA to borrow up to $550 million (although EA's mention that it will look for other financial options suggests this isn't a favorably arranged facility). EA will also issue $100 million in EA stock and up to an additional $550 million in cash if certain financial targets are met. Soon, the maker of games such as Plants Vs Zombies and Peggle will be part of Electronic Arts, supporting EA's claim that it is investing a lot into the casual and social game space.
UbisoftUbisoft announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Owlient, a Paris, France-based developer of free-to-play games. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Ubisoft expects to close the transaction within the quarter and plans to use the 40 team members at Owlient to bolster Ubisoft's presence in the online, free-to-play market.

Beanfun!

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Gamania has officially launched its free-to-play massively multiplayer online game Lucent Heart, meaning that the game has launched its cash shop, allowing players to spend real money on the game's virtual items. Who doesn't want to play a zodiac-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game that constantly reminds you to have "BEANFUN!"
D3PublisherD3Publisher has released the Ben 10 Triple Pack compilation of Ben 10 games for the DS. This compilation includes the previously released games Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben 10: Protector of Earth and Ben 10: Alien Force - Vilgax Attacks – all based on the animated series Ben 10.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is now available in stores. This game, based on the latest Harry Potter film has been released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC and DS. The game allows players to take on the role of Harry Potter or one of seven other characters in the final battle for Hogwarts.
ZeniMax MediaBethesda Softworks, part of ZeniMax Media, has released The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - 5th Anniversary Edition for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC to stores. This compilation includes a copy of the original game and the downloadable content "Knights of the Nine" and "Shivering Isles," along with a variety of bonus content, allowing players to enjoy this role-playing game from the beginning of this console generation.
Electronic ArtsElectronic Arts' game NCAA Football 12 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is now available in stores. This latest version of EA's college football game franchise attempts to improve the play experience by adding things like animal mascots and collegiate pre-game traditions (the "Traveler with Trojan Rider"?). Seriously? We're focusing on mascots now? Does that make for a better football game?
Matrix Games, together with Slitherine and developer The Lordz Games Studio, has released Panzer Corps for the PC. This turn-based strategy game set during World War II is now available as a download for the PC and physical versions of the game should start shipping next week. The game explores many of the famous European battles from World War II using traditional wargaming hex-based warfare.
SonySony announced that this is the last week that it will add new titles to the Digital Comics Store for the PSP. That's not particularly exciting in and of itself, but is a clear indication that Sony is winding down its semblance of an effort to support the PSP. The Digital Comics development team is, apparently, still working, but is presumably preparing for the launch of the PlayStation Vita rather than supporting the PSP.
345 Games (part of Spike Games) has released its game Deadliest Warrior: Legends as a downloadable game for the Xbox 360 as part of Xbox Live Arcade. Based on the television program Deadliest Warrior on Spike TV, this is a new version of the previously released game with even more warriors from history. The game can be downloaded for 800 points ($10).
Publisher Digital Reality and Developer Candygun Games have released Dead Block as this week's downloadable game through Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360. Set in the 1950s, Dead Block features three survivors of a zombie apocalypse striving to survive. In this slightly humorous take on the usual zombie theme, zombification appears to have been caused by the evils of Rock 'n Roll.
CapcomCapcom's game Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is now available for the PC as both a download and in retail stores. Released last week for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, this fighting game adds four classic Street Fighter combatants to Super Street Fighter IV.
SonySony has released more downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP, including a version of Ape Escape for the PlayStation Move and two Japanese games released on the original PlayStation. Read on for the full list and more details...
Sony has released a compilation of Insomniac's first two Resistance games. The Resistance Dual Pack for the PlayStation 3 is now available in stores and includes the first-person shooters Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2, in which mankind is facing extermination at the hands of the mysterious Chimera threat.
D3PublisherD3Publisher's game Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is now available in stores in North America. This third-person shooter has squads of players co-operatively battling hordes of insectoid enemies that are invading the planet.
FuncomFuncom's massively multiplayer online game Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures has now relaunched as the downloadable, free-to-play (with premium features) game Age of Conan: Unchained. The new version of the game can be downloaded for free, but an in-game store sells premium items, and players with a premium subscription will have access to additional content. Furthermore, the downloadable game is now unrated, with even more barbaric content.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the News category from July 2011.

News: June 2011 is the previous archive.

News: August 2011 is the next archive.

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