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February 28, 2006

EA SHIPS THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH II AND THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH II COLLECTOR'S EDITION

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., February 28, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) officially announced today that the highly anticipated, The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™ II has shipped to retailers nationwide and will be in stores on March 2, 2006. The sequel to the critically acclaimed The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™, this real-time strategy (RTS) game offers the chance to experience Middle-earth in a way you have never seen.

Developed at EA’s Los Angeles (EALA) studio for the PC under the EA™ brand, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II includes all new content from J.R.R. Tolkien's original fiction, and allows the player to delve deeper than ever before and engage in new battles that go beyond the award-winning movie trilogy. The development team at EALA have brought The Lord of the Rings™ world to life in accordance with an agreement with The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises that grants EA the rights to develop games based on the books, in addition to a separate agreement that allows for games based on the New Line Cinema films.

"The Lord of Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II introduces players to new heroes, creatures, places and stories from Tolkien's fiction brought to life in the visual style of the films from New Line Cinema," said Mike Verdu, Executive Producer at EA LA. "The game combines a rich and wonderful world with innovations in real-time strategy game play to deliver the complete Middle-earth experience. This is the Middle-earth you've never seen."

In The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II, players wage war in the Northern regions of Middle-earth where they can choose to assume command of the most storied civilizations in all of Middle-earth history - the Elven and Dwarven armies - or fight on the side of Evil with heroes and creatures that have never been seen in The Lord of the Rings™ films. Reprising his role as Lord Elrond, Hugo Weaving lends his voice to the game, helping to set the scene and tone for each mission.

Players can customize their experience by creating their own hero and building all new customized RTS units. Build landmark castles with fully customizable and upgradeable fortresses and walls or control the entire war with War of the Ring Mode; a high level “Risk” style meta-game on the Living World Map with all new strategic AI.

In conjunction with the shipping of The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II PC game (US MSRP of $49.99), EA will release a special Collector’s Edition. For the first time ever, fans of The Lord of the Rings can see what goes into the making of a blockbuster PC game with the DVD release of The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II Collector’s Edition (US MSRP of $59.99) as well as experience exclusive in-game content. Both versions of the game are rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.

For more information about either title, please visit www.bfme2.ea.com.

RESPECT RULES THE AVENUES OF METRO CITY AS CAPCOM® RELEASES FINAL FIGHT: STREETWISE™

SUNNYVALE, Calif February 28, 2006 — Capcomâ plans to turn the fighting genre upside down with the release of Final Fight: Streetwise™ for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. Set within Capcom’s Final Fight universe, this mission-based action game calls for players to use their street smarts and powerful fighting skills to survive the back alleys of Metro City. The classic Capcom fighting action, expansive 3D environments, and diverse gameplay of Final Fight: Streetwise is now available at retailers across North America and carries an “M” rating for mature audiences by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).

‘Your fists are the only thing you can really rely on in this world’ are the words uttered by Kyle and Cody Travers. Gaining respect is the only way to survive the streets of Metro City. The Travers brothers have spent years building an indisputable reputation amongst the local gangs and street thugs. No one ever dares to challenge them until a seedy organization kidnaps Cody. In the feverish attempt to rescue his brother, Kyle meets head-on with the forces of a sinister underground boss whose powerful influence has thrown the various districts of Metro City into utter chaos. Now the metropolis is in a riotous turmoil as a mysterious street drug spreads across the city. What’s happened to Cody and is he still alive? Can the anarchy be stopped?

In Final Fight Streetwise, players assume the role of Kyle Travers. As a streetwise underground pit fighter and brother of the infamous Cody from the classic Final Fight series, Kyle must try to solve his brother’s disappearance. ‘Respect’, ‘tension’ and ‘money’ must be quickly earned to attain powerful new fighting skills, hardcore weapons, critical information and a wide variety of NPC (non-playable character) support. Featuring stylized and realistic visuals, the tumultuous energy of Metro City is brought to life with great detail. Explore dynamic environments and encounter intense street fights where players use hand-to-hand and weapon combat. Shocking story twists and disturbing connections are made as this epic story unfolds through adrenaline-pumping action and intense cinematics.

Final Fight: Streetwise includes the following features:

· Storyline based on Capcom’s Final Fight universe – Encounter new and familiar Final Fight characters who will assist Kyle throughout the game

· Character upgrade system – There are there three key attributes that Kyle must acquire throughout the game in order to complete various objectives: ‘respect,’ ‘tension,’ and ‘money’:

o Respect - Kyle’s ‘respect’ level will define his interaction with the enemies and bystanders.

o Tension - Affects Kyle’s fighting ability. Increasing his ‘tension’ level unlocks more powerful attack moves. The amount of tension the player builds is based on how intensely Kyle fights. The better the performance, the greater the reward.

o Money - Affects what helpful items and services that can be purchased, including weapons, information, hiring allies, etc.

· Intensified fighting – Partake in the raw intensity of fighting on and off the streets. Final Fight: Streetwise offers balanced action between various methods of combat:

o Hand-to-hand and super combos– Execute primary close-range attacks and deliver devastating combos, such as nose-shattering punches and excruciating knees to the groin.

o Hand-to-hand and weapons – Damage enemies at close range with hand-to-hand combat and finish them off with weapons, including pool cues, 2x4’s, steel pipes, knives, grenades, shotguns and machine guns.

o Instinct Mode – Increase your attack power and accuracy when activating this mode.

o Counter-Time Mode – Show off Kyle’s ultra-fast reflexes for counter-attacks by slowing down time with special parry maneuvers.

o Single or two player campaigns – Play alone to unlock characters in the main game for use in 2 player co-op mode

· Diverse NPC interactions – Interact with NPCs in order to obtain information, buy/sell items, or hire them as allies.

· Dynamic Environments - Missions will offer a non-linear free roaming experience, giving the player the opportunity to freely explore their surroundings for clues, key characters, etc., as well rewarding side missions. Revisit locations and see the dramatic transformation of the city as it is torn apart by escalating chaos.

· Realistic and Stylish visuals – The grittiness of Metro City is brought to life in incredible detail.

· Dolby Sound Pro Logic® II (PlayStation 2 only) and Dolby® Digital (Xbox only) – Final Fight: Streetwise will include a system that will enhance the licensed music tracks and realistic fighting sounds heard throughout the game.

· Bonus material – Mini-games, unlockable content including the original Final Fight, side stories and a pulse pounding music soundtrack featuring hot new hip hop and alternative metal artists.

BLACK ASSAULTS RETAIL SHELVES FROM EA

Chertsey, Surrey, UK – February 28, 2006 – Prepare to go in all guns blazing. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that BLACK™ is now available at North American retailers for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. The game is rated M for Mature with descriptors: Strong Language, Violence, by the ESRB and carries an MSRP of $39.95.

A hotly-anticipated first person shooter from Criterion Games (creators of the Burnout™ franchise), BLACK delivers explosive Hollywood-style gun battles and destruction set against the modern war on terror. BLACK casts players as Sgt. First Class Jack Kellar, the leader of an enigmatic Black Operations team sent in to Eastern Europe to eliminate a traitor.

BLACK challenges gamers to master and exploit erodeable cover in a game world where bullets affect every surface, and nearly everything can be destroyed.

Conceived following a trip to a Las Vegas gun range, the game’s intent is to deliver the loudest, most thrilling weapons and gunplay ever in a videogame … which has earned the game a reputation for being “gun porn” among industry press.

“Guns are loud, exhilarating and utterly terrifying things,” said Alex Ward, creative director, Criterion Games. “BLACK delivers a deep shooting experience that captures the paralyzing sensation of pulling the trigger of dangerous and exotic automatic weapons.”

BLACK will release under the EA™ brand and was developed by Criterion Games in Guildford, UK. The studio is also developing the next-generation debut of Burnout™ Revenge, slated for release on March 7 for the Xbox 360™.

For more information about BLACK, please visit http://black.ea.com

EA SHIPS THE SIMS 2 OPEN FOR BUSINESS TO STORE SHELVES TODAY

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – February 28, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) shipped The Sims™ 2 Open for Business, the heavily anticipated expansion pack for the best-selling PC game, The Sims™ 2 to retailers around the globe today.

The Sims 2 Open for Business builds on The Sims 2 experience, which allows players to create and control characters called Sims. Now, players who own The Sims 2 can install The Sims 2 Open for Business expansion pack to access a whole new type of gameplay that takes Sims out of their homes, and allows them to flourish at their dream business.

The Sims 2 Open for Business encourages fans to create virtually any kind of business for their Sims, from a trendy clothing boutique alongside a hip beauty salon, to a bustling restaurant chain selling blooming floral bouquets. The Sims 2 Open for Business puts players at the center of their professional ambitions, allowing them to build a business from the ground up while playing an integral role in the commercial focus. Players will be able to design the floor plan and sales display, hire and fire employees, and set prices on merchandise they create or purchase for sale. With more than 125 new items and all new gameplay elements to choose from, the business possibilities are endless.

The entrepreneurial focus of The Sims 2 Open for Business was among the most requested themes by fans of The Sims 2. According to Senior Producer, Don Laabs, “The Sims 2 Open for Business opens a limitless world of new gameplay for Sims fans. The game includes all the tools players will need to create businesses that reflect their unique personalities, be they buttoned-down professionals, or wacky worker bees who explore the limits of the workplace. This is one of the most open-ended expansion packs we have created and we encourage fans to discover their irreverent, quirky business personalities.”

The Sims 2 Open for Business will ship under the EA™ brand and is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB. Budding entrepreneurs and Sims fans alike can find The Sims 2 Open for Business on store shelves March 2, 2006 in North America and Europe. The Sims 2 is required to play The Sims 2 Open for Business.

For more information on The Sims 2 and The Sims 2 Open for Business, visit http://www.thesims2.com.

CSI 3 Dimensions of Murder

February 27, 2006 Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, today announces that new details and assets for CSI 3 Dimensions of Murder are now available. This is the first window into this all new iteration of the CSI franchise. Check below for a quick rundown of what new information and materials are available. Look for more news regarding CSI 3 Dimensions of Murder as it approaches its March 2006 release:

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

The Facts:
Join the famous CSI team in Las Vegas and investigate 5 all new cases using the latest forensic science. Work along side Grissom, Katherine and the entire cast as you utilize the latest crime-solving equipment. To discover the truth behind the crimes, you must visit the scene, interview suspects and collect and analyze physical evidence. Use puzzle-solving and interrogation skills to establish a relationship between the suspect, the victim and the crime scene. Only then will you be able to make an arrest and resolve the case.

Key Features:

NEW 3D graphics:
Investigate crime-scenes that are more like the hit TV show than ever. Move around the crime scene and get a close-up look. Feel like you are really using the tools for collection and detection of evidence and interact with the CSI cast like never before.

5 NEW cases with deeper plot lines with shocking twists:
Players will be drawn into the action with improved character interaction and longer more immersive cases. The 5 new and distinctive cases will draw players in like never before.

NEW Mobile Crime Lab: Just like the hit TV show, CSI 3 Dimensions of Murder features the GMC Mobile Analysis Unit that can be used to analyze evidence quickly in the field.

NEW more satisfying evidence analysis:
Players will really feel like they are solving the case, not like the computer is solving it for them. Use high tech tools to collect and process evidence such as, Mikrosil casting material, magnetic powder for enhanced finger print analysis and Luminol for detecting traces of blood evidence.

The Original CSI series is the #1 hit TV show:
CSI 3 Dimensions of Murder returns to the original Vegas-based series. CSI: Crime Scene investigations remains the top show on TV with 26M weekly viewers.

Players Can Battle Wirelessly and Talk Smack With Metroid Prime Hunters

The new Metroid(R) Prime Hunters launches March 20 and is an action-packed first-person adventure game for Nintendo DS(TM). Up to four players can play wireless matches locally or using Nintendo(R) Wi-Fi Connection, Nintendo's wireless gaming network, which lets them hook up with friends or battle strangers. Each gamer also gets a Hunters License, which keeps track of key game-play stats and lets opponents size up one another before a match. Nintendo DS owners also will soon let their voices be heard as the title features wireless voice chat technology that lets players talk to one another before and after they face off.
Ever since the demo version of Metroid Prime Hunters came bundled with the first Nintendo DS systems, gamers have been eager to get their hands on the full game. Their patience has paid off. With new bounty hunters, precision touch-screen controls, wireless Wi-Fi battles and voice chat, Nintendo introduces a new level of creativity and fun to this storied franchise.

Metroid Prime Hunters is Rated T for Teen. To learn more about Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection or the extensive online stat tracking, log onto www.nintendowifi.com. For more information about Metroid Prime Hunters and videos of the new bounty hunters in action, visit www.metroidhunters.com

February 27, 2006

TOCA Race Driver 3 screeches into stores today

New York (Feb. 24, 2006) – TOCA Race Driver 3 hits the streets today and gamers can take a final test drive with the new multiplayer Windows PC demo, now available to download from http://www.codemasters.com/tocaracedriver3.

This new TOCA Race Driver 3 demo takes the PC edition online with up to 12 simultaneous players competing for tire-burning victory. Who will fare against the fiercest players in events featuring Mercedes C-Klasse cars in a heavyweight DTM race at Hockenheim, Racing Renault Clios in the Autosport Clio Cup at Brands Hatch or competing in a stock car event with Dodge Chargers at Indianapolis?

The demo is just a taste of the wealth of online and offline racing content that’s crammed in TOCA Race Driver 3. Featuring an incredible 120+ championships spanning 35 different motorsport disciplines, TOCA Race Driver 3 delivers the most motorsport ever.

The game offers two main game modes complete with explosive damage effects, head-to-head online multiplayer racing and a game engine supercharged for a greater degree of simulation. For true to life racing, Pro Career mode puts gamers at the center of the motorsport world, ready to embark on careers across six specialist motorsport disciplines – Open-Wheel, GT, Touring Car, Oval, Off-Road & Rally and Classics. Race gamers can also embark on a World Tour, putting them straight in the driving seat as they leap disciplines and blaze their own trail through the game!

TOCA Race Driver 3 is 100 percent exhilarating, edge-of-your-seat racing across a massive range of sensational motorsports. TOCA Race Driver 3 launches today for PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC. Get ready to race for real with the new multiplayer demo, movies and more available online at http://www.codemasters.com/tocaracedriver3.

2K SPORTS ANNOUNCES COLLEGE HOOPS 2K6 FOR THE XBOX 360 HAS GONE GOLD!

College Hoops 2K6 for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the latest in the #1 rated college basketball video game series, has gone gold and is set to hit store shelves on March 7. College Hoops 2K6 for Xbox 360 showcases incredible next generation graphics, unparalleled gameplay, the entire suite of features found in the critically-acclaimed current generation versions and an expanded roster of teams and players.

As the first and only college basketball video game to be available for the Xbox 360, College Hoops 2K6 includes Xbox 360-exclusive features such as stunning player models, detailed college arenas complete with full 3D crowds and realistic animated sections for the band, home and visiting crowds. Additionally, an increased focus on defense in the post, players’ shot distribution and overall game speed bring more of an authentic college style of play.

College Hoops 2K6 also includes current-gen features such as Pre-season and Selection Sunday broadcast shows, the Coach’s Clipboard, Midnight Madness®, Strip ‘n’ Rip System, Shot Stick and V.I.P. System™, as well as online play.

College Hoops 2K6 with these features and more will be available on March 7, 2006 for the Xbox 360!

For more information click on www.2ksports.com

Untold Legends: The Warrior's Code

Untold Legends: The Warrior's Code has been designed, upgraded and completely enhanced for its debut as a sequel. Featuring intense combat and fast hack-n-slash action, The Warrior's Code has a brand new art style, 3D engine, characters, and storylines as well as the ability to play multiplayer games on the PSP system's network and via the Internet.

In The Warrior's Code, the realm is one of chaos and oppression as a powerful warlord's horrific minions continue to slaughter and enslave the people. When members of a secret shape-shifting race begin to disappear, suspicions of an insidious plot to exterminate them lead many of its members to flee into the wilderness for survival. While struggling to escape capture and death, some of the shape-shifting refugees stumble upon a carefully guarded secret that rekindles hope for freedom and peace in the realm.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

Untold Legends: The Warrior's Code is being developed and published by SOE and is scheduled to ship on March 28, 2006. For additional information please visit the official website at www.untoldlegends.com.

Super Princess Peach Showcases a Real Damsel of Distinction

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 27 PRNewswire -- The life of a princess isn't always an easy one. Nintendo's Princess Peach, for instance, has found herself the victim of multiple kidnappings since her debut in the classic Super Mario Bros.(R) for the Nintendo Entertainment System(R) in 1985. But her frequent nemesis, Bowser, has wised up and instead kidnapped her repeat rescuers, Mario(TM) and Luigi. Now it's up to Peach to show she can go from pretty-in-pink to butt-kicking babe without missing a beat.
Super Princess Peach(TM), debuting today exclusively for the popular Nintendo DS(TM), sends the parasol-wielding heroine on a mission to rescue the Mario Bros. from the clutches of Bowser. But Peach finds herself mysteriously overwhelmed by strong emotional vibes as she approaches his castle on Vibe Island. Undaunted, she channels these vibes and uses them to defeat her enemies. She floats through the air when she's happy, waters plants with her tears and catches on fire when she's mad.
"Peach has never been a pushover, but this classically styled game really lets her put the hurt on her enemies," says George Harrison, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. "Our damsel in distress has become a powerful leading lady."
Players must use Peach's newfound powers to help them navigate through eight different areas, where she fights bad guys, collects coins and rescues imprisoned Toads. The side-scrolling platform game will satisfy old-school purists, while everyone will enjoy watching Peach whack enemies with her parasol. Super Princess Peach turns the genre on its crown as only Nintendo can. Super Princess Peach is Rated E for Everyone.
The worldwide leader and innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home and portable video game systems. Each year, hundreds of all-new titles for the best-selling Game Boy(R) Advance SP, Nintendo DS(TM) and Nintendo GameCube(TM) systems extend Nintendo's vast game library and continue the tradition of delivering a rich, diverse mix of quality video games for players of all ages. Since the release of its first home video game system in 1983, Nintendo has sold more than 2 billion video games and more than 360 million hardware units globally, creating enduring industry icons such as Mario(TM) and Donkey Kong(R) and launching popular culture franchise phenomena such as Metroid(R), Zelda(TM) and Pokemon(R). A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information about Nintendo, visit the company's Web site at www.nintendo.com.

February 26, 2006

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Bethesda Softworks invited me to play Oblivion last week and I really enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, they gave us from 1 to 4:30 to play the game. At 2:15 I looked at my watch and I thought, this is cool but do I really want to play it for another 2 hours when the USA is playing Russia in Olypic hockey. Then the next thing I knew it was 4:30 and it was time to go. I got so swept up in the game that I lost all sense of time. I play a lot of games every year and this is a rare thing so it certainly says something positive about the quality of the game and the power of the story.

Oblivion is a role playing game (RPG) that is the latest chaper in the epic and highly successful Elder Scrolls saga. It's really well done. I'd give it very high scores in sound and video quality. The first thing that struck me about the game is its soundtrack which enhances the environment well. The freeform gameplay allows you to unravel the main quest at your own pace so I just immediately set off on randomly exploring the world. It was very easy to get the hang of the controls. There are stealth aspects to moving around dungeons and sewers and stealth attacks do more damage. There's a very deep alchemy system in which you mix different ingredients together to make something that you then apply to your character to enhance his abilities. A lot of the things you can make are poisons that you apply to your weapons.

The storey goes that after the mysterious and untimely death of the Emperor, the throne of Tamriel lies empty. With the Empire ready to crumble, the gates of Oblivion open and demons march upone the land - laying waste to everything in their path. To turn the tide of darkness, you must find the lost heir to the throne and unravel the sinister plot that threatens to destroy all of Tamriel.

This game is well worth playing if you like action RPGs. I don't rate previews but if I did this would get a 5.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

KEY FEATURES:
• Live Another Life in Another World. Create and play any character you can imagine, from the noble warrior to the sinister assassin to the wizened sorcerer.
• Next Generation Graphics. Pixel-shader effects and high definition televisions are fully supported to create unprecedented visuals, including lifelike towns, dungeons, and the most realistic forests ever created in a game.
• First Person Melee and Magic. An all-new combat and magic system brings first person role-playing to a new level of intensity where you feel every blow.
• Radiant AI. This groundbreaking AI system gives Oblivion’s characters full 24/7 schedules and the ability to make their own choices based on the world around them. Non-player characters eat, sleep, and complete goals all on their own.
• Realistic Characters. Oblivion’s features over 1,000 non-player characters who come to life like never before with facial animations, lip-synching, and full speech. They even engage in unscripted conversations with each other and you.
• Open-Ended Game Play; Short Challenges. The enormous world of Oblivion is open for you to explore at your own pace, and shorter challenges such as fighting bandits, mixing potions, creating magic items and persuading friends keep the challenges coming.

February 24, 2006

Eidos Releases the First Official Trailer for its Upcoming Action Sci-Fi Game ROGUE TROOPER!!

Nu Earth is a poisoned planet where a seemingly endless war rages between the Norts and Southers; a futile struggle, with no end in sight. Based on the popular sci-fi comic book by 2000AD, Rogue Trooper drops you in the middle of the futuristic, hi-tech battle as you take control of the last survivor of the massacred Genetic Infantryman; one whose allegiance is only to his mission and his mission is revenge. Vastly outnumbered, take on entire platoons with only the aid of your fallen comrades whose souls come alive in your equipment. Today you can take a first look into the action, as the first official trailer is now available for download at Eidos Interactive. Rogue Trooper is set to ship for the PS2, Xbox, and PC this Spring, 2006!

Go check out the trailer now at:
http://www.eidosinteractive.com/downloads/search.html?gmid=161

Heroes of Might and Magic Invade GameTap

Given the deep heritage and loyal fan base of the Heroes of Might and Magic series, GameTap, a first-of-its-kind broadband entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is excited to announce that the following three PC-DOS games have been added to the network:

- Might and Magic® III: Isles of Terra

- Might and Magic® IV: Clouds of Xeen

- Might and Magic® V: Darkside of Xeen

Because the popular franchise has such an extensive amount of installments, gamers can now use GameTap to witness the amazing evolution of this genre-defining strategy game which melds classic deep fantasy with outstanding visuals and gameplay. Other games in the Might and Magic franchise currently available on GameTap are:

- Heroes of Might and Magic IV®

- Heroes of Might and Magic®

- Heroes of Might and Magic® II: The Succession Wars

- Heroes of Might and Magic® III: The Restoration of Erathia

Stay tuned - Might and Magic I and II are coming in March!

In addition to Heroes of Might and Magic, GameTap delivers hundreds of the greatest games-on-demand plus original programming via a broadband-connected PC. Since new games and original programming are added to the service each week, visit GameTap today at www.gametap.com.

Agent 47 Appears in his Signature Style on the Hitman: Blood Money Box Art!

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With his stylish suit, signature red tie, and simple but deadly weapon of choice, Agent 47 appears on the official Hitman: Blood Money box art with the elements that made him notorious.

The world’s deadliest assassin is back, and the latest installment of the popular Hitman franchise puts the blood on your hands as you not only fulfill the contract, but determine how the contract will be fulfilled. Will you keep your identity a secret, and leave the spectators in wonder as to what just took place? Or blast your way to your target, and then pay off the press with your giant wad of blood stained earnings? With the new Blood Money system, the decisions that you make will affect the way that your future surroundings interact with you. Keep your face out of the papers or you are going to have a load of trouble on your hands, unless of course, that’s what you’re looking for. Either way, Agent 47 comes equipped with a new arsenal of moves and weaponry to deal with whatever situation you encounter. Prepare to make a killing, as Hitman: Blood Money is set to ship this Spring, 2006.

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FROGGER® FOR PRIZES HOPS ONTO MOBILE PHONES

LOS ANGELES, CALIF--FEBRUARY 23, 2006--Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. announced today that Frogger® for Prizes, a mobile version of the video arcade classic, has debuted in North America and will be available across several North American carriers and portals. The game is powered by the proprietary "For Prizes" platform from InfoSpace, allowing players to compete against each other to win prizes in daily head-to-head and weekly progressive tournaments.

Frogger for Prizes is an authentic translation of the original arcade version of Frogger with multiple enhancements and updated graphics. To clear each level, players guide "Frogger" from the bottom of the handset screen across a busy road and treacherous river into each of five home squares. As the levels advance, the traffic gets faster and the risks increase.

Frogger for Prizes has three game modes - Classic, Deluxe and Tournaments for Prizes. The Classic mode is based on the original arcade classic while the Deluxe mode includes several new game features, such as power-ups, new bonus items and challenging obstacles. In the Tournament mode, players can compete in daily or weekly tournaments against others and win great prizes, such as gift certificates, Frogger console games and more! The daily tournaments will be head-to-head competitions, where the players with the best win/loss ratio will claim the prizes. The weekly tournaments will be progressive, where the player with the highest overall score will win the prize.

This year, Frogger celebrates his 25th anniversary! Frogger captured the hearts of gamers everywhere when it first appeared in arcades in 1981. With over 20 million games sold to date, Frogger continues to be one of the most memorable and beloved pop icons in the history of video games. To join in the celebration, visit www.frogger25th.com.

February 23, 2006

Portable Tetris DS Blends New Games with Classic Nintendo Characters and Music

Tetris(R) DS will have players humming along as their thumbs move at lightning speed. On March 20, Tetris DS launches exclusively for Nintendo DS(TM) with six game modes, each themed with classic Nintendo characters and remixed classic Nintendo music. The new ways to play reignite the addictive passion of one of the most popular games of all time.

Players can connect to Nintendo(R) Wi-Fi Connection, Nintendo's wireless gaming service, or choose one of six other ways to play:

Mission: In this Legend of Zelda(R)-themed mode, players race the clock to complete the missions that appear on the top screen before time runs out.

Catch: In this Metroid(R)-themed mode, players try to land Tetriminos (falling blocks) on any side of an ever-growing floating pile of Tetriminos. Once players complete a 4-by-4 square, the Tetrimino will explode in all directions and earn points.

Puzzle: Players solve up to 200 tricky Tetris puzzles at their own pace with the help of just a few Tetriminos provided. Players tap the orientation they want to use and then the Tetrimino will automatically fall into place as Yoshi(TM) monitors the action.

Standard: This Mario(TM)-themed mode features the same addictive game play that made the original Tetris so wildly popular. Players guide Tetriminos and form horizontal lines to clear them away. Mario runs around Super Mario Bros.(R) levels in the background.

Touch: This unique Balloon Fight(R)-themed take on Tetris really shows off the touch-screen capability of Nintendo DS. Players use a stylus to drag and move a giant stack of Tetriminos to make them fall into horizontal lines. In early levels, they can tap to spin them just the way they need them. Players have as much time as they need to carefully plan their moves.

Push: The goal of this multiplayer Donkey Kong(R)-themed mode is to clear two lines at a time to push the group of Tetriminos into an opponent's red zone. Players can't let their own Tetriminos build up too high, or it's game over.

For more information about Tetris DS or other Nintendo products, please visit www.nintendo.com

February 22, 2006

CRIME STORIES

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Toronto, February 22, 2006 - The Adventure Company releases 6 new screenshots from Crime Stories, its investigative thriller adventure title.

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As the brilliant young FBI agent Martin Mystère, you have just been called upon to investigate the brutal murder of the highly reputed scientist, Professor Eulemberg. What sensational secret has the professor uncovered that has made him the victim of such a horrific crime?

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Your investigations into the murder will take you all over the world as you are confronted with many dangerous and exciting adventures. Only you can solve this horrific crime - and the mystery that lies beneath it...

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· A cinematic investigative thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat for hours!

· Amazing hi-quality 3D environments to expore and interact with.

· Many interesting objects to search for, collect and use.

· Creative and original puzzles to solve.

· Loads of characters to meet and talk to - you choose what you want to say to them!

· A dark and disturbing tale of betrayal and murder!

· From the award-winning publisher of MISSING® and Syberia®

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Crime Stories ships on March 14, 2006 with an anticipated ESRB rating of "T" for Teen.

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February 21, 2006

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

Today we at Ubisoft continue with our ongoing series of video developer diaries for the upcoming Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. This round we get the inside look at the development of the current generation Xbox version. We continue to dig deep into the behind the scenes development of GRAW! We will continue to keep the world updated on the development of GRAW, with the delivery of even more of these video developer diaries in the coming weeks. Keep your eyes peeled for these and additional overall goodness for Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter as it approaches its March 2006 ship.


View the video clip.

For this installment Craig Leigh, the Creative Director for GRAW Xbox drops knowledge on the design and technology of the current gen iteration of GRAW. Hear how the development team is working hard in retaining the core values of the Ghost Recon franchise, while at the same time bringing amazing new innovations to this next chapter, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. Hear first hand all about things like implementing the Cross Com, cutting-edge real world weaponry, open level design and more! All that, plus get a glimpse of the Xbox version of GRAW in motion!

EA’S EA SPORTS FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 3 SHIPS TO RETAILERS NATIONWIDE

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – February 20, 2006 – Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) announced today that EA SPORTS™ Fight Night Round 3 has shipped to retailers nationwide. The third installment in the award-winning EA SPORTS Fight Night series assures that no fight is over until the final bell rings. In the sport of boxing, one punch can change a fight and with the all-new in-game Impact Punches, you can shift the momentum or end it all instantly with one explosive punch.

EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3 features amazingly detailed graphics that capture every emotion of the fight. The game delivers an unparalleled boxing experience and is one of the best-looking and playing sports game for the Xbox 360™ system. Whether you’re hammering away at opponents with nasty hooks and uppercuts or setting them up for a wicked Impact Punch, you have the most complete boxing videogame experience in your hands.

Create a championship boxer from the ground up and take him through the ranks for a shot at the title belt in Career mode. Or re-create boxing’s greatest rivalries in ESPN CLASSIC™ mode, including such storied rivalries like Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Erik Morales, Bernard Hopkins vs. Jermaine Taylor, and many others.

Developed by EA Chicago, EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3 is available for the Xbox 360™ system, Xbox® videogame system from Microsoft, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system. The game is rated “T” (Teen) by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $39.99 for Xbox, PlayStation 2 and PSP and $59.99 for Xbox 360. The game’s official website is www.fightnightround3.com.

Two New Titles Announced For Nintendo DS

It's been more than 20 years since Nintendo's highly acclaimed franchise, Super Mario Bros.(R), first hit store shelves. On May 7, eager fans from Mario's classic days must wait no longer to see the brothers return in an all-new platformer with the launch of New Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo DS.

On the heels of Valentine's Day romance is in the air, even in the Mushroom Kingdom. But Princess Peach wasn't able to celebrate with her special someone, seeing that she's been taken prisoner by Bowser and Bowser Jr. Only the Mario Bros. can rescue the princess from her evil captors as they battle familiar enemies like Goombas and Koopas along with new foes and big bosses.

New Super Mario Bros. is loaded with features and characters that could only exist in the Mushroom Kingdom, including all-new power-ups like the Blue Shell, in which Mario can ride, and a massive Mushroom that makes himultra-huge. The title features stunning 3-D models moving through lavish, cleverly designed 2-D worlds, culminating in a final showdown for the freedom of Princess Peach.

Then, on June 5, another title launches for Nintendo DS. In Magnetica(TM), marbles roll down a twisted path toward the goal and it's up to players to stop them by launching new marbles into the oncoming ones. The marbles will disappear if players match three or more in this massive marble elimination. All actions are controlled with the stylus in this title that satisfies even the strongest puzzle addiction.

For more information about New Super Mario Bros. or Magnetica, visit www.nintendo.com

February 16, 2006

Witness TOCA Race Driver 3’s Damage Engine In Action With Every Scrape, Crash and Smash

No other racing game lets you see and experience the true impact of spectacular race car collisions to the level of what’s seen in TOCA Race Driver 3. In preparation for the game’s launch on February 24th, put on your crash helmet and take a look at the new ‘Damage’ video, now available online at http://www.codemasters.com/tocaracedriver3/.

The TOCA series has pioneered the use of damage visuals and physics so gamers can experience the reality of what happens when they don’t remain in total control of a 500bhp race car. TOCA Race Driver 3’s advanced Terminal Damage Engine is hugely rich in its visuals thanks to incredible particle effects and physics that affect the car’s handling and ultimately race results.

The additional particle effects highlight the punishment cars receive: sparks fly spectacularly when cars bottom out and end up grounding the car. Players will witness windshields shatter, wings get ripped off, and spoilers break and fly from the car. Plus, new game effects will show incremental amounts of damage as bodywork realistically deforms around crumple zones during a race.

Delivering 100 times the level of damage effect detail over its predecessor, TOCA Race Driver 3 slams into retail on February 24th for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC. Get fuelled up for the release with the new ‘Damage’ video, the playable demo and more online at http://www.codemasters.com/tocaracedriver3/.


ABOUT TOCA RACE DRIVER 3
Launching February 24th for PlayStation®2, Xbox® and PC.
http://www.codemasters.com/tocaracedriver3/

It’s time to race for real in the most motorsports ever featured in one video game. Compete in a massive variety of the world’s most aggressive motorsports, complete with explosive damage effects, head-to-head online multiplayer racing and a game engine rebuilt for a greater degree of simulation. Choose to embark on a World Tour of different events or go professional and follow one of six specialist motorsport careers in the Pro Career game.

* More than 35 motorsport racing genres through 120 championships.
* Pro Career game: Choose a motor racing discipline, including Open-Wheel, GT, Touring Car, Oval, Off-Road & Rally, and Historic, and storm from entry-level vehicle all the way up to the ultimate racing machine.
* World Tour game: Puts you in the driving seat – start racing and blaze your own trail through the game.
* Up to 21 cars on track in ultra-close pack racing against aggressive AI drivers.
* The most realistic damage in any racing game.
* Over 70 Real-World Race Cars.
* Over 80 International Circuits.
* Online racing: with new Practice, Qualifying and Eliminator modes.
* True mechanical effects: tires warm up, radiators overheat and engines blow.

EA’s EA SPORTS RUGBY 06 IN STORES TODAY

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Thursday, February 16, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today EA SPORTS™ Rugby 06 has shipped to retailers and is now available in stores. Produced by EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C., EA SPORTS Rugby 06 throws you back into the scrum for the most realistic and intense rugby experience yet.

Whether competing in the Super 14, the Six Nations, or the Guinness Premiership championships, players can keep the match flowing with a new off-load passing system, quick line-outs and penalties, a host of new set plays, and more responsive gameplay. Enhanced stadium models, 3D field textures, and authentic atmosphere effects, such as visible player breath, furthers the sense of realism within the game. With more licensed teams than ever before, lead your squad to victory with key impact players whose inspirational moves and special abilities can mean the difference between a defeat and victory.

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EA SPORTS Rugby 06 is available on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. The game is rated "E" (Everyone) with descriptor: Mild Language by the ESRB with a MSRP of $29.99.The official game website is http://www.rugby06.com

Science fiction screenwriter sets scene for PC futuristic action strategy title Maelstrom with anarchy, destruction and annihilation

New York (Feb. 16, 2006) –Codemasters is tapping into experienced screenwriting talent to create the backdrop for its futuristic strategy action epic Maelstrom, coming Q3 exclusively for PC.

When it launches, the game will not just have the action and characters of a science-fiction blockbuster movie, but will also feature a gripping scenario devised by James Swallow, an experienced science fiction screenwriter whose previous credits include Star Trek: Voyager and Doctor Who.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Maelstrom project,” said Swallow. “We have a dynamic and compelling plotline, epic scope and strong characters. As the game unfolds, the conflicts between the factions and the characters within them become the flashpoints for player missions. What begins as a battle to live another day soon becomes a global fight for survival, with the player at the heart of the action.”

hugely important - it doesn’t just set the tone and atmosphere, but it also ties directly into the game mechanics giving the player a better understanding of each faction and how they play,” said Carl Johnson, Maelstrom’s game designer at Codemasters. “The story follows the apocalypse that has befallen Earth and provides the player with a greater understanding of the motivations behind each of the game’s three factions, the origins of the technology for each side and the reasons behind the conflict.”

Expanding on Swallow’s backstory, gamers can sign up online (www.codemasters.com/maelstrom) for exclusive e-mail newsletters that will detail additional scenarios, including first hand accounts from all of the main protagonists featuring in Maelstrom. The episodic content will start with General James Buchanan, the heroic leader of the Remnants faction. More revelations from the game’s other factions – the Ascension and the Aliens – will follow.

50 Years And Counting – the events leading to The Maelstrom:

In the span of a single generation, Earth will become a desolate wasteland, ravaged by an ecological apocalypse
and fought over by the survivors of and war.
(Editors: The following backstory is available online to link to: www.codemasters.com/maelstrom)



In the space of fifty years, Earth changed from a planet on cusp of a challenging future to a world a breath away from lifelessness. The survivors gave this time of chaos and madness a name, drawing on a word from an ancient language that describes a storm so terrible it could tear open the world. They called it The Maelstrom.


2010:
* As the first decade of the Millennium came to a close, the rise of franchise terrorism and global paranoia led to a fortress mentality across the globe. Threatened from without by fanatical aggressors and from within by populations angered by the erosion of their personal freedoms, the leading governments of the world saw their power beginning to crumble, to be usurped by huge multi-national corporations.

2015:
* Obsidian – a huge asteroid – crashed into the North Pacific with the impact of a dozen nuclear warheads, and triggered the Earth’s weather system and ecology to completely collapse. First there were storms that measured off the conventional scales for hurricanes; then surge tides and earthquakes. It was if the planet itself was rising in anger against humanity.

2023:
* A full-blown ecological cataclysm hits the planet as the damage done to the environment came back tenfold. Rising sea levels and flooding turned cities like Tokyo and Sydney into vast lakes, leaving the national governments powerless to combat this unstoppable force.

2029:
* The fundamentalist terrorists who had plagued the early years of the 2000’s attacked once more. This was the excuse the corporations needed, and many of them unveiled their own military forces, deploying troops and agents to hunt down and wipe out the bands of fanatics. As wars raged on the doomed planet only a few of the conglomerates survived, among them the powerful Ascension Industries. They seemed destined to make the planet their own.

2040:
* Mass rioting in Europe, America and Russia. Pushed to the brink of despair by years of warfare, poverty and tyranny, the common people rose up in hundreds of isolated pockets of insurrection. It was no great rebellion, not some calculated revolution designed to shatter the old order – it was simply rage and hate, gone beyond breaking point. Soon the planet fell into a state of anarchy as open combat boiled over in every city, on every continent.

2042:
* Against the backdrop of a failing ecosystem, humanity crashed back into its ancient tribal ways, fighting and killing to survive. The governments finally disintegrated and at last someone, somewhere pushed the button that unleashed salvos of missile strikes. Cities were vaporized in the nuclear infernos and civilization fell.

The Maelstrom had struck.

For another eight years, the small wars flared and died like guttering embers in a fire, until there were no more battles to fight and precious few resources to fight over. It was only the Ascension, thanks to the foresight of its master Arlan Khan, who were spared the brunt of the global uprising. While they went to ground and made ready to weather the storm, Khan’s rivals around the world caught the full fury of it, and were ripped apart.

2050:
* From the ruins of this apocalypse emerged the survivors, the few who had the cunning or the intelligence to wear the passing of the Maelstrom. They hoped to rebuild, to start anew – but the seeds of conflict lay deep, and the old lines of battle had never been erased. In the ashes, the fight for freedom would be reignited. Only this time, whomever was the victor would decide the future of mankind.

The time is now. The war is just beginning...

Maelstrom is the result of a unique collaboration between Codemasters and the award-winning Russian development team KDV games (previously known as K-D LAB) whose previous credits include award-winning PC strategy title Perimeter.

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With a contemporary sci-fi theme and action packed tactical gameplay, including upgradeable transforming units and weapons of maelstromic destruction, Maelstrom is set to hit on PC in Q3 2006. For the latest info, the new trailer movie and to sign up for exclusive newsletters, visit www.codemasters.com/maelstrom.

FlatOut 2 Wrecks Its Way Onto Consoles and PC

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San Francisco – Feb. 16, 2006 – As worldwide sales of FlatOut crash through the 700,000 mark, the sequel to the much-acclaimed destruction racer is set to accelerate its way onto the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC in the nitrous charged form of FlatOut 2 this June, courtesy of Bugbear Entertainment and Empire Interactive, one of the UK’s leading independent game publishers. Vivendi Universal Games will distribute the title in the U.S.

Featuring an enhanced version of the original’s lauded physics engine with even faster driving track designs, FlatOut 2 also boasts numerous improvements, enhancements and additions to make the title the definitive FlatOut experience. Twice as many vehicles, a more sophisticated career mode, additional race environments, double the number of tracks, twice as many mini-games along with brand new and much requested online multiplayer modes are just some of the exhaustive features that are included in FlatOut 2.

With more than 5,000 fully destructible objects on every track as well as 40 deformable parts on each vehicle, physical interaction in a racing game is taken to unprecedented heights. With a greater emphasis placed on causing destruction on the track by offering greater rewards, game play will be even more frantic than ever. Drivers will need to tear into competitors’ cars, trash the local scenery, litter the track with obstacles, while at the same time trying to concentrate on their own race in a bid to cross the line first.

The ever-popular Ragdoll mini-games from the original FlatOut game make a welcome return and are better than ever with 12 Ragdoll events, a Ragdoll Championship and full online support. New Ragdoll events include basketball, baseball and royal flush cards.

Game Features

* Bigger variety of race environments including Big City, L.A. Storm Drains, Rocky Mountain Forest, Corn Fields and Desert
* Twice as many tracks with alternate track routes included for the first time
* Enhanced Championship Mode with multiple cups across increasing difficultly levels
* Twice as many vehicles plus additional car types--Muscle cars, Sports cars, Pickup Trucks and Compacts
* Garage feature allows player to now own multiple vehicles
* Unlockable bonuses including additional cars, Championship Cups and Destruction Arenas
* Improved opponent AI with each AI driver represented by a character and exhibiting a unique driving style
* MULTIPLAYER SUPPORT
o Online multiplayer modes - up to six players on PlayStation 2 and eight players on Xbox
o Four player offline split screen Multiplayer mode on Xbox; two player on PlayStation 2
o Now available online! -- Destruction Derby Arenas and Ragdoll Mini Games


About Empire Interactive
Empire is a leading UK quoted computer games developer and publisher, specializing in innovative video games with mass-market appeal. The Group is one of the most established in the industry now in its 19th year of business. Its portfolio of titles includes Starsky & Hutch, FlatOut, Big Mutha Truckers, Space Invaders 25th Anniversary and Starship Troopers. The Group’s value division, Xplosiv, continues to increase its market share across Europe and has experienced success with its first PS2 titles.

Headquartered in the UK, Empire has offices in the US, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Further information about Empire and its products can be found at: http://www.empireinteractive.com

About Bugbear Entertainment Ltd.
Bugbear Entertainment Ltd. is an award-winning Finnish game developer focusing on immersive and advanced driving games. The company’s international breakthrough was the critically acclaimed title ‘Rally Trophy’ in 2001. Bugbear released 'Tough Trucks' in 2003. The innovative and much-awaited ‘FlatOut’ on PlayStation®2, Xbox ® and PC CD was published in November 2004 with great success. An N-Gage exclusive story-driven arcade racer 'Glimmerati' was published in July 2005 to outstanding reviews. The company is currently working on FlatOut 2 and other unannounced console and PC projects. For more information please visit www.bugbeargames.com

New Face of Lara Croft Revealed!

Karima Adebibe is set to be catapulted into the world of superstardom after being cast from thousands of hopefuls in an international search to fill the shoes of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Karima, a self confessed tomboy and assistant in a High Street fashion store, will need all her reserves of energy for the adventures that lie ahead in one of the most challenging acting and modeling roles in the entertainment industry. Starting immediately she will embark on a grueling training program which includes an SAS survival, combat and semi automatic weapon firing course in Eastern Europe, as well as a crash course in world archaeology, deportment, elocution and etiquette in order to portray Lady Lara Croft, the 11th generation Countess, archaeologist and action hero.

Once completely trained in the ways of the leading lady of video games, Karima will be lining up a host of international modeling assignments, starring in TV commercials, appearing on chat shows and is set to be traveling the globe for the next two years.

“This is an incredible opportunity for me and one which I plan to grasp with both hands” said Karima. “It’s a huge challenge to follow in the footsteps of people like Nell McAndrew and Angelina Jolie, but life is all about challenges and this is perhaps the biggest one for a model and actress.”

“Karima has all the assets needed to accurately portray the world’s favorite female action hero” said Matt Gorman, Brand Controller for Tomb Raider. “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend sees Lara at the very height of her powers so this makes Karima the 7th and most important Lara Croft yet.”


Already tipped as ‘the blockbuster video game for 2006’, this will be the seventh game of English publisher Eidos’ hit series which sees Lara Croft return to her tomb raiding roots. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Tomb Raider is one of the best selling videogames of all time. Lara Croft has transcended games, entertainment and technology into action figures, comic books, adventure novels, and two major motion pictures.

Karima follows in the footsteps of previous Lara Croft stars, Lucy Clarkson, Rhona Mitra, Nell McAndrew, Vanessa Demouy, Lara Weller and of course Angelina Jolie in the Tomb Raider movies.

Takashi Sensui Named General Manager of Microsoft’s Xbox Division in Japan

TOKYO — Feb. 16, 2006 — Microsoft today announced the promotion of Mr. Takashi Sensui to the position of general manager of the Xbox Division for Microsoft Co. Ltd. (Microsoft Japan). He succeeds Mr. Yoshihiro Maruyama, who has been appointed to a strategic position within Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division.

“Mr. Maruyama played a key role in launching Xbox 360™ in Japan, and he secured vital partner relationships that are crucial to the long-term success of the business in the region. Having achieved this, Mr. Maruyama will transition to a new role where his unique vision and foresight will be applied in a strategic capacity within the Entertainment and Devices organization,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “Now as we look ahead at the post-launch timeframe for Xbox 360, Mr. Sensui will lead the business forward in Japan to build momentum at a time when key Japanese-developed games for Xbox 360 will soon be available.”

“We acknowledge that achieving success in Japan will not come easily or quickly for Xbox®,” Mr. Sensui said. “But we are confident that because Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best content for Japanese gamers, enabled by the online capability of Xbox Live®, we will earn more of their business moving forward. I am excited and honored to take on this role.”

Mr. Sensui has more than two decades of IT and entertainment industry experience. Before taking his current position, he was director of the marketing department and game content group in Microsoft’s Xbox Division in Japan. In this role, Mr. Sensui worked closely with
Mr. Maruyama to secure the widespread support of every major third-party publisher in Japan for the Xbox 360 platform.


Mr. Sensui joined Microsoft in 2002 as director of marketing for Xbox in Japan. Before coming to Microsoft, Mr. Sensui was managing director of Internet Capital Group K.K., a subsidiary of the U.S. equity investment company Internet Capital Group Inc. Until 2000, he served as vice president of Marketing and Alliances at SAP Japan Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the German enterprise application software company SAP AG.

February 15, 2006

UBISOFT ANNOUNCES GO! SUDOKU VIDEO GAME FOR THE PSP SYSTEM

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SAN FRANCISCO FEBRUARY 15, 2006 Today, Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, in an agreement with Sony Computer Entertainment of Europe, announced Go! Sudoku for the PSP (PlayStation®Portable) system. Go! Sudoku is the addictive puzzle game that is taking the world by storm and will be released in North America in March 2006. Go! Sudoku, is an interactive experience that requires gamers to place numbers inside a grid so that every column, every row and every box contains the number one to nine only once. Go! Sudoku contains 1,000 puzzles in four single-player difficulty levels, along with many multiplayer modes. With customizable backgrounds and energizing music, Go! Sudoku brings the popular puzzle to a new level.

Created in Japan, Sudoku has become a worldwide phenomenon. Many newspapers around the world have featured Sudoku puzzles, and Sudoku books continue to top bestseller lists.
"Ubisoft is very excited to bring Go! Sudoku to the PSP system," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "Now everyone can enjoy this incredibly addictive game on the go, against the clock or competing with friends."

Go! Sudoku features include:
•Pass the time – Go! Sudoku provides the perfect companion for the daily commuter looking for an enjoyable way to pass the time.

•Multiple game modes – Take to your commute with four main game modes at hand, including three multiplayer modes (Pass mode, Versus mode and Battle mode) and one single-player mode (Solo mode).

•Replay value – 1,000 mind-boggling puzzles will keep users entertained for ages, while up to 200 additional puzzles will be available for download.

•Beginners welcome! For those unfamiliar with Sudoku, don't fret. Go! Sudoku comes equipped with both Training and Tutorial modes that teach beginners the basics of how to complete Sudoku puzzles of all difficulty levels.

•Picture perfect – Customizable game screen backgrounds allow the display of personal photos, providing the user with a sense of individuality.

•Record keeping – Comprehensive Best Time tables for all 1,000 puzzles, with the option to merge records via the internet with other Go! Sudoku players.

•HELP! – An innovative help system permits up to five errors per puzzle without punishment, an added luxury whether you are a Sudoku master or a novice.

Ubisoft Ships Exit for PSP

SAN FRANCISCO February 14, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that Exit , the puzzle action game for people of all ages and exclusively for the PSP (PlayStation®Portable) system is shipping to retail shelves throughout North America this week.

As "Mr. ESC", a professional escapologist who can rescue people from just about any situation Exit players must guide themselves through numerous obstacles while rescuing victims from life-threatening situations. Situations include braving fires, earthquakes and other disasters in various environments such as buildings, hospitals and subways. Players will undertake myriad actions, including running, jumping, climbing onto ledges and climbing down ropes on their way to becoming the ultimate escape artist.

"Exit has never made a burning building seem like so much fun before," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "With its timed missions and obstacles like total blackouts, we're proud to bring yet another truly cutting-edge and exciting puzzle game to gamers."

Key Features:
•Intense action puzzler: Players use decision-making skills and wits to escape various obstacles while rescuing people from more than 100 different emergencies. Additional levels are also available for download.
•Do whatever it takes to get everyone out in time: Rescue people and find the fastest way out while braving exploding factories, burning buildings and flooding subways. Players will climb ladders, move objects, slide down ropes and collect numerous rescue devices to assist them in their missions.
•Turn victims into allies: Saved characters can be enlisted to help move heavy objects, master tricky obstacles and help each other.
•Smooth, stylish character design and movement: Accompanying the intense action are some of the most stylish graphics to be seen on the PSP system, allowing for a viscerally and aesthetically satisfying experience.

For more information about Exit for the PSP system, please visit www.ubisoft.com.

Opera for Nintendo DS

This is great! It's like two things that I love are getting married. Hopefully the DS can browse the web faster than the PSP.

Oslo, Norway - February 15, 2006: Opera Software today announced that it will deliver the World Wide Web to Nintendo DS users in Japan. In Opera's agreement with Nintendo, Nintendo DS users will now be able to surf the full Internet from their systems using the Opera browser. The Opera browser for Nintendo DS will be sold as a DS card. Users simply insert the card into the Wi-Fi enabled Nintendo DS, connect to a network, and begin browsing on two screens.

Earlier this year, Nintendo reported that 13 million Nintendo DS systems were sold to consumers around the world within just 13 months of its debut in November 2004. Nintendo DS combines unique dual screens, touch screen, voice recognition and wireless and Wi-Fi communications capabilities. According to an independent market research company in Japan, Nintendo DS has become the fastest selling video games machine to top the 6 million sales mark in Japan in just over 14 months since its Japanese debut, breaking the old record held by Nintendo's Game Boy Advance.

"The incredibly popular Nintendo DS is already Wi-Fi enabled to support real time gaming, so adding Web browsing capabilities was a natural evolution for this device," says Scott Hedrick, Executive Vice President, Opera Software. "Gaming devices are growing more advanced and a great Web experience is becoming a product differentiator for gaming manufacturers. Opera is excited to work with Nintendo to deliver a unique dual screen, full Internet experience on Nintendo DS."

With an on screen keypad and stylus, users can easily navigate the Web from their Nintendo DS with PDA-like functionality. Based on the same core as the Opera desktop browser, Opera delivers superior speed and rendering of Web pages on the Nintendo DS.

"Within just five seconds of turning on the system, the Nintendo DS is already fully operational. This makes it the ideal device to enable people to swiftly obtain the latest information from the internet, wherever they are," says Masaru Shimomura, Deputy General Manager of Nintendo's R & D Department. "Opera exceeded our expectations with its user friendly interface, quick access to all your favorite sites, ease of use and, most importantly, in making the best use of the Nintendo DS system's unique double screens and touch screen features. Opera is an important partner for Nintendo in our efforts to further expand the users of the Nintendo DS."

Nintendo Co., Ltd. held a presentation today in Tokyo, Japan, to announce updates for the Nintendo DS. Information on the availability of the Opera browser DS card has not yet been announced.

February 14, 2006

2K SPORTS ANNOUNCES UNIQUE NEW FEATURES FOR MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL® 2K6

NEW YORK, NY – February 14, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today new standard-setting features for Major League Baseball® 2K6. With innovative Swing Stick™ technology, astounding Pure Motion Physics and the distinguished vocal talents of play-by-play broadcaster Jon Miller and National Baseball Hall of Fame® legend Joe Morgan, Major League Baseball® 2K6 is the only baseball video game that matters on any console.

“The development team has worked extremely hard on creating unique and exciting features to appeal to every fan of the game,” stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “All these new features – the innovations in the batting system, the new pitching mechanics, Artificial Intelligence tendencies driven by Inside Edge™, the new Pure Motion Physics movement system and so much more – combine together seamlessly to create an authentic and thrilling MLB® video game.”

New, exciting features for Major League Baseball 2K6 include:

· Swing Stick™- Using the design and functionality of other top-selling 2K6 games, the Swing Stick mechanic brings a new level of intuitive control, allowing players to use the Right Analog Stick to control the swing of the bat. Timing, guessing the location of the pitch and swing choice are key to successful execution.

· Payoff Pitching™- Introducing a new philosophy to pitching in Major League Baseball video games, pitchers must spot their pitches correctly, taking into account pitch type and break as they throw to a target area.

· Catcher Mechanics- For the first time in any Major League Baseball video game, catchers can call the game, giving gamers playing as pitchers an idea of where and what to pitch.

· All-Star Commentary- The most entertaining Big League commentary returns to Major League Baseball 2K6 as veteran announcer Jon Miller delivers all the play-by-plays and Hall of Fame Legend Joe Morgan calls the on-field action. Additionally, Jeanne Zelasko and Steve Physioc join the team, previewing the team matchups during the season and provide analysis during the playoffs.

As the exclusive and only officially licensed Major League Baseball video game to appear on every major gaming console, Major League Baseball 2K6 will be available for the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, the PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube™ and the PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system. Major League Baseball 2K6 is slated for release in spring 2006.

For more information, log onto http://www.2ksports.com

The SIMS 2 OPEN FOR BUSINESS Goes GOLD

Electronic Arts announced today that The Sims 2 Open for Business expansion pack for the PC has gone gold and will hit store shelves on March 2nd. With The Sims 2 Open for Business, your Sims can create virtually any kind of business from a trendy clothing boutique or hip beauty salon to a blooming floral shop or bustling restaurant chain. As a savvy entrepreneur, your Sim must keep an eye out for slacker employees and be prepared to fire them as quickly as they hired them!

Create a Bustling Business

Open your Sim’s dream store, decorate it from the ground up and watch it thrive! Choose the floor plan and design, hire employees and buy merchandise. You can sell anything from clothing and electronics to toys, flowers and robots. Have fun teaching your Sim that the customer is king and maintain employee morale by creating interesting sales incentives. Your Sim will do everything needed to create a lucrative -- and fun -- business.

Learn the Tricks of the Trade

Improve your Sim’s sales skills and determine if your employees should use a “hard sell” or drop the price to close the deal. Teach winning techniques to help your Sim win the best-of-the-best award and establish their business reputation.

Turn Talents into Cash

Is your master-skilled Sim waiting to turn their talents into profit? From arranging flowers and designing robots to serving food and making toys, your Sim can create the most valued, expensive goods in the business and rake in the Simoleons!

More than 125 New Items

Stock up on essentials for your Sim’s business including display cases, a makeover station, a salon chair, a toy workbench, flower arranging stations, cash registers and more.

For more information please visit http://www.thesims2.com

EA ANNOUNCES THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH II FOR THE PC HAS GONE GOLD

Offering the chance to experience the Middle-earth you have never seen … Electronic Arts officially announced today that the highly anticipated, The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™ II has gone gold and will be on store shelves in North America on March 2, 2006. The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II, is the sequel to the critically acclaimed real-time strategy (RTS) game The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™.

Developed at EA’s Los Angeles (EALA) studio for the PC under the EA™ brand, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II includes all new content from J.R.R. Tolkien's original fiction, and allows the player to delve deeper than ever before and engage in new battles that go beyond the award-winning movie trilogy. The development team at EALA have brought The Lord of the Rings™ world to life in accordance with an agreement with The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises that grants EA the rights to develop games based on the books, in addition to a separate agreement that allows for games based on the New Line Cinema films.

"The Lord of Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II will introduce players to new heroes, creatures, places and stories from Tolkien's fiction brought to life in the visual style of the films from New Line Cinema," said Mike Verdu, Executive Producer at EA LA. "The game combines a rich and wonderful world with innovations in real-time strategy game play to deliver the complete Middle-earth experience. This is the Middle-earth you've never seen."

In The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II, players wage war in the Northern regions of Middle-earth where they can choose to assume command of the most storied civilizations in all of Middle-earth history - the Elven and Dwarven armies - or fight on the side of Evil with heroes and creatures that have never been seen in The Lord of the Rings films. Reprising his role as Lord Elrond, Hugo Weaving lends his voice to the game, helping to set the scene and tone for each mission.

For access to all the behind-the-scenes details of creating a blockbuster The Lord of the Rings PC game, fans will enjoy the first ever Collector’s Edition DVD release from the highly successful The Lord of the Rings franchise with The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II Collector’s Edition. This special, limited edition will ship simultaneously with The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II and will be available at select retailers with a US MSRP of $59.99. The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II will be available at retailers nationwide with a US MSRP of $49.99. Both games are rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.

For more information about either title, please visit http://www.bfme2.ea.com.

REACH OUT AND TOUCH BODE - BODE MILLER MOBILE GAME NOW AVAILABLE

NEW YORK - Feb. 14, 2006-Satisfying the inner-competitor in all of us, Abandon Mobile, in an exclusive partnership with NBC Sports, announced today the release of two new NBC Sports wireless game titles including Bode Miller Alpine Racing and Abandon's additional release, NBC Sports Figure Skating. Both titles are available for download now for more than 110 mobile handsets to customers on the Cingular Wireless, Sprint PCS and Verizon Wireless networks.

Bode Miller Alpine Racing incorporates the World Cup Champion's likeness as well as his advice and input on gameplay including pacing, rhythm and controls. In the game, would-be racers try to master the challenging slalom, Super-G and downhill courses.

"Bode has made a name for himself by being an edgy, outspoken member of the U.S. Ski Team, and we really worked to capture the spark and excitement that is Bode Miller and feed that into the game," said Jamie Ottilie, chief operating officer, Abandon Mobile. "Now everyone with a mobile phone gets to hit the slopes in the game with Bode while cheering him on through his upcoming competitions."

The two titles mark the flagship offerings under the Abandon Mobile brand. They will be branded and supported by NBC Sports including promotion of the games on air during NBC Sports broadcasts.

Additional NBC Sports-branded mobile games to be released later in 2006 include NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker and NBC Sports Real Golf mobile games.

To receive instructions on how to download the games, Cingular Wireless, Sprint PCS and Verizon Wireless customers can text the message "NBC" to the number 32852. More information about Bode Miller Alpine Racing and NBC Sports Figure Skating can also be found at http://www.abandonmobile.com.

About Bode Miller

Bode Miller is the reigning No. 1 alpine ski racer in the world, the first time a U.S. skier has held such a distinction since 1983. Miller's 19 World Cup victories are second all-time for a U.S. ski racer. Miller's 2004-05 season was arguably one of the best the sport has ever seen. In addition to his overall title, Miller became one of only five men to win each of alpine ski racing's five disciplines in a career (Downhill, Super G, Giant Slalom, Slalom and Combined) and also became only the second man in the sport's history to win the four major disciplines in a single season. On top of those feats, in 2005 Bode won the Super G World Cup title and Downhill and Super G Gold at the World Championships. Miller boasts three other World Championship medals (2 Golds and 1 Silver in 2003), two Olympic medals (2 Silvers in 2002) along with one other World Cup Globe (2004 Giant Slalom). Bode was a 2005 ESPY nominee for "Best Male Athlete" and won the 2002 Superstars competiti!
on. Bode enters the 2006 Torino Olympics as a legitimate threat to win five individual Olympic gold medals, which has only been achieved once in Olympic history. Winning four medals would make Bode the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian of all time (tie). Bode is an avid golfer, tennis and soccer player and spends his free time at home in New Hampshire where he grew up and where his family runs Tamarack Tennis camp and where he serves as the Director of Skiing at the Bretton Woods Mountain Resort.

About Abandon Mobile

Abandon Mobile is a mobile game developer and publisher formed by Abandon Entertainment, Inc. and GF Capital Management and Advisors, LLC. Recently, Abandon acquired Lucky Chicken Games, a Malibu, Calif.-based game developer whose management team has over 50 years combined game development experience. In August 2005, Abandon Mobile entered into an exclusive worldwide partnership with NBC Sports to bring NBC Sports Branded games to mobile phones. In addition, Abandon invested into massively multiplayer role playing game developer and publisher, Mythic Entertainment and co-published the bestselling Dark Age of Camelot and co-founded Collision Entertainment, a film development company, with producer Scott Faye.

Atari Ships Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure

NEW YORK, NY, February 14, 2006 – Atari, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATAR) and Marc Ecko, the visionary behind several of today’s most respected youth lifestyle brands, today announced that Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure has shipped to retail stores nationwide. Developed by The Collective,

Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure is rated ‘M’ for Mature and is available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and Windows.

Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure fuses innovative gameplay, a provocative and controversial storyline, an eclectic and renowned voice acting cast, and a musical score featuring some of the most influential voices and sounds of this generation. Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure includes a variety of star-studded voice talent such as renowned hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Rosario Dawson, Brittany Murphy, George Hamilton, Giovanni Ribisi, Adam West, Andy Dick, Charlie Murphy, The RZA and Michael “M.C. Serch” Berrin. The soundtrack features an array of licensed music and various original tracks, such as an exclusive version of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Who Shot Ya,” remixed by Serj from the band System of a Down; “Clik, Clak, and Spray” from Pack FM; “Book of Judges” from Pharoahe Monch; and “Getting Up Anthem: Part 1,” performed by legendary Hip-Hop artist Rakim and Talib Kweli, the voice of the game’s lead character, Trane. More than 65 graffiti artists have lent their signature tags and art to the game’s urban environments, while six legendary artists – Cope 2, FUTURA, OBEY: Shepard Fairey, Seen, Smith and T-kid – have served as in-game mentors to the game’s lead protagonist.

“Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure breaks the mold of the current crop of games by fusing authentic urban culture with truly diverse gameplay,” said Marc Metis, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Atari, Inc. “With its unique story, talent, music, and gameplay design, Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure answers consumers’ call for innovation and originality in gaming.”

Set in the city of New Radius, Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure features a world where freedom of _expression is suppressed by a tyrannical city government. In the game, players assume the role of Trane - an unlikely hero just looking to get up until he realizes there is much more at stake. Gamers learn and master various graf skills, starting as a toy (beginner) graffiti artist and using street-smarts, athletic prowess and vision necessary to become an “All City King,” the most reputable of all graffiti artists. During their quest, players risk their lives navigating vertical landscapes while battling rival crews, a corrupt Mayor and the city’s Civil Conduct Keepers (CCK) all in an effort to reach the sweet spots of New Radius, where a well-placed tag brings respect and reputation. Gamers also find themselves with an even greater burden – to use their high-wire graffiti talents to expose the oppressive mayor and set the city free.

A limited edition of Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure is also available at select retailers nationwide. The Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure Limited Edition is packed into a collectible Getting Up tin case and in addition to the game, includes Marc Ecko's Blackbook, offering an exclusive look inside the game’s development process, a disc featuring a collection of short films, level rundowns, game tips, and “making of” footage, and a silver pen with the Getting Up "X" logo.

The Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure Limited Edition also features a soundtrack with four tracks executively co-produced by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, including an exclusive version of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Who Shot Ya,” remixed by Serj from the band System of a Down. Other Combs’ tracks include “Clik, Clak, and Spray” from Pack FM, “Book of Judges” from Pharoahe Monch and “Getting Up Anthem, Part 1,” performed by Talib Kweli, the voice of the game’s lead character, Trane, and legendary Hip-Hop artist Rakim. These songs, plus Rhymefest’s “Wanted” and various scoring pieces from RJD2, are only available on the limited edition.

A mobile version is currently available through Glu Mobile. For additional information about the game please visit http://www.gettingup.com.

Red 5 Studios Licenses Next Generation Offset Engine

Aliso Viejo, CA - February 13, 2006 - Red 5 Studios, an independent developer of massively multiplayer online entertainment, and Offset Software, a developer of next generation games, today announce that Red 5 Studios has agreed to license the Offset Engine for use in Red 5 Studios’ upcoming massively multiplayer online game (MMO) title.

“Offset Software’s next generation graphics are simply stunning,” said Mark Kern, President and CEO of Red 5 Studios. “And Offset’s content creation tools will enable Red 5 Studios to add real-time cinematic quality to our game world.”

The Offset Engine bridges the gap in quality between real-time and pre-rendered graphics. Using revolutionary technology which combines effects elements with unified lighting, shading, and shadowing, the Offset Engine is quickly becoming a top choice among developers of next gen games.

Every aspect of the Offset Engine is designed around the goal of reducing development time and cost, while empowering designers and artists with the tools they need to create spectacular visual effects and immersive environments.

“We are excited to work with the world-class team at Red 5 Studios,” said Sam McGrath, Offset Software Founder and Technical Director. “Based on their previous experience making the most successful MMO to date, we
are looking forward to seeing what they can do with the Offset Engine.”

Red 5 Studios will be demonstrating the Offset Engine at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California, March 20 - 24, 2006 in the Red 5 Studios/Premier Search Career Pavilion at the San Jose Convention Center.


About Red 5 Studios, Inc.
Red 5 Studios [http://www.red5studios.com] is an independent developer of massively multiplayer online entertainment founded by key developers and executives behind Blizzard Entertainment®’s hit game “World of Warcraft®.” Based in Orange County, California, Red 5 Studios combines next generation technology with the world’s best game development talent to create original entertainment fulfilling the dreams and fantasies of millions of people worldwide.

About Offset Software, LLC.
Offset Software [http://www.offsetsoftware.com] is creating the highly anticipated epic fantasy first person shooter currently known as “Project Offset”. Based in Southern California, Offset is quickly becoming known as a leader in next generation game development with their ground breaking technology and cinematic quality graphics.

UBISOFT AND OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST SHAUN WHITE TAKE SNOWBOARDING VIDEO GAMES INTO THE NEXT GENERATION

SAN FRANCISCO FEBRUARY 13, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, and Shaun White, snowboarding halfpipe Gold Medalist in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and six time X Games Gold Medalist, announced an exclusive worldwide agreement to create video games inspired by White's world-famous snowboarding style. White will collaborate closely with Ubisoft's award-winning development teams to create video games for current and next-generation consoles.

"I'm stoked to be working with Ubisoft to develop a video game that captures the thrill of snowboarding like no game has done before," White said. "I'm a huge fan of Ubisoft games like Prince of Persia, so I'm excited to be able to combine what I love about snowboarding and gaming into an experience for everyone to enjoy."

At 19 years-old, White is one of the most talented professional snowboarders in the world. White is the only snowboarder ever to win the Winter X Games Gold in both halfpipe and slopestyle. In his Gold Medal winning performance at the Olympics, White landed back-to-back 1080-degree rotations grabbing his board on both and displaying the style and skill expected from the world's No. 1 snowboarder.

"Ubisoft is thrilled to be working on a video game inspired by and created with one of the top athletes in action sports today," said Christian Salomon, director of worldwide licensing. "As the sport continues to grow in popularity, Ubisoft is looking forward to bringing the groundbreaking innovation and high-quality game play we are famous for in other genres to snowboarding."

Ubisoft's Shaun White signature video game is expected in 2007. For more information about Ubisoft, please visit http://www.ubi.com and http://www.ubisoftgroup.com. For more information about Shaun White, please visit http://www.shaunwhite.com.

EA SPORTS Crowns King of Madden NFL 06 at 2005 EA SPORTS Madden Challenge Finals

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Feb. 13, 2006 – Thousands entered regional tournaments across 32 cities, but only one could thumb his way to the title. The 4th annual EA SPORTS™ Madden Challenge Tournament from Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS), congratulates Jarvis Thomas, the National 2005 EA SPORTS Madden Challenge Champion on Madden NFL 06. Winners from each of the Madden Challenge Regional Tournaments, which were played using the Xbox® video game system, were flown to the Marriott Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii for the ‘Finals’ competition on Feb. 10, 2006. Thomas, 18, the Minneapolis regional winner from Upper Marlboro, Maryland defeated Haarwun Brown, 18, the St. Louis regional winner from Mobile, Alabama, with a final score of 42-18 using the Philadelphia Eagles.

After receiving the $100,000 and congratulations from NFL players in attendance, Thomas, also known as “young Jarvis” said, “It’s a great feeling and I still can't believe I actually won. There were some tough rounds but I used the Eagles to take advantage of Donovan McNabb.”

NFL players who attended the 2005 EA SPORTS Madden Challenge Finals, included: Donnie Edwards (San Diego), Chad Johnson (Cincinnati), Shawne Merriman (San Diego), DeAngelo Hall (Atlanta),Tony Gonzalez (Kansas City), Donnie Edwards (San Diego), Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis), Darren Sharper (Minnesota), Warrick Dunn (Atlanta), and Lofo Tatupu (Seattle).

The 2005 EA SPORTS Madden Challenge Tournament ran every weekend from Aug. 27-Dec. 11, 2005 and is the only Electronic Arts sanctioned public tournament competition in the celebrated 16-year history of the EA SPORTS Madden NFL Football videogame franchise.

The 2005 EA SPORTS Madden Challenge Regional Tournament Winners included:


CITY CHAMP AGE Hometown
Troy Brown Las Vegas 21 Houston, TX
Robert Warren Phoenix 17 District Heights, MD
Patrick Stock Denver 14 Las Vegas, NV
Eugene Williams Kansas City 21 Philadelphia, PA
Michael Kamm Buffalo 18 Rochestor, NY
Ayan Tariq Boston 15 Ridgefield Park, NJ
Kevin Merritt New York 15 Deptford, NJ
Anthony Brinson Philadelphia 16 Clementon, NJ
Justin Chow Washington, D.C. 20 Great Falls, VA
Shayan Tariq Baltimore 19 Ridgefield Park, NJ
Stephen White Pittsburgh 19 Fort Washington, MD
James Lowe Cleveland 24 Baltimore, MD
Torrence Webster Detroit 16 Detroit, MI
Byron Matthews Chicago 27 Chicago, IL
Corleavrence Deshazer Green Bay 25 Schaumbure, IL
Jarvis Thompson Minneapolis 18 Marlboro, MD
Greg James Indianapolis 25 Hattiesburg, MS
Robert Reuss Cincinnati 15 Annapolis, MD
Haaruwn Brown St. Louis 18 Mobile, AL
Donald Mazzola Nashville 20 Federal Way, WA
Aaron J. Stocum Charlotte 17 Rochester, NY
Jet Steele Jacksonville 18 Tampa Bay, FL
William Lee Wolf Tampa Bay 18 Tallahassee, FL
Robert Wright Miami 29 Warrensville Heights, OH
Tommie Hill Atlanta 21 Minneapolis, MN
Andrew Shugart New Orleans 20 Donaldsville, LA
Toby Merchant Houston 30 Hayward, CA
Daniel Wilson Dallas 27 Lincoln, NE
Eric Verlarde San Diego 17 West Covina, CA
Lilrob Taylor Los Angeles 24 Youngstown, OH
Derek Kinder San Francisco 18 Napa, CA
Cory Pressley Seattle 18 Willingboro, NJ

Madden NFL 06, which is jointly licensed by the NFL and PLAYERS INC, has sold more than six million copies so far this year on eight platforms and Madden NFL Football is America’s best-selling sports videogame with more than 50 million copies sold in the 16 year history of the franchise. Best Buy and Microsoft were the official sponsors of the 2005 EA SPORTS Madden Challenge Tournament. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to NFL Youth Education Town (YET), an official NFL charity that provides high-tech educational and recreational centers designed to improve the academic, physical fitness, and job-related skills of at-risk youth. For additional information please check out http://www.maddenchallenge.com.

HASBRO TAPS ACTIVISION TO PUBLISH RANGE OF VIDEO GAMES BASED ON THE TRANSFORMERS FRANCHISE AND LIVE-ACTION FILM FROM DREAMWORKS AND PARAMOUNT PICTURES

PAWTUCKET, R.I. Feb. 13, 2006– The Hasbro Properties Group, the intellectual property development arm of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) and Activision, Inc, (NASDAQ: ATVI), a leading publisher of interactive entertainment software products, announced today a license that grants Activision the global rights, excluding Japan, to develop console, handheld and PC games based on Hasbro’s renowned TRANSFORMERS brand. The first game will be tied to the much-anticipated July 4, 2007 movie release of the live action TRANSFORMERS film from DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures.

The TRANSFORMERS brand has been one of the best-selling boys’ action brands in a wide-range of categories, from toys to publishing to apparel, since its launch as a global property in 1984. Hasbro is currently gearing up to activate one of the Company’s most ambitious marketing and merchandising programs yet to coincide with the live action movie in 2007.

“We are thrilled to work with Activision to bring the widely popular TRANSFORMERS brand to the world of digital entertainment and introduce millions of consumers to our best-known TRANSFORMER and biggest hero of all time—OPTIMUS PRIME,” said Jane Ritson-Parsons, president of the Hasbro Properties Group (HPG). “As the leading developer of video games, Activision shares our passion and excitement for the TRANSFORMERS story line. We know this world-class and creative team will bring TRANSFORMERS to life in powerful and exciting ways as we immerse a broad audience in this pop-culture phenomenon.”

“TRANSFORMERS has all of the elements necessary to translate incredibly well into video games,” said Mike Griffith, President and CEO, Activision Publishing, Inc. “We look forward to bringing the Transformer robots to life with the latest interactive technology and graphics.”

The announcement of Activision as the global game publisher for the TRANSFORMERS brand marks the beginning of Hasbro’s commitment to bring its well-known toy and game brands further into the digital media space. This effort follows the reacquisition of its video gaming rights from Infogrames Entertainment SA last June.

“Video gaming is a natural next step for our classic properties as children and adults alike live more of their lives around technology,” said Ritson-Parsons “We see the digital arena as a great complement to the lifestyle experiences that we’re providing to consumers in a variety of categories.”

In addition to console, handheld and PC-based games, Hasbro plans to expand the TRANSFORMERS brand’s reach through ring tones, mobile gaming and a host of other products for gaming fans of all ages.

The live-action TRANSFORMERS movie from DreamWorks Pictures, Hasbro and Paramount Pictures, will be directed by Michael Bay (“The Rock” and “Armageddon”) from a screenplay being written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (“Mission Impossible: 3”). Tom DeSanto (“X-Men” and “X2: X-Men United”), Don Murphy (“The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”) and Lorenzo di Bonaventura (“Four Brothers”) are producing the film, with Steven Spielberg and Hasbro’s Brian Goldner executive producing.

Microsoft Gaming News

While Xbox 360 continues its global rollout to worldwide fanfare, Peter Moore reiterated Microsoft’s intentions to lead gaming to new heights with the Xbox and Windows platforms during his keynote, titled Changing World of PC Games, last Friday at the 2006 DICE Summit. Moore emphasized that the recent organizational re-alignment, coupled with knowledge gained from a successful Xbox 360 launch, enables the company to pave the way for a Games for Windows renaissance. As a games platform, Windows has always been the home of continuous innovation – multiplayer, mods, and mind-blowing graphics. Moore’s presentation provided perspective on Microsoft past, present and future efforts to bring game innovation across multiple platforms, including Windows PC, Xbox and portable devices.

The Xbox 360 Phenomenon

On track to meet our shipment goal of 4.5-5.5 million units by June, manufacturing efforts will be further boosted this month by third manufacturing partner Celestica, joining manufacturers Flextronics and Wistron in the effort to help feed gamers’ insatiable appetite for the next generation of gaming.

As we continue to ship new consoles to retail stores throughout the world, 11 additional countries are preparing for Xbox 360’s entry. Xbox 360 is now available in Mexico and Colombia as of February 2 – the first simultaneous launch for a videogame product in Latin America. The system will launch in Korea on February 24, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore on March 16, Australia and New Zealand on March 23, with a global presence in 30 countries by the end of March.

Highlights from the January NPD report include:

· Xbox 360’s software attach rate is 3.7 games per console. This remains the highest attach rate ever for the first three months of a console launch in the U.S.

· “Call of Duty 2” on Xbox 360 was the #1 selling title across all platforms in January.

· Xbox 360’s accessory attach rate is 2.9 accessory units sold per console with a wireless controllers attaching to almost every console.

Engadget – the highly respected technology/gadget blog that is the fourth most-visited blog on the Internet – recently named Xbox 360 as gadget of the year, topping Apple iPod, along with the award for console of the year.

Meanwhile, Xbox Live continues to lead the way online. On Xbox 360, more than half of all consoles are connected. This growing popularity continues to reinforce the notion that Xbox 360 is the only next generation console with an established, credible online service. Leveraging the expertise of Microsoft’s online infrastructure, the service continues to evolve and improve the gaming experience based on community feedback. Earlier this month, the Xbox Live team issued a free Xbox dashboard update to all Xbox Live members that included a series of improvements and enhancements. Changes in the update include:

· Improvements to the Xbox Guide.

· Option to retain your saved games when you delete a profile (i.e., improved logic around deciding whether a saved game should be deleted. The service also offers the option to delete only the profile, but leave all the saved data.

· Increased accuracy of "last time played."

Xbox 360 will have up to 50 high-definition games from the best names in gaming by June, including Bethesda’s “Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion,” Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter,” and EA Sports’ “Fight Night: Round 3.” You can expect a consistent release of titles well into the future representing all genres of gaming with 200 titles currently in development.

Gamers can look forward to a host of new Xbox 360 titles scheduled to debut in February:

* “Full Auto” (Sega)
* “Fight Night: Round 3” (EA Sports)
* “Astropop” (Popcap)
* “Feeding Frenzy” (Sprout Games)
* “Jewel Quest” (iWin, Inc.)

Tecmo’s “Dead or Alive 4” is winning the hearts and minds of gamers around the world. Gamestats.com posts that “DOA4” has received a 9.0 average rating from the 23 press sites polled, including a perfect 10 from GamePro. Japanese gamers can also look forward to “Ninety Nine Nights,” “Lost Odyssey” and “Blue Dragon,” a highly anticipated game from Mistwalker that was met with enormous fanfare from Japanese audiences.

Other Xbox games currently available worldwide have just won awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS):

* MGS’ “Jade Empire” – awarded Outstanding Character Performance: Female, and Role Playing Game of the Year honors by the 2006 AIAS Awards. Such credentials cap off a solid launch and overwhelmingly positive reviews from all facets of the media and multiple year-end awards and nominations.
* Reflexive Entertainment’s “Wik: Fable of Souls” for Xbox Live Arcade – honored as Downloadable Game of the Year by the 2006 AIAS Awards, an Xbox Live Arcade first, which recognizes the growing popularity of the service as medium that gamers continuously utilize for a comprehensible selection of downloadable games.
* Other award winning titles playable on Xbox included Activision’s “Call of Duty 2: Big Red One” for Story and Character Development, EA’s “SSX On Tour” for Sports Game of the Year and “Need for Speed Most Wanted” for Racing Game of the Year across multiple platforms including Xbox 360.

Games for Windows: The Renaissance

The games group at Microsoft focused intently on launching two generations of Xbox. The industry will soon see what Microsoft can do with the knowledge applied from the Xbox game platform to Windows gaming.

Microsoft internal research shows that computer users spend almost 20 percent of their time on the computer playing games – and that’s more than just Solitaire. Game playing is second only to Internet browsing, and twice as much time is spent gaming than doing email.

“Age of Empires III” has secured its place in history as the fastest-selling title in the franchise’s history, reaching more than one million units sold since its October release.

While recently released NPD data shows a continued decline for calendar 2005 retail sales of Games for Windows, the report did note that online revenue is growing. As a result, NPD’s Anita Frazier announced that NPD will be launching its new definition of the US PC game market this spring, which will include a combination of sales from retail, downloads, and both casual and MMO subscription revenues. “We expect this will add significant dollars to the PC game market size," said Frazier.

With increased demand for Xbox 360 and increased supply around the world, new games for both Xbox 360, Games for Windows and a growing online community, Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business is poised to deliver one-of-a-kind customer experiences throughout 2006 and beyond.

February 13, 2006

Go DS, Go DS, Go DS!

This is from GameDaily's James Brightman:

The Nintendo DS is the new king of consoles in Japan, stripping the scepter and the crown from the almighty PlayStation 2, according to a report in the latest issue of Famitsu (as translated by GameSpot).

With 4 million units sold, the DS was the top-selling console in Japan last year and DS software seemed to dominate the weekly charts on a regular basis. While the portable market here in the U.S. has been cited as one of the reasons why the industry set a new record at $10.5 billion, in Japan the Nintendo DS almost single-handedly spurred growth for the first time in years and revived a slumping video game market.

DS software in Japan easily outsold PS2 software during 2005. The dual-screen handheld had three games that sold one million copies or more; the PS2, meanwhile, only had one title that passed the million mark, Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts II. With four of the top five selling titles, DS games accounted for 41.4 percent of game sales in the country, while the PS2's share fell to 36.2 percent. By comparison, Sony's console claimed 55.4 percent of game sales in 2003 and 57.1 percent in 2004—what a difference a year can make!

And it doesn't appear that Japanese gamers' interest in the Nintendo DS is waning at all. A recent Famitsu poll indicated that many consumers are looking forward to the new DS Lite redesign, which goes on sale March 2nd in three colors: Crystal White, Ice Blue, and Enamel Navy. 63.4 percent of poll participants answered that they are pleased with the new look and they're glad to finally get a brightness control for the handheld. 8.8 percent said that they're already satisfied with the current design and aren't impressed by the new look; some also said they believe it's an excuse to raise prices. Another 27.8 percent remained neutral or said that they would need some hands-on time with the new unit before making a decision.

A closer look at the poll, however, reveals that while 63+ percent may be looking forward to the new DS Lite, only 29.3 percent thus far are actually committed to purchasing the handheld. 34.6 percent said they don't plan to buy it and 36.1 percent said that they haven't made up their minds yet.

Still, looking back at all the rampant skepticism when the DS was first announced, it's remarkable to see how popular the handheld has become despite facing tough competition from Sony's PSP.

I love this news. It's exciting to me that something as innovative as the DS has taken the forefront in Japan. My take on the DS is that it is innovative and new, not just better graphics or some sort of stepwise eveolution. The DS is rewriting the book on how we think about mobile gaming. Maybe not so much here, but definitely in Japan. Nintendogs and these Brain Training games have taken Japanese society by storm. Everyone is playing these things. A smaller DS can only mean larger adoption. That's my main criticism of the unit, that it is too heavy and bulky to carry around all the time.

It's interesting to think about what is different between here and Japan. Firstly, we don't have the Brain Training games here yet. They're coming in April. But so many people here are really impressed with the PSP purely because of its screen. It's got a greater bling factor. I always travel with the DS because of its sturdy clamshell design, but I carry the PSP around NYC, primarily as a Virtua Tennis machine. Could it be that the Japanese want the best game and the American want the best technology? For us, the gaming machine is most important and the game comes next, but for the Japanese a great game is a great game regardless how many pixels the screen is. I'd say I'm in the latter group. I've always felt that simply using better tech to bring me a game doesn't make it a better game. I've always said that I like the DS better than the PSP because it is more innovative and will drive more creativity on the part of game developers. With the success of Nintendogs, it now depends on the coming popularity of the Brain Training games for us to see how the DS fares in America.

Time Crisis Debuts on Mobile

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2006) – Namco Networks, a leading publisher and developer of wireless games and content, today announced that arcade favorite, Time Crisis®, is now available on mobile phones nationwide.

“The same thrilling action you got with the Time Crisis series at the arcade is now available on your phone and on the go,” said Scott Rubin, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Namco Networks. “Namco Networks is dedicated to making sure our mobile games are faithful to the original console and arcade versions. We believe fans will agree that Time Crisis Mobile maintains the potent pace and excitement of the arcade original.”

The safety of the world is at stake and time is running out, as players dodge enemy fire and clear the compound of enemy targets in Story Mode, or play the mini-missions in the Crisis Mission Mode. 3D action, multiple enemy targets and unlockable missions make this fast-paced, 'duck and reload' shooter the most visceral shooting game on your phone.

“Time Crisis Mobile uses a smart control scheme to bring the arcade experience to handsets,” said Levi Buchanan, analyst for IGN.com. “The production comes together very well, with extra content in the Crisis Missions, as well as a Story Mode that is no push-over.”

Time Crisis Mobile is available through several major carriers and will be coming to other carriers’ handsets soon. Visit http://www.namcogames.com for the latest handset coverage.

February 11, 2006

PQ: Practical Intelligence Quotient

Score: 3 out of 5

sc_02.bmp

Addictive puzzle games are beloved members of the portable games market. I've got a friend who still carries around a mini-Tetris keychain and uses every spare second to play. PQ is a series of much deeper puzzles that require some forethought in order to win. To clear each puzzle, you need to move your character (a man who appears as a white silhouette) through a 3D world to a radiating exit.

The obstacles that are placed in your path is what will test your intelligence. You can't jump, look at that a white man who can't jump, but you can push, grab, and climb. Blocks are placed in your way and you'll have to push, drag, and rearrange them to help you reach the exit. And then it gets more complicated as escalators, switches, conveyor belts, revolving doors and lasers are added to the mix. Now you have to rethink the strategies that worked on the easier puzzles.

And so you advance through PQ as the game calculates your PQ score. This takes into account how quickly you were able to get through the puzzle in how many steps. The countdown timer puts a lot of pressure on you, but if you get stuck you can fail a level and take your time to figure it out.

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There are 10 levels of 10 puzzles each for a total of 100 puzzles. You can (and should) replay levels to get a better score and a higher PQ. Then you can upload your score to a worldwide ranking board where you can compare your score with other players.

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Overall, I liked PQ but can see where it might get frustrating at times. It's also very disruptive to be in the middle of a puzzle and have the subway arrive. It's like I didn't want to get pulled away from the puzzle. It's amazing how basic elements can be combined to make complex 3D puzzles. The only improvement I would suggest is to make it easier to adjust the camer angles. At times it is tough to see the relevant parts of the puzzle.

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Remember that Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Legend is shipping April 11th, 2006 in North America... but I’m sure Desktop Lara will be quite pleased to tell you that as well.

EIDOS CONFIRMS APRIL 4 NORTH AMERICAN SHIP DATE FOR COMMANDOS STRIKE FORCE AND RELEASES A NEW FMV

San Francisco, CA (Feb 10, 2006) – Eidos Interactive, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software today confirms that Commandos Strike Force™, developed by Pyro Studios, will be released on April 4th, 2006 on PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC in North America.

In a new direction for the multi-million selling series, Commandos Strike Force takes you right into the heart of the action with an innovative blend and first person perspective. Set in war torn Europe amid the backdrop of World War II, take your elite ‘Strike Force’ unit behind enemy lines on a series of linked missions through France, Russia and Norway. Undertake action, infiltration and stealth missions with the Green Beret, Sniper and Spy, using any means necessary to challenge a winning enemy and pave the way for invasion. Enter into battle alone, or take the fight online with your friends.

Commandos Strike Force features an innovative blend of stealth and action gameplay new to the genre. With the ability to freely move within the battlefields players execute attacks with a high degree of control. This gives the player the ability to set ambushes, attack silently and unseen, infiltrate prisoner of war camps, stalk and stab, all while being surrounded by the enemy.

Commandos Strike Force also features several missions where players control two commandos at the same time switching between the two on-the-fly. The game boasts a variety of multiplayer modes, up to eight players online with console and 16 players via the internet.


View the trailer.

For more information please visit: http://www.commandosstrikeforce.com

February 10, 2006

9TH ANNUAL INTERACTIVE ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED BY THE ACADEMY OF INTERACTIVE ARTS AND SCIENCES

CALABASAS, CA - February 10, 2006 - The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) announced last night the winners of the 9th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards held at "The Joint" in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Sony Computer Entertainment America's "God of War" was the evening's big winner earning seven coveted AIAS statues. Red Octane's "Guitar Hero" came in a close second garnering five wins. In addition, AIAS inducted computer games pioneer Richard Garriott into the AIAS Hall of Fame.

The Interactive Achievement Awards is a peer-based award that recognizes the outstanding products, talented individuals and development teams that have contributed to the advancement of the multi-billion dollar worldwide entertainment software industry.

"Last night's award ceremony was an exciting event as we recognized the best in video games," said Joseph Olin, president, AIAS. "It was an impressive year for video games and the interactive entertainment industry is commended for their creative vision."

The winners in each category are as follows:

I. Game of the Year:
a. Overall
- God of War (P: Sony Computer Entertainment America, D: Sony Computer Entertainment America-Santa Monica)

b. Computer
- Battlefield 2 (P: Electronic Arts, D: Digital Illusions)

c. Console
- God of War (P: Sony Computer Entertainment America, D: Sony Computer Entertainment America-Santa Monica)


II. Outstanding Innovation in Gaming
- Guitar Hero (P: Red Octane, D: Harmonix Music Systems)

III. Outstanding Achievement:
a. Animation
- God of War (P: Sony Computer Entertainment America, D: Sony Computer Entertainment America-Santa Monica)

b. Art Direction
-Shadow of the Colossus (P: Sony Computer Entertainment America, D: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.)

c. Soundtrack
- Guitar Hero (P: Red Octane, D: Harmonix Music Systems)

d. Original Music Composition
- God of War (P: Sony Computer Entertainment America, D: Sony Computer Entertainment America-Santa Monica)

e. Sound Design
- God of War (P: Sony Computer Entertainment America, D: Sony Computer Entertainment America-Santa Monica)

f. Story and Character Development
- Call of Duty: Big Red One (P: Activision, D: Treyarch)

g. Game Play Engineering (Tie)
- Nintendogs (P: Nintendo, D: Nintendo EAD)
- Guitar Hero (P: Red Octane, D: Harmonix Music Systems)

h. Online Game Play
- Battlefield 2 (P: Electronic Arts, D: Digital Illusions)

i. Visual Engineering
- Shadow of the Colossus (P: Sony Computer Entertainment America, D: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.)

j. Game Design
- Guitar Hero (P: Red Octane, D: Harmonix Music Systems)

IV. Outstanding Character Performance:
a. Male
- God of War (P: Sony Computer Entertainment America, D: Sony Computer Entertainment America-Santa Monica)

b. Female
- Jade Empire (P: Microsoft, D: Bioware Corp.)

V. Genre Awards:

a. Sports Game of the Year
- SSX On Tour (P: Electronic Arts, D: EA-Canada)

b. First-Person Action Game of the Year
- Battlefield 2 (P: Electronic Arts, D: Digital Illusions)

c. Role-Playing Game of the Year
- Jade Empire (P: Microsoft, D: Bioware Corp.)

d. Fighting Game of the Year
- Soul Calibur 3 (P:/D: Namco)

e. Action/ Adventure Game of the Year
- God of War (P: Sony Computer Entertainment America, D: Sony Computer Entertainment America-Santa Monica)

f. Racing Game of the Year
- Need For Speed: Most Wanted (P: Electronic Arts, D: EA-Vancouver)

g. Children's Game of the Year
- We Love Katamari (P:/D: Namco)

h. Downloadable Game of the Year
- WIK: Fable of Souls (P: Microsoft, D: Reflexive Games)

i. Family Game of the Year
- Guitar Hero (P: Red Octane, D: Harmonix Music Systems)

j. Simulation Game of the Year
- The Movies (P: Activision, D: Lionhead Studios)

k. Strategy Game of the Year
- Civilization IV (P: 2K Games, D: Firaxis Games)

l. Massively Multiplayer/Persistent World Game of the Year (Tie)
- City Villains (P: NCSoft, D: Cryptic Studios)
- Guild Wars (P: NCSoft, D: ArenaNet)

m. Handheld Game of the Year
- Nintendogs (P: Nintendo, D: Nintendo EAD)

n. Cellular Game of the Year
- Ancient Empires II (P:/D: Glu Mobile)

A peer panel of eight to 12 AIAS members played and evaluated all nominated titles in their assigned category. Interactive Achievement Award recipients were determined by a vote of qualified Academy members. AIAS voting was secret, conducted online and supervised and certified by eBallot. The integrity of the system, coupled with a broad-based voting population of AIAS members, makes the Interactive Achievement Awards the most credible, respected and recognized awards for interactive entertainment software.


AIAS Hall of Fame Honoree Richard Garriott is the ninth member to be inducted and joins an already impressive fraternity of gaming icons, including Trip Hawkins, Peter Molyneux, Yu Suzuki, Will Wright, John Carmack, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Sid Meier and Shigeru Miyamoto. Garriott is best known for creating and publishing the best-selling Ultima series, including the first commercially successful online game, Ultima Online.

SQUARE ENIX AND DISNEY’S BUENA VISTA GAMES UNVEIL ALL-STAR VOICE CAST FOR KINGDOM HEARTS II

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (February 8, 2006) – Square Enix, Inc. (Square Enix), the publisher of Square Enix interactive entertainment products in North America, and Buena Vista Games, Inc. (BVG), the interactive entertainment arm of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced today the all-star voice cast and North American release date for KINGDOM HEARTS® II, the highly-anticipated action role-playing game (RPG) exclusively for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. KINGDOM HEARTS II is the sequel to KINGDOM HEARTS, one of the top 10 best-selling PlayStation 2 titles of all time in North America (Source: The NPD Group, Dec. 2005).

The all-star ensemble voice cast is led by Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense,” “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”) as the main character Sora and is joined by David Gallagher (“7th Heaven”) as Riku, and Hayden Panettiere (“Racing Stripes,” “Raising Helen”) as Kairi. KINGDOM HEARTS II will also feature the voice talents of Jesse McCartney (“Summerland,” Recording artist, “Beautiful Soul” CD) as the mysterious boy Roxas, Brittany Snow (“The Pacifier,” “American Dreams”) as Namine, Christopher Lee (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring”) as Diz; Steve Burton (“The Last Castle,” “Taken”) as Cloud, Rachael Leigh Cook (“She’s All That,” “Josie And The Pussycats”) as Tifa and Mena Suvari (“American Beauty,” “Rumor Has It”) as Aerith, all characters from FINAL FANTASY® VII; and Hedy Buress (“Boston Common,” “If These Walls Could Talk”), Tara Strong (“Fairly OddParents : Shadow Showdown,” “Teen Titans”) , Gwendoline Yeo (“Desperate Housewives,” “24”) as the popular female-trio Yuna, Rikku, Paine from FINAL FANTASY X-2. In addition, many of the original Disney film star voice actors are reprising their role for this project, including Ming-Na (“ER,” “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within”) as Mulan, James Woods (“Be Cool”), returning as the villain Hades and Zach Braff (“Scrubs”) as Chicken Little.

KINGDOM HEARTS II will ship to North American retailers on March 28, 2006. Since its release in September 2002, the original KINGDOM HEARTS for the PlayStation 2 has shipped more than 2.6 million units in North America. Bridging the gap between the original and the sequel, KINGDOM HEARTS: CHAIN OF MEMORIES® followed in December 2004 for the Nintendo® Game Boy Advance® system. With the release of the Japanese version of KINGDOM HEARTS II in December 2005 (1 million units shipped during only three days after the release date), the series has shipped in excess of 7.5 million units worldwide.

The world of KINGDOM HEARTS joins classic Disney characters and worlds together with a new story filled with new characters and environments created in the renowned Square Enix style. The result was one remarkable, innovative, original property that captured the attention of both gamers and critics alike. In KINGDOM HEARTS II, players will travel through the worlds of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Mulan, Pirates of the Caribbean, Steamboat Willie and Tron as well as revisit worlds from the original, including Aladdin, Disney Castle, Hercules, The Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The game features more than 100 Disney characters, and also introduces new, original characters such as Roxas, members of Organization XIII and the Nobodies, all designed by Square Enix’s Tetsuya Nomura, director and character designer of the KINGDOM HEARTS series. Nomura is best known for his creations in the top selling titles FINAL FANTASY VII, VIII, X and X-2. New Disney additions to the sequel include Chicken Little and Stitch from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch as summons as well as one of Disney’s favorite villains, Pete.

“We have enjoyed success with the Japanese release of KINGDOM HEARTS II this past December and cannot wait to roll out this title in March in North America – North America is where KINGDOM HEARTS all began,” said Tetsuya Nomura. “The entire team has been working day and night to perfect the North American version and we hope the gamers will find it even more exciting than the original.”

“KINGDOM HEARTS is the perfect creative example of how BVG is growing and developing the Disney brand and relevance in video games worldwide,” said Graham Hopper, senior vice president and general manager, Buena Vista Games. “Our excellent relationship with Square Enix has once again resulted in a game that sets the artistic benchmark in developing video games based on popular entertainment intellectual properties.”

“The KINGDOM HEARTS series has given us the opportunity to showcase Square Enix’s expertise in game design and development together with Disney’s memorable worlds and characters. This collaborative project is a situation most can only dream of and we are fortunate to have had this opportunity,” said Shinji Hashimoto, producer, Square Enix. “KINGDOM HEARTS II is packed with even more excitement and amazing adventures and we cannot wait for gamers to experience it for themselves.”

KINGDOM HEARTS II follows Sora, Donald, and Goofy on their continuing quest, after the events of KINGDOM HEARTS. Sora is looking for his lost friend Riku, while Donald and Goofy are searching for their missing king. The story begins in Twilight Town, a quiet burg nestled between night and day. Sora and friends are joined by a vibrant new cast of characters, including the king himself. Together, they will encounter countless dangers in worlds both familiar and brand-new.

KINGDOM HEARTS II features a new and improved real-time battle system which provides an increased selection of commands, such as performing special attacks and cooperative attacks with members of your party, adding strategy to the gameplay. Players can also perform the “Drive” to transform main character Sora into his various forms, altering his skills and abilities. Examples include the Brave Form, where Sora absorbs the power of Goofy allowing him to use two Keyblades; the Wisdom Form, where Sora absorbs the power of Donald allowing him to increase his magic power; and the Master Form, where Sora absorbs the power of both Donald and Goofy and increases both his attack and magic powers. These new features bring additional challenges and excitement to the players and further enhance gameplay.


Japanese pop artist Utada Hikaru returns to sing the theme song for KINGDOM HEARTS II. The song titled “Sanctuary,” the English version of its original Japanese release “Passion,” was written specifically for KINGDOM HEARTS II. More information on the artist can be found at http://www.utada.com .


KINGDOM HEARTS II will be available at North American retailers for a suggested retail price of $49.99 (USD). Additional information can be found at http://www.kingdomhearts.com . The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has rated the title “E10+” for ages 10 and up. For more information about the ESRB, visit http://www.esrb.org .

TOM SALTA COMPOSES EPIC ORCHESTRAL MUSIC FOR TOM CLANCY'S GHOST RECON: ADVANCED WARFIGHTER

San Francisco, February 9th, 2006 Following his work on Cold Fear and Ghost Recon 2(main theme co-writer), Tom Salta has composed and produced the anthemic live orchestral soundtrack for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, the next installment in the smash-hit squad-based action franchise. Scheduled to ship for March 2006, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter focuses on the deployment of the Soldier of the Future - the "warfighter" -  into the chaos of urban warfare.

Salta has written all of the original music for the game, including the Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter main theme, which enhances the drama and emotion of the epic storyline and intense tactical gameplay action. The score was recorded with the Northwest Sinfonia Orchestra at the prestigious Bastyr Chapel in Seattle. Combining his expertise in programming and mixing hit records with the highest production values, Salta also blended ontemporary electronic sounds into the score to capture the modern, hi-tech feel of the game. Visit the Ghost Recon: Advanced
Warfighter official website via http://www.ghostrecon.com to hear a preview of Tom Salta's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter main theme music.

Manu Bachet, Artistic Director at Ubisoft, said, "Tom Salta has created an explosive 5.1 score that mixes hi-tech elements, wild rhythms, and a live symphony orchestra. Not only was he able to find the perfect alchemy, but his music supports the action perfectly, and, most of all, it brings real emotion to the gameplay experience."

In addition to these recent videogame composing and recording ventures, Salta's hard-driving electronica and orchestral grooves grace many television shows, commercials and film promos. Recording under the artist
name "Atlas Plug" (http://www.atlasplug.com), he is currently working on
the follow-up to his highly acclaimed debut solo album 2 Days or Die.
For more information please visit www.tomsalta.com.

In Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, players will embody Captain Scott Mitchell as he commands the Ghosts and Special Forces allies equipped with the IWS in the quest to save the president of the United States, recover stolen nuclear codes and eliminate a vicious band of renegade soldiers hell-bent on unleashing catastrophe. The game unfolds entirely in Mexico City, where numerous, meticulously researched and detailed environments will deliver complete immersion into the future of urban warfare. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter will also include multiplayer and cooperative gameplay with exciting new elements, continuing the Ghost Recon tradition of setting the bar for multiplayer action.

NCsoft launches gigantic expansion for Lineage II, increasing its world by 1/3

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 9, 2006—NCsoft® North America has released Chronicle 4: Scions of Destiny, an expansion that adds 800 megabytes of new content and features to Lineage® II: The Chaotic Chronicletm, the market’s premier player-versus-player (PvP) massively multiplayer online PC game. The expansion is one of the largest updates released in the MMO industry and is free to current Lineage II subscribers.

Chronicle 4 adds several new major features to Lineage II, including the opening of the high-level hunting areas Rune and Godard, a new castle in Godard which players can attempt to seize, the nearly invincible fire dragon Valakas, and a fishing system that provides players with a profitable non-combat activity.

Also, Chronicle 4 rolls-out several features for high-level players including a third class transfer where players who reach level 76 may obtain more powerful and useful skills. Also introduced is a “hero and noblesse system” where level-75 players can compete in the Grand Olympiad, an extreme PvP challenge in which the winner is designated the rank of “hero” and receives new powerful weapons and a special heroic aura.

“Chronicle 4 packs in a huge amount of content that gives players the ultimate challenge whether they want PvP action in the Grand Olympiad or PvE adventures with the addition of Valakas the fire dragon,” said Adam Davidson, the North American producer of Lineage II. “Our last expansion made Lineage II more accessible to new players and Chronicle 4 rewards those who have been long-time participants. This new update rounds out a game that is one of the deepest and provides more action than just about any other MMO available.”

Lineage II was launched in 2004 and prior to Chronicle 4 had added more than 1.5 gigabytes of content free to subscribers.

Lineage II is available in a game time card package that includes a 60-day pre-paid Lineage II game time card and a game pack with the full version of Lineage II, including previous content expansions: Chronicle 1: Harbingers of War; Chronicle 2: Age of Splendor and Chronicle 3: Rise of Darkness. Additionally, players will find a 14-day free trial game code for purchasers to share with a friend.

The Lineage II sixty-day game time card packages are available at North American retailers and at the NCsoft online store for an estimated street price of US$29.99. To purchase the game or other Lineage II merchandise, go to the NCsoft store at: https://store.plaync.com .

For more information about Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle, go to: http://www.lineage2.com.

The game is rated Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

The Adventure Company Announces New Ship Date for KEEPSAKE

Toronto, February 9, 2006 - The Adventure Company, a leading publisher of PC adventure games, announced today that they will be changing the ship date for KEEPSAKE on the PC to April 18, 2006. They are planning to add enhancements unique to the North American version of the game, including new voiceovers and other goodies for the North American audience.

Developed by Wicked Studios, KEEPSAKE is an epic tale of mystery, magic, and fantasy that unfolds across the enchanted campus of Dragonvale Academy. Players will discover a world of beauty and boundless imagination that begins with the quest of Lydia, a young girl embarking on a journey of enlightenment that takes her to the gates of the Academy where she will become an apprentice.

Upon her arrival, something is terribly amiss… The campus is deserted and even Celeste, Lydia’s best friend, who is a Dragonvale scholar, is nowhere to be found! Confused and intrigued, Lydia explores the vast surroundings, the great hall, and the labyrinth of rooms and corridors of the immense Academy. After stumbling upon one of Celeste’s most treasured keepsakes, she suddenly realizes that treachery and sorrow lurks in the halls of the Academy.

Accompanied by a charmed dragon named Zak who helps unravel the many enigmas along her journey, Lydia must quickly overcome trials in The Chamber of Passage, understand the secrets of the runes and glyphs, and master the forces of magic to reveal the mystery behind Dragonvale Academy and the beloved Keepsake…

Features:

* Deep and involving storyline where suspense and mystery await at every turn
* Explore stunning environments designed in intricate detail using dynamic lighting and shading
* Unique in-game ‘Active Hint System’ helps players progress further into the game without being stumped by difficult puzzles
* Easy to use interface that evolves as new features become available
* Compelling 3rd person gameplay powered by a state-of-the-art graphic engine
* Learn to cast spells, understand the secrets of the runes and glyphs, and overcome daring trials designed to test your wits rather than your dexterity

KEEPSAKE has received an ESRB rating of ‘E’ for Everyone. For more information, please visit the official website http://www.KeepsakeGame.com.

February 9, 2006

Ubisoft Releases First Trailer for Drakengard 2

Today, Ubisoft officially released the first North American trailer for Drakengard 2, exclusively for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system. Developed by Cavia, Inc., the sequel to 2004's popular Square Enix published Drakengard, Drakengard 2 is due in retail stores around the U.S. next week.

Key Features:

Multifaceted air and ground combat: Lay waste to entire armies in the ferocious ground battles, or engage in intense aerial combat as you fly freely through the game world on the back of the dragon.

Face your destiny with a host of companions: Change freely between four playable characters with specific weapons and abilities. They will aid you in battle, as well as accompany you on an epic journey.

Upgradeable characters, weapons and items: A deeper Drakengard experience with both RPG and action elements. Information gathering now plays a key role.

Great improvements from the original: Boss battles have increased in number and challenge, and the ground battle system has been intensified thanks to a new combo system. Now accessories and items can be used to improve your characters.

An epic adventure: More than 20 hours of gameplay featuring epic engagements of the Empire and Union in a magnificent medieval world. Crush enemy forces with 67 different deadly weapons in more than 90 perilous missions.

A unique and fascinating scenario: The bond with the dragon, the loyalty of friends and the love of those who need protection all come together in a gripping tale. These elements give Nowe the courage to charge headlong into the battle to save the world - but it is a battle where the world itself is the enemy.

Here's the trailer.

Master Chief Dual-Wields His Way to Windows Vista

”Halo 2,” the game that redefined first-person combat and multiplayer action for millions of gamers worldwide, is set to explode onto PCs exclusively for Windows Vista. ”Halo 2” for Windows Vista will be developed by a dedicated Microsoft Game Studios team in partnership with Bungie Studios.

Only for Windows Vista, "Halo 2" will offer gamers both the single-player campaign and multiplayer experience of the original, as well as the additional maps offered in the “Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack.” Gamers will also have the exciting opportunity to build, create and customize their own multiplayer levels.


“Halo: Combat Evolved” and its sequel, “Halo 2,” have achieved phenomenal success on the Xbox video game platform as gamers around the world follow the saga of Master Chief in his battle against the Covenant forces. In 2003, the original “Halo” roared onto Windows PCs. In “Halo 2” for Windows Vista, the action picks up where the first game ended. Master Chief, with the help of a small group of marines, has destroyed the religious artifact and artificial world known as “Halo,” and is making his way back to Earth. There, he and the last surviving Earth forces will mount a titanic struggle against the marauding Covenant enemy. To date, the Halo franchise has sold more than 14.5 million games worldwide with over 600 million hours of multiplayer action logged across Microsoft’s Xbox Live online gaming service.

The Legend Builds: Nintendo DS Offers Bold New Features

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The video games industry's "story of the year" for 2005 is growing even more compelling early in 2006, as Nintendo today announced major new initiatives for its hot-selling Nintendo DS(TM) portable game system.
In a matter of weeks: DS owners will sample free games simply by visiting their local game retailers; players will enjoy live, real-time Wi-Fi voice interaction with their portable game play; the 1 millionth DS owner will log onto Nintendo(R) Wi-Fi Connection, Nintendo's wireless gaming service; and a new lighter, brighter DS will make its debut in Japan. Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales & marketing, announced the new DS features during his keynote address today at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' D.I.C.E. conference in Las Vegas.
"Nintendo DS was the only video game system that exceeded expectations in 2005, simply because it dared to be different," Fils-Aime said. "By further enriching the ways in which players can compete, play and sample new games, that process is accelerating in the opening weeks of 2006."

Here are the details announced at the D.I.C.E. conference:
DS Download Service: Starting next month, Nintendo will offer all DS owners free downloadable game demos and other downloadable content at thousands of participating retail locations around the United States. An in-store kiosk will beam wireless demo versions of games and other downloadable content into a players' Nintendo DS system. Users simply stop by the store with their Nintendo DS, click "DS Download Play" on their system and choose one of a variety of DS games they want to sample. The game will download automatically and users can play all they want (even if they leave the store) until the Nintendo DS is turned off.
Sequentially, players can try out as many games as they want, letting them test drive the wide array of games that can only be played on Nintendo DS. The first DS Download Service stations will include free demos of Tetris(R) DS, Brain Age(TM): Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day, Mario Kart(R) DS, Meteos(TM), True Swing Golf and Pokemon(R) Trozei, along with a Metroid(R) Prime Hunters video clip. The selection of games and other downloadable content at DS Download Service kiosks will refresh quarterly.

Metroid Chat: The new Metroid Prime Hunters game for Nintendo DS will give gamers the ability to chat directly with one another before and after matches played via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Players in North America simply click the chat icon and say what they have to say. The microphone of the Nintendo DS picks up voice communication and transmits it to the people on their friend list. Players can use the chat function before a match to agree on settings or after a battle to relive their glories. This Teen-rated first-person adventure arrives March 20 and promises to open a dramatically fun new facet of gaming to Nintendo fans.

Nintendo DS Momentum: Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection now boasts more than 20 million different connections, representing more than 850,000 unique users worldwide. Nintendo DS has enjoyed extremely strong sales worldwide, selling more than 14.4 million units worldwide through December. The Japanese sell-through of the existing Nintendo DS hardware exceeded 5 million within 13 months, which made Nintendo DS there the fastest-selling video game launch ever. In addition to Metroid Prime Hunters, Tetris DS also launches March 20. Using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, up to four players can compete in wireless two- or four-player Tetris DS battles against friends or strangers, near or far.

Nintendo DS Lite: The lighter, brighter Nintendo DS system goes on sale in Japan next month. Nintendo DS Lite is about two-thirds the size of the original Nintendo DS and more than 20 percent lighter. Its availability in other regions will be announced at a later date.

February 8, 2006

UBISOFT TO RELEASE BLAZING ANGELS SQUADRONS OF WWII FOR PC IN MARCH 2006

SAN FRANCISCO February 8, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that the action-filled flight combat game Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII will also be released for the PC in March 2006.

"Blazing Angels has exceeded our expectations in terms of quality on both Xbox and Xbox 360, and now we're proud to be able to take it another step further and show how incredible it is on PC," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "Ubisoft Romania, creators of our award-winning Silent Hunter III for the PC, will bring that same level of quality and attention to detail to the PC version of Blazing Angels."

In Blazing Angelsâ„¢ Squadrons of WWII for the PC, players test their air-combat skills as they experience the most famous battles of World War II. As squadron leaders, players can fly up to 39 WWII aircraft in both single-player and multiplayer missions. Advancing a great line of graphical and technological features along with a very intuitive interface, Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII for the PC provides a combat experience from the entire breadth of World War II. Battle sites include locations from Western Europe and the Pacific, including England, Morocco, Pearl Harbor, Midway, Pacific, France, Norway and Germany

Special features from this DVD version will include:

•Heart-pounding single-player campaigns - Over 18 missions grouped into a compelling historical battle campaign. Over 40 missions in standalone modes (Mini-Campaign, Arcade and Ace Duel).

•Thrilling multiplayer combat – Sixteen-player online and LAN play in 10 game types (Dogfight, Aces High, Seek and Destroy, Onslaught, Bombing Run, Kamikaze, Historical Battles and Capture the Base) in three multiplayer modes (Solo, Co-op and Squadron).

•Innovative graphical features – Amazingly detailed terrain including a variety of high-resolution specular maps. Photorealistic recreations of iconic cityscapes and locations including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the London Bridge and the ships in port at Pearl Harbor.

•Over 39 flyable high-definition, authentic-looking planes – High-resolution plane models (8,000-10 000 polygons per plane) and usage of large textures for the planes (1024x1024 = 4 Mb of texture per plane). Other aircraft features include multiple plane skins and nose-art, and destruction details for each plane model. Over 70 planes can be seen in the sky at once.

•Detailed vehicles and 3D-modeled people – High-resolution and 3D detail for over 40 vehicle models, and all vehicle models have damage levels. Each 3D-modeled person has over 10 animated movements.

•Impressive sound features – Hear all the combat excitement with the 48 KHz high-quality sampled sound and up to 64 3D sound sources 5.1 compatible

Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII for the PC is scheduled for release in March 2006. For more information and updates, please visit http://www.blazing-angels.com.

Black Goes Gold

Break out the earplugs … BLACK has gone GOLD for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

The game will be available at North American retail outlets on February 28. BLACK has been rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

Developed by Criterion Games, the team responsible for the award-winning Burnout series, BLACK casts gamers as Sergeant First-Class Jack Kellar, a seasoned veteran of the US military and the leader of a BLACK ops team sent to Eastern Europe to bring in a traitor.

Forget stealth. BLACK sends players in all guns blazing and delivers overt Hollywood-style firefights and destruction set against the modern war on terror. In BLACK, gamers will quickly learn to abide by the five rules of guncraft:

· The guns are the stars of the show – Let your massive arsenal of automatic weapons will do the talking.

· Every bullet is your baby – Make every miss count. If you can’t get a clean shot at your target bring down the roof on top of him.

· Bigger and louder – why blow up something small when you can blow up something big? Why use a small gun when you can use a big one?

· Leave a trail of destruction – Bullets pulverize plaster and splinter boards. Doors fly off hinges. If it’s in the world it’s there to be shot.

· Death is an opportunity – Get creative with your kills. Catch an enemy in the shoulder and spin him around into the enemy behind him. Blow out the scaffolding below another.

Nintendo Introduces New Line of Robotic Helpers

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- This week a legion of diminutive Nintendo robots invades American homes. Chibi-Robo(TM), made exclusively for Nintendo GameCube(TM), puts players in control of a 4-inch-tall robot who travels back in time, meets aliens and blasts robotic spiders, all in a day's work. The cute anime cartoon style of Chibi-Robo belies a bizarre, creative storyline that revolves around little Chibi-Robo, who only wants to bring happiness to his human family.
With the help of his lounge-singer-wannabe sidekick Telly, Chibi meets and communicates with a host of wacky toys that come to life at night. These include a pirate, a mummy, Space Hunter Drake Redcrest (a legendary action hero) and the Free Rangers, a battalion of egg-shaped soldiers. Each character has a distinct personality that shines through as Chibi works to help his family achieve happiness. That's not always easy to do in a home where the parents are having marital troubles, their daughter thinks she's a frog and the teddy bear has an unhealthy addiction to honey.
"Chibi-Robo represents a great blending of American and Japanesepop-culture sensibilities," said George Harrison, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. "Its freewheeling approach lets players progress at their own pace while they explore a huge, adventure-filled world."
Chibi can don a variety of different suits that give him new abilities and help him communicate with other characters in the game. For instance, while wearing his dog outfit he can interpret what the family dog is saying when he barks. Chibi can scare people while wearing his ghost outfit or even turn day into night after putting on his pajamas.
Players can focus solely on their main goals or wander off to do side tasks that help increase the happiness of the household. Whether they fly through the air on their Chibi-Copter or target small obstacles with their Chibi-Blaster, the only restriction they have is a limited power supply. If it runs low, they just plug themselves into the nearest outlet. Chibi-Robo offers the kind of nonlinear approach that Nintendo has pioneered with other games, such as the puppy-training Nintendogs(TM) or the music-making Electroplankton(TM). Players can proceed at their own pace and decide how much they want to accomplish at a given time.
The gaming media already has singled out Chibi-Robo as much more than a cute cartoon adventure. According to 1UP.com, "...there's a subversive streak of humor to the game, as well as the ever-fascinating premise of being a tiny creature in an outsized real-world environment..." And IGN.com says"Chibi-Robo is a colorful and lighthearted affair that is appropriate for just about any age group, young or old."

Chibi-Robo is Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older. For more information about the game, visit http://www.chibi-robo.com.

February 7, 2006

EA SHIPS ALL-NEW ARENA FOOTBALL VIDEOGAME TODAY

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Tuesday, February 7, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that Arena Football™, the newest game under the EA SPORTS™ brand, has shipped to stores nationwide. With Arena Football, gamers can now experience the excitement of the indoor gridiron with fast-paced, high-scoring offenses and the ability to send players over the walls.

“EA is the premiere sports videogame developer and we’re thrilled to have worked with them on this project,” said Glenn Horine, President, AFL Properties. “EA SPORTS Arena Football captures the passion of our sport and gives fans an opportunity to experience the action for themselves.”

“The AFL was an amazing league to work with and we strived to create a game that accurately depicts their unique brand of football,” said Mike Taramykin, Senior Producer, EA Tiburon. “Arena Football has features that will appeal to both AFL fans and sports fans alike.”

The all-new Be the Receiver feature allows players to take control of their receiver right from the snap and create routes on the fly, attempting to mix up the defense for a big score. With the new in-game Telemetry system, players can get real-time information such as scoring history, passing tendencies and player health and fatigue levels, allowing them to capitalize on their opponent’s weaknesses.

In Franchise Mode, players can take their favorite AFL® team and build them into a powerhouse by managing depth charts, signing free agents and making trades in an attempt to take home the ArenaBowl championship. Arena Football also allows players to create their own team or choose from more than 30 unlockable historic teams including the Anaheim Piranhas and Iowa Barnstormers.

Developed in Orlando, FL by EA Tiburon, Arena Football is available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. The game is rated “E10+” (Everyone 10 and older) with descriptors: Language, Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes, by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $29.99 for both console versions. The game’s official website is http://www.easportsarena.com.

EXPERIENCE THE FIRST DECADE OF EA’S GROUNDBREAKING COMMAND & CONQUER SERIES

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., February 7, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) is pleased to announce Command & Conquer™ The First Decade, one of the largest PC franchise compilations to date, shipped to stores nationwide today. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the special collector’s edition includes a dozen of your favorite Command & Conquer™ (C&C) games spanning the last ten years plus a bonus DVD of commemorative video features.

With over 23 million units sold worldwide to date, the C&C franchise has defined the Real-time strategy (RTS) genre with cutting-edge visuals, epic storylines, and rich mission complexities. The series has evolved over a decade, spawned over a dozen titles, and continues to be the genre benchmark by which all RTS games are measured. With its explosive style of warfare, the C&C franchise has grown over the years to span multiple fictional genres, including the science fiction Tiberium universe, the revisionist history of the Red Alert universe, and a twist on modern warfare with Command & Conquer™ Generals.

“Command & Conquer The First Decade is a true collection of amazing, innovative C&C games from the last ten years,” said Louis Castle, VP of Creative Development at EALA. “We wanted to give back to our loyal community and avid fans and also offer a great way for gamers to experience the series and immerse themselves into the legendary franchise for the first time.”

The Command & Conquer The First Decade bonus DVD features a half-dozen exclusive videos including an interview with Louis Castle, who is also co-founder of Westwood Studios, the creator of the C&C franchise. As a special bonus and rare opportunity, C&C fans from around the world were offered a chance to prove their undying devotion to the C&C series by submitting videos showcasing why they are the biggest C&C fan. Six fan videos were selected and are featured in a montage piece included on the bonus DVD.

Command & Conquer The First Decade will combine the following titles:

* Command & Conquer™ (Aug. 1995)
* Command & Conquer The Covert Operations™ (April 1996)
* Command & Conquer Red Alert™ (Oct. 1996)
* Command & Conquer Red Alert™ The Aftermath™ (Sept. 1997)
* Command & Conquer Red Alert Counterstrike™ (Mar 1997)
* Command & Conquer™ Tiberian Sun™ (Aug. 1999)
* Command & Conquer™ Tiberian Sun™ Firestorm™ (Feb. 2000)
* Command & Conquer Red Alert™ 2 (Oct. 2000)
* Command & Conquer Red Alert™ Yuri’s Revenge™ (Oct. 2001)
* Command & Conquer Renegade™ (Feb. 2002)
* Command & Conquer™ Generals (Feb. 2003)
* Command & Conquer™ Generals Zero Hour (Sept. 2003)

Command & Conquer The First Decade was developed at EA’s Los Angeles studio and has a US MSRP of $39.99. All games included in the compilation are rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB. All titles were re-mastered to run on current operating systems including Windows® XP. For more information on Command & Conquer The First Decade or the C&C series, please visit http://www.CommandAndConquer.EA.com.

Nintendo's Drill-Driving Jill is a Girl Gone Wild

Ever have one of those days when you just want to trash everything in sight? Every day is like that for young, pink-haired Jill, the star of the new Drill Dozer(TM) game for Game Boy(R) Micro and Game Boy(R) Advance SP. She spends her days piloting her Drill Dozer robot and leaving a trail of destruction in her wake.
Just like Nintendo's critically acclaimed Metroid(R) series, Drill Dozer features a strong female protagonist. Jill's not a bad girl, she just has some issues. A gang attacked her father and stole her precious red diamond. Really, what's a girl to do?
Drill Dozer was developed by GAME FREAK, a company known for itstop-selling Pokemon(R) games. In this side-scrolling platformer, players use the shoulder buttons to rotate the drill as they search for hidden gears to power up the Drill Dozer. The game combines elements of action, adventure and exploration, and comes with a built-in rumble pak that really lets players get a feel for the devastation they're causing.

Drill Dozer, Rated E for Everyone, launched Feb. 6. For more information about Drill Dozer, visit http://www.drilldozer.com

February 6, 2006

FOUNDATION 9 ENTERTAINMENT EXPANDS WITH NEW STUDIO

LOS ANGELES, CA – Feb. 6, 2006 – Foundation 9 Entertainment, the largest independent videogame developer in North America, in collaboration with techPEI, announced today that it is opening a new studio in Canada. The new studio will be located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and aims to employ approximately 20 people by the end of 2006.

“Foundation 9 continues to grow at a pace that outstrips the rest of the gaming industry,” says Co-President Andrew Ayre. “This latest studio not only gives us additional resources to make great games, it also brings a thriving company to a region of Canada keen for economic growth in the technology sector.”

techPEI, a government corporation charged with development of the technology industry in Prince Edward Island, specifically targeted Foundation 9 Entertainment as a growing company in the gaming industry and offered financial support for the creation of the new studio to help cover set-up and ongoing development costs.

"Not only is there an abundance of untapped talent out there, but the government support makes our costs competitive with overseas solutions,” says Jeff Vavasour, VP of Canadian Operations. “We're gratified to be able to offer these employment opportunities domestically. It’s a win-win.”

The studio in Charlottetown will carry the brand of Backbone Entertainment and will have the capabilities to develop for all platforms, including next generation consoles. Backbone Charlottetown will be the seventh studio in the Foundation 9 family, joining existing studios in Newport Beach, Emeryville, Eugene, Vancouver, Boston and Hawaii.

Backbone Charlottetown is expected to be up and running by the beginning of March.

About Foundation 9 Entertainment
Foundation 9 Entertainment is a premier developer of interactive entertainment products and properties, and the largest independent games developer in North America. With studios in the San Francisco Bay Area, Vancouver, Boston, Newport Beach, Eugene, Prince Edward Island, and Honolulu, Foundation 9 Entertainment is a development powerhouse, uniquely positioned to maximize the value of entertainment properties across all entertainment genres.

Through its studios and core brands, Backbone Entertainment, The Collective, Pipeworks, ImaginEngine, and Digital Eclipse, Foundation 9 Entertainment has worked with the largest names in the game publishing world, including Electronic Arts, Activision, Vivendi-Universal, and Take-Two Interactive. The company creates titles for all age groups and all platforms, through licensed and original IP, as well as contract development and its studios have developed more than 300 titles, including more than 40 in 2005 alone. For more information, please visit: http://www.F9E.com.

About techPEI
Technology PEI Inc. is a Provincial Crown Corporation established to advance the growth and development in Prince Edward Island's technology sector. The mandate is to be the lead agency representing the Province of Prince Edward Island in the development of the technology industry in Prince Edward Island. Technology PEI plays a leadership role in the development, use and adoption of information technology for business and community in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Technology PEI provides services through five key divisions: Business Investment, Business Expansion, Community and Primary Industry Initiatives, Labour Force Development, and Policy and Planning.

For more information, please visit http://www.techpei.com.

EIDOS ANNOUNCES URBAN CHAOS: RIOT RESPONSE

San Francisco, CA (February 6, 2006) -- Eidos Interactive, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today announced URBAN CHAOS: Riot Response, a high velocity, first person shooter where the player confronts real terror in an American city for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game and entertainment system by Microsoft and PC. URBAN CHAOS: Riot Response is scheduled to ship this Spring in North America.

Currently in development by London-based Rocksteady Studios, URBAN CHAOS: Riot Response gives gamers the opportunity to step into the shoes of a real hero. Play as Nick Mason a member of T-Zero, an elite counter-gang unit, putting his life on the line in response to a terrorist threat. Specially trained in all areas of urban combat and armed with the very latest high-tech weaponry, T-Zero – the last line in urban defense, teams-up with Emergency Services groups including firefighters, paramedics and police to combat multiple threats on the city such as bombings and hostage scenarios. Gamers can explore realistic and dynamic city environments where all the intense action takes place.

Sefton Hill, Director of Rocksteady Studios said, “Urban Chaos has been designed to offer something fresh and new for gamers who are looking for a new challenge in the FPS genre. We put the player right in the middle of a full scale riot and it’s no easy ride, this will be an original and intense challenge for gamers.”

URBAN CHAOS: Riot Response features dynamic physics and highly interactive environments enveloping players in the intense, thrills-a-minute action. Fight alongside members of the Police Department, Fire Dept, and Emergency Medical Services and save the city’s citizens using unique weaponry and defensive mechanisms such as the riot shield.

ARCADE CLASSICS RACE TO MOBILE PHONES

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Feb. 6, 2006) – Namco Networks, a leading publisher and developer of wireless games and content, today announced that arcade racing favorites, Ridge Racer® 3D and Pole Position IITM, are now available on mobile phones nationwide.

“For years, racing fans of all ages have been playing the Ridge Racer and Pole Position franchises on virtually all video game platforms,” said Scott Rubin, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Namco Networks. “With the same speed, quality graphics and energizing sounds found on home consoles, fans can now enjoy burning rubber on their mobile phones.”

The rubber meets the road as players race through the urban jungle and beach side-streets in Ridge Racer, the perennial racing series from Namco. This popular series has been a flagship game for many 3D consoles and handhelds including the most recent platform launches. Choose from multiple cars and unlock tracks and vehicles as you race through the frenetic urban streets. Shift into high gear and whip past fellow racers towards the finish line.

First introduced in U.S. arcades in 1982, the Pole Position series has remained consistently popular, in arcades, on home consoles and handhelds. After successful releases on other platforms, players can now “Prepare to Qualify!” on their mobile phone. Racers put the pedal to the metal on one of four tracks in an attempt to complete the qualifying lap with the best time, earning the coveted Pole Position for the Grand Prix race. One wrong turn of the wheel sends your car reeling into an explosive spinout.

“Namco Networks has done an extraordinary job of bringing these classic racing titles to mobile phones,” said Hugo Reyes, President and Founder of Wireless Gaming World. “Ridge Racer’s 3D graphics are comparable to its PlayStation counterpart. Just like the arcade original, Pole Position II continues to provide hours—or minutes, depending on your skill—of fast paced race action and even includes the infamous ‘Prepare to Qualify’ sound effect.”

Ridge Racer 3D and Pole Position II are available through several major carriers and will be coming to other carriers’ handsets soon. Visit http://www.namcogames.com for the latest handset coverage.

February 4, 2006

Ape Escape 3

Published by Sony Computer Entertainment America

Score 3 out of 5

Specter and the monkeys are back and determined to rule the world. Under Specter's command, the mischievous monkeys are taking control of your television and airing programming that will cloud the mind of anyone who watches. Heroes Kei and Yum dash through the TV studios capturing monkeys just as their outrageous shows hit the airwaves.

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This game is fun and simple. Chase all the monkeys and capture them in order to save your town. The right thumbstick controls how you swing whatever is in your hand. The monkeys will actually run away from you and dodge. Monkeys will become enraged and knock gadgets or the Monkey Net out of your hands. If you lose the monkey net and it's used against you your play on that level is terminated. The third person camera angle works pretty well for the most part, but there are times when I couldn't see what I was doing.

I think this would be a cute game for kids and for parents to play with their kids.

Kei1.JPG

February 3, 2006

Guild Wars Guru Announces Contest Sponsored by Zboard(tm) - The Ultimate Gaming Keyboard

TORONTO, CANADA - February 3, 2006 - The MMO Guru Network site Guild Wars Guru is happy to announce the start of a new contest sponsored by Zboard(tm) - The Ultimate Gaming Keyboard to the community. This contest is open to everyone with two (2) grand prize winners receiving a new Zboard(tm) (retail value $49.99).

To participate, the GuildWarsGuru.com website is having a scavenger hunt. It's as simple as finding all 10 Guru button logo's and then submitting your full name and GuildWarsGuru.com forum name along with the URL
links to the locations. A bonus find will allow an individual an additional entry into the contest. Only one prize will be awarded per individual. Included are clues and hints to find all 10 locations as well as the bonus find. The contest deadline is Friday, February 10th 2006 with winners announced on Monday, February 13th 2006.

To see a full list of the contests terms & conditions, additional details, and pictures please visit:
http://www.guildwarsguru.com/content/guild-wars-guru-contest-3-id1659.php

ACTIVISION AND LIONHEAD® STUDIOS RELEASE OFFICIAL PC GAME DEMO FOR THE MOVIES™

Santa Monica, CA – February 3, 2006 – Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) and Lionhead® Studios announced today the availability of a PC game demo for The Movies™. Currently available at http://www.lionhead.com/themovies/demo.html, PC gamers can download the official 285 MB demo which provides an in-depth introduction to the Story Mode, where players are guided through how to become the ultimate Hollywood movie mogul by building and managing all aspects of their own movie studio from talent and resources to research and development.

The Movies for Windows® PC is available now for a suggested retail price of $39.99 and is rated “T” (Teen with blood and gore, crude humor, mild language, sexual themes, use of alcohol and tobacco, and violence) by the ESRB.

More information on The Movies can be found at http://www.themoviesgame.com.

Torino 2006

Video games based on the Olympics have traditionally been pretty sucky, so I expected very little from Torino 2006. It's essentially a bunch of mini games that are sports related. I think when I was a kid there was a company called Epyx that made a decent summer games. Torino 2006 is fairly standard fare for a genre that is more likely to be collected as a souvenier rather than be played.

Score = 2.5 our of 5

Given the high quality of racing and snowboarding genres one would think that a good winter olympic games game. Apply the knowledge obtained by developing a racing game to the luge and that of developing a snowboarding game to skiing and things should look and feel good.

The speed skating mechanics are pretty good down - the player mashes alternate buttons to generate enough speed to be maintained by a rhythmical, consistent tapping of the two buttons. This imitates the motion of the left and right leg and is one of the only control systems that has an actual feel to it. Timing the presses is required for straightways and curves. You'll need long strides to gain speed on the straightways and short strides in the corner. You can sense when you're getting out of synch (ignore the on screen bars as they appear to have nothing to do with your timing) and do the right thing to get back on track.

torino_122705_02.jpg

Not only are there very few events, but some of them are repeated. Cross-country skiing is included in no less than three different events including the Nordic and Biathlon. There's not much difference between bobsled and luge, only that in bobsled you can move your men left or right, neither of which really matters. In both events you shoot yourself off like a plunger hitting a pinball. Press the button at the appropriate time to generate the most power and your sled will snake its way through icy channels. The analog stick allows you to move to the right or left to avoid hitting the walls. Controls are sluggish at first, but then as your sled or luge speeds up it becomes more responsive.

Alpine skiing is just boring. There's nothing nearly as exciting as gameplay in Amped. It's just move the joystick back and forth, sometimes crouching and sometimes carving. There's no sense of speed and every run is monotonous. Ski jumping takes a little getting used to. You have to balance on your way down the ramp, then jump, then balance in the air, and then land. It'll take 5 runs to get good enough to land. Then it'll be fun for 10 runs until you can just do it perfectly every time. And then it's no more fun. Cross country skiing relies on a stamina meter so you can balance speed with stamina. Push x to build the bar up and then slow down pushing x to settle in just below the start of stamina loss. After a few races this is pretty monotonous too.

torino_122705_21.jpg

It'll be just about impossible to stay focused long enough to win a 9 or 15 event competition and there are no medal ceremonies after the single competitions. Come to think of it, there's no opening or closing ceremonies either. And the commentary is barely passable - whatever good lines there are get repeated over and over again until they are stale. That also means that the bad lines get repeated as well. My favorite is when one announces says something and the other repeats it.

The only way I could see liking this game is if you're a Winter Olympics fan. It might have some value as a collector's item.

Published by 2K Sports http://www.2ksports.com

Women in Games International Announces Keynote Speaker in San Francisco Game Industry Leaders Discuss Hot Career Topics

Wednesday, February 1, 2006---San Francisco, CA---Women in Games International, a non-profit organization in the interactive entertainment industry, today announced their keynote speaker for their next conference, Women in Games International-San Francisco. Robin Harper, SVP of Community and Support for Linden Lab, will present "From the Virtual to the Real: How Second Life created an online world and community that strongly appeals to women, and how the virtual world has changed the real life of women participants."

Women in Games International-San Francisco, titled "Games for Women, Games by Women" is scheduled on Saturday, February 18 from 1 pm to 6 pm at the Fort Mason Conference Center in San Francisco. This conference addresses the myth that women don't "do" games by discussing statistics, game genres and careers in game development. Second Life is an acclaimed 3-D online world that has attracted thousands of female players.

"From its beginnings, Second Life has always attracted a significant number of female residents, many of whom have prospered in the virtual world to become its chief builders, land owners and wealthiest citizens," states Robin Harper, SVP Community Development and Support for Linden Lab. "I'm looking forward to sharing some of our lessons learned with the audiences at Women in Games International to dispel common misconceptions and hopefully encourage greater involvement by women in gaming and other creative digital environments such as Second Life."

Kathy Schoback, Development Chair for Women in Games International, offers "WIGI is thrilled to have Robin share her insights on making game experiences more inclusionary. I'm also looking forward to meeting other women in the Bay Area game industry!" Kathy is VP of Content Acquisition for AGEIA in Mountain View.

Other featured speakers include acclaimed design leader John Romero; members of Ubisoft's Frag Dolls player team; Brenley Brotman, Senior Recruiting Manager, Lucasfilm; Don Daglow, CEO, Stormfront; Sheri Hargus, CTO, Her Interactive, Mitzi McGilvray, General Manager for Casual Games, Slam Dunk Productions; Heidi Perry, Vice President of Marketing, PlayFirst; Margaret Wallace, CEO, Skunk Studios and many more.

Panel topics include "Games For Women," which focuses on the games and genres that already are succeeding with female players, and how to develop and market games that appeal to the female and male audience. Another panel, "Games By Women," addresses the videogame industry's constantly changing tools, technology, and skills, as games and game systems evolve. This panel of experts will talk about the skills needed for a successful career, both now and for the future. The closing panel, "Women Who Play," remarks on the different game styles and attitudes of female players, and how that may influence the overall game market in the future.

The Women In Games International Conference –San Francisco will be held at the Fort Mason Conference Center, Landmark Building A, located at the Presidio in San Francisco, California. Attendance is $45 for general attendees, $35 for WIGI members and $30 for students with I.D. Space is limited, so interested attendees are encouraged to secure their spot by registering online today at http://www.womeningamesinternational.org.

Tomb Raider: Legend Ship Date

San Francisco, CA (Feb 2, 2006) -- Eidos Interactive, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, confirmed today that Lara Croft’s latest and most anticipated adventure, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend™ will begin shipping on April 7th in Europe and April 11th in North America on PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC
with Xbox®360 and PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system versions to follow shortly after.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend is the seventh title to be released in the Tomb Raider™ series, which originally launched in 1996 and is still one of the best selling videogame franchises of all time, with over 30 million copies sold. Lara Croft™ has transcended games in a way no other character has, including action figures, comic books and two major motion pictures starring Angelina Jolie.

Larry Sparks, Head of Brands Management, Eidos said: “Everyone working on Legend is buzzing right now, we are all so excited that this totally new incarnation of Lara will capture gamers’ hearts, just as her original game did, and challenge their minds like no Tomb Raider they’ve ever seen.”

For further information visit: http://www.tombraider.com

February 2, 2006

2K Sports Reveals Details About College Hoops 2K6

NEW YORK, NY – February 2, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that the #1 rated college basketball video game series, College Hoops 2K6, will be released for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft in advance of College Basketball’s March Madness®. College Hoops 2K6 for Xbox 360 delivers all the excitement of college basketball through incredible next generation graphics, unparalleled gameplay, the entire suite of features found in the critically-acclaimed current generation versions, and an expanded roster of teams and players.

As the only college basketball video game to be available for the Xbox 360, College Hoops 2K6 will provide gamers all the action, pageantry and authenticity college basketball fans crave. Players are immersed in the game with Xbox 360 exclusive features including stunning player models, detailed college arenas complete with full 3D crowds and realistic animated sections for the band, home and visiting crowds. Also included are fan-favorite features such as Pre-season and Selection Sunday broadcast shows, the Coach’s Clipboard, Midnight Madness®, Strip ‘n’ Rip System, Shot Stick and V.I.P. System™. The college style of play is authentically brought to the Xbox 360 with focus on defense in the post, players’ shot distribution and overall game speed.

“We are thrilled to bring College Hoops 2K6 to the Xbox 360,” said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “College basketball fans are die-hard, so we worked hard to deliver a game that would bring the intensity of college basketball to life. College Hoops 2K6 creates unique and exciting atmospheres, which are only enhanced by the power of the Xbox 360.”

For more information about College Hoops 2K6, please visit http://www.2Ksports.com.

February 1, 2006

ENLIGHT SOFTWARE ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH SPORTS MOGUL INC. TO DELIVER "BASEBALL MOGUL 2007"

PARKVILLE, MD – February 1st, 2006 – Enlight, a leading software developer and publisher, today announced their partnership with Sports Mogul Inc. to deliver the next installment of their award-winning "Baseball Mogul" series, "Baseball Mogul 2007." As the premier sports statistical-simulation game on the market, "Baseball Mogul" will provide baseball enthusiasts with all the intense excitement and addictive entertainment that they have come to expect.

With new features and additions to "Baseball Mogul 2007," gamers will have the opportunity to create or take charge of any Major League Baseball team from 1900 to 2006 while managing all operations and team objectives. General Managers can actively scout and train talent from the best high school and colleges around the world to build their championship caliber ball club. Players will also be able to engage in complex trades, sign multi-year contracts, negotiate with sports agents, and handle team expenses with detailed budget management. From balancing rosters to actively calling the shots on the field through animated play-by-play mode, "Baseball Mogul 2007" will be the most comprehensive baseball management simulation available.

“With their reputation as a leader in the PC market, Enlight provides us with full confidence that the 'Baseball Mogul' series will continue to thrive again this year,” said Clay Dreslough, President of Sports Mogul Inc. “We have added a host of new features to enhance the simulation for this year’s title, and players will be able to enjoy the most realistic and compelling experience ever.”

“After having been involved in baseball as a player, coach and teacher, along with my son currently being recruited by major colleges and pro scouts, my passion for the sport is continued through this incredible game,” said Paul Lombardi, CEO of Enlight Interactive. “Never before has a sport simulation title provided such attention to detail and
'Baseball Mogul 2007' will be the ultimate statistical companion for all hardcore baseball enthusiasts.”

"Baseball Mogul 2007" will available in March for the PC. For more information, please visit: http://www.sportsmogul.com/baseball2k7/

SEGA'S FULL AUTO GOES GOLD FOR XBOX 360

SAN FRANCISCO (January 23, 2006) - SEGA® of America's highly-anticipated combat racing title Full Auto™, has gone gold for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. This news follows recent announcements from SEGA detailing a new North American release date - Feb. 14, 2006 - and a nation-wide
pre-sell promotion.
Combine raw horsepower with awesome firepower in a race that demands both precision aim and breakneck speed. Destroy your enemies and tear the world apart as you master a wide arsenal of weaponry and a stunning selection of armor-laden cars.
Full Auto combines fully-automatic, weapon-equipped vehicles with highly detailed and interactive urban environments, creating serious destructive racing action. Built for Xbox 360, this groundbreaking combat racer allows players to choose from a wide selection of unique vehicle designs and arm them with a myriad of deadly weapon configurations.

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Key Product Features
• TOTAL Destruction - unprecedented car and environmental damage make this the most destructive racing game ever.
• Unique “Unwreck” feature - delivers the racing genre's first real-time "second chance." Players have the ability to control time to rectify mistakes both big and small.
• No pre-calculated or canned animations - Players will never see the same wreck twice!
• Addictive Multiplayer modes - Circuits, Point-to-Points, Down & Back available in split-screen and 8-player mode on Xbox Live online game service - challenge friends to rank on in-game single and multiplayer leaderboards..
• Collision, Jump and Death cameras - Unprecedented presentation - including the “One-Touch” replay - exposes each and every action-packed moment.
• Adaptive Soundtrack - music changes/adapts based on player position, track location and racing style.
• Enjoy intense combat and unlimited replayability -21 vehicles, 18 tracks, more than 80 events, and eight distinct weapon types; from machine gun and mines to rockets and cannon.


Developed by Pseudo Interactive, Full Auto is rated “T” (Teen) by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $59.99. For more information about Full Auto, please visit http://www.segalabs.com/.

CURIOUS GEORGE™ SHIPS!

SANTA CLARA, Calif., (February 1, 2006) – Leading video games publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. announced today that Curious George™ has shipped for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game system, Nintendo GameCube™, Game Boy® Advance and PC. Based on the February 10th animated feature film of the same name from Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, Curious George allows players to jump in and control the world’s most curious chimp through an array of madcap mishaps and mischievous fun. Curious George is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.

For more than 60 years, children and adults alike have followed the tales of Curious George – known for his insatiable inquisitiveness and taste for adventure. The story begins as The Man with the Yellow Hat travels to Africa in search of a lost artifact and returns with some unexpected cargo — a precocious chimp named George.

Curious George allows players to meet and interact with their favorite characters from the animated film in this exciting and colorful game world. As the fun-loving George, players can run, jump, climb and swing through 12 action-packed levels including the jungle, museum and Big City. Players must also use the character’s skills, which include crafty escapes and distracting performances, to elude trouble and avoid one entertaining predicament after another. Throughout George’s big adventure, players are encouraged to be curious and explore the “Curious Objects” in each environment – drawers to peek in, machines to activate, trunks to pop open and even chairs to bounce on! Interacting with these objects awards players “Curious Points,” which enable them to purchase items in the Museum Gift Shop including concept art, scenes from the animated movie and accessories for George. Curious George’s bonus features and challenging mini-games provide players hours of replay beyond the main story.

“We couldn’t be more pleased how well this game brings to life the loveable and playful nature of George in both the console and handheld video games,” said Jeff Lujan, business director at NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. “Our partnership with Universal has been instrumental in developing a video game that not only captures George’s more modern look, but also contains countless hours of action and adventure the whole family can enjoy!”

Curious George is developed for consoles and the PC by Monkey Bar Games and for handheld gaming systems by Torus Games through a licensing agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group.

For more information on Curious George, please visit http://www.curiousgeorgegame.com/.

Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop Celebrates Grand Opening in Retail Stores

SANTA CLARA, Calif., (January 31, 2006) – Leading video games publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. announced today that Tamagotchi(R) Connection(TM): Corner Shop(TM), a shopping simulation set in
the virtual world of Tamagotchi(R) for the Nintendo DS(TM), has shipped to retail outlets in North America. Based on the wildly popular Tamagotchi(R) virtual pet that has sold more than 40 million units worldwide since its 1996 debut, this playful simulation allows aspiring shop owners to open and run their very own boutique stores.

“Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop offers the same charming characters and tongue-in-cheek humor that was the hallmark of the original Tamagotchi toys,” said Yoshi Niki, business director at NAMCO BANDAI Games
America Inc. “By optimizing the use of Nintendo DS’ touch-screen functionality, this title offers a variety of fun, accessible mini-games that appeals to gamers and non-gamers alike.”

In Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop, players help primary characters like Mametchi, Memetchi or Kuchipatchi set up a shop, with the ultimate goal of creating a “royal” shop that is a favorite of Princess Tamako. Players can select from a variety of different stores, including a bakery, beauty salon, dental office, flower shop and more. Once the shop is open, players will help their customers by completing mini games with the Nintendo DS stylus. Players apply makeup, treat cavities and decorate cakes to earn “Gotchi” points, the Tamagotchi money unit, and progress towards “royal” shop status. Shop interiors can be customized and cute Tamagotchi characters will make appearances throughout the game.

Fans of the egg-shaped toy that simulates the life cycle of a real pet can currently purchase the new Tamagotchi Connection Version 2. The toy allows tweens and teens to collect “Gotchi” points, which can be used to shop for treats and toys, and to use secret codes to unlock special shopping areas not available anywhere else in the programming. In addition, wireless technology allows Tamagotchi owners to “connect” with others, allowing their pets to become friends, trade gifts and mate to create future generations.

For more information on Tamagotchi products, please visit http://www.tamagotchi.com

UBISOFT AND CAPCOM ANNOUNCE DISTRIBUTION AGREEMENT FOR THREE HIT VIDEO GAME TITLES

SAN FRANCISCO FEBRUARY 1, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that it has signed an agreement with Capcom to distribute Resident Evil 4, Onimusha 3 and Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition video games for the PC. Ubisoft will distribute Capcom's games in North American and European territories beginning in February 2006 with the release of Onimusha 3: Demon Siege.

"Capcom has created fantastic universes which have become blockbuster franchises," said Jay Cohen, vice president of publishing at Ubisoft. "Ubisoft is excited to be bringing three of the industry's most innovative titles, including Resident Evil 4, which has been recognized by many publications and organizations as the best game of the year for 2005, to PC gamers around the world."

Resident Evil 4 is a shining star in the survival horror genre garnering critical acclaim and numerous "Game of the Year" awards from media outlets including Game Informer magazine, North America's largest gaming magazine and GameSpot.com, a leading source for gaming information. Onimusha 3: Demon Siege stars French actor Jean Reno and is the latest episode in the Onimusha franchise. This action adventure series has become a phenomenon thanks to its amazing backdrop in medieval Japan mixed with heroic fantasy elements. Devil May Cry made an outstanding debut on console and quickly became a popular action game. Renowned for its gothic atmosphere, non-stop action and thrilling combat, the latest installment to the franchise adds a new character a new boss and many new levels.

"Capcom is excited to be taking advantage of Ubisoft's global distribution network to deliver our hottest titles for gamers around the world to play and enjoy," said Toshihiro Tokumaru, executive officer at Capcom. "We look forward to working together for continued growth for both companies.''

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