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July 28, 2006

2K Sports NHL2K7 and NBA 2K7 Previews

The good news is that they're going to try to have both NHL 2K7 and NBA 2K7 available for PS3 launch. It's not an official declaration that they will have the games, just an announcement of an intention.

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NHL 2K7 This is, of course, the hockey game. They've developed a new concept in hockey game play called "cinemotion", where you can either have no commentary and a dynamically orchestrated soundrack synched to the action, or have commentary. There are a lot of new cut scenes and they've added a lot of player voices in something like 16 different languages. There's a new skating engine and new animations. I am a huge hockey fan and I thought that the game looked extraordinarily realistic. There's a new "parametric" camera angle that is above the rink sort of like the ESPN cameras; it moves in and out, up and down, and you can actually see a line change. The game plays much more fluidly when you can see the whole ice surface, it's really easy to step up in the hole and make a play. The right bumper is a drop pass. The left bumper can be used to send a teammate to shadow or take out a player. In franchise mode trading logic has been tuned and the computer does a better job of balancing team chemistry. There's a rivalry system that builds rivalries over time based on year to year play. There's also something called "opprotunity knocks" where as GM you get a random phone call that you can accept or decline and it can be a good thing or a bad thing for your team. Online leagues are now based on a real point system. Overall, I think the game looked great on the Xbox 360 and I can't wait to play it.

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Marty's Better!

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NBA 2K7 - 2K Sports wants to be known as the innovator of basketball games. They've got signature style animations on shots and dunks for every NBA starter. They've done a lot of work on each arena and the lighting. They've improved isomotion, use the left analog stick and the right trigger for offense; on defense you can use the right analog stick to control your stance. They've done a lot of work on contact animations and performed lot of mocap with 2 or 3 players. There are blocks, dunks, defensive fronting. They've really worked on the post play (which I love) to include ratings for power, finesse and speed; the animations and the moves you can do match a players capabilities, for example Shaq is a power player and Duncan is a finesse player. They've worked on the loose ball game so it looks more realistic with players diving on the ground and making passes off the ground. They've built up franchise mode. They show a hell of a lot of stats, tendencies, skills charts and graphs. They've made progressive fatigue more important so it will matter how you manage the bench. They've built in complicated multi-team trades where you can trade multiple men, draft picks, etc. There's also 24/7: NEXT, a story driven streetball game that starts off in first person. Then you create your character with extensive customization options, play in tournaments and win reputation. The left trigger and the face buttons pull street moves. Finally, with online leagues they've added the ability to do live fantasy drafts from your 360 or your PC.

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July 27, 2006

Kuma Episodic Games Incites Global Dialogue on Iranian Nuclear Arms Conflict, Seeking Audience Participation on New Mission

New York (July 26, 2006) – As conflict between the United States and Iran continues to escalate, Kuma Episodic Games is creating an unlikely forum for citizens of these countries to speak directly to one another – through video games.

Last September, Kuma garnered international attention with its release of “Assault on Iran,” a video game simulating a U.S. attack on a key Iranian nuclear installation. In response to the Kuma episode, Iran’s video game development community announced a virtual counter attack with a game of its own, borrowing story elements from Kuma’s original. With reports indicating that the Union of Islamic Student Societies’ game “Commander Bahman” will not be available until March 2007, Kuma has proceeded with the launch of its response mission - “Assault on Iran, Pt. 3: Payback in Iraq” - and hopes to maintain an open discussion by soliciting input on the mission’s script at www.kumagames.com from gamers around the world. Available now, “Assault on Iran, Pt. 3: Payback in Iraq,” currently has no dialogue but will reflect community suggestions in its final version, which will be released in English, Farsi and Arabic.

“When we created the original “Assault on Iran” episode, we had no idea it would ignite such passionate response from gamers around the world,” commented Keith Halper, CEO of Kuma Reality Games. “Nevertheless, now that we have this vehicle for international discourse, we intend to use it to bring individuals with real differences of opinion together. While it may seem odd that games about military conflict could serve to bring people together, it is perhaps the only forum that can address the issues head on.”

For more than two years, Kuma\War has expanded the boundaries of news reporting through accurate and timely re-creations of real-world military events. As a broadband leader in episodic games, Kuma is committed to turning around missions for its audience in a matter of weeks. Kuma\War episodes are powered by Source – the same award-winning game engine technology Valve® created to power Half-Life® 2 – and are available for free download at www.kumagames.com.

KUMA, LLC., is the industry leader in the new market for Episodic Video Games -- rich, 3D, immersive game experiences delivered to PCs and consoles in weekly episodes. Using their pioneering technology, Kuma develops and delivers games with unprecedented speed, making game episodes that reflect just-released TV shows or films, real world events, audience input or players' own in-game actions. These episodic games are a thoroughly unique user experience and present distinct marketing advantages for content owners and distributors. Kuma Reality Games, headquartered in New York, New York, is a privately held company.

PREPARE FOR ACTION AS SNOOPY AND WOODSTOCK TAKE OFF IN THEIR HIGH FLYING QUEST IN NAMCO BANDAI GAMES’ SNOOPY VS. THE RED BARON!

NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. has released a brand new set of screenshots for its upcoming title Snoopy vs. the Red Baron featuring Snoopy, Woodstock, and the rest of the popular Peanuts® gang!

Set in a world based on the timeless comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, Snoopy vs. the Red Baron takes Snoopy on a high-flying adventure to a place only Snoopy could dream up! While slumbering atop his dog house, Snoopy once again imagines himself as a virtuoso flying ace fighting against his archenemy The Red Baron. Soar with Snoopy in his World War I bi-plane, the Sopwith Camel, as he takes on his enemies in sky-high dogfights, no-holds-barred air races and daring missions that take him behind enemy lines.

As you can see from these latest screens, Snoopy vs. the Red Baron takes fun and adventure to new heights. Guide Snoopy as he gallantly defends the skies, battles side by side with his closest friend and confidant Woodstock and powers up with as much root beer as he can lay his paws on. Fly through vibrant worlds and battle through over 20 missions as you collect clues in an attempt to put an end to The Red Barons evil plans and rescue Charlie Brown!

Snoopy vs. the Red Baron is rated “RP” and lands on store shelves in October 2006 for PlayStation 2, PSP and PC. For more information on Snoopy vs. the Red Baron, please visit http://www.namcobandaigames.com/

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Warlords Invades Retailers!

New York, NY – July 26, 2006 – 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), and the Company's world-renowned development studio Firaxis Games, today announced that Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Warlords for PC, the first expansion pack for the critically acclaimed Sid Meier's Civilization IV, is now available in retail stores. With eight new scenarios including some exciting franchise firsts, Warlords will deliver even more great gameplay to the millions of fans around the globe who purchased and embraced Civilization IV.

Paying homage to some of history’s greatest military leaders, Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords delivers eight unique and interesting scenarios, giving players the chance to change the course of history with the help of their powerful new "warlord" unit. Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords includes new civilizations, leaders, units, resources and wonders that offer even more fun and exciting ways for players to expand their civilization’s military power as they strive for world domination.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Warlords adds new twists and challenges to some of the most creative scenarios in the series. In the Omens scenario, Great Britain and France race to settle North America at any cost, while the Barbarians scenario allows players to take control of ruthless hordes of warriors. With these brutal Barbarians under your control, your goal is to conquer all other civilizations on the map by decimating their armies, looting the cities and burning them to the ground.

“The Sid Meier’s Civilization franchise is recognized as one of the most successful PC series of all time,” said Christoph Hartmann, President, 2K. "Warlords empowers players to take the roles of Augustus Caesar, Winston Churchill, and even Genghis Khan as they take advantage of all scenarios, civilizations and units.”

”Our team has had an incredible amount of fun creating the Warlords expansion pack,“ said Steve Martin, President of Firaxis. “The Civilization franchise is very close to our hearts, and we never seem to run out of new ideas for this epic game,” he added.

Key Features:

· Warlords: A new great person type called the Warlord.

· Vassal States: Conquer an enemy and subjugate them to your rule.

· Game Scenarios: The expansion delivers eight new scenarios.

· New Civilizations: The pack will provide six new civilizations and associated unique units.

· Civilization Leaders: Ten new leaders, including leaders for the new civilizations as well as additional leaders for existing civilizations.

· Leader Traits: Three new leader traits.

· New Wonders: Three new wonders.

· Unique Buildings: Each civilization includes a new unique building as well as their unique unit.

· New Units, Resources, and Improvements: Many new items are presented throughout the scenarios.

· Core Game Tweaks and Additions: Expanded features and gameplay tweaks are made to the core game.

· Post-Release Patches and Game Upgrades: The pack contains all of the patches and game additions (Pit Boss, etc.) released to date for Sid Meier's Civilization IV.

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Warlords will require the full version of Sid Meier’s Civilization IV and is rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and older by the ESRB. For more information on Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Warlords, please visit the product webpage at www.civilization.com.


About Sid Meier's Civilization Franchise

Created by industry legend Sid Meier in 1991, Civilization instantly set the standard for and defined a new genre of empire-building strategy games. An addictive blend of building, exploration, discovery and conquest, Civilization is recognized as one of the greatest game series of all time. Sid Meier's Civilization IV was released in 2005 for the PC to critical acclaim, receiving numerous Game of the Year awards from game critics around the world.

About Firaxis Games

Firaxis Games is one of the world's premier game development studios, and home of legendary designer Sid Meier. Firaxis has developed some of the most successful and award-winning computer and video games on the market today including; 2005 PC Game of the Year - Sid Meier's Civilization IV®, Sid Meier's Pirates! ® (PC and Xbox), the blockbuster Sid Meier's Civilization III ® series, and Sid Meier's SimGolf ®. Firaxis legacy titles include the Sid Meier's Civil War Series! ® (Gettysburg!, Antietam!, and South Mountain), and the Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri ® series. In 2005, Firaxis Games was acquired by Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., joining the 2K publishing label, a wholly owned subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive.

About Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.

Headquartered in New York City, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is an integrated global developer, marketer, distributor and publisher of interactive entertainment software games and accessories for the PC, PlayStation® game console, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system, Xbox® and Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube™, Nintendo DS™ and Game Boy® Advance. The Company publishes and develops products through its wholly owned labels Rockstar Games, 2K and 2K Sports, and Global Star Software; and distributes products in North America through its Jack of All Games subsidiary. Take-Two also manufactures and markets video game accessories in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region through its Joytech subsidiary. The Company maintains sales and marketing offices in Cincinnati, New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Munich, Madrid, Milan, Sydney, Breda (Netherlands), Auckland, Shanghai and Tokyo. Take-Two's common stock is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol TTWO. For more corporate and product information please visit our website at www.take2games.com.

July 25, 2006

Gears of War Fan Site Kit Emerges Online

As the threat of Emergence Day approaches, Microsoft Game Studios today announced the first of many tools to combat the impending Locust Horde -- a “Gears of War” Fan Site Kit, that is now available for download at the game's official community site (http://www.gearsofwar.com/). The 102 MB download contains all the means necessary to help “Gears of War” fans build a fan site in preparation for Emergence Day. The kit contains concept art, forum avatars, screenshots, desktop wallpaper, and much more.

“Gears of War” thrusts gamers into humankind’s epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet. Blending the best of tactical action games with the best of survival horror titles, “Gears of War” features cinematic, beautifully rendered interactive environments with high-definition visuals. “Gears of War” will launch on Emergence Day 2006.

About Epic Games

Epic Games Inc., based in Raleigh, N.C., and established in 1991, is a developer of cutting-edge computer and video games. The company is best known as the creator of hit PC 3-D action games “Unreal” and “Unreal Tournament,” both award-winning blockbuster hits having sold more than 1 million units each. Epic is also well-known as creator of the Unreal Engine, which it has licensed to several major game developers. To date over 10,000,000 games have been sold that utilized Epic’s Unreal Engine technology, and the number is growing steadily each year. Before its 3-D success, Epic Games was well-known for the hit shareware games “Jill of the Jungle,” “Jazz Jackrabbit” and “Epic Pinball.” Additional information can be obtained through Epic’s Web site at http://www.epicgames.com.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® and Xbox 360™ video game systems, the Windows® operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as “Age of Empires®,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo Tycoon®;” Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as the upcoming “Gears of War” and franchises such as “Halo®,” “Fable®,” “Project Gotham Racing®” and “Forza Motorsport™”; and MSN® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic®.”

SQUARE ENIX TURNS UP THE HEAT ON SUMMER

Los Angeles, Calif. (July 25, 2006) – Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of Square Enix™ interactive entertainment products in North America, revealed today its sizzling summer lineup, a roster that includes an assortment of new and exciting titles for a wide variety of platforms. Set to heat up living rooms across the nation are DIRGE of CERBERUS -FINAL FANTASY® VII– and VALKYRIE PROFILE®2: SILMERIA exclusively on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, while VALKRYIE PROFILE: LENNETH for PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system and DRAGON QUEST® HEROES ROCKET SLIME™ for Nintendo® DS hand-held system are primed and ready to burn up the roads across America. Square Enix is ready to play all four aces this summer at retail outlets across the nation.
“This summer, Square Enix is releasing titles that will truly appeal to all audiences,” said Daishiro Okada, President and COO, Square Enix, Inc. “The line-up brings new titles for some of Square Enix’s most beloved series with games for casual and young gamers, as well as gamers ‘on the go,’ the revival of a cult hit, a new take on a renowned franchise and the ability to play together. We’re excited about providing entertainment that will bring in new fans as well as delight our existing ones.”
VALKYRIE PROFILE: LENNETH
Developer: tri-Ace Inc.
Publisher: Square Enix, Inc.
Platform: PSP system
Genre: RPG
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: July 18, 2006
Originally released on the PlayStation® game console, VALKYRIE PROFILE: LENNETH is the remastering of the 2000 cult hit that contains new features and bonus content to satisfy new and returning fans. In this tale of tragedy, deceit and the final juxtaposition of life and death, every move plays a crucial role in determining the outcome in the ultimate battle of good and evil. Throughout the course of the adventure, players will travel across foreign lands, engage in battle with supernatural forces and encounter an enchanting cast of tragedy-stricken characters. A non-linear structure ensures that no two adventures are the same.
DIRGE of CERBERUS – FINAL FANTASY VII –
Developer: Square Enix Co., Ltd.
Publisher: Square Enix, Inc
Platform: PlayStation 2
Genre: Action
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: August 15, 2006*
*NOTE: The release date has been moved up one
week from the original date of August 22, 2006.
Get ready for the action-packed thrill ride of the summer, courtesy of the masterminds behind the original FINAL FANTASY VII. Breakout star Vincent Valentine returns in this adrenaline-fueled rampage that propels players into the middle of an ongoing conflict that threatens all life on the planet. With his trusty triple-barreled Cerberus in hand, Vincent will shoot, fight, and rage his way through the ranks of a menacing uprising--one that must be stopped at all costs. Featuring fast-paced gameplay from renowned producer Yoshinori Kitase and character designs from Tetsuya Nomura, DIRGE of CERBERUS offers a non-stop ride through the exhilarating world of FINAL FANTASY VII. Numerous enhancements have been implemented in the North American release, including brand-new missions, a retooled camera system, and speedier action to keep up with American gamers. And fans will also be able to continue the adventure “on the go” with DIRGE of CERBERUS LOST EPISODE™ -FINAL FANTASY VII-, a mobile title set for release this summer.
DRAGON QUEST HEROES: ROCKET SLIME
Game Design/Developer:
Square Enix Co., Ltd./TOSE Co., Ltd.
Publisher: Square Enix, Inc.
Platform: Nintendo DS hand-held system
Genre: Action Adventure
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Ship Date: September 19, 2006
Stretch, spring and shoot through the once peaceful kingdom of Slimenia as Rocket, the hero of the latest title from the legendary developers of the DRAGON QUEST series.
Simple, streamlined controls allow players of all ages to bounce right in to the quest to
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rescue a colorful cast of 100 slimes. Hand-pick a crack team of slimes to help you in the heated tank battles, or enjoy Wireless DS Multi-Card action with up to 4 players. The DS Single-Card Download play feature also allows up to 16 players to enjoy the game at once. Tanks are also customizable by collecting a vast array of weapons and items, and then exploiting the powers of alchemy to create rarer and even stronger ammunition. Utilize the dual screen feature to view the menus and the action simultaneously during adventure sections, and get a unique view both inside and outside the tanks during battle sections. Only Rocket can uncover the truth and save the slimehabitants of the city of Boingburg!
VALKYRIE PROFILE 2: SILMERIA
Developer: tri-Ace Inc.
Publisher: Square Enix, Inc.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Genre: RPG
ESRB: T (Teen)
Release Date: September 26, 2006*
*NOTE: The release date has been moved up from
the previously announced release of November 2006
Delve deeper into a cult classic in VALKYRIE PROFILE2: SILMERIA developed by the creators of STAR OCEAN® and RADIATA STORIES™. Critically acclaimed on the original PlayStation® game console, the VALKYRIE PROFILE series bursts onto the PlayStation 2 with an addictive combat system, an epic score and gorgeous visuals that push the system’s hardware to its limits. The captivating story takes place long before the events of VALKYRIE PROFILE: LENNETH with ties to Norse mythology, producing a perfect synergy of exploration, plot development and fast paced action. Control multiple combatants with an innovative battle system, and experience the latest masterpiece from fan-favorite developer tri-Ace Inc.

About Square Enix Co., Ltd. and Square Enix, Inc.
With headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, Square Enix Co., Ltd. (Square Enix) develops, publishes and distributes entertainment content including interactive entertainment software and publications in Japan, North America, Europe and Asia. Square Enix brings two of Japan's best-selling franchises - FINAL FANTASY, which has sold over 68 million units worldwide, and DRAGON QUEST which has sold over 40 million units worldwide - under one roof. Square Enix is one of the most influential providers of digital entertainment content in the world and continues to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation.
Square Enix, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Square Enix Co., Ltd. with offices in Los Angeles, California and Seattle, Washington. It handles operations in North America, including development, localization, marketing, and publishing of Square Enix titles. More information on Square Enix can be found on the Internet at http://www.square-enix.com.

ESPN TEAMS UP WITH EA SPORTS TO OFFER AN INSIDE LOOK AT MADDEN NFL 07

Beginning August 4 at 8 p.m. ET., ESPN and ESPN.com will offer an exclusive pay-per-view event with Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) - Inside Madden NFL 07 – produced by ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) and available to gamers through affiliates on television and also online.

In this special, available 18 days before the release of Madden NFL 07 from EA SPORTS™ on August 22, fans will get an early look inside one of this year’s most anticipated video game releases. EA game designers and some of the best Madden players will lead gamers on a guided tour through new changes and advances in all aspects of the game. Included in the special are the exclusive release of player ratings and tips from top Madden gamers and behind-the-scenes details about the making of the next generation of Madden NFL games.

Intended to give the hardcore gamer and fan a leg up on playing the latest version in the popular Madden game series, ESPN and EA SPORTS invited some of the best gamers in the business to EA Sports Tiburon studios in Orlando. Before arriving, the five gamers were given a chance to try the new game and see a number of new features. Once at the EA studios, the players were given the opportunity to interview game producers, engineers, and further test and evaluate the latest edition of the game for the cameras.

The gamers that took part in the program are:

- Dwayne "D-Train Harrison" - winner of the 2002 Madden Challenge

- Jarvis Thomas - winner of the 2005 Madden Challenge

- Justin Chow - Washington DC regional winner of the 2005 Madden Challenge

- Will Kinsler - co-owner of MaddenNation.com, and writer for gaming strategy guides and EA Sports

- Rod "Reality" Winn – a former competitor on ESPN's Madden Nation

Throughout the 60-minute special, the gamers discuss how the new game features will impact their own play and provide insight into techniques and strategies that help make them among the best in the world.

Inside Madden NFL 07 also includes interviews with top athletes regarding their experience with the latest version of the game. Atlanta Falcons’ Warrick Dunn, Tennessee Titans great Eddie George, Minnesota Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson, and St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk were each given the opportunity to take an advance look at their OWN player ratings while cameras captured their feedback.

Fans can purchase Inside Madden NFL 07 for $19.95 at www.espn.com (search Madden), or by contacting their pay-per-view provider. For re-airs throughout the month of August, check www.espntv.com listings or contact your pay-per-view provider.

Madden NFL 07 will be available in stores on August 22.

Leading up to the pay-per-view special on August 4, ESPN Classic will air episodes of EOE’s Madden Nation from 2 - 6 p.m. ET as part of Generation Y Week on ESPN Classic.

Nintendo Game Offerings Heat Up as the Weather Cools Down

The fourth quarter of 2006 will herald a new era for Nintendo with the launch of its remarkable new Wii(TM) home video game system. But that's not what this news item is about! How could that be, you ask? Perhaps the secret to the launch information for Wii is somehow encoded in the text of this news item. You might want to pore over it for a few hours before staying up all night to debate phraseology and comma placement with your friends online. Or maybe it's all just a scam to get you to read the other games we have launching this fall. One of the two.
As the weather cools down, the Nintendo portable game offerings heat up. FINAL FANTASY(R) V ADVANCE makes its way to Game Boy(R) Advance SP on Nov. 6. As series go, FINAL FANTASY is to video games what James Bond is to movies. FINAL FANTASY loyalists will enjoy an opportunity to debate which installment was best.
Nintendo DS(TM) owners are the big winners. Every week or so, another huge DS title hits, from the Touch Generations title Clubhouse Games(TM) to fan favorites like Elite Beat Agents(TM) and Yoshi's Island(TM) 2. Clearly a gamer's idea of paradise, here is Nintendo's upcoming DS lineup:

Oct. 9: Clubhouse Games(TM)
Oct. 16: Nintendogs(TM) (Dalmatian)
Oct. 23: Magical Starsign(TM)
Oct. 30: Pokemon(R) Ranger
Oct. 30: Children of Mana(R)
Nov. 6: Elite Beat Agents(TM)
Nov. 13: Yoshi's Island(TM) 2
Dec. 4: Custom Robo(TM) Arena
Dec. 4: Kirby(TM) Squeak Squad

And, for Nintendo GameCube(TM) owners, The Legend of Zelda(R): Twilight Princess will be available for you this fall. An enhanced version also will be a launch title for Wii. That will all happen on ... Oh look, we're out of space.

July 24, 2006

QMOTIONS AND CODEMASTERS JOIN FORCES TO BATTLE OBESITY WITH ACTIVE GAME TECHNOLOGIES

RIVERSIDE, CA – JULY 21, 2006 – Qmotions, the company behind the popular and award-winning Qmotions-Golf™ and Qmotions-Baseball™ active game controllers, and Codemasters, the UK-based developer and publisher of world class interactive entertainment, have teamed up to fight obesity – with videogames. Through the partnership, Qmotions will launch the professional edition of their latest active videogame controller, Qmotions-FunFitness™, a device that easily converts exercise bikes into truly interactive videogame machines, bundled with Codemasters’ popular “TOCA Race Driver™ 3” racing simulation game.

Qmotions-FunFitness is a hybrid device that works with existing recumbent exercise bikes to spice up a ho-hum workout through videogames. Compatible with current videogame platforms, the device translates pedal speed into on-screen vehicle action in most racing games, while users control direction with a complementary controller.

“We believe there should be more to gaming than a couch and a controller, and more to fitness than a bike and some headphones,” said Amro Albanna, founder and CEO, Qmotions, Inc. “We want to encourage people – especially those who may not work out consistently – to embrace an active lifestyle. We are confident that the pairing of ‘TOCA Race Driver 3’ with Qmotions-FunFitness will bring together enjoyable fitness and great gaming in a compelling way. ”

Released in February 2006, “TOCA Race Driver 3” will offer users of Qmotions-FunFitness more than 120 championships across 35 different motor sport disciplines, in 21 different cars that range from British GT, V8 Supercars, Formula 3 and the legendary Williams Grand Prix cars from the past three decades to race their way to victory and a healthy lifestyle. “TOCA Race Driver 3” feels more realistic than ever, letting players feel tires screeching along gravel roads, maintain their race car throughout the course with engine tune-ups, and experience real-world engine inertia.

“It’s great to see companies like Qmotions leading the charge in active videogame technologies,” said Peter Chan, business development manager, Codemasters. “‘TOCA Race Driver 3’ and Qmotions-FunFitness is a great pairing – the faster your race, the fitter you become. We’re excited to be partnering with Qmotions in this innovative step for both videogames and fitness.”

Qmotions-FunFitness will be available for purchase for under $100 at most major online and retailers.

About Qmotions, Inc.

Headquartered in Riverside, Calif., Qmotions Inc. specializes in developing state-of-the-art, PC and console-based active game technologies that incorporate “full-motion” participation from players. For more information, visit www.Qmotions.com.

About Codemasters

Codemasters is a leading developer and publisher of best-selling interactive entertainment products for a global audience on current and future gaming platforms and channels. Established in 1986, the company’s dominant brands include Colin McRae Rally, TOCA Race Driver, LMA Manager, Brian Lara Cricket and Operation Flashpoint. The company is headquartered in Southam, Warwickshire UK and maintains operations in the US, Germany, France, Spain, and Benelux. More information about the company and its products is available online at http://www.codemasters.com

CODEMASTERS WEB SITE

Codemasters receives over two million visitors to its web site every month, discover why at: http://www.codemasters.com

Nintendo News: The World Goes Portable with Nintendo DS - 21 Million Sold!

REDMOND, Wash., July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Nintendo delivers on its promise to bring video gaming to the masses. In less than two years since its Nov. 21, 2004 launch, Nintendo has sold more than 21 million Nintendo DS(TM) systems worldwide. By comparison, Apple(R) shipped one million of its ever popular iPod(R) music players in its first 19 months. The rate of Nintendo DS units being sold equates to 23 systems per minute -- that's nearly one every two seconds -- non-stop since launch.
"We're thrilled to be announcing this milestone today," says George Harrison, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications, "especially since Nintendo DS was North America's top-selling video game system of any type in June. We attribute this success to Nintendo's overall strategy of offering something for everyone -- from five-year-olds caring for their Nintendogs to 65-year-olds tuning their mental agility with Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day."
Nintendo recently launched the new version of its popular portable system, DS Lite, featuring a smaller profile and more brilliant display. Beyond appealing attributes such as dual screens, a touch screen, a microphone and seamless Wi-Fi play, DS popularity also is being propelled by a unique mix of software that appeals equally to mainstream players and those new to the category.
The Touch Generations line of fun and accessible games for all ages and skill sets features the red-hot Brain Age(TM): Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day and Big Brain Academy(TM), as well as the enormously popular and innovative Nintendogs(TM). Nintendo DS sales success is also supported by video gaming sensations, New Super Mario Bros.(R) and Animal Crossing(R): Wild World.

To satiate the video gaming palates of the 21 million Nintendo DS owners worldwide, Nintendo continues to increase its software offerings with Star Fox(R) Command, Mario vs. Donkey Kong(TM) 2: March of the Minis, Clubhouse Games(TM) and more games launching in the months ahead. Nintendo DS and DS Lite owners currently enjoy more than 130 Nintendo DS software titles -- and 880 Game Boy(R) Advance software titles in single play mode -- all playable on their portable DS systems.

July 21, 2006

2K Sports Announces Unique New Features for NHL 2K7

NEW YORK, NY - July 18, 2006 - 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today new standard-setting features for NHL 2K7. The top-rated hockey video game for four-straight years*, NHL 2K7 introduces a completely new skating engine to give users the true on-ice movement of an NHL game. Additionally, Pro Control(tm) receives new enhancements to both offensive and defensive controls, giving hockey fans thrilling new ways to attack and defend on the ice. These new features elevate the realism of the sport, delivering the best hockey experience on any system.

"Year after year, we've been delivering new and innovative ways to play the exciting game of hockey," stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. "The new skating engine in NHL 2K7 far surpasses anything we've ever produced and the advancements made in Pro Control(tm) add the excitement and control our fans have been craving."

Hundreds of new skating animations have been captured to bring an unprecedented level of high quality to all the skating movements in NHL 2K7. Hockey players in NHL 2K7 will glide, turn, stop, and adjust their movement on the ice with astounding realism. Not only will skating look much more natural, players will also experience the true momentum of skating whenever players dig into the ice to accelerate or carve the ice to make sudden stops. The new skating engine adds both remarkable visual excitement and an entertaining gameplay challenge to all hockey fans. In addition to the numerous new skating animations, several new checking, passing, and shooting animations have been added, making all the action in NHL 2K7 flow with amazing detail.

New gameplay enhancements have been added to Pro Control(tm), giving users offensive and defensive tools to utilize on the ice. While on offense, players now have the ability to execute drop passes, allowing users to setup new screen plays and create new scoring opportunities to catch the goalie off-guard. Pressure Control(tm) brings a tactical element to defensive hockey as players now can instruct teammates to defend opposing players while on the ice. Varying degrees of pressure can be selected - whether it's telling your teammate to shadow a selected opponent or deliver a big check - allowing players new defensive options on the fly. Pro Control(tm) in NHL 2K7 will deliver the offensive and defensive options hockey fans have been asking for,truly delivering the next generation of hockey.

NHL 2K7 --featuring 2006 Hart Memorial Trophy recipient, Joe Thornton on the cover-- will be available for the Xbox 360(tm) and Xbox(r) video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, the PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system and the PlayStation(r)3 computer entertainment system. More features will be detailed at a later time. NHL 2K7 for Xbox 360, Xbox and PlayStation(r)2 are slated to release in September 2006, with the PlayStation(r)3 coming this holiday season.

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

*According to GameRankings.com average scores of 2003-2006 hockey video games.

About Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.

Headquartered in New York City, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is an integrated global developer, marketer, distributor and publisher of interactive entertainment software games and accessories for the PC,PlayStation(r) game console, PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system, PSP(tm) (PlayStation(r)Portable) system, Xbox(r) and Xbox 360(tm) video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube(tm), Nintendo DS(tm) and Game Boy(r) Advance. The Company publishes and develops products through its wholly owned labels Rockstar
Games, 2K and 2K Sports, and Global Star Software; and distributes products in North America through its Jack of All Games subsidiary. Take-Two also manufactures and markets video game accessories in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region through its Joytech subsidiary. The Company maintains sales and marketing offices inCincinnai, New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Munich, Madrid, Milan,Sydney, Breda (Netherlands), Auckland, Shanghai and Tokyo. Take-Two'scommon stock is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol TTWO. Formore corporate and product information please visit our website atwww.take2games.com.

Colin McRae Kicks Up DIRT As Genre-Leading Series Goes Next-Gen

New York (July 20, 2006) – DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road is revealed today as the title for the next generation of the genre-leading, 8 million+ selling rally racing series. Codemasters also confirms the game will launch for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC simultaneously in 2007.

DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road is set to be the most diverse and exhilarating off-road racing experience ever with sensational gravel, mud and dirt events the world over. Events will include the series’ intense point-to-point races and take players further off-road than ever before.

Race in challenging heavyweight 850bhp cars, drift on the loose gravel and blaze past high-speed blind corners of Hill Climb events along perilous cliff edges. All 12.4 miles of the world famous Pikes Peak International is included, with over 150 precarious turns to negotiate through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

How about engaging in multiple car races with Dakar-style trucks and super-powered 4x4s on the toughest desert terrain in Rally Raid competitions? Then there are Rally Cross events, switching between dirt and road racing, where the competition is always tight, fast and collisions with your opponents are inevitable.

With more off-road racing styles to be revealed, DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road will also offer a dedicated mode for European, International and Global rally championships featuring official 2WD, 4WD, Classic and RWD rally cars.

DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road will deliver the wheel-screaming exhilaration of off-road racing with the next generation of the series’ sublime car handling and physics system and a devastating new damage engine that ensures players experience every bump in the track, every loose rock, every inch of shifting dirt through the reactive environments.

With an incredible range of off-road vehicles, thrill-packed tracks, modes that make the most of online multiplayer, and more varied events than any other single-championship rally game has offered before, Colin McRae is being reborn as a bigger, better, wilder, faster racing experience.

Get ready for total mud splattering, gravel churning, handbrake turning, off-road racing in DIRT: Colin McRae Off-Road, coming 2007 for PlayStation®3, Xbox360 and PC. Sign up for the drive of your life and receive advance race briefings online at www.codemasters.com/dirt.

Majesco Holiday Games Preview

I met with Majesco a few days ago and looked at their holiday games. They're now making casual games for DS. I understand that casual gaming (games with easy instructions that you can just pick up and play for a minute or two) is hot, but I want to see more hardcore games because that's what interests me. And probably anyone reading this for that matter. I just couldn't really figure out what Majesco's overall objective is by coming out with all of these inexpensive casual style games.

Guilty Gear X2 and Judgment - For PSP, this game ships in September 2006. Guilty Gear X2 is a straight port of the Xbox title with 22 characters. You can use the analog stick or the d-pad for control. There's two player ad hoc versus mode. Judgment is a sidescroller like Final Fight with unique moves for each character. There are five core characters. You meet new characters, fight with them, and then unlock their story mode. There are 19 areas for each character. The right shoulder button is a powerful back attack.
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Mech Assault Phantom War - This is a mech fighting game for DS that ships in September 2006 for $29.99. There are campaign and multi-player modes, 4 player ad hoc game play. There are 24 missions on 4 planets. You use your mech to bring generators back online. There are 20+ mechs, battle armor, tanks, and turrets. The game uses a lot of voice to tell you what to do so you'll have to actually listen to your DS for once. You pick up salvage to replenish health and power up weapons. Take over enemy mechs. This looks like a fun game. Multiplayer can be team based or not. THere's a Phanto Melee mode in which heavy dense fog makes you rely on your radar for combat.
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Monster Bomber - This DS title ships in September 2006 for $19.99. This is a casual game for the DS. Aliens invade earth in this bust a move meets missle command meets space invaders game. There is single cartridge four player multiplayer which is pretty cool because 4 friends can play with only a single copy of the game. Basically, you fling balls of color at the matching color enemy and then go for combos of coloration.
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Naco Libre - This DS title ships in October 2006 (when the DVD comes out) and will cost $29.99. When I saw it, it was about 35% complete. The plot follows the movie with cut scenes from the movie. There's also a 4 player ad-hoc mode. They're using a technique they're calling "photo puppetry" to creat characters with a realistic head and face and a cartoony body. The result is realism combined with comedy. This is going to be the first wrestling game on DS and will also come with mini games that use the touch screen.
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Cooking Mama - Here's another casual game for DS, this time where you cook. There are 75 recipes and dozens of ingredients. This ships for DS in September 2006 for $19.99. It makes extensive use of the touch screen. Touch the knife to chop, push the rolling pin. You need to be fast and accurate to win. It's a cute game. There's a practice mode also.
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July 19, 2006

KONAMI AND BUENA VISTA GAMES TO COLLABORATE ON FUTURE VIDEO GAME PROJECTS

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – July 19, 2006 – Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., today announced with Buena Vista Games (BVG), that BVG will contribute a portfolio of Disney intellectual properties in a creative collaboration for a series of video games published by Konami. The first title to be released under this agreement is Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix, a Plug’N’Play product that combines the high-energy dance gameplay of Konami’s hit Dance Dance Revolution® (DDR) video game franchise with beloved Disney characters and music.

Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix lets players experience the exciting action of DDR with all the fun of Disney. The game features Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, and dance remixes of popular themes such as “It’s a Small World,” “Zip-A Dee-Doo-Dah,” and “Mickey Mouse March.” As a Plug’N’Play product, Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix connects directly to a television set without the use of a game console, delivering an intuitive experience full of competition and choreography with a custom Disney dance pad. The game features multiple difficulty settings that make it easy for players of all ages to enjoy. The game’s lively pacing and energetic music make it a great source of exercise for the whole family.

“This is a powerful synergy that leverages Konami’s highly popular Dance Dance Revolution franchise and Disney’s phenomenal entertainment properties that are beloved around the world,” said Catherine Fowler, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. “With its dynamic gameplay that invites the whole family to get involved and a recognizable cast of Disney characters, Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix is the ideal product to kick off a series of collaborative games that everyone will enjoy.”

“By working with other strong creative leaders in the industry, we are producing innovative games in a variety of different genres that appeal to a broad audience,” said Graham Hopper, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Buena Vista Games. “DDR is a fantastic franchise that has the ability to engage players on a variety of levels and is a perfect fit for Disney. We look forward to working with Konami to create great video game experiences.”

Dance Dance Revolution is the only video game in which players move their body to upbeat tunes while allowing them to exhibit their own innovative flair and original dance moves. DDR combines quick reflex action with pulsating dance music for intense “get-up-and-play” fun. Players are challenged to match their dance steps with the flashing arrows on the screen while keeping up with the high-energy beat of the music. Since its home video game console debut in 2001, the DDR franchise has sold more than four million units in North America.

Konami is partnering with Majesco Entertainment, a leader in Plug’N’Play products, to develop Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix. Majesco also makes the popular Frogger and Konami Arcade Advanced Plug’N’Play products.

Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix is scheduled to launch this fall. For more information on the DDR franchise, please visit www.konami.com/gs

About Konami
Konami is a leading developer, publisher and manufacturer of electronic entertainment properties. Konami’s titles include the popular franchises Metal Gear Solid®, Silent Hill® and Castlevania®, among other top sellers. The latest information about Konami can be found on the Web at www.konami.com. Konami Corporation is a publicly traded company based in Tokyo, Japan with subsidiary offices, Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. in the United States and Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany. Konami Corporation, the parent company of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. is traded in the United States on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol KNM. Details of the products published by Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. can be found at www.konami.com/gs.

About Buena Vista Games
Buena Vista Games, Inc. (BVG) is the interactive entertainment arm of The Walt Disney Company. BVG publishes, markets and distributes a broad portfolio of multi-platform video games and interactive entertainment worldwide. The company also licenses properties and works directly with third-party interactive game publishers to bring products for all ages to market. For more information, please log on to http://www.bvg.com

ATARI SHIPS MOST INTENSE DRAGON BALL Z® FIGHTING GAME TO DATE

NEW YORK, NY, July 18, 2006 – Atari, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATAR) today announced that Super Dragon Ball Z® for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system has shipped to retail stores nationwide. Developed by former Street Fighter II producer Noritaka Funamizu’s new studio, Crafts & Meister, Super DBZ® delivers an authentic, more challenging fighting experience, complete with more intensity and unique combinations than have ever been available before in a DBZ fighting game.

Super DBZ gives players an extreme 3D fighting experience in the air or on the ground with characters taken straight from the world of DBZ and levels created in the art style of Akira Toriyama, the original creator of the Dragon Ball manga. Each of the 13 characters and 5 unlockable secret characters in the game, including DBZ superheroes Goku®, Gohan® and Vegeta®, have their own catalog of exclusive attacks and fighting styles that are faithful to the series.

“DBZ devotees and fighting game fans are sure to be excited by our next installment in the DBZ franchise. By working with one of the top fighting game producers in the world, we have developed a deeper and richer fighting experience than ever before,” said Emily Anadu, Product Manager, Atari, Inc. “The combination of the unique character fighting styles and environments created in the original styles of the Dragon Ball manga in Super DBZ will thrill hard core fighting gamers and DBZ fanatics alike.”

Super DBZ has already captured critical acclaim, earning a “GameDaily Nod” at this year’s E3 and a runner-up award for IGN.com’s E3 2006 “Best PS2 Fighting Game.”

Dragon Ball Z video games are the leading anime-based video games, with more than 10 million units sold since May 2002. For additional information on Super DBZ and other Dragon Ball Z video games please visit http://www.atari.com/dragonballz.

About FUNimation Entertainment

FUNimation® Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navarre Corporation (NASDAQ: NAVR), is the leading company for home video sales of Japanese animation in the United States. FUNimation is known for acquiring top-rated anime series from Japan and for developing some of North America’s most popular anime series. The company has a proven formula for launching and advancing brands, and manages a full spectrum of rights for most of its brands including broadcasting, licensing, production, internet, and home video sales and distribution. For images, or more information on FUNimation or any of its properties, contact Jeff Dronen at 817-788-0627, ext. 251 or jeff.dronen@funimation.com.

About Atari

New York-based Atari, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATAR) develops interactive games for all platforms and is one of the largest third-party publishers of interactive entertainment software in the U.S. The Company’s 1,000+ titles include hard-core, genre-defining franchises such as The Matrix™ (Enter The Matrix and The Matrix: Path of Neo) and Test Drive®; and mass-market and children’s franchises such as Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues™ and Dora the Explorer™, and Dragon Ball Z®. Atari, Inc. is a majority-owned subsidiary of France-based Infogrames Entertainment SA (Euronext – ISIN: FR-0000052573), the largest interactive games publisher in Europe. For more information, visit www.atari.com.

Cartoon Network to Develop Massively Multiplayer Online Game with Grigon Entertainment

Cartoon Network announced today that it is developing its first massively multi-player online game (MMOG) in an unprecedented partnership with a leading MMOG developer, Seoul-based Grigon Entertainment. Cartoon Network New Media, already a leader in online entertainment and gaming, will debut the game in the United States. This is the first-ever partnership between a U.S. entertainment company and a Korean developer to create an MMOG for the global marketplace.

The Cartoon Network MMOG will launch in spring 2008 and target the growing and sophisticated kids' interactive gaming market. The game will be free to download, with subscription and micro-transactions available to players to enhance the gaming experience. New areas for exploration and play are planned and will be added regularly over a span of several years. The game brings Cartoon Network's beloved characters and sensibility to the fast-growing online gaming realm with an "East-meets-West" creative approach. Grigon Entertainment is best known for successfully developing and launching several online games in Asia, including Seal Online, a light-hearted role-playing game (RPG) that took the online gaming world by surprise. Localized versions are available in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, Indonesia and Thailand.

"Cartoon Network is an immersive experience for our fans, and this MMOG will allow our fans to interact with their favorite characters like never before. Not only will kids be able to play with their favorite characters like Mac and Bloo, Ben 10 and the Kids Next Door, but they will also be able to develop their own online gaming personalities and interact, virtually, with other players in a safe way," said Jim Samples, Cartoon Network executive vice president and general manager. "This MMOG is a key part of Cartoon Network's growth strategy, and is an important complement to our mobile, broadband and our existing online business. With the MMOG, mobile content, our Web sites and, of course, our linear network, Cartoon Network is always on for kids."

"Online games have been the most important driver of Cartoon Network New Media's success over the last few years. With more than 84 million U.S. homes expected to have broadband Internet access by 2008, and Cartoon Network's reach and creative vision, we're excited to enter the fast-growing world of massively multiplayer online gaming," said Paul Condolora, senior vice president and general manager, Cartoon Network New Media. "In Grigon Entertainment, we have found a partner who understands how to build a successful MMOG for the casual marketplace. With our characters and creative direction, along with Grigon's experience and technical know-how, we think Cartoon Network's MMOG will have great success and longevity."

"It's my greatest pleasure to work as partners with Cartoon Network, the world's most influential entertainment brand," said Byung-Kyu Cho, chief executive officer of Grigon Entertainment Co., Ltd. "When I look at the globally adored characters of Cartoon Network getting together harmonically with the renowned strength and uniqueness of Grigon, I have all my confidence that we will proudly present an online game which will astonish the world."

Massively multiplayer online gaming has expanded in the United States in recent years, with games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest achieving large and loyal followings. Most MMOGs have been driven by high-intensity fighting and action with fantasy elements and have attracted an older, adult audience. To date, few games have targeted younger audiences. In Asia and Europe, where broadband penetration is ahead of that in the United States, MMOGs have been developed for all audiences, from kids to teens and adults.

Cartoon Network's games will feature a persistent and expanding world, which will allow players to develop their own characters, attributes and possessions over the course of many months and even years. Players may also meet and interact with other players online, forming virtual friendships and communities. Cartoon Network's MMOG will be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) and will offer a safe gaming environment for players.

About Grigon Entertainment

Grigon Entertainment, one of the most prominent developers in Korea, the world's online game leader, is renowned for its depth of tradition and talent, and strongly believes and practices the ultimate goal of 'Games have to be fun!' Along with the successful launch of Seal Online, which caused sensations in six countries including China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Korea, Grigon Entertainment has developed numerous titles for over eight years varying in all areas of genre (horror, racing, adventure, action, RPG) up to the charming fairytale-based QRing and casual tennis game, Gamebledon. Grigon Entertainment's titles are highly rated and respected for their technical and design ingenuity, brilliantly incorporating the developers' wit into the game, hence leading to the creation of "Grigon manias."

About Cartoon Network New Media

Cartoon Network New Media is responsible for the production of Cartoon Network's popular Web sites, which include CartoonNetwork.com, AdultSwim.com (supporting the late-night sister network of programming for adults), TickleU.com (supporting programming for our youngest viewers), and CartoonNetworkYa.com (the Spanish-language site for kids). CartoonNetwork.com is one of the most popular entertainment sites in the world for kids, attracting millions of unique users each week. Its top attraction is its roster of games, which drew more than 2 billion game plays in 2005. Other key features include in-depth show information, schedules, shopping and an online community.

In addition, Cartoon Network New Media is the creative force behind Cartoon Network's video-on-demand offerings, interactive TV and mobile offerings, which include partnerships with major carriers like Sprint, Cingular and Verizon.

About Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com), currently seen in more than 89 million U.S. homes and 160 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.'s ad-supported cable service offering the best in original, acquired and classic animated entertainment for kids and families. Overnight from 11 p.m.-6 a.m. (ET, PT) Sunday-Thursday, Cartoon Network shares its channel space with Adult Swim, a late-night destination showcasing original and acquired animation for young adults 18-34.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry.

July 14, 2006

DEMO RELEASED FOR THE CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH II FOR THE XBOX 360

The first Real-time Strategy game to hit the Xbox 360 has a demo LIVE on Marketplace today! The award-winning The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™ II for the Xbox 360™ made its exclusive console debut when it hits store shelves July 7, 2006. This innovative game takes you into the heart of Middle-earth to live the battles seen in the blockbuster New Line Cinema films and detailed in the classic J.R.R. Tolkien literary fiction. Command the epic battles of Middle-earth presented in spectacular high-definition from the comfort of your living room couch. Challenge friends online and engage in intense, action-packed real-time battles over Xbox LIVE™ – a first in The Lord of the Rings™ videogame series. Directly control hundreds of units in an attempt to defeat enemy armies, conquer new lands, and seal the fate of Middle-earth.


In this robust demo, experience a slice of the campaign that takes you deep into the War in the North in order to tip the balance in the War of the Ring in this robust demo. Familiarize yourself with the tutorial and then travel to Lorien where you’ll either attempt to defeat the Elven stronghold in the midst of a Goblin siege. Access Xbox LIVE to battle your friends in intense 1-on-1 multiplayer battles that pit you against the Goblins or Elves in Buckland. Will your armies have the fortitude to persevere?


Now is your chance to take total control of all Middle-earth and decide its fate like never before!

The demo includes:

* Introductory tutorial level - learn how to play RTS on Xbox 360
* Evil Lorien - 1st mission from the single player Evil Campaign
* Buckland 1v1 Xbox LIVE Multiplayer Map
o Battle friends in 1-on-1 multiplayer battles on Xbox Live
o Play as either the Goblin or Elven faction

To Download The Demo:

1. Sign in to Xbox LIVE from the Xbox Dashboard.
2. Download your free demo from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

For more info about connecting to Xbox LIVE, visit www.xbox.com.

Developed at EA’s Los Angeles studio, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 offers a new depth of The Lord of the Rings fiction never before explored in an EA console game. The game makers 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 the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $59.99. The official videogame website can be found at http://www.ea.com/official/lordoftherings/bfme2_360/us/home.jsp.

July 13, 2006

EA UNVEILS DEVELOPMENT ON SIX TITLES FOR NINTENDO’S Wii – MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., – July 13, 2006 – Get ready to run, jump, drive, race and win with the flick of a wrist! Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today revealed six new games that are in development for the upcoming Wii™ from Nintendo. EA’s dedicated Wii development team is crafting six custom-designed titles including new releases from the Madden NFL, Need for Speed™, Harry Potter™, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR ®, SSX™ and The Godfather™ franchises. Each title will remain true to the hallmarks of its franchise but is being designed to maximize the power of the Wii hardware and take full advantage of the uniqueness and innovation of its one-of-a-kind controller. The Wii version of Madden NFL will be demonstrated for a group of elite critics and industry media later today at EA’s Studio Showcase 2006. Additional titles currently under development will be announced in the coming months.

“Once we started to experiment with Madden on Wii, there was an explosion of innovation. Everyone in the studio is energized by the creative opportunity afforded by both the hardware and controller. By reaching into our catalogue, we are able to bring a fresh and distinctive experience to some of EA’s most popular franchises. Creatively, the game play possibilities are staggering and endless,” said John Schappert, Senior Vice President and General Manager, EA.

“Nintendo is excited to see the broad array of signature franchises that EA’s talented development teams are designing for Wii,” says Reggie Fils-Aime, president and COO, Nintendo of America Inc. “The combination of sensational games with Wii’s unique play control will thrill players and breathe new life into video games.”

For more information about the franchises, please visit www.ea.com.

July 12, 2006

Midway Games Holiday Preview

I met with Midway today and saw their holiday 2006 lineup.

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar - This is a Turbine developed MMO for the PC that will ship "when it's ready." Beta testing begins around the end of August. They believe that they've created a state of the art MMO set in Tolkein's world. It's a large world where players have to act in groups and changes are persistent. Explore the world and fight monsters to unlock accomplishments and special skills. You can customize your character by developing different skills. It's easy to play, the quest list is showing on the right side of the screen all the time with specific steps that you have to take. There are classes and professions. Bree town is a major gathering place that Turbine forsees as a bustling city full of player and nonplayer characters where you can train and participate in secure auctions. There are huge open areas like the Misty Mountains. Even though I was looking at an alpha build I thought it looked good. You can drag and drop to equip items. Quests encourage you to participate in group activities so there are some social aspects to it.
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Mortal Kombat Armageddon In the seventh of the series for PS2 and Xbox, Midway brings back over 60 characters from the earlier versions. A huge feature is Kreate-A-Fighter where character creation is totally tweakable down to (or up to) breast size. If you add it all up there are millions of combos of different features that you can customize. You can also customize fighting style and button combos and write a bio for your character. Then you can take it all online and battle against other people's characters. There's also Kreate-A-Fatality where you enter a series of 3 button presses and can make your fatility as complex as you want. We're talking about ripping out skulls, spines, beating hearts. There's also a hidden mode that they're releasing information about in August. Konquest mode is bigger and better with better graphics and more realistic melee fighting. It's a single player story driven mode with boss battles that are the classic MK style. There are 20 plus backgrounds, some classics revisited now in 3D. This ships in October 2006 for PS2 and Xbox.
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Mortal Kombat Unchained - This ships in October 2006 also and is for PSP. It's got ad hoc WiFi multiplayer combat. There are 30 characters. Honestly, this looked fine but after seeing the Xbox version the PSP didn't look so great.
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John Woo Presents Stranglehold - This is a game to keep an eye out for because it was tons of fun. It's like stepping into a sequel of Hardboiled. You play as Inspector Tequilla (Chow Yun Fat) in this gory organized crime fighting story set in Hong Kong and Chicago. Everything is destructible (except the beer taps for some strange reason) and it's pretty fun just to walk around shooting stuff. You can use the furniture to your advantage, sliding on it or hiding behind it during gun fights. All the cinematics are real time in-game footage which translates to everything looks great. There's Tequilla Time which slows down time and gives you an advantage. You earn style points while you kill things. You can use these style points to upgrade your character or for special attacks that destroy everything in the room. This game looks really good and it is gratifying to destroy things in it. The controls are really simple. It's easy to get going and start blowing the crap out of stuff. There are online multiplayer modes and vehicle combat. This will ship in winter 2006 and will be for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
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July 11, 2006

Glu Mobile Lands a Hit with Super K.O. Boxing!

SAN MATEO, Calif. – July 11, 2006 – Glu Mobile, a leading developer and global publisher of mobile entertainment, today announced the launch of Super K.O. Boxing!, the first classic arcade-style boxing game developed for mobile. Super K.O. Boxing! allows players to punch their way through three circuits against a cast of hilarious and completely original contenders like Major Pain, Ivan Roiden, 15 Cent and Sake Bomb.

The game scored a 9.1 and Editor’s Choice from IGN.com’s Levi Buchanan who said, “Glu has always been an accomplished mobile maker, but Super K.O. Boxing is a line in the sand, daring other publishers to cross.”

WGWorld.com gave Super K.O. a 5/5 and Editor’s Choice and said, “The characters are large and filled with even larger personalities, the controls are perfect and it’s a game you can play continuously. Give Glu a championship belt for this one.”

The exaggerated animations, cartoon-style graphics and larger-than-life characters of Super K.O. Boxing! bring the traditional arcade experience to mobile and make it the biggest game on the small screen.

“With Super K.O. Boxing!, we set out to create a game that transcends mobile and would appeal to casual and core gamers alike,” said Jill Braff, general manager of the Americas, Glu Mobile. “The outrageous characters and immersive, addictive gameplay of Super K.O. Boxing! make it a truly defining game for the mobile platform.”

Features include:

* Circuit Mode: Three circuits – National Bash, World Wide Rumble and Super K.O. Supremacy – challenge players to fight contenders to become champion of each circuit in order to unlock additional modes of play
* Unlockable modes include:
o Versus Mode, which allows players to face off against any boxer previously defeated in Circuit Mode
o Challenge Mode, which allows players to enter matches under special conditions including the inability to block, dodge or use their super punch
o Endurance Mode, in which players take on as many boxers as they can without ever getting knocked down – first time they fall, they’re out
* A cast of 15 colorful and outrageous contenders including Ivan Roiden, Major Pain, Sake Bomb and Tiki Tam – each with their own unique patterns of attack
* Successfully land punches to fill up the Super K.O. meter in order to unleash a devastating “Super Punch”
* Taunt your opponents to change their style of boxing

Super K.O. Boxing is now available to customers on major wireless carriers throughout North and South America and will be available on wireless carriers worldwide later this year. For more information on Super K.O. Boxing! visit www.glu.com/sko.

About Glu Mobile

Glu Mobile is a leading developer and global publisher of mobile entertainment. Glu's portfolio of games, ringtones, wallpapers and information applications include both original titles and entertainment based on major brands from Atari, Cartoon Network, Celador International, FOX Sports Interactive, Harrah’s, Hasbro, Microsoft, PlayFirst, PopCap Games, Sega and Twentieth Century Fox. Based in San Mateo, California with offices in Hong Kong, London and Manchester, Glu is funded by top venture firms NEA, BA Venture Partners, Granite Global Ventures, Sienna Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners, and by Time Warner Investments. Recently Glu acquired the UK-based mobile entertainment company iFone, adding SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, MONOPOLY, and ATARI Classics to its portfolio. Consumers can find fresh entertainment created exclusively for their mobile phones wherever they see the 'g' character logo or at www.glu.com.

NAMCO NETWORKS AND G-MODE PARTNER TO BRING G-MODE GAMES TO THE NORTH AMERICAN MOBILE MARKET

SAN JOSE, Calif. (July 11, 2006) – Namco Networks, a leading publisher and developer of wireless games and network content, today announced a strategic partnership with G-Mode, one of Japan’s largest mobile content providers.

Recognizing Namco’s dedication to quality and strength in the U.S. mobile games industry, G-Mode selected Namco to publish G-Mode’s acclaimed mobile content, which includes a vast line-up of puzzle, action and RPG games.

“With Namco Networks being a major mobile content provider in North America, offering such games as PAC-MAN® and Dig Dug®, this pairing should prove to be impressive in terms of technology, development and market expansion,” said Takeshi Miyaji, President and CEO of G-Mode.

As leaders in the mobile game industry, the combined strength of these companies further meets the growing demand for casual games in the North American cell phone market.

“Partnering with G-Mode expands our already large catalog of entertaining games, meeting the ever-increasing consumer demand for casual content,” said Kenji Hisatsune, President and CEO of Namco Networks. “G-Mode’s games have been hugely successful in Japan, and we believe this popularity will continue in North America.”

About Namco Networks

Established January 1, 2006, Namco Networks America Inc. is a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings (USA) Inc., a worldwide leader in the high-tech entertainment industry. Namco uses cutting-edge technology to provide fun, quality entertainment to mobile consumers throughout the Americas. For more information about Namco mobile games, please visit: www.namcogames.com.

PAC-MAN® ©1980, 2006 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc., All Rights Reserved.

Dig Dug® ©1982, 2006 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc., All Rights Reserved.

“Rise of the Ultimate Champion” Tournament to Decide Top Gaming General

“Rise of Legends” players finally have their moment to shine and prove their rank. Beginning Sept. 15, 2006, gamers can square off against the world’s best real-time strategy (RTS) players in the “Rise of the Ultimate Champion” tournament, sponsored by Intel, ATI and Logitech. With $100,000 on the line, when the dust settles, the Ultimate Champion will take the lion’s share of $40,000. Equipment from supporting sponsors ATI and Logitech will also be randomly awarded throughout the tournament.

All gamers will compete on the latest installment of the award-winning RTS “Rise of Nations” franchise for Windows, the critically acclaimed “Rise of Legends.”

Participants can play in one of three preliminary events that will take place beginning Sept. 15, Oct 13, and Nov. 17, 2006. Results from the first three events will be used to determine seeding for the Ultimate Championship, which kicks off Jan. 12, 2007. The top eight will win a trip to the finals where they will battle it out for the title of Ultimate Champion! For a complete set of rules and more information on “Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends,” please visit http://www.bighugegames.com/100k/.

The RTS gameplay of “Rise of Legends” thrusts gamers into a fierce battle between technology and magic. As the guiding force of vast armies, gamers must command their way through fantastic landscapes with towering cities, flame-swept deserts and brutal ice plains in battles filled with mystic creatures, impossible machines and stunning acts of magic.

“Rise of Legends” is available in stores across North America at the suggested retail price of $49.99 (U.S.). “Rise of Legends” is rated “T” for Teen by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).

Developed by Big Huge Games, “Rise of Legends” continues the innovative gameplay tradition established by the critically acclaimed and best-selling, “Rise of Nations,” the best-selling RTS released in 2003 that garnered numerous Game of the Year awards, including GameSpot’s Best PC Game of 2003 and PC Gamer’s Best RTS of 2003.

About Big Huge Games

Big Huge Games was founded in February 2000 by four veteran game developers: Tim Train, David Inscore, Jason Coleman and Brian Reynolds. These founding partners, who together have brought strategy gamers such classic hits as “Civilization II®,” “Colonization®” and “Alpha Centauri®,” share a common vision that they believe will enable them to surpass even these outstanding achievements.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® and Xbox 360™ video game systems, the Windows® operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as “Age of Empires®,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo Tycoon®;” Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as the upcoming “Gears of War” and franchises such as “Halo®,” “Fable®,” “Project Gotham Racing®” and “Forza Motorsport™”; and MSN® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic®.”

Namco Bandai Games Announces Gunpey for Nintendo DS and PSP (PlayStation Portable) System Portable Platforms

SANTA CLARA, Calif., (July 10, 2006) – Leading video games publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. announced today that Gunpey for the PSP(R) (PlayStation(R)Portable) system and Nintendo DS(TM) is heading to retail holiday 2006. From the mind of game industry legend Gunpei Yokoi and Q Entertainment, comes Gunpey, an exciting, innovative and challenging puzzle game with dynamic music that changes as you play. Gunpey will test your reflexes, stretch your mind and dazzle your senses.

“Addictive and easy-to-learn, Gunpey was originally conceived by Game Boy(R) creator and legendary game developer Gunpei Yokoi. It has now been re-imagined by the creative minds at Q Entertainment in a perfect dream collaboration that should excite any hardcore gamer,” said Naruo Uchida, NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.’s Product Group Director. “This title embraces the signature touches of a product conceived by Yokoi. It is accessible, original, and intuitive, yet a challenge to master. Additionally, it combines the ground breaking music integration that has become Q Entertainment’s signature.”

With Q Entertainment’s tradition for visual style and original music, Gunpey offers a one-of-a-kind puzzle experience. As lines of various angles climb up the screen, the player’s objective is to flip the lines, located in squares, to connect them over five columns. Connecting lines from left to right remove the connected row. If an incomplete line reaches the top of the screen, the game is over. With 40 varied backgrounds and stylized music, and two-player multiplayer over wireless ad-hoc connectivity, this puzzle title is the game to pick up for the holidays.

July 8, 2006

EA SHIPS THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH II FOR THE XBOX 360

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., July 5, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced that the award-winning The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™ II for the Xbox 360™ shipped to stores nationwide today and will hit store shelves July 7, 2006. This marks the debut of a strategy game available for the Xbox 360 system, boasting a new and innovative console-specific control scheme that allows novice players to enjoy the game’s signature strategy gameplay while giving expert strategy players the flexibility needed to engage in deeply complex battles.

“We are thrilled to bring the first Real-time Strategy game to the Xbox 360 and offer you the opportunity to command massive armies from The Lord of the Rings universe for the first time on console,” said Louis Castle, VP of Creative Development at EALA. “The Xbox LIVE gameplay is also truly enjoyable which features exclusive multiplayer modes. We can’t wait to see you online!”

Based on the PC version of the same name, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 system takes players into the heart of Middle-earth to live the battles seen in the blockbuster New Line Cinema films and detailed in the classic J.R.R. Tolkien literary fiction. Players now can command the epic battles of Middle-earth presented in spectacular high-definition from the comfort of their living room couch. To add to the intensity of the experience, players can challenge friends online and engage in intense, action-packed real-time battles over Xbox LIVE™* – a first in The Lord of the Rings™ videogame series. Directly controlling hundreds of units, players can attempt to defeat enemy armies, conquer new lands, and seal the fate of Middle-earth.

Developed at EA’s Los Angeles studio, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 offers a new depth of The Lord of the Rings fiction never before explored in an EA console game. The game makers 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 the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $59.99. The official videogame website can be found at http://www.ea.com/official/lordoftherings/bfme2_360/us/home.jsp.

*Online play requires Internet Connection. Xbox Live online play also requires subscription to the Xbox Live service.

Mercenaries 2 first newsletter now available

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is not coming out until 2007, but Pandemic Studios is allowing Mercenaries 2 Community Members be a part the development fun through its first ever monthly newsletter. The first one is coming out later today and contains lots of great exclusives, such as the winner of the recent tattoo contest where Pandemic will draw the winning entry onto the final version of Mattias in the actual game!

Other hot items include:

* The second videoblog - Get a behind the scenes look at the people making the game and see the swank LA offices of Pandemic Studios
* New vehicles unveiled in the Designer’s Diary
* Hot topics in the discussion forums – including the infamous and never ending ‘pillow fight ~~ (of doom)’

These exclusives and behind-the-scenes information is only available to Mercenaries 2 community members. Members gain special insight into the creation of one of the most anticipated PS3 titles where players are will have the utmost freedom to play in an explosive open world environment, with an endless array of new toys. To join this free community, fans are encouraged to join at http://www.mercs2.com/register.php.

July 3, 2006

Ea TAPs Elliot Sadler as cover athlete for Nascar 07

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., June 30, 2006 – With more NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers at the highest level of the sport gaming than ever before, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that its EA SPORTS™ branded NASCAR® videogame, NASCAR® 07, will feature NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Elliott Sadler on the cover. The longtime gamer has been heavily involved in all aspects of EA’s NASCAR franchise since he joined the Cup ranks in 1999, including taking home the championship trophy from last years’ EA SPORTS Drivers Gaming Competition in Bristol, TN, making him the perfect driver to showcase on the cover.

“I’m thrilled that EA has chosen me as their cover athlete for the game this year,” said Sadler, driver of the No. 38 M&M’s Ford Fusion for Robert Yates Racing. “I’ve been a big fan of this game for a while now and play it as often as I can whether I’m on the road or at home.”

“The changes for the game this year are really going to impress folks,” Sadler added. “They’ve brought the excitement and speed aspects of our sport to the forefront and put the control in the hands of the player. It’ll feel like you are right there in the car with me, feeling that adrenaline rush I get every time I’m out there on the track.”

Todd Sitrin, vice president of marketing, EA Tiburon, stated, “Over the years we have watched Elliott deal with some of the most exhilarating racing situations in the sport and come out on top. He represents what NASCAR 07 is all about, dealing with difficult situations and not letting it get to you, but instead focusing on the next opportunity and doing what you can to win.”

About Elliott Sadler

Elliott Sadler comes from a long line of racing history on the short tracks of Virginia, his home state. He spent two years in the NASCAR Busch Series before joining the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series ranks in 1998 with Wood Brothers Racing. After four seasons, Sadler and Wood Brothers parted ways and he secured a spot behind the wheel of the No. 38 M&M’s Ford at Robert Yates Racing.

2006 marks Sadler’s eighth season of competition on NASCAR’s premier circuit, where he has amassed three wins, a Gatorade Duel victory and six pole positions. Sadler has the distinction of being one of only four drivers to stay in the top-10 in points throughout the entire inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup in 2004.

About NASCAR 07

Get an inside look at the incredibly fast and dangerous world of NASCAR racing with NASCAR 07. The control is now in the hands of the player as they attempt to navigate through intense moments with drivers racing inches apart at 200 mph. Push your car to the limit and leave drivers in the dust as all-new effects from screen blurring to camera shaking highlight every detail of the action. Modify your car’s handling to your exact specification with a user-friendly sliding scale that makes for ultimate control behind the wheel. Get a NASCAR 101 racing education in a one-on-one tutorial from Kenny Wallace, then select your favorite driver and invest skill points to help him reach the pinnacle of the sport: The NEXTEL Cup Series championship.

NASCAR 07 will be on store shelves September 6th and is rated “E” for (Everyone) by the ESRB. The game will be available on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and NASCAR® will also be available on the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS™, EA™, EA SPORTS BIG™ and POGO™. In fiscal 2006, EA posted revenue of $2.95 billion and had 27 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com.

About NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR), which began in 1948, is the sanctioning body for one of America’s premier sports. NASCAR is the No. 1 spectator sport – holding 17 of the top 20 attended sporting events in the U.S., the No. 2-rated regular season sport on television with broadcasts in more than 150 countries, and has 75 million fans that purchase more than $2.1 billion in annual licensed product sales. These fans are the most brand loyal in all of sports and as a result, more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport. NASCAR consists of three major national series (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) as well as eight regional tours and one local grassroots series. NASCAR sanctions 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 35 states, Canada and Mexico. Based in Daytona Beach, NASCAR has offices in Bentonville (Ark.), Charlotte, Concord (N.C.), Conover (N.C.), Los Angeles, New York, Mexico City and Toronto.

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