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July 29, 2008

GameFly Announces Fully Integrated Campaign on Xbox LIVE®

LOS ANGELES - July 29, 2008 - GameFly, the leading online video game rental service, today announced a fully integrated campaign with Microsoft to execute a multi-tiered program on the Xbox LIVE® online entertainment network. This relationship will provide another avenue for users to learn about the benefits of GameFly. The program includes a special subscription offer exclusive for Xbox LIVE members -- $5.95 for the first month of GameFly -- plus 400 Microsoft Points, which can be used to purchase downloadable content on Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. The campaign will run now through September 13, 2008.

The GameFly presence on Xbox LIVE includes a GameFly Branded Destination Experience (BDE) which lets users learn more about GameFly, watch the newest commercial and download GameFly Themes and Gamer Pics. Additionally, Xbox LIVE members can enter the "Register and Win" Sweepstakes, with a grand prize package featuring tickets to meet and see multi-platinum recording artist Metallica perform.

"Working with Microsoft and establishing a presence on Xbox LIVE is a natural fit for GameFly," said Sean Spector, GameFly's co-founder and senior vice president, business development and content. "With millions of Xbox LIVE members in the U.S., this is a great way to share the benefits of GameFly with the largest gaming community in the console market."

"We're delighted to work with GameFly and provide the passionate community on Xbox LIVE access to exclusive offers and exciting new experiences," said Mark Kroese, General Manager for the Advertising Business Group under Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices division. "Programs such as GameFly are a great example of how brands can create engaging and valuable offerings for members on Xbox LIVE."

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July 28, 2008

EA KICKS-OFF MADDEN NFL 09 LaUNCH WITH MADDENPaLOOZA CELEBRATION

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., July 24, 2008 – Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that Madden NFL 09 will celebrate its launch with Maddenpalooza, a music, sports and gaming fan festival hosted at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on August 11. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the award-winning Madden NFL franchise and the release of Madden NFL 09, Maddenpalooza will run from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. the day before the official August 12 launch date. The event will feature live musical performances by bands from past and current Madden NFL soundtracks, including Good Charlotte who will headline the music stage. In addition to the music performances, Maddenpalooza attendees can enjoy a number of fan-friendly festivities including autograph signing stations with retired NFL legends, interactive NFL activities, 300 Xbox 360® gaming kiosks to play Madden NFL 09, and a Wal-mart pop-up store where customers can be among the first to purchase their copy of Madden NFL 09.

”Maddenpalooza will truly be a celebration of the 20th anniversary of one of the most popular video games in history,” said Director of Marketing Chris Erb. “The fan festival will provide an interactive experience for Madden fans to come together and experience Madden NFL 09 before its launch.”

Each summer, the launch of Madden NFL has emerged as a highly anticipated event that wins the attention of both consumers and media across the country. Past Madden NFL launches have centered around the concept of Maddenoliday, where thousands of Madden NFL fans flocked to stores and took the day off from work and school to immerse themselves in that year’s copy of Madden NFL. This year, with Maddenpalooza, EA SPORTS™ will take it to the next level for the 20th anniversary of Madden NFL. Hosted at the Rose Bowl, the stadium where John Madden and the 1976 Oakland Raiders won their first Super Bowl, Maddenpalooza brings together the impressive mix of elements from sports, entertainment and video games that have made the Madden NFL franchise an American pop culture icon.

In addition to Good Charlotte, whose song “The Anthem” first appeared on the Madden NFL 03 soundtrack, other music acts scheduled to perform include Busta Rhymes, Rev Theory, Airbourne, From First to Last and Young Dre The Truth. Each of these bands will perform throughout the day – leading up to the first sales of Madden NFL 09 which will begin at 9 p.m. PST at the Wal-mart pop-up store located within the Rose Bowl stadium.

Admission to Maddenpalooza is free, tickets will be distributed through the Los Angeles based radio station KIIS, as well as various other local radio stations and promotional partners. There will also be a limited amount of tickets available at the Rose Bowl on August 11 through a first-come-first-serve basis.

Madden NFL 09, the First Sports Game That Adapts To You, introduces over 85 new features and enhancements. Whether you are a seasoned veteran, or a franchise rookie, Madden NFL 09 will continuously asses your skills and adjust the gameplay to keep the experience both fun and challenging, all while training gamers to become better Madden players. Madden NFL 09 also includes a brand-new broadcast presentation package featuring Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond, online leagues, and the most realistic graphics in franchise history.

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April 23, 2008

Midway Gamers Day 2008

I recently went out to Las Vegas for Midway's Gamers Day at the Red Rock Resort. They showed a few games: NBA Ballers: Chosen One, Wheelman, TNA Impact, Unreal Tournament 3 Xbox 360, and This is Vegas were playable. They also announced a Mortal Kombat and DC Comics game, which looked like a MK fighter with Scorpion, Sub Zero, Superman, and Batman confirmed as characters. There was a lot of excitement in the crowd about that one. We wondered how the whole fatality thing would play out with the super heroes, for example, would DC want Superman to rip out his opponent's skull and show it to him? They also announced sequels for Game Party and Touch Master as well as Blitz: The League.

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There was a lot of talk, especially from Midway execs like Mark Booty, Interim President and CEO, about how Midway is reaping the benefits of centralization and standardization. The different studios share assets like game engines and design tools as well as knowledge. You could see how licensing the Unreal Engine and then using it to build every game is paying off in terms of how the games look, how complex the game play is, and how quickly they can come to market.

The big focus was on This is Vegas. The game is being made by Surreal Software in Seattle - they've been working on it for three plus years. It's an open world of a likeness of Vegas where you gamble, party, race, and fight. It's an ambitious project to create a world that big. This gives players the chance to live out "their Vegas fantasy." It looked OK, nothing special in terms of graphics or audio. The focus has definitely been on game play. I did the dancing mini-game, the same that was shown during the press conference. I thought that it was fun. I wonder about it conceptually though. My concern is that by offering many types of game play it may end up asking players to play in ways that they don't want to play, for example, the guy who wants to drive around and beat people up may not be the same guy who wants to enter a dance contest. But I talked to Darci Morales about this concern and she said that if you don't want to play a particular mini-game you don't have to. The point of all the mini-games is to build your buzz and gain experience and you could choose to do that however you want. I'm mainly interested in seeing how all of the different games and gaming mechanics translate into a holistic gaming experience. I think This Is Vegas is noteworthy because it looks like it'll be a hell of an achievement for Surreal and Midway when it is done and it deserves merit if only for being a massive effort at establishing an open game play world with lots of variety. I'm not sure whether that translates into being a successful game in an overall sense. I'd get a better idea from a more in depth demo where I could see how the player goes from one mode to the other, how fluid that is, and how all of the different modes combine.

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February 28, 2008

What's in Store for Xbox 360 in 2008?

I had the opportunity earlier today to chat with Aaron Goldberg, Group Product Manager for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. We talked about a bunch of Xbox related things and he brought me a shiny new Elite which I'm sure I'll enjoy.

We talked about new games that are coming out this year for Xbox 360:
April 29 - GTA IV. It's going to be in HD for the first time, have many online multiplayer modes, and exclusive episodic content for Xbox 360 gamers starting in fall 2008.

June - Ninja Gaiden II - controls will be easier to master and there will be more save points. I really hate games that don't have enough save points, so this is great news.

November - Gears of War 2

By end of year 2008, there will be over 1000 titles available for Xbox 360. Microsoft's goal is to become the default platform for developers. Remember how 3 years ago every game was targeted at PS2? We're rapidly approaching the days where every game is targeted at Xbox 360. Already, many games are optimized for 360. An example of this is Madden NFL, which ran at 60 fps on 360 and 30 fps on PS3.

Microsoft is really building up Live. Sony completely missed the boat on this one. Microsoft has a valuable entry point into millions of living rooms with Xbox Live. They've got more HD available for download than satellite or cable including movies, TV shows, music videos, and game trailers. TV Shows cost about $2 to own and movies are rentals that time out.

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January 20, 2008

UbiSoft 2008 Preview

I met with Ubisoft the other day and talked to them about the games that they are working on for 2008. I saw a bunch of demos, and played some games. They even brewed a fresh pot of coffee for me.

Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 - It's the 10 year anniversary of the franchise and it returns with a bigger (meaning more game play) story. Due out in March 2008. There's a greater degree of character customization in equipment and experience points can be applied to better weapons. Enemy and squad AI is better. There's been a huge expansion of co-op game play - friends can jump in and out of the game on the fly without restarting levels. It's the same core game play as version 1 with simple team controls. They've worked hard to add verticality to the levels such as looking up and seeing an enemy through a skylight and then having to go outside and climb up onto the roof to get him. There's destructible cover so you can't sit in one spot and hide. You sort of have to think and plan rather than charge right in. There are 7 locations and each location has multiple scenarios.
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Far Cry 2 - They set out to keep the best parts of the original. The intention is to keep it real yet exotic so this version takes place in Africa. There's 50 square kilometers of open game world, mostly savanna with some jungle. All objects are coded meaning that nothing is just a stupid graphic so trees grow while you're playing and everything can take damage. There's wind and light from the sun that change as the day progresses. No mission will ever be exactly the same because there's a randomness about how enemies are deployed; they're not always in the same place at the same time. It's fast paced and from what I saw there was a lot of fire which is always a good thing. One fascinating thing that Clint Hocking (Creative Director) brought up is that it is now cheaper in terms of utilizing system resources to create vegetation procedurally than it is to make it animated. The game is due out roughly around holiday 2008. It will be the same game on console as on PC with the PC version having higher resolution.
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Petz Bunnyz - This cute little DS game is basically targeted at young girls who want to play with fluffy bunnies at Easter time. It's not my kind of game, but if you have a daughter who wants to raise a virtual bunny and play with it then this would be a hit.

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November 11, 2007

NBA 2K8 Review

NBA 2k8
Matt Congdon
Score 3.5/5

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Basketball, when anyone cares, is such a great sport. It’s all about being down to the wire and the players are running on empty but still manage to get that game winning steal. However the problem is in the NBA it seems like they hardly care. The NBA finals this year this amassed an all time low of viewers, which shows that the players’ lack of interest is infectious. I know I didn’t watch it, but I think I must have watched 30+ college games during the NCAA playoffs. As far as NBA video games go, NBA 2K8 does a good job capturing the feel of the NBA. The game has its lows and its highs. It can get very exciting when you tied up going into the final minute and playing against a friend, but playing against the computer isn’t that fun.
NBA 28k is a lot of fun at times but just like the NBA has some definite flaws. One of the most obvious is that too many damn layups and dunks are missed. If there is someone else in your vicinity in the paint chances are you will miss the layup. You shoot literally about 25% on layups with a defender on you. It gets really annoying after you miss a couple in a row. That problem also extends to shooting elsewhere. If there is a defender in your face you can’t shoot at all. For 3 pt shots for example if you are wide open you might shoot about 60%, while with a defender on a mere 10% or less. This make playing defense tough because you know if they swing to an open guard on the perimeter it’s pretty much automatic.

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NBA Live 08 Review

Review by Matt Congdon
Score: 2 out of 5

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The first EA Sports game that I played was Madden 64. I was horrified. I explicitly asked for NFL QB Club 98 for Christmas, but I was stuck with madden (what does my mom know about football or games). In my eyes this game sucked hard. How can you make a game without an NFL license or endorsements? When wanting to play as the Patriots I was stuck with some team named “Foxboro”, not to mention that the graphics sucked and so did the game play. I would describe it the pinnacle of boring. I promised this would be the last EA Sports game I would buy.
Later in life, I got a PS2 and decided to give EA Sports another chance on a different console. I was thrilled at Madden 2001,. The game kicked ass, and it kept getting better as the years passed. EA Sports produced a string of brilliant games and that kept getting bigger and better. I thought this was the kind of company that was out for the players not the dollars. Their hockey and basketball games all were a lot of fun to play and somehow the developers improved them from year to year.
Of course, EA Sports let me down. They suck again, They have started a long down spiral, passing mediocre a year or two ago and they are now about as bad as I can imagine [[I’m trying to avoid obscenity. Sucks is ok, but I draw the line at shit. MDS]]. NBA LIVE 08 illustrates this point. This game is crap. EA Sports just threw money and a deadline at a development team. It is inexplicable to me how a company can mess up basketball so badly after having good editions for last generation consoles. The game looks alright on an HDTV, but on an SDTV looks very distorted and odd. It seems like there are a lot of fisheye type replay angles. There are so many flaws that, the decent game they might have had for PS2 is now damaged goods.

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October 28, 2007

Rock Band Preview

I was lucky enough to be invited up to MTV the other day to take a look at the upcoming Rock Band. First of all, that building is really something. The lobby has a big waterfall and they actually had someone playing piano. I couldn't help but wonder when Sarrel Group is going to hire a pianist to play in the lobby during lunch time. Second of all, the room they showed me the game in was like a home theater lab and was very cool. Big huge projection screen TV and a massive sound system. Add that to an inside look at one of the most anticipated games of the year and what could be bad?

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To cut to the chase, I loved it. I had a great time playing the game. So much fun. It really tapped the closet musician in me. Much more than Guitar Hero, which is a hell of a lot of fun too, but Rock Band gives you more variety. If I felt like playing guitar I could. If I wanted to sing I could. Or I could play drums. Or not play drums very well as it would turn out. I wish there were more songs in the game, but overall I totally have to recommend Rock Band for people who want to play music games.

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My love affair with Harmonix began back in the day of Frequency and Amplitude. At one point I reviewed Amplitude as one of the most innovative games to come out on PS2. Gameplay has remained essentially the same and I love it. This is apparently the culmination of everything that Harmonix has been working towards over the years.

The hook here is that you can play bass, guitar, drums, or sing. There is a real group experience. People can form their own band and then play together either in one place or online. The cool thing is that how well each of you play affects the overall score and the band's success. If someone screws up the others can bail them out with "overdrive" which is similar to GH's "star power". Guitar and bass are the same. Drums was really hard for me. After screwing up over and over again I developed the theory that I can no longer move my arms to push buttons as part of a game - I can only move my fingers to push buttons in a game. Vocals kicked ass. I have always wanted to scream Mississippi Queen (you know what I mean) while pretending I'm Leslie West.

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October 15, 2007

Bioshock Review

Bioshock
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Irrational Games
Rated M for Mature
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review by Matt Congdon

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There are a few rare games out there that force you to play them; once you lay down that cash, you're sucked in until you finish. Sure, many games have great stories (Final Fantasy X), and some have great game play (God of War), but few combine both into something so special that you just can't quit. One such title this year that shouldn’t be missed any adult gamer looking for a bit of adventure.. The game creates an intriguing story, but it’s the gameplay that makes the story come alive. Too many games these days have stories that aren't connected with the actual gameplay, but rather just feature boring cut scene movies--which the typical ADD gamer (such as myself) doesn’t really like to sit through. Bioshock’s story is delivered mostly through audio, which is transmitted to you via radio, so you're listening to the story while shooting, dismembering and electrocuting baddies through Bioshock’s Levels.

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October 14, 2007

Midway TNA Impact! World Premiere

I'm down in Atlanta covering the world premiere of Midway's TNA Impact! video game. This is a very cool event focused on what looks to be a very cool game. We've rubbed elbows with TNA wrestlers, played the game against lead designers, drank an awful lot of bourbon, and enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. You might even say it's been "Total Non-stop Action".

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I'm going to follow this up with a post tonight about the actual wrestling match. They got us press passes so we can get right up front and hopefully we'll take some great photos. I've also got some interviews with wrestlers that I'm going to post. I had a great time talking to Samoan Joe. He and I both wrestled in high school and then played judo afterwards. And now I write this blog and he beats the crap out of people in an 18 month undefeated streak.

The game looked very good. The wrestlers worked closely with Midway on facial capture, mocap, and the dynamics of the game. The 6 sided ring is there - they're adding cages, glass, and barbed wire later. The version we saw was about 60% complete so it was a little buggy, ie you could throw guys through fences and stuff. It was really fun to play, not like other wrestling games which have traditionally been a mix of button mashing and really hard to memorize combos. I thought that even at this early stage it had a very good feel to it in terms of how satisfying it was to lay the smackdown on someone and the rhythm of counter-attacks and reversals. One thing that I like in particular is the way guys react to getting punched; if you punch a guy in the face he grabs his face, and if you kick him in the gut he grabs his gut.

There are a lot of grapples, reversals, alternate-grapples, and aerial moves. It's pretty fast paced for a wrestling game. There's the beloved Irish Whip, climbing the turnbuckles, and running around the ring. The ropes ripple when you run into them which is a nice touch.

We only played some one on one quick play. They're adding a story mode, create-a-player, tag team, and online play.

Oh yeah, and Samoan Joe says he's going to kill you.

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October 4, 2007

Halo 3 Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Here's an interesting debate. Matt C. feels that Halo 3 should not be judged harshly just because it is a sequel. In his words, "If it weren't a sequel and were a free standing game, then it would definitely get a 5." In some ways, he's right. But, looking at it the other way, I (Matt S.) think that Halo the first really kicked ass, then Halo 2 was really good but still just more of the same, and now Halo 3 is literally just more of the same and very short. I was disappointed. Sure, it's a great game, but there isn't really any innovation.

What do you think? Is Halo 3 everything it was cracked up to be? Or is it just a few more maps that should be downloaded for free for Halo 2 owners?

Leave a comment and let us know.


Review by Matt Congdon

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What is perhaps the most anticipated game ever was finally released. After a staggering 1.7 million presales, Halo 3 is finally in the consumer’s hands. If I had to review this game in one word, it would be "solid."

Halo 3 is very much a sequel, which you should expect when first playing it. I was so full of anticipation that I was almost disappointed with my first Xbox Live match. But I grew to love Halo 3. The guns are sick, the environments are beautiful, and the game play is even more addicting than before.

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For this sequel, Bungie has included new gadgets called “equipment.” It's is a blast to fool around with, and can actually can come in handy once in a while. Gravity Lifts are great for sniper games, giving you a better vantage point. Trip mines are work well in levels with a lot of vehicles--Vahalla, for example--and Bubble Shields can help you out in a pinch;,they are spherical shield which surrounds you, where neither gunfire nor grenades can enter or leave but people and vehicles can. This allows you to get creative with your killing[s] and try out a few new things.. A clever man could turn a flamethrower and a bubble shield into a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie BBQ, just set it and forget it! Some equipment is pretty pointless, though--for example, the Regenerator (your shields regenerate regardless). But mostly, these gadgets make every online game unique.

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September 17, 2007

Colin Mcrae Dies in Helicopter Crash

I just read the news and I'm heartbroken. I really knew nothing about rally racing until I played the Codemasters game and loved it. From what I've read, Colin was a great guy, really likable, and very approachable despite his fame. He was piloting a helicopter and crashed. His son died in the crash as well. It's very sad. I think I'll stop writing for the day and go play the game as a tribute.

Read the Reuters story.

May 17, 2007

The Bigs

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This game will ship June 25 and be available for 360, ps-3 psp, wii. This is the first 2k sports game on Wii, all aspects of the game use the Wiimote - pitching, catching, running.

Today we're looking at the Xbox 360 version.

Why The Bigs? It's a heroic baseball game, over the top, arcadey. The game celebrates the sport of baseball and make highllights and dramatic moments happen, including big catches, wall catches, dives, etc. It's all genuine MLB licensed products with all teams and all stadiums, but with a little bit of a dramatic flare.

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There are super slo-mo diving catches. What the players do is still tied to stats but also like a mini-game of timing button pushes to pull off the spectacular. In a double play timing is critical, hold onto it for too long and they slide into and knock you down. There's a knock over catcher button mashing to get slider on your side and then you bowl the catcher over and maybe he loses the ball. 2K Sports is bending the rules to make the game more interesting but not taking it to extremes like MLB Slugfest which was a ton of fun but not very much like baseball.

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There's a turbo meter and a big play meter. When pitching, throw strikes to earn turbo, batter takes ball and gets turbo, use turbo to enhance pitches and hits, use turbo in the field to run to the ball or whip it in from the outfield. Turbo becomes pretty important tactically. Pitches based on button that you push to choose pitch, aim with reticle, them meter fills up. Batting is simple - contact green or power red; you can influence direction of the hit with the left thumbstick. You manage baserunning with the left analog stick and color coded base running icons over each guys head. It's easiest to advance all or retreat all using bumpers. The big play meter gives you power blast ability to drive ball deep just by making contact, or make a defensive big play meaning big heat so all pitches are super charged and when you strike the opponent out you steal his points

Homerun pinball is Katie's favorite feature. It was pretty fun. It's like batting practice in Times Square and all the signs and objects are worth points when you hit them. It's a lot of fun and very competitive.

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multiplayer - 2-4 players coop switching turns
online play also

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March 28, 2007

Microsoft Unveils Xbox 360 Elite

This is an aggressive price point, especially since it is absolutely clear that all Microsoft is doing is copying the PS3. They're even coloring it black! Hats off to you, Bill Gates. You've built the most successful copycat company in the world.

REDMOND, Wash. — March 27, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the upcoming availability of Xbox 360™ Elite, a new model of the video game and entertainment system that will include a 120GB hard drive, a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port, a high-definition cable, and a premium black finish for the console, wireless controller and Xbox LIVE® headset. Xbox 360 Elite has enough space for a library of Xbox LIVE Arcade games and thousands of songs, as well as downloadable high-definition TV shows and movies available on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. The new 120GB hard drive also will be sold as a stand-alone accessory to give current Xbox 360 owners greater choice and flexibility in their games and entertainment experience. Additional Xbox 360 Elite accessories, such as the black Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, Xbox 360 Play & Charge kit and the Xbox 360 rechargeable battery, will be available separately. The Xbox 360 Elite and its accessories are expected to begin arriving in U.S. stores on April 29.

“Today’s games and entertainment enthusiast has an insatiable appetite for digital high-definition content,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Xbox 360 Elite’s larger hard drive and premium accessories will allow our community to enjoy all that the next generation of entertainment has to offer.”

Distinguished by its black finish and signature metallic detailing, Xbox 360 Elite will have an estimated retail price1 of $479.99 (U.S.) and will come packed with components and accessories for the ultimate high-definition entertainment experience:2

* Xbox 360 Elite console. The console is equipped with a premium black finish and three powerful core processors capable of producing the best in HD entertainment (up to 1080p), 16:9 cinematic aspect ratio, anti-aliasing for smooth textures, full surround sound, HDMI output and DVD playback with upscaling capabilities right out of the box.
* Xbox 360 120GB hard drive. The 120GB detachable hard drive allows gamers to save their games and store television shows, movies, music, pictures, trailers, levels, demos and other content available from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.3 The hard drive is sold separately for an estimated retail price of $179.99 (U.S.).
* Xbox 360 Wireless Controller (black). This award-winning, high-performance wireless controller, now in black, features the Xbox® Guide Button for quick, in-game access to friends and music. It has a range of up to 30 feet and a battery life of 30 hours on two AA batteries. It is sold separately for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.).
* Xbox 360 headset (black). Now available in black, the headset lets gamers strategize or trade taunts while playing games and send voice messages to friends on Xbox LIVE.
* Xbox 360 HDMI cable. New to Xbox 360, HDMI allows consumers to get HD video (up to 1080p) and multichannel surround sound, all from one cable.
* Xbox LIVE Silver Membership. With this, gamers can chat with friends online, collect achievements and gamerscores, send and receive voice and text messages, and access Xbox LIVE Marketplace content such as game demos, HD movies and TV, as well as the best in downloadable games from Xbox LIVE Arcade.
* One-month subscription to Xbox LIVE Gold. An Xbox LIVE Gold Membership provides a complete online entertainment experience. Those who subscribe to this premium service can engage in competitive online multiplayer matches, tailor their matchmaking via feedback and accomplishments, chat with more than one person at a time, and take advantage of unique privileges in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and Xbox LIVE Arcade.

The following accessories for the Xbox 360 Elite console will only be sold separately:

* Xbox 360 Play & Charge kit. Complete with a charging cable and a black rechargeable battery pack, the Xbox 360 Play & Charge kit allows gamers to recharge their Xbox 360 Wireless Controller without interrupting their gameplay. it is sold separately for an estimated retail price of $19.99 (U.S.).

* Xbox 360 rechargeable battery (black). The rechargeable battery pack provides more than 25 hours of gameplay per charge. It is sold separately for an estimated retail price of $11.99 (U.S.).

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox LIVE online gaming network and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 has a catalog of more than 160 high-definition games and is available in 37 countries. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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March 6, 2007

The Redman Interview

Def Jam Icon ships today to PS3 and Xbox 360. EA was in town and they arranged for me to interview Redman and play the game with him. It was really exciting to meet him.

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Redman enters
MDS: How’s it going?
Redman: It’s just the bomb, man. The bomb. Smoked this (holds up mostly smoked blunt) We all ready for business.
Someone offers Redman a light. The lighter is green.
Redman: That’s a good color.
MDS: Green’s a good color, eh?
Laughing, Redman lights blunt.
MDS: I gotta tell you, Redman. I am a huge fan of yours. Much of my time in the mid ‘90’s was spent playing video games and listening to your music.
Redman: And getting high.
MDS: OK, OK. I wasn’t going to come right out and say it. And getting high.
MDS: The other thing is that I grew up in NJ
Redman: What part?
MDS: Millburn. So a lot of the places that you sing about, like Irvington
Redman: East Orange, Plainfield, Springfield
MDS: yeah, I always get a huge kick out of that
Redman: Nice. Nice.
MDS: So, how do you like the game?
Redman: I think the fucking game is fucking fabulous.
MDS: That’s your official quote?
Redman: Yes. I’m still trying to learn the motherfucker.
MDS: Did you play games when you were a little kid?
Redman: I had Atari. I had Coleco. So, yeah. I even had a Jaguar when it was out for a minute. I played a lot as a kid, but when I was introduced to Doom it took it to another level.
MDS: Oh, yeah!
Redman: I’m a first person shooter kind of gamer.
MDS: Totally. Doom2 totally changed my life. (High fives all around)
Redman: Yeah, man. I always wanted to meet the motherfuckers who did Doom.
MDS: I used to work at the NJ Medical School, on South Orange Ave in Newark. I was a network administrator and I built this whole setup so we could play Doom over the network after work.
Redman: Nice
MDS: We would play all night. It was awesome.
Redman: Wasn’t that shit weird, man.
MDS: There was nothing like that.
Redman: Nothing like that in the fucking world.
MDS: And it just like totally sucked you in and gave you this feeling of power.
Redman: And it felt like what Hell was like. Oh shit, that was messed up. They made one for Xbox, didn’t they?
MDS: Yeah, for Xbox 360, last year.
Redman: You know what else was a fucking good game? Powerstone. They ain’t never made anything like that again. Powerstone was a dope ass fucking game.
Kudo explains the controls to Redman.
Kudo: The face buttons are attacks so you can start whaling on those. The right analog stick, you can do a grab and throw by pushing up and then down.
Redman: You showed me some of that shit before.
Kudo: If you rotate the right thumbstick around from say 3 o’clock to the left it’ll knock the guy to the left. If you rotate it around to the right, it’ll swing kick him to the right. Or if you go straight down and straight up that’ll…
MDS: Would that by any chance be a blunt?
Redman: Yeah. Yeah, you can have it. Sure.
MDS: Dude, that is so fucking sweet. Thanks.
Redman: That’s the end of it but you can still smoke up on that one.
MDS: Thank you, sir.
Voice in the background says, “Someone take a picture of that”
Redman (still playing game): I’m trying to remember my grabs.
Kudo: Right, so if you push up on the right thumbstick then you can grab a guy and throw him into the hazards.
Redman: I know. The background has fucking got it.
Kudo: Why don’t you two guys fight it out? Hands controller to Matt
Redman: Yeah, while we’re getting high.

MDS: So how did you get involved in actually making the games?
Redman: I really owe everything to Lauren. You know, she’s been in my whole career, the whole time I’ve been banging out music. I’m just glad she saw what she wanted to do and she included me in her plans. First of all, she know me and Meth is big gamers. And for her to have this kind of plan and give me this kind of opportunity I think it’s beautiful. I like this shit and I don’t even like fighting games. I don’t play Tekken
MDS: What makes this better?
Redman: I mean it’s fucking like reality, man.
MDS: It’s not just button mashing
Redman: What it is, is that the characters are on here, the MCs and actors and stuff, but that is not the main issue. That is not what’s keeping this game over. Oh, I got a better character so I killed you. That’s not what it’s about. The action, the details, what’s going on with these things in the back. It’s taking it to the next fucking level. Watch a lot of games want to be like this shit here.
Other: Who do enjoy whipping on the most?
MDS: He seems to be enjoying kicking my ass.
Kudo: You can see how he’s taking damage and his face is messed up and his clothes are torn.
Redman: yeah, man, the fucking background. I’m fighting some guy and there’s a car and other fucking shit coming out.
MDS: So do you play a lot of games now?
Redman: I still play games. I’m on Call of Duty 3 for 360. And the reason why that’s out of control is because I’m learning shit on there. It’s not just fighting and shit but putting me in the action how these fucking soldiers were back then, the Germans and all that shit.
MDS: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Other: Tell me a little bit about the new album you have coming out.
Redman: The new album is called Red Gone Wild and it’s coming out on the 27th. I called it Red Gone Wild, not because it’s more wild and shit, I’d be doing that anyway. I broke the mold with previous albums I did. I got the deuces. I got a team now, I’m introducing Yellowhouse, MC’s Dick and Don, Ready Rock, Raquel, Marquee, Melanie, and E3. I haven’t had an album out in a while and want everyone to think of this as an introduction. This is some good music and I want to hear more. You all can tell I’ve grown. I’m 36 now so I can’t be talking about crazy young shit
MDS: You know, man, I was reading your bio and I saw that you’re born in April 1970. I was born in March 1970.
Redman: Yeah.
MDS: It’s funny.
Redman: Yeah, it is. You know, you right there. Meth was born in March 1971. Yeah.
Other: So are you happy with your character in the game?
Redman: Yeah. I love it. The thing is with all my characters in all the games they come up to me and say “Yo, your character is hard as hell to whup.”
Other: What do you think is the illest thing you ever said? What makes you say, That’s my shit right there?
Redman: On the mixing? I don’t know, I’ve got some pretty dope shit on there, like number 10, number 3.
Other: There’s something about Lil Wayne?
Redman: Yo, I blow ya minds, like Kurt Cobain. My block is hot like Lil' Wayne, I'll pop ya little chain. I'm ready, hip hop is not gon' be the same. Like the Roc and Dame, I'll dot the little change.
Redman: You know me. I’ll do the mixing. Number 10 is really where I showed some skills with that Eminem beat.
Redman: I’m in the studio like 15-20 hours a day. I’ve got my own studio in midtown Manhattan so you know midtown, you better get on that bitch.
MDS: Yeah, you’d better use it.
Redman: Once I put my name on that lease, that’s where my time goes. My studio ain’t got no windows or nothing like that. That’s how I get my shit on.
Redman and I continue fighting each other.
MDS: You play a lot of 360?
Redman: Yeah, I got the 360. I also got the PS3 but I ain’t really banged out on that yet. You know what I’m really surprise at? The Wii system.
MDS: I love it. It’s very inventive. There are so many different things you can do. The controller is pretty cool.
Redman: I think that’s some new wave shit that they’re doing.
Other: What’s your favorite game with you in it?
Redman: Right now, this Def Jam Icon shit. I was in this EA Sports basketball game.
Other: You were an unlockable character.
Redman: Yeah. I thought that was really cool.
MDS: What do you think of the convergence of urban culture and gaming? You know, like there’s more hip hop games. You’ve got all the kids playing games. More and more games use popular music. Do you see the games and music becoming more tied together as time goes by?
Redman: Hell yeah. Why wouldn’t they? That’s the new wave. Music, games. It sells. That’s what it is. I want to make some adult games. Like really wild. There’s plenty of kids games, but adults like to play games too. You could have a party and invite people over and show ass, titties, everything.

Redman: You can get hit by these graphics, too. You can get hit by the camera or the lights.
MDS: Yeah, you can throw the guy into them.

MDS: That’s awesome that you played Doom 2 like that.
Redman: Yeah.

Continue reading "The Redman Interview" »

March 3, 2007

SEGA's NYC Demo Day

SEGA was in town the other day and I checked out a bunch of their games. Almost everything they showed ships on March 20, 2007. I'm not sure why March 20 is such a significant date for them that they have to deliver every game on that same day. But whatever, I'll take them. A bunch of these were really fun. Virtua Tennis is always fun and Armored Core played pretty well, that is if you like blowing things to pieces.


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Virtua Tennis 3 for psp, xbox 360, ps3. This game flat out looks great on the PS3 and the Xbox 360. The attention to detail is superb: little puffs of dust come up from your footsteps when you run on the clay court, the linesmen move out of the way when the ball is hit at them. You can create your own player, customize him or her as far as appearance, cloths and equipment. Then you practice and play on the world tour, slowly advancing and improving your skills. On Xbox 360 there's a whole online leaderboard system. Four people can play together online from four different consoles. You can watch other people's online matches and develop your strategy against them.

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Armored Core 4
This is a mech game, but unlike other mech games you can actually move quickly in this game. Most mechs feel like you're piloting them through molasses, but in Armored Core 4 you can jump and strafe and all those good things. Multiplayer online is new. There are 6 different factions. They wanted to make it appeal to new players and veterans as well. You start in the Independent City and it's sort of like a training mission. There are over 35 different missions. You have primary and secondary fire weapons. Your mech is highly mobile and you can strafe; there's regular boost and quick boost for dodging during combat. In general, mechs are more agile than before, and I can say that it seemed so when I played. I could jump over stuff and quickly cut to the side to avoid enemy fire. It's for ps3 and 360 and ships on mar 20. You can customize appearance with paint and emblems and can use the colors to camoflage yourself. This is pretty cool because you could do something like put on desert camo to fight in the desert and have an advantage. You can trade weapons and parts with other players online; some missions are search and rescue, most take 20 minutes or more, mechs have primal armor which is like a force field.

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Sonic and the Secret Rings
, just released on Tuesday. This game was designed specifically for the Wii and has more of a 2d feel to it. You tilt the controller left and right to steer while Sonic naturally accelerates. Press 2 to jump, snap the controller forward to catch some more air and do your homing attack. It's an arabian nights story where Sonic needs to find 7 rings before the evil genie does. There are 8 different game worlds each with a few tracks. As far as multiplayer, there are 40 party games for up to 4 players. They all have different movements of the controller depending on the games. It's an E rated title targeted at family fun. This is a solid Sonic game and I hold Sonic games in high regard. There was a time when I sunk at least 80 hours into Sonic on my Game Gear. Man, that was a long time ago.

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February 1, 2007

Forza Motorsport 2

First off, it has been confirmed that “Forza Motorsport 2” will be available at North American retailers in May 2007. As you know, “Forza Motorsport 2” is one of the most anticipated racing titles of the year. With its extensive customization options, unparalleled physics, 300+ car roster, force feedback, Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel support and Xbox Live capabilities, “Forza Motorsport 2” stands to be the most realistic racing simulator, across all platforms, in 2007.

Secondly, the track list for “Forza Motorsport 2” is now available on Forzamotorsport.net. Be sure to check out the site for all the latest details on the game’s 12 environments and more than 45 ribbons.

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January 31, 2007

Major League Baseball 2K7

I met with my good friends Anthony (from 2K Sports) and Katie (from Access PR) yesterday and they showed me Major League Baseball 2K7 on Xbox 360 and PS3. It's going to be available on everything except GameCube and Wii (they would have had to create a whole new control system and couldn't do it in time for the season) and it will ship in the first week of March 2007. i was pretty impressed with it. Overall, the graphics and sound are great. The details are all there, from Inside Edge statistics that affect AI on a play by play basis, to 150 signature style individualized player animations, and even to shirts rippling in the wind and little puffs of dirt coming up from player's footsteps. The commentary was reasonably interesting, at least for the few innings that we played. The heckling "Hey, I stole your girlfriend Jeter") was pretty cool.

Here's a screenshot from PS3:
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Pitching controls remain the same, using the "Payoff Pitching" system and now you can even control the catcher and have him call the game. Hitting is the same using the swing stick. On PS3 you also have the option to swing using the controller due to it's 6-axis motion sensing capability. I couldn't get the hang of this during the brief time that I had with the game. They reworked a lot of the fielding so that momentum when running seems more real than last year. They also revamped every stadium, including lighting down to the way that shadows affect hitting. The PIP baserunning makes it easy to control runners.

Here's a screenshot from Xbox360:
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There is online play with online leagues for both Xbox 360 and PS3.

Also new is the ability to manage your budget and set ticket prices in franchise mode.

Here's a PSP screenshot:
MLB2K7_PSP_03.jpg

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2K Sports Announces All-Pro Football 2K8

NEW YORK, NY – January 31, 2007 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today the return of football to its video game line-up with All-Pro Football 2K8. The critically acclaimed 2K football series once again hits the gridiron with the legendary gameplay, innovative features, and outstanding visual quality sports gamers have come to expect from 2K Sports.

“Football gamers have been awaiting the return of the 2K series,” said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “All-Pro Football 2K8 will deliver an authentic next generation gridiron experience and we are happy to give fans another choice in the football category.”

All-Pro Football 2K8 will be available this summer on next generation video game systems.

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


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January 30, 2007

Midway Winter Gamers Day

I spent a few days in Las Vegas last week to visit Midway. They booked The Joint at the Hard Rock for a great event that highlighted several of their 2007 and 2008 titles. They had some great sushi and the scotch was flowing freely; what could be bad?

BlackSite: Area 51 This FPS is due to ship summer 2007 for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3. The story is pretty cool. You're sent into an area because some troops are missing and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. There are all sorts of creepy crawlies that come after you. My favorite are the ones that you kill but their heads pop off and continue to pursue you. Midway promises realistic sound, but I couldn't tell because it was in a crowded noisy room. The graphics look great and lighting effects were very cool. The massively destructible environment is another cool thing. All in all, the short level that I played was a whole lot of fun. There's also a basic squad based element, which I mainly used to order my guys ahead on point. There were some performance issues, but it's a very early build. All in all, this is a title that I'm looking forward to.
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Hour of Victory This Xbox 360 WWII FPS is built on the Unreal Engine 3 so it looked fantastic. The innovation with this title is the ability to switch between 3 characters. There's the brawny charge ahead and gun Nazis down character, the stealthy slit their necks from behind character, and the eagle eyed sniper. At various points in each level you are given the opportunity to switch guys. Interestingly, you can do any part of the game using any character although some are better at certain parts than others. I found that using the brawny charge ahead and gun Nazis down character made this game feel exactly like Call of Duty. Not a bad thing for me, because I love these WWII shooters. In fact, I can remember a night when the guy in the apartment above me asked me to stop storming the beaches at Normandy (Medal of Honor) because it was 2 in the morning. I wonder how many other people like them. How much of a market is there for them? Very little was said about multiplayer modes, although the level looked like a good multiplayer design. The other cool thing is that you can take over turrets, planes, tanks, etc. That's always tons of fun in multiplayer.
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They also showed Stranglehold which looks like so much fun. I've written about it several times before.
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They showed a trailer for The Wheelman with Vin Deisel. I can never tell very much about a game from the trailer. It's too early for me to have anything to say about this one.

They showed a great video about the controls for Mortal Kombat: Armagedon for Wii. This looks like a lot of fun. It's basically a combination of swipes and motions with the remote and a little button pushing. I'm really looking forward to playing this one.
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And finally they had playable The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar which is a MMO for PC. They announced that it will ship on April 24, 2007. They just started a pre-order program which gets you the game for $9.99 per month or $199 lifetime. It looked good and there was a lot of excitement about it.

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January 29, 2007

MIDWAY CONFIRMS THEORY IS A FACT: BLACKSITE: AREA 51 IS COMING SUMMER 2007

CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 29, 2007 – Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY), a leading interactive entertainment industry publisher and developer, today announced BlackSite™: Area 51®, an action packed, first person shooter experience which pits gamers against alien enemy forces using the infamous U.S. government landmark, Area 51®, and the surrounding areas as the battlefield backdrop. BlackSite: Area 51 is currently in development for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and for the PC.

Developed by Midway Studios - Austin, BlackSite: Area 51 is a next-generation game that will redefine the first person shooter (FPS) genre. While other FPS titles claim to feature
“action-packed, highly realistic gameplay,” BlackSite: Area 51 takes next-gen gaming to an
all-new level integrating cutting edge technology, game design and story writing to create the ultimate entertainment experience. The player’s modern-day emotions and fears are driven into a world charged with grave responsibility affecting lives hanging in the balance and eventually finding himself torn between his professional orders and his own ethical standards. In the end, only the actions of the player and his squad can shape the outcome of BlackSite: Area 51 during this potentially pivotal moment in history.

“BlackSite: Area 51 gives players the opportunity to experience next-generation, first person shooter action in one of the world’s most intriguing and mysterious environments,” said Denise Fulton, studio head, Midway Studios - Austin. “Gamers will be instantly immersed in the game’s seamless storyline, set in the desert and small towns surrounding Area 51 that feature highly detailed environments that transform themselves into awesome battlefields. Without question, BlackSite: Area 51 will raise the bar in the next generation FPS genre with its stunning visuals, life-like squad interactions and its multitude of online multiplayer modes.”

Continue reading "MIDWAY CONFIRMS THEORY IS A FACT: BLACKSITE: AREA 51 IS COMING SUMMER 2007" »

January 24, 2007

EA Demo Night

The other night my good friends at EA invited me to come over and see some of their upcoming titles. Overall, it looks like they have a strong spring liineup. I spent so much time there that they were kidding me that I should help pack up.

Command and Conquer 3 - The epic struggle between the Global Defense Initiative and The Brotherhood of NOD continues as the third Tiberium war begins. This is a pretty solid RTS for Xbox 360. I was surprised at how easy it was to command my troops across the whole map. The PC version ships on March 28 and the Xbox 360 version ships in Spring 2007.
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Def Jam: Icon - What can I say, these Def Jam games are massively popular. This one integrates hip hop music and fighting like never before. The music actually affects the fight. Drive him down with a series of punches that grow stronger because they match the bass line. Environments pulsate and debris flies along with the music. There's also an all new single player story mode that takes you from nobody to hip hop mogul as you build a record label, discover new talent, and become a hip hop icon yourself.
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Medal of Honor Vanguard - I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again: Everyone likes killing Nazis. This latest installment of the highly successful WWII FPS is back and it looked great. They've simplified the HUD and gotten rid of the medpack system. Now when you're hurt you go hide in the corner and heal. This ships in March 2007 for PS2 and Wii.
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NBA STREET Homecourt - Featuring a brand new game engine that will knock your socks off, this wild street trick basketball game returns. This game is totally next gen with guys sweating, muscles rippling, cloth physics, all very smoothly integrated into game play. A new animation engine makes all the crazy moves you can pull look fluid. New controls let you create hundreds of tricks on the fly. Get ready to defy gravity and practice saying "Not in my house"!
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January 18, 2007

NCAA MARCH MADNESS 07 FROM EA SPORTS SHIPS TO STORES TODAY

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – January 17, 2007 – Fans can now defend their home court and bring the crowd into the game like never before with NCAA® March Madness® 07, after Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) shipped the No. 1 selling* college basketball videogame to stores throughout North America today. Rock the house, stifle your opponents with smothering defense, and create turnovers that lead to easy transition baskets as you punch your ticket to the Final Four®.

NCAA March Madness 07 features Adam Morrison of the NBA Charlotte Bobcats on its cover and is available on the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. Last year Morrison led the NCAA® in Division I men’s basketball scoring and was selected third overall by Charlotte in the NBA Draft.

This year NCAA March Madness 07 debuts on the Xbox 360 by capturing the intensity and atmosphere that characterize college basketball with interactive, 3-D college environments. Never before have home court and the home crowd meant more as your players rise to the occasion or wilt under the pressure of charged-up, authentic college courts. Feel the intensity rise, then watch as each player responds differently, trying to maintain composure. As the atmosphere heats up your player composure ratings affect the all-new Intensity Control that changes momentum by allowing you to pump up the crowd, motivate your teammates, raise your own composure or even intimidate your opponent. Plus, become immersed like never before by interacting with student sections, school mascots, cheerleaders, and even the band.

Beyond the atmosphere, NCAA March Madness 07 delivers a strategic college basketball gameplay experience by offering custom playbooks for each team through the Floor General Playcalling system, the EA SPORTS™ Lockdown Stick that allows your players to pressure the ball, force turnovers and pester opponents on the court, and an enhanced Dynasty Mode™ with new School Pride and Recruiting features that let you build your school into a national powerhouse. The game features 325 Division I universities and colleges and the popular voices of college basketball with ESPN’s Dick Vitale and Brad Nessler calling the action courtside.

With the most advanced ESPN integration package available in NCAA March Madness 07, fans connected online via Xbox LIVE® will be able to watch college basketball game highlights, segments from Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn, interviews and analysis from SportsCenter, and more. Fans will also be able to download and listen to ESPN radio podcasts as they play NCAA March Madness 07, including segments from Dan Patrick, Mike & Mike, Stephen A. Smith and others. All this is in addition to live ESPN Radio SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes, the ESPN Ticker and ESPNews.

NCAA March Madness 07 is developed at EA Canada in Vancouver , B.C. The game is rated “E” for everyone by the ESRB. Learn more about the game at http://www.marchmadness07.com or download new screenshots at http://info.ea.com.

* Based on total franchise unit sales in 2006 according to NPD Data.

Continue reading "NCAA MARCH MADNESS 07 FROM EA SPORTS SHIPS TO STORES TODAY" »

January 12, 2007

Xbox 360 Outsells Wii and PS3 This Holiday

The results are in

Consumers have cast their votes and Xbox 360 was the best-selling next-generation console of the 2006 holiday season in the United States , outselling the PlayStation 3 and Wii combined in December and outselling all next-generation consoles in November and December. The Xbox 360 garnered a 51% market share in the United States for December 2006. ( US NPD, January)

Gamers get into Gear

Like “Halo,” “Grand Theft Auto,” and “Zelda,” “Gears of War,” is tracking to be one of the best-selling video games of all time. By the end of next week, “Gears of War” will have sold more than 3 million copies to consumers worldwide in just 10 weeks.

Following on the success of “Gears of War,” 2007 will quite simply be the best year for great games in Xbox history.

* By holiday 2007, there will be more than double the 160 next-generation games available on Xbox 360 today, including highly anticipated MGS titles such as “Halo 3,” “Blue Dragon,” “Crackdown,” “Forza Motorsport 2,” “Lost Odyssey,” Mass Effect,” “Project Gotham Racing 4” and “Shadowrun.”

* Third party publishers continue to flock to the Xbox 360 for its high definition fidelity, ease of development and unmatched online capabilities. Surefire hits coming from third parties in 2007 include “Assassin’s Creed” (Ubisoft), “Dance Dance Revolution Universe™” (Konami), “Grand Theft Auto IV” (Rockstar), “Guitar Hero 2™” (Activision) and exclusives like “BioShock” (2K) and “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” (Ubisoft).
* This week, we announced more than 20 million Xbox Live Arcade games have been downloaded to date, including “Assault Heroes,” “Small Arms,” “DOOM” and this week’s release “Ms. Pac-Man.” Other popular games will join Xbox Live Arcade's library as the platform’s popularity continues to grow, including the highly anticipated "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night" from Konami and "Heavy Weapon" from PopCap.

Xbox Live—The Largest Social Network in the Living Room

With more than 5 million active members, two-million messages crossing the network a day, and three-billion game play hours logged to date, Xbox Live has become the largest social network on television. And Xbox Live innovations like Achievements, Gamerscore, and Reputation are changing the way people play games and share their games and entertainment experiences with friends.

Xbox Live is also an on-demand culture, where entertainment powerhouses like CBS, Lion’s Gate, MTV Networks, Turner Broadcasting, Paramount Pictures, UFC, and Warner Brothers are entertaining one of the most captive 18-34 year old communities online today. Seven weeks ago, Xbox Live and its studio partners began offering hit TV shows and movies in high and standard definition for download. According to the studios, the social games and entertainment network has already become #2 in Internet downloads of hit TV shows and movies, but #1 in high definition and #1 in the living room—where it matters most.

The countdown is on

200 million Windows gamers around the world can mark their calendars as the availability of Windows Vista on January 30 draws near.

During the CES keynote address, Bill Gates and Robbie Bach demonstrated the ease and simplicity of connecting people who play games on a Windows Vista-based PC to friends who play on Xbox 360 using “UNO” (Mattel Inc.) — one of the many new, upcoming casual games optimized for Windows Vista and one of the top casual games currently on Xbox Live.

At CES, Microsoft also announced the Games for Windows portfolio, which includes “Shadowrun” and “Halo 2,” the first titles to utilize Live services to connect the gaming experience between Windows Vista-based PCs and Xbox 360. And who doesn’t want one Gamertag, one friends list, one set of achievements, as well as voice chat and game invites across Xbox 360 and Windows Vista? It’s something only Microsoft can offer the world’s largest population of game players.

Continue reading "Xbox 360 Outsells Wii and PS3 This Holiday" »

January 8, 2007

Content Providers Validate Xbox Live as One of the Top Distributors of Online Entertainment Content

LAS VEGAS — Jan. 7, 2007 — The surprise entertainment hit of the holidays wasn’t in theaters; it was in the living room. With more than 1,000 hours of premium high- and standard-definition content available, Microsoft Corp. announced today at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that Xbox Live® Video Marketplace became a clear leader in the distribution of online entertainment content. In just two months since the launch of the service, the Xbox Live community has been given access to top high- and standard-definition content, from top partners CBS Broadcasting Inc., MTV Networks Co., Paramount Pictures Corp., Turner Broadcasting System Inc., Ultimate Fighting Championship and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Xbox 360™ is again leading where it counts, as the only next-generation console offering downloadable high-definition TV shows and films in the U.S.

Content Partners Thrilled With Early Success of Service

“Xbox 360 has become one of COMEDY CENTRAL’s leading digital distribution platforms,” said Caleb Weinstein, senior vice president, strategy and business development, COMEDY CENTRAL. “In nearly two months, Xbox has become our second highest performing digital distributor. COMEDY CENTRAL is thrilled to continue this partnership and is working to bring more and more content to Video Marketplace in the coming year.”

“Bringing our content to the coveted gaming audience on the Xbox 360 has been a huge success and has exceeded our expectations,” said Andrew Mellett, vice president of video on demand for Warner Bros. “In fact, Xbox 360 has become one of the top distributors of our content direct to consumers’ TV sets over the Internet.”

Microsoft Announces Lionsgate as Newest Content Partner

On stage at CES, Microsoft also announced today a new partner for Xbox Live Video Marketplace. Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF) will be bringing a lineup of high-definition films to the service in the coming year. Films such as “An American Haunting,” “Blair Witch Project,” “Crank,” “The Descent,” “Employee of the Month,” “Hard Candy,” “Ninth Gate,” “The Punisher,” “Requiem for a Dream,” “Saw III,” “See No Evil” and “Stir of Echoes” will be available for download on Xbox Live Video Marketplace in high definition in 2007.

“This partnership is great for Lionsgate. The Xbox gamer is the same moviegoer who wants to watch ‘Saw III’ or ‘Crank,’” said Jon Ferro, executive vice president of Lionsgate. “That is why we are so thrilled to bring Lionsgate films to Xbox Live Video Marketplace. Bringing our content to this audience makes perfect sense and reflects our commitment to remain at the cutting edge of content distribution to new media platforms.”

Xbox Live: A Leading Online Provider of High-Definition Content

Xbox Live, the only online social network in the living room, is a thriving community of more than 5 million members who have the ability to download a wealth of high-definition games, television and movies. On Xbox Live, the largest online distributor of high-definition content by volume, the vast majority of subscribers choose the high-definition version of media when given a choice between a standard- or high-definition download on the network.

“Until recently, HDTV owners still had a limited variety of content at their fingertips. Now Xbox 360 is one of the premier sources for high-definition content in the living room,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Xbox 360 is the one-stop-shop for the best in high-definition entertainment, whether consumers choose to access our industry-leading catalog of more than 160 high-definition games or to view high-definition television shows and feature films available through Xbox Live or using the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player.”

Xbox 360 Offers a Variety of High-Definition Entertainment Choices

With Xbox 360, Microsoft’s goal was to provide customers with a wealth of choices for enjoying high-definition content. For those who are ready to jump into the next generation of DVD, Microsoft also offers the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player. With a projected annualized attach rate of 28 movies per player, HD DVD has proven to be the consumer’s favorite next generation format, according to Nielsen data.

Adding to the growing number of ways consumers can experience their entertainment on Xbox 360, Microsoft also announced at CES plans for the winning combination of Microsoft® TV Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) Edition and Xbox 360, expected to deliver next-generation television experiences, including standard- and high-definition live television channels, video-on-demand and digital video recording — all on Xbox 360. IPTV on Xbox 360 is expected to be available to consumers by the 2007 holiday season and will be offered by select service providers that are deploying TV services based on the Microsoft IPTV Edition software platform.

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Microsoft Integrates IPTV Software Platform With Xbox 360, Creating All-in-One Digital Entertainment Device

LAS VEGAS — Jan. 7, 2007 — At the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp. today announced a new solution that will bring together two of its leading entertainment products, the Xbox 360™ gaming console and the Microsoft® TV IPTV Edition software platform, to create a unique digital entertainment offering. IPTV on Xbox 360™ is expected to be available to consumers by holiday season 2007 and will be offered by providers that are deploying TV services over broadband networks based on the IPTV Edition software platform. The solution was unveiled during Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates’ CES keynote address Jan. 7.

The integration of a video gaming console with Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services is intended to deliver a first-of-its-kind entertainment experience. IPTV on Xbox 360 is expected to give consumers all the advantages of an advanced TV service along with the benefits of next-generation gaming, as well as unique new capabilities that the integrated solution brings. Xbox Live®, the largest online social network in the living room, will be seamlessly integrated into the experience, providing consumers with a wide range of community-based features, such as voice chat, sending and receiving text and voice messages, and accessing Xbox Live Marketplace, all while watching TV. For example, while a TV viewer is enjoying his favorite football game, he can receive a message from a friend inviting him to a join voice chat while watching the game, or to play a game of their own with EA SPORTS™ “Madden NFL 07” on Xbox Live.

“Both Xbox 360 and Microsoft TV IPTV Edition by themselves deliver unique and exciting entertainment experiences today, but IPTV on Xbox 360 is truly a solution that is greater than the sum of its parts and will enable even more exciting experiences to delight consumers, service providers, content providers and game developers alike,” said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division. ”By integrating these industry-leading solutions, we are delivering on our promise to drive innovation and enable new connected entertainment experiences for consumers in a way that only Microsoft can.”

With the addition of IPTV Edition functionality, Xbox 360 builds on its position as the centerpiece for high-definition digital entertainment in the living room, offering the best in next-generation games, TV and movies along with the ability to share experiences online with the industry-leading online game network, Xbox Live. Xbox 360 continues to extend its lead with more than 10.4 million consoles sold in 37 countries since launch.

The Microsoft TV IPTV Edition software platform enables a best-in-class digital TV service that offers advanced features such as instant channel zapping, a rich and responsive user interface, video on demand with branded video-on-demand storefronts, digital video recording and high-definition television. Some of the world’s largest telecommunications service providers have chosen IPTV Edition as their IPTV software solution, with scale commercial deployments currently under way with AT&T in the United States, BT Group PLC in the United Kingdom , Deutsche Telekom in Germany , T-Online in France and Swisscom in Switzerland .

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E-mail from Peter Moore

These are truly exciting times for all of us in the Interactive Entertainment Business.

Fresh off a phenomenal holiday season, we now stand at the forefront of a company-wide vision of Connected Entertainment, articulated just moments ago by Bill Gates and Robbie Bach at this year’s annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas . It’s a vision to make entertainment more personal, more interactive, and more social, making it easier to connect with communities and share experiences. All delivered through one consistent, simple user experience.

I’d like to update you on several key announcements we made at CES in support of this vision of Connected Entertainment, but first let’s take a moment to reflect back at what we’ve accomplished this holiday and celebrate how far we’ve come.

Where We’ve Been

In little over a year on the market we sold over 10.4 million Xbox 360 consoles in more than 37 countries, exceeding our commitment to pass the 10 million mark by the end of 2006. And in a market environment that saw strong launches by our competitors, Xbox 360 was the top choice this holiday season.

Keeping our commitment to sell 10 million was no small feat, and while we caught more than one industry pundit off guard by exceeding this number, our success comes as no surprise to me. I’ve known all along that within the IEB we have the most innovative, talented people in the industry, who aren’t afraid to take risks, drive innovation, and make big bets.

When we launched Xbox 360 in the Fall of 2005, we bet big on what we saw as three major market forces that would define the next generation of consoles:

· Social Gaming: Last generation, Xbox outpaced all consoles with a 10% internet attach rate. Now, we announced tonight that the Xbox Live community has eclipsed 5 million members, with over half of all consoles connected.

· High Definition: In late 2005 HDTV’s were just entering the consumer mainstream. We met these early adopters with a primary reason to upgrade to HDTV with Xbox 360. Now, 2006 saw more growth in high definition entertainment than any year before, and our launch timing put us at the forefront of this growth.

· Digitally Distributed Content: We bet early on that consumers would demand a device capable of delivering high definition content straight to their living room. Now, over 100 million pieces of standard and high definition content have been downloaded from Xbox Live Marketplace.

By betting big and driving innovation on these market forces, we’ve delivered one of most powerful and complete gaming experiences of the next generation, giving consumers more access and more choice than ever before.

This holiday Xbox 360 owners had more than 160 games to choose from – the strongest first year lineup of games in console history, highlighted by our record-breaking attach rate of 5.3 games sold per console. Leading our lineup was the blockbuster hit Gears of War, which sold more than 2.7 million copies after only 8 weeks on the market and won numerous Game of the Year awards.

I’m especially proud of the continued success of Xbox Live Arcade , with more than 20 million games downloaded to date, including titles like Assault Heroes, Small Arms, DOOM, Street Fighter II, Uno and more. Opening up this new digital distribution channel plays a vital role in broadening the console market, and set an extremely high bar for our competition to match.

With Xbox Live we’ve created an online experience that’s simple, easy and fun, and, with more than 5 million members, it’s well on its way to our stated goal of 6 million Xbox Live members by June 2007. What’s truly special about this growth, however, is the “stickiness” of this service. Once you join Live, you’re hooked. The average Xbox Live Gold subscriber has more than 21 friends, and every day there are 2 million messages (text/voice/picture) sent across the Xbox Live network. These friend connections are key to our growth heading into the future.

Xbox Live also makes it simple to download entertainment content, with more choices available every day from a growing list of partners. Right now, over 70% of Xbox Live members are downloading content from Xbox Live Marketplace.

We’ve come quite a ways since launch, bringing together the right technology with the right content to create an unbeatable customer experience. But as we heard from the keynote earlier tonight, the best is yet to come.

Where We’re Going

There was plenty to get excited about from the stage at CES for both Xbox 360 and Games for Windows.

The launch of Windows Vista marks the most significant event yet in our commitment to revive the Games for Windows brand. With gaming and graphics at its very core, more robust family settings, and games explorer, Vista is undoubtedly the best gaming OS ever made and a clear win for PC gaming enthusiasts and casual players alike.

For Xbox 360, we sold in excess of 10.4 million Xbox 360 consoles in 2006 and remain on track for 13-15 million units shipped by the end of FY07. We demonstrated our ability to turn our thought leadership into market leadership. Now in 2007, our challenge is to use our position as market leader to continue pushing the innovation envelope and connecting consumers ever more tightly to their games, their friends and their lifestyle.

2007 will quite simply be the best year for great games in Xbox history. As Robbie announced earlier this evening, this year we’ll more than double the 160 games available today, with a truly remarkable amount of AAA quality titles to keep gamers engaged throughout the entire year including Lost Planet, Forza Motorsport 2, Crackdown, Mass Effect, Too Human, Shadowrun, Bioshock, Guitar Hero 2, Dance Dance Revolution Universe, Assassin’s Creed, Blue Dragon, Project Gotham Racing IV, Grand Theft Auto IV, and the most anticipated title in gaming history … Halo 3. This incredible slate of titles will keep gamers of all interests racking up achievements throughout the year.

Since the beginning, we’ve said gaming should be a social experience, where community matters and friends are just a blade away. Now, we’re bringing the Xbox Live community to Windows this summer, enabling tens of millions more to join the fun and delivering on the promise made by Bill Gates at last year’s E3. On stage we showed for the first time, through a game of Uno, what the Live experience will be on the PC, and how it enables casual and hardcore gamers alike to connect with their friends regardless of what platform they’re on.

Earlier tonight we also addressed a consumer demand that’s growing louder and more intense every day: people want more high definition content, and they want to choose how it’s delivered. We’re meeting this demand with three ways to get high definition content on Xbox 360.

First, we offer the most affordable HD DVD player on the market that’s selling out at retail. HD DVD is quickly becoming the format of choice for consumers, with an industry-leading projected annualized attach rate of 28 movies per player.

Second, we’re the only gaming console to offer high definition downloadable movie and TV content, rocketing to the #2 internet download service and #1 where it counts - in the living room, and in high definition. With over 1,000 hours of content, we’re posting content as fast as we can “ingest” it into the system, with high definition downloads leading the way. Just recently, COMEDY CENTRAL Senior Vice President Caleb Weinstein announced that “In nearly two months, Xbox Live has become our second highest performing digital distributor.” Now, even more content partners are lining up to get into this service, including new addition Lionsgate will bring an all high definition movie line-up to our rapidly growing digital library.

Third, we’re bringing the next generation of TV to Xbox 360 with IPTV. Shown for the first time running on a Xbox 360 at CES, IPTV unlocks the potential of TV with a much faster, easier and simpler experience. This combination delivers a complete connected entertainment experience as we saw on stage with voice chat and game invites sent and received while watching TV. And with DVR, you can accept an invite and get in a game without ever having to miss your favorite show. With over 16 partners testing or deploying this software in test markets, it won’t be long until this 1-2 combination hits the mainstream.

With so much on tap, I expect us to continue to push the envelope on all fronts in 2007 – games and game development, Xbox Live, entertainment content, and allowing all these choices to connect in meaningful ways.


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November 22, 2006

2K Sports Announces College Hoops 2K7 Now Available

NEW YORK, NY – November 22, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), proudly announced today that College Hoops 2K7 for the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft is now available in stores across North America. The #1 rated college basketball simulation series for four-straight years*, College Hoops 2K7 continues the tradition of bringing the most authentic and thrilling college basketball experience anywhere.

“The hard work and incredible talent of our College Hoops team has produced our greatest college basketball game to date,” stated Greg Thomas, President of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “There are so many unique details in college basketball – the tradition, the rivalries, the Cinderella stories – that make it one of the most complex sports video games. The College Hoops 2K7 team has complemented the outstanding gameplay with innovative features and authentic details, creating our most comprehensive college basketball title ever.”

Featuring over 200 fight songs to enhance the overall college atmosphere, College Hoops 2K7 also introduces the unique Chant Creator, allowing gamers to construct over 20 million chant combinations. Focusing on the importance of team chemistry, College Hoops 2K7 debuts Team Unity where players are encouraged to focus on team dynamics of defense, setting up plays, and the fundamentals of passing to maximize the potential of each squad. Commentators Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg, and their trademark colorful personalities, make a triumphant return to College Hoops 2K7, hosting College Hoops Tonight, a brand-new studio show discussing topics such as Games of the Week, Player of the Week, Coach on the Hot Seat, and Big Game Preview. Legacy Mode also boasts tournament bracketology, thousands of NCAA and school records, the post-season NIT, and so much more.

Featuring J.J. Redick, former star player for the Duke University Blue Devils on the cover, College Hoops 2K7 is rated E for Everyone and is available now for the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft for $59.99 and $19.99, respectively. College Hoops 2K7 will be available in December for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and this winter for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system.


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Latest Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Gaming News

Two weeks ago, on Tuesday, November 7, Peter Moore took the stage at the BMO Capital Markets – Interactive Entertainment Conference in New York, where he confirmed Microsoft’s continuous force in the interactive entertainment industry and shared exciting news about truly breakthrough experiences that are coming to Xbox 360 this month.

As we near the anniversary of the Xbox 360 launch, we are on track to have sold 10 million units by holiday, and have delivered on the plan to offer a console that revolves around “you” - your choices, your friends, and your entertainment. In New York, we outlined our new one-stop digital marketplace for high definition content in addition to our full lineup of 160 game titles by holiday 2006. Add to that a suite of accessories that enable gamers to customize their own entertainment experience to fit their lifestyle; Xbox 360 is the console of choice for gamers who want to have choice.

What they want, when they want it

Beginning November 22, Xbox 360 will be the first gaming console to bring standard and high definition TV shows and movies via digital distribution directly to consumers. We announced agreements with CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS Inc.), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to bring an initial lineup of more than 1,000 hours of hit TV shows and movies to Xbox 360 owners by the end of 2006.

The current lineup of content includes but is not limited to:

o “Robot Chicken” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” from Adult Swim

o “CSI,” “Survivor” and “Star Trek” from CBS

o Emmy and Peabody award-winning “South Park” and “Chappelle’s Show” from COMEDY CENTRAL

o “The Real World” and “Pimp My Ride” from MTV

o “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and ”SpongeBob SquarePants” from Nickelodeon

o “Skyland” and “The Nicktoons Network Animation Festival” from Nicktoons Network

o “M:i:III,” “Nacho Libre” and “Jackass: The Movie” from Paramount Pictures

o “Carpocalypse” and “Raising the Roofs” from Spike TV

o “Race Rewind” provided by NASCAR.COM

o Select episodes of the original season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and the “UFC: All Access” shows from the UFC

o “Breaking Bonaduce” and “Hogan Knows Best” from VH1

o “The Matrix,” “Superman Returns” and “Batman Forever” from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Making it their own experience

This holiday season nothing pairs with the library of Xbox 360 entertainment experiences quite like our accessory lineup. With the Xbox 360 wireless Headset, Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel, Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, or the Xbox Live Vision Camera gamers can choose how to create their own experience, whether they want the most realistic race they’ve ever driven, or the most realistic movie they’ve ever seen.

On November 7, the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, packaged with Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” and the universal media remote, began shipping to North American retailers and is making its way to store shelves. This accessory allows Xbox 360 owners to experience “the look and sound of perfect” with such films as “Serenity,” “V for Vendetta,” and “Batman Begins.”

Gamers can get the most mileage out of their accessories with the Xbox 360 Gaming Receiver for Windows, which lets the Wireless Controller, Wireless Headset and Wireless Racing Wheel work on the Windows PC. For those who want to build their ultimate interactive entertainment system, the best accessories, the most games, and the greatest experiences are on Xbox 360.

Revolving around great games

With accessories that customize gameplay, to a colossal game library that brings action, excitement and thrills, this holiday season we are set to bring forth a myriad of fun from friendly Piñatas to battles of epic proportions to bite-size action, pick up and play fun.

Earlier this month, “Gears of War” (Epic Games) emerged to a successful – and enormous – launch, expected to sell more than one million copies worldwide this holiday season, setting a new mark for the fastest-selling original game for Xbox. The frenzy continues this Sunday November 12th, “Emergence Day,” with online tournaments, including a 24-hour marathon event, bringing gamers more of the hyper-realistic and intense combat graphics and immersive beauty of the cinematic story that has sparked such a furor among consumers. The review scores are pouring in and this is the highest rated next-gen game to date with multiple perfect scores from around the world.

“Gears of War” (Epic Games) is just the beginning of the holiday excitement. “Viva Piñata” (Rare) bursts onto store shelves with its launch on November 9. With more than 60 piñata species to attract to your garden and engaging characters to interact with, Viva Piñata is sure to be the game played by kids of all ages on the Xbox 360. Brand momentum continues to build, following the success of the Saturday morning TV show, “Viva Piñata,” which airs on 4Kids TV (FOX) -- having quickly become a Saturday morning “must watch” for many kids. Licensing efforts are also well underway with the recent partnership announced with Playmates as the master toy licensee and American Greetings to create a social expressions line of products (greeting cards, gift wrap, etc.)

This month has also brought great titles to store shelves including: “Need for Speed Carbon” (EA) which hit November 1, “Call of Duty 3” (Activision) and “Tony Hawk’s Project 8” (Activision) were released November 7. The thrills don’t stop there, later this month we will also see: “WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007” (THQ) on November 14, “Superman Returns: The Videogame” (EA) on November 20 and “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas” (Ubisoft) on November 28. For a full list of upcoming titles check out: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/calendar.aspx?WT.svl=nav

For gamers looking for a quick gaming fix, Xbox Live Arcade has a diverse library with more than 40 independent, original development and classic retro titles slated to be on the service by end of year which has driven more than 12 million game downloads to date. Not to mention, next year Atari fans can revisit old favorites like “Centipede/Millipede,” “Battlezone,” “Asteroids/Asteroids Deluxe,” “Missile Command,” “Tempest and Warlords” - with high-definition graphics, enhanced sound, leaderboard, multiplayer and a variety of achievements.

While on the casual games front, Microsoft Casual Games (MCG) is now touching 120 million players around the globe every month. MCG is the go-to provider of casual arcade-style gaming offering these 120 million players more than 400 titles across MSN Games, Windows Live Messenger, XP “in box” operating system games and Xbox Live Arcade.

Windows Vista went gold on November 8, whetting the appetite of Windows gamers. The first available DirectX 10 hardware was also announced by NVIDIA on November 8, making the countdown to Windows Vista truly tangible for gamers around the world.

What the numbers say

This holiday, we will have more than 160 high definition titles available for Xbox 360. October’s NPD data, the industry standard for tracking US momentum and market share, continues to illustrate the breadth and depth of the console’s services and features.

o Our record setting software attach rate is soaring at 5.2 games per console, which reflects the enthusiastic consumer response to the depth and breadth of our software library keeping the record for this period in the lifecycle.

o With our lineup of accessories it is clear why the Xbox 360 accessory attach rate rose this month to 3.0, setting another record for this stage in the lifecycle.

“Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent,” (Ubisoft) released last month, has soared its way to the top of the charts. Since its debut, gamers have been carefully living the life of double agent Sam Fisher and his international espionage adventures, making the title # 2 across all consoles on the U.S. sales chart.

Top Five Selling Xbox 360 Titles for October:

1) “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent” (Ubisoft)

2) “Tiger Woods 2007” (EA)

3) “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” (Activision)

4) “Madden 2007” (EA)

5) “NBA 2K7” (Take-Two)

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November 7, 2006

Hunker Down and Pray for Daylight: “Gears of War” Emerges Today to Storm Retailers Worldwide

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 7, 2006 — Hailed as the most-anticipated video game launch of 2006 and punctuated by incredible demand from gamers, “Gears of War” begins appearing in the first retail outlets today, with continued rollout to retailers worldwide. Microsoft Corp. forecasts that “Gears of War,” an exclusive title for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, is expected to sell more than 1 million copies worldwide this holiday season, setting a new mark for the fastest-selling original game for Xbox®. Starting now, gamers can run for cover and crush the enemy on their own, or take the season’s hottest action title online via Xbox Live®, the world’s largest online gaming and entertainment network, which boasts 4 million members.

“Gears of War,” developed by Epic Games Inc. and published by Microsoft Game Studios, made its debut to great fanfare at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2005 and has captured the gaze of industry watchers and fans ever since. The intense, genre-defining game thrusts players into humankind’s epic battle for survival against a nightmarish race of creatures known as the Locust Horde. With its combination of cinematic, visceral gameplay, dramatic storytelling and intense action, and with single-player and multiplayer online play via Xbox Live, “Gears of War” is a seminal title for Xbox 360, providing one of the best next-generation interactive entertainment experiences today.

“‘Gears of War’ is a title we know will deliver on all of its promise, and we expect the game to reach 1 million copies faster than any new titles for Xbox,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “This holiday is an extremely important one for the entire industry, and Xbox 360 will offer the world unparalleled experiences available only on this console. We’ve put an enormous emphasis on bringing new and exciting titles to market, and ‘Gears of War’ is a key example of Microsoft’s commitment to developing original and immersive titles for gamers everywhere.”

Anticipation for the game’s launch today has been growing for several months. Microsoft’s “Match Made in Hell” promotion, a series of pre-release celebrations held throughout October, provided fans with their first opportunity to play the game before it reached store shelves. Headlined by a celebrity launch party in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery , the “Match Made in Hell” events were besieged by anxious gamers, desperate for their first opportunity to play the game. “Gears of War” has received several highly coveted awards, including the Game Critics Awards’ Best Console Game and Best Action Game of E3 2006, IGN’s E3 2005 Best Xbox 360 Action Game, and a GameSpot’s E3 2006 People’s Choice Award, and has already garnered praise in early reviews, earning a perfect 10 out of 10 score from Official Xbox Magazine and a perfect 5 out of 5 score from G4 TV’s X-Play; that episode will air Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. EST.

“The reception that ‘Gears of War’ has received has been tremendous,” said Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer for “Gears of War” at Epic Games. “Designing ‘Gears of War’ has been a labor of love, and we’ve poured everything we have into the title. We expect this game to be huge, and it’s exhilarating to see that people are as excited about ‘Gears of War’ as we are.”

“We’ve seen tremendous excitement and demand for ‘Gears of War,’ as Xbox 360 fans packed our stores across the country during our special after-hours events for their first chance to play the game,” said Bob McKenzie, senior vice president of Merchandising at GameStop Corp. “‘Gears of War’ is hands down one of the most anticipated games this holiday, and the pre-order numbers we’ve received are astounding and second only to ‘Halo® 2’ for the Xbox platform.”

“Gears of War” from Epic Games and Microsoft Game Studios is a third-person tactical action/horror game available exclusively on Xbox 360. It is available now at select retailers and will be available widely beginning Nov. 12, 2006, in the U.S. for the estimated retail price of $59.99, or $69.99 for a special Limited Collector’s Edition, which will include a collectible embossed metal box, the “Destroyed Beauty” hardbound art book, and a bonus DVD that features the making of “Gears of War,” the “Art of Gears of War” trailer and the MTV program “Gears of War: The Race to E3.”

Microsoft and Epic’s celebration of the game’s release continues on Nov. 12, with a full slate of activities scheduled on Xbox Live, including a 24-hour leader board tournament for online multiplayer matches, hourly sweepstakes drawings offering the chance to win one of several Samsung HT-P29 Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound systems, Game with Fame sessions with “Gears of War” fans Megadeth and members of the Epic development team, and much more. A full list of scheduled events can be found at http://www.xbox.com. In addition, due to the popularity of the highly rated MTV “Gears of War: The Race to E3” broadcast, MTV will feature its follow-up to the program, “Gears of War: The Race to Launch,” which follows the birth of the game through the eyes of eager fans waiting for its release and the real-life characters that created it; the program will air on MTV Nov. 13 at 8:30 p.m. and on MTV2 at 9:30 p.m. EST/MST/PST.

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November 2, 2006

EA SPORTS FIFA SOCCER 07 ON XBOX 360 in stores now worldwide

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – November 1, 2006 – FIFA Soccer 07 on the Xbox 360™ videogame system from Microsoft heralds the start of the next generation of soccer gaming and fans now have the opportunity to experience the dynamic new EA SPORTS™ engine and all-new gameplay after Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) shipped FIFA Soccer 07 on Xbox 360 to stores throughout North America and Europe, making it available to fans worldwide.

FIFA Soccer 07 on the Xbox 360 moves away from the traditional animation-based game engine and now enables raw physics and data to drive the action, creating true-to-life movement and the most advanced visuals seen in a soccer game. Player characteristics are based on brand-new traits and twice the number of attributes, so you won't see two players moving in exactly the same way. Instead they look and behave like the athletes we see gracing the pitch week-in, week-out.

Improved fundamental controls that are easy to pick-up-and-play but difficult to master and enhanced AI enable you to truly enjoy the virtual recreation of the beautiful game. The ball and players react to your slightest touch with an unprecedented level of responsiveness. For the first time ever the ball is alive with its own independent physics, resulting in truly unpredictable gameplay. Now any type of pass or shot is possible and goals will feel natural and unique.

The FIFA Soccer 07 official website located at www.FIFA07.ea.com celebrates the beautiful game with the most comprehensive combination of real life and virtual interactive soccer content, including real world soccer news, fixtures, results, tables, detailed squad stats and 1,000’s of individual player profiles. Take the EA SPORTS online quiz to test your soccer knowledge against fans from around the world. The FIFA Soccer 07 official website is customizable for 15 international markets. It features an overview of the videogame’s features, gameplay videos of the world’s superstars, producer blogs and interviews, the game’s official soundtrack and the ability to download customizable wallpapers.

FIFA Soccer 07 offers never-before-experienced real-time player analysis and pulls together all the facts at the final whistle to accurately rate the best player in the park and award him the ultimate accolade – Man of the Match. The rich feature depth available on FIFA Soccer 07 is complete with Manager Mode and an all-new player evolution system that enables you to develop world-class players, FIFA Soccer 07 Lounge for the ultimate in multiplayer sessions, and a Challenge mode that offers 85 scenarios to test even the most hard-core gamer.

FIFA Soccer 07 on the Xbox 360 also includes comprehensive online features that streams up-to-the-minute real-world game results via real-time, weekly podcasts and news ticker. Nowhere else will soccer fans find such a comprehensive destination for soccer stats, information and real-world news available in five languages. While online, FIFA Soccer 07 will enable four friends to play together on one console against four of their rivals sharing another console for the ultimate in bragging rights.

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October 27, 2006

Bethesda Softworks Announces Its Return to First-Person Shooters with Rogue Warrior™

October 27, 2006 (Rockville, MD) - Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, today announced its plans to publish Rogue Warrior™, an authentic, tactical first-person shooter based on the best-selling book series by Richard (Dick) Marcinko, former U.S. Navy SEAL and founder of both SEAL Team Six and Red Cell. Rogue Warrior is being developed for the Xbox 360™ videogame and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and Windows by Zombie Studios in conjunction with Bethesda Softworks. Rogue Warrior is scheduled for a fall 2007 release.

“We are very excited to be working on Rogue Warrior, which allows us the chance to bring Bethesda’s creative vision and development expertise to this brand,” said Vlatko Andonov, president of Bethesda Softworks. “This game marks our return to shooters since our highly successful Terminator series, and we hope to offer fans a true next-generation gameplay experience.”

Rogue Warrior is a story-driven shooter that provides team-based tactical combat set in massive, contiguous levels using Unreal 3 streaming technology. Central to the game’s single and multiplayer experience is the idea of a freeform battlefield, where players are given the freedom to choose how to complete a given objective, allowing for creativity and surprises, rather than heavily scripted events and tightly contained spaces traditionally used in this genre.

An advanced AI system allows NPCs to react and fight realistically, see and hear others, and respond as a team. Rogue Warrior offers a new take on the multiplayer experience, with 10 gameplay modes and a system whereby maps are created using tiles that are selected by each team. Rogue Warrior’s tiling system allows users to experience over 200 maps in both day and nighttime settings. In addition, the campaign features solo and on-the-fly cooperative play for up to four players, where anyone can join or leave an existing campaign game at any time without having to go to menus or save progress.

“Rogue Warrior is the game we’ve been waiting to make for years,” said Mark Long, lead producer at Zombie Studios. “We’re using terrific technology in a way that’s different from other games - we have a unique HUD and control system for your teammates, on-the-fly co-op play, and we’ve really focused our efforts on making multiplayer more fun and challenging by giving you lots of modes and hundreds of maps you can see and play. We’re thrilled to be working with Bethesda on this new initiative using a brand we know and love.”

In Rogue Warrior, you play Dick Marcinko, leader of an elite SEAL unit trapped behind enemy lines in North Korea on a covert mission to assess the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. When war breaks out between North and South Korea, you must try to lead your team back into South Korea while greatly outnumbered and with no support and limited resupply. Your journey will take you through a variety of never-before-seen environments inside of North Korea, including submarine pens, shipbreaker yards, prison camps, and more.

A 30-year veteran with the U.S. Navy, Dick Marcinko served in both the Underwater Demolitions Team and Navy SEAL programs, was a military attache in Cambodia, and conceived, founded, and commanded SEAL Team Six, the U.S. Navy’s first counterterrorism unit. He later created and ran Red Cell, a unit created to test the Navy's anti-terrorist capabilities for highly-secured bases, nuclear submarines, ships, and other purported “secure areas”, including Air Force One. Dick’s experiences as a Navy SEAL were captured in his New York Times best-selling autobiography, Rogue Warrior, and his Rogue Warrior fiction series.

“I think this game has a lot going for it and I’m very excited to be a part of it,” said Marcinko. “You have input from my SEALs and me on everything from animations to equipment to artificial intelligence to tactics to ensure accuracy of the gameplay, plus a story that has lots of relevance with the current events in North Korea, and the expertise in making great games that comes from Bethesda and Zombie…I think it’s going to take names like only a SEAL can.”

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September 26, 2006

2K Sports Announces NBA 2K7 Now Shipping

NEW YORK, NY – September 26, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), proudly announced today that NBA 2K7 for the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system is now shipping to stores across North America. The top-rated NBA simulation title* continues to deliver stunning visual quality, unparalleled gameplay, and unique innovations that are a trademark of 2K Sports titles.

“Without a doubt, this is definitely our finest basketball effort to date and possibly the finest sports title we’ve made,” stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “NBA 2K7 delivers the next generation details that sports gamers have wanted. The development team has worked extremely hard to not only set a new standard in visual quality, but also develop new gameplay features that we believe will set a new standard for the next generation of sports games.”

NBA 2K7 showcases the dynamic movements of every single NBA player with the introduction of Signature Style, featuring over 300 unique animations in jumpshots, dunks, dribbles and passes. Athletes in NBA 2K7 look and move exactly like their real-life counterparts, and display the same tendencies and behaviors, bringing intelligence and realism to the next level. Improved arena atmosphere includes enhanced lighting effects and dynamic 3D crowd behaviors, and over 30 new gameplay cameras.

NBA 2K7 brings the most comprehensive game modes for any sports game including 24/7: NEXT, an entertaining Streetball story mode with unique basketball challenges; a completely redesigned Create Player system; and the Association, the most complete franchise mode that includes three-team trades, progressive fatigue and more.

2K Sports continues to lead the online charge with the most comprehensive online features for NBA 2K7, including improved online stat tracking, online tournament features, and the addition of online fantasy leagues.

NBA 2K7 is available for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft for $59.99, and for the Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system for $29.99. NBA 2K7 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system will also be coming this holiday season.

For more information click on www.2ksports.com

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

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YESSSSS! NBA LIVE 07 FROM EA SPORTS SHIPS TODAY

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – September 26, 2006 – The chance to play with complete control over all of the dazzling passes, signature dunks, jump shots and free throw routines of your favorite NBA stars in the world’s best-selling* basketball video game became a reality today after Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) shipped NBA LIVE 07 to stores throughout North America.

Developed by EA Canada, NBA LIVE 07 features NBA superstar Tracy McGrady of the Houston Rockets on its cover, and it is available on the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game systems from Microsoft, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, mobile and PC. It will ship to stores in North America on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system on September 27th.

On Wednesday, September 27, McGrady and Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, who is featured on NBA LIVE 07 packaging in France , will help launch NBA LIVE 07 at the world’s only NBA Store on 5th Avenue in New York City . Beginning at 1:00 pm Eastern Time, the first 150 fans who have registered to pre-purchase the game from the NBA Store will receive an autographed copy of the game from McGrady and Parker and have the opportunity to meet the players.

Outside North America, NBA LIVE 07 will be available to stores worldwide on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6 with Parker and Boris Diaw of the Phoenix Suns on the cover in France, Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks on the cover in Germany and Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies on the cover in Spain. McGrady is featured on the cover in North America and all other territories.

This year NBA LIVE 07 introduces ESPN Motion and streaming ESPN radio podcasts delivered right to your console in game through a ground-breaking new ESPN integration package available on the Xbox 360™ and PlayStation®3 consoles. Fans connected online will be able to watch NBA game highlights, segments from Pardon the Interruption or Around the Horn, interviews and analysis from SportsCenter, and more. Fans will also be able to download and listen to ESPN radio podcasts as they play NBA LIVE 07, including segments from Dan Patrick, Mike & Mike, Stephen A. Smith and others. All this is in addition to live ESPN Radio SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes, the ESPN Ticker and ESPN News.

Legendary broadcaster Marv Albert and former Chicago Bulls star Steve Kerr call all the action from the best seats in the house as you take your game to the highest level in NBA LIVE 07. With all-new EA SPORTS™ Total Freestyle Control and revolutionary gameplay -- complete with ultra-realistic moves and player emotions --the highly acclaimed basketball video game from the EA SPORTS brand plays as good as it looks. Pull off moves only the pros perform as you replicate the styles of your favorite NBA players. Elevate to the rim for an electrifying dunk and bring the crowd to its feet, or look to your superstars to shift momentum with the game on the line. Featuring all-new levels of ability for your EA SPORTS Freestyle Superstars, the power to switch their skills on-the-fly, and advancements to fan-favorite features like All-Star Weekend and Dynasty Mode™, the hardwood is yours for the taking in NBA LIVE 07.

Developed in Vancouver , B.C., by EA Canada, NBA LIVE 07 is scheduled for release on the PlayStation®3 later this year. Learn more about the game at http://nbalive07.com or download new screenshots at http://info.ea.com.

* Based on total franchise sales according to NPD Data.

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September 22, 2006

2K SPORTS ANNOUNCES NBA 2K7 FOR XBOX 360, XBOX and PLAYSTATION®2 HAS GONE GOLD!

#1 Rated Basketball Simulation Game Series To Retail At $29.99 on Xbox® video game and entertainment system and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and $59.99 for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system

NBA 2K7, the latest in the top-rated* NBA simulation video game series, has gone gold and is set to hit retail shelves on September 26th. NBA 2K7 introduces new standard setting features like Signature Style, improved Shot Stick™ control, enhanced arena atmosphere, online fantasy leagues, and much more.

“I’m very excited and proud of our finest basketball video game title to date,” stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “NBA 2K7 truly delivers the next generation features in both graphics and gameplay that sports gamers have been wanting for years. I’m really pleased with the hard work and creative thinking our development team has put into this title.”

NBA 2K7 showcases the movement of every single NBA player with the introduction of Signature Style that features over 300 unique animations in jumpshots, dunks, dribbles, and passes. Athletes not only look and move exactly like their real-life counterparts, but will display the same tendencies and behaviors during a game. Improved arena atmosphere includes enhanced lighting and full 3D crowds with their own behavior, and over 30 new gameplay cameras bring the game to life like never before.

NBA 2K7 delivers a wealth of comprehensive gameplay modes including 24/7: NEXT, a new entertaining Streetball story mode with new basketball challenges, a brand new Create Player system, and the Association, the most complete franchise mode that includes three-team trades, progressive fatigue and more.

The integration of music in NBA 2K7 is without peer as the soundtrack, produced by highly acclaimed music producer Dan The Automator, features artists like Mos Def, Fabolous, Hieroglyphics, Tribe Called Quest and many more.

With seamless online play and the most comprehensive online feature set anywhere including complete online stat tracking, online tournaments, and new online fantasy drafted leagues, 2K Sports continues to lead the online gaming revolution.

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Don’t Beat ‘em, Join ’Em

When the highly-anticipated “Viva Piñata” video game for the Xbox 360™ hits store shelves this November, kids and adults can break into the two-disc Special Edition “Viva Piñata”™ Xbox 360 game with added bonuses for the whole family to enjoy. The Special Edition game, available for a limited time, will include playable demos of the season’s hottest family-friendly titles and an episode from the “Viva Piñata” animated series.

“Viva Piñata,” the high-energy, mass-appeal entertainment property created by Rare and brought to life by Microsoft and 4Kids Entertainment, reveals a vibrant world of living piñata animals designed to capture and inspire the imagination of people of all ages. Kids were recently introduced to the cast of characters from the “Viva Piñata” animated series now on air and available for download via Xbox Live Marketplace in the US and Canada and soon around the world. They can look forward to even more piñata fun when the Xbox 360 game hits store shelves this holiday season.

In addition to the “Viva Piñata” game, which will allow players to create their own environment where they can attract and host more than 60 species of wild piñatas and customize piñata-filled adventures in their unique-ever-growing world, the Special Edition “Viva Piñata” game, priced at $49.99 USD, will include:

· A playable demo of LucasArts’ “LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy,” which combines the fun and endless customization of LEGO play and with a hilarious tongue-in-cheek take on the epic story, characters and action from the classic Star Wars: Episodes IV, V and VI films

· A playable demo of the arcade classic “Frogger” that is enhanced and reinvigorated for the Xbox 360. The game features new artwork that matches and compliments the original style

· A playable demo of “Cloning Clyde” for gamers to explore a visually compelling world filled with hilarious action and crazy adventure as they struggle to escape the clutches of the evil company Dupliclone, Inc.

· A “Time Pilot” playable demo for gamers to fly a futuristic fighter jet with the capability to travel through time to destroy wave after wave of enemies

· A return to AstroLab for a playable demo of “Marble Blast,” where players guide their marbles through a rich cartoon landscape of moving platforms and perilous obstacles

Also included in the Special Edition “Viva Piñata” game will be a sneak peek at the wacky, zany, anything-can-happen animated TV series, produced by 4Kids Entertainment & Bardel Entertainment. With this full-length episode of the colorful animated series, Kids can experience Piñata Island for themselves, where multitudes of happy, colorful piñatas live the sweet life.


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September 13, 2006

2K Sports Delivers Unique New Features For NBA 2K7

NEW YORK, NY – September 14, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today new standard-setting features for NBA 2K7. NBA 2K7, the highest rated NBA simulation video game series*, delivers a new benchmark in high-level visual player details with Signature Style player animations. NBA 2K7 also enhances the overall NBA atmosphere with hyper-detailed arenas, enhanced arena lighting, and numerous new camera angles to truly deliver the next generation of basketball video games.

Signature Style elevates next generation animation and adds new level of gameplay strategies as gamers adjust to the different shooting styles of each NBA player. Whether it’s Shaquille O’Neal’s two-handed drop step dunk, Steve Nash’s dribble, Gilbert Arenas’ wrap around the waist free throw routine, Richard Hamilton adjusting his face mask, Allen Iverson’s crossover move, or Shawn Marion’s fadeaway jumpshot, Signature Style comprises over 300 unique animations in shooting, dribbling, and dunking in NBA 2K7.

“Gamers will appreciate the attention to detail to all NBA players in NBA 2K7,” stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “Utilizing the power of next generation systems, 2K Sports is taking the first steps in bringing the details that sports fans have been looking for in their sports video games. In NBA 2K7, NBA players are recognizable by sight, and through Signature Style, gamers will be able to distinguish NBA players by their movement, positioning, shooting animations, and behavior. 2K Sports is setting the standard with NBA 2K7.”

The level of detail has also been dramatically enhanced around the players, as NBA 2K7 features hyper-detail to every NBA arena. New lighting effects have been authentically replicated to give each court its own look and character. New crowd reactions and animations deliver more life to each of the games, as well as new arena specific elements of mascot animations, dance team performances, and much more. Lastly, users can experience the game with over 30 new camera angles ranging from the birds-eye view from the upper-level seats, to the eye level view from the coach’s cam. All of these cameras are further customizable to any gamer preference, giving gamers hundreds of new ways to watch the best NBA simulation video game for the next generation.

NBA 2K7 will be available for the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system in September 2006, and will be available in holiday 2006 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system**. More standard-setting features will be detailed in the near future.

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NYKO(R) MULTI READER 360 TAPS THE MULTI-FUNCTIONAL DESIGN OF THE XBOX 360

LOS ANGELES – Sept 12, 2006 – Nyko Technologies(R), a premier peripherals manufacturer, has shipped the Multi Reader(TM) 360 for the Xbox 360(R) to major retailers. The Multi Reader(TM) 360 enhances the capabilities of the Xbox 360 by giving gamers an easy way to listen to music, view photos and participate in group gaming sessions with one affordable device.

The compact Multi Reader(TM) 360 serves as a USB hub for the Xbox 360, giving users the ability to connect up to three USB enabled devices to the unit (cameras, MP3 players, iPod, PSP, etc.) simultaneously. The unit also features a “Multitap” functionality that allows up to 4 wired controllers to connect to the Xbox 360 simultaneously via the Multi Reader(TM) 360 for multiplayer gaming action. In addition, the product serves as a multi-format flash media reader for all the popular memory formats (Smart Media, Compact Flash, Memory Stick/Pro and Secure Digital) to view digital photos. The Multi Reader(TM) 360 gives owners a variety of ways to access media through their console, opening up additional Xbox 360 functionality. For example, users can insert music from their iPod into their favorite videogame or watch a photo slideshow from a digital camera while listening to their favorite songs, by implementing the Multi Reader(TM) 360.

“By combining three products in one, the Multi Reader(TM) 360 gives gamers endless media options on their Xbox 360,” said Chris Arbogast, Marketing Manager, Nyko Technologies. “We wanted to give users a way to easily access their favorite content simultaneously through the Xbox 360 and enhance their overall gaming experience.”

The Multi Reader(TM) 360 features:

* Three port USB hub lets users connect up to three USB enabled devices (cameras, iPod, PSP, etc.) to the Xbox 360, allowing for a variety of ways to listen to music and view photos on Microsoft’s popular console

* Players can attach up to four wired controllers to the front of the Xbox 360, by using the “Multitap” functionality of the Multi Reader(TM) 360

* Unit serves as a multi-format flash media reader – recognizes all popular memory formats (Smart Media, Compact Flash, Memory Stick/Pro and Secure Digital)

Nyko’s Multi Reader(TM) 360 is now available at major retailers nationwide; visit www.nyko.com for a complete list of retailers.

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THE PUCK DROPS HERE! EA’s NHL 07 SHIPS TO RETAILERS TODAY

Redwood City, Calif. – Tuesday, September 12, 2006 – The golden age of console hockey returns! Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced that the NHL® 07 videogame ships to retailers in North America today under the EA SPORTS™ brand. In stores just in time for the opening of NHL training camps, NHL 07 allows players to feel like they can play like a pro without ever touching the ice.

Featuring an unmatched level of freedom and control, NHL 07 represents a watershed moment in the history of the console hockey. The revolutionary EA SPORTS Skill Stick gives users the power to play in the game as it is on the ice, without taking their thumbs off the analog sticks. The left analog functions as your skates and the right as your hockey stick to give you a skill-based execution with an intuitive feel.

Stunning new presentation, AI enhancements and animation overhauls create players who look, act and play like they would in the NHL. Gone are the days when a one-timer was the only way to score in a hockey videogame. Now look to your teammates and know how to best use their strengths with New Player-Specific Behaviors. Be the Playmaker and find your Sniper open in the slot, or let your Dangler make pylons out of the defense.

Off the ice, act as the General Manager in an enhanced Dynasty Mode™. Do whatever it takes to meet an owner’s expectations by properly managing rosters and using your creativity to fit player salaries under the new cap. Whether you’re running the front office or dominating the rink, NHL 07 is the most realistic hockey video game ever created.


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September 12, 2006

2K Sports Announces NHL® 2K7 for Xbox® and Xbox 360™ Now Available

NEW YORK, NY – September 12, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today that the top-rated title for four-straight years*, NHL® 2K7 for the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, is now available in stores across North America.

NHL 2K7 brings all of the excitement and intensity of professional hockey with several new innovative and compelling features. Coupled with its high-quality visuals, NHL 2K7 introduces a completely new skating engine with silky smooth animations, adding a whole new look and feel to the game. Gamers can play in a whole new perspective with Cinemotion™ - an exclusive and revolutionary experience that brings the game a new dramatic dimension with unique camera angles and riveting orchestrated music. Cinemotion™ utilizes cut scenes captured from brand new perspectives to further heighten the drama and excitement of the game.

“I am extremely pleased with the strides that we have made with NHL 2K7,” stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “We have truly taken the virtual hockey experience to the next level with Cinemotion. Coupled with an all-new skating engine, stunning graphics, enhanced ProControl movements, and unmatched online gameplay among other unparalleled features, we have created the most enthralling, authentic hockey video game to date.”

The revolutionary ProControl™ has been completely revamped, giving players even more offensive and defensive tools to utilize on the ice. The all-new Pressure Control™ brings a tactical element to defensive hockey by allowing players to instruct CPU teammates to defend opposing players during gameplay.

With seamless online play and the most comprehensive online feature set anywhere including complete online stat tracking, buddy list management, and online leagues, 2K Sports continues to lead the online gaming revolution.

Featuring 2006 Hart Memorial Trophy recipient and San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton on the cover, NHL 2K7 is now available for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft for $59.99 and the Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft for $19.99. NHL 2K7 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system will be available for $19.99 in early October, with the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system title available this holiday season.

For more information click on www.2ksports.com

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

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August 30, 2006

ACTIVISION'S MARVEL: ULTIMATE ALLIANCE SCORES AWARD-WINNING COMPOSERS

Santa Monica, CA – August 29, 2006 – Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) announced today that award-winning composers Chance Thomas (Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Lord of the Rings series), Cris Velasco (God of War) and Mark Griskey (Best of LucasArts Original Soundtrack) have scored the upcoming, critically-acclaimed Marvel™: Ultimate Alliance video game. The trio has produced over 50 minutes of original music for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, including arrangements for multiple game levels, the in-game cinematics and the Super Hero™ and boss battle themes.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is Raven Software’s highly anticipated action/RPG that allows players to create their Marvel dream team from the largest roster of Super Heroes ever in an epic quest that will determine the fate of Earth and the Marvel Universe. With over 140 popular Marvel characters and a playable cast of more than 20 Super Heroes, including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Blade and Captain America, gamers will embark on a dangerous journey across exotic terrain and well-known comic book locations like Atlantis, the Shield Heli-Carrier and the Skrull home world in an attempt to defy Dr. Doom and the world’s most notorious Super Villains.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance will be the first Super Hero game available this fall for all next-gen gaming systems. Additionally, the game will be available for current-gen consoles, handheld and PC platforms, and carries a “T” (Teen – Mild Language, Violence) rating by the ESRB.

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EA’S BURNOUT 5 CRASHES ONTO PLAYSTATION 3 AND XBOX 360

Guildford, UK – August 29, 2006 – Buckle up and prepare to unleash automotive anarchy in the ultimate burner’s paradise. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that Burnout™ 5 is in development for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360™ video game system from Microsoft®.

Burnout 5 gives players license to wreak havoc in Paradise City, the ultimate seamless racing battleground, with a massive infrastructure of traffic-heavy roads to abuse. Gone is the need to jump in and out of menus and aimlessly search for fun like many open world games; in Burnout 5, every inch of the world is built to deliver heart-stopping Burnout-style gameplay. Every intersection is a potential crash junction and every alleyway is an opportunity to rack up moving violations.

Of course, rules are made to be broken, and when gamers enter Paradise City, they’re assigned a Drivers License that quickly begins to amass a record of player’s most aggressive, reckless and destructive exploits behind the wheel. But it’s not the law that’s eyeing player’s progress … when gamers push things too hard they’ll be squaring off against the city’s most infamous burners, and these legends aren’t interested in who crosses the finish line first.

“Burnout 5 is a complete reinvention of the series, built from the ground up for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360,” said Alex Ward, director of game design at Criterion Games. “To create truly next-generation gameplay, we needed to create a truly next-generation game, from top to bottom.”

Burnout 5 also delivers the next level of speed and destruction, with brand new next-generation technology allowing gamers to literally rip their cars in half, in the most explosive pile-ups in the series’ history.

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Capcom's Dead Rising Ships More Than 500,000 Units in Two Weeks

SUNNYVALE , Calif. ― August 29, 2006 ― Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today announced Dead Rising™, the company’s first game for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, has shipped more than 500,000 units within the first two weeks of its launch. Dead Rising released on August 8 in North America and it is scheduled to release on September 8 in Europe and on September 28 in Japan . The game carries an “M” rating for mature audiences by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).

In preparation for the next generation transition, in 2005 Capcom concentrated on creating titles for foreign markets while seeking to improve its marketing, sales and business operations functions in North America . Dead Rising’s early success is attributable to these changes and Capcom’s foresighted philosophy of embracing next generation development to yield a high quality title with worldwide appeal. As a result, Dead Rising is also the fastest selling next generation title for a Japanese publisher.

Dead Rising is an action horror game that follows the harrowing tale of Frank West, an overly zealous freelance photojournalist in pursuit of the story of a lifetime. What he finds is a small suburban town completely overrun by zombies. He seeks refuge in the local shopping mall, but soon learns it is far from the safe haven he had thought.

Dead Rising takes place over 72 hours, during which Frank must unravel the mystery behind the catastrophe and survive the dangerous swarm of enemies that lie in wait. The unprecedented level of freedom provides players with a vast array of gameplay possibilities to do anything and everything they’ve wanted to do in a mall. Hundreds of unique objects can be used as weapons to fend off the hordes of zombies - everything from golf clubs and baseball bats to cash registers and stuffed animals. Additional outfits for use in-game are available for free download on Xbox Live Marketplace, and there are plenty of other options to customize Xbox 360 experience with Dead Rising themes.

“Response to Dead Rising from the trade, press and consumers has been tremendous,” said Charles Bellfield , vice president, marketing, Capcom Entertainment. “The success of the game is a result of Capcom’s recognition of Xbox 360 system’s possibilities and starting development early on in order to deliver such a high-quality game.”

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August 25, 2006

Madden NFL 07 for Xbox 360 Review

EA Sports
Also available for PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, PSP, DS, GBA
Score 4.5 out of 5

Last year's debut of Madden NFL on the Xbox 360 was a horrifying disappointment. This means that EA Sports could do just about anything and produce a better version for this year. I'm happy to report that they've done a lot and Madden NFL 07 on the Xbox 360 is a great, but not perfect, game.

AlexSmith.jpg

EA Sports has the exclusive video game license of the NFL and PLAYERS INC and Madden NFL has been the best selling football game of all time. This is the 17th installment and for this game they've focused on the running game. Last year they revolutionized the passing game and this year they're aiming to revolutionize the running game. It's possible to play as the lead blocker to set a block, and then switch to the running back and burst through the hole. New running controls give you the easy ability to overpower defenders, juke right or left, or take a cute little backwards step. The right thumbstick lets you use player specific running styles matching those of the real NFL players. For example, smaller backs slash and cut to avoid tackles and bigger backs overpower defenders.

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The running controls are a step forward, more so the Highlight Stick (right thumbstick) than the blocking. I find that it's not so easy to set a good block and many times I'm better off letting the computer do it. Although, a few times I have dealt out devastating blocks on sweeps on the outside and then switched to the runner and danced into the end zone. That was fun. So my feelings are mixed on the blocking. But the Highlight Stick rocks. Shaun Alexander bowls corner back over and Tiki Barber sort of slithers his way around defenders when you push up. It's very cool stuff. I have great control over jukes also. The running game is pretty powerful stuff. Coupled with the improvements in passing last year this makes for a powerful offense.

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August 23, 2006

EA AND DIGITAL ILLUSIONS UNVEIL BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY FOR NEXT-GENERATION CONSOLES

EA AND DIGITAL ILLUSIONS UNVEIL BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY FOR NEXT-GENERATION CONSOLES

Redwood City, Calif. – August 21, 2006 – Throw out the rules of engagement, this is all-out war! Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that Battlefield: Bad Company™ is currently in development for the Xbox 360™ video game system from Microsoft® and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system.

Built from the ground-up for next-generation consoles using Digital Illusions’ bleeding-edge Frostbite™ game engine, Battlefield: Bad Company drops gamers behind enemy lines with a squad of renegade soldiers who risk it all on a personal quest for gold and revenge. Featuring a deep, cinematic single-player experience loaded with adventure and dark humor, the game delivers the series’ trademark sandbox gameplay in a universe where nearly everything is destructible.

“The heart of DICE’s multiplayer games is the frenetic, unpredictable nature of the sandbox experience, where anything could happen at any moment, and that’s what we’re bringing to the core of Battlefield: Bad Company’s single-player campaign, said Karl Magnus Troedsson, senior producer at DICE. “In a world that’s 90 percent destructible, the gameplay possibilities are infinite – the battlefield is always changing, forcing players, teammates, and enemies to react accordingly. Gamers will have total freedom to adapt to and tackle challenges in creative Battlefield-style ways.”

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August 22, 2006

MERRY MADDENOLIDAY! EA’s MADDEN NFL 07 HITS STORE SHELVES TODAY

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – August 22, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced that Madden NFL 07, the newest iteration of the EA SPORTS™ best-selling football franchise with the exclusive videogame license of the NFL and PLAYERS INC, is in stores everywhere today. Madden NFL 07 continues to lead with innovation and gameplay by reinventing the running game with the all-new Lead Blocker Control and the new highlight stick so you can run like the real players run. NFL Superstar: Hall of Fame mode comes to Madden NFL 07 this year, where you can live the life of an NFL Superstar.

Madden NFL 06¸ since its launch, has sold more than 6.5 million copies*, and was the #1 selling videogame of 2005 in North America. Madden NFL Football has become a cultural phenomenon, with more than 51 million copies sold (LTD), and the launch day becoming a holiday for many avid fans.

“Madden NFL Football has become a cultural phenomenon and, with Maddenoliday, we are honoring all the Madden gamers across the country who line up at midnight and then take off the day to play Madden NFL 07,” said Todd Sitrin, VP of marketing for EA Tiburon and EA SPORTS brand. “We continue to bring innovative changes to the game every year, and now with the improvements in the running game, Madden NFL 07 is even more authentic. You will know how it feels to be actually on the field playing with the pros.”

You now control the running game like never before with Lead Blocker Control in Madden NFL 07. For the first time ever, step up as the lead blocker to create a hole, and then take control of the tailback and smash through, overpower, or slash away from would-be tacklers as you fight for every yard. Innovative rushing controls give you a game-breaking ground attack featuring all-new jukes, cutbacks, and the distinct running styles of your favorite backs.

NFL Superstar: Hall of Fame mode makes its debut in Madden NFL 07 on the Xbox 360 and is even deeper for the current generation systems. You can create and customize your own player and guide him one Sunday at a time from that position on the field for an all new way of experiencing the game. Madden NFL 07 Franchise Mode is deeper than ever before. On current generation platforms, now scout collegiate prospects with the all-new NFL Draft Scouting System and the College All-Star Game, or watch players around the NFL impact their teams with the new Franchise Player Roles feature. On Xbox 360, participate in an interactive player rehab through mini games.

For the Xbox 360 there is an all-new Mini-Camp mode where you can build up your players attributes by running him through skill-based, combine-type mini-games. In the off-season use Mini-Camp to condition players or rehab injuries to get back on the field faster. Track your career accomplishments in Franchise Mode to earn Madden Gamer Points, then risk your points against the computer or live opponents in the same room.

In its second installment on the PlayStation® Portable system, Madden NFL 07 brings you a new exclusive mini-games -- return kicks, avoid tackles, and players can aim for the high score in “End 2 End.” And for the first time you can transfer an entire season in Franchise mode from your PlayStation®2 to your PSP system.

September 1 in Denver, CO is the kick off to the highly-anticipated 5th annual EA SPORTS™ Madden Challenge, played exclusively this year on the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, with a $100,000 grand prize check for the Finals winner. Void where prohibited. Eligibility Restrictions Apply. Tournament runs on published dates in each city. For additional details and Tournament Official Rules see www.maddenchallenge.com.

Entering its 17th year and with more than 51 million copies sold life to date, Madden NFL Football continues to stand out as the most popular football videogame franchise of all time with a combination of innovative new features and the most authentic football gameplay. Developed in Orlando, FL by EA Tiburon Madden NFL 07 will be available on August 22 on Xbox 360™ videogame and entertainment system, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube™, Nintendo DS™, PC (as well as www.downloader.ea.com), PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system and Game Boy® Advance. Madden NFL 07 is rated “E” (Everyone) by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $59.99 for the Xbox 360, $49.99 for the PlayStation 2 console and Xbox, $39.99 for Nintendo GameCube, PSP, and PC, $29.99 for Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance. In Europe, Madden NFL 07 launches on PS2, Xbox, NDS, PC, PC Downloader August 25 and on Xbox 360 and PSP September 8. For more information check out www.madden07.com.

Continue reading "MERRY MADDENOLIDAY! EA’s MADDEN NFL 07 HITS STORE SHELVES TODAY" »

August 18, 2006

2K Sports Introduces Cinemotion™ to NHL 2K7

NEW YORK, NY – August 17, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today a new and exciting direction in experiencing the intense action and thrilling drama of an NHL video game with NHL® 2K7’s newest feature, Cinemotion™. Combining new dynamic gameplay camera angle technology, cutscenes, player chatter and unique audio options, Cinemotion truly immerses gamers into the drama of hockey like never before.

“With all of our 2K Sports products, we’re always looking for new ways to enhance and revolutionize the sports video game experience,” stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “With Cinemotion, we have been able to really take this experience to the next level. Cinemotion creates a completely customizable atmosphere for gamers, introducing several different ways of playing the game in terms of gameplay cameras and music, in addition to other dramatic elements.”

Fans will notice the impact of Cinemotion as soon as the puck drops, as NHL 2K7 features a new dynamic parametric camera angle during gameplay that maximizes the gamer’s vision down the ice. This new camera angle specifically takes advantage of widescreen viewing, giving players the optimal perspective on all that’s happening on the ice. The camera smartly zooms in when there’s intense action along the boards without distracting the gamer. Additionally, gamers will truly appreciate the atmosphere and the character of each NHL arena when using this new Cinemotion camera angle.

The drama of an NHL game is perfectly delivered with cutscenes and player chatter in NHL 2K7. Cinemotion intelligently activates cutscene sequences that are shot from brand new camera angles and perspectives, to include penalty shots, face-offs and scoring. Player chatter adds a new layer of gameplay audio, as players on the ice will shout orders, give encouragement to teammates and react to specific game situations, elevating the drama and excitement.

To fully engross gamers in an all-new NHL experience, sound plays a big part in Cinemotion presentation and users can select between two different sound settings in NHL 2K7. Harry Neale and Bob Cole are back once again to deliver their unique insight and entertaining wit to every game when users select Cinemotion- Commentary. For gamers who want something much different, Cinemotion-Music replaces the commentary with an orchestrated score that dynamically changes with the action throughout every game. With Cinemotion-Music, the score will change based upon the action on the ice to reflect the overall mood. All Cinemotion music options are completely customizable so each user can have their own unique NHL 2K7 experience.

NHL 2K7, the top-rated hockey video game for four-straight years*, is coming in September 2006 to the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system; and will be available in holiday 2006 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system**.

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

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

** This title has not yet been concept approved for the PlayStation®3 system by Sony Computer Entertainment America.


Continue reading "2K Sports Introduces Cinemotion™ to NHL 2K7" »

August 16, 2006

No Need for Gamers to go ‘All In’; Full Version of ‘Texas Hold ‘em’ on Xbox Live Arcade is a Free Download for First 48 Hours

Microsoft isn’t bluffing: Gamers can log on to Xbox Live within the first 48 hours after launch and download ‘Texas Hold ‘em’ – completely free of charge! This full-featured poker title for Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox 360 will launch on Wednesday, August 23 at 0800 GMT (1am Pacific). For 48 hours only – Wednesday, August 23 through 0800 GMT (1am Pacific) Friday, August 25 – as a special limited-time only promotion, gamers can download (and own) the game at no charge (for all Xbox Live Gold and Silver members). Starting at 0801 GMT (1:01am Pacific) Friday, August 25, ‘Texas Hold ‘em’ for Xbox Live Arcade will be available for 800 Microsoft Points.

Not only is ‘Texas Hold ’em’ free to all gamers, this title comes equipped with features that can only be found on Xbox 360. Designed to simulate the risk-reward of real poker gameplay, keep gamers honest, and discourage opponents from betting too recklessly, ‘Texas Hold ’em’ has an innovative new feature called Persistent Bankroll. Your virtual bankroll is tied to your Xbox Live Gamertag and keeps a running tally of your chip count. If you lose all of your chips in a poker game, you’ll have to play lower stakes buy-in games to make back your stack and earn your way to the big tables.

‘Texas Hold ’em’ also offers multiplayer support for up to eight gamers, three modes of gameplay (Standard Games, Scenarios and Tournaments), Achievements, extensive online leaderboards and statistics, and high-definition graphics. Enjoy poker night every night with friends, family and gamers around the world (please note that this title may not be available in some countries).

In addition to the exciting release of ‘Texas Hold ’em’ on August 23, gamers can also look forward to new game titles and premium downloadable game content on Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays from August 16 to September 6, including:

* ‘Cloning Clyde Picture Pack’, the action adventure/puzzle game created by Wahoo Studios/NinjaBee (developer of the popular ‘Outpost Kaloki X’ for Xbox Live Arcade), will have 4 new gamer picture packs available on Xbox Live Marketplace on Wednesday, August 16, allowing gamers to check out more unique pictures of Clyde. Each gamer picture pack: 100 Microsoft Points (each).
* ‘Time Pilot’, the futuristic fighter pilot classic from Konami, lets gamers fight through different eras like never before. High-definition graphics and enhanced gameplay designed specifically for Xbox Live Arcade makes this version even better than the original from 1982. Gamers can download ‘Time Pilot’ on Xbox Live Arcade Wednesday, August 30. Available: 400 Microsoft Points.
* ‘Scramble’, the classic side-scrolling ‘shoot-‘em up’ coin-op title from Konami takes off on Xbox Live Arcade. The 1981 classic, widely considered the first ‘multi-level shooter,’ launches on Xbox Live Arcade Wednesday September 6. Available: 400 Microsoft Points.

All Xbox Live Arcade games can be demoed for free on Xbox Live Marketplace. Check out Xbox Live and Xbox.com for continuing updates on exciting new content available to Xbox 360 gamers. As always, all launch dates are subject to change. Gold subscription is required for multiplayer features. A memory unit or hard drive is required to download content from Xbox Live Marketplace.

Continue reading "No Need for Gamers to go ‘All In’; Full Version of ‘Texas Hold ‘em’ on Xbox Live Arcade is a Free Download for First 48 Hours" »

August 11, 2006

2K SPORTS REUNITES A TRIBE CALLED QUEST FOR THE 2ND ANNUAL 2K SPORTS BOUNCE TOUR

New York, NY – August 10, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), today announced the reuniting of legendary hip hop act, A Tribe Called Quest, to headline the first leg of the 2nd Annual 2K Sports Bounce Tour in 15 cities. This marks A Tribe Called Quest’s first tour in over half a decade. In addition to headlining the tour, an exclusive track from the group will appear on the upcoming ‘Dan The Automator Presents 2K7’ soundtrack with Phife Dawg appearing as a playable character. Joining A Tribe Called Quest on this historic national tour is Rhymefest.

Comprised of Phife Dawg, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, A Tribe Called Quest is known as one of the most intelligent and artistic rap groups of the ‘90s with four solid albums and a string of hip-hop classics prior to their 1998 break-up. This heavily anticipated reunion marks one of the top hip-hop happenings of the year.

“I’m excited for me and my group to be a part of the 2K Sports Bounce Tour,” said Phife from A Tribe Called Quest. “It’s a win-win situation for Tribe because we get to be a part of such a dope game, and we get to reach out and touch our fans in these 15 cities. I couldn't ask for a better opportunity. Also, I’m excited because everyone knows I am a sports nut, so being down with the game and also being a character in the game is crazy to me.”

The 2nd Annual 2K Bounce Tour is the latest addition to 2K Sports’ series of annual live events that bridge hip-hop, sports and video game culture by featuring renowned music artists, sports gaming kiosks, projection vignettes and celebrity and professional athlete appearances. The tour will take place in more than a dozen top markets throughout the month of September, with details posted at http://2ksports.com/go/bounce/.

Tour Dates (first leg):

Sept 8 - Las Vegas NV

Sept 9 - Berkeley CA

Sept 10 - Los Angeles CA

Sept 13 - Denver CO

Sept 15 - Chicago IL

Sept 16 - Milwaukee WI

Sept 17 - Toronto ON

Sept 20 - Baltimore MD

Sept 22 - Washington DC

Sept 23 - Atlanta GA

Sept 24 - Lake Buena Vista FL

Sept 28 - Atlantic City NJ

Sept 29 - Worcester MA

Oct 1 - Sayreville NJ

Oct 5 – TBA, NY

“After The Roots headlined last year’s Bounce Tour, we knew we had to raise the bar even further,” said Tim Rosa, director of brand and lifestyle marketing for 2K Sports. “We jumped on the opportunity to reunite the legendary A Tribe Called Quest, whose positive vibe and innovative style meshed perfectly with the 2K Sports brand.”


Continue reading "2K SPORTS REUNITES A TRIBE CALLED QUEST FOR THE 2ND ANNUAL 2K SPORTS BOUNCE TOUR" »

August 3, 2006

Emergence Day Revealed: Critically Acclaimed Xbox 360 Title “Gears of War” to Surface Nov. 12, 2006

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 3, 2006 — Since the first frightening images appeared a little over a year ago, gamers worldwide have felt the ominous rumblings of something approaching that defies all convention. Sightings as recent as at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2006 have confirmed its existence, leaving gamers breathless. Microsoft Corp. today announced what anxious players have been eagerly awaiting: Emergence Day 2006. Available exclusively for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the highly anticipated title “Gears of War” will be available in North America on Nov. 12, 2006.

Developed by Epic Games Inc. and published by Microsoft Game Studios, “Gears of War” tells the harrowing story of mankind’s struggle against the monstrous Locust Horde through stunning high-definition graphics and an intense storyline on the scale of a blockbuster movie.

One of the most anticipated next-generation console titles of 2006 and the critic’s choice winner for the E3 2006 Best Console Game, “Gears of War” will explode onto store shelves with a standard edition available for $59.99* and a limited collector’s edition available for $69.99. The limited edition will offer an even deeper look into the graphically stunning and frightening world of “Gears of War,” providing an official “Destroyed Beauty” art book and a bonus DVD featuring an inside look at the making of the game — all enclosed in a highly collectible metal box.

“‘Gears of War’ represents the emergence of a thrilling new franchise for Xbox 360 and is the must-have game of 2006,” said Shane Kim, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios. “Combining the best in innovative gameplay, next-generation graphics and interactive storytelling, Epic has harnessed the extraordinary power of Xbox 360 to create an extremely powerful and immersive entertainment experience.”

“Our vision is to deliver a one-two punch of cinematic action paired with a thrilling and compelling interactive experience,” said Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer at Epic. “With ‘Gears of War’ we’ve created a title that will place gamers directly in the shadows of a ravaged world, surrounded by the beautiful remnants of a destroyed city and the horrific dangers that hide in the rubble.”

“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.

Demand for the game is high as retailers anticipate the one-two punch of “Gears of War” and Xbox 360 appearing in quantity on store shelves this holiday season. “The interest and buzz on this game has been intense,” said Bob McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop Corp. “Certainly gamers are counting the days until Emergence Day arrives, as pre-orders have been very strong.”

Continue reading "Emergence Day Revealed: Critically Acclaimed Xbox 360 Title “Gears of War” to Surface Nov. 12, 2006" »

2K Sports Announces Diverse Music Lineup from Sub Pop Records for NHL 2K7 Video Game

NEW YORK, NY – August 2, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today that independent rock music pioneer Sub Pop Records, among other record labels, will provide music tracks from its diverse catalog for NHL 2K7.

Featuring an eclectic mix of uniquely spirited music inspired by the individuality of hockey, NHL 2K7’s soundtrack features 18 songs, including tracks from influential Sub Pop artists such as Postal Service, Hot Hot Heat, Sleater-Kinney and Mudhoney.

NHL 2K7 will feature the following Sub Pop Records’ tracks:

• Arlo- Runaround

• Band of Horses- Wicked Gil

• Hot Hot Heat- Talk to me, Dance with Me

• Kinski- Hot Stenographer

• Love as Laughter- Temptation Island

• Mudhoney- Empty Shells

• Nebula- Giant

• The Postal Service- Brand New Colony

• Seaweed- Losing Skin

• Sleater-Kinney- Rollercoaster

• The Constantines- Working Full-time

• The Thermals- I Hold the Sound

“Sub Pop is the leader in bringing the underground sound to the mainstream without compromising their integrity,” said Tim Rosa, director of brand and lifestyle marketing for 2K Sports. “Because we share this mindset when developing our games, NHL 2K7 is the perfect vehicle for Sub Pop to stay true to its vision.”

"While Sub Pop and hockey are rarely mentioned in the same breath, the vibe of our music really suits the action of NHL 2K7," said Steve Manning, Publicity/Marketing Director, Sub Pop Records. "Because 2K Sports values authenticity in its games with the same passion we treasure authenticity in our artists, we knew this partnership would resonate with fans of both the sport and our music."

The top-rated hockey video game for four-straight years*, NHL 2K7 introduces a groundbreaking presentation system that will engross gamers with a completely different way of playing a hockey video game than ever experienced before—a new look, new sound, and new feel bring raw emotion and exciting drama. New additions to ProControl™ empower players to turn up the defensive pressure on specific opposing players. Combined with high-quality visual details and the most comprehensive franchise options available, including the new rivalry mode, and NHL MVP Joe Thornton on the cover, NHL 2K7 elevates the realism of the sport, delivering the best hockey game on any system.

NHL 2K7 is coming in September 2006 to the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system; and will be available in holiday 2006 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. For more information, log onto http://www.2ksports.com

Continue reading "2K Sports Announces Diverse Music Lineup from Sub Pop Records for NHL 2K7 Video Game" »

EA ANNOUNCES 55DSL COLLABORATION WITH NEED FOR SPEED CARBON

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that fashion street wear brand 55DSL will be coming to Need for Speed™ Carbon. Exclusively designed items from 55DSL, plus a selection of garments from their ‘Zurka and the 55 Vagabonds’ winter collection, will feature prominently on key in-game characters in the game,developed by EA Black Box in Vancouver, British Columbia. Need for Speed ™ Carbon delivers the next generation of adrenaline-filled street racing and will challenge players to face the ultimate test of driving skill on treacherous canyon roads..

55DSL items are specifically tailored to the game, bringing with them the unique style and tone of the brand. Exclusively designed clothing for the game, will be available only through local EA events around the world and pre-order campaigns.

Andrea Rosso, the Creative Director of 55DLS is enthusiastic, “When the opportunity to work with EA, and in particular Need for Speed™ Carbon, came along, it seemed like a natural progression for us. I’m a gamer and I’m going to play this game for sure so to see characters wearing our exclusively designed t-shirts and other items, is really amazing for me.”

“This partnership adds another layer of authenticity to our role in street culture”, says Larry LaPierre, Executive Producer. “Having 55DSL integrated so tightly within Need for Speed™ Carbon adds an increased sense of realism to the game and gives fans the opportunity to wear exclusively designed items that brings them closer to the action.”

Continue reading "EA ANNOUNCES 55DSL COLLABORATION WITH NEED FOR SPEED CARBON" »

Capcom Releases Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting for Xbox Live Arcade

SUNNYVALE, Calif. ¾ August 2, 2006 — Capcom®, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today released its first title for Xbox Live® Arcade, Street Fighter® II’ Hyper Fighting. In addition to several offline modes and numerous leaderboards and achievements, the game takes advantage of the new online features of Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and the console’s powerful processing capabilities to create a seamless online multiplayer experience. Among several online game options is an exclusive mode called “Quarter Match”, which introduces a new way of reliving the exhilarating arcade experience at home. Xbox 360 users can connect to the Xbox Live® online game service and access Xbox Live Arcade to download a free, feature-limited version of the game which offers two playable characters for one match. When they are ready for the ultimate retro gaming experience, users can then unlock the full version of the game, enabling players to choose from all eight original characters as well as four boss characters, each with their own special endings and home levels. Street Fighter II’ Hyper Fighting is now available for download on Xbox Live Arcade for 800 Microsoft Points.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Capcom on Xbox Live Arcade,” said Greg Canessa, Group Manager of Xbox Live Arcade at Microsoft. “Street Fighter is one of the most recognized and successful game franchises in history and it is an absolute honor to bring the arcade classic Street Fighter II’ Hyper Fighting to Xbox 360 users across the globe. Offering this flagship title in Xbox Live Arcade and imbuing it with full Xbox Live support is the answer to many gamers’ dreams, including mine.”


Street Fighter II’ Hyper Fighting includes the following features:

· Online game options

o Before entering a game lobby, users can choose from “Ranked” or “Player” options

· Ranked Match – this competitive setting affects a player’s rating and ranking on the worldwide leaderboard and features 1 vs. 1 fighting with no immediate rematches after a fight

· Player Match – this casual environment does not affect ratings or rankings and offers the choice of Traditional or Quarter Matches

o Traditional Match – 1 vs. 1 fighting which allows rematches at the end of a fight

o Quarter Match – entirely new mode for Xbox Live Arcade which is a spectator-based system as a tribute to the arcade roots, allowing online competitors (2 competitors and up to 2 spectators) to use a “virtual quarter” to “buy into” heated two player matches

o Once the type of match is selected, players can then choose from three options

· Quick Match – jump into a match quickly for instant action

· Custom Match – the best possible match is determined by sorting through a set of filters including number of rounds turbo speed, chat on or off and friends only

· Create Match – the most popular method for coordinating invite-only matches among friends which allows you to choose among several settings

· Offline game options

* Arcade Mode – simulates the single-player Street Fighter experience where gamers must work their way through a ladder of opponents until they face off against the final boss
* Vs. Mode – allows two friends to select characters and battle it out
* Training Mode – lets gamers practice their fighting skills against a CPU character
* CPU Battle – duke it out against a CPU opponent

· Comprehensive leaderboards

* Overall – the most coveted leaderboard showcases the best overall players from around the globe as determined by a simple point-based system
* Monthly – uses the point-based system to designate the best players in the past 30 days
* Best Character – rankings based on who is the best at using each game character
* Consecutive Wins – tracks winning streaks to see who has won the most matches in a row

· Achievements – complete more than 10 offline and online objectives

· Fully customizable control options – players can map attacks to any of the main buttons and have the choice to map all three punches and/or all three kicks to a single button which simplifies complex moves

· Updated menu screens provide easier navigation

· Sound options control the volume of the music and sound effects

Continue reading "Capcom Releases Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting for Xbox Live Arcade" »

August 2, 2006

2K Sports Names J.J. Redick College Hoops 2K7 Cover Athlete

NEW YORK, NY – August 1, 2006 U– 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that J.J. Redick, former star player for the Duke University Blue Devils (2002-2006) and one of the most highly decorated players in college basketball history, will grace the cover of College Hoops 2K7 and act as its official spokesman.

“It’s an honor to be on the cover of College Hoops 2K7,” said J.J. Redick. “I’m a huge video gamer and have always been a fan of the College Hoops 2K series for its authenticity and addictive gameplay. I’m very excited to be a part of 2K7 and from what I’ve seen so far, this game is going to be mind-blowing."

“We are thrilled to have J.J. as our cover athlete for College Hoops 2K7,” stated Erik Whiteford, vice president, 2K Sports. “He embodies exceptional talent, drive and spirit -- all of the characteristics of a collegiate basketball competitor and winner. J.J. is working very closely with us and our development team, contributing his knowledge and passion for basketball to further ensure the most realistic and exciting college basketball experience.”

Throughout his career with the Blue Devils, J.J. was an integral part of Duke’s basketball legacy, becoming the NCAA’s all-time leader in free throw percentage (.922) while also setting several Duke and ACC records--including career points scored (2,769). In addition, J.J. has earned numerous awards throughout his college career, including the James Sullivan Award, John R. Wooden Award, Naismith College Player of the Year Award, and Adolph F. Rupp Award (twice) while also being named a consensus All-American in both his junior and senior years. Widely considered to be one of the best pure shooters in college basketball history, J.J. brings his talent to the NBA as he begins his professional basketball career with the Orlando Magic this fall.

Coming in fall 2006 for the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, College Hoops 2K7 immerses fans into the most compelling and authentic college basketball video game to date with enhanced college atmosphere, post-season NIT™, revamped defensive AI and defensive controls, expanded broadcast presentation and much more. Nothing captivates the nation like NCAA basketball and no other game captures that excitement and energy like College Hoops 2K7.

Continue reading "2K Sports Names J.J. Redick College Hoops 2K7 Cover Athlete" »

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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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.

Continue reading "Gears of War Fan Site Kit Emerges Online" »

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.

Continue reading "2K Sports Announces Unique New Features for NHL 2K7" »

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.

Continue reading "Colin McRae Kicks Up DIRT As Genre-Leading Series Goes Next-Gen" »

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.

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

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.
LOTRO_06.jpg

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.
mka.jpg

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.
MKU.jpg

Continue reading "Midway Games Holiday Preview" »

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.

Continue reading "EA SHIPS THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH II FOR THE XBOX 360" »

June 23, 2006

EA UNCOVERS TOP SECRET IN-GAME MUSIC SOUNDTRACK FOR MADDEN NFL 07

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., – June 23, 2006 – Crank it up, gamers! The football pre-season kicks off with a bang as Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) reveals the 35 songs that will be featured in Madden NFL 07, becoming the de facto soundtrack of the 2007 football season. The bone-crunching action and heart-pounding adrenaline of the grid iron is intensified by the game’s one-of-a-kind mix of rock and hip hop.

“Year after year, the music selected for inclusion in EA’s smash hit football series invariably becomes the soundtrack of the football season, moving beyond the game to turn up in football stadiums and on live TV broadcasts,” said Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music and Music Marketing at EA. “The Madden NFL Football franchise is recognized across North America as a driving force behind break-out bands… this year EA does it again.”

Players step onto the field in Madden NFL 07 with the thundering roar of the crowd in the background and the air filled with pounding rock anthems and energizing hip hop beats. Dr. Dre’s protégé who first appeared in NBA LIVE 06 and NFL STREET 2, Bishop LaMont now makes an appearance on Madden NFL 07 with a track featuring Chevy Jones, while Lupe Fiasco is on deck with Jonah Matranga. These hot tracks are included alongside new releases from fan favorites AFI, Audioslave, Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday. Also this year, game fans will be spellbound by new music debuts from Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds to Mars, Dave Navarro’s band The Panic Channel, and Rise Against whose sophomore record is anticipated to be one of the biggest rock albums of the year.

Again this year, the hip hop production team Da Riffs remixed nearly a dozen original NFL FILMS music pieces will be showcased throughout the menus and in gameplay.

The complete in-game soundtrack for Madden NFL 07 includes:

ARTIST

SONG

30 Seconds To Mars

Battle Of One

AFI

Summer Shudder

Al Fatz

Came Down

Anti-Flag

This Is The End (For You My Friend)

Atreyu

Ex’s And Oh’s

Audioslave **

Revelations

Bishop LaMont feat. Chevy Jones **

The Best

Cartel

Say Anything (Else)

Cord **

Go Either Way

Damone

Out Here All Night

Dashboard Confessional

Reason To Believe

Dynamite MC **

Bounce

Feezy 350

Playa What

Glasses Malone **

Right Now

Hit The Lights

Until We Get Caught

Keane

Is It Any Wonder?

Less Than Jake

Still Life Franchise

Lupe Fiasco feat. Jonah Matranga

The Instrumental

Matchbook Romance

Monsters

Omnisoul **

Not Giving Up

Rise Against

Drones

Riverboat Gamblers

On Again Off Again

Saves The Day

Head For The Hills

Shorty Da Kid **

Get Loose

Spank Rock

Backyard Betty

Sparta **

Future Needs

Taking Back Sunday

Spin

The Panic Channel**

Teahouse Of The Spirits

The Pink Spiders

Easy Way Out

The Rapture**

WAYUH

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

In Fates Hands

The Sleeping

Don’t Hold Back

Trae

Real Talk

Underoath

Ever So Inviting

Wolfmother

Woman

** Indicates song will debut in Madden NFL 07 before being released to retail


Continue reading "EA UNCOVERS TOP SECRET IN-GAME MUSIC SOUNDTRACK FOR MADDEN NFL 07" »

Xbox Live and Warner Bros. Pictures Team Up To Bring Superman Returns Content to Gamers in North America

Starting today, Xbox Live gamers in North America can download free high-definition “Superman Returns” trailers and TV spots from the first and only unified online games and entertainment network, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Opening in U.S. theaters on June 28, Warner Bros. Pictures presents “Superman Returns” a soaring new chapter in the saga of one of the world’s best loved super heroes, starring Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey.

The collection of free, digitally downloadable “Superman Returns” content on Xbox Live Marketplace includes two high-definition trailers and four TV spots for the movie as well as five of Director Bryan Singer’s video journals from the set of the film.

For further details, please visit www.xbox.com.

Continue reading "Xbox Live and Warner Bros. Pictures Team Up To Bring Superman Returns Content to Gamers in North America" »

EA ANNOUNCES NEED FOR SPEED™ CARBON

Redwood City, Calif. – June 22, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that Need for Speed™ Carbon is in development and will hit the streets this November. Developed by EA Black Box in Vancouver, British Columbia, Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of adrenaline-filled street racing and will challenge players to face the ultimate test of driving skill on treacherous canyon roads.

“We pride ourselves on our ability to reinvent the franchise and continually uncover new and exciting trends in car culture. Canyon Racing is a real test of a driver’s skill and we think it provides a fantastic game play opportunity to lean into,” said Larry LaPierre, the game's executive producer.

What starts in the city is settled in the canyons as Need for Speed Carbon immerses you into the world’s most dangerous and adrenaline-filled form of street racing. You and your crew must race in an all-out war for the city, risking everything to take over your rivals’ neighborhoods one block at a time. As the police turn up the heat, the battle ultimately shifts to Carbon Canyon, where territories and reputations can be lost on every perilous curve. Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of customization giving you the power to design and tweak your crew’s cars in every way using the ground-breaking new Autosculpt™ technology. Represent your car class, your crew, and your turf in Need for Speed Carbon, the next revolution in racing games.

Continue reading "EA ANNOUNCES NEED FOR SPEED™ CARBON" »

June 22, 2006

ALEXANDER OVECHKIN LIGHTS THE LAMP WITH EA’s NHL 07

Redwood City, Calif. – Thursday, June 22, 2006 – Washington Capitals rookie phenom Alexander Ovechkin has signed with Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) to be the cover athlete and spokesman for its EA SPORTS™ branded NHL® 07 game. Drafted first overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Ovechkin lived up to his potential and put forth the third most prolific rookie campaign in NHL history. Exceeding his freshman status, Ovechkin made his presence known by finishing the season third overall in the League for points (106), tied for third in goals (52), and first in shots (425).

“To me, I feel like your accomplishments have been recognized when you make the cover of a videogame," said Ovechkin. “I have been playing EA SPORTS games for years and am honored to be a part of the NHL® 07 team.”

Ovechkin exploded onto the scene in the 2005-06 season, playing with a level of intensity, passion, and talent that is causing many to label him the new face of the NHL. At the age of 20, he has already won the Valery Kharlamov Trophy as the best Russian player in the NHL and is a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy for outstanding rookie. More telling of his reputation around the League is his nomination for the Lester B. Pearson Award, an honor bestowed upon the outstanding player as voted by his peers in the NHL Players’ Association.

The golden age of console hockey will return when NHL 07 debuts with gameplay innovations that will allow players to feel like they are actually on the ice. Featuring an unmatched level of freedom and control, NHL 07 will represent a watershed moment in the history of the console hockey when it ships throughout Canada and the United States in September 2006. Hockey purists and casual fans alike will feel like they can play like a pro when they pick up NHL 07.

Continue reading "ALEXANDER OVECHKIN LIGHTS THE LAMP WITH EA’s NHL 07" »

JOE THORNTON NAMED COVER ATHLETE FOR NHL 2K7

NEW YORK - June 22, 2006 - 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that NHL All-Star center Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks is the official spokesman and cover athlete for NHL 2K7. The 2005-06 NHL assist and points leader was the catalyst behind the San Jose Sharks' 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs run, and has established himself as one of the best centers in the NHL.

The overall first pick of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Thornton has achieved many awards in his successful career. Named an NHL All-Star three consecutive times, Thornton has been a valuable member of Team Canada in international play, winning a gold medal for Team Canada in the 2004 World Cup, and was named MVP in the 2005 World Championship. In his first year at San Jose, he helped lead the Sharks into the 2006 NHL Playoffs with his diligent work ethic, exceptional passing, and unselfish play. He is the 2006 recipient of the Art Ross Trophy, awarded to the League's leader in points at the end of the regular season, as well as a nominee for this year's Hart Memorial Trophy as the League MVP and the Lester B. Pearson Award.

"We're very proud to have Joe Thornton represent NHL 2K7," stated Erik Whiteford, vice president of marketing, 2K Sports. "Joe had an amazing season and it was through his leadership, team-first philosophy, and winning attitude that make him the ideal athlete to be the face of our finest NHL 2K title to date."

"It's a great distinction to have been selected as the cover athlete for NHL 2K7," said Thornton. "The NHL 2K series has been recognized as the top rated and premiere NHL video game for several years and to be associated with such a great product is truly an honor."

Available in Fall 2006 for the Xbox 360(TM) and Xbox(R) video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, PlayStation(R)3 computer entertainment system and PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, NHL 2K7 features completely new and unique skating animations and delivers a fresh look and impeccable feel to each on-ice stride. NHL 2K7 also debuts a unique approach to viewing and experiencing virtual hockey with new dynamic cameras and an innovative presentation system that will immerse players into the intense drama of each hockey game. 2K Sports expects NHL 2K7 to continue the tradition as the best rated hockey game on any system.

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

Continue reading "JOE THORNTON NAMED COVER ATHLETE FOR NHL 2K7" »

TRACY McGRADY BECOMES THE NEW FACE OF EA’S NBA LIVE 07

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Wednesday, June 21, 2005 – Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) announced today that Tracy McGrady, one of the most explosive and electrifying athletes over his nine-year NBA career, has been selected the new face of NBA LIVE 07, scheduled for release this fall under the EA SPORTS™ brand.

The Houston Rockets forward joins an exclusive list of NBA players to be selected to the cover of the best-selling EA SPORTS basketball franchise*. McGrady will serve as spokesperson and will be the center-piece of NBA LIVE 07 advertising, marketing and packaging in North America and several other countries around the world.

A two-time NBA scoring champion and six-time NBA All-Star, McGrady embodies athleticism and masterful skill, characteristics that the best-selling NBA LIVE 07 videogame brings to life. McGrady led the league in scoring by averaging 32.1 points per game in 2003, when he became the youngest NBA player to average 30-plus points per game since Bob McAdoo in 1974-75, and has remained one of the game’s most popular and entertaining players. McGrady finished 12th in NBA scoring (24.4 ppg) this year and averaged 6.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists. It was the sixth time in his career he has scored more than 24 points a game.

“I’ve always looked upon the EA SPORTS athletes as fan favorites so I’m honored to be named this year’s NBA LIVE 07 cover athlete and join the EA SPORTS family,” said McGrady. “Each year there is tremendous anticipation around the league as players wait to see themselves in NBA LIVE and I feel like this year my virtual self plays more like me than ever before. This is as close to playing in the NBA as you get.”

McGrady joins an exclusive list of superstar athletes previously featured on the cover of the best-selling NBA LIVE franchise, including Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat (2006), Carmelo Anthony (2005), Vince Carter (2004), and Jason Kidd (2003).

This year NBA LIVE 07 will play as good as it looks with gameplay advancements that build upon the depth and authenticity that the NBA LIVE franchise has delivered for more than a decade. Powered by next generation technology that EA showcased at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), NBA LIVE 07 will introduce the next generation of basketball gameplay with EA SPORTS™ Total Freestyle Control, a new feature that gives users more control over athletes than they ever imagined. By introducing a ground-breaking next generation AI system that is both intuitive and intelligent, combined with advancements to fan-favorite features like All-Star Weekend and Dynasty Mode™, NBA LIVE 07 will continue to deliver its award-winning gameplay experience to fans worldwide.

This year NBA LIVE 07 will partner with the worldwide leader in sports to deliver more ESPN content in-game while you play than ever before. The most advanced ESPN integration package with never-before-seen features will be available only through NBA LIVE 07.

The official NBA LIVE 07 website will host news and information on this year’s game, behind the scenes looks at the TV commercial shoots and the making of the game, as well as contests, videos, screenshots and pod casts with some of the top 2006 NBA Draft picks. Go to www.nbalive07.com for the latest news and features for NBA LIVE 07.

Developed in Vancouver, B.C., by EA Canada, the studio which is also home to the popular NBA STREET and NCAA® March Madness® franchises, NBA LIVE 07 will be available on the Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game systems from Microsoft, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system, and PC.



NBA LIVE Cover Athletes – North America
NBA LIVE 07 - Tracy McGrady, Houston Rockets
NBA LIVE 06 - Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
NBA LIVE 2005 - Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
NBA LIVE 2004 - Vince Carter, Toronto Raptors
NBA LIVE 2003 - Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets
NBA LIVE 2002 - Steve Francis, Houston Rockets
NBA LIVE 2001 - Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
NBA LIVE 2000 - Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
NBA LIVE 1999 - Antoine Walker, Boston Celtics
NBA LIVE 1998 - Tim Hardaway, Miami Heat
NBA LIVE 1997 - Mitch Richmond, Sacramento Kings
NBA LIVE 1996 - Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando Magic
NBA LIVE 1995 - New York Knicks vs Houston Rockets


* Based on total franchise sales according to NPD Data.

Continue reading "TRACY McGRADY BECOMES THE NEW FACE OF EA’S NBA LIVE 07" »

June 14, 2006

ACTIVISION AND BEST BUY LAUNCH CALL OF DUTY 2 ONLINE GAMING TOURNAMENT

Santa Monica, CA – June 14, 2006 – Issuing a call to Allied gamers everywhere, Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) announced today that it has joined with Best Buy to recruit players for the Call of Duty® 2 Xbox 360™ online gaming tournament, facilitated by the Global Gaming League (GGL). Now through June 16, 2006, gamers can log on to www.bestbuy.com/gamingtournaments and register to compete against the best Call of Duty®2 players for the chance to win a 2006 Jeep® Wrangler, Best Buy™ Gift Cards and more. Entrants must have Xbox Live® Gold to participate.

“As the most popular next-gen online multiplayer game on Xbox Live, Call of Duty®2 has a fan following that thrives on this type of competition. And by partnering with Best Buy and the Global Gaming League, we’re able to give gamers even more incentive to answer the call for some great action,” said Dave Anderson, senior director, licensing and business development, Activision, Inc.

More than 500, four-person teams will battle in single-elimination, bracket-style competitions that will narrow the field to the top eight players. Finalists will take to the front lines on July 22-23 for the chance to win the Grand Prize -- a 2006 Jeep® Wrangler. First- and second-prize winners will each receive a $500 and $200 Best Buy™ Gift Card respectively.

“The Call of Duty® 2 Tournament gives our customers a chance to test their skills and compete for prizes in a game they really love to play,” said Jill Hamburger, vice president of video games at Best Buy. “Our online tournaments are really popular. By offering them, we're helping people make the most of their gaming systems and experience their games like never before.”

“Call of Duty®2 has incredible gameplay and a rabid fan base, so this is going to be a fantastic tournament!” said Jason Carlton, GGL’s Head of Community and Gaming. “As the leading online tournament producer and gaming community, GGL will deliver a great experience to Best Buy’s and Activision’s passionate gamers.”

For complete registration information, along with rules and regulations, go to www.bestbuy.com/gamingtournaments.

Continue reading "ACTIVISION AND BEST BUY LAUNCH CALL OF DUTY 2 ONLINE GAMING TOURNAMENT" »

June 6, 2006

Xbox 360 releases over 125 new features to enhance next-generation gameplay and entertainment

Starting tomorrow, Xbox 360 gamers will be able to access a vigorous system-wide update creating a new pinnacle for next-generation gaming and entertainment. The Xbox 360 spring update introduces more than 125 revolutionary features and enhancements adding to Xbox 360’s sheer power, stunning high-definition graphics, rich online capabilities and innovative media offerings delivering a digital gaming and entertainment experience that simply can’t be matched.

Since the launch of Xbox 360 in November 2005, Microsoft has continuously focused on gamer and community feedback to determine further improvements and enhancements for the evolving next-generation experience, resulting in this inaugural mass update. With more than half of all Xbox 360 gamers connected online, Xbox is further catering to its fans by delivering the spring update in the way they want it. This free update will be digitally distributed over Xbox Live to all members (Xbox Live Silver and Gold) with no disc or hard drive required to take advantage of the plethora of new features. Gamers without an Xbox Live account can easily sign up for the free network by connecting their console to a broadband internet connection. Once online, downloading the update takes less than a minute and provides instant access to features including:

Xbox Live Marketplace Enhancements

· New background download manager gives gamers the ability to queue up and download six high definition items at a time including playable game demos, Xbox Live Arcade games, music videos and movie trailers while actively playing games or browsing the dashboard. As an added benefit, if gamers engage in multiplayer gameplay while downloads are in process, the new background download manager will automatically pause the download queue until the multiplayer session is complete ensuring a continuously optimal gameplay experience.

· Updated Xbox Live Marketplace menus makes it easier for players to find and store all of their gaming and entertainment content. This includes the addition of new menus for media and entertainment content as well as enhanced menus making it easier for gamers to find what’s new in each section as well as a quick view at all downloads by category.

· Full remote control features for Xbox Live Marketplace videos allow gamers to fast forward and rewind at various speeds (2X-16X) during all videos downloaded from Marketplace.

Music Player Improvements

· Custom background music now continues to play without interruption during game loads and when transitioning from game to game or disc content.

· During music play, the music playback screen now showcase the artist, song title and time remaining on the song along with a visualizer showing which song on the playlist or album is currently playing.

DVD Movie Playback Upgrades

· DVD movie bookmarking now allows gamers to pause a movie at any point, put in a game for gameplay and return to the movie at the exact point it left off.

· Improved DVD movie playback for a smoother, higher quality viewing experience, including additional VGA support.

These features are just some of the new experiences gamers can expect on the system as part of this spring update. For a list of additional new features and improvements, visit http://www.xbox.com/live .

Continue reading "Xbox 360 releases over 125 new features to enhance next-generation gameplay and entertainment" »

May 30, 2006

2K's BioShock Sweeps E3 Best of Show Awards on Three Leading Gaming Websites

BioShock looked great at E3! I loved it. The water effects were mesmerizing.

New York, NY – May 30, 2006 – 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. announced today that BioShock has received multiple nominations in the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) Game Critics Awards and to date has won 17 E3 awards including a sweep of Best of Show awards from IGN, GameSpot, and GameSpy. BioShock is an innovative shooter in development at Irrational Games, a wholly owned 2K studio. BioShock will be available for next generation systems in 2007.

“We are very pleased with the overwhelming enthusiasm BioShock received at E3,” said Christoph Hartmann, President, 2K. “Irrational Games is at the forefront of defining next generation gaming with BioShock. Set in a rich underwater utopia gone horribly wrong, BioShock features emergent gameplay driven by player choice which seamlessly integrates RPG, adventure, and shooter elements.”

Awards:

E3 Game Critics - Winner to be announced

Nominated: Best of Show

Nominated: Best Original Game

Nominated: Best Console Game

Nominated: Best Action/Adventure Game

GameSpot

Winner: Best of Show

Winner: Best Xbox 360™ Game

Winner: Best Action Adventure Game

IGN

Winner: Best Game in Show

Winner: Best RPG (Xbox 360)

Winner: Best RPG (Overall)

IGN (cont.)

Winner: Best Artistic Design (Xbox 360)

Winner: Best Artistic Design (Overall)

Winner: Console Game of Show (Xbox 360)

Winner: Console Game of Show (Overall)

GameSpy

Winner: Best of Show (Overall)

Winner: Game of Show (PC)

GamesRadar

Winner: Best of E3 (Xbox 360)

Team Xbox

Winner: Best Sound

DailyGame

Winner: Best of Show (FPS)

CV Games

Winner: Game of the Show

Winner: Best of Show (Xbox 360)

Playboy.com

Selected as one of the top 5 best of show

Scripps Howard Syndicate

Selected as one of 10 notable games

Continue reading "2K's BioShock Sweeps E3 Best of Show Awards on Three Leading Gaming Websites" »

May 24, 2006

EA and the Jeep® Brand Join Forces in Medal of Honor Airborne

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., May 23, 2006 – Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) and the Jeep ® brand announced today that they have signed a deal that will give gamers a chance to experience Jeep vehicles in Medal of Honor Airborne™ as they were found in World War II. The classic Willys-Overland Jeep will appear for extended, action-packed sequences in several missions of Medal of Honor Airborne.

Medal of Honor Airborne is the newest installment from EA’s critically-acclaimed Medal of Honor™ franchise which was credited with pioneering the First-Person Shooter (FPS) WWII genre when it debuted in 1999, and is the best selling WWII FPS franchise of all time. By fully controlling the airdrop from the very first step through landing, Medal of Honor Airborne adds a new dimension of player choice by letting the player decide where every mission begins and how it plays out. Building on the key tenets of the franchise including historical accuracy, research, and authenticity, for the first time Medal of Honor Airborne will include fully player-drivable vehicles, including the Willys Jeep.

Jeep played an integral role in the war effort as an indispensable tool in tracking the enemy, exchanging information and moving troops. Over 350,000 Willys Jeep vehicles were built and used during WWII, and at one point the assembly line was pushing out one vehicle every 90 seconds. When driving a Willys Jeep in Medal of Honor Airborne, the player can choose to use it as a mode of transportation, or as a mobile attack platform taking full advantage of a variety of mounted weapons. Authentic to their use in WWII, the Willys Jeep will be able to access more areas than the other drivable vehicles featured in Medal of Honor Airborne, because of Jeep vehicle’s superior four-wheel drive off-road capabilities.

"Video games are quickly becoming the medium of choice for a new generation of consumers and Chrysler Group has been at the forefront of this exciting revolution," said Jay Kuhnie, Director - Jeep Communications, Chrysler Group. "By teaming with Electronic Arts and Medal of Honor Airborne, Jeep is celebrating its history while helping to take this medium to its next level."

“The Medal of Honor Airborne experience begins with unprecedented freedom of approach from the air. With the addition of the Willys Jeep, that freedom continues on the ground, on road and off, and in combat scenarios of all types." explained Patrick Gilmore, VP and Executive Producer at EALA. “This is the first time in any Medal of Honor game that a player will have the ability to drive a Willys Jeep, and we’re very excited to see this new addition increase the fun and intensity of the gameplay.”


Continue reading "EA and the Jeep® Brand Join Forces in Medal of Honor Airborne" »

May 23, 2006

Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis for the Xbox 360™ Available Now

New York, NY – May 23, 2006 - Rockstar Games, the world-renowned publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), is pleased to announce that Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft is now available at retail stores in North America with a MSRP of $39.99.

Developed by Rockstar San Diego, Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis is a perfectly focused, addictive experience that features 11 playable characters from around the world, over 15 international arenas and supports up to 8 player tournaments via Xbox Live.

“Rockstar’s title is intense, fast and engaging” and “comes closer to replicating the feel of the real-life sport than maybe any sports game in history,” said IGN.com, while TeamXbox.com named it “Sports Game of the Show” at E3 2006.

Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis is rated “E" for Everyone. The title will reach European retail shelves on May 26th, 2006 for a price of €39.99, and £29.99 in the UK.

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Hitman: Blood Money PC Demo Now Available for Download!

This demo lets you play the first mission of Hitman: Blood Money, teaching you the basics of what it takes to enter the world of high-stakes contract killing. Your mission is to eliminate the man known as “The Swing King,” who has been located at an old broken down amusement park now functioning as a drug lab. Though your objective is clear, it is up to you to determine the best way to perform the execution.

The latest installment of the popular Hitman franchise, Hitman: Blood Money, features enhanced artificial intelligence, a massive arsenal of upgradeable weaponry, as well as the new Blood Money system which allows characters in future missions to react to Agent 47 based upon how much his presence was noticed in the past. Hitman: Blood Money is set to ship May 30th, but you don’t have to wait to find out if you have what it takes to control the world’s deadliest assassin... download the demo now at www.hbmdemo.com and prepare to make a killing!

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May 18, 2006

E3 Coverage - SEGA

I had a good time over at SEGA with Jenny. Overall, they've got an impressive bunch of games.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz - This is a Wii launch title and I'm looking forward to it. Playing is a good demonstration of how the Wii controller can be used. Imagine that you are holding the puzzle tray in your hand. Tilt the controller the way that you would tilt the puzzle tray to move the monkey the way you want. It makes the game very cool. There are 50+ mini games and 50+ puzzle trays. Some of the mini games have creative ways of using the controller. For example, in the hammer throw you twirl the controller and release the button to throw the hammer.
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Sonic Wild Fire (working title) - This is another Wii launch title. Sonic falls asleep reading the Arabian Nights and journeys into that world. It was fun to control him running through the game using the controller, tilting it to turn, flicking it up to jump. I got pulled out in the middle of this demo so I don't have much more. I also don't have a screen shot for this one.

Midieval II Total War - This is a PC only title due to ship in November 2006. It's being developed by a 40 person Australian team. There are 21 factions, 17 of which are playable. They doubled the resolution at which the graphics engine runs. They replaced the battle engine. Troops are now individuals that move and think independently within the context of their orders. You can upgrade the troops and see the difference in how they battle. There's a vegetation system that makes for great looking trees and bushes. The environment has strategic value so you can use it to win battles by trapping the enemy. The battle was something to see. Troops look around for their next opponent, corpses stack up in pools of blood. You can fight in the Crusades where there's a whole aspect to the game of managing the relationship with the Pope.
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E3 Coverage - Atari

Test Drive Unlimited - The entire game takes place on the island of Oahu. There are over 100 licensed vehicles and 1000 miles of road. It's all pretty much online races. There can be up to 8 player online races. You can drive around randomly exploring. When you encounter another player you can challenge him to a race. Then you lay out the course on the map and start racing. The world can have up to 1000 players on the same server so you probably won't have to race the same person twice, unless you want to. There will be online racing clubs to join. This game ships in September 2006 for PS2, PSP, PC, and Xbox 360.

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Xbox Live Marketplace surpasses 24 million downloads as Xbox Live Brings E3 Home to gamers around the world

Xbox Live, the first and only unified online games and entertainment network, is now the world’s largest platform for high-definition on-demand content, surpassing 24 million downloads following the launch of Xbox 360 on November 22, 2006.

For the full week of E3 – the biggest video game industry event of the year - Xbox 360 gamers around the world were invited to jump in to Xbox Live through “E3: Bringing It Home,” and receive a full week’s Gold membership for free, courtesy of Verizon in the US and adidas in Europe.

Over 1.5 million gamers connected to Xbox Live last week, downloading exclusive content direct from the show floor, including the latest high-definition game demos and trailers, such as Halo 3, Gears of War and Fable 2; game add-on content, such as Map Packs from Call of Duty ®2 and additional quests from The Elder Scrolls® IV: Oblivion™, movie trailers and music videos, such as “Nacho Libre” and “Over My Head” (The Fray) along with celebrity Game with Fame multiplayer sessions with Dave Navarro (Panic Channel), Method Man and Jenny McCarthy.

Xbox Live members downloaded over 5 million pieces of gaming and entertainment content during the 7 days of E3: Bringing It Home, consuming more than 600 Terabytes of data, shattering all previous records for the network. At the same time, traffic on Xbox.com doubled during the week, driving more than 6 million unique users to the site as well.

“Only Xbox Live could bring E3 home in high definition for consumers around the world,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “The sheer volume of downloads during E3 week was simply staggering. To put it in perspective, all the printed material in the U.S. Library of Congress is estimated to be about 20 terabytes, and Xbox Live delivered 30 times that amount in just 7 days. While others talk about online entertainment in the console space, we are delivering it in glorious high-definition to the millions of members we have across 24 countries. “

The eagerly anticipated Halo 3 high-definition trailer proved to be the most popular download of the week:

Top 10 downloads during E3: Bringing It Home:

1. Halo 3 Game Trailer (Microsoft Game Studios)
2. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Free Playable Demo (Capcom)
3. Test Drive® Unlimited Free Playable Demo (Atari)
4. MotoGP™ '06 Free Playable Demo (THQ)
5. X-Men™: The Last Stand Pack (20th Century Fox)
6. Gears of War GameTrailer (Microsoft Game Studios)
7. Call of Duty ®2: Skirmish Map Pack (Activision)
8. Spiderman™ 3 Game Trailer (Activision)
9. Fable 2 Trailer (Microsoft Game Studios)
10. Uno® Xbox Live Arcade Game (Microsoft Game Studios)

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MARVEL AND ACTIVISION'S X-MEN: THE OFFICIAL GAME TAKES A STAND ON RETAIL SHELVES NATIONWIDE

Santa Monica, CA – May 16, 2006 – Inspired by Marvel Entertainment’s legendary Super Hero franchise and serving as a prelude to the upcoming Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Studios’ feature film “X-Men: The Last Stand,” Activision, Inc.’s (Nasdaq: ATVI) X-Men: The Official Game premieres today at retail outlets nationwide. The game catapults players into an original storyline that allows them to command the distinct powers of Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Iceman as they battle classic Brotherhood villains including Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and Multiple Man and traverse unique environments that showcase each character’s abilities while embarking on an epic quest to save mutant-kind.

X-Men: The Official Game is the first Super Hero game for the Xbox™ 360 video game system from Microsoft and is available for a suggested retail price of $59.99. The PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft and the Nintendo® GameCube™ versions are available for a suggested retail price of $39.99. The PC, Nintendo DS™ and Game Boy® Advance versions are available for a suggested retail price of $29.99. The console and PC games have been rated “T” (“Teen” – violence) and the handheld games have been rated “E-10+” (“Everyone 10 and older” – fantasy violence) by the ESRB.

“In X-Men: The Official Game, players will experience the events leading up to the ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ feature film,” said Will Kassoy, vice president of global brand management, Activision, Inc. “Co-written by Zak Penn, the screenwriter of the film, and legendary comic book writer Chris Claremont, and featuring the voice talent of Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Shawn Ashmore and Alan Cumming, the game truly enables players to become a part of the X-Men movie universe .”

For the first time, X-Men: The Official Game lets players truly experience the powers of three popular Super Heroes from the X-Men movie universe by allowing them to take on the roles of Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Iceman as they wield and upgrade their signature powers and maneuver through unique environments designed to showcase their Super Hero abilities. Assisted by other X-Men characters including Storm and Colossus, players will use an advanced control scheme to master and control the characters as they unleash Wolverine’s combat rage, experience Nightcrawler’s acrobatics and teleportation powers and glide through the air on Iceman’s ice slide.

For more information on X-Men: The Official Game, please visit http://www.x-mengame.com.

BradyGames' X-Men: The Official Game Official Strategy Guide is available at electronics, book, and software retailers nationwide, and online at http://www.bradygames.com.


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Hitman: Blood Money Has Officially Gone Gold!

Blood money can come in many different forms... bills, coins, and yes... pure GOLD because Hitman: Blood Money is officially finished and all versions are ready for production! The latest installment of the popular Hitman franchise is coming your way May 30th, and with features such as the new Blood Money system which allows the characters in future environments to react to Agent 47 based on how well he previously kept out of the spotlight, Hitman: Blood Money is taking the franchise to a whole new level. With tons of different ways to complete each mission, take control, be innovative, and play the game the way that you want to The time is coming near, and only two weeks remain until Agent 47 can be at your command, so if you haven’t done so yet... prepare to make a killing.

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May 14, 2006

E3 Coverage - 2K Games

NBA 2K7 - 2K did more motion caption on more players so there are more players in the game with their signature moves. For example, Steve Nash pauses every few minutes while dribbling to lick his fingers. Shot stick is more precise so you have more control over your dunks and layups. Players sweat, the clothes ripple. There's online play on all platforms. This game is for Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2 and PS3 and ships at the beginning of basketball season.

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NHL 2K7 - 2K focused on making gameplay a more cinematic experience. Their goal was to emulate the movie Miracle. As such, players are more graceful and gameplay is more fluid. You can give defensive orders instead of just watching them and hoping they do the right thing. They've got NHL and NHLPA licenses. They promised me that the crap in the current version has been cleaned up, that the inicidence of garbage goals scored from the back of the net is down and that the stats and announcing are accurate. This game is for Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2 and PS3 and ships in Fall 2006.

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College Hoops 2K7 - This is a basketball game where the more important aspect is coaching. You have to take into account team chemistry, not just grab the ball and drive the lane. The stadiums are realistic. There's an in-depth legacy mode and online play. This game is for Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2 and PS3 and ships in Fall 2006.

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May 12, 2006

E3 Coverage - Capcom

On Wednesday I got to meet with my good friend Alicia Kim and see Capcom's line of upcoming games. Alicia's really the one who launched my career as a game reviewer about 5 years ago when she hooked me up with a Dreamcast and a whole lot of SEGA games.

Lost Planet - You're on a very cold planet. In fact, the whole game is about how cold it is and how much thermal energy you can gain and store. You have to maintain your thermal health in this futuristic scifi 3rd person action adventure. This comes out on Xbox 360 in Q1 2007.

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Dead Rising - This game comes out soon, in August 2006. You're a photo journalist in a mall that's been overridden with zombies. You can use anything as a weapon, and I did. I was beating up zombies with a huge teddy bear. It was hysterical.

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Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins - This game comes out for PSP in September 2006. It's a sequel but everything in it is completely new. It's a 2D side scroller. The great thing is that when you die you come back in at the same spot where you died. This prevents you from having to redo the entire level over and over again until you get it right.

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Capcom Puzzle World - This game is for PSP and ships in October 2006. It's all previously seen content but new to the PSP. It includes Super Puzzle Fighter, Blank Blank and three versions of Buster Brothers

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Power Stone Collection - This game is for PSP and ships in October 2006. Again, no new content, just Power Stone 1 and Power Stone 2 ported to PSP. It's a multiplayer fighter with wacky weapons. You collect power stones to unlock abilities and weapons. You can take your own screenshots, so if you beat the crap out of your friend really bad you can take a screen shot, save it to the memory stick, copy it to the PC, and e-mail it to all of your other friends.

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Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded - This game is for PSP and ships in October 2006. It is 19 Capcom arcade games such as Street Fighter 2.

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Capcom Classics Collection Volume 2 - This is for PS2 and Xbox and ships in October 2006 with 18+ classic arcade games.

God Hand - This is for PS2 and ships in October 2006. Developed by Clover Studios, this can best be described as a samurai game set in a future western style world with funky surf music. It has over the top action and lots of fighting.

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May 10, 2006

E3 Coverage - Mass Effect

This is an RPG where the galaxy is your playground. The game world is a huge scale with a sleek and futuristic look. You can play as Commander Shepard or develop your own fully customizable character. There is a lot of walking around and interacting with NPCs. Everything is very fluid and the character modelling is excellent. There's an innovative dialogue system where you pick the basics of what your character should say and then he says something like what you selected but with more detail.

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May 9, 2006

KONAMI ANNOUNCES WINNING ELEVEN: PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2007

LOS ANGELES – Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) Booth #800 – May 9, 2006 – Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PSPâ„¢ (PlayStation®Portable) system, and PC, as well as the series’ debut on the Xbox 360â„¢ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Nintendo DSâ„¢. Marking the return of the world’s top soccer franchise, the game extends its leadership position with new international teams, new modes of play and astoundingly realistic gameplay.

The world’s best rated soccer video game franchise, Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 expands upon the series’ unmatched realism with faster gameplay, more responsive control and improved artificial intelligence. Players will now make intelligent runs without the ball, identifying opportunities and pointing to where they would like the ball to be delivered. Similarly, the game is now more physical, with defenders jockeying for position and strikers working to turn their opponent as they receive the ball. The game’s shooting system has also been refined, letting players take more snap shots, while volleys have been updated for more player control.

Players will also be able to enjoy the Beautiful Game in more ways than ever before with new play modes. International Challenge mode lets players compete through four continents of opposition to become a champion, while Random Selection Match lets gamers take the field with a group of players selected at random from a predetermined league or geographic area. The popular Master League mode returns with more options, allowing players to take complete control of their favorite team and control its destiny for an extended period of time.

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KONAMI BRINGS CLASSIC FRANCHISES TO XBOX LIVE ARCADE

LOS ANGELES – Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) Booth #800 – May 9, 2006 – Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., today announced that it will be bringing several major franchises to Xbox Live® Arcade for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Starting this summer, gamers will be able to download classic games such as Frogger, Contra, Time Pilot, Scramble and others, enhanced with updated graphics and online multiplayer support.

Leveraging its library of classic games, Konami will be releasing games on Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360 starting early this summer with the release of Frogger. Additional releases such as Contra, Time Pilot and Scramble will be released later in the year, with additional major franchises launching in 2006 and 2007. All games will feature updated graphics and support for multiplayer play over Xbox Live. Players will also be able to download free demos of each game and earn achievement points as they meet certain conditions of play.

Below is additional information on Konami’s upcoming Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360 titles:

Frogger
Take control of a small frog, dodging traffic and crossing a perilous river in order to reach the safety of home. Dodge cars and trucks, navigate logs and turtles, avoid snakes and crocodiles and pick up a female frog or a fly snack to rack up points. Originally released in arcades in 1981, the Frogger franchise is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Contra
The Red Falcon organization is plotting to conquer the Earth and two commandos, Lance and Bill, must infiltrate their base. Travel through eight stages in the jungle armed with a machine gun and the ability to capture upgraded weapons including a Fireball, Laser, Rapid Fire gun and a Spread Gun. Lance and Bill are all that stand in the way of Red Falcon and their plans for global domination.

Time Pilot
Pilot a jet fighter with the capability to travel through time to destroy wave after wave of enemies. Start in 1910 and gun down biplanes and work your way through to the 21st century piloting your craft against UFOs. Collect parachuting pilots to gain point bonuses and destroy enemy ships to call forth the boss in order to advance through time.

Scramble
Control a spaceship that must infiltrate the enemy Scramble system in a classic side-scrolling shooter. Armed with guns and bombs, players must navigate swarms of enemies, meteors, missiles through six fiendish levels. Shoot fuel canisters to replenish your reserves in order to make it to the enemy base at the end of the system.

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E3 Announcements from Logitech: High-end PC Wheel; Xbox 360 wheel; New Gaming Mouse and Keyboard

1. G25 Racing Wheel (Available: October; $299.99)
A member of the company’s extreme-performance G-series peripherals
for
PC gamers, the Logitech G25 Racing Wheel offers advanced features
for PC
racing enthusiasts.

Key Features
• 6-speed gated shifter with push-down reverse gear (Dial on
shifter
allows gamers to select mode: 6-speed shifter or sequential
shifting
mode)
• Included gas, pneumatic brake, and clutch pedals on a weighted
base
• High-torque, two-motor force feedback mechanism
• 900-degree wheel rotation
• Compatible with most PlayStation 2 titles

2. DriveFX Wheel for Xbox 360 (Available: July; $99.99)
The Logitech DriveFX wheel combines axial-feedback technology with
quality materials to deliver an exceptional driving experience on
the
Xbox 360.

Key Features
• Axial Feedback: Logitech’s feedback technology features
powerful
motors built into the base of the steering column. These motors
distribute the vibration throughout the entire wheel, shifters
and
casing, creating a sensory experience similar to that of a real
car
steering wheel and column.
• 10” diameter molded wheel with rubber grips for comfortable
driving
• Includes Xbox 360 connector and standard Xbox 360 buttons
• Responsive gas and brake pedals

3. G3 Laser Mouse (Available: July; $59.99)
The Logitech G3 Laser Mouse’s compact, ambidextrous design
encourages a
fingertip grip (or clawgrip) and includes the same ultra-powerful
mouse
engine as the Logitech G5 and G7 mice.

Key Features
• Processing power of 6.4 megapixels of images per second
• Tracks up to 45 inches per second
• Full-speed USB delivers 500 reports per second
• Logitech DryGrip surface provides secure finger grips during
long
gaming sessions
• Adjustable resolution: The mouse’s 2000 dpi maximum
resolution can be
adjusted to as low as 400 dpi, allowing gamers to vary their
resolution and balance the needs between maximum speed and
optimum
precision.

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Gamers Catch Their Breath as Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Reinvent Next-Generation Gaming

LOS ANGELES — May 9, 2006 — The Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system has created a global phenomenon with its record-breaking performance and fervent consumer response. Now, Microsoft Corp. hits the turbo button for gamers, announcing the next wave of games and accessories for Xbox 360 and new world-class Xbox Live® entertainment experiences.

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft, announced that gamers can expect more than 160 high-definition games by the end of 2006 for the Xbox 360 platform. In addition, Moore unveiled several new Microsoft Game Studios titles in development for Xbox 360 including “Alan Wake,” “Fable® 2,” “Forza Motorsport™ 2” and the next installment in the critically acclaimed “Halo®” franchise, “Halo 3.”

Xbox 360 continues to evolve and feed the imagination of gamers everywhere. This week at E3, the following Microsoft Game Studios exclusives will showcase the breath and depth of Microsoft’s next-generation lineup:

· “Alan Wake” (Remedy Entertainment Inc.). “Alan Wake” is a psychological action thriller. Cited as one of the best titles of E3 2005, “Alan Wake” introduces a deeply engaging and suspenseful storyline in a free-roaming open world that invites players to unravel the riveting plot and experience intense combat that combines the use of light with more conventional weapons. “Alan Wake” will be released on Windows Vista™ and Xbox 360. Timing is not yet announced.

· “Blue Dragon” (Mistwalker/Artoon Co. Ltd.). From famed game producer Hironobu Sakaguchi comes “Blue Dragon,” a unique, epic role-playing game (RPG) that centers on a young boy named Shu and several of his friends who must harness the power of their phantom shadows in their fight against an eminent evil. “Blue Dragon” will launch later this year in Japan.

· “Crackdown” (Real Time Worlds). Dave Jones, creator of “Grand Theft Auto,” brings his brand of unprecedented, open-ended gameplay to the next-generation with “Crackdown™.” “Crackdown” sets players loose in a free-form, persistent playground where a citywide fight against crime requires a new kind of hero who evolves into a bigger, stronger, faster, more efficient weapon of justice through continued gameplay. “Crackdown” will launch in 2006. Timing is not yet announced.

· “Fable 2” (Lionhead Studios). “Fable 2” is the highly anticipated sequel to the best-selling “Fable.” Set 500 years after the original game, “Fable 2” will offer even more choices and features, while building on the core gameplay theme of “Fable” where every choice continually defines who you become, allowing you to truly live the life you choose. Timing is not yet announced.

· “Forza Motorsport 2” (Turn 10). “Forza Motorsport 2” roars into the next generation with more than 300 customizable cars and 60 frames per second of head-turning, high-definition gameplay that creates the most stunningly realistic racing simulation ever experienced. Timing is holiday 2006.

· “Gears of War” (Epic Games Inc.). “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.

· “Halo 3” (Bungie Studios). The epic saga continues with “Halo 3,” the hugely anticipated sequel to the highly successful and critically acclaimed “Halo 2.” In this third chapter of the “Halo” trilogy, Master Chief returns to finish the fight, bringing the epic conflict between the Covenant, the Flood and the entire human race to a dramatic, pulse-pounding climax. Timing is 2007.

· “Mass Effect” (BioWare Corp.). “Mass Effect” is an RPG trilogy developed by BioWare, set in a massive, living universe waiting for exploration and discovery. Gamers travel to distant, uncharted worlds — and uncover the past to save the future — in a richly detailed story where players’ actions, sometimes morally challenging, will determine the fate of civilization. Timing is not yet announced.

· “Shadowrun” (FASA Studio). Bringing the Microsoft vision of “Live Anywhere” to life, “Shadowrun™” is the first cross-platform game for Xbox 360 and Windows Vista. “Shadowrun” is a multiplayer, first-person shooter that propels team-based combat into a new dimension with a revolutionary blend of modern weaponry and ancient magic. “Shadowrun” will be available at the launch of Windows Vista.

· “Too Human” (Silicon Knights). “Too Human” is the first installment in a fast-paced action trilogy, where players assume the role of Baldur, a cybernetic god charged with defending mankind from an onslaught of monstrous war machines. In “Too Human,” players are treated to a nonstop barrage of action powered by the seamless integration of melee and ranged firearms combat and fueled by breathtaking visuals. “Too Human” will launch in holiday 2006.

· “Viva Piñata” (Rare Ltd.). “Viva Piñata” is a window to a fantastical world full of wild-roaming Piñata animals. Players customize their world to attract Piñatas, handle relationships among the more than 60 species, and protect their Piñatas from the dangers that threaten to break them open. “Viva Piñata” will launch in holiday 2006.

Gamers can also expect to see amazing second- and third-party Xbox 360 titles at E3 this year:

· “Ninety-Nine Nights” (Q Entertainment Ltd./Phantagram Co. Ltd.). “Ninety-Nine Nights” is a fantasy action game that invites gamers to experience an immersive and emotional story though the eyes of both good and evil, while fighting among hundreds of fellow soldiers through an epic adventure. “Ninety-Nine Nights,” exclusive to Xbox 360, will launch in summer 2006 in the U.S.

· “Lost Planet” (Capcom Entertainment Inc.). Keiji Inafune, the creator of “Mega Man” and “Onimusha,” brings to life a riveting sci-fi action shooter with intense cinematic gameplay set within the merciless frozen tundra of a hostile planet. “Lost Planet,” an Xbox 360 exclusive, features online multiplayer gameplay via Xbox Live and will launch in the first quarter of 2007.

· “Saints Row” (THQ). An Xbox 360 exclusive, “Saints Row” is an explosive, third-person action/driving hybrid developed by Volition Inc. and is the only game in its genre that offers players unrivalled character customization options and a multiplayer experience through Xbox Live. This title will launch in fall 2006.

· “Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2” (Tecmo Inc.). Get wet with Team Ninja’s newest graphical masterpiece, the Xbox 360 exclusive “Dead or Alive®: Xtreme 2.” All the favorite DOA girls are back and ready to battle it out in the tropical waters of Zach’s Island on their high-performance personal watercraft, compete in assorted and alluring activities, sunbathe on white sand beaches, and go all-in at Zach’s Casino. This title will launch during the 2006 holiday season.

· “Prey” (2K Games). An Xbox 360 console exclusive, “Prey” is a groundbreaking first-person shooter that raises the bar and turns the genre upside-down with awesome new gameplay features and next-generation graphics. This title will be available in July 2006.

· “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent” (Ubisoft). Sam Fisher makes his next-generation debut on the Xbox 360 with “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent™.” The best-selling “Splinter Cell®” franchise takes an entirely new direction, allowing gamers to play as a double agent for the first time ever in the saga’s history. The game launches in September 2006.

· “Madden NFL 07” (EA Sports). With the exclusive video game license of the NFL and PLAYERS INC., “Madden NFL 07” continues to be the No. 1 football franchise in history with more than 51 million copies sold. In its 17th installment, gamers can control the running game like never before. For the first time ever, they can step up as the lead blocker to create a hole, and then take control of the tailback and smash through, overpower or slash away from would-be tacklers as they fight for every yard. Innovative rushing controls give players a game-breaking ground attack featuring all-new jukes, cutbacks and the distinct running styles of their favorite backs. Developed by EA-Tiburon, Madden NFL 07 will launch in August on the Xbox 360 and Xbox® systems.

· “Sonic The Hedgehog” (SEGA). Sonic is re-born for the next generation! Sonic blazes his way onto Xbox 360, melding top-tier animation production values with next-generation art, physics and game design to create the most intense, high-velocity Sonic adventure yet. Featuring real-time interactive 3-D environments, a large cast of new and returning characters, and a blistering sense of speed, get ready for the reinvention of Sonic The Hedgehog™. Timing is not yet announced.

Xbox Live Arcade

Xbox Live, surpassing 3 million connected members, continues its commanding leadership position in the online unified gaming and entertainment space. Since launch, nearly 60 percent of Xbox 360 owners have joined the Xbox Live community. In addition, over 90 percent of connected members are downloading content from Xbox Live Marketplace, driving more than 18 million downloads in the first six months.

Xbox Live Arcade provides quick fun experiences for gamers of all interests, skill levels and budgets. This mainstream favorite provides the most sought-after downloadable games in high definition supported by integrated friends list, achievements, leaderboards, and voice and video communication.

In addition, Microsoft today announced a power-packed lineup that will be added to the already significant library of Xbox Live Arcade titles. Gamers can expect the following nostalgic favorites and original, innovative gaming experiences by end of year:

· NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. is bringing legendary coin-op favorites “Pac-Man,” “Galaga,” “Dig Dug” and “Rally-X,” all complete with Xbox Live features such as leaderboards and achievements.

· Konami. Konami revives classic franchises including “Frogger,” “Contra” and “Super Contra,” “Track & Field,” “Time Pilot,” and “Scramble,” each offering updated graphics and Xbox Live support.

· Midway. Midway Games Inc. brings a new suite of classic arcade titles to Xbox Live Arcade, including “Defender®,” “Paperboy®,” “Root Beer Tapper™” and “Ultimate Mortal Kombat® 3,” complete with graphical upgrades and multiplayer play over Xbox Live.

· “Sonic The Hedgehog High Speed” (SEGA). Microsoft and SEGA® join forces to bring some of the best console classics to Xbox Live Arcade including “Sonic The Hedgehog High Speed.” Everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog makes his high-speed debut in high definition with full leaderboard and achievement support.

· “Lumines Live!” (Q Entertainment). A fresh new installment to the original puzzle action hit titles series, “Lumines Live!” will debut exclusively on Xbox Live Arcade. It features frenetic puzzle action married with video, music and themes from today’s hottest pop culture icons. What’s more, “Lumines Live!” features full multiplayer play over Xbox Live, an exclusive Duel mode and an all-new Puzzle mode, downloadable puzzles, and music and skins from Xbox Live Marketplace, including the hit Madonna single, “Sorry.”

· Indie Game Lineup. For the first time in history, Microsoft has opened the world of video game consoles to independent game developers. Some of the world’s most creative independent game talents are developing games for Xbox Live Arcade, including PopCap Games (the creators of award-winning games such as “Zuma”), which brings its first action shooter title, “Heavy Weapon,” to the platform. Additional Xbox Live Arcade titles featured at E3 include “Cloning Clyde” (Wahoo Studios/NinjaBee), “RoboBlitz,” (Naked Sky Entertainment Inc.) and “Mutant Storm Empire” (PomPom).

Xbox 360 Accessories: More Ways to Play

The suite of Xbox 360 accessories continues to expand to give gamers more ways to experience their favorite games and movies and to stay connected with friends. Microsoft announced new, cross-platform accessories that will enable gamers to take the thrill of wireless gaming one step further on the Xbox 360 console and Windows®-based PC, while providing additional details on other new accessories coming to the Xbox 360 system this holiday:

· The Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel uses the latest wireless and force feedback technology to bring new realism to racing games such as “Project Gotham Racing® 3” and “Forza Motorsport 2.” From drifting to power sliding, feel the intensity of every turn.

· The Xbox 360 Wireless Headset integrates seamlessly with the Xbox 360 console to provide wireless voice chat, stylish ergonomic design and superior voice quality to chat over the Xbox Live network.

· The Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, available this holiday, delivers a superior digital audio and visual experience to consumers, enabling them to enjoy blockbuster movies in stunning high definition through their Xbox 360 system. It includes the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.

· The Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows connects existing and future Xbox 360 wireless accessories to the PC, allowing gamers to enjoy the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, Xbox 360 Wireless Headset and Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel on a second platform.

· The Xbox Live Vision video camera will allow gamers with Xbox Live Gold to customize their gamer picture, send photo messages, and video chat with friends and family over Xbox Live. Featured titles include “Pinball FX” (Zen), “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six® Vegas” (Ubisoft), “TotemBall” (Freeverse) and “World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions” (Activision). Xbox Live Vision launches in North America and Europe on Sept. 19 and the rest of the world on Feb. 10, 2007.

· Xbox 360 Memory Unit (256MB). With four times more capacity than the original, gamers can easily store and transfer even more Xbox 360 saved games, Xbox Live profiles, full Xbox Live Arcade titles and other entertainment content downloaded from Xbox Live Marketplace.

Continue reading "Gamers Catch Their Breath as Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Reinvent Next-Generation Gaming" »

Bill Gates Declares 10 Million-Unit Head Start for Xbox 360 and Outlines Future of Interactive Entertainment

LOS ANGELES — May 9, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates today staked the claim that the Xbox 360™ system will have a 10 million-unit head start by the time the competition enters the market and more than 160 games by the end of the year. Gates went on to outline the company’s bold new vision to connect millions of Xbox 360 gamers with hundreds of millions of Microsoft® Windows®-based PC and mobile gamers from around the world through the Xbox Live® online entertainment network. Gates made the announcements at a press conference to open the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the largest annual confab for the interactive entertainment industry.

Dubbed “Live Anywhere,” the initiative puts gamers at the center of a ubiquitous always-on world where their digital identities, games, friends and digital entertainment are always accessible through the familiar Xbox Live interface, regardless of location or device. The plan also clears the way for groundbreaking cross-platform gameplay scenarios, with participants using Windows-based PCs, mobile phones and Xbox 360 consoles to play together simultaneously.

By this time next year, Microsoft expects more than 6 million gamers to be connected to the Xbox Live network. In addition, more than 25 million casual gamers are currently playing games on MSN® Messenger and MSN Games. Envisioning a forward look to more closely align these powerful communities, Gates outlined next steps to bring the Live Anywhere vision to fruition:

· Xbox Live experiences come to Windows-based PCs. Gamers will have the ability to jack into the vibrant Xbox Live world from their Windows-based PCs early next year to play games with friends. Answering the call of millions of Windows gamers for a world that is always on, the Xbox Live experience on Windows will give gamers a consistent online game experience in which they have one identity, one friends list, one set of achievements and voice communications across all games on the network. These experiences will debut on Windows with the Windows Vista™ operating system and “Shadowrun™” this winter.

· Microsoft’s mobile offering. Spanning Windows Mobile®, Java and BREW-based handsets, the world-class mobile games service will give gamers on-the-go access to cross-platform gaming communities at any time, from any location. By this time next year, users will be able to send messages, access friends lists, download the best of mobile game content, and sample, purchase and play favorites such as “Bejeweled,” “Zuma” and “Hexic®” as part of the integrated gaming world.

“By opening the Xbox Live entertainment network to the entire universe of Windows and mobile gamers, we’re creating unparalleled gameplay opportunities that will drive incredible growth of the online community,” said Gates. “Our vision is to deliver consistent, compelling experiences that make it easy for consumers to jump in and play, from any device at any time. It’s a vision that only Microsoft can deliver.”

Gates, making his first appearance at E3, joined Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division, on stage to announce a barrage of new game titles coming to the Xbox 360 and Windows Vista platforms.

Microsoft announced that it will have 160 Xbox 360 titles by end of 2006. The stunningly smooth high-definition graphics and sophisticated level of gameplay in these titles are proof positive that the development community is hitting its stride with the console’s powerful hardware and programming tools.

Gates and Moore dazzled the crowd with an initial look at “Halo® 3,” the hugely anticipated sequel to the highly successful and critically acclaimed “Halo” franchise. Enthusiasm for “Halo 3” has been building since its predecessor, “Halo 2” — launched by Microsoft Game Studios in 2004 — rewrote history books by becoming the biggest launch in U.S. entertainment retail history, with $125 million in sales and 2.4 million copies sold in the first 24 hours. In this third chapter of the “Halo” trilogy, Master Chief returns to finish the fight, bringing the epic conflict between the Covenant, the Flood and the entire human race to a dramatic, pulse-pounding climax.

Microsoft Game Studios also showcased exclusive Xbox 360 titles “Gears of War” (Epic Games Inc.), “Fable® 2” (Lionhead Studios) and “Forza Motorsport™ 2” (Turn 10). Ubisoft’s next-generation version of “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent™” will also debut on Xbox 360. In addition, Microsoft Game Studios showed “Alan Wake” (Remedy Entertainment Inc.) and “Shadowrun™” (FASA Studio), both slated for Xbox 360 and Windows Vista. Bringing the Microsoft vision of Live Anywhere to life, “Shadowrun” is the first cross-platform Xbox 360 and Windows Vista-based game featuring team-based combat that ushers gamers into a new dimension with a revolutionary blend of modern weaponry and ancient magic.

For Windows gamers, the consumer launch of Windows Vista in January 2007 will continue the momentum and excitement for the Windows platform. With Windows Vista, Microsoft will introduce the DirectX® 10 API, showcasing astonishing new graphics as well as enhanced performance, better hardware integration and new ways for developers to make the most of the Windows game platform. Microsoft highlighted several games from major publishers that will support Windows Vista and DirectX 10 technologies: “Crysis™” (Electronic Arts Inc.), “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” (Funcom) and “Flight Simulator X” (Microsoft Game Studios).

In addition to these blockbuster titles on Xbox 360 and Windows Vista, several new games are coming to Xbox Live Arcade. Gamers of all ages and levels of experience are flocking to these quick, fun (and often nostalgic), downloadable titles that take advantage of the unique high-definition and Xbox Live capabilities that only Xbox 360 can deliver. Microsoft and its partners announced a significant expansion of the Xbox Live Arcade catalog, adding classic favorites such as “Pac-Man,” “Galaga,” “Dig Dug” and “Rally-X” from NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc.; “Frogger,” “Track & Field,” and “Contra” and “Super Contra” from Konami; “Defender®,” “Paperboy®,” “Root Beer Tapper™” and “Ultimate Mortal Kombat® 3” from Midway Games Inc.; “Sonic the Hedgehog™ High Speed” from SEGA®; and new titles such as “Lumines Live” from Q Entertainment Ltd.

As part of the Live Anywhere initiative, Microsoft has announced new cross-platform accessories such as the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel and Xbox 360 Wireless Headset, which will enrich game experiences on Xbox 360 and Windows. The new Xbox Live Vision video camera will allow consumers to customize their gamer picture, send photo messages, and video chat with friends and family over Xbox Live.

The appetite for Xbox 360 gaming around the world continues to grow. Microsoft is excited to meet that demand in seven new countries in the coming year with launches in Chile, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Poland, Slovakia and South Africa. Additional markets will continue the momentum of the largest next-generation installed base for any console after a second holiday season.

Continue reading "Bill Gates Declares 10 Million-Unit Head Start for Xbox 360 and Outlines Future of Interactive Entertainment" »

Microsoft Game Studios and Remedy Partner in Delivering “Alan Wake”

Today at Microsoft’s E3 press conference, Microsoft Game Studios confirmed it will publish “Alan Wake,” the highly anticipated psychological action thriller by the renowned and successful developer, Remedy. The title will be made exclusively for Windows Vista and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system.

"We are thrilled about the opportunity to work with the gifted and experienced Remedy team," said Frank Pape, Senior Director of Business Development at Microsoft. "Our teams are dedicated to pushing the envelope of the gaming experience for Windows and the Xbox 360 with 'Alan Wake.' Millions of gamers have come to expect highly innovative and compelling content from Remedy and Microsoft Game Studios is proud to partner with them on this phenomenal title."

“Partnering with Microsoft Game Studios creates a complementary blend of talents and a shared passion to create something incredible,” said Petri Järvilehto, Creative Director at Remedy. "We put a lot of effort into finding the best publisher match for our game and the Remedy team. As a result, we are truly excited to work with MGS to make ‘Alan Wake’ the game it deserves to be and to continue our track record of success.”

Set in the deceptively idyllic town of Bright Falls, Washington, “Alan Wake” places gamers in the role of the best-selling suspense author, Alan Wake. He escapes to this small town to recover from the mysterious disappearance of his fiancée. In Bright Falls Wake comes face to face with his darkest nightmares.

“Alan Wake” immerses players in an intense and expansive cinematic world that enables players to roam freely in hyper-realistic, dynamic and interactive environments. “Alan Wake” is mission-based with a deeply engaging and suspenseful storyline unveiling new twists and profound character revelations at every turn. Players will unravel the riveting plot through character interactions, unique problem-solving and intense combat against terrifying enemies. In this nightmarish world, Alan Wake must use a variety of weapons to survive, including his most powerful ally against the creatures of darkness — light itself.

Continue reading "Microsoft Game Studios and Remedy Partner in Delivering “Alan Wake”" »

Rockstar Games announces Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360™ and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system

New York, NY – May 9th, 2006 -- Rockstar Games, the universally-renowned publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), is proud to announce Grand Theft Auto IV, the next-generation console debut of the genre-defining Grand Theft Auto franchise. Developed by world-class designers Rockstar North, Grand Theft Auto IV will be simultaneously available for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360™ and is currently planned to be in stores in North America on October 16, 2007 and in Europe on October 19, 2007.

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E3 Coverage - Microsoft Press Conference

The press conference was held at the Chinese Theater and began with a demo of Gears of War. Someone played a level from the beginning of the game and it looked great. Very dark and futuristic, lots of realistic blood splatter, tons of shooting, and even a chainsaw. Spectacular graphics.

Then Peter Moore took the stage and talked about how Microsoft is delivering the most powerful HD gaming to date. For the first time ever, all of MS gaming is under a single organization unit. Games drive entertainment at MS. Fastest start in console history 5 million Xbox 360 sold by end of June, 4.5 games and 3 peripherals per unit sold. These are great numbers. It’s about the games, the friends, and the lifestyle.

Xbox Live – a unique online experience, friend’s lists, achievements, etc. 6 million members by this time next year. Evolving beyond a shared game space to a true entertainment venue. Xbox Live Arcade has something for everyone. Classic arcade games from Namco, Konami, Midway, SEGA. More than games, a shared heritage. Created a space for independent developers where innovation can thrive. Lumines Live with exclusive Warner Bros content.

Xbox 360 games – Lost Planet Extreme Condition, Mass Effect, Moto GP 06, Saint’s Row, John Woo Presents Stranglehold, Test Drive Unlimited, DDR Universe, Prey, Superman Returns: The Videogame, by this holiday there will be over 160 360 games. 825 titles currently available on Xbox.

Fable 2 announcement Peter Molyneaux and Lionhead Studios

Forza Motorsport 2 – more customization, 300 cars to tune and paint, 12 player races through xbox live, available this holiday season matched with wireless steering wheel

Wireless headset

Xbox Live Vision Camera

Working on building better games for Japanese market

Splinter Cell Double Agent to be released Sept 06

Viva Pinata – whole new world that kids can jump into anytime and anywhere this game is about what happens to piñata when they’re not at a party holiday 06

Xbox Live Marketplace – digital distribution, 1000 pieces of content available today. Changes the way people try and buy games. Provides true episodic content keeping your favorite games fresh for years. Opens new worlds of digital entertainment – music videos, movie trailers. All in HD.

Xbox 360 HD DVD Player – roughly 2/3 the size of 360. Available this holiday. $499

Grand Theft Auto IV – 360 on October 2007. Exclusive episodic content via Xbox Live

Windows Gaming – revitalized marketing effort, latest in graphics technology, Windows Vista is game friendly. “Games for Windows” Vista is where it’s at for gaming, Direct X 10, it does look good, parental controls, more horsepower, more stability, more joint release titles that will come out on 360 and PC such as Shadowrun. There is talk of a single "Live Anywhere" interface so you can be on the equivalent of Xbox Live from an Xbox, a PC, or a mobile phone. There will be seamless interaction between platforms, so someone on a 360 could message someone on a PC and then they could play Shadowrun against each other.

Bill Gates came on stage and that was pretty cool.

Continue reading "E3 Coverage - Microsoft Press Conference" »

ACTIVISION ANNOUNCES NEXT-GENERATION CONSOLE LINEUP

Santa Monica, CA. – May 8, 2006 -- Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today confirmed that the company is currently in development on three launch titles for both the PLAYSTATION® 3 computer entertainment system and Wii™ (formerly code named Revolution) platforms. The company has been working closely with both Sony Computer Entertainment America and Nintendo on the development of Call of Duty® 3 and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, which will be released on both next-generation systems, as well as on the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Activision also is developing two completely different games based on the Tony Hawk franchise – Tony Hawk’s Project 8™ for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam™ for Nintendo’s new Wii system. In fiscal 2007, the company will release 10 games for the three next-generation platforms including the titles listed above as well as X-Men: The Official Game for the Xbox 360.

Additionally, at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo Activision will unveil a sneak peak from its highly anticipated Spider-Man 3™ video game that demonstrates the in-game model of the renowned Super Hero and the power of next-generation technology. Activision’s Windows PC lineup is led by id Software’s Enemy Territory™: QUAKE Wars, the highly-anticipated online team-based first-person action game.

These announcements underscore Activision’s commitment to being a leader on all of the next-generation gaming systems. The company established an early leadership position on the Xbox 360 and according to the NPD Group, has the #1 Xbox 360 game with Call of Duty® 2. Activision’s next-generation slate is anchored by well-established, recognizable brands that the company owns or controls.

Activision also announced its game lineup for the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 10 - 12, 2006. The company’s slate showcases games for both next-and current-generation consoles and Windows PC platforms.

“Activision will showcase a diverse and well-rounded game slate at this year’s E3 convention,” said Mike Griffith, President and CEO, Activision Publishing, Inc. “We expect that our well-established brands and multi-platform development strategy should continue to provide us with an advantage in the new console era. The next-generation console systems feature significant visual and audio enhancements that will continue making video games more accessible to audiences worldwide.”

Next-Generation Launch Titles:

Activision’s PlayStation 3 system launch lineup will take advantage of the hardware’s multi-core processing to deliver smoother, faster gaming experiences that will closely resemble feature film quality values. The company’s launch games for Nintendo’s Wii system will fully utilize the Wii’s revolutionary freehand-style controller by offering more immersive gameplay.

Call of Duty 3, the follow-up to the #1 next-generation game, delivers the intensity of being closer than ever to the fury of combat during the battle for the Liberation of Paris, the most harrowing campaign of WWII, known as The Normandy Breakout. Through a seamless narrative, Call of Duty 3 delivers the rush of unrelenting battle and breathtaking action of the Allied offensive that changed the fate of the world. (PlayStation 3 system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Wii, Xbox, PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system; fall; not yet rated by the ESRB)

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is an all-new action/RPG that features over 140 Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains and the largest roster of comic book characters ever seen in a video game. Players get to create their Super Hero team from over 20 playable characters including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Blade and Captain America, and through their actions determine the fate of both planet Earth and the Marvel Universe, which is revealed in one of several epilogues. (PlayStation 3 system, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PSP™ (PlayStation® Portable) system, Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Windows PC; fall; not yet rated by the ESRB)

Designed and built exclusively for Nintendo’s next-generation and handheld systems, Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam delivers a totally innovative and unique skateboard experience focused on head-to-head racing. The game allows players to feel the breakneck speed of downhill competition as they tear up the world’s steepest terrains while performing tricks and outmaneuvering opponents in such locations as San Francisco, Machu Picchu and Hong Kong. Taking on the role of Tony Hawk or one of nine characters, players compete in time-based challenges in one of three gameplay modes including race, trick and slalom. (Wii, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance; fall; not yet rated by the ESRB)

Reengineered from the ground up for the PlayStation 3 system and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Tony Hawk’s Project 8 immerses players in the definitive skateboarding experience using ultra-realistic graphics, enhanced physics and extremely responsive controls that simulate the feeling of skating with every trick and bail. The game challenges players to experience the intensity and pressure of skating against some of the world’s top pros in true to life competitions as they aim to become the #1 skater. (PlayStation 3 system, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PSP system; fall; not yet rated by the ESRB)

Powerhouse E3 Lineup:

Set to redefine online action gaming, id Software’s Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars is the ultimate team-and objective-based multiplayer experience. Developed by Splash Damage and executive produced by id Software, the first person strategic action game is set within the epic QUAKE® universe in the year 2065 and pits the Allied troops of the Global Defense Force (GDF) against a new Axis of Evil – the barbaric and technologically advanced Strogg. Built on id Software’s new MegaTexture™ rendering technology and featuring strategic team play, persistent character promotions and the universe’s most powerful weapons and vehicles, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars transports players to the frontlines of an epic new war for Earth. (Windows PC; not yet rated by the ESRB)

Building on The Movies™’ critically acclaimed gameplay, The Movies: Stunts & Effects™ Expansion Pack ups the ante on movie production with the addition of stuntmen, death-defying stunts and new stunt double characters; a new particle effects engine that let’s players enhance their scenes with incredible visual effects including fireball explosions, shattering glass, smoke and steam; an all new “Freecam Mode” that allows players to adjust the camera location, angle, field of view and path to create truly unique movies; and the addition of new miniature sets that let players create dramatic sweeping angles. (Windows PC; summer; Rated “T” (Teen – Blood and Gore, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Tobacco Violence) by the ESRB)

Based on DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming film, Over the Hedge™ takes players on an all-new adventure beyond the movie as they assume the roles of RJ the raccoon, Verne the turtle, Hammy the squirrel and Stella the skunk and turn a suburban neighborhood loaded with dangerous obstacles and traps into their personal playground. (PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and the PC have been rated E10+; Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS have been rated E by the ESRB; available on North American retail shelves May 9)

X-Men: The Official Game catapults players into an original storyline that serves as a prelude to Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Studios’ upcoming film, “X-Men: The Last Stand,” and allows them to command the distinct powers of Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Iceman as they face off against formidable enemies, battle through massive environments and embark on an epic quest to save mutant-kind. (Rated “T” (Teen - violence) for Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and PC by the ESRB; Rated “E-10+” (Everyone 10 and older – fantasy violence) for the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance) by the ESRB; available on North American retail shelves May 16)

Building on last year’s #1 poker title and the #1 brand in poker, World Series of Poker®: Tournament of Champions takes a story-based approach putting players on the Pro Circuit as a new pro and protégé of Chris “Jesus” Ferguson. Players test their skills at the premier Circuit Events in hopes of qualifying for the winner-take-all, invitation-only Tournament of Champions at the Rio Resort in Las Vegas. Along the way, they face-off against more top pros than ever before, including Joseph Hachem, the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion and Jennifer Tilly, the Academy Award nominated actress and World Series of Poker bracelet holder, among others in hopes of bringing home the Tournament of Champions trophy. (Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PC, PSP system; fall; not yet rated by the ESRB)

New Online Content:

Further expanding the experience of the #1 title for the Xbox 360, Activision will release four all new Call of Duty 2 Xbox 360 multiplayer maps at E3 that unleash a blistering barrage of battle for gamers. The four maps will be available via Xbox Live® online game network. The Bonus Pack features two maps set in Germany and will be released for free. While the Skirmish Pack contains two additional maps set in Russia and France will be sold for 400 Microsoft Points™ through Xbox Live® Marketplace.

Video taped comments from Activision’s CEO, Robert Kotick, concerning E3, the PlayStation 3 system, Nintendo Wii and the future of digital entertainment, are available at www.thenewsmarket.com/activision. Media can preview and request broadcast-standard video digitally or by tape at no cost from this site.

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May 8, 2006

EA UNVEILS THE NEXT GENERATION OF GAMES AT E3

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., May 4, 2006-- Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced its next generation of game titles for the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) taking place in Los Angeles May 10-12, 2006. EA’s line up of EA SPORTS™ and EA™ branded games for the Xbox 360™ video game system from Microsoft, the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system, Nintendo Wii™, Nintendo DS™, PC and mobile phones will be showcased in EA’s booth #1000 in the South Hall. With a renewed focus on original and wholly-owned intellectual property EA will unveil an array of titles and the technology that drives gameplay innovation.

Shown exclusively behind closed doors, EA is presenting its recently announced next generation console action title out of EA Montréal, ARMY OF TWO™; Will Wright’s original PC work in progress, SPORE™; and the newest PC iteration in the acclaimed Command & Conquer™ series, Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars™.

The EA SPORTS line up will go behind closed doors in the EA SPORTS Lab highlighting the technology that fuels the gameplay innovations for the ’07 lineup. Madden NFL 07 will be playable on the PlayStation 3 console, Xbox 360, PSP system, Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii.

“EA is leading the industry with a new generation of games on a new generation of platforms,” said Paul Lee President of EA Studios. “We’re pushing the technology to provide more innovation in our EA branded games and authentic athletic performance in our EA SPORTS games. We’re also leading the resurgence of PC gaming with groundbreaking titles like Battlefield 2142, Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars, Crytek Studio’s Crysis and of course Will Wright’s new game, SPORE.”

“EA is demonstrating a ground-breaking level of quality and innovation at E3 this year,” said Frank Gibeau, EA Executive Vice President and General Manger of North American Publishing. “Games like ARMY OF TWO and NBA LIVE 07 are going to unleash the power of new consoles like PlayStation3 and Xbox 360. Madden NFL 07 makes great use of the new controller on Nintendo’s Wii system.”

“E3 is a showcase for EA’s portfolio of globally recognized entertainment,” said Executive Vice President and General Manager of International Publishing, Gerhard Florin. “Titles like FIFA Soccer, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II and the Battlefield franchise are among the most popular games in the world.”
EA SPORTS™ branded E3 line up

Along with playable demos that showcase deep new offerings of Madden NFL 07 and NCAA Football 07, EA will feature tech demonstrations of NBA LIVE, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR and FIFA Soccer behind closed doors in the EA SPORTS Lab. These demos will illustrate the new tools and development philosophy that drives gameplay and feature innovation in EA SPORTS games on next generation consoles. Highlighting the EA SPORTS Lab will be never-before-seen technology that delivers authentic athletic performance— the athletic movements, awareness, look and emotional intensity that bring characters to life in EA SPORTS games. The Lab will also feature a demonstration of ESPN content integrated in upcoming EA SPORTS games, including ESPN ticker and ESPN SportsCenter Radio updates.

Madden NFL 07 - With the exclusive video game license of the NFL and its players, Madden NFL 07 continues to be the #1 football franchise in history with more than 51 million copies sold. In its 17th installment, you control the running game like never before. For the first time ever, step up as the lead blocker to create a hole, and then take control of the tailback and smash through, overpower, or slash away from would-be tacklers as you fight for every yard. Innovative rushing controls give you a game-breaking ground attack featuring all-new jukes, cutbacks, and the distinct running styles of your favorite backs. Developed by EA Tiburon, Madden NFL 07 will launch in August on the Xbox 360, Xbox® videogame system from Microsoft, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube™, PSP system, PC, Nintendo DS and Game Boy® Advance. Madden NFL 07 is also in development on the PlayStation 3 console and Nintendo Wii.

NCAA® Football 07 - Momentum changes everything—now college football’s most celebrated videogame turns the tide with NCAA Football 07. Whether battling your biggest rival or playing for the first-ever BCS National Championship Game in Dynasty Mode™, success on the field depends on your ability to maintain momentum. Featuring unprecedented graphics that capture every moment in complete detail—from the authenticity of the stadiums, mascots, and marching bands, to the true-to-life look and feel of the players on the field. NCAA Football 07 delivers the most realistic college football experience ever. NCAA Football 07 is scheduled to ship in July on the PlayStation 2 console, Xbox, Xbox 360 and the PSP system.

NASCAR® 07* (Working title) - Take risks, be rewarded, and become a champion with NASCAR® 07* on the PSP system. With all-new Adrenaline Moments, use your skill and instinct during the most intense situations and control the outcome by avoiding disastrous wrecks and flying debris. Maintain your focus on dangerous conditions ahead with the new RaceBreaker feature, which guides you through every treacherous moment of the race. With all-new speed blurring, realistic spark and smoke effects, and camera shakes, get your adrenaline pumping and experience the all-out drama and intensity of 190-mph racing with NASCAR 07.

EA™ branded E3 lineup

The EA game line up is as diverse as the audience games reach today. Gamers will have all-new experiences on award-winning franchises or discover completely new franchises; EA titles will demonstrate that next generation has arrived on the console, PC and handheld devices.

ARMY OF TWO™ - You’re not alone soldier, not anymore. At E3, EA unveils details of the action title that has been kept top secret for the past year. Developed at EA’s boutique production house in Montréal, Canada, the new, original game will redefine strategic TWO man cooperative play when it launches on the PlayStation 3 console and Xbox 360 in 2007. ARMY OF TWO will throw gamers into hot spots ripped from current day headlines where they will utilize unique TWO man strategies and tactics while seamlessly transitioning between playing with intelligent Partner AI (PAI) and a live player. When one man is not enough, it will take an army of two to fight through war, political turmoil and a conspiracy so vast it threatens the entire world.

Battlefield 2142™ - The year is 2142, and the dawn of a new Ice age has thrown the world into a panic. The soil not covered by ice can only feed a fraction of the Earth’s population. The math is simple and brutal: Some will live, most will die. In Battlefield 2142, players choose to fight for one of two military superpowers in an epic battle for survival. Armed with a devastating arsenal of hi-tech weaponry, including assault rifles, cloaking devices, EMP grenades and sentry guns, players can level the playing field against massive Battle Walkers that control the ground and futuristic aircraft that rule the skies. Massive online* battles for up to 64 players drop gamers on the front lines as part of a formal squad, or behind the scenes in Commander Mode to direct the strategic assaults of their team-mates. Battlefield 2142 also introduces an all-new game type for the first time in franchise history: “Titan” mode, which challenges gamers to control the battlefield and destroy their opponent’s Titan - a massive flying warship - while defending their own. Battlefield 2142 is developed by Digital Illusions/DICE Sweden and is slated to ship for PC in Fall 2006.

SPORE – SPORE takes players on an epic journey from the origin and evolution of life through the development of civilization and eventually into the outer reaches of space. Create a creature, then control every dimension of its evolution from pond scum to galactic god. Experience multiple styles of gameplay as your creature advances through different stages of development. Fight for survival in the wild, develop a sprawling metropolis, trade and war against rival civilizations and explore the outer reaches of the galaxy. Every aspect of the universe from creatures to vehicles, buildings to plants, are created by the player and automatically shared with other players, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play. Create, control and explore your universe with SPORE. SPORE is under development for the PC by legendary game designer, Will Wright.

Crysis™ – Crysis is all-new first person shooter from Crytek, the award-winning developers of the critically-acclaimed hit Far Cry. Powered by the revolutionary CryEngine™2, Crysis delivers next-generation PC technology, graphics and gameplay. Set in 2019 after a colossal asteroid crashes to Earth, Crysis begins amidst a tense military standoff between the North Korean and United States governments for control of the impact zone. Amid rising tensions, the asteroid suddenly bursts open revealing a massive alien ship, which begins freezing vast portions of the island and altering the global weather system. The invasion of Earth has begun. Crysis features an epic three-act story of alien invasion where players are able to customize their armor and weapons in real time to confront an ever-changing enemy and a harsh, dynamic environment. Advanced enemy AI employs realistic military tactics, forcing gamers to actively outsmart their opponents rather than simply reacting to them. Crysis is slated to ship for the PC in Winter 2006.

Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars™ – The genre defining Command & Conquer series is back! The epic struggle between the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) and The Brotherhood of NOD continues…and the third Tiberium War™ is about to begin. Welcome back, Commander. Command & Conquer, the groundbreaking series that put the Real-time Strategy (RTS) genre on the map, is returning in full force with Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars. This highly-anticipated next chapter takes the popular series back to its roots in the Tiberium universe and features the fast, fluid gameplay that Command & Conquer is known for and a gripping story that will redefine storytelling in RTS games. Experience a revolution in RTS gaming with a breakthrough single player campaign that rewards you for your gameplay style. Add layers of strategy to your gaming experience by building mobile bases, wielding the power of terrifying Ion Storms on the battlefield, or customizing your armies by combining units. Battle it out online with native voice-over IP, integrated clan support, and new spectator modes that let you play RTS games like a sport. Windows PC, 2007.

The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™ II for the Xbox 360 – Now command the epic battles of Middle-earth from your living room couch! Take control of huge armies and venture into the heart of Middle-earth to live the battles seen in the blockbuster New Line Cinema films and classic J.R.R. Tolkien literary fiction—all in spectacular high-definition. The game boasts a new, intuitive console-specific control scheme that allows novice players to enjoy the game’s signature Real-time Strategy gameplay while giving expert players the flexibility needed to engage in a deeply complex strategy experience. Directly control hundreds of units in an attempt to defeat enemy armies, conquer new lands, and seal the fate of Middle-earth. As the first game in The Lord of the Rings™ series to be playable over Xbox LIVE™*, add to the intensity of the experience and challenge friends online* to engage in action-packed real-time battles. Summer 2006.

SUPERMAN RETURNS™: THE VIDEOGAME challenges players to master Superman's unrivaled powers to save Metropolis. Based on 60 years of DC Comics and the upcoming motion picture, SUPERMAN RETURNS™: THE VIDEOGAME creates the ultimate open-world super hero experience. As the Man of Steel™, you’ll hone your unworldly super powers such as Flight, X-Ray Vision and Freeze Breath to fight villains that only Superman™ can defeat. SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME will be available on Xbox 360, the PlayStation 2 console, Xbox, the PSP system, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance.

Def Jam® Fight For NY™: The Takeover – Experience the ultimate hip hop fighting game anywhere you go. Master over 180 new fighting moves and 50 new dirty moves in order to win fights and rise among the ranks of your crew. Create your own fighter and battle through over 40 of the hottest artists and celebrities in Hip Hop including Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Method Man, Redman, Snoop Dogg, and Xzibit. With a new story, new moves, new venues, and head to head wireless gameplay, Def Jam Fight For NY: The Takeover is the summer's must have title for the PSP system.

Continue reading "EA UNVEILS THE NEXT GENERATION OF GAMES AT E3" »

May 7, 2006

Buena Vista Games Unveils New Video Game Lineup at 2006 Electronics Entertainment Expo

BURBANK, Calif. — (May 8, 2006) — Buena Vista Games, Inc. (BVG), the interactive entertainment arm of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), today announced its largest and most diverse lineup ever of console, computer and handheld video game titles to be showcased at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), May 10-12 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Booth No. 1024 in the South Hall.

With a broad portfolio of video games that appeals to a wide audience, BVG’s portfolio includes titles inspired by major theatrical releases, popular and award-winning television shows and new intellectual properties.

“Buena Vista Games’ 2006 portfolio features the most diverse and extensive product mix to date, with titles based on the rich movie and television brands of The Walt Disney Company and new original properties that we look to build into evergreen franchises for the future,” said Graham Hopper, senior vice president and general manager, Buena Vista Games. “We continue to strengthen our self-publishing business with compelling new games that have broad entertainment appeal across all audiences and all major markets worldwide.”

For console game players, BVG will showcase a broad range of titles including Turok, an FPS game set on a mysterious planet that is based on the Classic Media comic book license; Disney’s Chicken Little: Ace in Action, based on the “super hero movie within a movie” of the box office hit film “Chicken Little”; Disney’s Meet the Robinsons, inspired by the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures’ futuristic computer-animated film; Lumines Plus, the first console extension of the highly popular Lumines puzzle franchise; and Disney’s Kim Possible: What’s the Switch?, the first console game based on the hit Disney Channel franchise.

For Windows PC users, Desperate Housewives: The Game, based on the award-winning ABC/Touchstone Television series “Desperate Housewives” will be available for game play for the first time.

BVG’s strategy for its kids games portfolio is focused on three endeavors in 2006 – the launch of the Disney on the Go brand; new efforts in handheld preschool learning games with the launch of Disney’s Little Einsteins for Game Boy® Advance; and migrating handheld franchise hits to the console for sophisticated gameplay in a family-safe environment with Disney’s Kim Possible for PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system.

BVG will showcase handheld games for all major handheld platforms (the PSP (PlayStation®Portable) system, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance). The company’s handheld portfolio will include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, based on the upcoming summer blockbuster movie; Spectrobes, a new original title being developed in Japan; Lumines II, Every Extend Extra and Meteos: Disney Edition, action puzzle games from Q ENTERTAINMENT; and games based on popular Disney Channel properties including “Hannah Montana,“ “Little Einsteins,” “American Dragon,” “Phil of the Future,” “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” “That’s So Raven” and more. Also, BVG will present new titles for young girls based on the Disney Princess franchise including a game based on the upcoming DVD release of “The Little Mermaid.”

Along with its self-publishing business, BVG continues to work with its licensing partners on phenomenal games based on Disney and Disney€Pixar properties. THQ Inc. will showcase Disney€Pixar Cars and Bethesda Softworks will show Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow in their respective booths at E3.

Console Games

Turok*
Turok is an epic, story-driven FPS game set on a dark, mysterious planet in the near future. Players take on the role of Joseph Turok, a former Black Ops commando, now part of an elite Special Forces squad on a mission to take down a war criminal on a genetically-altered planet. After the ship is shot down while approaching the planet, Joseph Turok must use his instincts and elite military training to elude an army of well-trained soldiers, and the ravenous, unpredictable creatures that populate the dangerous environment. Joseph Turok’s mission? Survive at all costs.

Platforms: Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system
Release Date: 2007

Lumines Plus*
Lumines Plus is a pulsing new version of the original PSP system game for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system. Lumines Plus includes new skins and a two-player battle mode.

Platform: PlayStation 2
Release Date: Fall 2006

Disney’s Meet The Robinsons
Disney’s Meet the Robinsons, based on the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures animated film, is a time-traveling action/adventure game. Players will experience the adventure as Wilbur Robinson, helping him chase the dastardly Bowler Hat Guy and his diabolical robotic hat Doris through multiple timelines in an attempt to thwart their evil plans. The game weaves in and out of the film’s plot, expanding the Robinson world and offering an all-new adventure. Wilbur will have a host of gadgets at his disposal as he battles enemies and solves puzzles while pursuing Bowler Hat Guy and trying not to alter the future.

Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance
Release Date: 2007

Disney’s Chicken Little: Ace in Action
Inspired by the “superhero movie within the movie” finale of Walt Disney Pictures’ box office hit film “Chicken Little,” Disney’s Chicken Little: Ace in Action features Ace, the superhero alter ego of Chicken Little, and the Hollywood versions of his misfit band of friends: Runt, Abby and Fish-Out-of-Water. The crew of the intergalactic Battle Barn faces off against Foxy Loxy and her evil Amazonian sidekick, Goosey Loosey, who have an evil plan to take over Earth. Battle evil alien robots through multiple levels across the solar system and combat your foes in one of three distinct game play modes: Ace on foot as a soldier, Runt as the driver of an armored tank, or Abby as the pilot of a spaceship. The original Chicken Little and his friends Abby, Runt and Fish we know from the film are featured in cut scenes throughout the game.

Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS
Release Date: Fall 2006

Disney’s Kim Possible: What’s the Switch?
Kim Possible and her perennial nemesis Shego must grudgingly team up to bring everything back to normal when the minds of Dr. Drakken and Ron Stoppable are switched in this action-packed adventure. It’s now up to Kim and Shego to save the day – together.

Platform: PlayStation 2
Release Date: Fall 2006

Windows PC Game

Desperate Housewives: The Game
A lifestyle simulation game for Windows based on the hit ABC/Touchstone Television phenomenon, Desperate Housewives: The Game lets you become the newest housewife on Wisteria Lane, extending the experience from the TV series through new storylines. As a new housewife, you must uncover delicious scandals and reveal some shocking secrets of your own. The gameplay is a story-driven adventure, in which each episode contains unique plot points and secrets for you to uncover.

Platforms: Windows XP and Windows Vista
Release Date: Fall 2006

Handheld Games

Spectrobes
An original concept and new intellectual property from Buena Vista Games, Spectrobes introduces two junior Interplanetary Patrol officers named Rallen and Jeena who learn of strange, prehistoric creatures called Spectrobes that possess special powers. These Spectrobes hold the key to defeating a vicious and merciless force, known only as the Krawl that threatens to destroy the galaxy. The two heroes embark on a mission to save their galaxy – to do so they must excavate, awaken, train and collect all the Spectrobes they can and battle to defeat the Krawl.

Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date: To Be Announced

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, based on the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures’ film, is a swashbuckling third-person action/adventure. Players will engage in game play that reflects the cunning world of the film franchise -- with an abundance of disloyalty, humor and revenge. Players embark on a daring adventure while sword dueling and hunting for hidden treasure in the quest for the legendary Dead Man’s Chest.

Platforms: PSP system, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance
Release Date: June 27, 2006

Lumines II
Lumines II is the highly anticipated sequel to the extremely addictive puzzle-based video game, Lumines. Gamers control squares made of four smaller block pieces that are dropped into the playing field one at a time to form same-color squares. The vertical “timeline” sweeps across the playing field from left to right and wipes the same-color squares from the playing field. Unmatched blocks pile up, and the game ends when the pile gets to the top of the playing screen. Advance through many action-packed levels, each with its own musical theme and sound effects.

Platform: PSP system
Release Date: Fall 2006

Every Extend Extra
Every Extend Extra is a unique “puzzle shooter,” brought to the PSP system by the creators of the critically acclaimed hit Lumines. Every Extend Extra delivers an addictive gameplay experience through a fusion of arcade-style shooting action, cutting-edge music and visuals. Players evade enemy attacks and then use perfect timing to blast their foes in a colorful display of explosive chain reactions. The bigger the chain reaction results in the higher the score and the larger the rewards.

Platform: PSP system
Release Date: Fall 2006

Meteos: Disney Edition
Meteos: Disney Edition is a new version of the popular galactic action puzzle title Meteos featuring beloved Disney characters.

Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date: Fall 2006

BVG will also showcase upcoming handheld titles including for the Nintendo DS:

Disney’s American Dragon: Jake Long, Attack of the Dark Dragon
Disney’s Kim Possible: Global Gemini
Hannah Montana
That’s So Raven: Psychic on the Scene
Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Tipton Trouble

Games for the Game Boy Advance include:

The Cheetah Girls
Phil of the Future.
W.I.T.C.H.

Licensed Games

Disney€Pixar Cars
Published by THQ, Cars, the video game, is a high performance interactive experience in the open world created in the film, challenging players to relive the excitement created by Lightning McQueen and his friends. Fans will discover unique characters and environments inspired by the film with more than 10 playable characters and 30 races and mini games to choose from. The game features a fully immersive recreation of all major environments introduced in the movie, including Radiator Springs and Ornament Valley, which will offer distinctive racing experiences to players while maintaining the artistic style of the film.

Platforms: Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube®, Nintendo DS, PSP system, Game Boy Advance, Windows PC and Mac
Release Date: June 2006; Xbox 360 and Wii versions – Fall 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow
What’s not to love about Captain Jack Sparrow? Play as Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann as you hack and slash your way through fully interactive environments, including burning buildings, wrecked ships, and misty moonlit caves. One minute you are fighting hordes of enemies and the next you’re evading capture by the Royal Navy. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow is being published by Bethesda Softworks.

Platforms: PlayStation 2 and Windows PC
Release Date: Summer 2006

Continue reading "Buena Vista Games Unveils New Video Game Lineup at 2006 Electronics Entertainment Expo" »

May 5, 2006

Colin McRae to Return in 2007 with a Sensational Next-Generation Off-Road Racing Experience

New York (May 4, 2006) – Colin McRae Rally, the genre-leading off-road racer, is set to return in 2007. Codemasters confirmed that the all-new McRae game, (working title CMR’07), is now in development exclusively for next-generation platforms, and will be available next year.

After a two-year break for the series, Codemasters Studios’ designers are back and re- creating a totally reinvigorated McRae experience. The new Colin McRae title will go beyond the series’ point-to-point rallying to deliver the most diverse selection of extreme off-road competitions. Sensational gravel, mud and dirt racing events from the world over will include perilous Hill Climb and collision-packed Rally Cross events.

The game will also feature international rallying competitions, with official cars on tracks based on real roads and locations around the globe. McCrae will expand on beat-the-clock racing and include events with multiple cars on track to satisfy gamers who want to push their on-the-edge driving further.

“The all-new Colin McRae Rally will be a real evolution for the series and offer a massive variety of off-road events, more than any other single-championship rally game has before,” said Gavin Raeburn, executive producer at Codemasters. “It's being designed to offer a totally accessible, high-speed ride for newcomers to the series, yet hardened McRae players will be able to delve under the hood and immerse themselves in the most challenging of competitions.”

Continue reading "Colin McRae to Return in 2007 with a Sensational Next-Generation Off-Road Racing Experience" »

Microsoft to Acquire In-Game Advertising Pioneer Massive Inc.

REDMOND, Wash. — May 4, 2006 — Today at the seventh annual MSN® Strategic Account Summit, Microsoft Corp. announced it is acquiring Massive Inc., the New York-based creator of a world-leading network for video game advertising, in a move that will help deliver dynamic, relevant ads across Microsoft’s online services, starting with Xbox Live® and MSN Games. Massive’s solution depicts brands in various forms within the game — on soft-drink cans and pizza boxes, on billboards and posters, and in images on TV screens — where gamers would expect to see them in real life, adding realism to the overall gaming experience. Massive employees will continue to work from their current locations, including their headquarters in New York and offices in London, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Paris, Sydney, Cologne and Toronto. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The Opportunity for Advertisers

The acquisition of Massive broadens Microsoft’s commitment to providing advertisers with a highly effective means of reaching specific demographic groups of consumers in the rapidly growing and interactive medium of online gaming.

“Advertisers are having a tough time connecting with the elusive 18- to 34-year-old male demographic because this group continues to spend less time watching TV and more time playing video games,” said Joanne Bradford, corporate vice president of Global Sales and Marketing and chief media revenue officer at Microsoft. “Massive and Microsoft can help lead with our shared vision of delivering more targeted, measurable and effective opportunities for advertisers to reach today’s youth audience in a largely untapped market.”

The Commitment to Gamers

Massive and Microsoft will continue to prioritize gamer satisfaction, applying very rigorous standards to ads before they can be included in a game. These standards allow for only those ads that add realism and entertainment value to the overall game experience, not those that might detract from gameplay. Xbox has worked with Massive for more than a year and found that Massive’s technology, innovations and global gaming ecosystem are designed to ensure that in-game advertising is implemented effectively. According to research by Nielsen Interactive Entertainment, the majority of gamers find that relevant advertising enhances the realism of games.

The ad-funded model supported by Massive helps game developers deliver high quality and push the creative boundaries of video games to deliver the best gaming experience. It helps publishers offset the skyrocketing costs of video game development, which can in turn benefit gamers, keeping game prices affordable and opening the door to free gameplay, free content, tournaments and other possibilities.

Within the casual gaming space, Microsoft plans to implement Massive’s solution to extend in-game advertising capabilities to games on MSN and within MSN Messenger, delivering advertising solutions for the casual gaming audience of females 35 years old and up.

Taking Dynamic Ads Beyond Games

Microsoft also has begun exploring how to apply Massive technology to incorporate dynamic advertising into other online environments, such as Windows Live™ and MSN, and to make it available on the adCenter advertising platform. “We are committed to building an advertiser network that serves a wide spectrum of needs,” said Kevin Johnson, co-president of the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft. “Our acquisition of Massive will expand opportunities for advertisers and enable connection to a broader audience of digital consumers.”

“Joining forces with Microsoft will allow Massive to deliver even greater benefits for advertisers, game developers and gamers through one of the world’s largest, most comprehensive online networks,” said Mitchell Davis, CEO of Massive Inc. “While our current business relationships will remain in place, with Microsoft we have the prospect of extending our technology into a vast array of new markets and online environments.”


Continue reading "Microsoft to Acquire In-Game Advertising Pioneer Massive Inc." »

May 4, 2006

iBloks Cutting-edge Personalized Entertainment™ Application to Debut on E3Insider.com at E3Expo 2006

LOS ANGELES, May 4, 2006 – iBloks, maker of new self-expression software to address consumers’ growing need to personalize their digital media and entertainment experiences, announced today that the company has teamed up with E3Insider.com to debut its downloadable self-expression application at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3Expo) in Los Angeles. E3Insider.com, the official consumer news source for E3Expo, offers brand new exclusive features and an inside look at the hottest new consoles, game titles and related peripherals through exclusive videos, images, news and blogs. This is the ultimate debut vehicle for iBloks.

E3Insider.com will feature iBloks on its site and allow visitors to sign up for the first-ever, iBloks Mix.Share.Play.™ & Win! E3Insider 2006 Sweepstakes. Everyone who enters the online contest is an instant winner and will receive a free iBloks download that includes a personalized Sudoku game and the iBloks flagship “Dancin’ Man Mod.” The Grand Prize winner will take home a Fender guitar signed by entertainment icon Nile Rodgers. As producer of the Halo2, Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero soundtracks and recipient of numerous music awards, Rogers is one of the most enduring and prolific figures in the entertainment industry.

“E3Expo is the perfect venue to debut iBloks and offer all the loyal fans of E3Insider.com free iBloks software when they enter the iBloks Mix.Share.Play.™ & Win! E3Insider 2006 Sweepstakes,” said Julia Miller, CEO and founder of iBloks and former director of Xbox Live, and other former Xbox and Apple developers. “As early adopters of technology and entertainment trends, E3Expo gamers and attendees deserve to be the first people to access our new personalized digital media and entertainment software when we launch this summer.”

iBloks provides an easy way for people to create personalized, multimedia, entertainment experiences using all major digital media formats including photos, videos, games, music and sound effects. iBloks is a totally immersive experience where people can mix media together, save and then share their creations via email, IM, Web pages or blogs. iBloks offers social innovation that's fun, elegantly-designed and a totally new way for people to express themselves.

For more information about E3Expo and the iBloks Mix.Share.Play.™ & Win! E3Insider 2006 Sweepstakes, visit: www.e3Insider.com.

Continue reading "iBloks Cutting-edge Personalized Entertainment™ Application to Debut on E3Insider.com at E3Expo 2006" »

Eidos Releases Two Video Developer Diaries for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend!

You have seen the game, now it is time to take a trip inside the development studio behind Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend. Crystal Dynamics has brought Lara Croft back to the top, and you will find that not only are they skilled at game design, they also have a good sense of humor! In these two video developer diaries you get to hear from members of the development team about what their thoughts are regarding Lara Croft and the new game. Also take a look at some of the design aspects that were used to create the fluid movement system, as well as a nice tour of the sound studio where music genius Troels Folmann works.

Download the videos now over at:
http://www.eidosinteractive.com/downloads/search.html?gmid=158!

Continue reading "Eidos Releases Two Video Developer Diaries for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend!" »

May 2, 2006

NAMCO BANDAI GAMES AMERICA INC. ANNOUNCES GAME LINE-UP FOR E3 2006

SANTA CLARA, Calif., (May 2, 2006) – Leading video games publisher NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. announced today plans to showcase 19 of its highly anticipated console, PC and handheld releases at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, May 10-12, 2006 (booth #824 in the South Hall at the Los Angeles Convention Center).

"This year's E3 marks the debut of our integrated title line-up and exemplifies the industry strength behind the NAMCO BANDAI merger," said Genichi Ito, president and CEO of NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. "Our strong commitment to extending popular franchises, creating original content and developing strategic partnerships with key licensors allows us to deliver quality games for all ages, interests and platforms."

New installments of notable franchises to be unveiled at this year's E3 include Xenosaga® EPISODE III: Also sprach Zarathustra, Tales of the Abyss™, Pac-Man World Rally™, Ace Combat® X: Skies of Deception, Tekken®: Dark Resurrection, The Legend of Heroes™ II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch™ and Mobile Ops™: The One Year War.

NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. will also be showcasing its highly-anticipated PC titles such as Mage Knight Apocalypse, Warhammer: Mark of Chaos and HELLGATE: LONDON from Flagship Studios.

Popular licensed properties making their debut at the show include The Fast and The Furious, Snoopy vs. The Red Baron and Charlie Brown All-Stars.

Renown anime based franchises on display for play include Naruto: Ultimate Ninja, Zatchbell: Mamodo Fury, .hack//G.U. Vol.1: Rebirth, IGPX, One Piece: Grand Adventure, and Eureka Seven Vol. 1: The New Wave.

Popular Franchise Sequels:

Xenosaga EPISODE III: Also sprach Zarathustra (PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system)

A year has passed since Xenosaga® EPISODE II. Shion has resigned her post at Vector Industries after realizing that the company is deeply connected to the cause of the Gnosis phenomenon. She has thus joined forces with Scientia, an underground organization, in order to unveil Vector's true objectives. Featuring more than eight hours of movies including voiced cut-scenes, Xenosaga EPISODE III: Also sprach Zarathustra is the exciting conclusion to the epic trilogy loved by RPG fans worldwide. Players will experience an updated battle system combining the best aspects of the first two games, while introducing the new Break system. Xenosaga EPISODE III: Also sprach Zarathustra will also feature an extensive mini-game complete with a mini-game map editor. Uncover the future of humanity this Fall 2006.

Tales of the Abyss (PlayStation 2)

Tales of the Abyss puts players in the role of Luke fon Fabre, sole heir to a family of aristocrats. He was kidnapped several years ago, and the shock left him with no memories of his life before. Luke is suddenly thrown into the outside world where he knows nothing of those who might be his friends, or those who already are his enemies. This epic story is told with some of the most realistic character models ever used in the Tales series and beautiful anime cut-scenes by Production I.G. Tales of the Abyss also features the Flexible Motion Battle System where the player controls characters in a free-roaming battlefield. Players can start their epic quest in Fall 2006.

Pac-Man World Rally (PlayStation 2, PSP(PlayStation®Portable) system, Nintendo GameCube, PC)

Pac-Man World Rally lets players race through a variety of environments from Pac-Man World as Pac-Man® , Pac Jr. and other beloved characters from past Namco classics. In one of the fastest and most exciting kart racing games ever, players will race for the win or fight it out in colorful Battle Arenas with special weapons, power-ups and a variety of Pac-Man powers. The race begins in Summer 2006.

Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception (PSP system)

Featuring an entirely new world and story, this first PSP system installment of the popular Ace Combat franchise features a suite of highly detailed and realistically modeled licensed aircraft. New additions include original aircraft and wireless multiplayer, ensuring Ace Combat for the PSP system will be a memorable experience. Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception also features a Strategic AI System where mission objectives reflect a player's decision. The PSP system takes flight with Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception in Fall 2006.

Tekken: Dark Resurrection (PSP system)

Tekken: Dark Resurrection is one of the most explosive fighting games to arrive on the PSP system. Featuring some of the most realistic graphics on a handheld platform, Tekken Dark: Resurrection will have 19 stages with destructible objects. Players will have the choice of two new characters Lili and Dragunov allowing for more than 30 characters to choose from. This extensive list of characters is possible through character customization with more than double the items seen in TEKKEN®5. Using the wireless connectivity of the PSP system, players can battle friends using their customized characters. The fighting genre will resurrect on the PSP system in Summer 2006.

The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch (PSP system)

The popular RPG series makes another appearance on the PSP system with The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch. In this game, players embark on a pilgrimage to find 5 shrines in Tirasweel, and discover a mystery left behind by a mysterious witch. Taking place in a beautiful world inhabited with rich details, players are quickly drawn into the storyline. Enemies appear on the world map, eliminating random battles. They can gauge the player's strength and will "turn tail and run" if they sense the player is stronger than they are. The prophecy is set to take place in June 2006.

Mobile Ops: The One Year War (Xbox 360)

Mobile Ops: The One Year War opens when rebel space colonies launch a brutal bid for independence from the Earth Federation. Advanced ECM (Electronic Countermeasures) has rendered range sensors and communications useless, resulting in the rise of new war machines called Mobile Suits. These ultimate instruments of destruction, capable of metal-clashing hand-to-hand combat, completely redefine modern warfare. Fight on foot, in vehicles and in Mobile Suits in a robust single and multiplayer experience through multiple scenarios and battlefields. Pick your side, choose your weapon and prove your supremacy.

PC Titles:

Mage Knight Apocalypse (PC)
A select group of heroes must defeat the Apocalypse Dragon, a seemingly unstoppable five-headed monstrosity that has been summoned by the forces of Chaos in Mage Knight Apocalypse. Five unique character classes can be selected - all with hundreds of weapons, armor and abilities to customize. These heroes will battle hundreds of unique enemies with brilliant special effects in a beautiful 3D world. Players will adventure as they've only before imagined as they explore with a free camera, engage in multiplayer missions. Dynamic enemy scaling and multiple alternate scenarios means near infinite replay-ability. For the PC in Summer 2006.

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos (PC)

Faithful to the Warhammer® world, Warhammer: Mark of Chaos puts the focus squarely on the battlefield with a real-time combat system that gives the player unprecedented customization and control of his army. This RTS focuses on armies and battling while de-emphasizing the tedious aspects of base and resource management. Players will also have the opportunity to use environments to their advantage, as well as customize Heroes and Champions with inventories and skill trees and challenge opponents in dueling. Choose from a variety of modes for both casual and competitive play coming to a battlefield on a PC near you in Fall 2006.

HELLGATE: LONDON (PC)
HELLGATE: LONDON combines the depth of role-playing games and action of first-person titles, while offering infinite playability with randomly created levels, items and events. The player creates a heroic character and then, completes quests and battles through innumerable hordes of demons to advance through experience levels and branching skill paths. A robust, flexible skill and spell system, highly customizable appearances and a massive variety of randomly generated equipment allow players to create their own unique hero.

Licensed Properties:

The Fast and The Furious (PlayStation 2, PSP system)

Inspired by Universal Pictures' upcoming film, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, this game will immerse players in the underground world of drift racing – a form of racing that replaces simple drag racing with a rubber-burning, automotive art form that consists of an exhilarating balance of speeding and gliding through a heart-stopping course of hairpin turns and switchbacks. Set in a world related to, yet separate from, the movie, the game features a ground-breaking drift mechanic that makes drifting accessible to both beginning and veteran racing game drivers. The gameplay features evolutionary new systems like the Drift Indicator that make The Fast and the Furious the most accessible yet realistic drift game. Created through a licensing agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group, this must-have racing title drifts to retailers in Summer 2006.

Snoopy vs. The Red Baron (PlayStation 2, PSP system, PC)

While snoozing atop his doghouse one day, Snoopy has a magical dream. Just like in the celebrated Peanuts® comic strip, he becomes a virtuoso flying ace, piloting his World War I bi-plane in a heroic attempt to foil the plans of his archenemy, the Red Baron. Join Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang as you soar above six vividly rendered worlds. Pilot Snoopy’s famous Sopwith Camel and other unique aircraft in perilous sky-high dogfights, air races and heart-pounding missions with dozens of comical weapons and gadgets at your disposal. Snoopy vs. The Red Baron takes to the skies in Fall 2006.

Charlie Brown’s All-Stars (PlayStation 2, PSP system)

The cast of Peanuts has come together in an entertaining and fun pick-up-and-play baseball game, Charlie Brown’s All-Stars. Players can help Charlie Brown end his 900 game losing streak as they play baseball with an incredible cast of more than 30 Peanuts characters. Players can also take part in any of four Party Games, including batting, fielding and pitching contests, as well as a good ol’ fashioned game of “Lucy Says.” As players progress through the game they will have the chance to enjoy classic Peanuts storylines, artwork and unlock tons of bonus content including every baseball-related Peanuts comic strip. Charlie Brown’s All-Stars steps up to the plate in Spring 2007. This title has not yet been concept approved by Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Anime Based Franchises:

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja (PlayStation 2)

Experience the hit manga and TV series NARUTO like never before. Join Naruto and his friends in their Ninja Academy quests as they battle the best in the land. Fight as one of more than 12 playable characters in interactive stages while performing powerful ninjutsu moves. Players can battle in close combat, use weapons and call on support characters to assist with super attacks or drop off power-ups. Tons of replay value is added with unlockable features and more! Players can enroll in the Ninja Academy in June 2006.

Zatchbell!: Mamodo Fury (PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube)

Players join Zatch, Kiyo and other characters from the hit manga and TV series ZATCHBELL! as they battle to become the mighty mamodo king! This time, up to four players can choose from more than 20 different playable teams. With three gameplay modes including Story Mode, VS mode and Arcade Mode, players can experience all the action in environments faithful to the TV series. All voice acting is even done by the U.S. TV show cast. Zatchbell!: Mamodo Fury hits consoles Fall 2006.

.hack//G.U. Vol.1: Rebirth (PlayStation 2)

The hit video game and TV series returns to the epic fantasy online RPG stage on the PlayStation 2. Years after the events of the first .hack installment, the most popular MMORPG in the world has returned from the ashes as “The World: R2”. As Haseo the Terror of Death, players are thrown into his quest for revenge in his search for the mysterious PK (Player Killer) Tri-Edge. This time, players will interact in the real and virtual worlds with fellow “The World” players through various chats, mails, and fully voiced video news clips. Together with Haseo’s virtual partners, login to challenge and solve the mysteries of “The World”.  hack//G.U. Vol.1: Rebirth arrives in stores in Fall 2006.

One Piece Grand Adventure (PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube)

Based on the popular comic and anime series, One Piece: Grand Adventure delivers battles that take place with a new free-moving Vs. Battle action system that will offer hours of entertainment. The game has also been completely revamped with the inclusion of an engrossing Adventure Mode, sending players on various mini-game filled quests as well as allowing players to create their very own band of roving pirates. One Piece: Grand Adventure hits stores in Fall 2006. This title has not yet been concept approved by Sony Computer Entertainment America.

IGPX (PlayStation 2)

The thrill of the popular Cartoon Network series IGPX, comes to the PlayStation 2 in an exhilarating fashion. Delivering the intense chase as you battle against your opponents, IGPX provides a type of thrill never before experienced. By creating a strategic scenario with a variety of formations, players are able to participate in combinations with partners that will deliver high-impact attacks. IGPX takes the flag on the PlayStation 2 in Fall 2006.

Continue reading "NAMCO BANDAI GAMES AMERICA INC. ANNOUNCES GAME LINE-UP FOR E3 2006" »

UBISOFT ANNOUNCES ENCHANTED ARMS EXCLUSIVELY FOR XBOX 360

SAN FRANCISCO MAY 1, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that it will publish Enchanted Arms exclusively for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Enchanted Arms was created by development studio FromSoftware in Japan and is the first true next-generation Japanese RPG adventure game. The Enchanted Arms adventure takes place in a fantasy world filled with beautiful cinematic graphics and vibrant characters. It includes over 50 hours of gameplay and is the only Xbox 360 RPG with a fast-action, turn-based battle system that enables the player to move characters while in battle. Enchanted Arms is scheduled to ship in North America and Europe in summer 2006.

In Enchanted Arms, players will embark on an epic adventure filled with unique characters and more than 75 special controllable creatures that players can unlock as they progress. Players will take on the role of Atsuma, an Enchanter-in-training who will transform from a naive student to the most powerful savior in a war 1,000 years in the making. As the story develops, players face increasingly difficult challenges and learn to master Atsuma's special fighting and magical abilities.


"Enchanted Arms is the first classic Japanese RPG game created specifically for Xbox 360," said Jay Cohen, vice president of publishing at Ubisoft. "With its fast-action gameplay, stunning high-definition graphics, rich and colorful environments, and over an hour of anime-style cinematics, it's a must-have for every Xbox 360 owner."

Continue reading "UBISOFT ANNOUNCES ENCHANTED ARMS EXCLUSIVELY FOR XBOX 360" »

May 1, 2006

SQUARE ENIX TO SHOWCASE ALL ENCOMPASSING LINE-UP AT E3 2006

Los Angeles, Calif. (April 24, 2006) – Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of Square Enix™ interactive entertainment products in North America, will have on display entertainment experiences for all platforms at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) to be held May 10-12 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in South Hall, Booth #746. Square Enix will hold a preview event and reveal special product announcements during its press briefing on Monday, May 8.

“E3 attendees will be immersed in Square Enix’s most diverse line-up ever,” said Daishiro Okada, President and COO, Square Enix, Inc. “We're evolving and growing, extending the Square Enix brand beyond video games to a variety of entertainment vehicles and a broader consumer base bridging the generation and gender gap. Our goal is to provide consumers with the most engaging and immersive entertainment experiences possible and we hope to give attendees at E3 a taste of what’s to come."

Following is a partial list of entertainment products Square Enix will have on display:

PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system

Dawn of Mana

Dawn of Mana™, the first true Mana sequel in a decade, reveals the origins of the legend behind the Mana Tree and the Sword of Mana™. Breaking the series’ 2D mold, Dawn of Mana brings the world of Mana to three-dimensional life while preserving the atmosphere that fans have come to know and love. Players can see for themselves how vividly characters and monsters move about these new yet familiar surroundings. This installment of the Mana is a true action-adventure, with sweeping plains and mountains stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s a world ripe for adventure!

A World of Sensation

“Touch” is the theme of Dawn of Mana’s world. You can virtually feel realistically rendered, lifelike objects.

The release date for Dawn of Mana will be announced at a later time. Dawn of Mana has not yet been rated by the ESRB. This title has not yet been concept approved by Sony Computer Entertainment America.

DIRGE OF CERBERUS -FINAL FANTASY VII-

Three years after the events of FINAL FANTASY® VII, an unknown group of seemingly unstoppable soldiers appears, bringing a swift and bitter end to the peace enjoyed by the people of the world. The members of this enigmatic group are the ones who were trapped under the ruins of Midgar for three long years—the Deepground soldiers. Vincent Valentine finds himself pursued by several elite members of the mysterious Deepground organization. An unrelenting chain of events leads Vincent to the truth behind his past—and forces him once again to be the key player in a battle for the planet itself and all those living on it.

Just what is the connection between Vincent's past and the recent attacks? When the world is engulfed in darkness, his gun will toll a dreadful dirge…

DIRGE of CERBERUS™ will be released Summer 2006. The ship date will be announced at a later time. This title is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.

FINAL FANTASY XII

As war looms on the horizon, the mighty Archadian Empire begins a campaign to subjugate its neighbors. The small kingdom of Dalmasca shares their fate, and it is here that our tale begins.

Two years after the fall of Dalmasca, the citizens are without guidance and direction. In the capital city of Rabanastre, the denizens gather and await the introduction of Archadia’s new consul. To Vaan, a young man living on the streets of Rabanastre, the Empire is a hated enemy who took the life of his brother, the only family he had left. In an effort to exact revenge, Vaan hatches a plot to break into the palace and steal from the occupying imperials. There, he gets more than he bargained for as he runs into Princess Ashe, the sole surviving heir to the Dalmascan throne. Together, the two will embark on an incredible journey through Ivalice, tracing the mysteries behind the Archadian Empire’s invasion. The choices they make will determine the very fate of the world.


Active Dimension Battle

The Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system enables players to move seamlessly between exploration and combat. Jarring random battles and their load times are a thing of the past, keeping you in the world from start to finish.


An All-New Combat System

Characters act according to an intricate “gambit” system of actions and reactions that you determine. As they fight, characters earn license points that can be spent to broaden their knowledge of magic, arms and armor.

FINAL FANTASY XII will be released Fall 2006. This title has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

VALKYRIE PROFILE 2: SILMERIA

Hundreds of years before Lenneth’s tale, another saga lies concealed by the gods. The valkyrie Silmeria once served Odin loyally, but after an incident ignited a conflict between them, Odin forcefully reincarnated her as a human. The human soul that would carry her spirit was that of Alicia, Princess of Dipan. Ordinarily, Silmeria’s consciousness would have been sealed, her spirit dormant until she was next summoned… However, the forced transmigration causes Silmeria’s spirit to awaken within Alicia, leaving two souls to inhabit a single body. The spirit that should have been sealed has awakened—a situation Odin will not ignore for long.


Photon Action System

This installment introduces the new Photon Action System to the classic side-scrolling action format found in the original. Projecting photons grants players more freedom to explore and expands the action, resulting in challenging puzzles with clever solutions. Add to that “sealstones” that affect the laws of nature in dungeons, launching strategy to new heights.


Advanced Tactical Combination

The unique, highly acclaimed battle system of the previous game has evolved into the Advanced Tactical Combination Battle System. Feel the exhilaration of accelerated battles raging across 3D environments for more spectacular and more strategic combat than ever before!

VALKYRIE PROFILE® 2: SILMERIA will be released 2006. This title has not yet been rated by the ESRB. This title has not yet been concept approved by Sony Computer Entertainment America

Online

FINAL FANTASY XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan

The once sleepy port town of Mhaura has become the center of unprecedented commotion. The cause of this disturbance can be attributed to the arrival of mercenary recruiters from the Aht Urhgan Empire, a land far to the east of Windurst. Starting in the city of the Tarutaru, they have been touting the benefits of their Empire-sanctioned business throughout Vana'diel® in an effort to garner the interest of prospective candidates, and also seek to organize a ferry route from Mhaura to the Imperial capital of Al Zahbi. The majority of the conservative townspeople frowns upon the insistence of their foreign visitors. However, the large number of action-starved Mithran mercenaries is putting pressure on the governor, who is gradually losing her resolve to refuse entry to the Empire's ships.

Why is the Empress so desperate to recruit mercenaries? What trouble is brewing in the Near Eastern land of Aht Urhgan? The road to epic new adventures will soon be revealed...

FINAL FANTASY XI and the brand new third expansion, Treasures of Aht Urhgan™ are available now on PlayStation 2, Windows® and Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. This title is rated “T” for Teen. For more information on FINAL FANTASY XI and all of its expansions please visit: http://www.playonline.com/ff11us

Handheld

Game Boy® Advance

FINAL FANTASY V ADVANCE & FINAL FANTASY VI ADVANCE

The classic FINAL FANTASY games that premiered on the Super Nintendo® Entertainment System are now making their way to the Game Boy Advance! Hot on the heels of FINAL FANTASY IV ADVANCE (now available in stores), FINAL FANTASY V ADVANCE and FINAL FANTASY VI ADVANCE will soon be available to handheld gamers. However, these titles are more than simple ports—every aspect of the games has been reviewed and enhanced. Additionally, a host of brand-new elements have been seamlessly merged with the original games, providing unexpected surprises for longtime fans. With new dungeons, new job classes, and other exciting features, both old-school players and newcomers can enjoy these genre-defining FINAL FANTASY titles in a portable format!

The magic of the FINAL FANTASY classics is returning to gamers’ hands—and soon the wait will be over.

FINAL FANTASY V ADVANCE & FINAL FANTASY VI ADVANCE will both be released 2006. These titles have not yet been rated by the ESRB.

Nintendo DS™ System

Children of Mana

In ages past, an island called Illusia floated at the center of the world. At the heart of the island towered an ancient, enormous tree that stretched up to the very heavens. For ages past, chaos and sorrow had engulfed the world until at last its salvation appeared in the form of a boy, a girl, and a holy sword.

Time flowed on and peace returned. The sword and the tree remained, and they soon came to be known as the Sword of Mana and the Mana Tree. Followers of the Mana Tree returned to Illusia as the world started slowly but surely down the path to recovery.


More Magic with the Eight Spirits

The eight elemental spirits are a staple of the Mana series. These powerful allies aid you with healing and special status effects. They can also unleash fearsome magic upon your foes.


Cooperative or Competitive Gameplay for Up to Four Players

The greatest innovation of this installment of the Mana series is allowing four players to advance the story and solve quests together while maintaining the feel of an action RPG. Players' actions affect each other in a gameplay experience completely unlike previous action RPGS!

Children of Mana™ will be released 2006. This title has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

DRAGON QUEST HEROES: ROCKET SLIME

The latest game from the creative minds behind the 2005 RPG classic, Dragon Quest™ VIII: Journey of the Cursed King™, has arrived on the Nintendo DS. The hero of this brand-new action-adventure is a slime—one of the most popular monsters from the Dragon Quest series. The game is set in the kingdom of Slimenia, a peaceful land that is suddenly invaded by a mysterious cartel called “the Plob,” who then proceed to kidnap all the slimes in the capital city of Boingburg. Our protagonist, Rocket, is the only slime left behind, and must embark on a journey throughout Slimenia to save his friends and uncover the Plob’s nefarious plot!


Bounce, Stretch, and Carry

The adventure stages consist of our hero bouncing and stretching, as well as carrying various objects on his head, while solving the mysteries behind each area, and rescuing his captured slime friends along the way. Simple, streamlined controls allow players of all ages and skill levels to take part in the action with ease.


Fierce Tank Battles

Each adventure stage culminates in Rocket hopping aboard a colossal slime-shaped war machine called the Schleiman Tank and battling it out with the enemy’s Monster Tanks. Customize tanks by collecting a vast array of weapons and items. Call upon allies, each with their own individual personality and abilities, to aid in the heated tank battles. Even shoot your fellow slimes so they can infiltrate and sabotage the enemy’s Monster Tank! Pit tanks against a friend’s in exciting player-vs.-player action, using the Nintendo DS wireless multiplayer game feature!

DRAGON QUEST HEROES: ROCKET SLIME™ will be released 2006. This title has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

FINAL FANTASY III

The only FINAL FANTASY that was never localized—the third installment of the original series—will finally reach North American shores! Lauded as “legendary” by the Japanese fan base, FINAL FANTASY III has been reborn, incorporating the latest in portable gaming technology. Using the features of the Nintendo DS to their fullest, FINAL FANTASY III features graphics that have been reworked and remodeled in 3D, while maintaining the mythical FINAL FANTASY look and feel.

This is the fans’ chance to complete the circle. The legend of FINAL FANTASY III is reborn.

FINAL FANTASY III will be released 2006. This title has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system

VALKYRIE PROFILE: LENNETH

Asgard, the realm of the gods, remains locked in an eternal struggle between the benevolent Aesir and the demonic Vanir. With the end of the world approaching, Odin, Lord of Asgard, summons Lenneth Valkyrie to his side. Possessing the ability to hear the thoughts and feelings of men and women in their dying moments, he charges Valkyrie to search Midgard, the world of mortals, to recruit and train the souls of worthy warriors to join the ranks of the Aesir in the Sacred War. VALKYRIE PROFILE®: LENNETH brings the classic PlayStation® game console title, originally released in 2000, to the PSP system with completely new CG cut scenes. tri-Ace, the developers behind the acclaimed Star Ocean® series and Radiata Stories™, introduce new fans to the spectacular combo attacks, unique side-scrolling environment, and gripping storyline that first captivated players six years ago.


Additional CG Cutscenes

To give players a deeper understanding of the plot and to complement the game’s dramatic storyline, additional CG cutscenes have been incorporated. Some of these new scenes contain links to the story of VALKYRIE PROFILE 2: SILMERIA.

VALKYRIE PROFILE: LENNETH will be released 2006. This title has been rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.

Mobile - Square Enix

BEFORE CRISIS -FINAL FANTASY VII-

The Shinra Company achieved the pinnacle of success by monopolizing Mako energy and gaining unstoppable political power. It came at a price though. Many had fallen victim during Shinra's rise to the top, and those with great hatred for the company were far from few. The rebel group Avalanche was formed with the intent of eradicating the Shinra Company and all those within its greedy corporate circles. With its very existence in danger, Shinra was forced to take secret measures. The company entrusted everything to its elite unit: the Turks.

BEFORE CRISIS™ -FINAL FANTASY VII- allows players to take on the role of a new recruit in Shinra's elite Turks unit and conduct various missions and operations. Utilizing the mobile network, multiple players are able to simultaneously participate in real-time combat. Several other features possible only on mobile phones are also included, creating an exciting new experience.

BEFORE CRISIS -FINAL FANTASY VII- will launch 2006. North American compatible handsets TBA.

FINAL FANTASY I

Since ages long past, the legend of the Light has been handed down from generation to generation. The legend tells that the world would remain safe so long as the Crystals maintain their brilliance. Should they lose their light, the skies will blacken, the land wither, and the seas rage. In this hour, four warriors would appear--they are the Warriors of Light. Originally released in 1987, FINAL FANTASY's enthralling story and extraordinary graphics spawned a series now numbering twelve core titles. FINAL FANTASY retains its original charm while making the evolution to convenient play on mobile phones.

FINAL FANTASY I will launch 2006. North American compatible handsets TBA.

Mobile - Taito

3D Space Invaders

Space Invaders are back–now in 3D! Reborn using 3D polygon functions, that timeless classic can now be experienced from new camera perspectives with the press of a button. Set the perspective to first-person and get ready for an exciting, realistic invasion!

Availability and North American compatible handsets TBA.

Chase H.Q. 3D

Chase H.Q. 3D is the latest version of that legendary, realistic car chase action classic. Originally developed for the arcades in 1988, Chase HQ was ported to various consoles such as the Amiga, the Atari ST, the Commodore 64, the Genesis, the Sega Master System, and the TurboGrafx-16. Today, you can enjoy Chase HQ on your mobile phone. Go undercover and pursue criminal suspects with the help of your operator, Nancy!

Availability and North American compatible handsets TBA.

Elevator Action 3D

Originally developed for the arcades in 1983, Elevator Action, has been ported to several consoles, such as the Commodore 64, the Game Boy, the Game Boy Color, the NES, the Saturn, and the ZX Spectrum, where it has since enjoyed a large and loyal following. Fans of the original and fans of the FPS genre will be pleased to find that classic Elevator Action has now been realized in 3D with crisp graphics, special tactical elements, and fast-paced, FPS action.

Availability and North American compatible handsets TBA.

Continue reading "SQUARE ENIX TO SHOWCASE ALL ENCOMPASSING LINE-UP AT E3 2006" »

April 28, 2006

EA MARKS RELEASE OF 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP™ GAME AND ANNOUNCES RENEWED PARTNERSHIP WITH FIFA

Redwood City, Calif., April 27, 2006 – The chance to play with your heroes for soccer’s most important trophy became a reality this week after Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) started to ship the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ game to stores around the world. The event’s only officially licensed videogame has developed enhanced gameplay attributes and stunning graphics that bring to life close to 100 superstars, and captures all of the spirit and pageantry of the real-world tournament. It is the closest fans can come to experiencing 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ without playing in it.

Along with the release of 2006 FIFA World Cup, EA and FIFA announced the extension of their long-term partnership, making EA the worldwide and exclusive FIFA Licensee for soccer action simulation, manager and arcade-style games across all console platforms, PC, handheld platforms, mobile phones and online formats. The on-going partnership will allow EA to continue to bring the most genuine soccer gaming experiences to consumers with the authenticity of the FIFA soccer world, and includes games for the future FIFA World Cups in 2010 and 2014. Working together, EA and FIFA will continue to bring their combined passion for interactive sports entertainment to millions of sports fans around the world for years to come.

“Renewing our strategic partnership with FIFA will enable us to continue to deliver the most authentic football titles to fans who have helped to make our FIFA games the most successful football videogame franchise in the world,” said EA’s Gerhard Florin, Executive Vice President and General Manager for International Publishing.

In 2006 FIFA World Cup, users step into the heart of the action as they play their favorite team or most loathed opponent. Featuring stunning visual representations of the world’s superstar players, gamers experience the 12 official stadiums as they take their team from qualification to glory. In addition to taking control of one of 127 national teams, players will enjoy groundbreaking new play modes. Global Challenge tests even the biggest soccer fanatic by recreating classic moments in FIFA World Cup history with modern teams. True champions can challenge their friends in eight-way multiplayer matches and take advantage of tremendous in-game un-lockable content such as legendary players and exclusive licensed football apparel.

Continue reading "EA MARKS RELEASE OF 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP™ GAME AND ANNOUNCES RENEWED PARTNERSHIP WITH FIFA" »

EA DRAFTS HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER REGGIE BUSH AS COVER ATHLETE FOR NCAA FOOTBALL 07 VIDEO GAME

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – April 28, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that former University of Southern California All-American running back and 2005 Heisman Memorial Trophy® Award winner Reggie Bush will appear on the cover of NCAA® Football 07, the newest iteration of EA SPORTS™ best-selling college football video game franchise.

“This has been an amazing year for me and being chosen for the cover of NCAA Football 07 is a great way to end my college career,” said Bush. “I’ve grown up playing EA SPORTS games and never imagined I would see myself on the cover of one.”

Bush, who is expected to be one of the top picks in the NFL Draft this weekend, also won the Walter Camp Award (Player of the Year), Doak Walker Award (Best Collegiate Running Back), 2005 Associated Press Player of the Year Award and The Sporting News Player of the Year Award. Starting all 13 games for the Trojans in 2005, Bush led the nation in all-purpose yards per game (222.3) and yards per rush (8.7), guiding USC to its third straight appearance in the national championship game.

NCAA Football 07 is all about turning the tide and features an all-new momentum system where big plays, defensive stops, and special teams keep you in constant struggle for momentum and can change the game at any time. Unprecedented graphics produce living stadiums that capture every moment in complete detail, including the authentic stadiums, mascots, and marching bands, making NCAA Football 07 the most realistic college football gaming experience ever.

Developed in Orlando, Florida by EA Tiburon, NCAA Football 07 will be available in July on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. It will also be available for the first time on the Xbox 360™ and the PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system. The game’s official website is www.ncaafootball07.com.

Continue reading "EA DRAFTS HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER REGGIE BUSH AS COVER ATHLETE FOR NCAA FOOTBALL 07 VIDEO GAME" »

April 27, 2006

OVER 140 MARVEL CHARACTERS COME TOGETHER IN ACTIVISION'S NEW MARVEL: ULTIMATE ALLIANCE GAME

Santa Monica, CA – April 27, 2006 – Over 140 Marvel characters come together in Activision, Inc’s. (Nasdaq: ATVI) Marvel™: Ultimate Alliance, an all-new action/RPG that features the largest roster of comic book characters ever seen in a video game. Players assume the roles of more than 20 Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Blade and Captain America, and through their actions determine the fate of both planet Earth and the Marvel universe – revealed in one of multiple epilogues.

“Marvel: Ultimate Alliance delivers a new twist on action/RPGs where players’ actions and choices ultimately determine what happens to the Marvel universe,” states Will Kassoy, Vice President of Global Brand Management for Activision. “This coupled with the game’s enormous character roster will deliver an action-packed experience that comic book fans have been waiting for.”

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance features a deep, rich gameplay experience by offering total team customization, where players create their own team name, icon and vehicle, as well as establish their team reputation as they play throughout the story. Gamers also have the option to level up each character individually to their liking, or all team members at the same time to keep their heroes balanced. With the game’s new combat system, players battle against the world’s most notorious Marvel Super Villains in the air, underwater, and on the ground, using grappling, blocking and dodging moves, by charging up their Super Hero powers before unleashing them, and using environmental objects as one and two-handed weapons.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance features a unique storyline where the missions players accept, the objectives they complete, and their interactions with other characters throughout the game directly impact how the story plays out. The game also features a robust multiplayer component where fans can band together with friends as their favorite Marvel Super Heroes, and fight evil in both on and offline cooperative story modes. There’s also a Competitive Mode where the game tracks various in-game stats so players can see how well they stack up against one another – affecting the amount of experience points earned and how equipment is distributed.

Created by Raven Software and C.B. Cebulski, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance will be the first Super Hero game out for all next-gen gaming systems, and will also be available on current-gen, handheld and PC platforms. The game is currently rated RP (Rating Pending) by the ESRB and is planned to ship this fall.

Continue reading "OVER 140 MARVEL CHARACTERS COME TOGETHER IN ACTIVISION'S NEW MARVEL: ULTIMATE ALLIANCE GAME" »

April 21, 2006

NFL MVP SHAUN ALEXANDER SELECTED FOR COVER OF EA's MADDEN NFL 07

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – April 20, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that NFL MVP and NFC Champion running back Shaun Alexander will appear on the cover of Madden NFL 07, the newest iteration of the EA SPORTS™ best-selling football franchise with the official videogame license of the NFL and its players. With this year’s focus on the running game, Alexander is the perfect representative for the cover of the most popular football videogame franchise. Last year Madden NFL 06 sold more than six million copies.

“To be on the cover of Madden NFL 07 is a big milestone in my career since I have always been a huge fan of this franchise,” said Alexander. “EA SPORTS is focusing on the running game in this year’s version, so I was honored when I was chosen to be on the cover to represent the improved running game.”

Alexander, who was named the NFL MVP and selected for his third consecutive Pro Bowl this past season, is the hottest running back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,150 yards in each of the last five seasons. As the most valuable player in the NFL he rushed for a league-high 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns on 370 carries. He also caught 15 passes for 78 yards and one touchdown, scoring an NFL-record 28 touchdowns, setting a new single-season rushing touchdown record. In addition, he extended his NFL-record number of seasons with at least 15 touchdowns to five. During the season Alexander became the Seahawks career leader in rushing yards (7,817) attempts (1,717) and 100-yard games (33).


Continue reading "NFL MVP SHAUN ALEXANDER SELECTED FOR COVER OF EA's MADDEN NFL 07" »

New “Kameo: Elements of Power Design Your Skin Contest” Challenges Fans To Unleash Their Inner Artist

Since the very first onscreen pixel, fans have dreamed of creating their own original art designs for their favorite video game characters. Now Microsoft Game Studios and Rare Ltd are giving Xbox 360 fans a chance to unleash their inner artist and make the dream a reality with the “Kameo: Elements of Power Design Your Skin Contest.”

From April 19 to May 24, 2006, aspiring artists can visit http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/k/kameo/designskincontest.htm to get more information and electronically submit a unique, originally designed “skin” of one of the elemental warriors or Kameo herself from “Kameo: Elements of Power.” Designers will enter for a chance to have the whole world play their designs when they are made publicly available at a later time.

The contest is open to aspiring artists 13 years of age or older. Entries must consist of an original design of either Kameo or one of the elemental warriors, a title (example: “Roller Ninja Pummelweed”) and a brief description. Finalists will be judged by a panel of Xbox and Rare team members on the basis of creativity and feasibility for the team to reproduce as downloadable content. One winner for Kameo and each of her warriors will be chosen for a total of 11 winning entries. For a complete set of rules, please visit http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/k/kameo/designskincontest.htm.

From renowned game developer Rare, "Kameo: Elements of Power," grants players the ability to morph into unique and incredible warriors allowing the main character Kameo to search out and battle ever-present evil. Boasting impeccable next-generation graphics and innovative gameplay, "Kameo: Elements of Power" shines as a giant leap in game development. Continuing its legacy of creating dynamic puzzles, immersive combat and enormous environments, Rare fuses multiple genres to create a strikingly fun gaming experience destined for widespread appeal. For up-to-date information on "Kameo: Elements of Power," visit the official expanded site at http://www.kameo.com.

Continue reading "New “Kameo: Elements of Power Design Your Skin Contest” Challenges Fans To Unleash Their Inner Artist" »

April 19, 2006

Project Gotham Racing 3 Barrels onto Xbox Live Marketplace with the Downloadable Speed Pack

The “PGR 3” Speed Pack is now available and offers gamers and racing aficionados access to new super cars and innovative gameplay enhancements. Sleek new vehicles will take gamers from zero-to-170 in the blink of an eye.

In addition to the added ability for hosts to take players to the lobby during playtime races, new Xbox Live Achievements, rotating car classes for Career Championships, Gamertags displayed during in-game conversation, savable custom routes once raced over Xbox Live and additional online and offline enhancements are also included in the heart-stopping package.

The Speed Pack will debut for a total of 400 Microsoft Points, though gamers can also choose to purchase the vehicles a la carte for a nominal fee. The twelve new cars include:

• Audi RS 4

• Chevrolet Corvette Z06

• Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe

• Lamborghini Gallardo SE

• Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII FQ-400

• Nissan NISMO R34GT-R Z-Tune

• Pontiac GTO

• Radical SR8

• RUF RT12

• Saleen S7 Twin Turbo

• Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

• Aston Martin V8 Vantage

The action doesn’t stop there; gamers should also keep their eyes out for more thrilling content – such as the upcoming Cadillac V-Series Collection, including several of the hottest and fastest Cadillacs in existence – available in the near future.

And for those gamers who have yet to register for the non-stop, no-brakes “PGR 3 Global Tournament,” registration is now open to all challengers until April 28. The exciting competition promises legendary, speed-breaking match-ups between the best of the best across the globe with the top 12 racers winning a chance to compete for the championship crown at the Lamborghini factory in Italy. For more information and details about the tournament be sure to visit www.pgr3tournament.com and find out how you can become the number one PGR 3 racer.

Continue reading "Project Gotham Racing 3 Barrels onto Xbox Live Marketplace with the Downloadable Speed Pack" »

SEGA ANNOUNCES PHANTASY STAR UNIVERSE COMING TO XBOX 360 CONSOLE

SAN FRANCISCO & LONDON (April 19, 2006) – SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA Europe Ltd. today announced that Phantasy Star™ Universe will be available on the Xbox 360™. Scheduled for release in Fall 2006, the highly-anticipated role playing game (RPG) will release on multiple platforms including the PlayStation® 2 computer entertainment system and PC. Phantasy Star Universe offers two complete RPG experiences – a single-player action adventure spanning multiple planets, and a robust online multiplayer component that will support Xbox Live®.

Since its humble beginnings in 1988, Phantasy Star has revolutionized the RPG genre by creating new standards through innovative gameplay and online capability. Phantasy Star Universe offers a compelling story, both offline and online, that rebuilds the foundation of role-playing games with stunning cut scenes, sharply drawn personalities, and a cohesive narrative. This game revitalizes the Phantasy Star brand heritage while staying true to its roots.

"The reinvigoration of this beloved franchise on the Xbox 360 signifies another step for SEGA towards next-gen leadership," said Scott A. Steinberg, Vice President of Entertainment Marketing, SEGA of America, Inc. "Phantasy Star has a rich history, and now with Phantasy Star Universe in support of the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, gamers can enjoy a fantasy role-playing experience of unprecedented depth both online with their friends, and offline in the robust single-player game."

Developed by SEGA Studios, Phantasy Star Universe offers long-time fans the single-player experience they have been clamoring for. The solo adventure features more than 40 hours of gameplay, an emotionally engaging story, stunning cut scenes, and a strong cast of characters with very distinctive personalities. The title's hero is Ethan Waber, a 17-year old cadet who begins his epic journey by first rescuing his sister at the GUARDIANS, a colony under siege by mysterious life forms known as THE SEED.

In Online Mode, players are given the opportunity to create their own characters from a range of races, as they explore all three planets in the Gurhal system. Fans can travel with their friends as a squad of six adventurers, enter urban sprawls teeming with hundreds of other players, and build their avatars into powerful warriors.

Phantasy Star Universe will offer a rich and constantly evolving world that will provide months of entertainment to fans of the series and RPG enthusiasts. The game is slated to ship in Fall 2006.
Key Product Features:

• Epic Story: Phantasy Star Universe offers a suspenseful single player adventure that fans have been clamoring for.
• Phantasy Star Brand Heritage: Since 1988, the franchise has evolved, and produced seven series to date – building itself as one of the most well established RPG franchises.
• Real-time battles where players choose their own strategies: Choose from over 200 weapon variations in over 20 weapon categories for melee, technique, or ranged-type combat. Players can also select numerous Photon Arts to defeat enemies.
• World Class Score: Soundtrack produced by premier orchestras and vocals from Poland, Hollywood, and New York.
• Online Gameplay: Offering the Best of Both Worlds
- Multiplayer: Create a squad of up to six players to explore the universe and conquer quests.
- Endless gameplay: In addition to over 40 hours of offline gameplay, gamers can spend endless hours online customizing characters, searching for rare items, leveling up, and joining friends for exhilarating new quests.
• Variety in transportation: Player-controlled vehicles offer a new type of gameplay for the Phantasy Star franchise.
• Character Customization: Go beyond standard customization for your character with precise measurements, an endless color palette, and outlandish outfits.
• Massive enemies: Over 20 unique enemy species, totaling over 200 enemy variations.

Continue reading "SEGA ANNOUNCES PHANTASY STAR UNIVERSE COMING TO XBOX 360 CONSOLE" »

Latest Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Gaming News

As the industry gears up for E3, Microsoft is preparing to unveil the next wave of premium game content and online gaming services for Xbox 360, and there are more surprises just around the corner.

The World Embraces Xbox 360

The worldwide Xbox 360 launch was met with great success and fanfare in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore on March 16 and Australia and New Zealand on March 23, successfully placing the console around the world.

The launch “down under” was the highest grossing entertainment launch in Australian history – grossing more than the Harry Potter books or the Lord of the Rings movies. More than 350 stores opened in Australia and New Zealand at midnight and the console availability may have temporarily impacted the region’s productivity: more than half of customers who preordered a console said they intended to take a day off from work to play their new consoles. More than 30,000 consoles sold in the first four days, making Xbox 360 the fastest-selling console launch in Australian history.

The excitement continues on April 22 when Australia aims to break records again, this time with the world’s largest water balloon fight. The water balloon event ties into the console’s “Jump In” brand advertising tagline, which has heralded the next generation of gaming (check out the ad online at xbox.com.au/waterballoon). The event takes place at Coogee Beach, one of Australia’s iconic beaches. Thousands of gamers from all over the world will launch more than 50,000 water balloons at each other.

Australia isn’t the only country stepping up the fun. In a news conference in Tokyo on April 6, Takashi Sensui, the new general manager of the Japanese Xbox division, announced that 15 more games would be added to the Japanese lineup by summer, bringing the total to 40 – a number that is expected to double by the end of the year. Also announced was the “Blue Limited Edition” Xbox 360 model themed after the FIFA World Cup, of which Xbox 360 is the official games console. A special blue faceplate included in this model matches Japan’s national soccer team’s color. Other Japanese-exclusive content includes an online “Mobile Suit Gundam” game from Namco/Bandai, SquareEnix’ exclusive “Project Sylph,” a secret RPG developed by TriAce, downloadable anime episodes through Xbox Live Marketplace, and the upcoming RPGs “Lost Odyssey” and “Blue Dragon.”

In an effort to meet the unwavering demand for Xbox 360 across the world, Microsoft is now shipping two to three times the number of consoles that had previously been shipped to retailers each week. This keeps us firmly on track to meet forecast of 4.5 to 5.5 million units worldwide by the end of June 2006.

Xbox 360 Games: Topping the Charts

Xbox 360 is setting the bar for high definition gaming. Both “Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter” (Ubisoft) and “Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion” (Bethesda) exploded software sales in March. Bethesda announced “Oblivion” shipped more than 1.7 million copies on the Xbox 360 and Windows platforms between its launch on March 20 and April 7, making it one of the fastest-selling RPGs ever. “Oblivion” has been receiving accolades from nearly every game reviewer, and has been hailed by some as “one of the best RPGs ever made.” In Europe, “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter” topped the all-formats sales charts the week it released – replaced only by “Oblivion” two weeks later.

Of the 80 high-definition games scheduled for release by June, games being released in April include:

o “FIFA World Cup™” (EA SPORTS)
o “FINAL FANTASY® XI” (Square Enix, Inc.)
o “Top Spin 2“ (2K Sports)
o “Major League Baseball 2K6” (2K Sports)
o “Battlefield 2: Modern Combat™” (Electronic Arts)
o “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend” (Eidos)

Xbox Live Marketplace and Xbox Live Arcade: The Digital Trendsetters

There is incredible momentum behind the Xbox Live Marketplace digital distribution center. More than 10 million pieces of content have been downloaded from Marketplace since launch. In addition to high-definition movie trailers, games and demos, more than three million of the downloads were Xbox Live Arcade game titles. The ability to “try Arcade titles before you buy” is a big hit, with an average 20 percent trial-to-purchase conversion rate (39 percent for the most popular Arcade game, “Geometry Wars.”)

Gamers can also expand their gaming experience by downloading new content from Xbox Live Marketplace. Three new content packs for “Kameo: Elements of Power” introduced entirely new gaming features such as online cooperative gameplay. Kameo and her warriors received digital makeovers with a slew of new skins and costumes available online. Kameo players will also have a chance to leave their own personalized mark on the game with the “Kameo: Elements of Power Design Your Skin Contest.” Users will submit their own creative skin designs, with the winner’s skin available to the community after the contest concludes.

In “Perfect Dark Zero,” Joanna Dark fans will enjoy new maps in which to play and new gameplay functions in the coming months to expand this best-selling Xbox 360 title.

The downloadable “Project Gotham Racing 3” Speed Pack gives racers access to new gameplay upgrades including new cars. “Project Gotham Racing 3” also kicked off its first major tournament on April 17. When users register for the event, their game becomes tournament-enabled with the most recent update, and then they compete with other speed demons from around the world in a variety of events. Qualifiers and single-elimination tournaments culminate in a race for the gold at the Lamborghini Factory in Italy in June. Registration for the tournament closes on April 28.

In Game With Fame (GWF) news, Xbox Live gamers got a chance to participate in a special GWF session on April 5. Featuring R&B artist Chris Brown challenging opponents to a game of “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter,” the session also included an auction for various prizes including signed CDs. The proceeds from winning bids went to Habitat for Humanity’s New Orleans relief efforts.

Exclusive Entertainment on Xbox Live

Xbox Live users can now download exclusive content from Epic records to enhance their entertainment experience. Announced last month, the exclusive Epic Records Artist of the Month program brings the hottest music to Xbox Live users, absolutely free. Each month, Epic features songs in 5.1 digital and high-definition videos from a new artist, starting with British singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield whose video “Unwritten” is available through April 30. Artists of the Month will also participate in the “Game with Fame” program on Xbox Live Arcade, giving fans a chance to test their mettle against their favorite musicians.

Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend: Everyone Jumps In

If the ability to demo games converts to sales, then what about the ability to demo the entire Xbox Live Gold service? That was the philosophy behind the incredibly successful Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend, presented courtesy of Verizon from March 31 through April 2, 2006. Xbox 360 gamers connected to Xbox Live enjoyed all the services of gold membership, free of charge.

Gamers rocked the Xbox Live world during the Free Gold Weekend in a series of events representing the largest multiplayer games programming effort ever. Events included Xbox Live Arcade leaderboard tournaments, a series of Play and Win contests, and a mentorship program where “veterans” helped “newbies” get acquainted with the service.

Viva Piñata: The Next Big Thing

On March 15, Microsoft Game Studios and 4Kids Entertainment announced the introduction of “Viva Piñata,” a mass entertainment property created by Rare that features a vibrant world of living piñata animals. 4Kids Entertainment are known for powerhouse properties like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

This fall, a Viva Piñata television show debuts on 4Kids TV on Fox, followed by an Xbox 360-exclusive game in the 2006 holiday season. The customizable and immersive game allows players to create their own unique Piñata-filled adventures.

When Celebrities Play

April 8 saw the first “Settle the Score” event, a new program where celebrities go head to head on the Xbox to see who’s really #1. Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers defeated Corey Maggette of the LA Clippers in a game of NBA 2K6 for bragging rights – and an Xbox 360 for each of Kobe’s teammates. Future events featuring celebrity rivals are already in the works.

The Envelope Please…

We are proud to announce that the recently-redesigned Xbox.com website was nominated for a Webby Award for Community. The Webby Awards – considered the Oscars for websites – recognize the best online design and content, and by extension, recognize the growing gaming community at Xbox.com, fueled in no small part by the surge in Xbox Live members with the release of Xbox 360.

Games for Windows: A Legendary Rise

One of the most anticipated real-time strategy games will hit the Windows platform next month: “Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends.” This fantasy title has been building buzz online for some time, and fans are ready to roll up their sleeves and pit magic against technology in this epic strategy game.

Additionally, Zoo Tycoon fans will want to visit the completely redesigned Web site for “Zoo Tycoon,” launched on April 3. Fans of the franchise can visit ZooTycoon.com for the latest zoo news, downloadable wallpapers, coloring book pages, ring tones and much more.

Microsoft Gaming: Accolades Abound

Next-gen.biz recently named a list of Top 100 game developers for next-generation consoles, and 15 of those 100 developers are members of the Microsoft Game Studios team. In alphabetical order, the designers honored include: Cliff Bleszinki, Martyn Chudley, Denis Dyack, David Jones, Jason Jones, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Peter Molyneux, Dr Ray Muzyak, Dr Greg Zeschuk, Okomoto-san, Alexey Pajitnov, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Bruce Shelley, Tim Stamper and Chris Stamper.

Additionally, IGN recently compiled metrics on gaming in 2006 with three major Xbox 360 titles making the “most anticipated original IP” list: “Gears of War” (Epic), “Prey” (Venom Games and 3D Realms), and “Ninety-Nine Nights” (Q Entertainment). Epic Games and Bungie Studios are among the top 5 Developers of 2006.

The Family Grows

A major partner joined the Microsoft Game Studios family this month: Lionhead Studios, makers of the revolutionary “Fable” and “Black & White.” Helmed by founder and legendary game designer Peter Molyneux, Lionhead will now produce content exclusively for the Xbox 360 and Windows gaming platforms.

Continue reading "Latest Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Gaming News" »

April 18, 2006

ALL-STAR CAST SECURED FOR SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME FROM EA AND WARNER BROS.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – April 18, 2006 – Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced today they have secured an all-star cast for the voices in SUPERMAN RETURNS™: THE VIDEOGAME. The game will feature the voice and likeness of Brandon Routh (Superman/Clark Kent) as well as the voices of Kevin Spacey (Lex Luthor), Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane), Parker Posey (Kitty Kowalski) and Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen), all reprising their roles from the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures film directed by Bryan Singer.

Launching with the film this summer on June 28, SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME allows players to experience a real sense of flying, and master Superman's unrivaled powers in order to save Metropolis. Based on the classic DC Comics books as well as the upcoming motion picture, SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME draws from more than 60 years of comic lore to create the ultimate open-world super hero experience.


Continue reading "ALL-STAR CAST SECURED FOR SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME FROM EA AND WARNER BROS." »

April 12, 2006

PARAMOUNT PICTURES’ FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND PROGRAM WITH XBOX INTEGRATES MOVIE CONTENT WITHIN THE GAMING ENVIRONMENT

HOLLYWOOD, CA, April 11, 2006…… Paramount Pictures and Xbox have pioneered the first-ever Xbox Movie Showcase cross-platform marketing program between a movie studio and Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Launching tomorrow (April 12, 2006), the Xbox Movie Showcase will feature free, high-definition, downloadable content from two of the most highly anticipated films of the summer: the action-thriller “Mission: Impossible III,” starring Tom Cruise and directed by J.J. Abrams (the creator of “Lost” and “Alias”), hitting theaters May 5, and “Nacho Libre,” a comedy starring Jack Black and directed by Jared Hess, the director of “Napoleon Dynamite,” in theaters June 16.

The Xbox Movie Showcase content includes HD movie trailers, exclusive theme packs, and graphics allowing Xbox gamers to customize their gaming experiences, theming their Xbox Live experience to “M:i:III” and “Nacho Libre.” In addition, as part of this first-of-its kind agreement, stars of Paramount films, including Jack Black, will participate in Xbox’s “Game with Fame,” where gamers can enter for a chance to play a game online against their favorite celebrities. Taking the program off-line, Paramount’s DVDs will be featured in a Digital Entertainment Lifestyle video promoted across Xbox kiosks in 30,000 retail stores worldwide.
Commenting on the announcement, Gerry Rich, president of worldwide motion picture marketing, said, “This ground-breaking agreement takes interactive marketing and digital entertainment to new heights, representing the perfect match between gamers and the summer movies they can’t wait to see.”
“Paramount shares our commitment to providing an entertaining and meaningful gaming experience for Xbox gamers,” said Aaron Greenberg, Group Marketing Manager, Xbox Live. “We’re excited to be starting out on this multi-picture campaign and look forward to continuing to provide compelling entertainment experiences to gamers everywhere.”
Xbox Live momentum has accelerated since Xbox 360 was launched, with more than half of all Xbox 360 owners connecting with the online games and entertainment service, which boasts a worldwide community of more than 2 million members. Xbox Live has grown into a social community with 600,000 text messages sent every day between members and its Marketplace has reached over 10 million downloads.

Continue reading "PARAMOUNT PICTURES’ FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND PROGRAM WITH XBOX INTEGRATES MOVIE CONTENT WITHIN THE GAMING ENVIRONMENT" »

April 11, 2006

2K SPORTS ANNOUNCES MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K6 FOR XBOX 360 NOW AVAILABLE

NEW YORK, NY – April 11, 2006 – 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that Major League Baseball® 2K6 for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the only official MLB® video game for the platform, is now available in stores across North America.

“The Major League Baseball season has now begun for Xbox 360 consumers,” stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. “Our goal for Major League Baseball 2K6 for Xbox 360 was to deliver next generation visual details with a full suite of enhanced gameplay features. We’ve accomplished this and more, giving Xbox 360 gamers the excitement, challenge and delight of the most authentic video game baseball experience ever created.”

Major League Baseball 2K6 includes several original and exclusive features, including astounding A.I. powered by Inside Edge™ technology, innovative Swing Stick™ controls, hundreds of new animations based on Pure Motion Physics™, and the all-new Payoff Pitching™ system. Jon Miller and Hall of Fame legend Joe Morgan bring their distinctive style and wit to the world-class commentary, adding wonderful atmosphere to every game. The World Baseball Classic™ debuts exclusively on Major League Baseball 2K6, adding an exciting international flavor of baseball.

Through the power of Xbox 360, Major League Baseball 2K6 features new visual high-definition details of cloth physics, real-time lighting, high-resolution textures, and 3D interactive crowds. Additionally, every MLB ballpark has been completely redesigned to deliver a vivid and authentic baseball atmosphere.

Major League Baseball 2K6 is rated “E” for Everyone and is the only officially licensed Major League Baseball video game that will be available on every major gaming console, including Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system, and the Nintendo GameCube™. The Xbox 360 version is available now for a suggested retail price of $59.99; with the PlayStation 2 and Xbox titles available for $39.99.

Continue reading "2K SPORTS ANNOUNCES MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K6 FOR XBOX 360 NOW AVAILABLE" »

April 10, 2006

Official TV Commercial Released for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend!

Lara Croft is known for traveling the world, however tomorrow it is her new adventure, Tomb Raider: Legend, which is taking a journey as it is set to ship to retailers on April 11th! The wait is over, and the time has come for celebration. What better way to mark the occasion than to deliver you a copy of the official television commercial which you can expect to see on some popular channels soon! Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend marks the return of Lara Croft to the tombs, and with the highly detailed interactive environments, it is definitely a game that you do not want to miss! Lara Croft moves with beautiful fluid movement, and her new acrobatic moves coupled with the gaming dynamics brought by gear such as the magnetic grapple make this the most intense tomb raiding experience to date! The commercial features some great action adventure sequences, along with a lot of the stellar praise that Tomb Raider: Legend has been receiving from the press!

Here's the Ad.

Continue reading "Official TV Commercial Released for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend!" »

April 7, 2006

Eidos Releases 6 Spectacular New Videos for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend!

There are only a few days remaining until the North American launch of the most anticipated game in the Tomb Raider franchise yet! Since the day when you can finally make Tomb Raider: Legend your own is so near, it is time to overhaul you with media, as we are releasing 6 spectacular brand new videos! Tomb Raider: Legend features the return of Lara Croft to the tombs, and she has gained some brand new acrobatic moves and gadgets which make traversing the beautiful interactive environments pure joy. These new videos give you another sneak peak at some of the great new features of the game such as how Lara Croft can climb around with beautiful fluid movement, the new magnetic grapple gadget in action, and some of the deadly traps that she encounters in the tombs. On top of it all, we also are showing you a few cut-scenes which are displayed in true cinematic quality.

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March 30, 2006

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat Demo Assaults Xbox 360!

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat hits shelves on April 12th, but to make the wait a little easier we’re giving you a free taste of the critically acclaimed multiplayer action. Download your free online multiplayer demo from Xbox Live Marketplace, and experience the no-holds-barred intensity of the massively popular “Bridge Too Far” level. Fly helicopters to the top of towering cranes and skyscrapers, to gain prime Sniper vantage points. Two rivers provide natural barriers, but the raised drawbridges mean a Hummer can execute a heart-stopping jump to gain the element of surprise. Add powerful tanks and devastating artillery strikes to the equation, and it’s no wonder the most popular map from the Xbox version will soon be the definitive multiplayer experience on Xbox 360.

To Download the Battlefield 2: Modern Combat Demo:

1. Sign in to Xbox Live from the Xbox Dashboard. For more info about connecting to Xbox Live, visit www.xbox.com.
2. Download your free demo from the Xbox Live Marketplace.

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Verizon Sponsored Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend begins Friday March 31

The first ever first Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend takes place this weekend, courtesy of Verizon.

From March 31 through April 2, Xbox 360 gamers are invited to connect to Xbox Live and enjoy an action-packed weekend of multiplayer gaming in a community of 2 million players, free of charge.

The Verizon-sponsored Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend will feature 72 hours of nonstop events, constituting the largest programming effort of online Xbox multiplayer games ever. Events include:

· A 72-hour multiplayer schedule of the most exciting games on Xbox 360.

· Game with Fame with Kamal from The Roots in NBA 2K6. Look for Gamertag “RootsGWF” on Friday, March 31st from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. Eastern (12 P.M. to 2 P.M. Pacific).

· Download the Xbox Live exclusive acoustic high-def performance of “Single” and Unwritten” from Xbox Live Artist of the Month, Natasha Bedingfield.

· Xbox Ambassadors will be online all weekend hosting new gamers on Xbox Live.

· Lucky 7 Play & Win: You could win simply for playing! Play a total of at least seven hours over the weekend to be entered into a drawing for Xbox Live prizes.

· Ubisoft Challenge: Play Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter with members of the game's development and marketing teams on Friday March 31st from 10 P.M. to 12 A.M. Eastern and Sunday April 2nd from 8 P.M. to 11 P.M. Eastern.

· Frag Doll Friday: Take on Ubisoft's fierce gaming crew on Sunday, April 2, starting at 6 P.M. Eastern (3 P.M. Pacific) in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.

· Beat the Xbox Team: Challenge Xbox insiders to College Hoops 2K6, Bankshot Billiards 2 and EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3. Earn bragging rights and win awesome Xbox prizes.

In addition, the exclusive Verizon One Million Microsoft Points giveaway offers gamers the chance to win points to purchase the latest Xbox Live Marketplace digital downloadable content, including Xbox Live Arcade titles and the hottest game and entertainment content, while supplies last.

Continue reading "Verizon Sponsored Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend begins Friday March 31" »

UBISOFT DELIVERS NEXT CHAPTER IN FAR CRY INSTINCTS FRANCHISE FOR XBOX 360 AND XBOX

SAN FRANCISCO, CA March 30, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that Far Cry Instincts Predator for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Far Cry Instincts Evolution for the Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft are available in stores today. Far Cry Instincts Evolution for Xbox introduces players to an entirely new story, and new characters and game features that reflect and improve upon the critically acclaimed elements of the first title. Far Cry Instincts Predator for Xbox 360 includes both Far Cry Instincts Evolution and an enhanced version of the original Far Cry Instincts game. Both games are rated "M" for Mature and have an MSRP of $59.99 for Far Cry Instincts Predator and $29.99 for Far Cry Instincts Evolution.

"Ubisoft is building on the critically acclaimed Far Cry Instincts brand with the addition of a stellar new adventure that fans of the franchise have been anxiously awaiting," said Tony Key, vice president of marketing for Ubisoft. With an action-packed single-player campaign and an array of addictive multiplayer modes, combined with the highest graphical quality available on current and next-generation consoles, Far Cry Instincts Predator for Xbox 360 and Far Cry Instincts Evolution for Xbox further exemplify why Far Cry is one of the hottest franchises available to the Xbox audience."

About the Game*
The incident at Jacutan Archipelago changed Jack Carver's life forever. Jack has had little choice but to embrace the disturbing talents unleashed by Krieger's unique brand of folk medicine. Back at his home port in Micronesia, Jack thought he had finally found paradise. But when a gorgeous woman draws him in on a dangerous heist, their sun-drenched days take a chilling turn. Hunted for a murder he didn't commit, Jack must draw on his most savage instincts to make his predators his prey.
Game features include:

• Wage war across land, sea and air in a breathtaking tropical wilderness. Take control of 10 drivable vehicles like gliders, ATVs and jet-skis, as well as new vehicles like armored pickups and transport trucks.

• Experience massive gunfights with over 20 action-packed weapons. Cause some serious damage with shotguns, machines guns, traps, and all-new weapons like poisonous dart guns and Molotov cocktails.

• Hunt and be hunted by unnervingly brilliant AI enemies or battle friends in 22 multiplayer missions and 5 customizable game modes. Includes all the classic modes like Predator, as well as the all-new Seek-and-Secure mode.

• Create the perfect paradise. Build your own custom maps and share them on the Xbox Live® online gaming service for explosive multiplayer action

Continue reading "UBISOFT DELIVERS NEXT CHAPTER IN FAR CRY INSTINCTS FRANCHISE FOR XBOX 360 AND XBOX" »

March 29, 2006

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend Has Officially Gone Gold!

It seems as if Lara Croft has acquired the Midas touch, because her latest game Tomb Raider: Legend has officially Gone Gold and is ready for production! Tomb Raider: Legend marks Lara Croft’s return to what she does best, as she is set to travel the world raiding the most deadly tombs the series has seen yet. Equipped with new acrobatic moves and beautiful fluid movement, Lara Croft allows you to explore the vastly detailed and interactive environments with such grace that makes the experience like poetry in motion. Action, adventure and beauty... what more can you ask for from a game?

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March 28, 2006

KONAMI MAKES ITS XBOX 360 DEBUT AS RUMBLE ROSES XX SHIPS TO RETAIL

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – March 28, 2006– Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced that Rumble Roses XX™ has shipped to retail stores in North America for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Konami’s Xbox 360 debut, the follow-up to 2004’s smash hit all-female wrestling video game features an eye-catching lineup of beautiful wrestlers with killer moves, as well as immersive new gameplay modes and online play.

As the “best looking” Xbox 360 game, Rumble Roses XX features more than 20 playable characters including all the popular ladies from the original Rumble Roses – such as Reiko and Dixie. Dressed in flashy outfits and equipped with several costume changes, these wrestlers defy the imagination with all-new new jaw-dropping character models, designed to take advantage of the graphical power of the Xbox 360.

Rumble Roses XX features a number of modes where players pummel their way through the game’s many characters to unlock additional opponents and items. The new Tag Team mode allows for unprecedented group mayhem in the ring, complete with special combo moves and character relationships that change with the results of each match. Dangerous curves lie ahead in Battle Royal and Handicap Match modes, while the all-new Queen’s Match lets two wrestlers battle it out with the loser performing embarrassing acts such as the limbo. The new Street Fight mode lets the girls take out their aggression outside of the ring, unleashing no-holds barred moves as they attempt to knock out their opponent. Players can now also create their own wrestlers with the game’s new Character Customization mode, choosing from a large collection of body types, outfits, accessories and fighting styles to build the ultimate female grappler. Rumble Roses XX also includes online play for up to four players, so competitors from around the country can team up with one another or go toe-to-toe.


In addition to traditional wrestling moves such as suplexes, submission holds and elbow drops, each wrestler has specific attacks linked to her personality that allow her to string together a number of moves to create unique combinations. As each character gains experience in the ring, they will become stronger, developing muscle tone and becoming more proficient in their favorite moves. With the game’s Superstar system, characters will receive bursts of energy as the crowd cheers them on to victory. Depending on how they wrestle, players will develop their character into a “face” or “heel,” each with unique moves that reflect their personality in the ring.

Continue reading "KONAMI MAKES ITS XBOX 360 DEBUT AS RUMBLE ROSES XX SHIPS TO RETAIL" »

March 24, 2006

Far Cry Instincts Goes Gold

Today, Ubisoft announced that Far Cry Instincts Predator for the Xbox® 360 and Far Cry Instincts Evolution for the Xbox® are now gold and will be on store shelves March 30, 2006.

Far Cry Instincts Evolution introduces the player to an entirely new story, characters and game features that reflect and improve upon the critically-acclaimed elements of the Xbox first title. Far Cry Instincts Predator features both Far Cry Instincts Evolution and the original Far Cry Instincts game, released in Fall 2005. Offering the kind of lush and deep natural environment true to the brand, Far Cry Instincts Predator will captivate gamers with its graphical reality and gameplay enhancements.

Far Cry Instincts Evolution will be available for the Xbox® at the manufacturer's suggested retail price of $29.99 and Far Cry Instincts Predatorfor $59.99.

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EA LINES UP THE WORLD’S TOP SOCCER SUPERSTARS FOR 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP

Redwood City, Calif., March 24, 2006 – This is your chance to step onto the pitch and play with your heroes in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ Finals! Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today revealed the superstar players who will be featured on the front packs of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ video game around the world. Designed to celebrate each country’s top star, the cover athletes have been individually selected to represent their team, their nation and their loyal fans. Working in partnership with adidas, the only official branded sports apparel manufacturer for the real-world 2006 FIFA World Cup tournament, EA has been able to deliver customized covers for nearly a dozen countries.

“We are thrilled to have the world’s top athletes representing 2006 FIFA World Cup in each of these countries,” said Clive Downie, VP of Marketing, EA. “Game players around the globe are engaging in this phenomenal tournament by experiencing it for themselves through the video game.”

“2006 FIFA World Cup lets players live out their greatest soccer fantasy of playing with their heroes. We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with EA and provide direct access to each of the superstars,” said Thierry Weil, head of football sports marketing at adidas.

Demonstrating athletic excellence, undying determination and masterful skill, the line-up of players featured regionally on 2006 FIFA World Cup are true sports champions.

TEAM

ATHLETE

PACK AVAILABILE IN:

China

Zhi Zhen

China

England

Frank Lampard

England

Germany

Lukas Podolski

Germany

Italy

Alessandro Del Piero

Italy

Mexico

Jamie Lozano

USA, Canada, Mexico

Portugal

Simao

Portugal

Netherlands

Arjen Robben

Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg

Switzerland

Ricardo Cabanas

Switzerland

Spain

Xavi

Spain

USA

Claudio Reyna

USA, Canada, Mexico

All other countries will feature the FIFA World Cup trophy and the Official Emblem.

Players step into the heart of the action as they play their favorite team or most loathed opponent. Featuring stunning visual representations of the world’s superstar players, gamers experience the 12 official stadiums as they take their team from qualification to glory. In addition to taking control of one of 127 national teams, players will enjoy groundbreaking new play modes. Global Challenge tests even the biggest soccer fanatic by recreating classic moments in FIFA World Cup history with modern teams. True champions can challenge their friends in eight-way multiplayer matches and take advantage of tremendous in-game un-lockable content such as legendary players and exclusive licensed football apparel.

2006 FIFA World Cup, developed by EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C. will be available on April 24 in North America and April 28 in Europe and Asia. The game will be available on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® and Xbox 360™ video game systems from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube™, Nintendo DS™, and Game Boy® Advance, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system, PC and mobile. The game is rated is rated “E” (Everyone) by the ESRB and has a PEGI rating of 3+.

Screenshots and renders can be downloaded at http://info.ea.com.

###

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 2005, EA posted revenues of $3.1 billion and had 31 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.

Electronic Arts, EA, EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS BIG, and POGO are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S and/or other countries. Official FIFA licensed product. FIFA World Cup is the property of its respective owner and used with permission. Microsoft, Xbox and Xbox 360 are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. “PlayStation” is a registered trademark and PSP is a trademark of SCEI. Nintendo DS, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance are trademarks of Nintendo. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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March 23, 2006

BLAZING ANGELS SQUADRONS OF WWII CLEARS FOR DEPARTURE FOR XBOX 360, XBOX, AND PC

SAN FRANCISCO March 23, 2006 Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, today proudly announces that Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII, the intense squadron-based flight action game, has released for Xbox 360 and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft and PC in the U.S. and will be arriving in North American stores this week. Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII will be releasing on March 30, 2006, in Europe and Australia.

"Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII is a very exciting launch for Ubisoft," said Tony Key, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "This is the first flight game for Xbox 360, and it takes full advantage of the technological and graphical power of the new system, delivering a truly amazing and gorgeous flight combat gameplay experience like no other game in its genre before."

In Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII, players test their air-combat skills as they experience the most famous battles of World War II. As a squadron leader, players can fly up to 38 WWII aircraft in both single-player and multiplayer missions.

Developed by Ubisoft, Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII features innovative squadron-based combat, in which each artificial intelligence wingman's specialized skill can be used to the pilot's advantage. During the course of the 18-mission campaign, players will evolve along with their wingmen into an ace fighting force. Spectacular graphics enhance the combat experience in true World War II battle sites such as England, Germany, France, Morocco, Pearl Harbor, Midway and Tokyo. The heroic storyline that follows the evolution of a single squadron and the cinematic presentation create moments reminiscent of classic World War II movies. Pilots fly in close to Germany's industrial terrain during a bombing raid or emerge from the fog and cloud cover over London to engage the enemy. Up to 16 players online can engage over the Xbox Live® online game service in head-to-head dogfights or cooperative team play between squadrons in 10 additional missions.

Key features of the Xbox 360 and Xbox versions include:

• WWII's most epic and famous air battles: Experience the greatest air battles of World War II in famous locations from across the globe. Whether it's the Battle of Britain, the attack on Pearl Harbor or the fierce fighting over Berlin, the player and his squadron will be tasked with turning the tide of war.

• Innovative squadron-based gameplay: Command AI wingmen and make use of each one's special abilities. The pilot's heroism and leadership will grow during the course of the 18-mission campaign. Engage in legendary air battles and lead a squadron of Blazing Angels to victory.

• A large variety of realistic-looking WWII aircraft: Pilot 38 authentic WWII aircraft including the famous P-51 Mustang, the B-17 Flying Fortress and the British Spitfire, and planes like the Luftwaffe's Messerschmitt and the Japanese Zero in multiplayer. From the wing rivets to the nose art to the detailed cockpits, these planes look like the real thing.

• 18 heart-stopping missions in a compelling storyline: Pilots will begin as untrained recruits and evolve through battle experience into ace combat pilots. WWII missions will take place around the globe in a large variety of locations such as London, the Pacific theater, North Africa, Normandy and Berlin.

• Authentic WWII atmosphere: Fly low over Germany's industrial terrain for a bombing raid, strafe the islands of the Pacific, or emerge from the cloud cover over London and engage the enemy. The environment is so real you'll feel like you're the pilot in a famous WWII movie.

• Planes are easy to handle and fun to fly: No need to attend the Air Force Academy to pilot these planes; players can jump right into air combat action without extensive tutorials.

• Xbox Live for up to 16 players online: Engage in head-to-head dogfights or cooperative team play between squadrons on huge maps with large formations.

Key features of the PC CD-ROM version include:

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

• Thrilling multiplayer combat: 16-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 will ship with an ESRB rating of T (Teen) for Xbox 360, Xbox and PC. For more information and updates, please visit www.blazing-angels.com.

© 2006 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Blazing Angels, Ubisoft and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the US and/or other countries. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox Live are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Continue reading "BLAZING ANGELS SQUADRONS OF WWII CLEARS FOR DEPARTURE FOR XBOX 360, XBOX, AND PC" »

2K Sports Creates All-Star Music Lineup from Matador Records for Major League Baseball® 2K6 Video Game

New York, NY – March 23, 2006 – 2K Sports, the sports publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), today announced that Matador Records, among other record labels, is providing music for the in-game Major League Baseball® 2K6 soundtrack. This is the first time Matador has licensed a block of music for a video game soundtrack to showcase the label’s diverse and revered catalog of artists. Music from Major League Baseball 2K6 will also be featured on the newly launched 2K Beats Internet radio station as a key component of 2K Sports’ extensive 2K Beats music marketing and integration campaign.

Featuring a motivationally-charged and catchy mix of music, Major League Baseball 2K6’s soundtrack features 19 songs, including songs from influential Matador artists such as Interpol, Stephen Malkmus, Pavement, Belle & Sebastian, and Guided By Voices.

Major League Baseball 2K6 will feature the following Matador Records’ tracks:

· Belle and Sebastian - To Be Myself Completely and Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie

· Cornelius - Drop, Count Five Or Six

· Early Man - Closing In (The Medley)

· Interpol - Evil

· Mogwai - Hunted By A Freak

· Pavement - Serpentine Pad

· Preston School of Industry - Line It Up

· Pretty Girls Make Graves - The Grandmother Wolf

· Stephen Malkmus - Loud Cloud Crowd

· The Double - Icy, Idiocy

· Yo La Tengo - Today Is The Day

“We are excited to have Matador Records involved with Major League Baseball 2K6, given the label’s strong reputation for representing some of music’s most influential and eclectic bands,” said Tim Rosa, Director of Brand and Lifestyle Marketing for 2K Sports. “Matador’s participation creates a robust and compelling soundtrack that redefines the notion of ‘baseball music’ without tampering with the authentic MLB experience gamers expect.”

“We are pleased to license a wide range of songs from Matador artists for the 2K Sports Major League Baseball 2K6 video game,” said Matador co-founder Gerard Cosloy. “Given that our roster is filled with avid gamers and baseball fans, this was a natural fit.”

2K Sports’ new music marketing initiative, 2K Beats, includes an exceptionally deep level of in-game music integration featuring access to artist bios, songs, photos, discography and contact information. Also, as the first Internet radio station by a video game publisher, 2K Beats will feature online artist pages, radio promotions, partnership programs and special events.

In addition to featuring the premier of Major League Baseball 2K6’s soundtrack, 2K Beats radio will include all of the past and present music tracks from 2K Sports’ critically acclaimed titles available for streaming at www.2ksports.com/2kbeats.

“2K Sports is at the forefront of video game, technology and music convergence,” said Tim Rosa. “So, an Internet radio station that showcases the music of 2K Sports is a natural evolution for our brand.”

As the exclusive and only officially licensed MLB® video game to appear on every major gaming console, Major League Baseball 2K6 will be available this spring for Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system and Nintendo GameCube™. Including innovative features such as Inside Edge technology, Swing Stick™, a new movement system and realistic player collisions, Major League Baseball 2K6 takes the virtual baseball experience to the next level.

Continue reading "2K Sports Creates All-Star Music Lineup from Matador Records for Major League Baseball® 2K6 Video Game" »

March 22, 2006

Latest Xbox Live facts & stats

Xbox Live Connectivity & Usage:

Since Xbox Live's online gaming network launched in November 2002, gamers have spent over 1.5 billion hours on the network playing games online with their friends around the world. This is equal to 65 million days of gaming or close to 200,000 years. With our top title, Halo 2, which is being played on both the Xbox and Xbox 360, gamers have spent over 500 million hours playing online.

Today over half of all Xbox 360 consoles sold worldwide are already connected to Xbox Live. This is a significant leap over the nearly-one-in-10 consoles that were connected to Xbox Live on the first generation of Xbox.

Not only are the majority of our owners connected, but they are also spending more time connected to the Xbox Live community on Xbox 360 than ever before. The average number of gaming sessions on Xbox Live on Xbox 360 is currently at 25-a-week, which is up dramatically from the average of 6 sessions-a-week we saw on the original Xbox.

In fact, online gaming through Xbox Live is now a proven form of mainstream entertainment. The 18-34 male audience is comparable in size to the same audience tuning in to see the most popular network TV shows like CSI or The Office.

Xbox Live on Xbox 360 continues to grow as a social community; we are seeing an average of 600,000 text messages sent every day between members on the service.

Top WW Xbox Live Titles on Xbox 360 to date:

Call of Duty 2

Perfect Dark Zero

PGR3

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Dead or Alive 4


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Stunning New Trailer Released for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend!

This trailer is worth watching. The gameplay looks amazingly fluid.

Lara Croft is back in action, and her new adventure is the best looking Tomb Raider game you’ve ever seen! Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend marks Lara’s return to the tombs, which are now larger, more immersive and interactive then ever before, delivering you the true sense of adventure and exploration which made the series rise to the top. Next generation graphics coupled with the beautiful fluid movement of Lara Croft ensure that both the environments and gaming’s lead heroine are absolutely stunning to watch. Her new acrobatic moves along with new gear such as the magnetic grapple make traversing the deadly terrain of the tombs absolutely exhilarating, as you take control of Lara Croft and perform death defying stunts at great heights. The latest trailer gives you another look into Lara Croft’s latest adventure, and it will prove that Tomb Raider: Legend is definitely a game you do not want to miss!

Download the new trailer here at:
http://www.eidosinteractive.com/downloads/search.html?gmid=158

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Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The face of war has changed. Enemy lines blur and there is no longer a clear opponent. New enemies and new threats require a new type of warfare and a new type of soldier. Enter the Ghosts.

G.R.A.W. is the first Xbox 360 title that has really impressed me. Others, such as Kameo, impressed me, but G.R.A.W. is almost stunning at every turn. A great multiplayer mode and a solid single player mode make this title highly recommended. However, there are a few little glitches that hold me back from rating it a 5.

The graphics and graphical details are breath taking. The heat haze over Mexico City and the fact that you can even read the small print on various signs around the city are two examples of the attention to detail. Everything's textured and the lighting and particle effects are attention grabbing. The sound effects are pretty strong also. The gunfire sounds realistic, the explosions will rock your living room, and the enemies' shrieks of pain will make you feel good.

Using the Cross-Com, a communication device powered by satellite technology, you'll always be kept up to date on the latest happenings on the battlefield. Attached to the soldier's monocle, the Cross-Com provides full situational awareness and command of the battlefield. Command the Ghost squad and remote allied forces and drones, and direct artillery and air strikes. See what the squad sees and receive visual and auditory intelligence from allied forces and unmanned drones. It sounds great, but it's takes a lot of my attention away from the actual combat.


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

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EIDOS CONFIRMS JUST CAUSE FOR XBOX 360 AND RELEASES NEW SCREENSHOTS!

19.jpg

San Francisco, CA (March 21, 2006) -- Eidos Interactive, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, confirms today that Just Cause will be published on Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Just Cause is being developed by Avalanche Studios and will be released in Autumn 2006.

In Just Cause, gamers play the role of a field operative and specialist in regime change charged with overthrowing the corrupt government of San Esperito. The rogue South American state is suspected of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, and Rico’s mission is to negate the threat this poses to world peace. Just Cause emphasizes player choice as it gives gamers the freedom to tackle missions as they choose: playing the island’s factions against one another, inciting a rebellion among the masses and building alliances with rebel forces and drug cartels.

Pushing the capabilities of any console, Just Cause is set on an unprecedented scale in terms of missions and size. The massive world will take the average gamer over 40 minutes to cross, from one end of the island to the other, and that’s without being distracted by one of the 300+ missions you could choose to accept along the way. The island can be explored by land, sea and air, as you will have at your disposal one of the most varied and exciting array of vehicles ever seen in a video game.

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March 21, 2006

NEW CALL OF DUTY 2 XBOX 360 TITLE UPDATE NOW AVAILABLE

Santa Monica, CA – March 21, 2006 – Fans of the award-winning, blockbuster hit, Call of Dutyâ 2, will be locked and loaded with today’s Title Update for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), the Title Update offers significant enhancements, including improved multiplayer performance, the ability to reserve friend slots in private game lobbies, post-game lobbies so friends can play longer, configurable host options and more. The Xbox 360 update will be automatically applied the next time users log into Xbox Live® with Call of Duty 2.

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UBISOFT AND BEST BUY ANNOUNCE ONLINE VIDEO GAME TOURNAMENT

SAN FRANCISCO MARCH 21, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers and Best Buy, North America's leading specialty retailer of consumer electronics, announced an online video game tournament for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. The tournament will be facilitated by the Global Gaming League and kicks off on the Xbox Live® online game service April 1 and continues through May 1. Entrants must have Xbox Live Gold to participate. The two teams that make it to the finals will battle for the grand prize of a Dodge Caliber at the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center on May 11.

"Best Buy makes sure gamers have everything they need to compete online," said Jill Hamburger, vice president of video games at Best Buy. "And this tournament has it all - phenomenal gameplay with Ghost Recon, live interaction with your opponent on Xbox Live Gold and great prizes. It's going to be fun."

For the first three weeks of the competition, teams of two will compete against thousands of other teams as they eliminate each other for the top spot to compete in the deathmatch final. The two finalist teams will then travel to E3 and compete for the grand prize of an all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber, a sporty five-door compact car with a powerful stance that provides the functional flexibility of an SUV. The first- place winner will also receive $5,000 and the second-place winners will each receive cash prizes of $1,000.

"There is no doubt that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is the killer game for Xbox 360 and the online tournament is a great way to experience the game with thousands of other players in a heated competition," said Tony Key, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is going to blow up on Xbox Live."

Tournament registration began March 19 and ends March 31 on
www.bestbuy.com/gamingtournaments. Visit the site for more information and
official rules.

About Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter:
The face of war has changed. Enemy lines blur and there is no longer a
clear opponent. New enemies and new threats require a new type of
warfare - a new type of soldier. Enter the Ghosts. In 2013, the U.S. Army
will implement the Integrated Warfighter System (IWS), evolving what we
know as the modern soldier. IWS combines advanced weapon systems,
satellite communication devices and enhanced survivability into one fully
integrated combat system. The IWS program has been developed to meet
these new threats head on. Now, it can be tested on the battlefield.
Following an insurgence in the heart of Mexico City, the U.S. Army's most
elite Special Forces team is deployed to the center of the conflict to
regain control of the city. Greatly outnumbered but fully equipped with
the IWS, this elite team is the first and last line of defense on the
battlefield. They are the "quiet" professionals. They are the
Ghosts. Tom Clancy"s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter for Xbox 360 and the
Xbox computer and entertainment system from Microsoft is now available
in stores. The PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system version will
ship in late March 2006 and the Windows® PC will be arriving in May
2006.

Continue reading "UBISOFT AND BEST BUY ANNOUNCE ONLINE VIDEO GAME TOURNAMENT" »

Microsoft Announces Xbox 360 Inventory Surge and Spring Games Lineup

REDMOND, Wash. — March 21, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the broader availability of Xbox 360™ consoles and provided details about the new games and entertainment experiences available to gamers this season.

Beginning this week, Microsoft will distribute two to three times the number of Xbox 360 consoles to the retail channel weekly. With component supplies in full production and third manufacturing partner Celestica Inc. now producing the next-generation console along with partners Wistron Corp. and Flextronics Corp., Microsoft is producing more Xbox 360 consoles than ever.

“Today we have turned a major corner,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “With more consoles on their way to retail, 80 games available by June, and new content and experiences coming to Xbox Live® all the time, there has never been a better time to own an Xbox 360.”

Blockbuster Games on the Way

The Xbox 360 games portfolio expands this spring with new next-generation titles from leading developers and publishers that cater to every genre, age, skill level and budget. Gamers can choose from a range of truly next-generation games such as “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion” (Bethesda Softworks/2K Games), an Xbox 360 console exclusive with beautiful next-generation graphics and a huge world to explore; “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter” (Ubisoft Entertainment SA), the latest version of the successful Tom Clancy series that once again pushes the boundaries of multiplayer boundaries on Xbox Live; and “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend” (Eidos Interactive Ltd.), the next-generation debut of the very popular Lara Croft series.

In addition, new titles are coming to Xbox Live Arcade all the time, including “Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting,” “Uno” and the free full version of “Texas Hold ’Em Poker” by Riverbelle. Great titles that gamers can expect this season include these:

· “2006 FIFA World Cup™” (EA SPORTS)

· “Battlefield 2: Modern Combat” (Electronic Arts Inc.)

· “Blazing Angels” (Ubisoft)

· “Burnout Revenge” (Electronic Arts)

· “Dynasty Warriors® 5 Empires” (KOEI)

· “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion” (Bethesda Softworks/2K Games)

· “Far Cry Instincts Predator” (Ubisoft)

· “FINAL FANTASY® XI” (Square Enix Inc.)

· “Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter” (Ubisoft)

· “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend” (Eidos)

· “Major League Baseball 2K6” (2K Sports)

· “The Outfit™” (THQ)

· “Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis” (Rockstar Games)

· “Rumble Roses XX™” (Konami)

· “Top Spin 2” (2K Sports)

· “X-Men: The Official Game” (Activision)

In addition to new games, consumers can extend the experience of existing Xbox 360 titles with new downloadable content available on Xbox Live Marketplace. Microsoft Game Studios confirmed new content for “Project Gotham Racing® 3,” including exciting cars and achievements. Fans of “Perfect Dark: Zero™” will have access to additional content, including downloadable multiplayer maps. In addition, the unique experience of “Kameo™: Elements of Power™” will be extended through new online cooperative gameplay options and exciting new costumes for Kameo and her warriors.

Xbox Live Digital Content Distribution Sets Records

Xbox Live Marketplace, a digital download center freely accessible to any Xbox 360 owner with a broadband connection, has reached more than 10 million downloads faster than iTunes did when it launched. In fact, more than 85 percent of connected Xbox 360 consoles have already downloaded content from Xbox Live Marketplace — everything from game demos and arcade titles to premier movie trailers and music videos.

Xbox 360 will continue to deliver new online gaming and entertainment experiences including the “Battlefield 2: Modern Combat” game demo (Electronic Arts), the “Burnout Revenge” game trailer (Electronic Arts), and the “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion” Horse Armor Pack (Bethesda Softworks/2K Games), which will all be available this spring on Xbox Live Marketplace.

Continue reading "Microsoft Announces Xbox 360 Inventory Surge and Spring Games Lineup" »

EIDOS CONFIRMS XBOX 360 RELEASE DATE FOR LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: LEGEND

San Francisco, CA (March 20, 2006) -- Eidos Interactive, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today confirms that Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend will be released for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft on April 11th in North America and April 7th in Europe, in line with the release of previously announced versions for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PC.

Delivering unbelievable visuals that take full advantage of Microsoft’s next-generation video game and entertainment system, Lara’s premiere on Xbox 360 is grounded in the series’ tomb raiding roots. Created by Crystal Dynamics, Lara exploits the power of Xbox 360 with its newly created graphics system for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend.

With support for real-time per pixel lighting, shadows and normal-mapping among other improvements, the Tomb Raider world achieves new heights of atmosphere, tension and beauty. New levels of detail and texture yield realistic effects on Lara herself as she gets dirty and wet during her expeditions through the rugged terrain of the environments she explores.

“Xbox 360 allows us to bring Lara to life like never before with intricately animated expressions, fluid movement and realistic abilities like never before,” said Matt Gorman, Senior Brand Manager for Tomb Raider, “It enables us to make the Tomb Raider experience far more realistic and immersive in a next generation, high-definition world; dynamic, lush, living realms that are wholly Tomb Raider, and that belong completely to Lara Croft, the likes of which has never been seen on any console.”

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March 16, 2006

Midway Demos

I met with Midway yesterday at the W Hotel where they had the greatest rice krispy squares dipped in chocolate.

SpyHunter: Nowhere to Run
spyhunter.jpg
This ships on June 19, 2006 for PS2 and Xbox. It's more than the same old SpyHunter because there is an added 3rd person action element staring The Rock. It's pretty melee heavy. I got to play this one and it was a lot of fun. Driving had that exciting combat. I kept dying during the level with the boat. The gun battles and fighting were pretty cool and they really bring a new dimension to the game.

Stranglehold
stranglehold.jpg
This will be Midway's first next generation game for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. It's a John Woo project, the spiritual sequel to Hardboiled. Chow Yun Fat plays Inspector Tequila and the game takes place in both Hong Kong and Chicago. There is environment is massively destructible and rooms look like a gun battle took place there with debris on the ground and the walls being all chewed up by bullets. The theatrical effects are there with blood spray and the animation is very fluid. There's also Tequila Time where you move in real time and everyone else moves in slow motion. It's being developed by the same team that did Psi-Ops and they're using Havoc physics and the Unreal Engine 3.0. Stranglehold is scheduled to ship in winto 2006.

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NCAA Predictions from 2K Sports

The development team at 2K Sports ran over 1,000 simulations in our College Hoops 2K6 game on the original Xbox, PS2 and Xbox 360’s for these results. The final four teams - Duke, Uconn, Villanova and Texas - were simulated an additional 1000 times.

ncaa.JPG

For some reason the brackets aren't displaying properly. To see the complete bracket, right click on the graphic and select "view image".

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March 15, 2006

“Viva Piñata” Universe Revealed — Entertainment Property Brought to Life by Microsoft, Rare and 4Kids Entertainment

REDMOND, Wash., and NEW YORK — March 15, 2006 — Microsoft Game Studios and 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE) today celebrate the introduction of “Viva Piñata,” a high-energy, mass-appeal entertainment property created by Rare Ltd. that brings a vibrant world of living piñata animals to video games, television and beyond. The “Viva Piñata” universe showcases an engaging cast of colorful, wild-roaming piñata animals that entertain and challenge imaginations.

“Viva Piñata” will offer a number of entertainment elements enjoyable for everyone — from kids to adults. The “Viva Piñata” world will include a Saturday morning 3-D animated television series, slated to premiere this fall on 4Kids TV™ on FOX, that is produced and created by 4Kids Entertainment, known for such powerhouse properties as Yu-Gi-Oh!®, Pokémon®, Cabbage Patch Kids® and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®. An immersive video game developed by Rare Ltd. exclusively for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system is scheduled to debut this holiday worldwide, enabling gamers to create and customize piñata-filled adventures in their own evolving world. The 4Kids Entertainment licensing program will result in additional licensed products launching in 2007. Additional information can be found at http://www.vivapinata.com.

“With ‘Viva Piñata,’ we are introducing a revolutionary brand that will entertain, inspire and excite children, families and creative minds around the globe,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Corp. “With Rare and 4Kids Entertainment we will best showcase the vibrant world of ‘Viva Piñata,’ enabling a mass audience to have an immersive experience via the animated television series, the Xbox 360 title and related merchandise.”

“Viva Piñata” — The Animated Television Series

The “Viva Piñata” television series is set to air in the U.S. in fall 2006 on 4Kids TV — 4Kids Entertainment’s four hours of children’s programming broadcast Saturday mornings on FOX. In this comedy series, created by 4Kids Entertainment, a cast of piñata “friends” embark on wild adventures on Piñata Island. The appealing characters and their charming personalities are sure to entertain and stimulate the series’ audience as they accompany the piñata characters on their zany adventures.

“We are very excited about partnering with Microsoft to share the ‘Viva Piñata’ universe with the world,” said Alfred R. Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment. “The potent combination of the Microsoft Game Studios and 4Kids will ensure that the ‘Viva Piñata’ world, including the video game, television series and merchandising program, attracts a worldwide audience.”

“Viva Piñata” for Xbox 360

Set to release this holiday season worldwide, “Viva Piñata” is a customizable, social and spontaneous game that invites players of all ages and skills to explore an immersive world where they are challenged to create and maintain a living garden ecosystem that grows in real time. Beginning with a few basic tools, players build and take control of their environment to attract and host more than 60 species of wild piñata, utilizing hundreds of customizable elements to create their very own distinctively unique thriving paradise.

“Viva Piñata” gameplay continues to evolve with new content available via the Xbox Live® service and the ability to play, trade and interact with more than 2 million gamers via the online service.

Following the strategic alliance previously announced in January 2006 with Microsoft, 4Kids’ exclusive representation agreement includes all broadcast, home video, music and merchandise licensing rights on a worldwide basis for the “Viva Piñata” property.

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JOIN THE FAMILY AND BECOME THE GODFATHER

Electronic Arts announced today that The Godfather™ The Game has gone gold for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. Gamers worldwide will step into the Don’s dangerous world of intimidation and negotiation via their PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game system from Microsoft or PC on March 21st in North America and March 24th in Europe. The Godfather The Game will also be available for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and PSP (PlayStation® Portable) handheld entertainment system later in 2006. EA’s The Godfather The Game puts you at the center of one of the world’s most revered stories. In the role of a young man just entering the Corleone family, you create your own mob character and work your way to the top. For the first time ever, you will go beyond the films and book to actually step into the living world of The Godfather fiction throughout 1940s New York City. You will work your way up the mob ranks your own way, choosing just how much force to use as you rise to power.

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BLAZING ANGELS SQUADRONS OF WWII GOES GOLD FOR XBOX 360, XBOX, AND PC

SAN FRANCISCO “March 14, 2006 Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, today proudly announces that Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII, the intense squadron-based flight action game, has gone gold for the Xbox 360 and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft and PC and will be releasing to U.S. stores on March 23, 2006.

In Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII, players test their air-combat skills as they experience the most famous battles of World War II. As a squadron leader, players can fly up to 38 WWII aircraft in both single-player and multiplayer missions.

Developed by Ubisoft, Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII features innovative squadron-based combat, in which each artificial intelligence wingman's specialized skill can be used to the pilot's advantage. During the course of the 18-mission campaign, players will evolve along with their wingmen into an ace fighting force. Spectacular graphics enhance the combat experience in true World War II battle sites such as England, Germany, France, Morocco, Pearl Harbor, Midway and Tokyo. The heroic storyline that follows the evolution of a single squadron and the cinematic presentation create moments reminiscent of classic World War II movies. Pilots fly in close to Germany's industrial terrain during a bombing raid or emerge from the fog and cloud cover over London to engage the enemy. Up to 16 players online can engage over Xbox Live® online game service in head-to-head dogfights or cooperative team play between squadrons in 10 additional missions.

Key features of the Xbox 360 and Xbox versions include:

• WWII's most epic and famous air battles: Experience the greatest air battles of World War II in famous locations from across the globe. Whether it's the Battle of Britain, the attack on Pearl Harbor or the fierce fighting over Berlin, the player and his squadron will be tasked with turning the tide of war.

• Innovative squadron-based gameplay: Command AI wingmen and make use of each one's special abilities. The pilot's heroism and leadership will grow during the course of the 18-mission campaign. Engage in legendary air battles and lead a squadron of Blazing Angels to victory.

• A large variety of realistic-looking WWII aircraft: Pilot 38 authentic WWII aircraft including the famous P-51 Mustang, the B-17 Flying Fortress and the British Spitfire, and planes like the Luftwaffe's Messerschmitt and the Japanese Zero in multiplayer. From the wing rivets to the nose art to the detailed cockpits, these planes look like the real thing.

• 18 heart-stopping missions in a compelling storyline: Pilots will begin as untrained recruits and evolve through battle experience into ace combat pilots. WWII missions will take place around the globe in a large variety of locations such as London, the Pacific theater, North Africa, Normandy and Berlin.

• Authentic WWII atmosphere: Fly low over Germany's industrial terrain for a bombing raid, strafe the islands of the Pacific, or emerge from the cloud cover over London and engage the enemy. The environment is so real you'll feel like you're the pilot in a famous WWII movie.

• Planes are easy to handle and fun to fly: No need to attend the Air Force Academy to pilot these planes; players can jump right into air combat action without extensive tutorials.

• Xbox Live for up to 16 players online: Engage in head-to-head dogfights or cooperative team play between squadrons on huge maps with large formations.

Key features of the PC CD-ROM version 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: 16-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 will ship with an ESRB rating of T (Teen) for Xbox 360, Xbox, and PC. For more information and updates, please visit www.blazing-angels.com.

© 2006 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Blazing Angels, Ubisoft and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the US and/or other countries. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox Live are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

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March 13, 2006

Exclusive World Baseball Classic mode in MLB 2K6 video game

The rip against the “World Series” in other countries has always been that it’s not truly a worldwide event. This has finally changed with this month's launch of the World Baseball Classic tournament. Enthusiastic fans from Japan to Mexico to South Africa are finally being treated to baseball on a global stage.

Whether or not WBC will endure and become a popular tradition is yet to be determined. But in the meantime, baseball fans and gamers alike can experience this historic milestone event exclusively at home with 2K Sports’ Major League Baseball 2K6.

MLB 2K6 is the only major league baseball video game to feature World Baseball Classic as it faithfully replicates all 16 teams, logos, uniforms and authentic all-world tournament structure.

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March 11, 2006

Brand New Website Update for Tomb Raider: Legend Including a New Trailer!

And you thought that new screenshots featuring Tokyo would be enough for one day! Today we are loading you up with new content by also bringing you a massive new web update! Two new characters have been added,
including the Yakuza boss Shogo Takamoto, and the wealthy media mogul Toru Nishimura. Details about the recently revealed Tokyo level have also been included, along with descriptions for a couple more of Lara
Croft’s new weapons and gear. And how could we possibly forget Lara’s stunning attire that she wears to corporate party in Tokyo? Think that’s enough? We have also added a brand new trailer which shows Lara Croft in some truly breathtaking sequences! Talk about a Tomb Raider: Legend media overload! Head on over to www.tombraider.com now to check out the new assets! Seeing is believing, when Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend ships April 11th for the PS2, Xbox and PC, with the Xbox360 and PSP
versions to follow shortly after.

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Lara Croft Looks Stunning in the Latest Batch of Screenshots Featuring a Stop in Tokyo!

When getting ready to travel the world in search of rare artifacts, you need to make sure that you have the right equipment. Dual Pistols... check. Magnetic Grapple... check. Cocktail Dress... CHECK!! That’s right, Lara Croft is traveling to Tokyo, and she is definitely dressed to impress! When you are there to crash a party, it’s not a crime to look sizzling in the process, now is it? But why is she there? Well, she needs to collect some information about the rare artifact that she wants to add to her collection, the... now we can’t go and spoil that for you yet! But what we can reveal is a brand new batch of screenshots featuring Lara Croft in one of her beautiful new outfits as she bursts into action on the rooftops of Tokyo!

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

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Microsoft Offers Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend Through Verizon Sponsorship

REDMOND, Wash. — March 10, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the first Free Xbox Live® Gold Weekend, presented courtesy of Verizon. From March 31 through April 2, Xbox 360™ gamers are invited to connect to Xbox Live and enjoy an action-packed weekend of multiplayer gaming in a community of 2 million players, free of charge.

The Verizon-sponsored Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend will feature 72 hours of nonstop events, constituting the largest programming effort of online Xbox® multiplayer games ever. Events will include the following:

· A 72-hour multiplayer schedule of the most exciting games on Xbox 360

· Xbox Live Arcade leaderboard tournaments

· Xbox Live Play and Win contests

· Xbox Live veterans hosting new gamers on Xbox Live

In addition, the exclusive Verizon One Million Microsoft Points giveaway offers gamers the chance to win points to purchase the latest Xbox Live Marketplace digital downloadable content, including Xbox Live Arcade titles and the hottest game and entertainment content, while supplies last.

“This blend of technology — Xbox 360 and a Verizon broadband connection — gives gamers the best possible online experience,” said Jerri DeVard, senior vice president of national marketing and brand management for Verizon. “We think that providing gamers with exposure to this amazing service combination will change the way they view their Xbox 360 and gaming in general. Verizon is proud to deliver the first-ever Free Xbox Live Gold Weekend.”

Xbox Live momentum has accelerated since Xbox 360 was launched, with more than half of all Xbox 360 owners connecting with the online games and entertainment service, which boasts a worldwide community of more than 2 million members.

Verizon provides high-speed broadband connections to more than 5.1 million American households, providing digital subscriber line (DSL) access at various speeds and even faster access services using the company’s all-fiber-optic FiOS Internet service, available at downstream speeds up to 5 megabits per second (Mbps), 15 Mbps and 30 Mbps.

“The Verizon sponsorship is a gaming platform first, demonstrating that online gaming through Xbox Live is a proven form of mainstream entertainment,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “We commend Verizon for providing Xbox 360 gamers with the opportunity to play exciting new games with or against anyone, anywhere, for free.”

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March 9, 2006

UBISOFT ANNOUNCES OVER G FIGHTERS EXCLUSIVELY FOR XBOX 360

SAN FRANCISCO MARCH 9, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced Over G Fighters exclusively for Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Over G Fighters is the only modern jet fighter game to deliver intense and exciting aerial combat showcasing the awesome power of modern aircrafts on Xbox 360. Over G Fighters is being developed by Taito Corporation and is scheduled to ship worldwide in North America and Europe.

In Over G Fighters, a terrorist organization threatens the world's peace and security as players take to the skies in a united world air force. Players command more than 30 of the most powerful jet fighters ever conceived and battle for air superiority in massive dogfights in the skies above Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Players combat enemies in the air and on the ground with challenging and dangerous strike missions against well defended targets deep in the heart of hostile territory.

"With Over G Fighters, Ubisoft is delivering one of the most comprehensive and accurate flight titles ever created," said Tony Key, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "Harnessing the power of the Xbox 360TM, Over G Fighters depicts a precise recreation of the world's most distinguished jet fighters in battle and further demonstrates Ubisoft's strength in the next-generation air combat genre."

Key Features:

• Fly the world's most powerful fighters: Fly every modern jet fighter in the Western arsenal including the F-22A Raptor, the US air superiority fighter of the 21st century. Face more than 90 Western and former Soviet enemies and get in the cockpit of the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16C Fighting Falcon, F/A-18C Hornet, Su-27 Flanker, MiG-29A Fulcrum, and F-117A Nighthawk.

• Attempt more than 80 intense missions in a modern-day global conflict: Players take the fight to the enemy in aerial battles all over the world and face massive, challenging missions with interlocking sub-missions. After successfully completing the sub-missions, players will attack the most challenging primary mission objective.

• Check six: With 360-degree cockpit views from realistic, highly detailed and functional instrumentation. Players will feel the G-forces and hear the roar of jet engines in 5.1 channel stereo as they ignite the after burner.

• Get right into the action: Kick the tires and light the fires! Players can jump right into the action and instantly engage in dogfights either one-on-one or in massive dogfighting "furballs."

• Flight data recorder: Players can save their combat triumphs and learn from their defeats by recording and replaying their aerial exploits.

• Xbox Live® online gaming service for up to eight players online: Engage in head-to-head dogfights or cooperative team play between squadrons on huge detailed maps with varied geographies.

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Crave Entertainment News: Return to the Tables with Crave's World Championship Poker: Featuring Howard Lederer "All In"

Newport Beach, CA - March 9, 2006 - Crave Entertainment, a leading publisher of console videogames, today announced the third installment in the best-selling poker video game franchise in North America, World Championship Poker: Featuring Howard Lederer "All In". WCP: All In will be available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PSP™ (PlayStation Portable) system, and Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft

WCP: All In features some of the most recognizable and successful poker stars in the world, including Howard Lederer, his sister Annie Duke, Greg Raymer, Amir Vahidi, Paul Darden, and Robert Williamson III. Joining the roster for this year's edition are noted international poker superstars Marcel Luske, Thomas Bihl, and Erin Ness, who parlayed a victory at a Maxim Magazine office tournament into a seat at the 2004 World Series of Poker.

"Our World Championship Poker franchise has quickly gained a reputation as the game for people who like to 'play' poker, rather than just watch it," said Rob Dyer, president and COO. "With new features like Scenario Mode, Multi-table online tournaments, and the Reputation system, World Championship Poker will continue to be the most realistic poker experience on any video game console."


About World Championship Poker: All In
Developed by Point of View, World Championship Poker: All In continues to feature the most innovative one player career mode. Career mode now includes series tournaments, mixed games, and reoccurring home games. Other new features of WCP: All In include:

" 18 types of poker, including Texas Hold'em, Five Card Draw, Seven Card Stud Omaha and More.
" Multi-Table Online Tournaments
" Scenario Mode: Players are presented with a series of poker "puzzle" challenges that gradually increase in difficulty.
" Lucky Charms: Players can improve their luck through this Career Mode skill.
" Mixed Games: Play two or more variations of poker during a single game, with the game changing every time the dealer button makes it around the table.
" Play with new pros - in game character likenesses and voices, as well as play styles and iconic signature personality traits for some new pros: Thomas Biehl, Marcel Luske and Erin Ness, as well as returning pros: Howard Ledrerer, Annie Duke, Robert Williamson III, Greg Raymer (PlayStation 2 and PSP System), Amir Vahidi (PlayStation 2 and PSP System), and Paul Darden (PlayStation 2 and PSP System).
" Reputation System: How well you play, your success in mini-games, and a number of other factors enhance (or hurt) your reputation in Career Mode - which unlocks extra tournaments and more lucrative action for you.

Continue reading "Crave Entertainment News: Return to the Tables with Crave's World Championship Poker: Featuring Howard Lederer "All In"" »

The Countdown to Oblivion Has Officially Begun!

As you’re already aware, the long-awaited "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" has finally gone gold and will begin shipping to store shelves across the country on March 20th. To tide over anxious gamers, the official Elder Scrolls homepage will update daily with exciting new content such as screenshots, wallpapers, previews, reviews and other captivating glimpses into the world of Oblivion. Be sure to check back daily for all the latest information at www.elderscrolls.com.

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March 8, 2006

TOM CLANCY'S GHOST RECON ADVANCED WARFIGHTER SHI PS TO RETAIL THIS WEEK FOR XBOX 360 AND XBOX

SAN FRANCISCO March 7, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter has shipped to retail stores for Xbox 360 and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is the next installment in the critically acclaimed, squad-based military shooter franchise, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon®. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter has an ESRB rating of T for Teen and an MSRP of $59.99 for Xbox 360
and $49.99 for Xbox. The PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system version will ship in late March 2006. The PC version will be arriving in May 2006.

"Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter will set a new benchmark for what is possible in graphic quality, content and intense multiplayer action," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "Already, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is among the highest-rated games released on any next-generation platform and is being hailed as the killer app for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. This is the game that Xbox 360 owners have been waiting for."

"[Tom Clancy's] Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is not only the best tactical shooter I have ever played, it is one of the most immersive and exciting shooters ever." -- Game Informer Magazine, April 2006

"Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter should prove to be Xbox Live's killer app on Xbox 360 for months to come"" -- Official Xbox Magazine, April 2006

"Warfighter is by far the best Ghost Recon game in the series and a hands-down must-buy shooter for the 360." -- Electronic Gaming
Monthly, April 2006

About Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter:
The face of war has changed. Enemy lines blur and there is no longer a clear opponent. New enemies and new threats require a new type of warfare - a new type of soldier. Enter the Ghosts. In 2013, the U.S. Army will implement the Integrated Warfighter System (IWS) evolving what we know as the modern soldier. IWS combines advanced weapon systems, satellite communication devices and enhanced survivability into one fully integrated combat system. The IWS program has been developed to meet these new threats head on. Now, it can be tested on the battlefield. Following an insurgence in the heart of Mexico City, the U.S. Army's most elite Special Forces team is deployed to the center of the conflict to regain control of the city. Greatly outnumbered but fully equipped with the IWS, this elite team is the first and last line of defense on the battlefield. They are the "quiet" professionals. They are the Ghosts.

Key Features:
• Next-generation gaming technology: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is built from the ground up for next-generation consoles, taking full advantage of powerful technology with amazing textures, lighting and particle effects, multi-windowing, and state-of-the-art physics. Current generations will be built using top technology that pushes those systems to their limits.
• Become the soldier of the future: Gain access to the future of military technology. Using a fully integrated combat system with cutting-edge weapons and revolutionary communication systems (see below), gamers will embody the soldier of the future. Based on actual U.S. Army research, the Ghosts give gamers a realistic view of how war will be fought in the next decade.
• Revolutionary feature: Use the revolutionary Cross-Com, a communication device powered by satellite technology. Attached to the soldier's monocle, the Cross-Com provides full situational awareness and command of the battlefield. Command the Ghost squad and remote allied forces and drones, and direct artillery and air strikes. See what the squad sees and receive visual and auditory intelligence from allied forces and unmanned drones.
• Stunning urban environment: One city, multiple locations. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter takes place entirely in Mexico City, one of the world's largest cities. A stunning, meticulously detailed universe will provide complete immersion in the urban war of the future.
• Top-notch multiplayer experience: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter returns to deliver industry-leading multiplayer and cooperative gameplay for one of the hottest online franchises with a host of exciting new features.

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Burnout Revenge for Xbox 360 Roars onto Retail Shelves From EA

Chertsey, Surrey, UK – March 7, 2006 – Revenge is a dish best served online and in high-definition. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that Burnout™ Revenge is now available at North American retailers for the Xbox 360™. The game is rated E10+ by the ESRB and carries an MSRP of $59.95.

The flagship version of Burnout Revenge and the franchise’s debut on next-generation consoles, the Xbox 360 version of the game delivers an all-new suite of online features and explosive content to complement the game’s stunning high-definition graphics and audio.

Burnout Revenge adds two new major online features for the Xbox 360: Live Revenge and Save & Share. Live Revenge tracks gamers’ relationships with everyone playing online, creating real-time rivalries among strangers and keeping vendettas running with friends and enemies. The new Save & Share feature allows gamers to record replays of their most spectacular crashes, share them with their friends and post them online. Gamers can also go online and browse other players’ shared clips and recommend their favorites.

In addition, Burnout Revenge adds 10 new crash junctions, dozens of completely re-worked tracks and cars built from the ground up to crumple, rip and tear in the most violent, spectacular crashes ever seen in a video game.

“High-definition graphics and audio are a given for Burnout Revenge,” said Alex Ward, creative director, Criterion Games. “Our focus with Burnout Revenge was to go beyond the eye-candy and deliver next-generation gameplay, taking advantage of the Xbox 360’s powerful Xbox Live experience.”

Burnout Revenge will release under the EA™ brand and was developed by Criterion Games in Guildford, UK.


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March 7, 2006

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter Launch Trailer Available Now!

Today we at Ubisoft are pleased to release the official launch trailer for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. This marks the game's imminent decent on retail, and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is ready to take gamers to the next generation in style. Keep your eyes peeled for more information as GRAW quickly approaches its release this week!

This trailer rocks!

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UBISOFT GOES ALL-IN WITH TOM CLANCY'S RAINBOW SIX® VEGAS FOR NEXT-GENERATION CONSOLES

SAN FRANCISCO MARCH 6, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that it is developing Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Vegas for next-generation and current-generation video game consoles. Scheduled for a fall 2006 release and developed by Ubisoft's award-winning Montreal studio, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas is the fifth iteration of the multimillion-selling Rainbow Six tactical shooter franchise.

The stakes are high when the world's most elite counter-terrorism unit enters Las Vegas, where over 36.7 million men, women and children visit each year. Sin City, the home of the famous Las Vegas Strip, flashy hotels, high-rolling casinos and world-famous celebrities, becomes the setting for a terrorist threat of global proportions. What happens when one of the world's most famous cities is held hostage by terrorists? Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas will be Team Rainbow's next-generation console debut on the heels of the critically acclaimed Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and the highly anticipated Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent. Today, with more than 13.5 million units sold worldwide, the Rainbow Six franchise is known as one of the best multiplayer experiences and is hailed for its immersive single-player games.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas will push the envelope of technology through graphics, artificial intelligence, physics and animations created by Ubisoft's award-winning Montreal studios, which house some of the world's best talent, including Senior Producer Chadi Lebbos who was the lead on Rainbow Six 3®.

"Rainbow Six is back and better than ever," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "Building upon the online success of the Rainbow Six franchise and harnessing the power of the next-generation experience, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas will be the benchmark against which all next-generation games will be measured. With Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter being released this month to wide critical acclaim, and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent also due out this year, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas makes it a perfect trifecta for the Clancy series in 2006."

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Nemesis of Tomb Raider: Legend Revealed

The newest villain in the Tomb Raider franchise has finally been revealed and man is she... mystical! Amanda Evert is an old friend of Lara Croft who was thought to be killed while excavating a tomb while back in graduate school. Little did she know that she would come back from the dead, and let’s just say that the friendship isn’t what it used to
be... While you may think this is a spoiler, we’ve barely scratched the surface because there is definitely more to hear about this mysterious new villainess! Since we know you are shaking in anticipation to take a look, here’s some new screens featuring Amanda in action. There will be much more to see when Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend ships April 11th in North America for the PS2, Xbox, and PC, with the PSP and Xbox360 versions to follow shortly after!

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2K SPORTS ANNOUNCES COLLEGE HOOPS 2K6 FOR XBOX 360 NOW AVAILABLE

NEW YORK, NY - March 7, 2006 - 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that College Hoops 2K6 for Xbox 360(tm) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft is now available at retailers across North America. As the only college basketball game available for Xbox 360, College Hoops 2K6 delivers a truly authentic collegiate experience, showcasing superior next-generation graphics, unmatched gameplay, all of the fan-favorite features found in the current-gen versions and an updated and expanded roster of teams and players.

"We are pleased to bring the acclaimed College Hoops 2K6, the only next generation college basketball title, to Xbox 360 gamers," said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. "College Hoops 2K6 exemplifies the college basketball spirit through an engaging atmosphere, exciting gameplay and unique features that truly enhance the overall experience."

2K Sports' highly acclaimed College Hoops 2K series, now available for Xbox 360, immerses college basketball fans into all of the action 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. The college style of play is fully realized for Xbox 360 with accurate game pace and speed, and focus on players' shot distribution and defense in the post. College Hoops 2K6 also includes the entire suite of features found in the current-gen versions, such as Shot Stick, V.I.P. System(tm), Coach's Clipboard, Midnight Madness(r), Strip 'n' Rip System, and Pre-season and Selection Sunday broadcast shows hosted by Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg.

Through Xbox Live(r) online game service, College Hoops 2K6 provides gamers with the most realistic, interactive gaming experience with seamless head-to-head online play. The comprehensive online features also provide stat tracking, buddy list management and online leagues.

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March 3, 2006

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter Xbox 360

Today we at Ubisoft continue with our ongoing series of video developer diaries for the upcoming Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. These diaries drill deep into what it takes to create a Ghost Recon game in the next generation, all direct from the people making it happen! Keep your eyes peeled for more information and additional overall goodness for Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter as it prepares for its release next week!!

Click here to view the video.

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Xbox Best of Platinum Hits

March 2, 2006 – Microsoft announced today a new retail program called the Best of Platinum Hits, the next evolution of the wildly successful Platinum Hits Program. The Platinum Hits and the Platinum Family Hits Programs innovated the retail space by providing the best games at the best price for customers. Moreover the program has provided new business opportunities for publishers and retailers. To date more than 100 games have participated in these programs with each game, extending their life in the market by more than two times the average game.

The new Best of Platinum Hits Program extends this concept even further by providing consumers with popular Xbox titles for the low price of $9.99 (SRP). Starting March 2006, best-selling games like Fuzion Frenzy (Microsoft Game Studios), Project Gotham Racing 2 (Microsoft Game Studios), and MechAssault (Microsoft Game Studios) will be available at the new price point.

"Microsoft is very happy to introduce this new program to our customers. With over 24 million Xbox's and over 200 million games sold worldwide, we believe this new program provides a great value to Xbox owners, our retail partners, and publishers" states Gunn Robison, Director of Games Retail Marketing for Xbox.

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March 2, 2006

New Xbox 360 Screen Shots For Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent

About Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent

With the entirely new direction of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent, Ubisoft has reinvented the best-selling and highest rated espionage franchise. The revolutionary double agent concept immerses players in the world of international espionage more completely than ever, expanding the story and depth of Sam Fisher's character and evoking players' emotions by drawing them deeper into the gaming experience. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent will push the limits of each platform based on its respective technological capabilities, taking advantage of a collaborative development effort between Ubisoft's award-winning development studios in Montreal, Shanghai and Annecy, France. Across all platforms, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent will have the features that have defined the Splinter Cell franchise - amazing graphics, fluid animations, advanced artificial intelligence and open level design. Furthermore, each platform will feature exclusive content and offer a unique game play experience.

Storyline

Veteran agent Sam Fisher is back. But he's never faced an enemy like this before. To stop a devastating terrorist attack, he must infiltrate a vicious terrorist group and destroy it from within. For the first time ever, experience the relentless tension and gut-wrenching dilemmas of life as a double agent. As you infiltrate a terrorist organization in its American headquarters, you must carefully weigh the consequences of your actions. Kill too many criminals and you'll blow your cover. Hesitate too long and millions will die. Do whatever it takes to complete your mission, but get out alive.

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March 1, 2006

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

March 1, 2006 - Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, is pleased to announce that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighterâ„¢, the next installment in the critically acclaimed, squad-based military shooter franchise, has gone gold on Xbox360. Check below for further details on Xbox and PC release dates.

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter will be shipping for the PC in May 2006. Ubisoft has extended the launch of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter for the PC version allowing the developers more time to put the finishing touches on the game and make it the best possible PC gaming experience.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft will be available March 9 worldwide. For the Xbox it will be shipping March 9 in the U.S. and March 16 in Europe. Look for more news regarding Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter in the coming days.

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EA CELEBRATES 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP GERMANY™ WITH EXCLUSIVE Release of officially licensed videogame

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – March 1, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) will celebrate the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ - the world’s largest sporting event - with the launch of 2006 FIFA World Cup™, the event’s only officially licensed videogame. The videogame will ship on all platforms including Xbox 360™ in April 2006 in anticipation of the real-world tournament which begins in June.

2006 FIFA World Cup, under the EA SPORTS™ brand, will feature stunning visual representations of the world’s superstar players, 12 official stadiums that will be used at 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany and stadiums from each qualifying region. Gamers will be able to play as their favorite team from qualification right through to a virtual reproduction of the tournament in Germany.

“The FIFA World Cup will be the single most watched sporting event by a worldwide television audience, bringing together soccer fans from around the world,” said Joe Nickolls, lead producer of the game. “Our game, 2006 FIFA World Cup celebrates this passion by capturing all of the national rivalries in-game, enabling fans to play their heroes and be a part of 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.”

With enhanced player animations, EA SPORTS has emulated close to 100 of the world’s superstars, capturing their playing styles and individual likenesses. In addition to enabling gamers to participate in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany by taking control of one of 127 national teams, the game features new compelling modes of play, including the groundbreaking Global Challenge that will test even the most hardcore soccer fan by recreating classic moments in FIFA World Cup™ history. Furthermore, the game supports up to eight-way multiplayer matches and boasts a plethora of in-game unlockable content such as legendary players and exclusive apparel.

For the first time ever, the officially licensed game of 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany will be available for download via mobile phones. Upon release, gamers can purchase 2006 FIFA World Cup through major North American carriers and will have the option of downloading either English or the Spanish language version of the game. This robust title features all of the 32 international teams vying for the most coveted title in soccer and offers gamers on-the-go a compelling gameplay experience that truly captures the essence of the sport and this global event.

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February 27, 2006

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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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February 16, 2006

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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February 10, 2006

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.

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February 3, 2006

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.”

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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.”

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February 1, 2006

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.

xecap012.jpg

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.


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January 31, 2006

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter Video Developer Diary 2: "Making It Real"

Today we at Ubisoft continue with our ongoing series of video developer diaries for the upcoming Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. We continue to drill into what it takes to create a Ghost Recon game in the next generation, all direct from the people making it happen! 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.

For this second installment we dig even deeper into GRAW's development. Get the first hand info on how the development team is working hard to re-create the near-future military realism that the Ghost Recon brand has been known for. The full implementation of the Integrated Warfighter System (IWS) is of focus in this video diary. Hear how players will be able to utilize a suite of cutting edge technology to play GRAW in exciting new ways. See how the developers have taken pain-staking measures to replicate this technology in the next generation of gaming. On
the battlefield of the future intelligence will be of the highest importance. GRAW will have it in droves, leaving the choice of how and when to use it up to the player. See how this plays out with real-life footage, and all new amazing in-game footage, showing exactly what they are talking about.

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Madden NFL 06 Xbox 360 Super Bowl simulation - who will win it all?

Bolstered by a tough defensive effort that limited NFL MVP Shaun Alexander to just 70 yards rushing and sacked Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck four times, the Pittsburgh Steelers won their fifth overall Super Bowl championship in a game simulated by EA SPORTS, downing the Seahawks 24-19 in a preview of what might happen in Super Bowl XL.

The game, which was simulated using the best-selling video game Madden NFL 06 for the Microsoft Xbox 360, played out in a way not unfamiliar to Pittsburgh fans – the Steelers moved out to an early lead using the pass and taking advantage of a timely turnover, and then turned to their relentless rushing attack to hold off the surging Hawks and secure the title.

Playing in his hometown of Detroit, Steelers RB Jerome Bettis garnered Super Bowl MVP honors by scoring two touchdowns in the game to go with his 41 yards rushing, getting his team on the board first with a one-yard plunge late in the first quarter to cap a ten-play, 74-yard drive. The teams exchanged field goals in the second quarter, and Pittsburgh upped its lead after recovering an Alexander fumble on the Seattle 24-yard-line. Three plays later, Steeler RB Willie Parker took the ball off right tackle for a seven-yard scamper which made the score 17-3 – a daunting margin that very few Pittsburgh opponents have been able to overcome.

Seattle got another field goal to cut their deficit to 11 points midway through the third quarter, but Alexander was finding no running room and the Steeler defense was bringing constant pressure against Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck. Still, the Seahawks managed to close to 17-13 after Alexander finished a seven-play, 66-yard drive early in the fourth quarter with a short dive off the left side. Pittsburgh responded, however, by pounding the ball on a clock-chewing drive, taking more than six minutes off the clock by going 73 yards in 13 plays – 11 of them runs – to move up 24-13 after Bettis again scored on a one-yard run.

With little time left, Seattle moved the ball down the field quickly and got six more points as Hasselbeck connected with Darrell Jackson on a 19-yard scoring pass, but their two-point conversion failed, and the ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Steelers, who ran out the clock to celebrate their win.

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January 29, 2006

FINAL FANTASY XI: TREASURES OF AHT URHGAN AND XBOX 360 VERSION LAUNCH ANNOUNCED

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (JANUARY 27, 2006) – Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of Square Enix™ entertainment products in North America, announced a simultaneous launch for FINAL FANTASY® XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan™, the third expansion pack for the title. The long-awaited release of FINAL FANTASY XI for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft will also be available that day. Specifically, retail product and service will be available as listed in the following regions (based on time zone differences) – April 18 in North America, April 20 in Europe and Japan.

FINAL FANTASY XI, the first cross-platform, cross-continent massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG) will be accessible on Xbox 360 for the first time to players in North America, Europe and Japan. Gamers will be able to communicate and play together no matter where they are or from what platform they connect - the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Windows® operating system or Xbox 360 (platform based on region availability). FINAL FANTASY XI has more than 500,000 subscribers in North America, Europe and Japan, combined. With the release of the third expansion pack and Xbox 360 version, the world of Vana’diel® will be an even livelier place to visit, expanding the community even further.

Treasures of Aht Urhgan can be played along with the original version of FINAL FANTASY XI (which is required to play any of the expansions) and does not require the Chains of Promathia™ and Rise of the Zilart® expansion packs. The third expansion will be sold separately for PlayStation 2 and Windows users at North American retailers for a suggested retail price of $29.99 (USD). Treasures of Aht Urhgan will be available as part of the complete package for Xbox 360 which includes PlayOnline™, FINAL FANTASY XI and all three expansion packs for the title - Chains of Promathia, Rise of the Zilart and Treasures of Aht Urhgan at North American retailers for a suggested retail price of $49.99 (USD).

Features
- Players will uncover the tales and legends surrounding the the Aht Urhgan Empire.

- New jobs, including the highly requested Blue Mage and Corsair, have been added to expand battle strategies even further.

- Along with additional areas to explore, powerful monsters have also been added, including the Mamool Ja, a powerful tribe of the beastmen that hold dominion over the Mamool Ja Savagelands, a land hostile to the Near Eastern Aht Urhgan Empire.

- Keeping with the FINAL FANTASY XI principles, system enhancements in addition to those listed have been implemented to enrich gameplay in a variety of ways.

- On Xbox 360 gamers will be able to see and hear the world of Vana’diel like never before in high definition video.

- Join a community of over 500,000 with players from around the world and on several platforms.

Services Fees
North American service fees remain the same and are as follows: FINAL FANTASY XI subscribers will receive their first 30 days of access without charge. Aside from Internet service provider access charges, the free trial period will begin on the date players create their first “Content ID” or character. Any additional Content IDs purchased are also available without charge until the end of the free trial period. After 30 days, players can continue to play FINAL FANTASY XI by paying a monthly fee of $12.95 (USD) for one FINAL FANTASY XI character, and can create up to 15 additional characters for an additional charge of $1.00 (USD) per character, per month. Payment for monthly access charges must be made by credit card only (restrictions apply).

System Requirements
FINAL FANTASY XI for Xbox 360
Requirements for Xbox 360 version are as listed: Xbox Live® account, Broadband connection (Xbox 360 does not support 56K connection) and Xbox 360 Hard Drive.

FINAL FANTASY XI for Windows
The minimum system requirements for FINAL FANTASY XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan are as follows: Windows 2000/XP, Intel Pentium III 800Mhz or faster processor, 128MB RAM, DirectX® 8.1 compatible sound card, DVD-ROM drive, 56K or faster Internet connection, and GeForce series or Radeon 9000 series video card with 32MB of RAM. A DVD ROM drive is required to install Treasures of Aht Urhgan and the Vana’diel Collection.

FINAL FANTASY XI for the PlayStation 2
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment America, FINAL FANTASY XI for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system is pre-installed on internal Hard Disk Drive (40GB)(for PlayStation 2). Available for a suggested retail price of $99.00 (USD), the internal Hard Disk Drive attaches to the Network Adaptor (Ethernet/modem) (for PlayStation 2), which connects to both broadband or dial-up networks, and rests in the expansion bay of the PlayStation 2 console.

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January 27, 2006

JOIN THE FAMILY AND BECOME THE GODFATHER

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., January 26, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced March 21st as the day The Godfather™ The Game videogame will be on store shelves in North America and March 24th in Europe. Developed by EA, the highly-anticipated open-world videogame is based on the critically-acclaimed book by Mario Puzo and the classic film by Paramount Pictures through a strategic licensing relationship with Viacom Consumer Products. In less than two months, gamers worldwide will step into the Don’s dangerous world of intimidation and negotiation via their PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game system from Microsoft or PC. The Godfather The Game will also be available for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and PSP (PlayStation® Portable) handheld entertainment system later in 2006.

EA’s The Godfather The Game puts you at the center of one of the world’s most revered stories. In the role of a young man just entering the Corleone family, you create your own mob character and work your way to the top. For the first time ever, you will go beyond the films and book to actually step into the living world of The Godfather fiction throughout 1940s New York City. You will work your way up the mob ranks your own way, choosing just how much force to use as you rise to power. Relive classic moments from the fiction and experience open-world gameplay alongside unforgettable characters from the film such as Luca Brasi, Sonny, Tom Hagan, and of course, Don Vito Corleone himself.

“The Godfather is one of the most exciting, dramatic and memorable works of fiction in the world; for the videogame, we felt it was important to build a complex and responsive open-world that puts you in the heart of the action,” said David DeMartini Executive Producer of The Godfather The Game. “The deeper you are into the experience the better the game gets,” DeMartini added.


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January 17, 2006

JUMP INTO THE NEXT GENERATION WWII FPS EXPERIENCE WITH EA’S MEDAL OF HONOR AIRBORNE

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., January 17, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced Medal of Honor Airborne™, the newest installment from EA’s critically-acclaimed Medal of Honor™ franchise which was credited with pioneering the First-Person Shooter (FPS) WWII genre when it debuted in 1999. While building on the key tenets of the franchise including historical accuracy and authenticity, Medal of Honor Airborne is set to redefine the series by introducing players to an entirely new way of experiencing a WWII FPS – namely the fully interactive Airborne experience. As the first game in the Medal of Honor series to be released on next generation platforms, Medal of Honor Airborne will ship to stores in Winter 2006 under the EA™ brand for the PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment systems, Xbox™ 360, Xbox® videogame system from Microsoft, and Windows PC.

Step into the boots of Boyd Travers, Private First Class of the 82nd Airborne Division and engage in battles throughout Europe. From rocky beginnings in Sicily to war-winning triumphs in Germany, each mission begins behind enemy lines, with an intense and fully interactive airdrop. Your ability to determine your own starting point dramatically changes the way each mission plays out. View the entire operation from the air, and then control your parachute to choose your landing spot. On the ground, gather your senses and assess the terrain. A wide variety of authentic, customizable weapons are at your disposal, each with distinct characteristics. Choose your path in this free roaming FPS environment. Medal of Honor Airborne will also feature exceptionally photo-realistic characters, adding to the intensity of the cinematic, story-driven game.

“Medal of Honor Airborne is a step in a new direction for the franchise. While integrating our state-of-the-art, next-gen technology into every aspect of the game, we are introducing innovations that will redefine the series and impact the genre as a whole," explained Patrick Gilmore, VP and Executive Producer at EALA. “By fully controlling the airdrop from your very first step through landing, Medal of Honor Airborne adds a new dimension of player choice by letting you decide where every mission begins and how it plays out.”

The Medal of Honor Airborne development team continues to ensure that the ideals and integrity of the prestigious congressional Medal of Honor are accurately reflected in the game. The producers sought counsel from numerous expert sources to make certain the game is historically accurate and as true to the WWII Airborne experience as possible. Serving as a military spokesperson for Medal of Honor Airborne, Capt. Dale Dye, who has worked as the Military Technical Advisor for the last 7 Medal of Honor games, will help to create a truly authentic experience.


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January 15, 2006

UbiSoft Demo Day

I spent several hours with the crew over at UbiSoft on Thursday and Friday and played a whole lot of games. I also met a streetball player named Escalade. I'm like a twig next to him - he's a foot taller than me and twice my weight. Nice guy though.

CSI Three Dimensions of Murder
This is the first 3d CSI game and as such it is much closer to the TV show than previous versions. The opening full motion video is just like the show, and the crime lab is a reproduction based on the set. There's more interaction with characters, then environment and evidence. It's not just pixel hunting anymore. The environment is more complex which means more complex clue hunting. You recreate each crime, process your own evidence, get warrants, in short you do everything. There are 5 cases and the game will ship in March 2006 for PC.

Splinter Cell Essentials
This will ship for PSP in March. There are 9 missions, of which 5 are new. They tried to create the same control system on the PSP, light/shadow meter, danger meter, circle controls the camera, the stick moves Sam, box crouches. The missions are set from when Sam become's a Navy Seal in 1992 until the present day. There's a jail level that is similar to the jail level of Splinter Cell Double Agent (see below). You can save at any time. There's a lot of hiding and shooting. In ad hoc mode you can play spy vs. spy. As always, it is your choice whether to kill or simply immobilize. Content is different on all platforms.

Splinter Cell Double Agent
Same is having a tough time and he's in jail in this forth of the series. In the past, gamers tended to view Sam as a soldier, and the developers really want him to be perceived as more of a "bad ass super spy". He's on NOC - non official cover and if he's caught that's it our governement has no knowledge of him or his mission which is to infiltrate a terrorist cell as a double agent. As a double agent you have to balance the consequences of your actions, balance the good with the evil. For example, should you murder or be discovered? There are some tough moral decisions - the good of the many outweighs the needs of the few. All versions are the same storyline but the missions are different. Escape prision, join terrorist cell, following the storyline exactly or going off on little side explorations. There are some coop elements with NPC companions where you have to help each other over barriers and such. It's a mix of action and puzzles and a design goal was that you shouldn't get frustrated by repetitive trial and error.

And 1 Basketball
This started as a clothing company with the Mix it Up Tour where they filmed streetball and then dub in hip hop tunes. Now it's grown into a streetball tournament with style. There are open runs where anyone plays in the tournament, then a main run where the 5 best players take on the And 1 team. It's authentic in that they mo-capped real players and everyone in the game is based on a real player except for your character. You create your character and then he's in all the cut scene which is a cool attention to detail. In story mode you play tournaments until you earn an And 1 contract. The new control system uses both analog sticks to sort of dial in a move. There are three levels to each move, the setup dribble, the showboat and the ankle breaker. There are 10 national and 4 internation tournaments. There are 13 exclusive tracks on the soundtrack. When you win the game you unlock a special Mix It Up tape. There's online play for PS2 and Xbox and the game ships in the end of March

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January 14, 2006

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

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., January 13, 2006 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that the highly anticipated PC game, The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™ II will make its exclusive console debut when it ships in Summer 2006 on the Xbox 360™. Players can now command epic Middle-earth battles presented in spectacular high-definition from the comfort of their very own couch. To add to the intensity of the experience, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 is the first game in The Lord of the Rings™ series that will be playable over Xbox LIVE™*. Players will be able to challenge friends online and engage in intense, action-packed real-time battles.

“Living these cinematic battles in high-definition with stunning surround sound, all from the comfort of your living room couch on the Xbox 360, is an extraordinary experience,” said Louis Castle, VP of Creative Development at EALA. “Adding the ability to battle it out with friends via Xbox LIVE is also really exciting.”

Based on the PC version of the same name, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 will bring players into the heart of Middle-earth to live the battles seen in the blockbuster New Line Cinema films and classic J.R.R. Tolkien literary fiction. The game boasts a new and intuitive console-specific control scheme that will allow novice players to enjoy the game’s signature strategy gameplay while giving expert players the flexibility needed to engage in a deeply complex strategy experience. Players will directly control hundreds of units in an 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 players 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 has not yet been rated by the ESRB and the PC version is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB. For more information about either game, please visit: http://www.bfme2.ea.com. .

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January 13, 2006

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter Video Developer Diary 1: Cross Com

Today we at Ubisoft are happy to unveil the first in an ongoing series of video developer diaries for the upcoming Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. These video pieces offer an inside look at the design, development and revolutionary features of Advanced Warfighter as told directly from the people making it happen. This is an exclusive window for gamers into the creation of this highly anticipated title, and an interesting approach to detailing and demonstrating exactly what is taking this installment in the Ghost Recon franchise to the next level. This is the first in the series of these developer diaries. Over the next few weeks we will be offering fresh new information and visuals in similar
fashion. Keep your eyes peeled for these and additional overall goodness for Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter as it approaches its March 2006 ship.
Watch the video.

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January 11, 2006

UBISOFT'S FAR CRY INSTINCTS TO DELIVER NEW ADVENTURES ON XBOX AND XBOX 360

SAN FRANCISCO, CA January 11, 2006 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that its award-winning Montreal Studio is developing two new titles inspired by the recently
released Far Cry Instincts video game. Far Cry Instincts Next Chapter (working title) for the Xbox video game and entertainment system from Microsoft will introduce players to an entirely new story, characters and game features that reflect and improve upon the critically acclaimed elements of the first title. Far Cry Instincts Predator for Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft will feature both Far Cry Instincts Next Chapter and an enhanced version of the original Far Cry Instincts game. Offering the kind of lush and deep natural environment true to the Far Cry brand, Far Cry Instincts on Xbox 360 will captivate gamers with its enhanced graphical reality and gameplay. Giving gamers the opportunity to discover the Far Cry universe in an optimized, high-definition environment, the game takes advantage of Xbox 360's multi-core next-generation engine for improved performance. Gamers will experience advanced pathfinding and new enemy and vehicle artificial intelligence for improved chase scenes and more enemies on-screen at one time, allowing for more adrenaline-rushing fast-action sequences. Far Cry Instincts Predator and Far Cry Instincts Next Chapter are slated for release in spring 2006.

"Far Cry Instincts quickly became one of the most talked-about games of 2005 because of its blend of high graphical quality, wide open environments and immersive gameplay elements," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubisoft. "Ubisoft is confident that Far Cry Instincts Predator for Xbox 360 and Far Cry Instincts Next Chapter for Xbox will be among the best games this year."

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January 5, 2006

Gates Outlines Vision for the Digital Lifestyle and Showcases New Products and Technologies From Microsoft

LAS VEGAS — Jan. 4, 2006 — Highlighting key consumer products such as Xbox 360™ and offering the first broad demonstration of the consumer features of Windows Vista™, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates showed how the company is delivering on its vision for a digital lifestyle where devices, services and applications work together seamlessly. In his 10th annual keynote address at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Gates demonstrated how Microsoft® Windows Vista, Xbox 360, new mobile devices and the emerging wave of software-based services will deliver more connected and richly personalized experiences for consumers.

In his keynote, Gates said that the consumer electronics industry is poised to deliver a quantum leap forward in rich, interactive, high-definition experiences. “Technology has revolutionized how we listen to music, watch TV, play games, communicate, and manage and share personal information,” he said. “In the years ahead, further exciting innovations will unify the software, hardware and services in people’s lives, offering them even richer, more engaging and deeply connected experiences.”

Windows Vista Unveiled

In the first broad demonstration of Windows Vista for consumers, Gates showed how Microsoft’s next-generation operating system, due later this year, will offer customers powerful new advances in security, search capability and digital entertainment. He highlighted how Windows Vista will bring clarity to customers’ digital world and help them easily accomplish everyday tasks, instantly find what they want, enjoy the latest in entertainment, keep their personal information safe, and stay connected at home or on the go.

He highlighted some of the most compelling consumer-oriented features of Windows Vista, including a sleek user interface, richer multitasking experiences and deep integration of search throughout the operating system. He also showed the new Windows® Photo Gallery, which will make managing and working with digital photos easier.

He showcased the most advanced Windows games platform for everyone from casual players to hard-core gamers, including stunning graphics capabilities, by premiering Microsoft Games Studios’ forthcoming “Flight Simulator X,” the most realistic flight simulator in the franchise’s 25-year history.

Gates was joined onstage by MTV Networks’ Music Group President Van Toffler to showcase the forthcoming URGE digital music service, which is designed to bring people’s emotional connections with music to the forefront of the digital entertainment experience. URGE will give users of Windows Media® Player 11 instant access to more than 2 million songs from major and independent labels as well as exclusive MTV Networks programming and content.

Demonstrating the Windows Media Center capabilities of Windows Vista, Gates cited growing momentum around the platform by announcing that more than 6.5 million Windows XP Media Center Edition-based PCs have been sold from more than 130 computer manufacturers worldwide.

In another sign of momentum for Windows XP Media Center 2005, Microsoft announced that Comedy Central has joined a group of 110 Online Spotlight content partners and that forthcoming Media Center PCs will include CableCARD support for high-definition programming without a set-top box. This will allow users to plug their digital cable signal directly into their PC to watch and record premium cable content, including high-definition programming, without a set-top box.

Xbox 360 Leads the Way in High-Definition Entertainment
Just a month after the global launch of the new Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, Gates discussed the product’s strong momentum in delivering high-definition hardware, games and digital entertainment experiences. Xbox 360 is on track to be the fastest-selling video game console ever, forecast to ship between 4.5 million and 5.5 million units worldwide by the end of June 2006.
Gates noted that Xbox 360 has also become a powerful application for high-definition television, adding that nine out of 10 Xbox 360 owners currently own or intend to purchase a high-definition television set.* He announced that more than 50 new high-definition Xbox 360™ games will be available by June 2006.
Building on Xbox 360 leadership in high-definition experiences, the company announced plans to deliver a new Xbox 360 external HD DVD drive in 2006. The new drive will offer millions of Xbox 360 owners the ability to easily enjoy HD DVD movies and will provide consumers with even more choices for experiencing high-definition content, in either physical or digital form.

Using Xbox 360 and the Xbox Live® service today, consumers are already able to access high-definition entertainment such as Xbox Live Arcade titles, game demos and high-definition movie trailers. Consumers can also use their Xbox 360 system to access high-definition television and movies from their Windows XP-based Media Center PC.

Gates’ keynote also showcased the momentum behind Xbox Live, announcing that more than half of all Xbox 360 owners are already connected to the online games and entertainment service, which boasts a worldwide community of more than 2 million members. He demonstrated Electronic Arts Inc.’s forthcoming EA SPORTS™ “Fight Night Round 3,” scheduled to be available in February 2006, and announced that a free, playable high-definition demo of the game is now available at the Xbox Live Marketplace, a one-stop digital download center where consumers can access high-definition games, music and movie content from leading industry partners.

Staying Connected With Powerful Windows Mobile-Based Devices

Gates highlighted the Treo 700w, an innovative new device that brings Palm Inc.’s celebrated ease of use to the Windows Mobile® platform. The Treo 700w, available exclusively on the Verizon Wireless network, combines a great mobile phone with easy access to wireless
e-mail and business applications, giving professionals more ways to stay connected while on the go. The Treo 700w is available at retail Jan. 5.

The keynote also included a demonstration of how future technologies will transform the way people manage information in the office or on the go, communicate with
co-workers in richer and more immersive ways, and be more productive wherever they are.

Continuing his keynote, Gates showcased Microsoft’s advancements in mobile entertainment by unveiling next-generation Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Centers from Toshiba Corp., Tatung Co. and LG Electronics. The new devices, scheduled to be available this year, will feature extensive battery life, support for new high-resolution and widescreen (16:9) displays, direct audio/video recording, gaming, FM tuners and direct connections to digital cameras.

New Content to Energize the Digital Lifestyle

Gates’ keynote address highlighted a number of new alliances that use Microsoft software to provide broader and richer content to consumers. He showed Starz Entertainment Group’s new Vongo video download service, which offers more choices and great experiences for people using Windows Mobile-based devices. Vongo subscribers will enjoy unlimited access to more than 1,000 first-run movies and video selections as well as the streaming Starz TV channel.

Microsoft announced a broad agreement with DIRECTV Inc. that will open up new ways for consumers to enjoy their digital media in the networked home and on portable devices. Microsoft and DIRECTV will work together to enable digital content to flow between Windows-based PCs, DIRECTV devices, PlaysForSure™-based portable media devices and Xbox 360.

It was also announced that Microsoft and British Sky Broadcasting (Sky), the leading pay-TV provider in the U.K. and Ireland, plans to create a Windows Media Center version of Sky’s forthcoming broadband content service, Sky by broadband. The service will enable millions of Sky TV customers to access video content from their PC, including hundreds of movies and sports clips.

Windows Live Services Deliver Rich, Seamless Experiences

In the area of software services, Gates previewed new Windows Live™ offerings, designed to bring together relationships, information and interests that are important to people on PCs and a wide range of devices. He unveiled two new telephones from Royal Philips Electronics and Uniden America Corp., designed to work with the voice communications capabilities in the upcoming Windows Live Messenger, the soon-to-be-released successor to MSN® Messenger, which has more than 200 million active accounts around the world. The new phones will allow consumers to make calls from a cordless handset connected to both the Windows Live Messenger service and public telephone networks. The Philips VOIP433 Dual Phone will debut in Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America in 2006. The Uniden WIN 1200 Digital Cordless Phone will offer people another option for making calls over the Internet and will be available in North America in spring 2006.

Gates also previewed forthcoming services for Windows Live and Windows Vista that will help people find and manage their entertainment on the Windows-based Media Center PC or Microsoft TV IPTV Edition-powered set-top box from almost anywhere in the world. TV gadgets on Live.com will enable people to find, manage and share personalized TV recommendations as well as remotely schedule recordings on their Media Center PCs.

Gates concluded his keynote address by looking back on the great momentum of 2005 in consumer technologies and outlining key trends that will shape future innovation in the consumer electronics industry.

“The incredible momentum around all these new products and services shows that the digital lifestyle has truly gone mainstream this year,” Gates said. “Now it’s time to bring together the devices, software and services in people’s lives and take all these experiences to the next level.”

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EA ANNOUNCES OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST OSCAR DE LA HOYA AS COVER ATHLETE AND SPOKESMAN FOR EA SPORTS™ FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 3 FOR XBOX 360 AND PSP

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – January 4, 2006 – Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) announced today that Oscar De La Hoya will serve as cover athlete and spokesman for EA SPORTS™ Fight Night Round 3. Olympic gold medalist, former WBC & WBA super welterweight champion, WBC welterweight and super lightweight champion, De La Hoya is recognized as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and will be featured on the cover of EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3 for the Xbox 360™ system and PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system. Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward will grace the covers of the game for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® videogame system from Microsoft.

“It’s exciting to be contributing to a project that pushes the popularity of boxing to a new level and to a new audience,” said De La Hoya. “EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3 is so realistic anyone can pick up the game and learn about the actual sport while having a fun time doing it. The visuals in the game are so amazing. You can actually see the emotions on my face change throughout the round.”

EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3 brings the most intense boxing videogame experience to the virtual ring. Film-quality graphics and innovative gameplay establish EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3 as one of the best-looking and playing Xbox 360 sports game on the market.

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December 21, 2005

Madden NFL 06

Score 4 out of 5

Madden NFL 06 for the Xbox 360 has been built from the ground up to deliver completely redesigned gameplay and the most lifelike football experience ever created. Incredibly detailed player models are so real that onlookers will think they're watching a real game. Adding to the realism are lifelike stadiums and fans. With a full Franchise mode, in-depth online play and a new presentation style and new playcalling system, Madden NFL 06 for the Xbox 360 is poised to continue its legacy as the only authentic and licensed NFL experience. If you want to play football on the 360 your only choice is Madden.

The new look and feel is a plus. Gone are long winding speeches that led nowhere from John Madden. I found that this totally removes one aspect of my game, which was screaming "shut up madden you fat f##k" at the tv every few minutes. Announcing is more of what you'd hear from a radio commentator. Sometimes, there's even silence. And yet I found that I missed Madden after a while. It oddly felt like something had been left out of the game.

Graphics are incredible. You can see the condensation forming as players exhale. Pads are outlined under uniforms and muscles are detailed with bulging blood vessels. If you look really closely you can see that player's eyes watch the ball

There are a lot of changes to this version. There's no practice, no mini-games, just football. I couldn't find any video setting to tweak camera angles. Replay is solid as always with a welcome decrease in automatic replays. Play selection is reordered and includes coach's picks and Madden's picks.

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December 19, 2005

“Mission: Impossible III” explodes onto Xbox 360

HOLLYWOOD, CA, December 14, 2005 — The premier online games and entertainment network teams up with one of the most highly anticipated films of 2006 as Xbox 360 hosts the exclusive “Mission: Impossible III” teaser trailer. Xbox 360 users can download the high-definition online trailer, which is available immediately.

Tom Cruise returns as Special Agent Ethan Hunt, who faces the mission of his life in “Mission: Impossible III.” Director J. J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Alias”) brings his unique blend of action and drama to the billion-dollar franchise. The film will be released in theaters worldwide on May 5, 2006.

Xbox Live, the premier online games and entertainment network, allows gaming and movie enthusiasts to view the teaser trailer in high definition for the very first time, free of charge. Xbox Live members can download the “Mission: Impossible III” teaser directly from Xbox Live Marketplace. Xbox Live Marketplace is a digital download center providing free and premium content for Xbox 360 games, plus music videos and trailers for all Xbox Live subscribers.

The premiere of “Mission: Impossible III” follows the successful unveil of Paramount Pictures’ “Aeon Flux” high definition trailer on Xbox Live Marketplace, which debuted during the North American launch of Xbox 360.

“The high-definition premiere of ‘Mission: Impossible III’ on Xbox 360 will be a must-see for gamers,” said Peter Moore, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for Xbox at Microsoft. “We are thrilled to unveil of one of the most anticipated movies of 2006 to the Xbox Live online audience of millions.”

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December 15, 2005

UBISOFT ANNOUNCES TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL DOUBLE AGENT

San Francisco, Ca – DECEMBER 14, 2005 – Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 4 (working title), the fourth blockbuster in the Tom Clancy Splinter Cell franchise, will officially be called Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent. The game will be available Spring 2006 for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Xbox video game system from Microsoft, PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube system and Windows PC.

Following the Tom Clancy Splinter Cell franchise tradition of innovation, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent will completely revolutionize and reinvent the spy action genre by introducing an unprecedented double agent concept and an entirely new breed of game play that adds an exciting new dimension to the gaming experience.

"Ubisoft is excited to have re-imagined the Splinter Cell franchise by introducing Sam Fisher as a double agent, expanding the depth of his character,” said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "Gamers are going to find themselves immersed in entirely new territory that will allow Ubisoft to expand on its already captivating Splinter Cell franchise."

With the entirely new direction of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent, Ubisoft has reinvented the best-selling and highest rated espionage franchise. The revolutionary double agent concept immerses players
in the world of international espionage more completely than ever, expanding the story and depth of Sam Fisher's character and evoking players' emotions by drawing them deeper into the gaming experience. Tom
Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent will push the limits of each platform based on its respective technological capabilities, taking advantage of a collaborative development effort between Ubisoft's award-winning development studios in Montreal, Shanghai and Annecy, France. Across all platforms, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent will have the features that have defined the Splinter Cell franchise: amazing graphics, fluid animations, advanced artificial intelligence and open level design. Furthermore, each platform will feature exclusive content and offer a unique game play experience.

"The surprising new direction for the series will certainly excite fans and attract the attention of a whole new group of gamers," said Jeremy Zoss, associate editor at Game Informer Magazine. "As fans of the Splinter Cell series, Game Informer is thrilled to bring our readers a world exclusive first look at Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent," available on newsstands December 22, 2005. Game Informer features an in-depth first preview of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent.

About Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent
Veteran agent Sam Fisher is back. But he's never faced an enemy like this before. To stop a devastating terrorist attack, he must infiltrate a vicious terrorist group and destroy it from within. For the first time ever, experience the relentless tension and gut-wrenching dilemmas of life as a double agent. As you infiltrate a terrorist organization in its American headquarters, you must carefully weigh the consequences of your actions. Kill too many criminals and you'll blow your cover. Hesitate too long and millions will die. Do whatever it takes to complete your mission, but get out alive.

Here's the trailer.

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

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December 13, 2005

UBISOFT TO RELEASE BLAZING ANGELS™ SQUADRONS OF WWII FOR XBOX 360™ IN Q4 FY 2005-2006

SAN FRANCISCO – December 12, 2005 – 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 be released
for Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft in Q4 FY 2005-2006.

In Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII, players test their air-combat skills as they experience the most famous battles of World War II. As a squadron leader, players can fly up to 38 WWII aircraft in both single-player and multiplayer missions.

Developed by Ubisoft, Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII features innovative squadron-based combat, in which each artificial intelligence wingman’s specialized skill can be used to the pilot’s advantage. During the course of the 18-mission campaign, players will evolve along with their wingmen into an ace fighting force. Spectacular graphics enhance the combat experience in true World War II battle sites such as England, Germany, France, Morocco, Pearl Harbor, Midway and Tokyo. The heroic storyline that follows the evolution of a single squadron and the cinematic presentation create moments reminiscent of classic World War II movies. Pilots fly in close to Germany’s industrial terrain during a bombing raid or emerge from the fog and cloud cover over London to engage the enemy. Up to 16 players online can engage over Xbox Live® online game service in head-to-head dogfights or cooperative team play between squadrons in 10 additional missions.

Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII for Xbox 360 will feature significant visual and sound enhancements that will take advantage of the powerful audio and graphical capabilities of Xbox 360’s platform. Stunning graphics and improved sound will completely immerse the player in a cinematic experience as fights in epic air battles of World War II including:

• Enhanced 3D plane models: Highly detailed and authentic-looking planes make intensive use of environmental lighting and dynamic imagery.
• New improved and enlarged textures provide more detail for both planes and terrain: Players will see sun glare on their cockpits, light shafts streaking through clouds and detailed shadows on the environment. Cities, buildings and facilities have also been enhanced to take full advantage of advanced lighting effects and shading to create an intense, realistic atmosphere for cities and military bases.
• More realistic battle damage: Bullets hit planes and smoke dynamically streams from cannons and engines. Battle damage from bullets, bombs and downed planes is visible and persistent on both terrain and buildings.
• Dramatic presentation: Visual perception filtering will be enhanced including extended burn effects and motion blur to create even more drama. Intense shockwaves from explosions fill the sky with debris using dynamic lighting and particle effects made possible by Xbox 360’s system.
• Enhanced sound effects: Perception filtering enhances the player's immersion. Sound treatment is actively managed in accordance to what the player does. Sound varies depending on the scene in order to create a more immersive, cinematic and dramatic atmosphere around the player.

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December 9, 2005

Full Auto Trailer Released

I got the chance to play Full Auto a few months ago and it looked amazing. Every little detail is there, from shadows to reflections to an interactive environment. It looks like a great driving game.

Full Auto - only on Xbox 360 - features the most destructive racing action ever experienced in a videogame. Hardcore fans can now have some real insight into that destruction by checking out newly released "educational" videos available at: http://www.SEGAlabs.com. These episodic, behind the scenes videos show real-life technicians experimenting with classified destructive research integral to Full Auto's development.

Sega has already released three of six episodes and will unveil the remaining short films every two weeks leading to Full Auto's highly-anticipated February 21st 2006 launch.

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December 6, 2005

2K Sports Announces Major League Baseball 2K6 - The Exclusive 2006 Multi-Platform Baseball Title

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 5, 2005 - 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today that Major League Baseball 2K6 is slated for release in early spring 2006. Featuring New York Yankees All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter as the cover athlete and official spokesperson, Major League Baseball 2K6 will debut new features that will set a new standard for baseball video games.

Major League Baseball 2K6 will be the exclusive and only officially licensed Major League Baseball video game to appear on every major gaming console including the Xbox 360(tm) and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the PSP(tm) (PlayStation®Portable) system and the Nintendo GameCube(tm).

"We've assembled an amazing team to deliver the highest quality baseball title on every major video game platform," stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. "2K Sports has pushed the boundaries of our entire line-up of games this year and Major League Baseball 2K6 will be no exception."

"With Major League Baseball 2K6, 2K Sports has captured the essence of our National pastime," stated Derek Jeter. "It's been a great pleasure and honor to represent the finest baseball game on any video game system. I'm really impressed with the new graphics and features that Major League Baseball 2K6 will bring to baseball fans everywhere."

As one of the most respected and recognizable Major League Baseball players, Derek Jeter wrapped up the 2005 season by winning his second consecutive Gold Glove award Over the last 10 seasons (1996-2005), Jeter
leads the major leagues with an impressive 1,924 hits and ranks second with 1,154 runs. As the team captain of the New York Yankees, Jeter's charisma, talent and intense drive have earned him numerous awards and
have cemented him as one of the greatest players to ever don the Yankee pinstripes.

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November 24, 2005

NHL 2K6

Score = 3 out of 5

I'll cut to the chase right away. If you're looking for the best hockey game on any platform, then NHL 2K6 for Xbox 360 is it. Unfortunately that doesn't say much.

The ice is a work of art. It starts off all wet, shiny and reflective, and slowly get scratched and less reflective. The puck casts a shadow. You can see the scoreboard reflected in the ice and it's beautiful. The crowd is more realistic and more 3D. They react when players get close to the boards or better yet checked into the boards. Players themselves are more realistic with better player models and better physics where players are now broken down into limbs and body instead of just body so they sprawl appropriately when checked. Because everything is more realistic and in better 3D it's possible to pick and choose holes to pass through and openings on either side of the goalie. One of the coolest effects is the whip of the stick when a shot is made, and the snow that flies when someone stops is pretty cool too. And the goalie animations are frighteningly convincing.

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November 23, 2005

2K SPORTS ANNOUNCES COLLEGE HOOPS 2K6 NOW AVAILABLE

NEW YORK, NY - November 23, 2005 - 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that College Hoops 2K6 for the Xbox(r) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft is now available at retailers across North America. 2K Sports' highly acclaimed college basketball franchise returns to deliver the most realistic collegiate experience yet, featuring an enhanced Legacy mode, underclassmen recruiting, high school camps, virtual coaches and an unprecedented five in-game commentators.

"Fans love college basketball because it portrays basketball in its purest state; where solid coaching, strong teamwork and school spirit prevail," said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. "College Hoops 2K6 incorporates this by introducing new features that make it the most comprehensive college basketball game, delivering the emotion and drama of the college experience like never before."

Bringing personality to the franchise mode are the coaches and multiple commentators. College Hoops 2K6 breaks new ground by featuring real college coaches, including Roy Williams, Tubby Smith, Jim Boeheim, and Lute Olson. College Hoops 2K6 gives gamers in-depth game coverage, enhanced by insightful commentary from Verne Lundquist as the play-by-play announcer, Bill Raftery for color commentary, Bonnie Bernstein reporting from the sidelines and Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg as tournament presenters.

"This is the first time that a video game company has obtained the licensing right to use a large number of college coaches within the body of the video game," said David Kirkpatrick, vice president of non-apparel marketing, The Collegiate Licensing Company. "We think that college basketball fans will revel in the opportunity to have top college coaches walking the sidelines."


In addition, College Hoops 2K6 showcases new features for the franchise such as Player Disposition, the Coach's Clipboard, the High School Camp and many of the elements that made NBA 2K6 a critical success, such as the Strip 'n' Rip System, Shot Stick and V.I.P. System(tm).

* Player Disposition focuses on each player's inherent set of attributes: consistency, focus, and confidence. By utilizing practice drills, scrimmages, and weekly meetings in the game, you try to raise these attributes to their peaks, so that you can heighten your Player Psyche and optimize your players' performances.

* The Coach's Clipboard feature captures the true collegiate atmosphere by stressing the importance of good coaching. The feature gives gamers the ability to give specific direction to their team during timeouts to help coach them to victory. Gamers have total control over individual zone replacements to make the necessary substitutions for improving zone defense efficiency and exploiting an opponent's weaknesses.

* The High School Camp feature lets gamers scout top performing high school players by visiting camps and observing or playing with the top prospects in the country to judge their performance in drills and scrimmages. This feature complements the underclassmen recruiting feature, in which gamers can now recruit high school players at any level and secure interest that will carry over from year to year.

Through the Xbox Live(r) online game service and PlayStation Online, College Hoops 2K6 provides gamers with the most realistic, interactive gaming experience with seamless head-to-head online play. The comprehensive online features also provide stat tracking, buddy list management and online leagues.

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November 22, 2005

Streaming Music from PSP to Xbox 360

Right now I'm streaming Sonic Youth off my PSP onto my Xbox 360 to play in the background while I'm playing NHL 2K6. Now that's cool. If only I could get the 360 talking to Windows Media Connect on my desktop I'd have access to my many gigs of mp3s.

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SEGA SHIPS CONDEMNED: CRIMINAL ORIGINS

SAN FRANCISCO (November 22, 2005) - SEGA® of America, Inc. today announced that its upcoming first-person psychological thriller Condemned: Criminal Origins(TM) has shipped to retailers nationwide and is available for the Xbox 360(TM) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Described by Official Xbox Magazine as "suspenseful, scary, and downright twisted," Condemned: Criminal Origins allows players to experience a heightened level of psychological tension as they use their instincts, forensic tools, and melee combat to track serial
killers and bring them to justice.

"Condemned: Criminal Origins has been built from the ground up for the Xbox 360; this game could not be made on current-generation technology," said Scott A Steinberg, Vice President of Marketing, SEGA of America. "Photorealistic environments and strategic enemy AI combine to create a terrifying next-generation experience."

When played in 5.1 surround sound, this game is an aural assault on the senses. Gruesome weapons can be improvised by clever gamers - paper-cutter handles, wooden planks, and mannequin arms can be used to attack opponents. Enemies don’t merely run at the player; they find an appropriately powerful weapon to attack with, then hide in the shadows, waiting for an open opportunity to strike.

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Project Gotham Racing 3 vs. Ridge Racer 6

Project Gotham Racing 3
Score = 5 out of 5

pr3-1.gif

This is a must have for PGR1 and PGR2 fans; no questions asked just go buy it. The franchise just keeps getting better and better. This version looks great, sounds great, the cars handle precisely. I can't think of anything wrong with it, except that maybe it isn't enough of a simulation for those people who want a full simulation experience. It's enough of a simulation for me - any more real and it would start to become a hassle to maintain the car and everything.

PGR3 looks so good that sometimes I purposely lose the race because I'm driving around looking at things. Everything looks good: the buildings, backgrounds, parks, water. Racing across the Brooklyn Bridge is very cool because the views up and down the East River are amazing. According to Microsoft Game Studios there are as many polygons in the Brooklyn Bridge as there was in the entire city in PGR2.

The sound is also fantastic. Each car has a unique sound and this sound is modified by the surroundings and whether it is in front or behind you, closing or pulling away. So you can hear a car, recognize the engine sound and hear it pull up on your right, look at it and know you were right and then it's by you. PGR3 is immersive in every sense of the word.

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The online community can suck you in too and then all of a sudden it is 6 hours later and all you've done is played PGR3 all afternoon You can have an Online Career using the garage from your Solo Career. The Online Career mode automatically matches you against other players of a similar ability. They use the new TrueSkill system for rankings which measures your skills over four or five races. Your race from you online career might even end up on Gotham TV. The whole premise of PGR3 online is this Gotham TV, with a Heroes Channel to watch the best racers in the world, a Friends Channel where you can meet up with your friends.

One crazy detail is the crowd. They respond to your driving and jump out of the way when you crash into a wall. There are about 4,500 different combinations of crowd members, all built up from hundreds of modular body parts. Most of them are Bizarre Creations or Microsoft Game Studios employees.

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November 21, 2005

Kameo: Elements of Power

Rating 5 out of 5
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Firstly, this review has to start with a disclaimer. I have played Kameo for at least 5 hours a day for the past three days. I love it. It's beautiful. The animations are so fluid. Every surface has a reflection. When you talk to other characters you can see your reflection in their eyes. And who could object to the content? Giant weeds that beat up Trolls are awesome.

Kameo's parents ruled the elves and there was peace between the elves and the trolls. Then Kameo's evil sister kidnapped their parents and made a deal with the trolls. Now the trolls are trying to catch all of the elemental spirits that are worshipped by the Elves. Kameo must free the elemental spirits and use them to free her parents and her people.
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Kameo morphs into 10 different elemental warriors on the fly. This makes the combinations of ways to fight a battle limitless. You can use Pummel Weed (my favorite) to box with the trolls. Or Major Ruin can run them over and impale them on spikes. Ash the dragon can blast them with flames. It's so much fun. You can morph in the middle of a battle, like use Rubble to shoot rocks at the distant enemy then morph into Pummel Weed to kick their asses when they get closer. Learning the combination of warriors it will take to fight bosses or maneuver through the land. Each elemental warrior brings something different to the action and throughout the journey, upgrades can be made on each character's attacks.

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November 20, 2005

Xbox 360 in the House

I'm just getting the word out that I've got PC Magazine's Xbox 360 and I'm playing a lot of games. I'll write reviews of the games shortly and post them on this site.

Here's a link to my review on PCMag.com

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Xbox 360 Arrives!

I'm so excited. It arrived on Thursday night and I've been playing PGR3 and Kameo almost non stop. The scenery in PGR3 is simply amazing. I love racing across the Brooklyn Bridge and looking out over the East River. And Kameo, I can't put it down. The worlds are unique and involved, the graphics are beautiful, and the concept is great. You play as Kameo who needs to free elemental spirits and then use their forms to free her family being held captive by her evil sister. The evil sister has made a pact with the Trolls and they're out to get you. As you take on these elemental spirites you get different attacks. So far the best is being able to play as a giant weed and beating up trolls to set other weeds free. You can also be a pile of rocks that shoots the rocks at enemies and then they roll back and become part of you again.

On the negative side, the damn thing has a power transformer that is bigger than a Yorkshire terrier. It's pretty close to the size of a can of tennis balls. Who wants that in their living room? Oh well, enough bitching.

Nina loves the 360.

nina-360-opt.jpg

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November 17, 2005

EA DELIVERS STRONGEST EA SPORTS LAUNCH LINEUP

Redwood City, Calif – November 17, 2005 - Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS), today announced it has shipped its biggest launch line up of EA SPORTS™ titles to stores with four EA SPORTS branded games for the Xbox 360™. FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup™, Madden NFL 06, NBA LIVE 06 and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 06 are all available for the new game system.

The most heralded franchises in videogames sports history arrive at launch offering consumers four different sports games to play when they take their hardware out of the box for the first time.

“As launch titles, our four EA SPORTS titles for the Xbox 360 will give consumers a next generation sports experience from the time they take the shrink-wrap off the games and the console out of the box,” said John Schappert, Group Vice President and General Manager EA Studios. “This first round of games is what the hardcore videogame consumer wants, and we’re delivering that with these EA SPORTS launch titles.“

EA’s four EA SPORTS launch titles for Xbox 360 are:

FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup

FIFA 06 Road to FIFA World Cup immerses players into the emotional intensity of next generation soccer. Utilizing the power of the Xbox 360, fans will be able to revel in the world’s most sophisticated representation of soccer. Experience a newly enhanced gameplay engine that delivers extremely responsive controls and greater level of depth. New physics and animations mean that players will now react more realistically to every tackle, shot or pass of the ball.

Madden NFL 06

Madden NFL 06 for the Xbox 360 has been built from the ground up to deliver completely redesigned gameplay and the most lifelike football experience ever created. Gamers will feel the true emotion and passion on the football field with incredibly detailed player models that come to life on every play, as well as lifelike stadiums and fans. With a full Franchise mode, in-depth online play and a new presentation style with a hometown announcer and new playcalling system, Madden NFL 06 for the Xbox 360 is poised to once again raise the bar for the authentic football gaming experience.

NBA LIVE 06

Live and breathe basketball like never before with NBA LIVE 06 on the Xbox 360. Rebuilt from the ground up and powered by next generation gameplay, players can see and feel the emotion and intensity of the complete basketball experience with NBA LIVE 06. Players jump to life with real-world physics and enhanced animations including sweat rolling down the players’ faces. With true-to-life details, major gameplay advancements, and unprecedented player graphics, the sport of basketball is elevated to a whole new level with NBA LIVE 06.

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06

With greatness comes pressure and in Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06 on Xbox 360, players experience the intensity of competing in championship golf events. Thousands of fans line the fairways and pack grandstands surrounding the greens, watching every shot as players aim to become the world’s #1 golfer. Players have a shot at realizing their ultimate dream of earning a PGA TOUR Card through Q-school and climbing the ranks on the PGA TOUR by playing against nine of the world’s greatest golfers like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Chris DiMarco. It’s that pressure and the challenge of competing against some of the world’s top golfers on intimidating courses that await you in the next generation of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06.

“We will continue to deliver games in the coming months that demonstrate why EA SPORTS is a beloved brand and that authenticity, competition and innovation continue to be what EA SPORTS branded games deliver to the consumer,” Schappert added.

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November 16, 2005

Microsoft Announces Xbox 360 Day One Launch Lineup

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 14, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that 18 Xbox 360™ games, spanning all the popular genres, and 13 Xbox 360 accessories will be available when the video game and entertainment system launches in North America on Nov. 22. Exclusive, thrilling racing games such as “Project Gotham Racing® 3,” sports games that hit hard with high-definition graphics and sound such as “Madden NFL 06” and “NBA 2K6,” action-adventure games such as “Kameo™: Elements of Power™,” innovative titles with multiplayer co-op gameplay like “Perfect Dark Zero™,” and intense action exclusives such as “Call of Duty® 2” contribute to the broadest and deepest retail launch lineup in console history.

The following Xbox 360 games will be available in North America retail locations on or before the console is launched Nov. 22:

· “Amped 3” (2K Sports)

· “Call of Duty 2” (Activision Inc.)

· “Condemned: Criminal Origins” (SEGA Corp.)

· “FIFA Soccer 06 Road to 2006 FIFA World Cup” (Electronic Arts Inc.)

· “GUN™” (Activision)

· “Kameo: Elements of Power” (Microsoft Game Studios and Rare Ltd.)

· “Madden NFL 06” (Electronic Arts)

· “NBA 2K6” (2K Sports)

· “NBA LIVE 06” (Electronic Arts)

· “Need for Speed Most Wanted” (Electronic Arts)

· “NHL 2K6” (2K Sports)

· “Perfect Dark Zero” (Microsoft Game Studios and Rare Ltd.)

· “Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie” (Ubisoft)

· “Project Gotham Racing 3” (Microsoft Game Studios and Bizarre Creations Ltd.)

· “Quake 4™” (id Software and Activision)

· “Ridge Racer 6” (Namco Ltd.)

· “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06” (Electronic Arts)

· “Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland” (Activision)

Xbox 360 launch titles from Microsoft Game Studios will be competitively priced, with standard editions of “Kameo: Elements of Power,” “Project Gotham Racing 3” and “Perfect Dark Zero” all retailing for $49.99 (U.S. ERP). A two-disc “Perfect Dark Zero” Limited Collector’s Edition will also be available this holiday season for an ERP of $59.99. Xbox 360 accessories will range in price from $11.99 to $99.99. More information on all these products can be found at http://www.xbox.com.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a gamer,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for the Home and Entertainment Division of Microsoft. “Xbox 360 will deliver mind-blowing experiences across multiple genres, no matter what your personal gaming preferences are. On Nov. 22, the next generation of gaming begins. From there, gamers will be overwhelmed with the pipeline of amazing Xbox 360 games yet to come.”

Xbox Live Arcade Launch Lineup

Adding to the already tremendous lineup of launch-day titles, Xbox Live® Arcade for Xbox 360 plans to offer between 12 and 15 bite-sized game titles on launch day one. With Xbox Live Arcade, casual and hard-core gamers alike will find a wide variety of game genres for download spanning action arcade titles such as “Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved” and “Mutant Storm Reloaded,” coin-op and retro classics such as Xbox Live multiplayer-enabled “Joust” and “Gauntlet,” puzzle games such as “Hexic® HD” and “Bejeweled 2,” casual sports games such as “Bankshot Billiards® 2,” light strategy titles such as “Outpost Kaloki,” and card and board games such as “Hardwood Backgammon” and “Hardwood Hearts.” Each Xbox Live Arcade game includes a free downloadable trial version so game players can try before they buy.

Xbox Live Retail Offerings

Also available on Nov. 22 are two Xbox Live retail offerings for gamers who want to up the ante on their online gameplay experience from the free Silver level of service to Gold membership. The 12-month Premium Starter Pack has an ERP of $69.99 and contains a 12-month subscription to Xbox Live, an Xbox 360 headset, a full version of the Xbox Live Arcade game “Bankshot Billiards 2,” a $20 (U.S.) game rebate coupon good for any Xbox 360 game title* and 200 points for use on Xbox Live Marketplace. The three-month Premium Starter Pack has an ERP of $39.99 and contains a three-month subscription to Xbox Live, an Xbox 360 headset, a full version of the Xbox Live Arcade game “Joust,” a $10 (U.S.) game rebate coupon good for any Xbox 360 game title* and 100 points for use on Xbox Live Marketplace. With nearly three-quarters of all launch games on Xbox 360 Xbox Live multiplayer-enabled, there’s never been a better time to get connected to Xbox Live.

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November 8, 2005

Gamers From Around the World to Converge at Massive Xbox 360 Launch Event in Mojave Desert

Microsoft announced details of the Xbox 360 launch event, “Xbox 360: Zero Hour,” where thousands of gamers from around the world are invited to make the pilgrimage to an undisclosed location in the Mojave Desert to witness the dawning of the next generation of gaming. Microsoft’s massive launch event will feature hundreds of gaming stations, live entertainment and around-the-clock gaming at a venue immersed in the Xbox 360 experience. The event will begin on November 20 when the sun sets on the desert horizon and end at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, November 22, the official launch date for Xbox 360 in North America.

In order to win credentials and attend this exclusive event, gamers must visit http://www.microsoft.com/xbox/zerohour.htm on November 10 to see a list of participating registration sites for a chance to win free tickets for themselves and a friend. Tickets are limited and distributed on a first come, first served basis. Hopeful attendees should check participating sites frequently since sign-up forms will be posted at unspecified times throughout the day. After registration ends, the 3,000 lucky winners will join VIPs from the U.S. “Hex 168” and European “Origen” campaigns to be the first gamers in the world to fully experience all that Xbox 360 has to offer.

“Xbox 360: Zero Hour” is expected to be a true gaming paradise with hundreds of Xbox 360 gaming stations featuring high-definition monitors and digital sound available for attendees to get the chance to play the full Xbox 360 launch line-up along with other highly anticipated games that will ship this year and into 2006 from 2K Games, 2K Sports, Activision, Bethesda, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Microsoft Game Studios, Namco, Sega, Square-Enix, Tecmo, THQ, and Ubisoft.” Among other gaming highlights, attendees will be the first ever to play a 32-player match of “Perfect Dark Zero” over Xbox Live, have access to the full Xbox Live Arcade lineup and witness demonstrations and sneak peeks of hotly-anticipated non-launch titles including live game play of “Gears of War.”

Attendees need not worry about missing out on one of the thousands of national “midnight madness” events. Best Buy, retail partner of the Xbox 360 launch event, will be onsite where gamers can purchase their Xbox 360 consoles, games and peripherals.

“Our goal with the launch event is to reward the gamer by creating the ultimate Xbox 360 oasis,” said Peter Moore, Microsoft corporate vice president, Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for Xbox, who will be celebrating at the event along with J Allard, Microsoft corporate vice president and chief XNA architect, and leading game developers and members of the Xbox team. “Gamers at ‘Zero Hour’ will have bragging rights to say ‘I spent over 24 hours at the epicenter of the gaming universe, and I was among the first generation of the next generation of gaming.’”

In addition to gaming nirvana, attendees will be able to purchase food and beverages at around-the-clock refreshment stations while they enjoy live entertainment including a genuine “Kaiju Big Battel” (www.kaiju.com) and a musical performance by raucous rock band from Southern California, “Louis XIV.” Attendees will also receive exclusive event give-aways such as “Zero Hour” Xbox 360 console faceplates.

Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live® online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around you. The system will launch this holiday season in Europe, Japan and North America, to be followed by availability in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

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November 4, 2005

2K Sports Xbox 360 Preview

Yesterday I met with 2K Sports and they showed me Amped 3, NBA 2K6, and NHL 2K6.

Amped 3 is a snowboarding lifestyle game. They boast that it is the most realistic snowboarding experience. I'm an avid boarder and I would actually argue that nothing even comes close to a realistic snowboarding experience so who cares. You create and fully customize a character. There are tons of options for body type, jacket, gloves, etc. There are over 400 licensed items in the game. Instead of a menu to choose what to do you can board over to different sections of the mountain and accomplish the objectives there to earn "awesomeness". The soundtrack is fully customizable and includes over 300 songs. The load screens are very creative and will entertain gamers while they wait, at least the first few times. Some of the cut scenes are hysterical. There's a feature called Park Builder that lets you lay down objects and create your own courses.

NHL 2K6 is probably the best looking hockey game I've ever seen (and the only next gen one I've seen). First, 2K Sports assured me that they addressed some of the bugs that have been bothering me in the Xbox version. They say that you can no longer score by shooting the puck through the back of the net. They also say that they've addressed some of the commentary errors, like showing a stat and then discussing the wrong stat (screen says 6 hits and announcers and that's his 3rd hit". But to be realistic there will always be bugs in games. This game has all the features of the current gen version plus Crease Control, a feature added by Marty Turco. Crease Control establishes a cone of vision around the goalie and centered on the puck. This lets you figure out how to block shots. The coolest thing that I saw was the way the ice is textured. Skaters leave trails in the ice and the surface has different properties of reflectivity based on its condition and whether there is something written under it or not. The crowd reacts to big hits along the boards, and the glass reflects so there's an awful lot to look at. Players' clothing is using a cloth physics system that has the clothing bunch, sway, and wrinkle as the players move.

NBK 2K6 is 2K Sports' latest salvo in the battle for console basketball dominance. The player models are extremely detailed down to muscles, veins, facial hair, and tattoos. Their faces are very good. Some players make you think the real player is on screen (like Shaq the cover athlete). The reflections off the wood are almost as cool as the reflections off the ice in NHL 2K6 and again the cloth physics is in full display. Players sweat more and more as the game goes on and they start to get shiny. The neck musculature is so realistic that I started just watching the way a player's head and neck moved. There's this VIP feature, where your profile and the resulting AI can be saved and then your opponents can play against your VIP to practice for playing against you.

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November 3, 2005

Build the Perfect Site With the Perfect Dark Zero Fan Site Kit

Webmasters and causal fans alike can now create a sleek and sexy "Perfect Dark Zero" site that is worthy of the game's famed heroine, Joanna Dark. Microsoft Game Studios and Rare today announced that the Fan Site Kit (FSK) for the hotly-anticipated prequel to Rare’s critically acclaimed blockbuster hit, "Perfect Dark," is now available. The new FSK offers an array of materials for building an impressive fan site, including hi-res character renders, concept art, logos, backgrounds, weapon icons and other web-ready artwork. The "Perfect Dark Zero" FSK is available for download at http://perfectdarkzero.com/fansites/.

Set in the year 2020 – years before the original hit game – "Perfect Dark Zero" is the origin story of the legendary Joanna Dark, a perfect agent and ultimate weapon. Players can quip Joanna with definitive state-of-the-art weaponry, gadgets, and vehicles in the Xbox 360-exclusive prequel to the international award-winning and multimillion-selling first-person shooter “Perfect Dark”. A two-disc “Perfect Dark Zero” Limited Collector’s Edition will be available at retailers nationwide this holiday for an MSRP of $59.99 (U.S.). A standard version with an MSRP of $49.99 (U.S.) will also be available which contains a single disc with the full version of the game and the game manual. For more information about "Perfect Dark Zero," visit the official site “safe house” at http://www.perfectdarkzero.com/.

United Kingdom-based Rare, one of the world’s leading video game developers, was founded in 1985 by Chris and Tim Stamper. Rare has been the mastermind behind some of the most popular video games in history, including such global multimillion sellers as “GoldenEye 007” and “Perfect Dark.”

Microsoft revolutionized the gaming industry with the November 2001 launch of Xbox (http://www.xbox.com), its first-generation video games and entertainment system, now sold in 26 countries around the world. This holiday season Microsoft debuts its next-generation system, Xbox 360, in Europe, Japan and North America, to be followed by availability in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around you.

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CONDEMNED: CRIMINAL ORIGINS GOES GOLD FOR XBOX 360

I played this during a demo day last month and it looked very interesting. It is a combination of crime solving and fighting and there was a strong sense of suspense. I'm looking forward to playing it. But how about that $59.99 price point?

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November 2, 2005

2K SPORTS CHALLENGES SNOWBOARDERS TO TAKE THE JUMP WITH AMPED 3 FOR XBOX 360

NEW YORK, NY - November 2, 2005 - 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), today announced Amped(tm) 3 is a launch day candidate for the Xbox 360(tm) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. The only snowboard game to be available for Xbox 360, Amped 3 features an all-new physics engine, enhanced controls and the world's greatest winter resorts to create the most authentic snowboarding experience. Action is interlaced with a hip storyline that encompasses the distinct snowboarder culture, style, music and attitude.

Amped 3 stays true to its roots as the most authentic trick-based snowboarding game on seven new real-world resorts. Amped 3 is three times larger than the levels in the preceding Amped games. The Snowbox(tm) offers hundreds of challenges at various resorts, including the option for players to test their skills snowmobiling and sledding and then have their top scored runs, hang-times and crashes automatically posted on Xbox Live(r) online gaming service. Given the vastness of the mountains, players explore the backcountry on snowmobile
to find the perfect spots and then use the Park Builder for planting their own jumps and rails.

"With Amped 3, 2K Sports has tapped into the power of Xbox 360 to create the most authentic, customized, and unique snowboarding experience for gamers," said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports
studio. "Amped 3 captures the sport of snowboarding and reflects the style and attitude associated with the snowboarder culture." Amped 3's Snow Tracks in-game soundtrack features more than 300 new independent music tracks. Select tracks are featured on the exclusive Amped 3 soundtrack CD, available as a pre-sell promotional item at majorretailers and at 2K Sports events in November.

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October 27, 2005

UBISOFT ANNOUNCES PETER JACKSON'S KING KONG: THE OFFICIAL GAME OF THE MOVIE HAS GONE GOLD

SAN FRANCISCO October 27, 2005 Today Ubisoft announced that Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie, based on Universal Pictures' December 14 release, King Kong, from three-time Academy Award® winner Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), has officially goneGold on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCubeâ„¢ system and Windows® PC. The title will launch in North America November 22 at the manufacturer's suggested retail price of $49.99 and is rated T for Teen.

"Ubisoft is extremely excited to reach this milestone in collaborating with Peter Jackson, Wingnut Films and Universal Studios Consumer Products Group," said Yves Guillemot, president and chief executive officer of Ubisoft. “The response among the media, core gamers and the mass-market audience has been tremendous and we can't wait to launch Ubisoft's most impressive and successful game of 2005 " Peter Jackson "King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie."

While the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft version of Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie is slated to go Gold the first week in November, it too will launch on November 22, 2005, alongside its console counterparts and the Game Boy® Advance title Kong The 8th Wonder of the World. PSP
(PlayStationPortable) system and Nintendo DS versions of Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie will launch soon thereafter.

The King Kong Collaboration:Michel Ancel, creative director at Ubisoft, regarded as one of the top innovative minds in the video game industry, and his team at Ubisoft's Montpellier (France) studio are working with Peter Jackson and Wingnut Films to capture and create the King Kong movie dynamics through a unique video game experience.

"It's an absolute pleasure working with Ubisoft on the video game," said triple Academy Award winner and King Kong director Peter Jackson. "Being able to collaborate closely together from day one is of utmost importance, which is why we've given Ubisoft unlimited access to every creative aspect of our film production. We really want the game and the film to be part of the same universe."

We're amazed by Peter Jackson's creativity and what he brings to the project,” said Michel Ancel, creative director at Ubisoft. Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie is a creation that closely follows the storyline of the movie yet, as video games have the innate ability to do, will push the emotional tension of the film to even greater depths. Players will experience unprecedented dual game play within a movie-licensed game which alternates between Jack Driscoll in first-person and as King Kong in third-person. These contrasting perspectives will immerse players into the journey featuring epic battles, tough choices and a dynamic experience within the visually stunning environment of Skull Island."

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October 25, 2005

Xbox 360 Preview

I wrote a hands on preview of the Xbox 360 for PC Magazine that got posted today. It's a helluva piece of hardware. I'm excited about a bunch of the games for it.

Gun, from Activision, is wild ride set in the 1880's west. It's along the line of High Plains Drifter and various other spaghetti westerns. It looked absolutely beautiful in 720p. At one point I was riding my horse along a ridge and across the valley the sun was setting. I paused to look at it and reflect on the insane number of polygons involved in the moment. You start off hunting but the violence starts soon. There's a quick draw where you draw in real-time while everyone else moves in slow time. You'll need it in order to take down multiple foes in a crowded room. Enemies take damage in 12 body areas and react accordingly. You can go to Dodge City or Empire City and get missions, then carry them out wherever they take you.

Project Gotham Racing 3 - This looked great. All of the speed of PGR 1 and 2 with bigger views and more detail. There are more polygons in the Brooklyn Bridge in PGR3 than in a whole city is PGR2. That pretty much says it all. Online racing is a big focus of PGR3 with world rankings. There's a part where you can set up your own track in any of the cities in the game. Shadowing was great and reflections off the hood are a nice touch. The crowd reacts to you. It's kind of cool to smash into the wall and make them scatter.

Call of Duty 2 - A tremendous amount of fun, as one would expect from COD. There's a lot more texturing in the Xbox 360 version than in the Xbox version, and HD makes a big difference. This is a completely different game from the Xbox version so I'm looking forward to playing both.

NBA Live 2006 - EA Sports has put an insane amount of detail into their player modeling. It's very hard to tell the difference between NBA Live and a real game on TV at this point. Players sweat and their blood vessels stick out. Their shorts have physics. A very cool thing is that you can play one-on-one while loading a game in the background.

Dead Or Alive 4 - Talk about beautiful vistas! There is eye candy aplenty as the perennial fighter returns. Everything is pretty much the same but there's a few new characters. The big draw here is the online functionality. Players meet in a lobby where they can look at world rankings. You can search for a match or find your friend. You can stand in the lobby and watch other people fight on a TV, then text them and set up an impromptu tournament where you have winners.

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October 7, 2005

Activision Demos

This morning I met with Activision and saw three games: Gun, Call of Duty: Big Red On, and True Crime 2: New York City. I'm not allowed to write anything about Call of Duty. I'm sorry. I will say that I enjoyed playing it, but that's to be expected.

Gun is simply breathtaking; it is the first game for Xbox 360 that I've seen that is really stunning. There are parts where the sun is setting over the mountains or on another side of a valley and you have to just stop and look at it. The storyline is just like a western movie. It's 1881 and you and your pappy, Kris Kristofferson, are out hunting. This gives you a chance to learn to shoot. Then all hell pretty much breaks loose. So now you're on your own and you can ride around the West taking missions and/or following the main storyline. You can go to Dodge City or Empire City where you'll meet people who will give you quests. You can be a bounty hunter, a miner, ride for the pony express, just about any profession that belongs. There's even a Texas Hold 'Em mini game where you can win money.

It's all about the gun. Quick draw slows down everyone else for a limited amount of time and lets you mow down enemies. The shutgun is just a fun weapon. Enemies take damage in one of 12 body areas and react accordingly. You can blow someone's foot off and watch them hobble around. You can even shoot someone's hat off and juggle it with additional shots while it is still in the air. Mounted combat is also pretty cool. That's riding a horse and shooting, or using the horse to trample people.

Activision estimates that it'll take about 20 hours to play straight through the storyline. They think if you try all the side missions there's at least 40 hours there. And it looked like a lot of fun to me. Gun for Xbox 360 will be available November 22, 2005.

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