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June 20, 2008

Derek Jeter Pro Baseball 2008

A few weeks ago Gameloft was kind enough to take me to watch the Yankees beat Seattle. I also got a chance to play the new Derek Jeter Pro Baseball for mobile phones. I was actually pretty impressed with it and found it very playable. Graphics are getting better on mobile all the time and I thought this looked like it could be PS-One quality, but a lot smaller than a typical TV. That's really neither here nor there but I just thought that I would point it out because I'm usually a little bit too much of a snob to say that a mobile game is good.

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The lowdown on the game is that it is fun to play and a pretty good baseball game. Baseball fans will be pleased to see batting and pitching statistics for every team. There are also little Derek Jeter moments where you can learn some tips and some stuff about the life of a big time ball player.

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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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September 26, 2006

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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August 16, 2006

Why Pay for Mobile Games When GameJump.com Gives Them Away for Free?

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) - You wouldn’t pay to watch TV, visit most web sites, or listen to the radio, so why should entertainment on your mobile phone cost you money? Paying to download games to your mobile phone has just become passé this summer with the launch of GameJump.com. GameJump.com offers games that run the gamut: from casino games to puzzle games to shoot ‘em up games (involving some with aliens and one involving beer). Simply put, GameJump.com gives great games for free, and consumers who pay to play are losing out.

Until now, mobile games typically cost from $4 to $12 per download, often leaving customers surprised by high charges on their month-end phone bills. GameJump.com is providing its mobile games free of charge with a business model that relies on advertisers to offset costs. Similar to Internet gaming and media sites, advertisers place full-screen branded ‘wraps’ around games from GameJump.com. Advertisers win a new hands-on interactive medium to reach consumers that are engaged and playing games up to 20 minutes at a time, while the consumers enjoy the fun of playing games for free.

“We’ve shaken up the existing model for pay-to-play mobile games and introduced a way for everyone who owns a mobile phone to access and play games for free through our ad-supported network,” said Michael Chang, CEO and co-founder of GameJump.com and its parent company Greystripe, Inc. “By taking a percentage of the advertising revenue, we can offer a wide collection of popular mobile games.”

With a variety of over 75 new, branded and classic games, GameJump.com provides advertisers with a demographic reach for all ages. Action games include Pirates Ahoy, Ghost Hunter RPG, and Adventure Boy in Zooloo Land. Puzzle games include Sudoku, Bubble Trouble, Capjong, Spellboys and Brick Annoyed. Casino games include Slot Machine, BlackJack and Texas Hold’em Poker. Sports games include: racing games Bert Longin Porsche, High Octane World Rally and MotoMania; soccer games Futi and Penalty Shot; golf games Mini Golf and Golf Club; and boardsport games Flowboarding and Jan Michaelis Snowboarding. All ages games include Amy’s Adventure, Ancient Ruins 1, 2 and 3, Kid Paddle, Townsmen 1, 2 and 3 and Townsmen Racing. More games are being added every week.

Customers can directly download these games and more from the GameJump.com website. When browsing the web through the phone customers can also access the GameJump site at http://gjmp.tw. The games are compatible with most handsets and carriers worldwide. While the games are free from GameJump.com, carriers may charge for data usage fees to download the games and ads as well as for receiving text messages when download links are sent via SMS.

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August 10, 2006

ZERO G GAMES COMPLETES DEVELOPMENT OF NEW YAHOO! CHESS

Huntington Beach, California – August 9, 2006 – Zero G Games is happy to announce that they have completed development of Yahoo! Chess, which is now live on Yahoo! Games, the leading game portal for casual games. Yahoo! Chess is a multiplayer, cross-platform, game, allowing players on either a PC or mobile phone to play together. The large community of chess players on the Yahoo! network will make it easy to find the perfect opponent, regardless of the player’s skill level or device used for access. Zero G Games developed the PC game in Flash and this is the first instance of the use of Flash in a multiplayer game on the Yahoo! network. In addition, Zero G is continuing development on an interactive TV offering of chess, which will be fully integrated with both the web and the mobile versions.

"Zero G Games did a wonderful job with a complex product, and we are extremely pleased to offer flash Chess to our extensive game community,” said Cynthia Woll, executive producer, Yahoo! Games. “They are skilled at all aspects of multiplayer game technology, and they have the know-how to create compelling applications.

Zero G Games is a recognizable leader in Flash and web game development. From building online game brands to introducing new functionality for a client's product, Zero G Games provides award-winning design, user interface, and technology solutions for both web and television.

“Yahoo! is the most popular game destination on the internet and Yahoo! Chess is recognized globally drawing gamers from all corners of the world,” said Mark Lowe, CEO of Zero G Games. “We are thrilled to have worked with Yahoo! to launch this game and believe it will be a huge success for their Games property.”

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August 3, 2006

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.”

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July 11, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

Features include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 23, 2006

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.

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Casual Games Day

I met with a number of companies yesterday to talk about casual games. For those of you who don't know what a casual game is, it's a game that is easy to learn and doesn't require complex skills to operate. Web games and mobile phone games usually fit into this category. According to DFC Intelligence, the worldwide casual games market is valued at $205 million today and will surpass $13 billion by 2011.

Boonty - They aggregate and serve casual games, usually with a free version that doesn't have all the levels or times out. Then you have to buy it to keep playing it. A lot of their games are web playable which means from deciding to play to playing there's no delay. Go to www.boonty.com for tons of casual games.

PlayFirst - They've seen an enormous growth in non-hardcore or casual gaming. The audience is broadening for 35 year old women. The average casual gamer is a different person from the average hardcore games. Many of these games have a woman as the protagonist. Developers target women and people over 35 who want to take a break at work or after the kids go to bed. There's no killing and no babes in bikinis. These are easy to learn games that provide an escape. They've seen 90% year over year growth. One of their games is Connect Four Cities, where you play Connect Four using buildings. And yes, you can give the gift of game on their site.

Glu - They're the #2 publisher of mobile games. Holiday titles include ATV Offroad Fury (8 different tracks), World Series of Poker, and Deer Hunter 2 (five weapons and persistent environments). In July they've got Super KO Boxing which is a cartonny boxing game like Super Punch for NES. They also offer Fox Sports Mobile Pro for $5.99 per month. It's a shell that gets filled with sports news. You can also follow your favorite team while they're on the field with live play by play.

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June 21, 2006

NAMCO NETWORKS APPOINTS VICE PRESIDENT OF STRATEGY AND PLANNING

SAN JOSE, Calif. (June 19, 2006) – Namco Networks, a leading publisher and developer of wireless games and content, today announced the appointment of Jason Ford as vice president of strategy and planning.

In this new position, Ford is responsible for strategic planning related to future products, technologies and distribution channels in existing and new markets.

“As the mobile game industry experiences rapid growth and advances in technology, there is unlimited potential for mobile entertainment,” said Kenji Hisatsune, President and CEO of Namco Networks. “As Namco Networks reaches new levels of maturity as a leading provider of quality, unique and fun mobile entertainment, Jason will keep a keen eye on our strategic opportunities.”

Previously, Ford served as the general manager of games for Sprint Nextel, where his responsibilities included strategic planning, marketing and management of wireless games, resulting in millions of game downloads. With a proven record of success and exceptional industry insight, Ford is a recognized visionary in the mobile games industry.

“Namco Networks is poised to lead the mobile entertainment industry in new directions,” Ford said. “I am pleased to join Namco’s team and look forward to developing a strategy that will turn tremendous growth opportunities into reality.”

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June 8, 2006

KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT, INC. EXPANDS PARTNERSHIP WITH PLAYFIRST

LOS ANGELES -- June 8, 2006 -- Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced they have expanded their partnership with PlayFirst, Inc., a leading full-service publisher of casual games, to include additional titles for mobile, Pirate Poppers(tm) and Professor Fizzwizzle(tm). Already popular casual PC titles, the games are expected to be available on mobile platforms next year. Together, Konami and PlayFirst are expanding the international market for casual games by bringing highly-original content to cell phones worldwide.

"Konami's mobile strategy includes a balance of popular casual games in addition to leveraging our internal brands," commented Joe Morris, Vice President, Mobile Content, Konami Digital Entertainment. "By partnering with strong performers in the casual gaming space like PlayFirst, we are able to offer our customers a top-quality mobile entertainment experience."

Under the terms of the agreement, Konami will manage the mobile publishing and distribution of two popular PlayFirst games Pirate Poppers, developed by Mystery Studio, and Professor Fizzwizzle, developed by Grubby Games.

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June 2, 2006

SQUARE ENIX, INC. PARTNERS WITH AMP’D MOBILE FOR THE 3 MONTH EXCLUSIVE DEBUT OF DIRGE OF CERBERUS: LOST EPISODE -FINAL FANTASY VII-

LOS ANGELES– June 1, 2006 – Square Enix, Inc. the publisher of Square Enix™ interactive products in North America, and Amp’d Mobile, the first fully integrated mobile entertainment company, today announced the debut of DIRGE of CERBERUS™: LOST EPISODE™ -FINAL FANTASY VII-. Japan’s leading 3D mobile game will be available exclusively on Amp’d mobile handsets Summer 2006. The game will be available for download at Amp’d (www.get.ampd.com).

DIRGE of CERBERUS: LOST EPISODE -FINAL FANTASY VII- tells the story three years after Meteorfall, where the original FINAL FANTASY VII ended, with Vincent Valentine struggling to

save the world from the evil Deepground Soldiers, a mysterious army of bloodthirsty soldiers. This action/role-playing game will take advantage of all mobile gaming has to offer, allowing players to explore a sprawling world in Battlefield mode, and battle the Deepground Soldiers in FPS battle mode. Familiar features from FFVII, such as materia and limit break attacks, can also be utilized by Vincent to smash his foes.

The title will initially release a single player mode, with a multiplayer function launching at a later date. While more details have yet to be announced, the multiplayer mode will offer online head-to-head action with other Amp’d Mobile players. All of this takes place over the mobile network.

“Launching DIRGE of CERBERUS: LOST EPISODE -FINAL FANTASY VII- with Amp’d mobile is extremely exciting,” said Daishiro Okada, President and COO, Square Enix, Inc., “Amp’d Mobile’s focus on the youth market and their powerful 3G network make them a great partner for continuing the legacy of FINAL FANTASY VII.”

”We met with Square Enix at last year’s QUALCOMM BREW conference and immediately targeted this title as an exclusive on Amp’d,” said Seth Cummings, Senior Vice President, Content, Amp’d Mobile. “We’re excited to announce deployment of FINAL FANTASY on Amp’d one year later. Our commitment to deploying only best-of-breed titles is exemplified by our partnership with Square Enix and we look forward to collaborating on future deployments.”

“DIRGE OF CERBERUS is an amazing BREW 3D title that has raised the bar as far as what’s possible on a mobile device and a high-speed network”, said Mike Yuen, senior director, gaming group, QUALCOMM Internet Services. “Combining Square Enix’s phenomenally successful FINAL FANTASY franchise with Amp’d Mobile’s launch marketing savvy will be a showcase of what 3D gaming and 3G networks are all about.”

DIRGE of CERBERUS: LOST EPISODE -FINAL FANTASY VII- was developed by a Square Enix, Inc. team led by Kosei Ito, in partnership with Ideaworks 3D. Ito, along with Alex Caccia,

COO and general manager of Ideaworks3D, will delve deeper into the collaborative development of the title at the BREW 2006 Conference, leading a session entitled “DIRGE of CERBERUS:

LOST EPISODE -FINAL FANTASY VII-“ at BREW on Thursday, June 1 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. BREW 2006 is taking place May 31-June 2 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

The BREW solution drives the discovery and delivery of data services. BREW subscribers benefit from several offerings, which include: uiOne™ for rich, integrated and dynamic user experiences with fast access to high revenue services on wireless devices; deliveryOne™ for differentiated and tightly integrated, operator-managed support and delivery of advanced wireless data content and services; and marketOne™ for a quick-to-market, hosted, scalable content delivery service that includes media titles, flexible management and monetization, content provider settlement and business intelligence services. QUALCOMM offers this comprehensive set of BREW offerings to meet the needs of companies delivering mobile products and services around the world.

Gamers can also look forward to the original PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system game, DIRGE of CERBERUS -FINAL FANTASY VII- on August 22, 2006. Part of Square Enix’s Polymorphic Content strategy, DIRGE of CERBERUS is Square Enix’s first gun-action game. This release arrives with several new features tailored for the North American market including new missions and special content.


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May 20, 2006

E3 Coverage - Namco Networks

I met with Scott Rubin, VP of Sales and Marketing for Namco Networks America as my last meeting on Wednesday. This is the first year that Namco Networks has had it's own booth. And it was a huge booth for a mobile games publisher. Scott told me of Namco Networks' success in the past year with the rapid uptake in casual gaming and how their classic arcade games lend themselves very well to the mobile format. Popular titles include Galaga, Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man.
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Scott also told me about original Namco Networks titles such as Snoopy and the Red Baron, Dilbert Cubicle Chaos, and Scene it? the number 1 board game in the world. For those of you who don't know about it, like me, it's a tv and movie trivia game. All of these games are network enabled meaning that you can download additional content and they support multi player.
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May 9, 2006

Taito to adopt Nokia’s SNAP Mobile platform for connected mobile game publishing

Los Angeles, CA, 9 May 2006 – Nokia (NYSE: NOK), the leader in mobile communications, today announced that Taito, the publisher of some of the world's best-loved classic video and arcade games, will begin publishing connected mobile gaming content on the SNAP Mobile platform, the most comprehensive one stop solution for connected Java mobile gaming community. Expected to be available to consumers in late 2006, Taito games developed for SNAP Mobile feature the interactive multiplayer capabilities of the SNAP Mobile solution and are optimized for mobile play through superior use of mobile phone screen space.

SNAP Mobile’s agreement with Taito to publish and distribute casual mobile gaming titles marks the US and European debut of a connected multiplayer version of Taito’s hit title Bust-A-Move, known internationally as Puzzle Bobble. Bust-A-Move: Mobile Mania will be available on the SNAP Mobile platform with the unprecedented addition of gamer rankings and head-to-head match play over the cellular network as well as friends list, presence, and instant messaging capabilities.

“Our relationship with Nokia’s SNAP Mobile opens a door to the market opportunity for connected casual gaming,” said Kenji Ishikawa, Regional Manager of Taito. “The competitive nature of a game like Bust-A-Move lends itself to multiplayer gaming among groups of friends who purchase it for play using the SNAP Mobile solution.”

“The connected multiplayer features of SNAP Mobile are a natural fit for intuitively social titles such as Taito’s Bust-A-Move,” said Lisa Waits, Head of Nokia’s SNAP Mobile. “The agreement between SNAP Mobile and a leading publisher of casual gaming titles such as Taito helps to define a market shift to quality connected casual gaming titles for the mobile user.”

The SNAP Mobile solution is now available for connected mobile game development and publishing, as well as mobile game community development. It delivers a quality connected game playing experience to users by harnessing the versatility of Java™-based mobile content on a wide variety of Java™ MIDP2.0 compliant phones.

Operators, publishers and developers wishing to learn more about SNAP Mobile can also visit Nokia at booth #900 during the Electronic Entertainment Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center, May 10-12.

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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" »

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" »

April 18, 2006

Gameloft Gets Down with Paris Hilton; Exclusive Multiyear Licensing Agreement to Produce Mobile Games Based on Heiress Extraordinaire

NEW YORK – Gameloft, a leading developer and publisher of mobile games, is delighted to announce a long term licensing agreement with Paris Hilton Entertainment Inc. to develop, publish and distribute mobile games based on heiress and pop culture icon, Paris Hilton.

As part of this agreement, Gameloft will develop and produce a series of mobile games featuring Paris Hilton and her likeness. The first title in the series will be geared to tweens/teens and fans of Paris Hilton. Additional games scheduled for production will be aimed at both male and female fans of Ms. Hilton whose diverse fan base complements Gameloft’s catalogue of wide ranging games.

“Gameloft is dedicated to increasing mobile game offerings to female and casual gamers and we are thrilled to have Paris Hilton on board,” said Michel Guillemot, president, Gameloft. “She is a model, a fashionista, an actress, an entrepreneur and a pop culture force of nature whose appeal is recognized the world over. Mobile games based on such a significant personality as Paris Hilton will be an excellent addition to our diverse slate of games,” added Guillemot. “She is a universal brand that surpasses all boundaries.”

“I’m excited to collaborate with Gameloft to bring the Paris Hilton brand and the glamour of young Hollywood to the cell phones of all my fans around the world,” said Paris Hilton. “My phone has become an all in one entertainment device and mobile games are an integral part of that. Mobile gaming is really hot right now and I’m excited to be part of this project.”

Gameloft’s experience in bringing branded entertainment personalities to the mobile space includes baseball star Derek Jeter, golf pro Vijay Singh and European soccer star Djibril Cisse.

The first mobile game based on Paris Hilton is scheduled for release worldwide in summer of 2006.


Continue reading "Gameloft Gets Down with Paris Hilton; Exclusive Multiyear Licensing Agreement to Produce Mobile Games Based on Heiress Extraordinaire" »

April 13, 2006

ABANDON MOBILE AND NBC SPORTS TEAM UP WITH VERIZON WIRELESS TO DELIVER NBC SPORTS HEADS-UP POKER

BEDMINSTER, NJ and NEW YORK--April 13, 2006--Verizon Wireless, Abandon Mobile and NBC Sports announced today that NBC Sports Heads-up Poker mobile game will be available exclusively to Verizon Wireless Get it Now® customers through May 31, 2006. The mobile game, NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker, will be promoted on-screen during the 2006 Championship from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that is scheduled to air nationwide on NBC Sports April 16, 23 and 30 and on May 7 and 14. All television coverage begins at noon EDT; the two-hour championship telecast will take place at 1:00 p.m. EDT on May 21.

Based on the popular card game Texas Hold'em, NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker brings all the excitement of the National Heads-up Poker Championship to Verizon Wireless Get It Now customers. With NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker mobile game, there's no need to put on a poker face as players go one-on-one against the world's best in a single elimination competition in tournament mode, or play one game with an opponent of their choosing. In Texas Hold'em mode, players can also challenge all of the opponents at one table for a game in Texas Hold'em format.

The National Heads-Up Poker Championship features the world's best players in single elimination competition for $1.5 million in prize money. Competitors include defending champion Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, Howard Lederer, Ted Forrest, and Chris "Jesus" Ferguson among virtually all of professional poker's big name players.

The high-quality graphics and animation provide spectacular gameplay on a variety of Verizon Wireless Get It Now-enabled handsets, and the simple interface and competitive AI reflect all kinds of different poker playing styles. Verizon Wireless Get It Now customers can find NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker in the What's New shopping aisle of the Get It Now virtual store on more than 30 handsets for $2.99 monthly access or $7.49 for unlimited use purchase. Download charges for Get It Now applications vary and airtime charges apply when browsing, downloading and using certain applications. Customers need a Get It Now-enabled phone and Verizon Wireless digital service to access the Get It Now virtual store.

Continue reading "ABANDON MOBILE AND NBC SPORTS TEAM UP WITH VERIZON WIRELESS TO DELIVER NBC SPORTS HEADS-UP POKER" »

KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT DEBUTS NEW 3D MOBILE TITLES

LOS ANGELES, CALIF--APRIL 12, 2006--Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. announced today that the company has debuted three brand-new, highly addictive 3D mobile games. Balz 3D, Push-It, and Cubic are now available across several North American carriers and portals.

In Balz 3D players must keep the ball rolling without falling over the edge of the track while avoiding the traps. It doesn't matter which path you use, so find a shortcut or detour to shorten the time score! Net ranking and new road courses downloads will be available.

The colorful and whimsical game Push It! challenges players to create a safe course by maneuvering boxes into open areas in the path. Be careful not to disturb certain objects along the way. Caution: addiction rate is high!

Cubic is a challenging strategy game played over all sides of a 3D polygon cube. Choose your color and go! Reverse pieces are made by sandwiching in your opponent vertically, horizontally or diagonally. The player who has the most pieces wins!

Continue reading "KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT DEBUTS NEW 3D MOBILE TITLES" »

April 4, 2006

NAMCO NETWORKS’ POOL PRO ONLINE REACHES 3.6 MILLION MARK

SAN JOSE, Calif. & CTIA in LAS VEGAS (April 5, 2006) – Wireless subscribers have played more than 3.6 million games of Pool Pro OnlineTM from Namco Networks a leading publisher and developer of wireless games and content. Contributing to this impressive statistic, the top record-setting player has played the real-time, head-to-head pool game more than 27,000 times.

The first multi-player pool game available from national wireless carriers, Namco Network’s Pool Pro Online presents the option for players to compete head-to-head online across carriers, or offline in single player mode and multiplayer hot-seat mode. Pool Pro Online features both 8- and 9-ball games, three difficulty settings for offline play, and a zoom-in feature that allows players to zoom-in on tricky shots and hit with precise aim. In online mode, players compete in real-time against thousands of competitors across the country. Scores are published on five leader boards – Most Wins, Best Win-Loss Ratio, Best Rating, Best 8-ball Player and Best 9-ball Player – allowing players to strategically choose their next competitor.

“Similar to how online games attracted PC gamers to the Internet, networked games are drawing social gamers to the mobile gaming space,” said Scott Rubin, vice president of sales and marketing for Namco Networks. “Knowing there is a person on the other end, not just a computer, increases the competitive nature of the game, making it a more enjoyable and interactive experience. We are thrilled by the success of this game and by the 3.6 million games that have played online. This proves to us that there is strong demand for network enabled game play on the wireless platform.”

Adding to the social aspect of the game, some carriers offer Pool Pro Online with a simulated chat function, allowing players to communicate with their competitors while playing online. The message swapping functionality allows players to send predefined messages to each other from a list that changes depending on the player’s current game situation. For example, if a player is ready to take a shot, he could send the message, “This one looks easy,” to his opponent. If he accidentally sinks the 8 ball, he can say “I let you win”.

Visit www.NamcoGames.com for information on how to download Pool Pro Online or other mobile game hits from Namco Networks.

Continue reading "NAMCO NETWORKS’ POOL PRO ONLINE REACHES 3.6 MILLION MARK" »

KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT, INC. PARTNERS WITH PLAYFIRST TO BRING CASUAL GAMES TO CELL PHONES

LOS ANGELES - April 4, 2006 - Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced a partnership with PlayFirst, Inc. the leading full-service publisher of casual games, for the licensing, development and distribution of several PlayFirst titles for mobile. Together, Konami and PlayFirst are expanding the international market for casual games by bringing highly original content to cell phones worldwide.

"As a full-service publisher, maximizing the reach of our games is a top priority," said Rich Roberts, vice president of sales and business development, PlayFirst. "With Konami's deep experience in both mobile and the international market, this partnership will introduce the world's mobile audience to PlayFirst's high caliber games and further enable casual gamers to access our exciting titles wherever they play."

Under the terms of the agreement, Konami will manage the mobile publishing and distribution of popular PlayFirst games such as the award-winning Oasis(tm), developed by Mind Control Software and Egg vs. Chicken(tm), developed by Gamelab.

"We have recognized a tremendous demand for innovative, high quality casual games in the mobile space. We recognized PlayFirst and its unique portfolio of highly original IP as an ideal partner to expand our mobile entertainment product line and to feed the demand of top tier games," said Joe Morris, Vice President, Mobile Content, Konami Digital Entertainment.

Continue reading "KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT, INC. PARTNERS WITH PLAYFIRST TO BRING CASUAL GAMES TO CELL PHONES" »

March 24, 2006

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.

Continue reading "EA LINES UP THE WORLD’S TOP SOCCER SUPERSTARS FOR 2006 FIFA WORLD CUP" »

March 20, 2006

NAMCO NETWORKS EXPANDS PRESENCE WITH ONLINE RETAIL STORE: CLUBNAMCO.COM

SAN JOSE, Calif. (March 20, 2006) – Looking for that exclusive PAC-MAN T-shirt or toy? Building on its mobile game success, Namco Networks, a leading publisher and developer of wireless games and content, today announced that PAC-MAN fans everywhere can purchase exclusive Namco game and character-themed memorabilia from www.clubNAMCO.com.

Recognizing the overwhelming consumer demand for souvenirs that capture the essence of Namco’s games, the company is expanding its online presence to provide merchandise from these arcade classics that have become mega-hits on the mobile platform. In addition to these popular collectibles, in the near future, Namco Networks plans to offer exclusive video game ringtones and cell phone wallpaper on the site.

clubNAMCO.com features products, some of which were previously unavailable in the Americas, commemorating arcade hits, such as PAC-MAN®, Ms. PAC-MAN®, Galaga® and Dig Dug®. Especially popular and generating high demand is a series of mechanical plush PAC-MAN toys, which debuted at the consumer technology show, DigitalLife 2005 in New York City. These battery-powered toys feature the infamous and evasive PAC-MAN and those pesky ghosts, Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. Other game-themed products include t-shirts, collectible figures and even a PAC-MAN shaped cushion.

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February 24, 2006

FROGGER® FOR PRIZES HOPS ONTO MOBILE PHONES

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

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

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

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February 14, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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February 13, 2006

Time Crisis Debuts on Mobile

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

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

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

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

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February 6, 2006

ARCADE CLASSICS RACE TO MOBILE PHONES

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

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

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

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

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

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January 18, 2006

NAMCO NETWORKS LAUNCHES NEW COLLECTION OF GAME RINGTONES

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Jan. 17, 2006) – Namco Networks, a leading publisher and developer of wireless games and content, today launched its latest series of videogame ringtones, available to subscribers of Namco’s ringtone service, PAC-MAN’s Arcade Corner™.

Exclusively available through PAC-MAN’s Arcade Corner, the new ringtones include sounds from Namco’s award-winning console phenomena, Katamari Damacy™ and its recently released sequel, We Love Katamari™. New ringtones from the hit games series Tekken®, Ace Combat™, and Time Crisis® are also available, along with ringtones from classics PAC-MAN®, Ms. PAC-MAN®, Galaga® and Sonic the Hedgehog by SEGA. PAC-MAN’s Arcade Corner distributes game ringtones from many of Namco’s other popular console and arcade games as well as from the games of other game publishers.

“Namco Networks recognizes the prevalence of arcade and video games in our culture and that consumers of mobile entertainment find value in and identify with these popular games,” said Scott Rubin, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Namco Networks. “PAC-MAN’s Arcade Corner gives consumers the opportunity to personalize their mobile phone experience with their favorite video game sounds.”

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January 9, 2006

NAMCO NETWORKS OFFICIALLY ESTABLISHED AS MOBILE GAME SUBSIDIARY

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2006) – Namco Networks, a leading publisher and developer of wireless games and content, today announced the official establishment of NAMCO NETWORKS AMERICA INC. as the mobile-dedicated subsidiary for Namco Bandai Holdings (USA) Inc..

“While the wireless content division of Namco America has always been heavily involved in the publishing and development of mobile games, the establishment of this mobile-dedicated company allows us to concentrate exclusively on mobile content and be a leader in this rapidly growing and changing industry,” said Kenji Hisatsune, President, CEO and COO of Namco Networks. “Like Namco America before it, Namco Networks will continue to provide fun, high-quality mobile games that ‘push the envelope’, both in content and in the leveraging of increasingly sophisticated mobile technology.”

Namco Networks will continue to expand its comprehensive catalog of branded and original games, which already includes arcade classics like PAC-MAN®, Ms. PAC-MAN®, Galaga® and Dig Dug®. Namco Networks will also be adding 3D mobile games to their catalog, including games based on the best-selling Namco brands Time Crisis® and Ridge Racer®.

Namco Networks will continue to create and publish new games that are cutting edge, taking advantage of the networked nature of the mobile phone and other unique technologies that the mobile platform provides.

Namco Networks will also remain a provider of other exclusive mobile content based on video games to all major carriers, including ringtones of video game sounds and music, and wallpapers, which feature characters and screenshots from video games.

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December 23, 2005

Scott Rubin Speaks on Namco Wireless plus EA and Jamdat

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Scott Rubin, VP of Sales and Marketing for Namco, about the role of traditional game publishers in wireless gaming and his take on the EA acquisition of Jamdat.

Matt: Hi Scott. Let's start this off with a discussion of how Namco is doing in the wireless space.
Scott: Namco is celebrating its 50th year in the gaming business. We are a traditional game publisher but the interesting thing there is that Telesia just ranked wireless gaming companies by market share and Jamdat was number one and Namco was number two mobile games publisher in North America. So Jamdat as number one was acquired by EA and there we are as number two. We, probably more than other traditional game publishers, see mobile as a very important part of the game industry overall. EA told the world this by acquiring Jamdat; Namco is telling the industry this by taking what was once a wireless games division and from Jan 1 on spinning off an entire company under the Namco umbrella dedicated to mobile and wireless games. We are taking wireless gaming seriously and are committed to it. This is the first mass market device that can play games and we're making sure that we're on top of it by providing games to the millions of people who have cell phones.

Matt: What are your thoughts on the EA acquisition of Jamdat?
Scott:We welcome it. We think that history has shown in the industry that competition helps assure quality and we have always been about putting quality games out on any platform but I think we're known in the mobile game space especially for putting out quality games. Pac Man looks just like the arcade game on the phone; it takes 3.8 seconds to go from the bottom left to the bottom right just like the arcade version. We're all about quality and we think that this step up in competition will only help assure quality and increase adoption of mobile games. Ninety percent of consumers don't even know they can download and play a game. Millions of people are going to do it and they're going to hopefully have a good experience because the quality is better and there are more games. We think it's going to have a positive effect on the industry and clearly consolidation is a trend. In 2006, carriers are going to become more and more selective about what games they offer and who they work with so this is just a big step forward for the whole industry. When EA announced that they were buying Jamdat is just made sense to me because now they're caught up with the market.

Matt: Could you please explain a little bit about spinning off a division at Namco?
Scott: Right now, over the last 3.5-4 years, Namco has been in the wireless space in North America as a wireless content division of Namco and starting January 1st we're spinning off a company which is going to be called Namco Networks and it will be a separate company dedicated to the mobile game space. We are showing the industry that we're dedicated to this space and we are setting this up so we can grow at a fast pace. My analogy is that we're sharing an apartment with other roommates and on January 1 we're moving out to a bigger apartment with more space to grow. We are going to be hiring. We have bigger marketing budgets. We'll continue to expand our catalog of mobile games and we will continue to focus on supporting the carrier to educate the consumer about mobile games. We're very excited about the spinoff.

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October 17, 2005

Namco Wireless

I met with Namco Wireless a few days ago to talk about their games for cell phones and ringtones. Overall, the games look pretty good. The last time I saw a mobile game it looked pretty crappy, but on today's phones these games can look good.

Namco's big hits are their arcade classics like Pac Man, Dig Dug, and Galaxian. All three of these are quite playable.

They also have original content like Pac Man Bowling, PC Man Pin Ball, and PacMania 3D. The 3D games is cool because you can jump over the ghosts if you time it right.

PAC-MANIA.jpg

PAC-MAN_BOWLING.jpg

Pool Pro was cool. You sign in and immediately someone challenges you. Then there is almost no delay between turns so the games are fast.

Particularly innovative is Time Crisis. If you recall, Time Crisis is a first person shooter. How do you create an FPS for a cell phone. Divide the screen into quadrants like the keypad, then push the number that corresponds to the quadrant to fire at it. I could see spending a lot of time if I had this one.

Time_Crisis_Mobile_Screenshot01.bmp

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