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Interplay, Rage Sign Distribution Deal[2/20/01 6:00:48 PM ET]
 Interplay OEM, Inc. and Rage Software plc have signed a distribution deal under which Interplay OEM will get worldwide OEM and premium distribution rights on Rage titles on several platforms. Included in the pact are such games as Antaeus Rising, Hostile Waters, Incoming Forces and Off Road Racing. Interplay OEM is a subsidiary of Interplay Entertainment Corp.
Zeus Gets Editor, New Adventure Release[2/20/01 5:29:55 PM ET]
 Sierra Studios and Impressions Games have released the Official Zeus Enhancement Pack for free download from the game’s dedicated site. The add-on offers the Zeus Adventure Editor, which enables users to create their own adventures and maps, which can then be traded to other players. It will also include “The Odyssey,” a new adventure that the companies state “begins right where the last adventure in Zeus ended.”
Nascar Licensees Ponder Earnhardt Loss[2/20/01 4:40:02 PM ET]
 The death of famed Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt, Sr. in a crash at the Daytona 500 this past weekend is a tragedy that extends far beyond the racing world. For instance, it can create potentially awkward consequences for product licensees. In the aftermath of the horrible incident that took Earnhardt’s life, spoke to software publishers with Nascar-related products:
    • EA Sports indicated that it had posted a tribute page, which details the publisher’s past dealings with Earnhardt and offer information on donating to the Earnhardt’s charity, the Carolina Foundation.
    David Lee, EA Sports’ product manager, said that the publisher will contact Earnhardt’s family and company to “discuss what we will do in our games in the future.” Lee also noted that, following the deaths of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin, Jr. last year, their families requested that the drivers be left in the games “so that players would have a chance to remember them as they raced.”
    “We have been in contact with members of the NASCAR community to express our condolences,” Lee said, “and at this time this is all we're focusing on.” He added that EA Sports has received requests from fans to keep Earnhardt in its Nascar 2002 game, as well as thanks for the tribute page.
    • Hasbro Interactive, now a division of Infogrames, has Nascar releases for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 planned for this summer, and is still determining how it will deal with Earnhardt’s death. A spokesperson noted that, after last year’s deaths, specific “challenges” pertaining to those drivers were removed from the game, and the games dedicated to them. The spokesperson said that any Earnhardt-specific challenges would likely come out of the game, too, though it’s too early to know for sure.
    • Sierra Sports—which just released its PC version, Nascar Racing 4—said that no changes to the game have been planned at this point, but it will be discussed.
Samus Goes First Person for GameCube[2/20/01 3:51:20 PM ET]
 According to, the Metroid title being developed for the GameCube will fit into the first-person shooter genre. In the report, it was noted that Retro Studios began development with the intention of making it from the third-person perspective, but “Nintendo evaluators were unimpressed.” Thus, the legendary Samus will now be featured from a first-person perspective.
Tremor Adds CEO[2/20/01 3:43:02 PM ET]
 Tremor Entertainment, Inc. has announced the appointment of Steven Oshinshy as its new CEO. Oshinsky joins the Southern California-based game developer as its largest shareholder, though his management of the RAM Capital Management investment-banking firm.
    Among its previous credits, Tremor has worked on Railroad Tycoon II, Kiss: Psycho Circus and the Sega Swirl game that comes with the Dreamcast console. It also indicates it’s working on “a series of games” for Xbox that will come out under the Microsoft banner.
Charne Opens Up Law Office[2/20/01 2:49:17 PM ET]
 The former president and executive director of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, Jim Charne, has recently opened up a law office. Located in Santa Monica, California, the practice will provide “experienced, personalized and attentive counsel in all matters relating to the interactive software entertainment, music, motion-picture and other intellectual property-related industries.” Click here to go to the firm’s website.
Sudden Strike Patch[2/20/01 1:46:56 PM ET]
 Strategy First has released a patch for the PC game Sudden Strike. The patch, U.S. version 1.2, helps with multiplayer issues between the European and North American versions, as well as GameSpy support, selective unloading of troops from trucks, placing mines and repairing bridges.
    The patch is available at the Strategy First and Sudden Strike websites.
Scooby-Doo Heads to GBA[2/20/01 1:00:25 PM ET]
 THQ today announced another title in development for the Game Boy Advance, Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase. This game will be based on the new home video that also goes by that name.
    “Given the continued convergence of entertainment mediums, we’re excited to leverage our strength in the kids videogame category by bringing Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase to the upcoming Game Boy Advance system day-and-date with the exclusive-to-video release,” said Germaine Gioia, THQ’s vice president of licensing. “The Scooby-Doo brand lends itself perfectly to the Game Boy Advance system given its wide appeal and mystery-solving nature.”
    THQ plans on releasing the game this fall.
Motor City Online Details[2/20/01 12:20:49 PM ET]
 Electronic Arts has released new information about its online racing PC title, Motor City Online. First, the game will have two gaming “environments,” Sim World and Arcade Action. Sim World will be the choice for players who want to buy, sell, trade or customize their cars. With Arcade Action, players will simply pick a car and try to wipe out the competition. When it comes to vehicles, players will choose from a fine selection of classic, stock and muscle cars.
    EA Seattle, which worked on two Need for Speed titles, is currently developing Motor City Online.
    Motor City Online will be released this summer or fall.
Disciples Gold Edition Shipping This Month[2/20/01 11:48:55 AM ET]
 Strategy First Inc. announced today that it will begin shipping Disciples Gold Edition for the PC at the end of February. This edition consists of over 25 new scenarios, more multiplayer functions and every game update.
    In related news, Strategy First is planning to release Disciples II: Dark Prophecy during second quarter 2001.
Shipment Lookout[2/20/01 11:31:49 AM ET]
 Courtesy of VideoByCycling, here are the hot titles coming to market this week:
  • Star Wars: Starfighter—PS2
  • NBA ShootOut 2001—PS2
  • Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix—PS One
  • High Heat Major League Baseball 2002—PS One
Extermination Trailer Released[2/20/01 11:19:26 AM ET]
 Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. has posted a trailer for its upcoming PS2 title, Extermination. This game fits into the Resident Evil, survival horror genre. Extermination is being released in Japan this March, and a North American release is expected to follow soon after. Follow this link to download the trailer.
NBA Live 2001 for PC Available Now[2/20/01 10:51:45 AM ET]
 Electronic Arts has made available to consumers the PC version of NBA Live 2001. Along with online play through, the game features All-Star teams for the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s. As always, the NBA Live series is the only one to include the greatest of all-time, Michael Jordan.
    NBA Live 2001 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB, and retails for $39.95. This game is also available for the PS One and PS2 platforms.
More Shattered Galaxy Beta Testing[2/20/01 10:44:51 AM ET]
 Nexon will begin the fourth phase of beta testing for Shattered Galaxy this Thursday. For this massively multiplayer, online real-time strategy game (MMORTS), Nexon has added more items and another planet. The beta version is available to everyone and can be downloaded by clicking here.
Icewind Dale Expansion Shipped[2/20/01 10:38:03 AM ET]
 Interplay Entertainment Corp. has begun to ship to retailers across the country Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter for the PC. This software acts as an expansion for the original Icewind Dale. It includes new monsters, spells and areas, as well as “higher resolution support, larger monsters and new interface configuration options.”
EA to Distribute for Capcom Eurosoft[2/16/01 5:46:18 PM ET]
 Capcom Eurosoft, a subsidiary of Capcom Entertainment, Inc., has announced that it’s signed a deal with Electronic Arts (EA) under which EA will provide European distribution of Capcom’s PlayStation 2 products, such as Onimusha: Warlords and Street Fighter EX3. The agreement covers “all European territories outside the United Kingdom,” according to a joint statement, and won’t affect current deals that Capcom Eurosoft has in place with Eidos and Titus/Virgin, which handle Capcom’s Dreamcast and PlayStation titles, respectively.
    EA will facilitate the distribution through its EAD division, as well as “other companies in its portfolio, such as NovaLogic, Fox, LucasArts (Germany and Spain) and others.”
History Channel Updates Web Game[2/16/01 5:20:32 PM ET]
 The History Channel has updated its History IQ game on its website with improved speed and other enhancements. The History IQ show runs daily at 7:30pm ET/PT, and is playable simultaneously on the Web, but a 24/7 Online version can be played at any time.
    Among the changes, the game has been converted into a browser-based format, so it doesn’t require the player to download and run a separate application. It also features the ability to chat with other players during the game.
    Along with the game changes, the History Channel has introduced a contest that runs through March 30 via the “Primetime Enhanced TV Contest.” The player with the highest cumulative score over the contest period will win a 13-day trip to Paris, but other prizes are being offered to runners-up.
GamePro Responds to IDSA Proposal[2/16/01 3:48:45 PM ET]
 IDG GamePro Media Group President/CEO John Rousseau has responded to the report that the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) has sent to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) an overview of its recommendations regarding how the industry markets its products, as covered earlier this week. Rousseau, who is also GamePro magazine’s publisher, shows his concern about the proposals, which, if enacted, could severely impact his company's products, as well as other industry media and product publishers.
    Here’s the text of the statement as provided to

    We were quite surprised to see a document from the IDSA of this importance and magnitude floating around the Internet. GamePro has been a long-time supporter of the ESRB ratings system and the Advertising Review Council guidelines. Our design team actually provided design creation of the ratings icons when they were first introduced and we continue to support the ratings system greatly. We would have hoped that the leading electronic entertainment magazine and Internet content providers would have been consulted by the ESRB more on the type of regulations that are being proposed in this document.
    We are evaluating the legality and enforceability of these regulations and also our relationship with the Ad Review Council moving forward.

    While the March 2001 GamePro doesn’t appear to carry a single ad for a Mature-rated game—though there were some “Rating Pending” games that are a gray area for the regulations—in an issue that comes out during the holiday season, when many products are being released and advertised, the IDSA proposal could cause a drop of as many as 20 M-rated ad pages. The effect could result in a revenue drop totaling thousands of dollars per issue. For example, the December 2000 GamePro had about half a dozen pages for M-rated games—not including ads for retailers listing M-rated games.
    The proposal could also have a subtle effect on overall page count, which could cause a reduction in single-copy sales. Conceivably, a magazine with an older readership could be 30-40 pages thicker than a publication without the ads. A consumer may choose to buy the larger magazine, figuring they’re getting more for their money.
Unison Song List Announced[2/16/01 2:26:20 PM ET]
 Tecmo has released the list of songs included in its PS2 title Unison: Rebels of Rhythm and Dance:
    • Stop the Rock by Apollo 440
    • Barbie Girl by Aqua
    • Country Grammar by Nelly
    • We Are Family remixed by Marley Marl
    • That’s the Way I Like It by KC & the Sunshine Band
    • OPP by Naughty by Nature
    • Everybody Dance by Chic
    • Nowhere by FAZE4
    • YMCA remixed by Tecmo Japan
    • Yosaku remixed by Tecmo Japan
    • Night of Fire remixed by Tecmo Japan
    • Synchronized Love by Joe Rinoue
Team Arena Map Pack at FilePlanet[2/16/01 1:13:54 PM ET]
 FilePlanet has posted the Quake III: Team Arena Map Pack 1 on its website. The expansion consists of four team-style maps, and the download size is 15.9MB. Follow this link to download.
UT for DC Gone Gold[2/16/01 1:07:06 PM ET] recently conducted an interview with Pete Clark, director of development at Secret Level. During the interview, he mentioned that the Dreamcast version of Unreal Tournament has received Sega’s approval and “has gone into manufacturing.” Clark also said that the game should be hitting store shelves during the early part of March.
    The game will support both the Dreamcast keyboard and mouse. Click here to read the entire interview.
Piracy Costly to U.S. Companies[2/16/01 12:23:06 PM ET]
 The Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) is reporting to the U.S. government that U.S. computer and videogame companies are losing billions of dollars from global software piracy of packaged products. The organization mentioned pirate factories in Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia as the “major centers of pirate game production.” This information was part of the Special 301 report done by the International Intellectual Property Alliance.
    Douglas Lowenstein, IDSA president, stated, “"Not only are more than nine out of every ten games available in these five countries illegal copies, but factories in each of these countries flood the rest of the world with pirate production of optical media and game
cartridges…each of these countries has consistently failed to take appropriate legal and regulatory steps to police this illegal production. Until they do so, the IDSA will continue to urge the U.S. Government to take strong action against them and other countries which fail to adequately protect intellectual property rights."
    Preliminary data shows that from the 50 countries studied, companies are losing approximately $3 billion. Lowenstein added this number doesn't even include Internet piracy.
GameLoft Website Redesign[2/16/01 12:05:35 PM ET]
 GameLoft has recently decided to modify its website with a small redesign. Hopefully, this will make it easier for visitors to see what the website has to offer. To check out the GameLoft “face-lift,” click here.
First Delta Force Commander-in-Chief Named[2/16/01 11:28:03 AM ET]
 NovaLogic Inc. has announced that for the first time a player of its PC game Delta Force: Land Warrior has received the title of commander-in-chief. This is the highest rank that a player can achieve in this online, first-person shooter. It took Nick Huynh of Fort Wayne, Indiana approximately 400 hours of gameplay to reach this rank, which is based on experience points.
The Future Network Makes Cutbacks[2/16/01 10:42:21 AM ET]
 According to MCVUK, The Future Network is in the process of restructuring. which has resulted in the loss of 350 jobs and 20 magazines being shut down. In the U.S., six magazines will be closed, with two of them being Revolution and T3. Future will also be closing five websites in the U.S. and U.K.
    Future CEO Greg Ingham told MCVUK,  "Following a prolonged period of growth, Future has recently faced much tougher market conditions. In response, we are refocusing our activities around the high passion specialist consumer audiences we have built the business on…Future remains the world leader in computer games magazines and we are well positioned to capitalize on the continued roll-out of Sony's PlayStation 2 and the worldwide launch of the official Xbox Magazine beginning in the U.S. later this year."

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