NewsPro Archive

August 2003

Friday, August 29, 2003

Deus Ex: Invisible War Intro Trailer
Steve @ 7:10 PM EDT
Earlier in the week Eidos released a trailer for Dues Ex: Invisible War. Dues Ex will be shipping this Holiday 2003.

Trailer - http://www.eidosinteractive.com/downloads/search.html?gmid=125

Thursday, August 28, 2003

New PSO Content Available for Download
Steve @ 5:38 PM EDT
The following content is now available for Phantasy Star Online via Xbox Live:

Quests
ˇ Mop-Up Operation 1-2: Mop-up all of the enemies within the time limit.

ˇ Endless Nightmare 1-2: The enemies are coming at us relentlessly. Destroy them until none remain.

ˇ Lost Ice Spinner: Hopkins has hired you to get back his lost Ice Spinner that De Rol Le swallowed. Take him down.

Challenge Modes (for two to four players): 5 and 6
Battle Modes (for two to four players): 4, 5, and 6

Players who complete all of the Challenges will be rewarded with a special item based on a weapon type of the player's choosing. New Challenge Modes will be added monthly.

NFL Fever 2004 Released: New XSN Sports Info
Steve @ 5:29 PM EDT
REDMOND, Wash. - Aug. 28, 2003 - In a bold move designed to shake up the sports gaming industry, Microsoft Corp. officially unveiled its new brand of sports video games, XSN Sports. Each XSN Sports video game will include cutting-edge technology that will for the first time link the XboxŽ video game system, Xbox Live™ service and personal computer. XSN Sports will take sports gaming to another level by offering gamers the ability to set up leagues, build tournaments and analyze scouting reports on the centralized Web site, XSNsports.com. This new brand and the exclusive XSN Sports technology go live today, offering exciting new opportunities for sports gamers.

The XSN Sports revolution begins with "NFL Fever 2004," the first title in the new XSN Sports brand and Microsoft's best-selling football franchise exclusive to Xbox. "NFL Fever 2004" hits store shelves today to coincide with the launch of XSNsports.com and the XSN Sports brand.

With XSNsports.com, gamers will be able to battle their friends in a personalized and password-protected 16-game user-created season, challenge top-ranked online competitors in a worldwide tournament, or settle scores with bitter rivals from the comfort of their living room. XSNsports.com will provide gamers with their own virtual sports page of their exploits and broadcast up-to-date statistics, standings, tendencies and trade proposals every 15 minutes. The site's Web-based technology always keeps sports fans plugged into the competition on Xbox and the PC.

"XSN Sports will revolutionize sports video games as we know them," said Ed Fries, corporate vice president of Xbox games publishing at Microsoft. "The ability to create customized leagues and tournaments among your group of friends, where the competition truly matters, is the breakthrough sports gamers have been waiting for."

"NFL Fever 2004"

The inaugural title in the XSN Sports brand, "NFL Fever 2004" (http://www.xbox.com/nflfever2004/), the third installment of Microsoft's best-selling Xbox- exclusive football franchise, is now available everywhere video games are sold. "NFL Fever 2004," already playable with the world's most competitive arena, the Xbox Live online game service, is ready to explode on the football scene with an improved defensive AI, the new "read and lead" passing feature, and an all-new play-calling interface with "bluff mode." With the addition of XSN Sports and its league-management capabilities, "NFL Fever 2004" is poised for a breakout season.

XSN Sports Titles

In addition to "NFL Fever 2004," XSN Sports features a robust lineup of Xbox-exclusive titles launching this fall, including these:

  • "Top Spin™." The complete tennis experience that allows gamers to experience intense, realistic tournament competition features 16 of the world's greatest tennis stars including Pete Sampras, Anna Kournikova and Lleyton Hewitt.

  • "AmpedŽ 2." The sequel to the popular extreme sport title on Xbox now includes more rendered real mountains, new combo and style tricks, and multiplayer modes.

  • "NBA Inside Drive 2004." The ultimate hoops experience now features new cover athlete Shaquille O'Neal and revamped offensive and defensive schemes.

  • "LinksŽ 2004." The most realistic golf series on the PC has been specially designed for Xbox and is set to make its console debut.

  • "NHL Rivals 2004." The first hockey title created by Microsoft for Xbox features Steve Yzerman as the cover athlete and the ultimate hockey experience.
    Microsoft is supporting the XSN Sports brand and games under the brand with print and television advertising, a strong retail presence, online marketing and numerous publicity events.

    New Xbox Live Content for Brute Force
    Steve @ 5:26 PM EDT
    The following content is now available for Brute Force via Xbox Live download:

    In the Confed military, a marine’s basic tenet is: If something can go wrong, it will. Marines usually call this Murphy’s Law. Brute Force calls it a way of life. Enter Lockjaw, the newest downloadable mission for Brute Force, available only on Xbox Live. Once again, the player is ordered to lead their deadly squad of commandos into the fray to answer a distress call. According to the chain of command, this mission is a quick, get in, get out scenario with a minimal chance of enemy contact. Yeah right, and that’s why they picked Brute Force to go in? Lockjaw is a fast-paced mission that will challenge even the most skilled Brute Force players. The best word of advice to any wannabes -- be prepared. Things are not as they seem!

    Namco Announces Plague of Darkness: Xbox Live
    Steve @ 5:24 PM EDT
    San Jose, Ca., (August 27, 2003) – Leading video games publisher Namco Hometek Inc. promises intense, nonstop action in its newest thriller, Plague of Darkness (tentative title), announced today. Scheduled for release on the PlayStationŽ2 computer entertainment system and the XboxŽ video game system from Microsoft, Plague of Darkness will ship in the summer of 2004. Developed by Widescreen Games in Lyon, France, Plague of Darkness will feature XboxLive functionality, complete with downloadable content, as well as PlayStationŽ2 online support with exclusive extras.

    “Plague of Darkness will raise the bar in the action adventure genre through its haunting original storyline, close combat elements, stunning graphics and intense action,” said Jon Kromrey, Producer at Namco Hometek Inc. “We think gamers will be infected with its immersive and addictive game play.”

    In Plague of Darkness, Namco transports players to ravaged Medieval Europe during the time of the Black Death. Eight brooding environments with 58 sub-locations will put players to the test, each containing new objectives, enemies and obstacles. A linear storyline with deadly puzzles, fascinating characters and chilling discoveries allow players to experience unique game play mechanics and participate in over-the-top fantasy combat. In a time where advanced weaponry doesn’t yet exist, players have a multitude of basic weapons, special tools and magic at their disposal. Over five weapons are featured in the game, including a variety of swords, crossbows, daggers and the ability to cast magic spells. The game’s outstanding cinematic effects set an additional ambient tone for Plague of Darkness, immersing players deep into the dark world environments.

    The game’s story features a Knight of the Order, Douran, who sets out on a mission to bring down a terrible demon. The demon has been haunting the land of the living by feasting on the black souls of the dead, in order to bring about its own resurrection. During the course of his adventure, Douran encounters other characters that may hold answers to the mystery behind the demonic plague, but can he trust them? In the course of the story, the hero fights the omnipresent evil demon by using the game’s sacred relic in a quest to spread peace throughout Europe.

    Xbox.com Redesign: Win Prizes
    Steve @ 5:23 PM EDT
    Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of a fully redesigned Xbox.com and is offering gamers a chance to win great prizes. Along with a whole new look, Xbox Live Web, accessible via Xbox.com/Live, enables Xbox Live gamers to stay connected with other players while they're on the Web by registering their Gamertag with a .net Passport account on Xbox.com. The newly revamped Xbox.com accounts give users a simple single sign-in, better security and the most personalized Web experience available in videogames today. From any Web browser, players can check rankings and stats, see if friends are online and which games they're playing, and more. To see Xbox Live Web in action, go to http://www.xbox.com/live

    If gamers didn't already have enough reasons to visit Xbox.com, Microsoft's hugely trafficked official destination for all things Xbox, here is one more. To celebrate the Xbox.com redesign and the launch of Xbox Live Web, users who sign up for new Xbox.com and Xbox.com/Live accounts or convert their current account will be entered into a sweepstakes to win a variety of prizes. Daily prizes include free Xbox Live subscriptions, RCA Lyra 1.5b mini portable digital players, Xbox Live keychain Memory Units and Xbox Live Voice Communicators. Grand prizes will include Klipsch home stereo systems, RCA Lyra 1.5b mini portable digital players, a one-year supply of Mountain Dew, an RCA big-screen HDTV and even a chance to attend the Halo 2 launch party. The sweepstakes run from Monday, August 25 to Monday, September 22, 2003. For more details and official rules go to: http://www.xbox.com/

    Tuesday, August 26, 2003

    Sega Releases Otogi: Myth of Demons
    Steve @ 2:47 PM EDT
    SAN FRANCISCO - (August 26, 2003) - SEGA(R) of America, Inc. today announced the release of "Otogi(TM) - Myth of Demons," a samurai warrior action game exclusively for the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft. Developed by FROM Software, "Otogi - Myth of Demons" delivers mission-based gameplay in deep, destructible environments representative of ancient Japan. Based on Japanese folklore, "Otogi" tells the story of an undead warrior on a quest to save himself and the universe from a vicious, demonic army.

    "'Otogi - Myth of Demons' is a huge game with gorgeous graphics set in a fantastical world that U.S. gamers have not yet been exposed to," said Noah Musler, product manager, SEGA of America. "'Otogi' delivers more than Xbox gamers bargained for this fall; it is a great choice for any action-adventure game fan, or for anyone looking for a good demon fight."

    In "Otogi," gamers assume the role of Raikoh, an undead warrior on a mission to obliterate demons that have overtaken the Old World. Fully-customizable with more than 30 weapons and 12 varieties of magic, Raikoh makes his way through 29 colossal, highly destructible stages, striking down endless hoards of warriors, massive boss characters and everything else that gets in his way.

    Armed with upgradeable weapons, magic and special demon-slaying items, "Otogi" gives gamers the ability to decimate trees, walls, furniture and even entire buildings as well as master dozens of special moves and techniques that make for the most intense, stylish combat available on Xbox.

    Set to music that reflects this documented age of supernatural beliefs, players will become immersed in the mysticism of the times as the story unravels.

    Namco Ships Soul Calibur II
    Steve @ 2:42 PM EDT
    San Jose, Ca., (Aug. 26, 2003) – Namco Ltd. announced today that its franchise title, SOULCALIBURŽII, has shipped to stores nationwide. The highly anticipated sequel to one of the most revered 3D weapons-based fighting games of all time, SOULCALIBURŽII is now available on the PlayStationŽ2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube and the XboxŽ video game system from Microsoft.

    "Consumer anticipation for SOULCALIBURŽII has been monumental," said Dan DeMatteo, President and Chief Operating Officer of GameStop. "Our pre-sell programs have been strong since early on and we fully expect SOULCALIBURŽII to be one of the best-selling titles of 2003."

    Featuring more than 15 characters from the original game, SOULCALIBURŽII introduces Necrid, a Todd McFarlane Productions character created exclusively for the series. Each video game system also boasts its own unique guest fighter: Nintendo’s Link brings his chivalry to the Nintendo GameCube, Todd McFarlane’s comic book hero Spawn brings his powers to Xbox, and Namco’s own Heihachi of Tekken fame brings his melee skills to the PlayStationŽ2.

    Exclusive to the U.S. and European versions of SOULCALIBURŽII are the playable characters Assassin, Berserker and Lizardman. Originally included as non-playable characters in the Japanese version, Assassin, Berserker and Lizardman are now playable in the following modes; VS Battle, Extra VS Battle, Team Battle, Extra Team Battle, VS Team Battle, Extra VS Team Battle, Practice and Extra Practice.

    “We have finely tuned every aspect of game play to make the release of SOULCALIBURŽII an event well worth waiting for,” said Jim Atkiss, Product Marketing Manager at Namco Hometek Inc. “The game has already taken top honors as ‘Best Fighting Game’ at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, and it’s poised to exceed expectations and take home even more awards by year’s end.”

    A continuation of the popular SOULCALIBURŽ series, SOULCALIBURŽII received the “Best Fighting Game” award at the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. With 10 game modes, a host of unlockable costumes and arenas, and over 200 collectible weapons and items, SOULCALIBURŽII delivers the intense fighting action that fans have come to expect of the series.

    SOULCALIBURŽII is rated T for Teen and is now available in stores nationwide.

    Monday, August 25, 2003

    Namco Purchases Street Racing Syndicate Rights
    Steve @ 4:39 PM EDT
    San Jose, Ca., (Aug. 25, 2003) – Further strengthening its racing games legacy, Namco Hometek Inc. announced today that it has purchased Street Racing Syndicate (SRS) out of video game publisher 3DO’s bankruptcy court proceedings. Currently in development at UK-based studio, Eutechnyx Ltd., Street Racing Syndicate puts players behind the wheel in the fast-paced world of underground motorsports. Under Namco’s new charge, the title will release in Q3 2004 on the next generation game consoles.

    “Purchasing Street Racing Syndicate is a huge win for Namco as we continue to enhance our position in the video games industry,” said Nobuhiro Kasahara, president and COO of Namco Hometek Inc. “Together with the talented development team at Eutechnyx, we are confident that SRS will become a triple ‘A’ racing title.”

    Street Racing Syndicate realistically captures the competition, lifestyle, and action of real street racing. With money and respect always on the line, nights in this underground world are filled with high-risk at every turn. Players can customize their cars with authentic parts, cool paint and anything else bought or won from their competitors. Hot cars, including real licensed vehicles and parts are represented with lifelike physics and authentic damage that affect both the looks and performance of the vehicles. Drivers race for money, pink slips and even the girlfriends of rival street racers.

    Eutechnyx has developed many of the world's most popular driving games such as Test Drive Le Mans, 007 Racing and Big Mutha Truckers. For Street Racing Syndicate, the developer recently received the prestigious Best Racing Game of the Show award at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo 2003) from Maximum Play magazine.

    “Eutechnyx is exceptionally pleased that we will be working with Namco in the realization of Street Racing Syndicate,” said Brian Jobling, managing director of Eutechnyx Limited. “With Namco’s attention to detail and un-paralleled history in the car racing genre, this partnership will deliver a gameplay experience that exceeds the highest expectations of an SRS-hungry audience.”

    Friday, August 22, 2003

    First Global Xbox Live Tournament
    Steve @ 6:10 PM EDT
    Microsoft today announced that X03, the European press event in Southern France, will be the location of the world's first Xbox Live global gaming tournament. On September 17, the emerging champion will walk away with a trophy, a year's worth of Microsoft Game Studios titles, including "Halo 2," "Fable" and "Project Gotham Racing 2;" a copy of "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3" from Ubi Soft and the bragging rights associated with being the best Xbox Live gamer in the Western world.

    But it's more than player reputation on the line. Gamers from the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands will be representing their countries and competing for national pride. Cultural and language barriers will fall by the wayside as cross-Atlantic rivalries are settled with some friendly, online tactical warfare.

    To enter the tournament, gamers simply need to pick up a copy of "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder" for Xbox and start fragging enemies on Xbox Live immediately. Players can check their progress worldwide by viewing the leaderboards on Xbox Live. The top player in US and Canada as of 11:00 a.m. PDT on Tuesday, August 26 will win travel, accommodations and entry to this year's X03, held in a secret location in the South of France near Nice. X03 gives European games press, retail representatives and selected consumers the chance to test new Xbox and Xbox Live-enabled games heading to Xbox this Christmas and beyond. Now it sets the stage for one of the hottest competitions around. Details on the European portion of this tournament will be announced next week.

    After conquering their own countries, the ten finalists will then be competing for the ultimate title of the top Xbox Live gamer in the Western world. The tournament finals will be held on September 17 at X03. The game to decide it all will be the Xbox exclusive "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3," available to these lucky few a full three months before its scheduled release. All finalists will receive trophies plus a copy of "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3" from Ubi Soft. For more information, please visit the tournament page on the newly relaunched Xbox.com on Monday, August 25 at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/tournaments/

    Thursday, August 21, 2003

    Second Wave of Xbox Platinum Hits Announced
    Steve @ 2:34 PM EDT
    Microsoft Corp. today announced the second wave of Platinum Hits titles for Xbox. The Xbox Platinum Hits lineup provides gamers with a choice of the most proven and critically acclaimed titles for Xbox, all available for an estimated retail price (ERP) of $19.99 (U.S.) at most retailers. The titles in the second wave of Platinum Hits are as follows:

    "Blinx: The Time Sweeper" (Microsoft Game Studios)
    "Dead or Alive 3" (Tecmo)
    "Dead to Rights" (Namco)
    "The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind" (Bethesda Softworks)
    "Hitman 2 - Silent Assassin" (Eidos)
    "James Bond 007: Nightfire" (Electronic Arts)
    "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" (Vivendi Universal)
    "Medal of Honor: Frontline" (Electronic Arts)
    "Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2" (Electronic Arts)
    "Pac-Man World 2" (Namco)
    "Spider-Man: The Movie" (Activision)
    "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4" (Activision)
    "Unreal Championship" (Atari)

    New games will be added to the Platinum Hits lineup on an ongoing basis. Platinum Hits games are sold in silver packaging that includes the original product artwork. More information can be found at http://www.xbox.com/platinumhits

    Top 10 Xbox Games for July 2003
    Steve @ 2:30 PM EDT
    This week NPD Funworld released the sales data for the top 10 Xbox Games of July 2003:

    1. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
    2. NCAA Football 2004
    3. Halo
    4. Midnight Club II
    5. Pirates of the Caribbean
    6. Big Mutha Truckers
    7. Soldier of Fortune II
    8. Brute Force
    9. Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
    10. Enter the Matrix

    Tuesday, August 19, 2003

    Dany Heatley Signs for NHL 2004 Cover
    Steve @ 4:12 PM EDT
    REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 19, 2003--Atlanta Thrashers all-star right winger Dany Heatley has reached an agreement with Electronic Arts, the world's leading interactive software company, to be the cover athlete and spokesman for its EA SPORTS(TM) NHL(R) 2004 game. Heatley's image will be featured on NHL 2004 packaging and merchandising.

    "Being named a cover athlete for an EA SPORTS game is quickly becoming one of the biggest honors in sports today, and I'm thrilled to be working with EA on NHL 2004," Heatley said. "I've been a fan of EA SPORTS' NHL series for years, and couldn't be more excited about being part of the team behind the #1 selling pro hockey video game franchise."

    Dany Heatley is one of the fastest-rising young stars in the NHL(R) and was named the 2001-2002 Rookie of the Year. At 22 years old, Heatley beat Wayne Gretzky's record as the youngest player to score a hat trick in an All-Star game. He finished the 2002-2003 season as Atlanta's all-time leading scorer with 155 points, and was named the 2003 All Star Game MVP.

    NHL 2004 is the 12th installment of the best-selling EA SPORTS NHL hockey franchise, and is being developed by EA Canada. NHL 2004 will be available on the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube(TM) and PC in September. The official home page for NHL 2004 is http://www.nhl2004.com

    Monday, August 18, 2003

    NFL Blitz Pro to Be Previewed at 49ers Training Camp
    Steve @ 3:38 PM EDT
    NFL Blitz Pro, the all-new installment in the popular Midway Sports football videogame series, will be previewed at the San Francisco 49ers training camp. Scheduled to be available in stores this fall for next-generation systems, NFL Blitz Pro has been recreated to deliver for the first time features diehard football fans demand without leaving behind Blitz signature fast and furious gameplay. Midway Sports has incorporated actual player movements into the videogame through motion capture technology, and has enlisted numerous marquee players, including NFL Blitz Pro cover athlete and 49ers All-Pro Terrell Owens, to consult on the making of the game.

    New Downloadable Brute Force Content
    Steve @ 1:59 PM EDT
    The following content will be available for "Brute Force" at midnight on August 18 via Xbox Live download:

    Prisoner's Lament is a new Squad Deathmatch map, which takes place in an abandoned internment camp on Caspian. On this map players must utilize team-based tactics to capture the turrets guarding the inner bailey of the base before the other team.

    Cerulean is a new Deathmatch map that takes place in dangerous wastes and supports up to eight players. Using the meteor control panel, combatants can rain death upon their enemies. Also, searching out the secret high places can give a team an advantage over its opponents.

    Also, coming soon is an all new campaign mission called Lockjaw that can be played either solo or co-op with up to three friends.

    Friday, August 15, 2003

    Backyard Wrestling Official Website Launches
    Steve @ 3:16 PM EDT
    Today, Eidos informed us that the official website for Backyard Wrestling: Don't Try this At Home has launched. This game will be out in stores on October 7, 2003.

    Check out the website: http://www.bywgame.com

    Project Gotham Racing 2 Info - Release Date Announced
    Steve @ 3:04 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios announced today that "Project Gotham RacingŽ 2" for XboxŽ will be available in North America on November 18. In addition to the all-new Kudos ranking system, tons of hot cars and cities to explore and a massive list of authentic music tracks, "PGR™2" also defines the Xbox Live experience. "PGR2" is built from the ground up for seamless online experiences in both Solo Play and Multiplayer modes. Players can get updated scores, scoreboard changes, Live Ghosts and challenges in real-time as they play.

    "Project Gotham Racing 2" is the follow-up to the smash hit, "Project Gotham Racing". Rewarding drivers for focusing on speed and style while still taking risks around every corner, "Project Gotham Racing 2" offers circuit-based racing through highly detailed, photorealistic urban environments. Racers can choose from more than 100 of the hottest cars while navigating their way around ten exciting cities, mastering corners, and accelerating through the straightaways before moving to a different venue. Players can also race against up to seven friends at once through a multiplayer SystemLink or match up against seven other players online utilizing Xbox Live. “Project Gotham Racing 2” is being developed by Bizarre Creations. For more information, please visit the official site at http://www.xbox.com/pgr2

    Thursday, August 14, 2003

    NFL Fever 2004 Goes Gold - XSN Prepares for Launch
    Steve @ 3:41 PM EDT
    Microsoft Game Studios today announced that "NFL Fever 2004" has gone gold and has been released to manufacturing. "NFL Fever 2004" is scheduled to hit store shelves on August 28 in North America for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.), exclusively for Xbox(tm). Coinciding with this release is the launch of XSNsports.com, which will switch on at 12:01 a.m. that same day. Through XSNsports.com and Xbox Live, "NFL Fever 2004" players can immediately create leagues, organize tournaments, track stats, communicate with other players and more.

    "NFL Fever 2004 is the first game in our XSN Sports lineup that will revolutionize sports video gaming," said XSN Sports studio manager Kevin Browne. "Forming your own league to play against your friends and create your own legends is what sports gamers have waited for their whole lives. NFL Fever 2004 and XSNsports.com will fulfill that dream this fall."

    For more information on "NFL Fever 2004," go to http://www.xbox.com/nflfever2004/

    “NFL Fever” is back and better than ever. The third installment of Microsoft Game Studios’ exclusive football title for Xbox, “NFL Fever 2004,” redefines the console football gaming experience. Gamers will be impressed with the features of this latest version of “NFL Fever,” with revamped artificial intelligence (AI) including significant offensive and defensive adjustments, animated NFL coaches roaming the sidelines offering situational analysis, a brand new offensive playbook, totally reworked stadium models and “Read and Lead” advanced passing. From traditional, single and multiplayer gaming to league and tournament play on Xbox Live, “NFL Fever 2004” is taking football gaming to the next level.

    “Live Now” To Deliver What Players Want Most
    Steve @ 3:34 PM EDT
    When it launches in October, “Live Now” will deliver what the Xbox Live community has asked for the most – a place where you can hang out and talk with your friends before and after competing on Xbox Live. “Live Now” also kick starts your experience on Xbox Live, providing a window into all the great things happening on the service each day from the moment you turn on your Xbox.

    With “Live Now” you can:

    ˇConnect to the Live community every time you turn on your Xbox
    ˇChat with friends before starting a game so you can make game decisions, plot strategy, etc.
    ˇSee who’s online and what they’re playing.
    ˇView announcements about exciting new Xbox Live programming including content downloads, tournaments, new titles and other exciting events and promotions on the service

    If you’re subscribed to Xbox Live, Live Now is extremely easy to use. Simply turn on your Xbox and if there is no disk in the box, it will take you to the “Live Now” page.

    Xbox is also making it easier for gamers to get onto Xbox Live with new subscription options and updated starter kits.

    Beginning in October, Xbox Live will be available at the following prices:

    ˇ$49.99- Xbox Live one year renewal/subscription
    ˇ$5.99- Xbox Live monthly rate
    ˇ$29.99- Xbox Live Voice Communicator
    ˇ$69.99- Xbox Live Starter Kit (includes full version of MechAssault and Xbox Communicator headset)

    “Live Now” and the new Xbox Live subscription options will be available in October.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2003

    The Countdown to Soul Calibur II Begins
    Steve @ 4:08 PM EDT
    San Jose, Calif., Aug. 13, 2003 – Less than two weeks to go before the launch of the highly anticipated SOULCALIBURŽII video game, and the sales and marketing heat is on! Namco Hometek Inc. announced today that the company’s multi-million dollar marketing campaign is in full swing and the retail community is throwing huge support behind the title’s launch. SOULCALIBURŽII will be available nationwide on August 26, for all major next generation console platforms.

    "The launch of SOULCALIBURŽII is truly becoming an industry event," said Robert Ennis, chief financial officer for Namco Hometek Inc. "The excitement being generated at retail for the title’s release has been tremendous. Consumers can’t wait to get their hands on the game."

    In the U.S., Namco Hometek Inc. is supporting SOULCALIBURŽII with an aggressive marketing campaign that includes broadcast, cable and syndicated television advertising; print and online advertising in enthusiast and general interest publications and websites; highly innovative pre-sell and launch promotions at retail; public relations; an entertainment industry seeding program; and heavy console-specific promotional activities, such as in-store kiosks, demo disks, event marketing and online promotions. Some of the top retailers around the country are launching “midnight madness” events that will offer consumers the opportunity to be among the first to play and own the game, as well as receive free food and drinks, and the chance to win prizes and gear.

    “The retail and gamer communities are backing SOULCALIBURŽII in a major way,” said Garry Cole, senior vice president of sales for Namco Hometek Inc. “The incredible retail promotional support and consumer pre-sell commitments we’ve already received have been a true testament to the power of the brand.”

    A continuation of the popular SOULCALIBURŽ series, SOULCALIBURŽII received the “Best Fighting Game” award at the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Along with additional game content unique to the U.S. version, SOULCALIBURŽII features 10 game modes, console-exclusive characters, a host of unlockable characters and arenas, and over 200 collectible weapons and items. The game is well positioned to exceed consumer expectations and take home even more awards by the year’s end. SOULCALIBURŽII delivers the intense fighting action that fans have come to expect of the series.

    SOULCALIBURŽII is rated T for Teen and will be available in stores nationwide on August 26.

    Namco Launches kill.switch Web Site
    Steve @ 3:51 PM EDT
    San Jose, CA – August 12, 2003 — Leading video games publisher Namco Hometek Inc. announced today the launch of a Web site for kill.switch, the innovative new military shooter shipping in October 2003 for Sony PlayStationŽ2 and the XboxŽ videogame system from Microsoft. Currently, http://www.killswitch.com provides visitors with a taste of what’s to come with a selection of screens and trailers showcasing the realistic cover tactics and and awesome firepower packed into the game’s ultimate combat experience. Also included is some basic information on game features, including kill.switch’s sophisticated A.I. and 15 action-packed scenarios.

    With a unique game play mechanic that supports and enforces the use of cover tactics, kill.switch clearly distinguishes itself from all other games in the 3rd person military shooter genre. Utilizing the Blindfire combat mechanic, players must plan their moves in advance and quickly adjust without indecision to succeed in these harsh battlefields. Over the next few months, visitors to the official kill.switch Web site will learn more about about the game as Namco Hometek Inc. gears up with an aggressive pre-launch campaign.

    News Updates Resuming
    Steve @ 3:36 PM EDT
    Hey everyone, I am back. I hope everyone had a good week while I was gone. Glad to see that we had some updates from last week. I would like to thank that person once again for providing us with his news expertise. News updates and features will be resuming back to normal as of this week.

    Friday, August 8, 2003

    Midway Presenting Arcade Teasures At Classic Gaming Expo
    XBE @ 12:28 PM EDT
    Midway Games Inc. (NYSE:MWY), a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that it will make Midway(R) Arcade Treasures(TM), the first next-generation console offering of more than 20 classic arcade games, available for hands-on demonstrations at the 2003 Classic Gaming Expo. Midway Arcade Treasures is scheduled to ship in fall 2003.

    Midway Arcade Treasures features hundreds of hours of classic gameplay action from all-time arcade favorites including the fast-paced action of Spy Hunter(R), the multiplayer collaboration of Gauntlet(R), the space-age adventure of Defender(R) and the dueling combat of Joust(R), just to name a few.

    "We look forward to sharing Midway Arcade Treasures with the dedicated classic games fans at this year's expo," said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway. "Midway Arcade Treasures will launch with extensive DVD content featuring the history of some of the top arcade titles and creator interviews, giving classic gamers even more to look forward to."

    With Midway Arcade Treasures, gamers will have the option of enjoying their favorite titles in one- to four-player game formats. The DVD content in the game features a history of many of the classic arcade hits and interviews with creators and developers of the games.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2003

    Activision Releases Last Return To Castle Wolfenstien Map
    XBE @ 8:11 PM EDT
    Santa Monica, CA - August 6, 2003 - id Software(tm) and Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) announced today the release of the final unlockable map for Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War(tm). Available via download through Xbox(tm) Live, the new level, titled Chateau, is the last of three unlockable maps from developer, Nerve Software. Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War is available nationwide for the XboxŽ video game system from Microsoft for a suggested retail price of $49.99 and carries an "M" (Mature) rating by the ESRB.

    In this new map, Allied players must infiltrate a German occupied Chateau being used as a Nazi base of operations, locate secret documents, and transmit them back to U.S. headquarters while in the midst of combat. In order to succeed, the Allied team must act with brute force and destroy the outer perimeter doors to gain access into the Chateau library, located deep within the German stronghold.

    For the opposition, Axis players need strategic planning and teamwork to thwart the coming U.S. offensive, and must mark all of the key entry points into the Chateau to adequately suppress the Allied attack. Chateau can be played in Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War's Stopwatch and Elimination multiplayer game modes.

    Namco Bringing I-Ninja To Xbox
    XBE @ 9:29 AM EDT
    San Jose, Ca., August 5, 2003 – Leading video games publisher, Namco Hometek Inc. announced today that its highly anticipated action adventure game, I-Ninja, will make its appearance known in a big way this fall on Xbox. This exciting character-based action game follows I-Ninja, an ultra cool ninja with extreme attitude, as he masters weapons and hones skills throughout gravity defying gameplay.

    “I-Ninja is certainly shaping up to pack a powerful punch and give other platformers a run for their money this fall,” said Jon Kromrey, Producer at Namco Hometek, Inc. “I-Ninja’s unique and quirky character, stunning graphics and expansive environments make a perfect fit for Xbox.”

    An adrenaline-charged combat action adventure game, I-Ninja features rich environments designed to challenge the young character I-Ninja and his unique abilities. Set in “The World,” a small, earthlike planet, I-Ninja must follow the instructions of his master “Sensei” to recover lost Rage Stones and free inhabitants imprisoned by Master O-Dor’s evil army of robotic Ranx.

    Players follow I-Ninja on his journey as he fights fearsome enemies, overcomes obstacles and fights mini bosses to gain new ninja belts. Packed with high flying action, I-Ninja runs on walls, shreds rails, gets airborne with a “sword copter” spin, swings from chains, throws explosives and utilizes his manga style ninja moves to navigate through five beautifully detailed environments -- including the ultimate trip to the moon.

    Developed by Argonaut Games, I-Ninja for Xbox is a single-player adventure in the third-person perspective. For more information on I-Ninja or any of Namco’s titles visit www.namco.com.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2003

    Ghost Recon Island Thunder Ships
    XBE @ 4:54 PM EDT
    San Francisco, CA - July 10, 2003 - Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's largest videogame publishers, today announced that Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(tm): Island Thunder(tm) has shipped and will arrive on store shelves soon. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder brings realism, heart-pounding action and intense gameplay into one exciting operation.



    "The original Ghost Recon is one of the most played games on Xbox LIVE. So, it made to create the follow up, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder with the needs of Xbox LIVE players in mind," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "In addition to promising future downloadable content such as new maps and missions-something we didn't do with the original Ghost Recon--we will be supporting many of the new upcoming features offered by Xbox "Live Web." Perhaps the most exciting feature for gamers is the statistics; when "Live Web" launches later this month, the hundreds of thousands of people playing Ghost Recon and Ghost Recon: Island Thunder will be able to go online to check their stats and scoreboards, elevating the competition and making mastering team Ghost even more of a challenge."

    About Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder

    The game's campaign will take place in post-Castro Cuba where political corruption is rampant. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder promises future access to exclusive downloadable content featuring new missions and maps for hours of extended game play. Also included will be a dozen game types and twelve multiplayer maps for Xbox Live play, including four "fan favorite" maps from the original Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, the most played game on Xbox Live today. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder will be rated M and will have an MSRP of $39.99.

    Monday, August 4, 2003

    Midway Ships Freak Flyers
    XBE @ 3:39 PM EDT
    CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 4, 2003--Midway Games Inc. (NYSE:MWY), a leading software industry publisher and developer, announced today that Freaky Flyers(TM), the first-and-only, fast-and-furious, 3-D airplane cart racing-adventure game, has shipped for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube(TM).

    Freaky Flyers drops players into the cockpit with the most unique and engaging cast of characters to ever explore, adventure, stunt-fly and dogfight in the videogame skies. Intertwining stories and engaging aerial combat add to the excitement throughout completely open and interactive 3-D world environments. Adding to the intensity is multiplayer action that allows gamers to battle head-to-head in aerial racing combat.

    "Gamers will be amazed with the detail of the vast environments as they explore the 13 characters' storylines, which enable them to perform inverted loops and attack enemy outposts while racing," said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway.

    Freaky Flyers quickly lures players in with an intriguing storyline that includes 13 engaging characters and a soundtrack full of original songs. The adventure of Freaky Flyers also takes gamers to exciting locations such as Exotic Danger Island where lush jungles and lagoons teem with all manner of peril, from pirates to pythons. Gamers may also find themselves in Roaring Chicago for a swinging time in the big city or in the depths of Haunted Transylvania, a dark and foreboding destination filled with craggy peaks and haunted castles. In addition, gamers can travel with more than a dozen unique and alluring characters such as the true-blue American hero, Johnny Turbine; the pinnacle of German discipline, Traci Torpedoes; or the spicy bandita from south of the border, Cactus Rose.

    Freaky Flyers Key Features:

    -- Interactive Worlds -- Explore numerous completely open and interactive 3-D worlds.

    -- Intriguing Storyline -- A complex, branching adventure takes the player through each character's storyline.

    -- Zany Characters -- 13 outrageous characters with loads of jokes and visual humor and more than 20 secret characters to unlock.

    -- Stunt-Flying -- Skill-oriented stunt-flying that provides the player with the thrills of doing dangerous aerial stunts.

    -- Adventure Racing -- Easy-to-learn, hard-to-master aerial racing excitement.

    -- Aerial Dogfighting -- Competitive aerial dogfighting combat for players to unleash their inner warrior.

    -- Multiplayer Action -- Multiplayer capability, including head-to-head mode.

    -- Awesome Soundtrack -- Includes a hilarious original soundtrack full of outrageous songs.

    -- Spectacular Cinematics -- More than 90 minutes of cinematics follow each character's unique and engaging storyline as it unfolds in a movie-quality presentation.

    Midway Games Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and marketer of interactive entertainment software. Midway videogames are available for play on all major videogame platforms including the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube(TM) and Game Boy(R) Advance.

    For more information about Midway Games visit www.midway.com and for more information about Freaky Flyers visit www.freakyflyers.com.

    Elite Interactive Joins Immersion's Growing Base of Licensees
    XBE @ 3:35 PM EDT
    Immersion Corp. (Nasdaq:IMMR), a leading developer and licensor of haptic feedback technology, announced Elite Interactive, maker and distributor of consumer video game products, as its newest gaming licensee. Elite Interactive integrated haptic (force feedback) technology in the new X-Calibur(R) and Katana(R) controllers, its first gamepads to include force feedback capabilities for the Xbox and the PlayStation 2, respectively.

    Both gamepads let gamers feel every turn, bump and dip during gameplay, providing a more realistic and engaging experience. For example, a player can feel the difference between driving on gravel or colliding with a barrier. In addition, force feedback gives gamers the opportunity to improve performance.

    "Our customers are hardcore gamers who demand higher functionality and precision control during gameplay," said Jason Grimm, president and founder of Elite Interactive, "We decided to partner with Immersion because we realize that force feedback significantly adds to the realism of any game being played."

    "Elite Interactive's delivery of force feedback in its console gamepads provides gamers with the greater level of interactivity that they enjoy," said Jeffrey Eid, VP, Computing and Consumer Business Unit at Immersion.

    Pricing and Availability

    The X-Calibur and Katana are priced at $29.99 and $24.99, respectively. Both are available at www.elite-interactive.com.

    Friday, August 1, 2003

    Xbox Exclusive Site Update
    Steve @ 5:05 AM EDT
    Hello all! I will be leaving you for one week (all next week). But don't worry, we managed to get some backup, and someone will be here to bring you all the latest Xbox news. Have a good weekend!