NewsPro Archive

December 2002

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Happy New Year!
Steve @ 7:06 PM EST
This will probably be the last update of the year! Everyone at XBE wishes you a safe and happy new year. We'll see you next year!

Monday, December 30, 2002

Microsoft Giving Away 2 Million DVDs in Europe
Steve @ 5:59 PM EST
Microsoft Corp. is giving away 2 million DVDs in Europe, featuring a film showing teens indulging in sports and pastimes such as biking and skateboard. The DVD offers an interactive tour where viewers click on the different icons to be directed to Xbox functions, WJS said.

"The nature of DVDs provided us with a much richer canvas to paint that picture," Harvey Eagle, who heads brand advertising for Xbox Europe, told the newspaper. "TV is not really the best medium because it's passive."

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Xbox Fans Meetup on January 14th
Steve @ 5:02 PM EST
The next International Xbox Meetup Day is set for Tuesday, January 14th (the 2nd Tuesday of every month). See the details
here: http://xbox.meetup.com/

A quick summary of Meetup. Meetup creates real-world group gatherings about anything anywhere. We've built a technology and a network of venues (cafes, bars, etc.) that can help any interest group easily organize local monthly meetups in over 530 cities across 27 countries.

Happy Holidays from XBE
Steve @ 4:31 PM EST
Everyone from the Xbox Exclusive staff wishes you a safe holiday season, and Merry Christmas. We hope you got all the Xbox games you asked for.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Gamecaster Establishes Relationship with Microsoft
Steve @ 5:53 PM EST
Gamecaster, Inc., the world's first and only premiere computer and video gaming association with world class, televised competitions, announced today that the company will include the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Xbox video games among those featured in Gamecaster's forthcoming live and televised competitions.
"Our agreement with Microsoft is a major step towards fulfilling Gamecaster's goals of bringing top quality video game competitions to a broad television audience while giving established gamers a new and public forum for their competitions," said David MacIntosh, President of Gamecaster. "There is simply no other player in the market today with more credibility and vision than Microsoft, and Gamecaster is thrilled and honored to have begun this relationship."

Other companies who have agreed to participate in the competitions include Electronic Arts and Activision.

High Heat Baseball 2004 Announced
Steve @ 5:49 PM EST
The 3DO Company today announced that its award-winning baseball game series 'High Heat(TM) Major League Baseball® 2004' for the PC, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, and the Game Boy® Advance handheld video game system, is due to ship in spring of 2003. For the first time, 'High Heat' will also be available on the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft and the Nintendo GameCube(TM) system this spring.

"With a completely rebuilt graphics engine, new motion captured player animations, and new Career and Franchise modes, 'High Heat' should have it all this year," said Trip Hawkins, chief executive officer of The 3DO Company. "Diamondbacks(TM) pitcher Curt Schilling, the official 'High Heat' spokesperson, has brought us invaluable information about the subtle physics of pitching. With his input, we are bringing on-the-field gameplay to a new level and offering 27 individual pitch types."

Friday, December 20, 2002

Xbox Sales Hit Record High for November
Steve @ 5:34 PM EST
December 19, 2002

Xbox November Console Sales Hit Record Highs for 2002

Strong Game Portfolio and Xbox Live Launch Fuel Growth

REDMOND, Wash. — As Santa’s elves hustle to pack his sleigh in preparation for next week’s delivery of holiday loot, it’s clear that the Xbox™ video game system has topped the wish lists of video game enthusiasts worldwide. According to NPD Group Inc. data (NPD Funworld TRSTS November 2002), Xbox achieved its best month of the year for console sales in November. Data released today by Microsoft Corp. confirms that from Seattle to Singapore, Austin to Auckland and Detroit to Dublin, demand for Xbox has reached a fever pitch this holiday, widening the gap between Xbox and rival Nintendo GameCube while demonstrating that Xbox delivers a superior gaming alternative to Sony PlayStation 2.

According to market research firm NPD Group, a record number of Xbox systems flew off store shelves in November. Fueled by the recent launch of Xbox Live™, a game portfolio boasting 200 titles and a special holiday offering, sales for November nearly doubled the previous month’s volume. November marked the seventh consecutive month in which Xbox console sell-through outpaced that of Nintendo GameCube.

A distinct winner among shoppers has been the Xbox Holiday Offer, a specially priced and packaged system complete with the Xbox console, Xbox Controller S and two of the best Xbox-exclusive games from Sega, “Sega GT 2002” and “Jet Set Radio Future.” In the first two months of availability, the Xbox Holiday Offer outsold Nintendo’s GameCube/Mario offering by 131 percent.*

Individual Xbox game titles also have been selling at a breakneck pace this holiday season. In November, shoppers snatched up more than 2.4 million Xbox games, making it the second-highest software sales month since the platform was introduced. Overall, Xbox has sold 34 percent more games than Nintendo since either console was introduced. “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell,” a wildly popular Xbox exclusive from developer Ubi Soft Entertainment, tops the bestseller list, with nearly a quarter million units sold worldwide in just the last two weeks of November.

“Sales figures confirm that ‘Splinter Cell’ on Xbox is at the top of every gamer’s wish list this holiday season,” said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. “There has never been a game that uses lighting, shadows and stealth better than ‘Splinter Cell,’ and the power of Xbox helps make that possible. You can see it in magazines, newspapers and broadcast reports that the consensus is ‘Splinter Cell’ is the best-looking and -playing game on the market, and it is only on Xbox this holiday.”

Perhaps most telling is the dazzling success of the Xbox Live service, which allows Xbox gamers in different locations to play against each other using a broadband connection. Launched just last month in the United States, the Xbox Live Starter Kits have exceeded sales expectations, eclipsing by 86 percent the number of PlayStation 2 Network Adapters Sony sold in their first month of availability. Titles such as “MechAssault™,” “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” and “Unreal Championship” are proving to be immensely popular with the Xbox Live crowd, with combined sales of more than 300,000 units in the United States in November. These top three Xbox Live titles attached at over 80 percent to the Xbox Live Starter Kit.

“All this data points to the fact that Xbox is well on the way to being a market leader,” said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer. “With solid support from leading developers, more than 300 games in development, 200 games available for this holiday and many big titles planned for 2003, it is not surprising that Xbox is at the top of wish lists on several continents.”

Holiday highlights for Xbox from around the world include the following:

Europe

• Sales of the Xbox holiday offering have catapulted Xbox into the No. 2 spot across the continent. (Source: ChartTrack & GfK)
• In the United Kingdom, the largest video game market in Europe, Xbox is consistently outselling GameCube by more than two to one this holiday. (Source: ChartTrack)
• The Xbox Live Consumer Beta and Test Drive program have been a great success, and momentum continues to build for the European retail launch, which is on track for March 14, 2003.

Australia

• The sales gap between Xbox and Sony PlayStation 2 last week narrowed to only
4 percent (source: Inform) as Christmas shoppers made Xbox the home entertainment gift of choice.
• Xbox weekly market share doubled to 46 percent over the past eight weeks. In the last two weeks of November alone, gift-givers Down Under grabbed more than 23,000 Xbox units. (Source: Inform)

Asia

• Xbox launched in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan last month and is now available at more than 230 select retail outlets throughout the region. Xbox will be available in Korea Dec. 23.
• At an Xbox launch event in Singapore Nov. 21, more than 5,000 people lined up to buy Xbox systems before the event stocks sold out. At a similar event the next day in Hong Kong, shoppers cleaned out the initial stock in just three hours.
• New Xbox games are arriving in Asia every week. Plans call for up to 50 new games from Microsoft and other leading game publishers.

Japan

• Holiday sales are going well with competitive holiday offers available to consumers throughout Japan.
• There are more than 75 titles available for Xbox in Japan during this holiday season. New holiday titles include “Shin Megami Tensei Nine,” “Panzer Dragoon™” and “O-TO-GI,” “Blinx™: The Time Sweeper™” and “Kakuto Chojin™.”
• A consumer beta of Xbox Live is successfully underway to 5,000 gamers. Xbox Live is set to launch Jan. 16, 2003, with Sega’s “Phantasy Star Online Episode I and II” and other exciting launch titles.

Mexico

• The first launch of a video game platform in Mexico kicked off very successfully. Xbox officially launched in October and is the next-generation console most widely available at Mexican retail (718 outlets).

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Xbox Play More Challenge Winner
Steve @ 3:52 PM EST
Champion of the Xbox Play More Challenge student tournament crowned

The best student Xbox gamer in Great Britain was crowned last night at the nail-biting final of the Xbox Play More Challenge 2002. Dan Thain, a 19 year old business and politics student at Liverpool University, triumphed over thousands of other students to claim the title and the grand prize of £10,000.

The final, hosted by Emily Newton Dunn (presenter of the Sci-fi Channel's games show 'SFG'), tested the finalists' gaming skills to the limit. They competed over six Xbox games - Quantum Redshift, Colin McRae Rally 3, Blinx The Timesweeper, Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer, Halo and Moto GP, with the finalists narrowed down to first ten and then just four competitors, who faced each other in an intense winner-takes-all race on Quantum Redshift.

Ironically, Dan nearly didn't make the final at all. He was beaten in his local Liverpool heat, and only earned his place in the final after travelling to compete in the Lancaster heat. He quickly showed his form during the final, however, consistently gaining top scores on each of the games and remaining calm under immense pressure.

After he had received his prize, Dan said "I'd dreamt up plans for the cash, but I can't believe I'm going to get to carry them out! I'm going to give £1,000 to charity and then take my mates on a fantastic holiday in the New Year."

Michele Marchand, Brand Experience Manager from Microsoft said: "The standard of the contestants was amazing, but what was most enjoyable to see was the sportsmanship and positive attitude of the finalists. Xbox gaming is intense but extremely enjoyable and the Xbox Play More Challenge mirrored this by being fierce, but with everyone entering into the fun spirit of the event."

New Dragon Lair Comic Book Series Agreement
Steve @ 3:49 PM EST
RAMONA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 18, 2002--Dragon's Lair LLC and MV Creations today signed a four year unlimited title license agreement for the creation of a new Dragon's Lair comic book series and related merchandise. The Dragon's Lair comic books will feature the adventures of Dirk the Daring, Princess Daphne and other classic characters of the lair created by Don Bluth.

The agreement comes during a growing resurgence of interest in retro games and gamers' enthusiasm for the November launch of Dragon's Lair 3D for Xbox and PC. Dragon's Lair 3D is a completely new version of the 1980's arcade phenomenon developed by Rick Dyer and Don Bluth and will be available for Nintendo GameCube(TM) on December 30. PlayStation(R)2 and Mac versions will launch in March 2003.

Introduced in 1983, Dragon's Lair was the world's first full-animation laser disc video game and proved to be one of the most successful coin-op games of all time, grossing more than $43 million in the first six months of its launch. With nearly 30 versions of Dragon's Lair created on various platforms since 1983, the brand has grossed more than $107 million in sales since 1983 and has been played by more than a quarter of a billion people worldwide. The original Dragon's Lair is one of only three arcade games on display at the Smithsonian Institution -- the other two are Pac Man and Pong.

"We're thrilled to work with MV Creations in creating another medium so our Dragon's Lair fans can continue their adventures with Dirk the Daring even when they're not play the game," says Rick Dyer, president and CEO of Dragon's Lair LLC, Dragonstone Software and the game's original designer.

MV Creation is a leader in the nearly $140 billion worldwide comic book industry. With a global network of talent, MV Creations offers manufacturers, advertisers and promotional partners services in strategic sales and marketing, creative art, advertising and public relation within the realm of comic related merchandise.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Vexx Will Be Released February 2003
Steve @ 2:24 PM EST
Acclaim Entertainment will be releasing Vexx for the PlayStation2, GameCube and Xbox this February.

During the product's extended development cycle, Vexx has added or expanded the following new elements for a fully-immersive, fun platform experience:

·New monsters;
·Expanding Vexx's move set and combo bonuses;
·Adding more sounds, voices, particle effects, and a training level;
·Adding more storyline content to the game;
·Removing the slow motion effect that appears the first time you attack an enemy;
·Modifying all worlds for faster, smoother, more seamless gameplay;
·There are now 9 smaller worlds instead of 6 huge worlds split into 3 areas, which keep the game's pace more focused;
·Each world has a hub to allow for easy transfer between all main areas.

Majesco Announces BlowOut for Xbox
Steve @ 1:49 PM EST
EDISON, NJ, December 17, 2002 - Majesco, one of the fastest-growing publishers of interactive entertainment software, today announced one of its newest offerings for 2003, BlowOut, a next generation 3D side-scrolling shooter intended for release for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft, and personal computer. Developed by Kaos Kontrol, BlowOut is slated for release next fall.

"Combining classic game play with the power of the next generation systems, BlowOut takes the side-scrolling shooter genre to a distinctively new level," said Ken Gold, Vice President of Marketing for Majesco. "With all the suspense and thrill of a sci-fi action movie, a dark industrial soundtrack, an intuitive level editor and character designs by Yasushi Nirasawa, BlowOut is sure to blow gamers away next fall."

In BlowOut, gamers assume the role of Major John 'Dutch' Cane, a leader of a mercenary commando platoon, fighting against the deadliest enemies the universe has ever seen. A U.S. Marine Space Force headquarters has been overrun by the vicious mutant Xenomorphs, leaving a gap in the operational defenses. Gamers must use specialized sensor equipment and massive firepower to locate and take out the enemy before they have a chance to zero in on the station's control center and threaten colonized space.

To do so, players will need the full complement of BlowOut weapons that increase in firepower and accuracy as the game progresses. So as to create a believable environment, the weapons and ammo must be recovered from weapon stashes, dead soldiers, or secret arenas.

Expanding the fun is BlowOut's level editor which empowers gamers to create their own personal gaming experience. The integrated and easy-to-use editor enhances the game's lifespan, and provides peer-to-peer interaction by stimulating the sharing of creative content. With the online community a key component of the game, Majesco is planning to launch a dedicated BlowOut web site through which gamers can share user-created levels, or download pre-designed levels from the developer, as well as artwork and game tips.

Adding to the overall look and feel of the game are the character designs by Yasushi Nirasawa, the highly acclaimed animator, designer and conceptual powerhouse. Nirasawa is famous for designing demonic creatures for top video games, including Soul Caliber, Deep Fear and Enemy Zero and has worked on character designs in top movies such as Final Fantasy and Men in Black.

Additional information on Majesco's entire line-up of exciting products can be found online at http://www.majescogames.com

Splinter Cell Fastest Xbox Seller Ever in the UK
Steve @ 1:48 PM EST
Sam Fisher the stealthy hero of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell published by Ubi Soft may like hiding in the shadows but you can't hide from his computer game which stormed into the record books last week by becoming the UK's fastest selling Xbox title ever on XboxTMvideo game system from Microsoft.

Splinter Cell sold in excess of an unprecedented 40,000 units in its launch weekend, going straight to the number one slot and smashing the previous record held by former Xbox favourite Halo. Splinter Cell also out performed new releases 'James Bond 007: Nightfire' and 'Unreal Championship' on Xbox and boosted sales of the Xbox console due to a bundle deal at retail.

Sara Pelton, group brand manager at Ubi Soft, said: "The reaction to Splinter Cell has been phenomenal and we are delighted by the sales figures. Microsoft Xbox has identified Splinter Cell as a key driver for its console this Christmas and the results speak for themselves."

Splinter Cell is published by Ubi Soft and is the latest release in the company's highly successful Tom Clancy license, which includes the franchises Rainbow Six, Rogue Spear, Ghost Recon and The Sum Of All Fears.

Monday, December 16, 2002

First Interactive Horror DVD, Dracula Unleashed Released
Steve @ 7:45 PM EST
Purcellville, VA, December 16, 2002 - Infinite Ventures, an independent game producer, today announced the release of Dracula Unleashed, the first interactive horror game for DVD Video (www.draculaunleashed.com). This unique DVD production is playable on any DVD video player but thanks to its innovative design the same DVD disc is also fully playable on the Sony PlayStation2, Microsoft Xbox or a PC with DVD-ROM drive.

"DVD movies are hot and every new blockbuster release is highly anticipated. Consumers have come to expect all the extras and special material. With Dracula Unleashed we've created a DVD movie which is a fully interactive horror murder mystery," announced Eugene Evans, President of Infinite Ventures. "We've created a chilling gaming experience that pits you against Dracula himself right on the DVD player in your living room. Players won't have experienced a DVD release quite like this before."

Drawing upon its experience producing Sherlock Holmes, Consulting DetectiveTM on DVD (www.consulting-detective.com) Infinite Ventures has created this all-new DVD movie. Dracula Unleashed delivers a game that will thrill the growing number of DVD video fans this holiday season. Solving the murder mystery will puzzle and intrigue viewers for many more dark nights of viewing than any typical DVD movie.

Friday, December 13, 2002

NFL Fever 2003 Cheat Codes Released
Steve @ 3:45 PM EST
Any desire to play football onboard an aircraft carrier? You can now with "NFL Fever 2003."

"NFL Fever 2003" is the fast and hard-hitting football game for Xbox. Easy to pick up and start playing, "NFL Fever 2003" delivers all the action, attitude and excitement of the National Football League, allowing gamers to create, play and control their ultimate NFL team. With the opportunity to earn all the accolades and honors of the NFL, "NFL Fever 2003" challenges hardcore football fans and gamers to be the best in the world. The realism of "NFL Fever 2003" provides gamers with the ultimate NFL experience. The "NFL Fever 2003" Web site is located at http://www.nflfever2003.com.

To open these options, enter the code as the username.

Profiles

64 Browns - Bigrun

67 Packers - Cheese

72 Dolphins - Perfect

Aircraft Carrier - Barracks

To see more codes visit NFL Fever 2003 Cheats



Thursday, December 12, 2002

TDK Promotion; Buy 1 Get 1 Free!
Steve @ 6:03 PM EST
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. – Dec. 12, 2002 – TDK Mediactive, Inc. (OTC BB: TDKM) announced today that it has launched a special “buy one, get one free” offer for holiday shoppers. For a limited time, anyone who purchases the Robotech®: Battlecry, Shrek®: Super Party or Shrek®: Extra Large video game can redeem a mail-in offer to receive a second TDK Mediactive title free.

Qualifying customers only pay $4.95 (shipping and handling) and can select to receive one of the following games at no extra charge:


Robotech: Battlecry (PlayStation®2, Xbox, GameCube)
Shrek: Super Party (PlayStation 2, Xbox)
Shrek: Extra Large (GameCube)
Shrek (Xbox)
PRYZM Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn (PlayStation 2)
Casper®: Spirit Dimensions (GameCube)


The promotion is effective immediately and will run through Dec. 31, 2002. For additional details please visit: http://www.tdk-mediactive-us.com/promo/

How the Hitman Saved Christmas
Steve @ 6:01 PM EST
Eidos has informed us that a new Hitman 2 flash game is available to play! Be prepared to open fire.

Hitman 2 Flash game goodness...
http://www.eidosinteractive.com/hitman2_christmas/

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

EA Sports Announces MVP Baseball 2003
Steve @ 1:46 PM EST
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 11, 2002--Batter up! EA takes fans out to the ballgame with the first season of MVP Baseball(TM) from EA SPORTS(TM). Currently under development, MVP Baseball 2003 will be available next spring on the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft. A PC version will be released in summer 2003.

The all-new baseball franchise from EA SPORTS, MVP Baseball 2003 is a completely new game with a rebuilt engine and is being made by a new internal development team at EA Canada. MVP Baseball 2003 will deliver the most authentic baseball experience with the addition of a variety of revolutionary new features. A new pitcher/batter interface will give players the opportunity to be more strategic both on the mound and at the plate. Through a measure of power and release point, pitchers will need to execute their pitches while batters can choose the type of swing depending on the game situation and execute accordingly.

MVP Baseball 2003 features the first ever picture-in-picture baserunning which will give players the opportunity to be more strategic with their pitching, batting and base running. This innovative new view allows players to control the baserunners and visibly determine if a hitter should stretch a single into a double. Pitchers will have the ability to pick off baserunners who are attempting to steal.

Adding to the depth of the game, MVP Baseball 2003 will include a robust franchise mode that incorporates rookie drafts, player development, career ending injuries, contracts and hirings/firings. All new realistic player models and animations bring the baseball action and gameplay to life like never before.

MVP Baseball 2003 is more authentic and credible than ever before with the input of a player's council and elite broadcasting from the booth. Members of the development team received expert advice and design input from leading Major League Baseball(R) players Torii Hunter (Minnesota Twins), Trot Nixon (Boston Red Sox), Todd Pratt (Philadelphia Phillies), Eric Chavez and Tim Hudson (Oakland Athletics). In the booth providing play-by-play and color commentary are San Francisco Giants announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Metal Dungeon In Stores Now
Steve @ 8:08 PM EST
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – December 10, 2002 – Xicat Interactive Inc., announced today that one of their cornerstone Christmas releases, Metal Dungeon, has shipped and is on store shelves. The highly anticipated Japanese RPG is available for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft.

The launch will include an extensive television, Internet and print advertising campaign, spearheaded by 30 second spots running on Comedy Central, SciFi Network, and Tech TV. The spot is themed around the game’s key elements and amazing graphics made possible by the power of the Xbox console.

“Fans are demanding quality RPGs for Xbox and we’re delivering. Xicat wants to make sure that everyone with an Xbox has Metal Dungeon under their tree this year!” says John Linn, Creative Director at Xicat Interactive.

Metal Dungeon can be found throughout North America and is rated T for blood and violence.

Snowmobile Racing Whiteout Ships
Steve @ 8:07 PM EST
REDWOOD CITY, CA – December 10, 2002 – Konami of America Inc., announced today that Whiteout for the Microsoft Xbox™ and PC CD-ROM has shipped to stores nationwide. Just in time for the holidays, Whiteout captures all the thrills of high-speed snowmobile racing, including an array of powerful sleds, dozens of outrageous tricks and real SnoCross athletes.

The heart-pounding action begins as players jump into the boots of 12 different riders and choose from 14 powerful sleds -- each with a variety of upgrades available. Racing through 9 exhilarating trails, from Jackson Ridge to the Tundra Dome, players will uncover each track’s hidden areas, shortcuts, interactive environments, destructible elements and special bonuses. Along the way, they’ll pull off over 30 breathtaking aerial tricks on the scores of ramps, jumps and gaps found on each track. A wealth of power-ups, point multipliers and health recharges will help players stay ahead of the pack.

Whiteout is the only SnoCross game to feature snowmobile racing professionals. As players progress through the game they will have the opportunity to unlock well-known SnoCross stars like Nathan Titus, Justin Tate, Dennis Eckstrom and Trevor John.

Whiteout offers 5 distinct methods of play: Progressive Career Mode lets gamers live the life of a real SnoCross athlete, upgrading their sled to keep up with the competition; Arcade Mode challenges gamers to accomplish an extensive set of objectives to progress through the levels. Additional play modes include Quick-play, Multiplayer and Time Trial.

Rated T for Teen, Whiteout is available at an SRP of $49.99 for Microsoft Xbox™ and $29.99 for PC CD-ROM. Read more about Whiteout at: http://www.konami.com/whiteout

Codemasters Launches Career Guides
Steve @ 8:04 PM EST
New York - December 10, 2002 - For many gamers, the chance to work in the games business and shape the way future titles are created is a real career goal. Now Codemasters has launched a series of career guides, available online at http://www.codemasters.com/jobs/careers for those seeking advice on the background, education and skills needed to get a job in the gaming industry.

Aimed at helping people to take their first step towards a career in the video games industry, the guides are an ideal reference point for people still in school and deciding which courses to take. The series focuses on attaining graphics, programming and quality assurance (QA) positions. Prepared by people working in those areas at Codemasters, the advice is both practical and inspirational.

The guides also detail different positions within each field; for graphic artists it discusses options from 2D and 3D artists and animators to more specialized roles such as concept artists, GUI (Graphical User Interface) artists and marketing artists. For aspiring programmers, the guide details which programming languages are important, the software skills required and web links to further informative and practical resources. For those with personal love for video gaming and already have an understanding of what actually makes a video game special, the QA Technician guide is a great starting point. QA Technicians test video games in production and have direct involvement with a game’s development team to ensure the finished game is perfect.

“The online career advice guides have been launched as a response to the thousands of emails and letters we receive from students seeking recommendation on which courses and qualifications are required to enter the games industry,” said Stephen Harrison-Mirfield, Codemasters’ Group Human Resources Manager. “We have a great record of taking graduates and making them an essential part of game development teams. We hope the guides will help more people to get the best grounding in education and inspire them to further develop their interest in particular fields.”

Codemasters’ career advice guides are featured on the company’s web site at: http://www.codemasters.com/jobs/careers

Sega Sports NCAA College Basketball 2K3 Ships
Steve @ 5:36 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO (December 10, 2002) - SEGA(R) of America, Inc. announced today the release of "SEGA Sports(TM) NCAA(R) College Basketball 2K3" for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft(R) and Nintendo GameCube(TM).

Produced by Visual Concepts Entertainment, a SEGA development studio, and developed by Kush Games, "SEGA Sports NCAA College Basketball 2K3" delivers a number of innovative features including an impressive roster of more than 300 Division I schools, online play, an ESPN telecast-style presentation and more than 600 college-specific animations. Harnessing the power of each next generation console, SEGA Sports' new franchise features everything college hoops fanatics will expect from the makers of "SEGA Sport (TM) NBA 2K3," the game Rolling Stone Magazine calls "the best basketball simulation out there."

"In the development of 'SEGA Sports NCAA College Basketball 2K3,' we
concentrated on perfecting both the gameplay and visual elements that are truly specific to college hoops," said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts Entertainment, a SEGA development studio. "As the only college basketball title to offer such a vast line-up of schools, online gameplay and an in depth Legacy Mode, 'NCAA College Basketball 2K3' puts you right on the court to experience the passion and excitement of the college game."

With complete 2002 NCAA schedules and playing styles for more than 300 Division I schools, "SEGA Sports NCAA College Basketball 2K3" capitalizes on the strengths, weaknesses and specific traits of each program, immersing gamers into the world of hoops in true college fashion. From the college-style player models and school-specific banners to the rowdy fans at Cameron Indoor Stadium, every last detail of NCAA hoops is replicated in lifelike realism.

Modes of play in "SEGA Sports NCAA College Basketball 2K3" include
Exhibition, Season, Tournament, Gym Rat, Practice and Legacy. The extensive Legacy Mode lets players build their own modern-day dynasty, as gamers can scout and play (as early as week 10 in the regular season) as well as recruit and sign the country's top high school prospects. It also lets players develop their team's specific offensive and defensive styles, redshirt players, monitor Top 25 and R.P.I. (Ratings Percentage Index) rankings and stay glued to a bubble watch come tourney time. The exclusive Draft feature inside the Legacy Mode lets gamers import graduating seniors into the pros in "SEGA Sports NBA 2K3." In the Gym Rat Mode users can play
"pick-up" games while Practice Mode lets players practice their skills and get familiar with the game. "SEGA Sports NCAA College Basketball 2K3" also lets Xbox gamers from around the country play each other over the Internet on Xbox Live(TM), bringing even the most intense conference rivalries closer to home.

These exclusive features and key elements are enhanced by more than 600 animations unique to "NCAA College Basketball 2K3," including all new dunks, jump shots, diving saves and an enhanced passing game. Adding to this authenticity is the addition of school-specific arenas, chants and fight songs which bring the flavor of college hoops to life. Team specific plays and playing styles, accurate player models and an ESPN telecast-style presentation with TV-style game highlights, music and replays round-out the authentic college basketball experience.

"SEGA Sports NCAA College Basketball 2K3," endorsed by former Duke
University All-American point guard Jay Williams, is currently available for the Xbox and Nintendo GameCube for a suggested retail price of $49.95. It was released for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system in early December.

Mad Catz Announces MC2 MicroCON
Steve @ 5:32 PM EST
SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 9, 2002--Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (AMEX/TSE: MCZ), a leading manufacturer of video game accessories, announced today its newest line in racing wheels, the MC2 MicroCON(TM) for Playstation(R)2, Gamecube(TM) and the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft.

Each of these three products is currently available in major retail stores for a suggested price of $29.99 (U.S.).

Based on the same "micro" concept of the previously launched MicroCON controllers, the Mad Catz MC2 MicroCON wheel is a compact version of the Mad Catz MC-2, the other most powerful and realistic racing wheel available from Mad Catz. The MicroCON wheel offers unparalleled style and comfort for gamers with smaller hands or gamers seeking a more compact controller.

"The MicroCON wheel does not sacrifice features that are found with our larger steering wheel," states Darren Richardson, President and COO of Mad Catz. "In fact, we have designed our new line of wheels with vibration feedback, F1 style shifters, retractable leg supports, pedals, and double injected rubber-grips for excellent control, comfort, and realism."

With ten action buttons and a wheel that rotates up to 270 degrees, Mad Catz' MC2 MicroCON provides gamers with superior steering accuracy. In order to suit all gamers' personal driving preferences, the MC2 MicroCON for Xbox and GameCube features the ability to tune the wheel's sensitivity, and the Playstation 2 and GameCube version offers pedal and F1 shifter programmability.

So whether you take the MC2 MicroCON to Talladega, Le Mans, or a no holds barred desert rally, this wheel is the ideal solution for any gamer big or small.

Friday, December 6, 2002

Codemasters Introduces Fast-Track Career Development
Steve @ 2:38 PM EST
New York – December 5, 2002 – A unique fast-track career development and training initiative is being introduced at Codemasters to benefit its development and publishing personnel. News of the initiative is also an added attraction as the company continues to recruit top-level programmers, artists, game designers and project managers.

To manage the initiative, Codemasters has appointed a dedicated training manager, Catherine Conn, to the company’s HR department. Conn, who previously worked for Cable and Wireless and more recently has run a successful training consultancy, has invaluable experience with both technical and non-technical staff.

“With the implementation of the fast-track program, we believe this is the first time a company in the games industry has taken staff development so seriously,” said Stephen Harrison-Mirfield, Codemasters’ Group HR Manager. “The appointment of a specific training manager is also a major step forward for the company as we seek to provide assistance to staff and further improve their skills.”

The fast-track career development and training initiative is a three-level program and offers further training in skills at beginner, intermediate or advanced stages. Staff will be elected to the fast-track career development program through their own application or a talent-spot recommendation, which will allow the company to take raw talent in either a technical or a managerial area and refine it into expertise within a given area.

“We have had the fast-track training initiative in research for some time and it has been modeled specifically towards our industry,” continued Harrison-Mirfield.
“Its introduction provides for an excellent personal development program and is a benefit to our staff, the company as a whole and an excellent opportunity for new recruits who seek real advancement in their careers.”

All-Star Baseball 2004 Delivers Over 80 New Features
Steve @ 2:35 PM EST
Featuring four-time World Series Champion Derek Jeter, ASB 2004 promises to deliver more than 80 features and improvements including:

  • For the first time ever, go online and compete against other players;
  • Includes 110 retired Legends of MLB and Negro Leagues - including Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Cal Ripken, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Buck O'Neill;
  • Scenario mode where Derek Jeter introduces actual scenarios from last year's games and enables gamers to assume the role of manager and decide how they would call it -- the ultimate "What if" mode;
  • Pick-up game mode that enables you to choose up sides with your favorite players and play in any MLB stadium;
  • Panoramic Stadium Tour where Jeter highlights all the interesting facts and features of each stadium;
  • Multimedia Section featuring live game footage of Jeter and other Major League stars;
  • All-new Rookie Mode where Jeter serves as a guide and instructor in the tutorial;
  • Practice Mode through which Jeter makes players familiar with the controls, game play, and specific situations;
  • More than 80 new features and improvements, including:
    Complete front-end overhaul;
    In-game save capability;
    Improved fielding, base running & batting AI;

  • Downloadable rosters;

  • Over 50 playable teams, 75 stadiums, 200 uniforms and 20 unlockable teams;

  • English & Spanish play-by-play;

    Thursday, December 5, 2002

    SpectraVideo Introduces New Wireless Game Pad
    Steve @ 8:18 PM EST
    SpectraVideo is about to ship the new Logic3 Xbox Wireless Game Pad in the UK and European territories. This new controller utilises RF technology, working on a frequency of 868Mhz – specially set aside for wireless controllers, so this will not cause interference with other house hold appliances or mobile phones. The new controllers will feature four channels and two bands – allowing up to 8 Xbox Wireless Controllers to be used at one time (two Xbox consoles would be required), vibration feedback and a range of up to 5 meters (even through closed cupboards).

    The Logic3 Xbox Wireless Controller comes in two parts, a receiver unit that connects to the gameport of the console and has two expansion slots for memory cards or other add-ons. The second part is the hand held control, similar in size to the official S-Type controller from Microsoft, the hand held unit is battery powered with a battery life of about 100 hours (this is reduced if the vibration motors are used). The button layout is similar, but with two additional shoulder buttons for the Black and White keys (which are also on the face of the controller) – this makes it easier to reach these two action buttons then with the official controller.

    New Downloadable Content For MechAssault
    Steve @ 1:56 AM EST
    MechAssault™ Prepares to Launch Second Onslaught

    Gamers who think unlocking the Ragnarok BattleMech™ is the end of what "MechAssault" has to offer are in for a surprise. Starting in January, Microsoft Game Studios and Day 1 Studios will begin rolling out new content for "MechAssault" via Xbox Live. Players with Xbox Live will be able to access the new content at no additional charge.

    To kick things off, the first new multiplayer map will be "Hell's Kitchen," a dense industrial environment based in a fiery volcanic world that will support all five game types. In the weeks to follow, there will be several new BattleMechs, additional multiplayer maps and even new game types, including Capture the Flag.

    "MechAssault" is currently available only on Xbox in North America for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.). For more information, visit http://www.mechassault.com.

    Xbox Live is the first comprehensive, online game arena fully dedicated to fast-action broadband gaming experiences. Xbox Live allows gamers to play multiplayer Xbox games with other gamers everywhere via a high-speed Internet connection. Xbox Live enables all gamers to find and play with their friends easily; talk to other players during gameplay through the Xbox Communicator headset; and download current statistics, new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive. With a built-in hard drive and Ethernet port, the Xbox console was built from the ground up to be an online gaming system.

    Wednesday, December 4, 2002

    XBE Chat is Back Online!
    Steve @ 1:57 PM EST
    Well, we finally managed to bring back the chat for our readers. Please come join us, we would love to hear from you! Find out what our next contest is!

    XBE Chat

    4 New Screens of Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War
    Steve @ 1:50 PM EST
    Activision released some new screens for Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War. Check them out!

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War Screen Gallery 1

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein Xbox Live & System Link
    Steve @ 1:36 PM EST
    Fusing epic World War II battles with heart-stopping covert operations and tactical combat, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of WarTM uncovers Hitler's horrific obsession with the occult, living dead, and genetic mutations. As B.J. Blazkowicz, an Army Ranger recruited into the Office of Secret Actions (OSA), players infiltrate deep into the twisted bowels of the Third Reich to battle the unearthly super-soldiers, zombies and mutants forged in the experiments of Heinrich Himmler. With both two player co-op and full Xbox Live and System Link multiplayer support for the ultimate in team warfare, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War delivers a frightening and action-packed adventure teeming with shocking paranormal experiments, perverted, flesh-chewing SS weaponry and bone chilling encounters with the Fuhrer's unrelenting henchmen.

    Features:

  • Mission - The player assumes the role of B. J. Blazkowicz, a badass Army Ranger tasked with infiltrating the deepest realms of the Third Reich in an attempt to thwart Himmler's occult and genetic experiments. Initially teamed with another OSA operative, Agent One, players begin their journey in Egypt where they uncover the early stages of Himmler's plans. After being grounded by anti-aircraft artillery fire, players must overcome capture and the death of their new partner as they battle throngs of the Fuhrer's brainwashed soldiers and hordes of zombies in an epic campaign, which spans the globe from Egypt to Norway and the heart of Nazi Germany. The game features the most twisted and frightening enemies, including: SS Guards patrolling forests and secret military installations, zombies unleashed in ancient crypts, the mutant X-creatures - the product of the hideous secret X-lab facilities, and the terrifying Occult Priest.

  • CO-OP Action - The Allies only remaining hope in the battle against the insidious Reich lies in the hands of two men, B. J. Blazkowicz and his new partner Agent One. This Xbox exclusive split-screen co-op mode allows two friends to battle as B. J. Blazkowicz and Agent One through the entire single player campaign.

  • Multiplayer Warfare - Using Xbox Live or System Link, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War multiplayer pits players in a team-based Axis versus Allies contest for front-line domination, where multiple player classes must mobilize and work together to accomplish mission objectives. Styles of play range from Objective mode all the way to a team-based Elimination mode. With battlefields designed specifically for play on the Xbox, players can enlist up to eight versus eight for fast and furious combat. Xbox Live players can invite other players from their buddy list to their game or jump straight into the action using Xbox Live Matchmaking to find a favorite style of gameplay. With the Xbox Live Communicator and full voice masking capabilities, players can verbally coordinate attacks, communicate enemy positions or scream for a medic.

  • Made for the Xbox - Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War delivers Dolby 5.1 audio, new monsters, weapons and useable items, an expanded storyline including new missions, co-op play and full Xbox Live and System Link multiplayer support for the definitive Xbox experience.

  • Tactical Combat - Every situation is different and players must survey each potential combat situation and decide how best to approach the combat by either using stealth or overwhelming firepower. With a robust scripting system and life-like AI and animation systems, tactical combat is taken to new levels.

    Tuesday, December 3, 2002

    Xicat Teams up With Motor Trend In Lotus Challenge
    Steve @ 3:35 PM EST
    Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – December 2, 2002 – Xicat tears up the track with its latest release, Motor Trend presents Lotus Challenge, to be released for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft in late 2002 in North America. This is the first auto racing video game to bear the Motor Trend name and seal of approval.

    "It's really an honor to be associated with Motor Trend, the premiere authority on cars," said Jaimee Wolf, CEO of Xicat Interactive, Inc. "We've designed the game to meet and surpass the very high standards set by Lotus, and the crew at Motor Trend just loves the game."

    "We are excited to be releasing the Motor Trend Lotus Challenge in conjunction with Xicat Interactive. Fans of racing games will love the challenging courses and fast-paced action of the Motor Trend Lotus Challenge," states Jacqueline Blum, president of the Enterprises unit at Primedia Inc. Ms. Blum heads the licensing operations for the company.

    Fancy a wicked ride? Get behind the wheel with a bevy of English beauties. The 'hot bods' span Lotus' prestigious 54-year racing history, from the Lotus Seven, Elan and Europa to the remarkable Elise and the 175mph Lotus Esprit as well as some of the most influential Formula One and Indy cars ever built. Racing action or long-haul circuits are set across a variety of locations such as London, Arizona Speedway, Jupiter Beach Raceway in Florida, twisting roads in the Swiss Alps, Tokyo Rainbow Bridge, Minato-Ku, the Tokyo Bay Tunnel, the Official Lotus Test Track at Hethel in the UK, a Hollywood movie set and even an off-shore oil rig.

    Rain, storms, snow, fog, dirt and mud are all remarkably rendered. Scrape your Lotus down the side of a tunnel as you run at more than 100 miles an hour and see realistic scratches and dents form on the body work. Advanced real-time particle systems handle the life-like damage and weather effects. Projected shadows and the car's glistening headlights create a mesmerizing nocturnal driving experience.

    Commenting on the ground-breaking strategic partnership, Arnie Johnson who heads up the American division of Group Lotus, Lotus Cars USA Inc said, “this is the first time a unique co-production has been set-up between a car manufacturer and a games developer. We have maintained an unprecedented level of involvement in the development of the game to ensure it is as realistic as possible. Lotus is extremely proud to have selected such innovative partners.”

    Motor Trend presents Lotus Challenge embodies the best of simulation racing with the excitement of an arcade thriller. Take your positions race fans, Lotus Challenge will be released for Xbox in late 2002, with releases for Nintendo® Gamecube(TM) and PC CD-Rom Q2 next year. Rating is pending.

    Enhanced Version of TOCA Race Driver for Xbox
    Steve @ 3:30 PM EST
    A major number one best seller for PlayStation 2, the Xbox edition features more cars on track in every race and adds qualifying rounds to the cut-throat career championships.

    A superior graphics engine will deliver the close contact, and often dangerous, racing in dramatic detail.

    TOCA Race Driver delivers a racing experience packed with 42 real touring and sports cars, 13 championships and an incredible 38 internationally renowned race circuits. New to the Xbox edition is the introduction of a qualifying round to championship races; in Australia's championship players will experience the 'Shoot out' qualification system.

    Increasing the on-track competition, the Xbox edition will make any driver's adrenaline race with up to 20 cars tearing up the track simultaneously, six more cars than in the original game.

    When you've got up 20 cars on track at once, motor sport's most aggressive exhibition of racing results in spectacular damage and it can all be seen in stunning graphical detail, thanks to an advanced graphics engine. The visual capabilities of the Xbox enables greater draw distances, increased texture size, greater colour depth and detailing, such as fully modelled wheels, and more dramatic particle effects.

    TOCA Race Driver is the evolution of racing games, uniquely blending a cast of game characters with the sport's real-life drivers, locations and championship events.

    The game gives players one central character - Ryan McKane - to connect with and wraps the high-speed race action in real-time generated plot-driven cinematic sequences.

    The roar of the cars' engines will sound better on Xbox on with support for Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 and feature high quality samples, reverberation and environmental audio effects.

    TOCA Race Driver is scheduled to launch for Xbox in March 2003.

    Run Like Hell Coming to Xbox
    Andy @ 12:34 PM EST
    Interplay Entertainment Corp. and Vivendi Universal Games today announced the development of the sci-fi video game Run Like Hell(TM) for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft. This survival horror game previously released on the Sony PlayStation2® has been modified to take full advantage of the Xbox technology, including in game support of Dolby® Digital 5.1 surround sound to accompany the state-of-the art 3D environments. In addition to expanding the existing gameplay area, an exclusive new level has also been created, as well as downloadable content that will be available via Xbox Live(TM). Run Like Hell for the Xbox will be available in the spring of 2003.

    "It has been a great pleasure for the team to expand the development of Run Like Hell onto the Xbox. Gamers will enjoy the additions and enhancements that have been made to the game," said Scot Lane, Producer for Interplay.

    Run Like Hell puts you in the role of Nick Conner, an exiled military hero sent to work on a mining station in deep space. Returning from a mission, you find your crew members and friends wiped out by a vicious and intelligent alien race. Your mission is to remain alive long enough to discover the aliens' plans for your ship and find any survivors in the process.

    Monday, December 2, 2002

    More than 550,000 Units of Splinter Cell Produced
    Steve @ 1:28 PM EST
    ASHEVILLE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 2, 2002--

    Industry Leader Completes Largest Run of an Xbox Game for Holiday Season's Most Anticipated Title

    Sonopress LLC, a global leader in media services and turnkey operations, today announced that it completed mass-production of more than 550,000 units of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(TM), the widely-popular stealth-action adventure game for the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft.

    The game is developed and published by Ubi Soft(R) Entertainment, one of the world's leading videogame publishers. Using the advanced replication technology at its Weaverville, NC facility, Sonopress was able to complete the replication and packaging of the game in less than a week's time. DITAN Distribution, a leading retail distribution service provider specializing in direct-to-store distribution of time-sensitive products, partnered with Sonopress to ensure that the game would be available to retail outlets, wholesalers and distribution centers prior to the game's November 18 launch date. The number of units ordered by Ubi Soft is the largest launch for an Xbox game in the console's history.

    "Sonopress and DITAN Distribution were large contributors to the incredibly successful launch of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell," said Rich Kubiszewski, vice president of operations for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "We presented Sonopress with an enormous challenge in terms of the sheer volume of units we needed to meet the demand of consumers. The game was not finalized until just prior to the release date, yet we had confidence that Sonopress' replication capabilities, combined with the on-site distribution solution of DITAN, would enable us to meet our deadline and put the game on store shelves."

    Sonopress was named an Authorized Replicator (AR) for Xbox in 2001. This status qualifies Sonopress to support publishers worldwide with their requirements for replication, packaging and distribution of Xbox games.

    "Sonopress has established proficiencies within the Xbox Program as an Xbox Authorized Replicator," stated Mike Quinn, Xbox General Manager, Microsoft, "Sonopress continues to exhibit outstanding technical expertise, complete commitment to customer care and a strong focus on the protection of customer content."

    "Our customers look to us for their replication, packaging and distribution needs because they know we have the industry expertise and capabilities to meet their critical content to market deadlines," said Jeff Miner, account manager for Sonopress LLC. "Considering the volume, the order from Ubi Soft Entertainment was a daunting challenge, but one that we were well-equipped to overcome. Knowing that Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is in such high demand from the consumer public, we are very pleased that we played such an integral part in Ubi Soft's success with this title."