Futuremark Games Studio announces Shattered Horizon Competition

December 11, 2009 · Filed Under Competitions, News · Comment 

Contest offers players 16 ways to win PC hardware prizes from sponsors MSI, FSP Group, Enermax and Patriot Memory

Futuremark® Games Studio announced a new community competition for Shattered Horizon™, their PC exclusive multiplayer first-person shooter. The contest starts Monday 14 December and with 16 different challenges over 4 weeks there are plenty of ways for players to win one of the many PC hardware prizes on offer from competition sponsors MSI, FSP Group, Enermax and Patriot Memory.

“With 16 different ways to win this competition gives all Shattered Horizon players a chance to win one of the great prizes on offer, not just those who top the leaderboards,” said Jukka Mäkinen, Head of Futuremark Games Studio.

The prize pool includes:
– MSI Big Bang Trinergy motherboards
– FSP Group Epsilon 88PLUS 700W power supplies
– Enermax Apollish Vegas 12cm cooling fans
– Patriot Memory DDR3 Viper II ‘Sector 5’ Series memory modules
– Shattered Horizon t-shirts, sticker packs and Arconaut memberships

For further details of the challenges, prizes and how to take part visit the competition page on the official Shattered Horizon website:

A new wardrobe to incite fright in Silkroad Online

October 31, 2009 · Filed Under Fantasy, MMO, News, Online · Comment 

Ghostly Gear Available for the Historical Fantasy MMORPG

Joymax has announced that haunted Halloween garb is now available for fantasy MMORPG Silkroad Online. The dark and sinister Duke outfit, complete with top hat and cape, is a perfect choice for any warrior about to seek revenge on his enemy. The Countess gown combines elegance and appeal while still exuding the ferocity of a female warrior.

These costumes aren’t just for scaring friends, either! Players can speak with the blacksmith NPC in town to upgrade avatar gear by adding individual attributes. These upgrades can enhance the gear with vitality, strength, magic and defensive traits. There are varying amounts of upgrades available per item, so choose your attire wisely.

The Duke and Countess outfits are limited edition items and will be replaced once the frightening festivities have ceased.

To learn more about Silkroad Online and the spooky threads, visit the official website at www.joymax.com/silkroad.

Silkroad Online
Silkroad Online is a massively multiplayer online RPG that puts the player deep into historical fantasy, joining the Chinese and European civilizations along the Silk Road trade route. Traveling across Jangan, from China to Constantinople, players can make their fortunes as merchants, prey on the rich as thieves, or be protection-for-hire as hunters. The most recent expansion, Legend IV Plus, provides players with an all-new dungeon to explore atop Roc Mountian. Those who survive the battle with its guardian, the monstrous King of the Rocs, are rewarded with some of the finest treasures the game has to offer.

2009 UK National Gamers Survey

October 27, 2009 · Filed Under Business, Consoles, News · Comment 

Gamers want instant pleasure.

Digital distribution booming on all game platforms.

Online distribution and direct sales of games is rapidly expanding into the console and PC game market, traditionally serviced by retail. For the business of mobile games and games accessed via game portals direct online sales and distribution has always been key.

New data coming from the UK National Gamers Survey 2009 and identical surveys in the US and other EU markets confirm this and reveal new facts on different aspects of games industry’s hottest topic: “digital distribution”. Conducted by TNS and Gamesindustry.com, the survey found that 25% of all console users in the UK have downloaded and paid for complete games or extra levels via their console. 7% state that, when acquiring new games, they usually buy the game directly via their console. For PC games this figure is double: 14% of PC gamers are accustomed to buying and downloading directly online. Figures from the identical survey held in the US shows even more dramatic figures: 16% and 23%, respectively.

Game portals and mobile
19% of the UK population plays games on their mobile phone. 44% actually downloads new games and pays directly via their handset. The enormous reach of casual game portals – used by 32% of the total UK population – is due to the fact most games are free, but 20% of UK game portal players state they spend money on the portal. In the US this is even 33%. Paid subscriptions are the most popular in both countries but already 6% of all UK and US game portal players frequently buy premium games online.

Console and PC games
55% of the UK population plays games on consoles and 35% state they play PC games. 27% of UK console players state they download levels or complete games via their console, almost all have experienced paying for this. For Xbox 360 and PS3 the figures go up dramatically: 51% and 55% respectively; 25% for Nintendo Wii. When buying complete new games, 7% of all console players states they usually do so directly via the console. 14% of PC gamers pay and download games directly. As can be expected percentages are even higher in the younger age groups.

Video content and demos
Online distribution is not only a factor in purchasing games. Almost 25% of UK console game players state that the availability of a downloadable trial version or demo is a crucial factor in their buying decision. This is close to the 30% for PC gamers that traditionally have online access. 45% of PS3 users downloads or accesses video content via their console. This is 41% for Xbox360 and a mere 22% for Nintendo Wii.

Game market revenues

Fast growing segments of the game market such as MMOs, mobile games and game portals are already attracting significant revenues through direct online payments. With the addition of console and PC game revenues shifting away from traditional retail, additional tools and approaches are needed to get the full picture of the games market.

Peter Warman, from Gamesindustry.com adds:“With the growing part of games being played and paid for online, a key way to monitor the complete games business is by asking consumers directly about their overall game behavior and spending. An additional advantage of this approach is insight across all platforms as the traditional divide between the online casual and core console market has evaporated.”

NCsoft’s Aion soars as Year’s Biggest MMO Launch

September 25, 2009 · Filed Under MMO, News, Online · Comment 

NCsoft®, the world’s premier publisher and developer of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), today released, Aion®, its highly anticipated massively multiplayer online role-playing game in retailers across Europe. The entertainment phenomenon that has taken Asia by storm and has wowed hundreds of thousands of beta testers in Europe and North America has finally arrived.

Having sold out of its Limited Collector’s Edition version and tallying more pre-orders than any other MMO game this year, Aion’s release marks the biggest MMO launch of the year and is already being touted as one of the must-have games for the coming Christmas period. Aion also released in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore this week.

In Aion, gamers explore a celestial world of breath-taking beauty and epic adventure. Players create either winged Elyos or Asmodian avatars, sworn enemy races that discover a common foe: the twisted and depraved Balaur. Aion is among the biggest MMO games in the East and has wowed millions of gamers with its breathtaking graphics, innovative gameplay and engrossing story.

“We’re extremely excited to finally deliver the game to Western audiences and believe they will enjoy Aion as much as Eastern players have,” said Jaeho Lee, CEO NCsoft West. “The effort we put into Westernising Aion is unprecedented in our industry. Players will experience a completely rewritten storyline spanning more than two-million words, along with a variety of enhancements specifically for Western audiences.”

Consumer excitement for Aion has been steadily building in the recent months leading up to the game’s launch. Aion’s preorder sales have exceeded expectations, and the game has remained ranked among the top games on both Steam and Direct to Drive throughout the preorder period. Having sold nearly 450,000 copies before launch, Aion has established the benchmark as the biggest MMO release of the year. Aion is available at key retailers across Europe, please visit the official ‘Where to Buy’ page for a complete list at www.aiononline.com/retail/.

Unlike any MMO before it, Aion is a uniquely crafted online experience where flight offers much more than just a way to explore the landscape – it is a strategic and integral part of combat, quests, and exploration. Players will dive into battle and plunge through thousands of unique, story-driven quests, all while trying to save a world literally shattered in half from centuries of brutal conflict. Using one of the most flexible and in-depth character customisation systems ever featured in an MMO, players will be able to create genuinely distinct characters and explore a visually stunning world of ethereal beauty brimming with otherworldly inhabitants, mysterious enemies, and ancient secrets.

The ultimate evolution of an acclaimed classic arrives this November

September 5, 2009 · Filed Under News, Strategy · Comment 

Following the recent announcement at Gamescom in Cologne, Paradox Interactive are excited and proud to provide further details on the release of a very special Europa Universalis game entitled For The Glory, set to release on PC in November 2009.

Developed by Crystal Empire Games, the newly formed Studio which includes some of the key members behind the renowned Europa Universalis II user mod AGCEEP (‘Alternative Grand Campaign’ / ‘Event Exchange Project’) which pushed EUII to its technical and graphical limits, For The Glory builds upon this in-depth and unprecedented knowledge of the game by expanding the boundaries and adding a huge amount of original content, to produce the ultimate evolution of an acclaimed classic.

Taking up the reigns of one of over 180 countries, For The Glory offers full historical immersion with a completely new in-depth experience, including the ability to interact with over 10,000 historically accurate events to determine what path your nation will take. Guide domestic and foreign policy, engage in numerous struggles, and attempt to lead your country to a prosperous future. But will you choose to follow the path of history, or take advantage of opportunities for change? Nothing is written in stone!

The first installment in an ongoing series of developer diaries can be found at:

• Play as one of over 190 countries on a map covering the entire world in the era spanning 1419-1819
• Experience unparalleled historical immersion with over 10,000 historical events
• Unprecedented levels of mod-ability – unlimited timeframe and up to 1,000 counties
• Improved and modernized interface
• Adapt your playing style to the personality of your nation’s various historical monarchs.
• The AGCEEP mod comes bundled with For The Glory

ORDER OF WAR set to invade North America on September 22, 2009

September 3, 2009 · Filed Under News, Strategy, Wargame · Comment 

Square Enix Announces Ship Date for Its First WWII Real-Time Strategy Game

Square Enix, Inc. announced that ORDER OF WAR(TM) will ship to North American retailers on September 22, 2009.

ORDER OF WAR is a brand-new IP set during World War II and is being developed exclusively for the PC platform by strategy game specialist Wargaming.net. This will be Square Enix’s first release of a western-developed game outside of Japan and kicks off the launch of upcoming titles being developed through partnerships, including SUPREME COMMANDER 2 by Gas Powered Games and FRONT MISSION EVOLVED(TM) by Double Helix Games(TM). These titles are part of Square Enix’s commitment to offer a broader variety of games across different genres.

As Square Enix’s first foray into the hugely popular genre of historical real-time strategy, ORDER OF WAR takes strategy games to new heights and features massive-scale battles brought to life with unprecedented cinematic intensity. Players will take command of an entire army including ground troops, artillery, tank divisions and aircraft in all-out strategic assaults. The single-player mode can be played out in two campaigns – American forces versus German forces in occupied France and German forces versus Soviet forces in Poland and versus American forces in France. Missions will be based on key historic events and operations from 1944.

The free, single-player demo – “Road to Paris” – is currently available for download at http://www.orderofwar.com/. In this introductory demo, players are tasked with commanding American troops in an attempt to destroy German outposts amid tank and infantry attacks and clear the road to Paris.


In the summer of 1944, the Second World War entered its endgame when the Allies launched two major operations that would drive back German forces on both the Western and Eastern Fronts at once.

In the ultimate test of military strategy, ORDER OF WAR will challenge you not only to lead America’s finest to victory in the west, but also place you in command of German forces charged with repelling the Red Army’s seemingly unstoppable offensive in the east.

Even the keenest military minds will find that it’s one thing to make history, but quite another to change it.

Do you have what it takes to command?

— Experience WWII warfare on an epic, cinematic stage; that truly captures the intensity and scale of the battlefield
— Take command of an entire armed force consisting of up to 1,000 soldiers, tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and airplanes
— Players can choose between two different campaign modes offering completely different storylines, missions, objectives and environments
— Experience the unique dynamic camera that allows players to command troops over huge geographical scale whilst maintaining movie-like vistas and detail
— In-depth gameplay modes: two different campaign modes, multi-player, Deathmatch and Skirmish

For more information on ORDER OF WAR, please visit the official website at http://www.orderofwar.com/.

64.9 million Chinese online gamers will spend $52 each on average in 2009

September 1, 2009 · Filed Under Business, MMO, News, Online · Comment 

Niko Partners’ 2009 Chinese Gamers Study Provides Essential Information for Companies Interested in Selling Goods and Services to Chinese Gamers

Niko Partners, the leading market intelligence firm on China’s video game industry, today announced key findings from its latest report, the 2009 Chinese Gamers Study, a report on gamer demand, behavior, preferences and usage based on a survey conducted in 20 Chinese cities. Niko forecasts 64.9 million online gamers by the end of 2009 who will spend $52 per person on average, a growing audience who support the robust nature of the Chinese market for games and the mandate to offer a wider range of games to serve a broader and discerning Chinese gamer audience. The audience prefers free-to-play online games over the subscription model, but also spends a great deal of time on PC offline games.

The 2009 Chinese Gamers Study provides essential information for anyone interested in targeting Chinese gamers with games, digital content, hardware, or services. The report delivers an understanding of gamer demographics, Internet café, usage, spending patterns, and hardware awareness among Chinese gamers. 84 percent of Niko’s gamers sampled own a PC at home – far outpacing the national rate for all consumers.

“There’s no doubt that the market for games is growing at an incredible rate in China,” said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners. “The economics of the market are shifting from supply-driven to demand-driven, which means that game publishers, hardware makers and service providers must understand their users behaviors and preferences in order to offer products and services that will be very popular in this hit-driven business.”

The 2009 Chinese Gamers Study is the second report in Niko’s 2009 annual market research subscription on China’s video game industry, or is sold alone for US $3,500. It is based on Niko’s broadest gamers survey of 1,850 gamers in 20 cities in four Chinese tiers and provides information that will enable decision makers to intelligently plan for success in China.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning launches assault on Penny Arcade Expo 2009 from September 4th – 6th

September 1, 2009 · Filed Under News · Comment 

Mythic Entertainment, the developer of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR), will be descending upon Penny Arcade Expo 2009 from September 4th – 6th to meet fans and showcase the latest and greatest new content and updates to WAR. Located at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle, Washington, the event will provide the opportunity for local players to hang out in the WAR Lounge and speak with members of the development team about WAR’s one year anniversary and the latest and deadliest Live Event players have ever seen: The Wild Hunt!

Where: Washington State Convention & Trade Center
Seattle, WA 98101-2350
EA / Mythic Booth # 332

When: Friday, September 4th – Sunday, September 6th

Don’t miss Mythic Entertainment’s Executive Producer, Jeff Hickman, discussing Game Design 101 during his Penny Arcade Expo panel session on Friday, September 4th from 10:30am – 11:30am in the Unicorn Theatre. Joined by other industry vets, Jeff and the panel will re-examine the basics of game design and explore what it means to design in today’s videogame industry.

Fans who visit the Warhammer Online booth will walk away with a limited-edition Empire Cherub t-shirt (while supplies last), exciting WAR giveaways, and valuable in-game items:

• Razored Skinning Knife – Sharp as a harlot’s tongue and twice as dangerous.
• Shroud of Imrathepis – Linens taken from the burial shroud of Prince Imrathepis, protecting its owner from harm by regenerating minor wounds and injuries.
• Chompin’ Teef – Exclusive Steel Jaw customization option for Orc Choppas.
• Snorri’s Spikes – Exclusive Spike Mohawk customization option for Dwarf Slayers.

For more information about Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning at Penny Arcade Expo 2009, visit http://herald.warhammeronline.com/eventcalendar/.

Based on the popular tabletop war game from Games Workshop, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning features revolutionary Realm vs. Realm conflict that will provide players with an engaging battleground for years to come. Available now for PC, WAR will be available on Mac in the fall of 2009. WAR is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB. For more information about the game and to download the 10-day free trial, visit www.warhammeronline.com.

Project Stealth: Spy vs Mercenary

August 22, 2009 · Filed Under Action, News · Comment 

Today the Project Stealth team announced the beta release date of “Project Stealth: Spy vs Mercenary.” Project Stealth’s public beta will be downloadable for free at the end of August.

Project Stealth is our first game based on Unreal Engine 3™ technology using Unreal Tournament 3™, created by Epic Games™, as a basis.

Project Stealth is a Stealth-Action-Multiplayer game aimed at the hardcore PC-player who likes intense teamwork, strategy and on-the-fly tactical planning. A cat-and-mouse-game in which two non-lethal, fast Spies are up against two lethal but slow Mercenaries. On top of that, a difference between third-person and first-person cameras makes Project Stealth a guarantee for an exciting game experience. Both sides are aided by various high-tech gadgets and special vision modes to help them accomplish their goals: infiltrating and hacking an objective for Spies, or preventing that for Mercenaries.

Project Stealth at a glance
• The next-gen multiplayer stealth-action game using Unreal Engine 3™ technology
• 2 Spies vs 2 Mercenaries
• Original gadgets and special vision modes like thermal vision and motion tracking
• Free (requires Unreal Tournament 3)
• Created by gamers, for hardcore PC-gamers
• Spy character model won third place in MakeSomethingUnreal Contest Phase 1
• Competing in MakeSomethingUnreal Contest Phase 4

gamescom 2009: Cologne eagerly awaits the gamescom premiere, with more than 420 exhibitors from 30 countries expected

Fans of interactive entertainment can look forward to world and European premieres of games, action, events and entertainment in Cologne at gamescom, already the international meeting place of the industry at its very first staging

Gamescom is under starter’s orders and the stands are already being set up in Cologne. Organiser Koelnmesse and its ideal partner the German Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware – BIU) are eagerly waiting to greet more than 420 exhibitors from 30 countries from 19-23 August. With foreign participation at 45 per cent, gamescom has become the industry’s international meeting point at a stroke. Over a total of 120,000 square metres of exhibition space, the industry community, from developers to publishers and trading partners all the way to the large group of gamers, will meet in halls 4 to 9 of Koelnmesse.

Fans and friends of interactive entertainment can look forward to a grand show of game premieres, a spectacular event and entertainment programme on the entire trade show grounds – indoors and outdoors – and in the city itself at the gamescom Festival. Already well over 100 world, European and German premieres of games in all genres are on the bill. With more than 30 exhibitors from the areas of media learning and expertise, and the gamescom congress organised by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Europe’s largest event for interactive entertainment and games is also giving a huge boost to child welfare. Koelnmesse, the German Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU), the City of Cologne and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia are ready to launch the premiere of gamescom. “The games can begin,” say Oliver P. Kuhrt, Managing Director of Koelnmesse, and Olaf Wolters, head of the BIU, in unison.

Industry meeting place
With foreign companies making up 45 per cent of exhibitors – including firms from the UK, France, the US and Canada – gamescom is already the new international industry meeting place right from the start. Games producers from France, Italy, the UK, Scandinavia, Taiwan and Thailand will present their products on six shared stands. The business area (halls 4 and 5) will see the European games industry do business with their trading partners, while the entertainment area (halls 6 to 9) is devoted to companies presenting their new products to private visitors. For example in hall 6 of gamescom, companies including Activision Blizzard, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Square Enix and Take Two will showcase their latest titles. In hall 7, Konami, Sony and Ubisoft, Bigben Interactive, Hama, Koch Media and others will cater to fans of interactive entertainment. In hall 8, next to the north entrance, firms including Nintendo, Namco Bandai, Sega, Warner Brothers, dtp and Tivola will present their innovations. Hall 9 puts e-sports, core gaming and the dynamic online gaming segment centre stage. Here, Turtle Entertainment, GOA, NcSoft, Funcom and others will show their products in the best light. To ensure that visitors to gamescom have as much active gaming time as possible, themed game zones (lifestyle, sport, action & adventure, e-sports) will complement the exhibitor stands. This is where the virtual world of games meets its real-world counterpart.

World premieres and interactive supporting programme
In the entertainment area, visitors to gamescom will experience a festival of new computer and video games. It will feature new products in just about every genre, from infotainment and edutainment games, to casual, sports and music games, all the way to action and adventure. In short, video and PC, online and browser games producers and hardware providers, too, will be presenting their latest developments, with exhibitors presenting more than one hundred world, European and German premieres. Sports fans, for example, can look forward to the premieres of Pro Evolution Soccer 10, FIFA 10, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Tony Hawk Ride, while racing aficionados will be treated to Need for Speed Nitro and Forza Motorsport 3. The pulses of music-lovers will also be quickened by titles such as Guitar Hero 5, DJ Hero 5, The Beatles Rock Band, Band Hero, LIPS – No. 1 Hits and Just sing.

The line-up of global players from around the world is already being hotly awaited by the European gaming community in the focus area of online, browser and mobile games. Besides browser game market leaders gameforge and Bigpoint, more than 20 companies from Germany, Europe and South Korea will present the entire gamut of games and latest blockbusters, among them World of Warcraft and “Celebrities”.

Away from the screens and monitors, the interactive supporting programme at gamescom will provide the best in entertainment. Creative costumed action fans and friends of relaxing entertainment at gamescom will certainly get their money’s worth in the real world too. For example, from Thursday the best case modders will battle it out in the German case-modding championships, which will award prizes to the most inventive homemade PC housings. People looking to enter the games industry or move within it will want to head straight to the job and career centre in hall 8. There visitors will also find the “Retro Gaming 1972-2009” exhibition, showcasing almost four decades of gaming history. Outside, cosplayers – costumed players – will be awaiting their turn. On Saturday, the south entrance will be the setting for a cosplay world record attempt, which has been officially registered with Guinness World of Records. Another outdoor event will see the most daring motorcyclists take their racers through the freestyle course. In hall 8, the German Motorcycle Trade Association (Industrie-Verband Motorrad Deutschland – IVM) will showcase the fascinating world of motorbikes and scooters. Participation is the order of the day in other supporting events too. The outdoor course will test entrants’ mettle in overcoming obstacles and becoming the fastest and most effective in getting from A to B, a skill that comes first and foremost in many games, after all. Trade show visitors can also attend small workshops to learn the basics of this trend discipline straight from the pros. From Thursday to Sunday, the other outdoor exhibitor events will provide perfect entertainment for fans and families alike. Those in need of a break from the hubbub in the halls and the grounds can escape to the gamescom beach, where they can relax and recharge before the next round of show highlights.

“gamesCompetence” unites teaching content and expertise
Youth protection, media learning and instruction in media skills come under the “gamesCompetence” heading at gamescom. This event throws the spotlight on offers from young people for their age group, associations, clubs and institutions, as well as the gamescom congress organised by the state government. Almost 40 exhibitors, among them associations, clubs, and educational facilities, will actively participate in the “gamesCompetence” event highlight. The NRW 2009 Youth Forum in hall 8 hosted in collaboration with Cologne Youth Welfare Office will centre on offers from young people for young people. Also taking part in the “gamesCompetence” programme: the Federal Centre for Political Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung – BpB), the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz – KJM), the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien – BPjM) and educational facilities including the University of Cologne. The main highlight of the gamescom days under the sign of youth protection, media learning and expertise is the gamescom congress to be staged under the state government’s auspices on 20 August in the Congress Centre North. The congress, which is free to all, is devoted to the latest debates revolving around the world of computer gaming. The topic of age-appropriate use of interactive media does not only play a role in the specialist part of gamescom – the right way to deal with games will also be demonstrated live in the trade show grounds. To ensure young people are protected at gamescom itself, visitors will be given coloured armbands according to their age. This follows the guidelines of self-regulating software body the USK and enables exhibitors to ensure that games are only played by the age groups they are intended for. Games for players aged 16 and over will be demonstrated in a closed-off area of exhibitor stands. All in all, the offers for parents and teachers, educators, politicians, media and other interested parties at “gamescompetence” range from practical applications and tools all the way to top political discussions.

The gamescom Festival takes the games into the city
The supporting gamescom Festival takes the games into the city where it will address the target group of casual gamers, leisure and occasional players after the trade show closes with lots of fun. The city centre around Rudolfplatz, Friesenplatz and Neumarkt will feature two stages with an entertaining line-up of live acts, while the area between Rudolfplatz and Friesenplatz will be given over to interactive gaming with show trucks and game modules. The festival will open its doors on 19 August with top European music act Die Toten Hosen who will appear with Gentlemen and other top names to rock the audience in the dancing zone adjoining the trade show grounds. Following the opening ceremony on Wednesday, the city festival in downtown Cologne will provide spectacular entertainment from Friday to Sunday. National and international music acts, interactive gaming and the BÄM Awards will showcase fun from its best angle over three days true to the gamescom motto, “Celebrate the games”.

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