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Age of Conan wants you to use the buddy system

Owners of the Age of Conan Collector's Edition can now get their friends in on the blood-soaked action with the newly enabled buddy keys. The buddy keys allows current players to invite up to five friends to come play the MMO, free of charge, for seven days. Players need to log into their accounts, select the "Buddy program" feature, follow the instructions, then prepare to lay waste all their foes. Of course, there's the not-so-small matter of installing the humongous game. Although the game developers recommend that you lend your discs to your buddy for fastest installation, friends can alternatively spend $2.99 on the client download, which comes with an three additional free days of play time to offset the download time. Either way, this is a good time to start gathering up forces and laying all your foes to waste.

Instructions for sending buddy keys can be found here, then get your friends started by getting them to download the Age of Conan Interface Tutorial Video and the Age of Conan Combat Tutorial Video.

Continue reading Age of Conan wants you to use the buddy system

Playable demo for Pro Cycling Manager '08 now available

Ever since Lance Armstrong stopped kicking everyone's butt year after year in the Tour de France, the only news about professional cycling that reaches the U.S. these days is the doping scandals. Even now, with the ToD in full swing, doping scandals continue to rock the sport. So why not give a virtual try at managing a professional cycling team the old fashion way -- with blood, sweat and tears.

Cyanide Studio and Focus Home Interactive have made the demo for Pro Cycling Manager 2008 - Tour de France edition available. The 760 MB demo puts players in charge of the Euskaltel team as they try to win the Tour de France's 16th stage: Cuneo – Jausiers. Your team is beginning its last week of competition before the final charge towards finish line at the Champs-Élysées. Unfortunately your team stinks (probably because none of your riders are using performance enhancing durgs) and has yet to win a single stage. Needles to say the sponsors are getting a bit irked by your lack of Lance Amrstrong-ness. So as the team's Director of Sports you must guide your toeam through the demo's 157.4 km mountain stage to their much needed first victory.

The demo also offers a tutorial mode as well as a track cycling event called a Keirin race, which pits you against six riders racing at nearly 50 kph for three laps. Download the demo now from Big Download!

Continue reading Playable demo for Pro Cycling Manager '08 now available

GameTap signs partnership with THQ

GameTap, the broadband entertainment network brought to you by Turner Broadcasting System, just announced a long-term partnership with THQ. The joint effort includes worldwide subscription play and digital download rights for a wide selection of games for Windows PC. Plus, some of THQ games will be made available for free to play on GameTap's ad-supported website.

GameTap will now feature titles from the THQ and ValuSoft catalogues, including critically acclaimed games such as Company of Heroes, Warhammer 40K, Red Faction, Supreme Commander, Titan Quest, Saints Row 2, PuzzleQuest and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl.

[via email press release]

Continue reading GameTap signs partnership with THQ

Did graphic card giants align marketing plans?

With the anti-trust suit against Nvidia and ATI still raging (which alleges the two kept prices artificially high by releasing products at the same time and at very similar prices) it was really bad timing for an unwanted Email to surface. Especially when the Email in question was written by Nvidia's Dan Vivoli to ATI's Dave Orton.

Apparently as far back as 2002 (the suit has been going on since '06) the two graphic card giants were talking about alinging their marketing plans. The Email from Vivoli to Orton stated: "I really think we should work harder together on the marketing front. As you and I have talked about, even though we are competitors, we have the common goal of making our category a well positioned, respected playing field. $5 and $8 stocks are a result of no respect."

Nvidia's stock at the close of market today was a "whopping" $11.56 while ATI's (now owened by AMD) was a "stunning" $4.65. Um, there still doesn't appear to be much respect for these guys. Where's Rodney Dangerfield when you need him?

Continue reading Did graphic card giants align marketing plans?

Alan Wake is alive and well thank you

Alan Wake has been spotted... in Tokyo. According to a Microsoft promotional flyer the highly anticipated psychological thriller will make an appearance at the Tokyo Games Show in September. But there's more.

Microsoft held a competition last year called "WOW - Win Experiences Money Can't Buy" that gave one lucky winner the chance to be "digitally made-over and inserted (virtually of course) into a blockbuster game!" That game being Alan Wake. Whoever the lucky winner was flew to Finland where they were digitally mastered and inserted into Wake's world. Well, a year is a long time to wait to see the finished product, but the second part of the prize will come to fruition in September when the winner will be flown to the 2008 Tokyo Games Show to finally see themselves on the screen.

It looks like the hype meter for Alan Wake is set to go red-line later this year.

Continue reading Alan Wake is alive and well thank you

Top gaming execs blast E3

E3 sure ain't what it used to be. At least that's what EA CEO John Riccitiello thinks. "I hate E3 like this. Either we need to go back to the old E3, or we'll have to have our own private events."

He's not the only one who doesn't care for the "new and improved" E3 Media and Business Summit format. Ubisoft North America president Laurent Detoc was harsher: "E3 this year is terrible. The world used to come to E3. Now it's like a pipe-fitters show in the basement."

A pipe-fitters show? Ouch. Approximately 5,000 people were expected to attend this year's E3 at the LA Convention Center. Back in its glory years E3 drew 60,000 people. Ouch.

Mike Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, admitted that they need to figure out "where the dial needs to go" and they'll continue to work on the format as needed.

Continue reading Top gaming execs blast E3

Hellgate and Mythos forums to close

Adding the latest nail to the coffin of beleaguered Flagship Studios, the following short message was posted last night on the official forums for both Hellgate London and Mythos:

On Friday, July 18th at Midnight (CST) the forums will be shutting down. We would like to thank everyone for being a part of this wonderful community and we hope to see you all again soon.

So much for that. While the message ended on a somewhat positive note, one has to wonder if there's anything left to salvage. They hype surrounding Hellgate prior to its release was categorically "off the hook." Despite a fantastic premise and average reviews, the end product not only failed to deliver on that hype (which was arguably out of control), but apparently failed to deliver a game the public deemed worthy of their time.

Continue reading Hellgate and Mythos forums to close

New Legendary trailer shows weapons of mass destruction

It is said that curiosity killed the cat. Well, opening up Pandora's Box, a vessel that contains all the evils of mankind, is gonna do a whole lot more than kill a cat. And in order to fight off the mythical beasts that erupt from ole Pandora's prison it's going to take some serious firepower. Think BFG... only bigger.

A new trailer for Spark Unlimited's Legendary has surfaced which shows off just what kind of lead spewing gats you'll be able to use throughout the game. The trailer also shows some enviornmental destruction. If that's not enough to get your adrenaline pumping... maybe you should be put in the box.

Download the Legends Weapons Trailer now from Big Download!

Continue reading New Legendary trailer shows weapons of mass destruction

American McGee goes free - for 24 hours

As we mentioned last week, American McGee's Grimm will be doled out in weekly episodes. What we didn't know then that we know now via our hands-on preview is earth shaking. GameTap is going to offer each weekly "fractured fairytale" for free for the first 24-hours. Yes, you read that right -- free! After the twenty-four hour window has closed the episode will be dumped into their archive and available for an as yet-to-be-determined price.

How can they pull this off you ask? Each episode will be supported by some up-front advertising. Don't worry, it will be minimal, and besides... you're getting the game for free! The first episode is called "A Boy Learns What Fear Is" and drops on July 31.

Continue reading American McGee goes free - for 24 hours

NCsoft showing off their warez everywhere

NCsoft will be spanning the globe this summer to show off their ever expanding MMO lineup. As we mentioned last week, they will be at the San Diego Comic Con (July 23-27, booth #5209) with stations up and running so that attendees can play the superhero themed City of Heroes, Richard Garriott's sci-fic epic Tabula Rasa and mech-mashing Exteel. Fanzine artist Dave Hamann will also be on hand to draw City of Heroes' character sketches for players.

A few days later, July 29 - 31 in Brighton, England, NCsoft Europe will be showing the media its highly anticipated fantasy, wing-sprouting MMO, Aion: The Tower of Eternity. This will be the first time western journalists will have seen Aion since the summer of 2007, and things have changed. Three weeks later (August 20 - 24) Aion will be on display again at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany (Hall 3, Booth B20).

The last stop on the NCsoft bus ride will be at the Penny Arcade Expo (booth #642) in Seattle, August 29 - 31. PAX has become a pretty significant gaming con, and for NCsoft to show up with many of the their games (Aion, Exteel, Dungeon Runners, CoX, Guild Wars, and Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa) says a lot. What's more, Guild Wars' fans will be treated to a special player tournament while Exteel and Dungeon Runners' teams will get play sessions in the special LAN area. There will also be speaking sessions in the auditorium for fans to learn more about their many MMOs.

Continue reading NCsoft showing off their warez everywhere

Razer launches everything but the kitchen sink

It's been a very busy week for Razer, manufacturer of high-end precision gaming peripherals. In the first two days of said week they've made an announcement about being the title sponsor for a major global gaming championship, opened up a new European online store, and furnished China with their own professional gaming keyboard.

Razer will be the title sponsor of Garena's global DOTA Championship tournaments, which encompasses the Europe North American DOTA Championship, the East Europe DOTA Championship, the Asia DOTA Championship, and last but now least the DreamCup in China. As title sponsor Razer will be running the tournament with Garena as well as sponsoring the cash purse for the winners in all four tournaments.

Which would explain the release of the Chinese pro-gaming edition of the Aurantia, which is Razer's entry level gaming keyboard. It will be sold as a bundle along with the Chinese version of the Salmosa gaming mouse. They also launched Razer's European webstore to give Euro gamers quicker delivery of product, and offer exclusives. At launch it will provide two languages: English and German. French support will be enabled by mid-July.

Continue reading Razer launches everything but the kitchen sink

One offer enough Infogrames says

Back at the end of April, SCi Entertainment Group rejected an offer from Infogrames to buy out the publishing house. In a statement released today Infogrames said they have no plans to make another offer anytime soon either. Once bitten, twice shy apparently.

However, the statement did include a caveat. Infogrames said they reserve the right to change their minds if things should change in the next six months. That seems unlikely however since SCi entered into a strategic partnership with Warner Bros. in April. The timing was quite interesting as the announcement of their partnership with the WB came one week after revealing they had rejected an offer from an at-the-time unknown party. Guess we know who the mystery suitor was now, don't we?

Continue reading One offer enough Infogrames says

Playlogic snags $3 million and a new director

Publisher Playlogic Entertainment announced today that they've successfully wrangled $3 million in equity at $1.15 per share. These new funds will improve their working capital and allow them to better execute their business plan, including releasing the games scheduled for 2008.

That's usually enough good news for one day, but they also announced that Ruud Spoor, the director of Dutch investment firm BL Capital B.V., was appointed as their fourth non-executive director back on June 23. Playlogic's chairman Willy Simon seemed very happy with Ruud's hiring, saying "He adds significant financial and business experience, as well as access to the Dutch Investors community." Ah yes, there's always a silver lining to new hires, especially ones with deep pockets

Continue reading Playlogic snags $3 million and a new director

The Duke is coming, but E3 is irrelevant

Hot on the heals of the tiny new screen shot from Duke Nukem Forever released the other day, 3D Realms head Scott Miller says the game "is moving right along." The term "moving right along" is as ambiguous as the details shown in the aforementioned screen shot of the Duke (no, not this one to the right).

When asked about DNF's snail's pace development, Miller said: "Development is swimming along nicely. Seriously nicely." With such strong wording, one would expect to see the Duke make an appearance at the upcoming E3. Not. In fact, Miller thinks E3 is irrelevant in today's gaming world and sees no reason to show it off there. He went so far as to say that he "wasn't even aware it was coming up."

Apparently time flies (in decades) when you're working on a new Duke Nukem game. The current release date, such as it were, is set for... "when it's done."

Continue reading The Duke is coming, but E3 is irrelevant

PC is the future says Valve

Last month Valve head honcho Gabe Newell invited a bunch of journalists from around the globe to their HQ in Seattle. Part of the reason was to hype Steam Cloud, their service for remote storage of game data. But there was another reason. They wanted to spread the word far and wide that the PC is the gaming platform of the future. Period. Dot. Exclamation point.

He was quick to point out that the big guns like Intel and Microsoft should be the ones trumpeting the greatness of the PC, not companies like his, Blizzard or GameTap. It's no secret that Newell doesn't much care for the whole Games for Windows concept, or rather Microsoft's apparent lack of promotion and backing for their own initiative. Perhaps it was Newell's goading that made Microsoft respond as they did yesterday in San Francisco.

Continue reading PC is the future says Valve

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