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Today publisher THQ announced that it has created a new program that allows “select” external developers and publishers to access THQ’s “global retail and online publishing network.” Dubbed “THQ Partners,” this new program seems to imitate Electronic Arts’ “EA Partners” program, which allows developers like Valve to publish retail copies of their games.

THQ Global Publishing executive VP Ian Curran stated: “THQ Partners is charged with maximizing the efficiencies of our global distribution network by enhancing our product offerings with quality games from developers and publishers who don’??t have the benefit of our extensive retail and online sales operations.” Read more… »

Today word got out that the next installment in the Splinter Cell saga will be developed by Jade Raymond (of Assassin’s Creed fame) and her team at the newly created Ubisoft Toronto. Apparently Splinter Cell: Conviction producer Alexandre Parizeau, along with many other Ubisoft Montreal staff members, have moved to the new Toronto studio to help out.

While that team is hard at work making Sam Fisher even more badass, another team at Ubisoft Toronto will be working on an unannounced “triple-A” title. Read more… »

Today long time strategy guide producer Prima has launched a new method of distribution that revolves around Valve’s Steam service.

Gamers can now purchase game guides off of the Steam store and access them in-game via the Steam overlay. A major advantages of the digital guide format includes video walkthroughs, which are obviously not possible in print. Read more… »

Today mod developer Team Chivalry, who created the popular Half-Life 2 mod Age of Chivalry, announced that it is producing a commercial version of its first-person medieval melee combat mod.

Utilizing the Unreal Engine 3, the revamped mod, dubbed Chivalry: Battle for Agatha, promises “a bigger, better, graphically enhanced game.” The new title will feature forty-eight player multiplayer as well as “More weapons. A more fluid movement system. Character customization.” Read more… »

Very little information has been released to date about Final Fantasy Versus XIII, aside from being an action RPG on the PlayStation 3.  However, it may not remain exclusive to Sony’s platform.

In a question and answer session for investors, Square-Enix CEO Yoichi Wada noted of a possible Xbox 360 release for Versus, “We’ll be looking into it internally until right before the formal announcement.” Read more… »

Remember the good old days of playing Unreal Tournament at your friends lan party? I know I sure do, which is why I found a recent interview with Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, slightly disconcerting.

According to the interview, Capps listed piracy as the main reason Epic Games has shifted its focus away from the PC. Read more… »

Remember when there was the big controversy about how Modern Warfare 2 would not use dedicated servers on the PC? Well, today developer Treyarch sent word that the next Call of Duty title, Back Ops, will see a return to dedicated servers on the PC.

According to Mark Lamia, head Treyarch, “Dedicated servers are excellent. I don’t see any reason not to see them unless… well, I just don’t see any reason not to.” Read more… »

Remember that Humble Indie Bundle I wrote about a last week? Well it has turned into quite the success. Right before the deal came to a close yesterday, gamers dug deep into their pockets and managed to raise over $1 million.

In celebration of this fantastic achievement, the offer has been extended by four days. This mans that you have until 4pm EDT on May 15 to get in on the action. Also, because the bundle broke the million mark, several of the developers have decided to release the source codes for Lugaru HD, Gish, Aquaria and Penumbra Overture. This means that modders will be able to produce new content for the bundled titles. Read more… »

Yesterday, in an attempt to build anticipation for upcoming RTS blockbuster StarCraft II (as if gamers weren’t already peeing their pants with excitement), Blizzard announced that the newly revamped Battle.net will feature Facebook integration.

According to the press release, “the integration will enable StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty players to quickly add Blizzard gamers who are friends on Facebook to their Battle.net friend lists, facilitating their social gaming experience on the service.” Read more… »

Today online gaming provider InstantAction launched a new service that allows full-featured games to be embedded on web pages.

So far, the only game to get this streaming treatment is LucasArts’ remastered classic The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. As you can tell from the example above, you are allowed 20 mintues to play around, after which you will be shown a link to where you can purchase the game.

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It’s tough being a student. The limited supply of loan money, the frequent spending sprees, the pressure to go out every night to prevent people associating you as some sort of weirdo recluse – sometimes it’s just too much to handle. Eventually, there comes a time when you need to sacrifice your most valued possessions in order to make ends meet; it’s a painstaking process that always seems to end up in tears.

Alas, I had to prepare for the inevitable. I sat down and reluctantly dusted off my collection, checking the value of each item on eBay, dabbing my eyes with my custom-made Super Mario Bros. handkerchief. And then it hit me. After close inspection, it became increasingly apparent that games aren’t as exciting as they used to be.

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Whether you’re one of those eco-warriors recycling for the planet, or, like me, you simply wade through games quicker than you earn money, you’re probably pretty familiar with the second-hand section of your favored game store. Well, make the most of it, because if some of the greedier publishers get their way, buying used games in the near future could prove more awkward and expensive for you, and more profitable for them.

Inevitably, the balance of game sales tipped a little further in favor of used titles during the recession, with Gamestop generating a monumental $2 billion in revenue through sales of second-hand games in 2008 alone, equating to around a quarter of its total revenue for the year. Clearly the used game industry is rather lucrative, which is undoubtedly why developers and publishers are once again lashing back, protesting that second-hand gaming is damaging to the industry. Could this perhaps be due to the fact they don’t get a penny of used game profits?
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