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Gaming News Round-Up: October 26th, 2004

Today's round-up includes BioWare's digital distribution tango, EA and WB's Batman Begins cha-cha-cha, EB's wireless mobile distribution rumba, and Majorem's B...
Today's round-up includes BioWare's digital distribution tango, EA and WB's Batman Begins cha-cha-cha, EB's wireless mobile distribution rumba, and Majorem's Ballerium fugue. - Canadian developer BioWare Corp has announced the launch of the BioWare Online Store. Based around the two-million unit selling series, Neverwinter Nights, the store will feature premium content for the game, including modules developed by BioWare and members of the Neverwinter Nights fan community. Produced by BioWare and Atari, and licensing the Dungeons & Dragons property through Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast, the modules will feature expanded storylines, new musical scores and voice-overs, and other in-game content. The first three modules will be available through the store during its opening on November 10th, 2004, and will include the Kingmaker, ShadowGuard and Witch's Wake 1 add-ons. This move echoes other developers' use of digital downloads to receive revenue directly from players, cutting out the publisher to a greater degree, notably Valve Software with its Steam 'content delivery system'. - Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment has announced that it has agreed a co-publishing deal with Electronic Arts to bring a Batman Begins game, based on the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures film starring Christian Bale, to simultaneous release on the movie's opening day for PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, GBA, and PSP. In line with Warner Bros Interactive's more hands-on approach to game creation, with the recent purchase of developer Monolith a prime example, WBIE and EA are jointly marketing and overseeing development and production aspects of the game, while EA alone will handle distribution. The game is being developed by UK-based Eurocom (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 007: Nightfire) for the consoles, and by New York-headquartered developer Vicarious Visions (Tony Hawk GBA series, Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced) for the handhelds. -U.S. games retailer Electronics Boutique has unveiled a partnership with WideRay, self-described as 'the provider of the leading platform for proximity services', to deliver mobile games to consumers inside selected EB Games retail stores, beginning in December 2004. The Wireless Game Portals are powered by WideRay's Jack Service Point, which enables applications to be downloaded at high speed through built-in Bluetooth connections on consumers' mobile devices. The platform supports a wide variety of mobile devices, including those running the Windows Mobile and Symbian operating systems. Users will be able to purchase software, as well as receive game-related video and reviews, when simply standing close enough to the Game Portal in one of the 100 initially selected EB Games stores. - Through its official website, Israeli developer Majorem has indicated that its upcoming massively multiplayer PC real-time strategy game Ballerium may not now be released, due to funding issues. According to a series of posts made on the Ballerium website, the funding troubles first surfaced roughly a year ago, when Majorem's partners in Taiwan found themselves unable to fulfill their contractual obligations. Despite the company's negotiations with investors and publishers, the team behind the game, originally started back in 2001, has had to look for new jobs. Majorem indicated a slim chance it could still gather the necessary resources to continue development of the game, which has most recently reached a private Beta 17 version, but the unusual genre and extended development time may have, unfortunately, taken its toll on development.

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