Gaming News Round-Up: October 29th, 2004

- According to a new report from media research firm Screen Digest, the global mobile gaming download market will be a billion-dollar industry by the end of this year. Ho...
- According to a new report from media research firm Screen Digest, the global mobile gaming download market will be a billion-dollar industry by the end of this year. However, the vast majority of mobile revenues will still originate from Japan and Korea - last year these two markets accounted for almost 80% of the global market. Screen Digest is also forecasting that the global market will be worth $6.4 billion by 2010. The report found that there are 49 different games services offered in Europe, compared to only nine major services in North America. However, American mobile users have a larger number of games made available to them than their European counterparts (203 games on average - more than twice the European offer). Indeed, Screen Digest forecasts that the North American market will grow faster than that in Europe. However, game download rates per enabled handset are dramatically higher in Korea than in Europe or North America. Mobile games ARPUs (average revenues per user) for games-enabled handsets were four times higher in Japan and Korea than in Western Europe and America last year. - Back in August, Bungie co-founder Alex Seropian announced the formation of Wideload Games, with word that its first game had been picked up for publishing by Aspyr Media. Following that announcement, Aspyr Media and Wideload Games yesterday announced the name and first details behind upcoming title, Rebel without a Pulse. Making use of an updated version of the Halo engine, and in development across the Xbox, PC and Mac platforms, Rebel without a Pulse puts players in the role of wisecracking zombie named Stubbs, roaming an ultra-modern city of the future. While details are somewhat unclear, Rebel without a Pulse will reportedly featuring tongue-in-cheek humor and a strong story-centric single player mode. Wideload Games is also notable for trying greater outsourcing as a development model for a major, significantly budgeted game - in fact, there are only eleven full-time staffers at the company, but more than thirty outside contractors working on multiple aspects of development. Rebel without a Pulse is scheduled for release during summer 2005. - Blizzard has announced the ending of the closed Beta on its eagerly awaited PC MMO title World Of Warcraft. According to a message on the official website: "The closed beta servers are now offline; this phase of the beta is at an end. We'd like to thank the thousands of dedicated testers who helped us day in and day out to make World of Warcraft what it is meant to be: a fun game. Your aid was invaluable over these past months -- the game wouldn't be where it is now without you! Please be sure to check back here over the next few days for more information on the upcoming stress test!" The title started its closed Beta test on March 19th, 2004, and an open Beta/stress test is now forthcoming. However, a release date for the game is still not confirmed from a notoriously meticulous Blizzard, who often garner a large enough amount of sales for its games to allow extremely extended gameplay tweaking and improvement Beta periods. - In apparently the only politically Halloween-themed story of the day, Kuma Reality Games announced today that it has released an addition to its PC subscription-based downloadable title, Kuma\War. The latest add-on released since the company debuted its John Kerry-centric Vietnam-themed Swift Boat mission, this special feature lets players dress up as presidential candidates President George G. Bush and Senator John Kerry, as well as Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden and ousted Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, and battle it out in all 25 multiplayer Kuma\War mission settings. There are also additional Saddam and Osama Halloween-specific playable avatars. In recent months, the game has included various newsworthy Middle Eastern events in an attempt to attract players to pay at $9.99 monthly fee for regular new downloadable missions, and also recently launched a $19.99 retail version of the software.

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