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Gaming News Round-Up: September 22nd, 2004

Today's round-up includes sunset over Earth and other places besides, a little gaming with your state politics, a Source licensing deal with some escaped Florida alligato...
Today's round-up includes sunset over Earth and other places besides, a little gaming with your state politics, a Source licensing deal with some escaped Florida alligators, and virtual currency in danger of leading to real losses. - Electronic Arts' massively multiplayer PC space sim, Earth & Beyond, has finally closed down as of 10am Pacific time on September 22nd. The title announced its impending closure in order for EA to "focus resources on future games", back in March 2004. E&B, which first launched back in September 2002, was estimated by online commentators as peaking at around 40,000 subscribers, although official subscription figures were never released by the company. - In another example of the increasing market for political and 'advergaming', developer Persuasive Games has announced Take Back Illinois, a four-part strategy game commissioned by Tom Cross and the Illinois House Republican Organization that "challenges players to play through key issues facing Illinois voters in this year's state legislative election." The first of four Flash-based segments, related to medical malpractice reform, has already debuted, and the following three will roll out over the coming weeks. - Valve Software has announced an agreement with Florida-based developer, Smiling Gator Productions, to license the Source engine for Twilight War: After the Fall, an in-development PC MMO title from the relatively unknown developer. Smiling Gator Productions joins Troika Games and Arkane Studios as announced Source licensees - the Source engine is also being used in internal Valve projects such as Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source. A release date and publisher for Twilight War has yet to be announced. - Virtual currency exchange Gaming Open Market has posted news of an attempted scam on its operation. GOM has already restricted trading, from multiple MMOs (EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies) to just the 'virtual world' Second Life, following a similar scam/hack earlier in the year. Jamie Hale, head of the organization, revealed in an email to users: "Someone took advantage of us and we have another mess to clean up. Linden Lab noticed the problem early and stepped in and froze all the funds in Zeppi's account so that the fraudster couldn't make off with any." Gaming Open Market previously ran into problems with proving that virtual currency was a real product during its earlier scam, thus its partnership with the much more trade-friendly Second Life.

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