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Newsbriefs: Halo 3, Nikitova Project, Gears Traffic

[UPDATED: 4:04pm PST] Today's regularly updated newsbriefs include news of registration opening for the Halo 3 multiplayer beta, GamerMetric's top most anticipated titles, and a marked increase in Xbox Live traffic following the launch of
Today's regularly updated newsbriefs include news of registration opening for the Halo 3 multiplayer beta, GamerMetric's top most anticipated titles, Nikitova working on an as yet undisclosed development project, and a marked increase in Xbox Live traffic following the launch of Gears of War. - IGN/GamerMetrics have released their latest weekly list of the site's most popular titled based on 'awareness' and 'purchase intent,' which this week were topped by two highly anticipated Konami titles, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, followed by by THQ’s WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007. At number four was Ubisoft’s Far Cry Vengeance for the Wii, despite what IGN says was some reader impressions of "unimpressive graphics." At number five was Xbox 360's Star Trek: Legacy, followed by PS3's Fight Night Round 3 and Full Auto 2: Battlelines. More handheld titles rounded off the list, with the DS' Kirby: Squeak Squad coming in at number eight, and Star Wars: Lethal Alliance, and Brother at Arms: D-Day at nine and ten, both for Sony's PSP. - Microsoft has announced that the official website for the upcoming hotly anticipated Xbox 360 title Halo 3 has gone live, and with it the opportunity for North American gamers to register to take part in the game's public multiplayer beta. Company officials note, however, that this will not be the only way to register to be included in the beta, and that registration on the website is not limited to a first-come-first-served basis. For European fans, Microsoft has revealed that each of its 33 official Xbox Community Network sites will be giving away opportunities to take part in the Halo 3 beta, beginning with fan sites Brit Xbox and Totally 360, both of which have 100 slots to give away. Lastly, Microsoft officials also note that additional means to take part in the beta will be announced in the coming weeks. - International outsourcing multimedia company Nikitova LLC has announced that it has begun work on an as yet unannounced game as an exclusive development partner. While very little is known about the title, Nikitova officials note that the project will leverage off of the company's experience as an Unreal Engine 3 development contractor. "We are moving forward to our strategic goal – 'Becoming a Trusted Development Partner for a Handful of AAA Publishers and Developers'," commented Nikitova LLC vice president Andrei Pozolotin, "During the next year we plan to cover all major game development technologies that will help us to deliver the most incredible and innovative game content to our customers and partners for the development of next-generation Console and PC-based games". Yesterday it was announced that Nikitova had brought Sensible Software co-founder Jon Hare on board as content development director. - Officials from network solution provider Sandvine Incorporated have revealed that the company identified an increase in Xbox Live traffic on North American broadband networks following the recent release of new Xbox 360 games. Specifically, Sandvine representatives noted an 80 percent increase in the number of Xbox Live users across a sampling of North American-based broadband service providers' networks during the first week following the November 7 release of six new Xbox 360 games, including Gears of War. A similar increase in iTunes traffic was also identified following the recent release of iTunes 7, which was released on September 12 and resulted in an approximate 140 percent peak increase attributed to iTunes bandwidth usage, according to data provided by North American broadband service providers. "The effect Gears of War and other games are having on networks indicates to service providers that online gaming is not just a craze. Their networks must be equipped to protect this increasingly valuable traffic from the effects of a best-effort network," says Dave Caputo, president and CEO of Sandvine. - The latest updates on Gamasutra sister alt.gaming weblog GameSetWatch include an initial look at the recent Blip Festival 2006, a look at cult developer Sandlot's appreciation for mecha, and a matter of fact look at some issues with the current state of gaming blogs. - The latest updates from Gamasutra sister website Serious Games Source include Stottler Henke's release of SimVentive, the company's “smart software” toolkit for serious game development. - The latest updates from Gamasutra sister website Game Career Guide include a feature covering 3D Studio Max books and tutorials, and the opening of registration for Gnomon Online's online courses. - Also updated today: the latest Gamasutra job postings, including openings from High Moon Studios, Reakktor Media GmbH, Spark Unlimited, and Superscape.

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