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Newsbriefs: Halo Maps, Fonix Results, Xbox Mod Arrest

[UPDATED: 3:35pm PST] Today's regularly updated newsbriefs include Bungie announcing two classic downloadable Halo maps re-imagined for Halo 2 for Xbox and Xbox 360, Fonix Corporation's voice recognition technology profits up in 2006,
[UPDATED: 3:35pm PST] Today's regularly updated newsbriefs include Bungie announcing two classic downloadable Halo maps re-imagined for Halo 2 for Xbox and Xbox 360, Fonix Corporation's voice recognition technology profits up in 2006, and the sentencing of Don Perreira in Hawaii for selling modded Xbox consoles. - Officials from Microsoft and Bungie Studios have announced the upcoming release of two new downloadable maps for Halo 2, which will be available as premium downloadable content for both Xbox and Xbox 360 on April 17. These maps, developed by Bungie and Certain Affinity, represent recreations of multiplayer fan favorites from the original Halo. The pair of maps will be made available for $4, accessible from the Halo 2 in-game content downloader for both Xbox and Xbox 360. The first map, “Tombstone”, is a recreation of Halo multiplayer classic “Hang ’Em High,” while “Desolation” is a remake of the original “Derelict.” Microsoft adds that these maps are a “way to thank fans” for the “more than 800 million hours” spent playing Halo and Halo 2 over Xbox Live. - Fonix Corporation, along with its operating division Fonix Speech, whose voice recognition technology is part of the Xbox 360 SDK and recently became a member of Epic's Unreal Engine 3 Integrated Partners Program for the full range of Epic supported platforms, has announced financial results for the year ended December 31, 2006. Fonix Speech's sales were $1,329,000 for the period, down slightly from $1,358,000 in 2005, with profits up from $1,288,000 in 2005 to $1,311,000. Company officials note that year-end company highlights reflect an increase in the number of software licensing agreements from manufacturers that the company expects will bring in increased revenue in 2007. - Representatives from video game trade body Entertainment Software Association (ESA) have announced that Don Perreira, a 27 year old man from Hawaii, has been sentenced to four months in prison for possessing and distributing modified Xbox consoles that had been pre-loaded with illegal copies of video games. Perreira pleaded guilty on August 16, 2006 to two counts of criminal copyright infringement, and that he “fronted” the consoles to 40 year old John Oroyan, who sold them for profit. Oroyan pleaded guilty last year to one count of copyright infringement and was sentenced on July 31, 2006, to five years of probation, three months of home detention, and 300 hours of community service. “We commend the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Cyber Crime Squad in Hawaii for bringing these defendants to justice,” said Ric Hirsch, senior vice president of Intellectual Property Enforcement at the ESA. “These sentences send a clear message to game software pirates that intellectual property theft is a serious crime and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” - Alten8 Limited, a developer of titles for the PC and handheld consoles, has announced appointment of Kay Parbat as the company's managing director. In his new position, Parbat will manage the company's production, marketing, and business expansion efforts. The newly appointed executive comes from his previous position as sales and marketing director of Soulblade Distribution Ltd, one of the UK’s most prolific martial arts DVD publishers. One of Kay’s first projects is to launch and manage Alten8’s DVD label in July 2007. - The latest updates on Gamasutra sister alt.gaming weblog GameSetWatch include insights from Westwood Studios/EA veteran Steve Wetherill on his work on the 'lost' Miner Willy game The Megatree, an interview with Retro Records' Joshua DeBonis, and news of a streamable video game TV show called Good Game. - Also updated today: the latest Gamasutra job postings, including openings from Backbone Entertainment, Ensemble Studios, Kush Games, Leap In Entertainment, Longtail Studios, Monolith Productions, NCsoft, Radical Entertainment, Rainbow Studios, Sierra Online, Sonic Branding Solutions, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Stormfront Studios, THQ, Trion World Network, Ubisoft, and Wow Wee Marketing.

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