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Report: Virgin Returning To Games

Richard Branson's famed Virgin brand may be making a return to the video game business, according to a report out of the UK, with an announcement allegedly due at next month's E3 Expo in Los Angeles.
Richard Branson's famed Virgin brand, which was once attached to successful publisher Virgin Interactive, may be making a return to the video game business, with an announcement allegedly due at next month's E3 Expo in Los Angeles. According to UK-based trade publication MCV, the new Virgin initiative is to be an "online-only" gaming service featuring "the most popular games on the market," suggesting it may have more in common with online streaming services OnLive and Gaikai than with Virgin's own traditional game publishing past. MCV's details on the new service are vague. The site claims it will "seek partnerships with leading publishers and content owners, offering new and unique opportunities." Branson, owner of the Virgin brand, first founded Virgin Games in 1981; in 1994 it became Virgin Interactive. The publisher was extremely successful, particularly in Europe, releasing games like Westwood's Dune II and Command & Conquer, Revolution's Broken Sword and its sequel, Trilobyte's The 7th Guest, and others. The publisher's visibility in the game industry began to decline in the late 1990s, when its United States operations were sold to Electronic Arts, after which the main body of the company was soon sold to now-defunct French publisher Titus. Since 2004, the Virgin Games brand has been used to market online gambling-themed games like poker and bingo. More recently, Virgin Games collaborated on A World of My Own, a competitor to game download services like Steam and Direct2Drive which claims to be "the world's fastest download service."

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