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Round Up: Virtua Tennis 3, NPD PC Numbers, Bang! Howdy

Today's round up includes news of a new Virtua Tennis PS3 title to be shown at E3 in May, the top-selling PC software for the week of April 9, and the public beta ...
Today's round up includes news of a new Virtua Tennis PS3 title to be shown at E3 in May, the top-selling PC software for the week of April 9, and the public beta for Wild West-themed PC strategy game Bang! Howdy, as well as the latest GameSetWatch and Serious Game Source updates, product news and Gamasutra job postings. - With E3 taking place in two weeks, Sega will begin announcing several new titles during the run up to the first day of the show on May 10. The first such announcement is Virtua Tennis 3, the latest title in the company's long-running tennis franchise that began on the Dreamcast. The game, which is in development for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 by AM2 Studios, will feature next-gen graphics, a Career Mode, Player Creation Mode, and both old and new mini-games made popular by the series. "The familiar depth of the Virtua Tennis franchise returns with improvements that can only be fully realized on next-gen systems," said Scott A. Steinberg, Vice President of Marketing, Sega of America, Inc. "Great pick-up and playability, life-like details, and incredible physics are benchmarks of the series and will make Virtua Tennis 3 the standard by which all tennis games are judged." - The NPD Group has released the 10 best-selling PC games for the week of April 9. The Sims 2 Family Fun Stuff Expansion Pack took the top spot, followed by The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Another expansion for The Sims 2, Open For Business, takes the third spot, followed by Microsoft's popular real-time strategy title Age of Empires III in fourth. The Sims 2 itself rests comfortably in the number five spot, followed by World of Warcraft and Civilization IV in sixth and seventh respectively. Another pair of strategy titles take up the eighth and ninth spots with Star Wars: Empire At War and Zoo Tycoon 2. Lastly, Lord of the Rings: Battle For Middle Earth II is in tenth, finishing out the list. - Casual game developer Three Rings Design has announced the May launch of the public beta test for its Wild West-themed multiplayer online tactical strategy game for the PC, Bang! Howdy. This follows upon the company's success with Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates, and will be free to play, with optional purchase of micro-currency to obtain upgrades and additional content. "The 'free to play, pay for items' business model has proven very successful in the Korean market with games like Kart Rider. And we have seen similar success with our recent strategic shift to its implementation within Puzzle Pirates which is approaching sales of over five million Doubloons," said Daniel James,Three Rings' CEO. - The latest updates on Gamasutra sister weblog GameSetWatch include a new Xbox 360 game in development by Tempest 2000/VLM/Neon/Unity creator Jeff Minter, a look back at the classic 16-bit shooter Gunstar Heroes, and import site National Console Support's not-so-nice review of the recently released (in Japan), and hotly-anticipated Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance. - Also updated today: Serious Games Source news on a new pair of games in development to help prevent obesity and diabetes, plus Gamasutra product news regarding the acquisition of Eovia by Daz Productions, as well as the latest Gamasutra job postings, featuring openings from Hi-Rez Studios, Insomniac Games, LucasArts, Petroglyph, and Volition.

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