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Round Up: XBLA, USC Testing, Multiplayer Entertainment

Today's round up includes news of a leaked magazine scan detailing release dates and prices for upcoming Xbox Live Marketplace content, a new method for capturing player ...
Today's round up includes news of a leaked magazine scan detailing release dates and prices for upcoming Xbox Live Marketplace content, a new method for capturing player responses to video games, and the founding of a new studio called Multiplayer Entertainment, as well as the latest GameSetWatch posts, product news, Serious Games Source news, and Gamasutra job postings. - Numerous online sources are reporting that a magazine scan that details a number of dates and prices for upcoming content to be released over Xbox Live Marketplace has been leaked onto the Internet. Of these, the most notable is arguably Street Fighter II, which will reportedly be made available this month for 400 Microsoft Points ($5). The leaked advertisement also indicates 12 additional releases, including Lumines Live in August/September for 1200 points ($15), as well as Frogger (400 Points), Roboblitz (800 Points), and Pac-Man (400 Points), all of which are reportedly also slated for release in the August/September window. However, none of these dates and prices are yet officially Microsoft confirmed. - USC engineers have announced a new video game user interface tool that captures and analyzes a player's experiences to automatically detect weakness and flaws. Engineers add that the tool may soon gauge player emotional involvement as well. The tool is based on a method created by Tim Marsh, a post-doctoral researcher at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering's Integrated Media Systems Center, and analyzes "immersidata", a term used to refer to the machine-readable record of commands sent to the computer by keyboards, joysticks and other controls, collected in parallel with a videotape recording of the player at the game session. Marsh used a serious game designed to instruct students in human anatomy and physiology, and analyzed sessions by 16 undergraduate students, with sessions of 13 of them intensively studies. Marsh will present his tool and method at a conference presentation entitled "Continuous and Unobtrusive Capture of User-Player Behavior and Experience to Assess and Inform Game Design and Development”, to be given at the Fun 'n Games 2006 Conference in England on June 26, 2006. - Industry veterans Terry Merrill and Erica Coates have jointly formed a new production company called Multiplayer Entertainment, Inc. The company was created to produce HD programming for licensing to broadcast, cable, satellite and broadband channels. Multiplayer Entertainment will specialize in programming content on a variety of topics with a focus on video games, animation and sports for the 18 - 34 year old demographic. In the first two months of operation, the company secured its first contract with Gameplay HD, one of the Voom HD networks. The contract includes production of two unique projects for Gameplay HD - TQANT (The Quadruple Action News Team), an interstitial animated faux news program created by Matt Kirsh, which reports on the bizarre stories that are happening inside video games. The second project for Gameplay HD is Frag Files, a half-hour documentary series exploring the stories behind popular video game topics. - The latest updates on Gamasutra sister weblog GameSetWatch include news of games that use the 'Konami Code', an interview with Valve's Robin Walker and Gabe Newell, and MMO surveillance. - Also updated today: Serious Games Source news on a blog to help children learn about hunger, plus Gamasutra product news on Codeplay joining the Khronos Group and details on Sony Ericsson's Java Mobile Platform 7, plus the latest Gamasutra job postings, featuring openings from ACONY, Electronic Arts, High Moon Studios, Irrational Games, Red Storm Entertainment, THQ KAOS, Vigil Games, Walt Disney Internet Group, and Z-Axis / Activision.

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