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THQ: A Question of Size

366w ago - It's not terribly long since THQ looked like one of the best growth prospects in the publishing sector. With a new commitment to quality, a determination to build new IP and a strong pool of publishing and management talent, the company's stock was cautiously tipped as a grower - and it's certainly not an assessment I'd have disagreed with.

The acrimonious divisions that developed between the publisher and the WWE wrestling body from whom many of its successful franchises had been licensed seemed to have been a wake-up call for THQ regarding its reliance on externally owned IP, and the future looked bright.

Now, I remain a firm believer in THQ's abilities as a publisher - and I think that games like STALKER and Company of Heroes have done a great deal to boost the value of the brand among gamers. By no means is it time to start writing obituaries for the firm. However, it's tough to spin this week's news in a positive light.

THQ has been forced to can a pair of racing franchises - Juiced and Stuntman, both of which the firm acquired from other publishers with a view to expanding its market share in racing - alongside a pair of unannounced titles, the PS3 SKU of the upcoming Frontlines title, and the PS2 SKU of the new Destroy All Humans game. In total, the firm expects to suck in around $27...

National Geographic Goes Blu-Ray Exclusive

366w ago - National Geographics today sent out to retailers information on the day and date about their upcoming title, Sharkwater.

The title will not be coming out on HD-DVD even though it releases on 4/8, which is before Warner's HD-DVD June cut off date.

As of now, BBC is the only company under Warner Bros. who still stand by their June HD-DVD cut-off date.

PS2's Last Chance Imports

366w ago - The PS2 is an entrenched system with not much interesting coming out for it anymore. The time is right for small publishers to mine the system's foreign libraries for US release. Here're our picks for the quirkiest and coolest games to choose.

There are nearly 40 million PS2s in the United States. Top-shelf Triple-A products have all but abandoned the system, yet there remains an entrenched market for new PS2 games. Sony has relaxed restrictions on what can come out for its old workhorse, as evidenced by late 2D fighters like NeoGeo Battle Coliseum and inexplicable trash like Crazy Frog Arcade Racer.

This combination of facts means one thing; that the PS2 has been repurposed as fertile ground for budget publications priced to move. In general, publishers will look at this situation and capitalize upon it with kids fare, licensed junk and unnecessary paring-downs of current-gen blockbusters.

But there is another way for American publishers to take advantage–by taking a second look at the strange or unique foreign titles that have long since been passed up for US release. Below are our personal favorites; we would love for a brave publisher to pick up any of these, yet this would not be charity. Yes, under other circumstances these games would not have stood a chance at American retail....

Grand Theft Auto Lawsuit Settlement: You Get $35, Lawyers Get "One Million Dollars"

366w ago - It's not often that People Magazine and video games have a lot in common, but in the February 4th issue (the one with Heath Ledger on the cover ... tragic) if you flip to page 50 there an interesting Legal Notice concerning one Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Just in case you forgot in 2007 Rockstar Games proposed a settlement for a class action lawsuit concerning the infamous Hot Coffee modification. As a result any US citizen who was officially "offended and upset" by the ability to unlock this hidden content can now claim up to $35 in compensation.

The exact amount you may be entitled depends upon directly upon how much documentation you have of your "outrage":

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas First Edition Disc: Replacement Disc
Detailed Store Receipt: Cash payment up to $35.00
General Credit Card Statement or Check: Cash payment up to $17.50
Disc/Purchase Details: Cash payment up to $10.00
No Disc/Purchase Details: Cash payment up to $5.00
Full details on the program can be found at GTASettlement.com and you must submit your claim by May 16, 2008 to be eligible for compensation.

Curious about this lawsuit I actually went through the trouble to download the many long and detailed legal documents when I came across this little gem on page 11 of the Motion...

Estonia fines man for 'cyber war'

366w ago - A 20-year-old ethnic Russian man is the first person to be convicted for taking part in a "cyber war" against Estonia.

Dmitri Galushkevich was fined 17,500 kroons (£830) for an attack which blocked the website of the Reform Party of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip.

The assault, between 25 April and 4 May 2007, was one of a series by hackers on Estonian institutions and businesses.

At the time, Estonia accused the Russian government of orchestrating the attacks. Moscow denied any involvement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the BBC in May 2007 that the allegations were "completely untrue".

Minority attacks

The attacks took place against a backdrop of riots by ethnic Russian Estonians prompted by the removal of a Soviet war memorial from the centre of Tallinn.

During the unrest, one person was killed and more than 150 injured.

Moving the so-called Bronze Soldier was seen as an affront to the memory of Russian soldiers who died during World War II.

Prosecutors said Mr Galushkevich, a student, had claimed the attack was an act of protest against Mr Ansip, who became a hate figure for Estonia's Russian minority.

Ethnic Russians make up about a quarter of Estonia's population of 1.3 million.

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