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SteelSeries Announces New World of Warcraft: Cataclysm MMO Gaming Mouse

Today, SteelSeries, the leading manufacturer of professional gaming peripherals and creator of the original World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse, announces a new MMO gaming mouse co-developed with Blizzard Entertainment. With a unique exterior that evokes the armored plating of Deathwing the Destroyer, the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm MMO Gaming Mouse delivers superior ergonomics and an intuitive button layout with advanced software functionality.

“Since the release of the original World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse in 2008, we’ve received feedback from thousands of World of Warcraft players, both Horde and Alliance, on how they’ve customized their World of Warcraft mice and what they would like us to do next,” said Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO. “For two years, our R&D team worked hard with Blizzard Entertainment to incorporate the great feedback and to enhance the mouse technology and game integration. The new Cataclysm mouse is the result of that collaboration: it provides a wide range of customization options and delivers a more comfortable, intuitive, and ultimately better experience.”

PNY Technologies Announces the Verto GeForce GT 430 Graphics Card

PNY Technologies, Inc. ("PNY"), a global leader in flash memory cards, USB flash drives, solid state drives, high speed HDMI cables, computer memory upgrade modules, consumer graphics cards, and professional workstation graphics cards, debuts the latest graphics card from NVIDIA: the Verto GeForce GT 430 1024MB DDR3.

PNY's new GeForce GT 430 gives PCs the ultimate performance upgrade. Now users can power up their digital media PCs with the GT 430 to enjoy games, videos, and photos. The GT 430 delivers PhysX and CUDA technology for an even more dynamic and realistic experience with incredible performance improvements. Experience high definition with the native HDMI port, for unsurpassed HD visuals and sound. Consumers can accelerate HD video and photo editing, take mainstream gaming to the next level on the latest DirectX 11 game titles, and upgrade home theater PCs for the ultimate in viewing theater quality Blu-ray and 3D movies.

SteelSeries Prepares Gamers for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty with New Gaming Gear

Alongside the July 27th launch of Blizzard Entertainment's StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, SteelSeries is pleased to announce the release of original co-branded gaming peripherals for gamers eager to jump back into the epic struggle between the protoss, zerg and terran races.

SteelSeries will offer a complete gaming solution with the StarCraft II Limited Edition Zboard gaming keyboard bundle, which includes the SteelSeries Zboard Base with Z Engine II software, the Zboard Standard QWERTY Keyset for everyday use and the SteelSeries Limited Edition Zboard Keyset (StarCraft II). The specially designed Zboard Keyset (StarCraft II) provides labeled commands, in-game shortcuts, official artwork from the game, and three race-specific mods featuring unique abilities for each of the races. Through its unique Z Engine II software, gamers can also remap every key on the keyboard, guaranteeing a completely customized experience for each and every user.

Razer Unveils StarCraft II Themed Gaming Peripherals

Razer, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-end precision gaming and lifestyle peripherals, has joined forces with Blizzard Entertainment, a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry's most critically acclaimed games, to introduce an entire suite of peripherals designed specifically for the release of Blizzard Entertainment’s highly anticipated real-time strategy (RTS) game StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Featuring a look and feel inspired by the StarCraft universe, this line of peripherals includes the Razer Spectre StarCraft II Gaming Mouse, the Razer Marauder StarCraft II Gaming Keyboard and the Razer Banshee StarCraft II Gaming Headset.

“We are all huge StarCraft players here at Razer, so we are really excited to give gamers a first glimpse at the StarCraft II gaming peripherals,” said Robert “Razerguy” Krakoff, president, Razer USA. “The peripherals were created with our newly developed APM (Actions-Per-Minute) Lighting System and feature a gaming-optimized design inspired by the StarCraft universe to complement the on-screen action.”

Creative Announces Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset

Creative Labs, Inc. today announced the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset is now available at AAFES,,,,,,,, and Tiger Direct for $159.99. “As the leading innovator in precision audio for PC gaming we were well positioned to develop a headset that could live up to the high standards set forth by Blizzard Entertainment games," said Steve Erickson, VP and GM for audio and video at Creative. "The Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset is a result of this, providing an unprecedented combination of wireless technology, THX TruStudio PC technology for enriched audio performance and a unique design that stands out from anything else available to gamers.”

ASUS Introduces New Graphics Cards with World of Warcraft Trial and Collectibles

ASUS today launched a new co-op campaign with NVIDIA, which features a promotion in association with Blizzard Entertainment to include a 14-day trial for Blizzard’s popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, along with a collectible door hanger, with select ENGT200 Series graphics cards.

ASUS ENGT200 Series graphics cards are built with superior design acumen to provide the most compelling visual experience available to gamers. These ASUS limited edition graphics cards are up the ante with NVIDIA 3D Vision, making great use of GeForce GPUs. Using special glasses and 120Hz LCD displays or compatible HDTVs, NVIDIA 3D Vision tantalizes gamers with ultra-realistic graphics, vivid stereoscopic images, and immersive depth of field. Up to 400 PC games work out-of-the-box with NVIDIA’s 3D Vision, including games such as Resident Evil 5, Borderlands, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Star Trek D-A-C, Dark Void, and Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

GeForce 196.75 Drivers Overheat GPUs on Some Applications

NVIDIA's recently released GeForce 196.75 WHQL drivers are causing problems with some users reporting "intermittent low FPS", in the words of Blizzard's technical staff. It notes that the drivers have a bug in its fan-speed control that causes graphics cards to overheat when running applications such as Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft and StarCraft 2 Beta. Not only does bad fan control result in bad application performance, but can also damage the graphics accelerator. Blizzard on its part advised users to revert to older versions of the GeForce driver. Version 196.21 (older WHQL-signed driver) can be downloaded from here.

Update (3/5): NVIDIA has withdrawn the 196.75 WHQL drivers from its website. The company is working to resolve this issue.Source: inc gamers

SteelSeries Unveils Blizzard Entertainment Co-Branded StarCraft II Gaming Surfaces

Today, SteelSeries, a leading manufacturer of game peripherals and accessories, unveiled a new line of gaming surfaces featuring art from Blizzard Entertainment's highly anticipated StarCraft II. The QcK Limited Edition Terran Marine and Kerrigan vs. Zeratul editions are designed with a non-slip rubber base which prevents the pads from sliding, no matter what surface the mousepad is placed on, and is optimized for optical and laser technology providing an overall more reliable gaming experience.

"StarCraft and its expansion have together sold more than 11 million copies worldwide, and we believe StarCraft II will prove equally influential and popular, making this a great opportunity to provide gamers with surfaces that help to improve performance and game play," said Brian Stech, SteelSeries President of the Americas. "We are incredibly excited to have an opportunity to continue our partnership with the designers from Blizzard Entertainment and develop surfaces that we know StarCraft players will enjoy."

New Star Craft 2 Details Emerge

A new list of features surraunding the upcoming RTS franchise Star Craft 2 that might interest you were announced today. Starting with the big one, Blizzard has confirmed that Star Craft 2 will not support LAN multiplayer mode. The game will be entirely online based, multiplayer connections will go through only, no LAN connections will be allowed.
Blizzard today also posted a new 7 minute video footage of some ingame action. Units from all the three races are captured in the video, you can watch it in high quality here.
Also unveiled during an interview with Shacknews was that players will be able to hire NPC mercenaries and use them in the single player mode campaign. StarCraft II lead designer Dustin Browder also detailed that again in single player campaign mode, there'll be additional objectives and optional quests which if completed will give players different bonuses. You can read the full interview with Dustin Browder right here.

Source: Shacknews, IncGamers

Blizzard BlizzCon 2009 Tickets on Sale Now

This story is less hardware important, but still the word Blizzard is mentioned, so I'm sure you'll make it count. Blizzard Entertainment is glad to inform its admirers that tickets for the game developer's fourth BlizzCon gaming convention are now on sale. Tickets are priced at USD $125 each and can be purchased through the company’s event website here. BlizzCon is a celebration of the global player communities surrounding Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo game universes. The event will take place August 21st and 22nd at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, and will feature an array of activities, including developer panels, contests, tournaments, hands-on gameplay with upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games, and more. The ticket-purchase process uses the online Blizzard Store and requires an active account. For those of you that won't be able to make it to BlizzCon, Blizzard will offer the DIRECTV BlizzCon Pay Per View service for $39.95. A minimum of eight hours of live HD coverage from the show floor on each day of the convention, including exclusive interviews, demos, and more will be captured and streamed to DIRECTV subscribers. All they need is to watch and enjoy the show from their PCs. Find more information at BlizzCon.Source: Blizzard

Blizzard Issues New Starcraft II Teaser Screens

RTS giant Blizzard let loose a few new teaser screens of its much anticipated title, Starcraft II, sourced by SK Gaming. The screens include stills of ongoing campaigns demonstrating the visuals and graphic design of the game. One of those hype building measures from a company that has so far stood and delivered to all its hype. Starcraft II is on course for launch later this year. Enjoy the screens. A larger archive of Starcraft II images sourced from Blizzard so far can be found here.

Source: SK Gaming

World of Warcraft Reaches New Milestone, 11.5 Million Players are Now Playing

Blizzard Entertainment today announced that World of Warcraft, its award-winning subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, is now played by more than 11.5 million subscribers worldwide. This new high was reached following the November 13 release of the game’s second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Within its first 24 hours of availability, Wrath of the Lich King sold more than 2.8 million copies, making it the fastest-selling PC game of all time. In addition to winning a number of editor’s choice awards from major gaming publications, the expansion has now gone on to sell more than 4 million copies in its first month, setting a new record for monthly PC-game sales. Both sales records were previously held by World of Warcraft's first expansion, The Burning Crusade.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Shatters Day-1 Sales Record

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that World of Warcraft's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, has sold more than 2.8 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability, making it the fastest-selling PC game of all time. This eclipses the previous record of nearly 2.4 million copies sold in 24 hours, set in January 2007 by Blizzard's first World of Warcraft expansion, The Burning Crusade. Wrath of the Lich King was simultaneously released in North America, Europe, Chile, Argentina, and Russia on November 13; Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand on November 14; and South Korea and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau on November 18.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King is Now Officially Here

Today sees the release of Blizzard's last World of Warcraft installment, the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. This is the second expansion to date, making the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) game by far the largest in the world. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King features a massive new continent called Northrend, the brand-new death knight Hero class, unique dungeons, an open-world PvP zone with siege vehicles and destructible buildings, and hundreds of brand-new quests. The expansion is available in both a standard and Collector's Edition. The Collector's edition includes the original game DVD, a 208-page book featuring never-before-seen images from the game, an exclusive in-game pet, a behind-the-scenes DVD containing over an hour of developer interviews, a soundtrack CD with 21 songs, and an exclusive mouse pad with a map of the newly opened continent of Northrend. The game should already be available everywhere, have fun playing it.Source: Blizzard

World of Warcraft surpasses 11 million subscribers worldwide

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that the subscribership for World of Warcraft, its award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), now exceeds 11 million players worldwide. This milestone was reached as the beta test for Wrath of the Lich King, World of Warcraft’s second expansion, nears completion. Wrath of the Lich King will launch in several regions around the world starting on November 13.

Blizzard Unveils New Diablo III Character Class: The Wizard

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today offered the public the first-ever opportunity to play an early version of its highly anticipated action-role-playing game, Diablo III. Players at the BlizzCon 2008 gaming convention in Anaheim, California, adventured alongside fellow attendees, fighting the hordes of the Burning Hells in one of the game's early dungeons. "Until now, no one outside the company has been able to play Diablo III -- we're excited to offer the first such opportunity to the gamers here at BlizzCon," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We're working hard to make sure Diablo III lives up to the high standards of the first two games in the series, and we look forward to hearing what players think." During the show, Blizzard Entertainment also unveiled the game's third playable class: the wizard.

WoW: Wrath of the Lich King in Stores November 13

And now some good news for over 10 million World of WarCraft online players. Blizzard Entertainment announced today that World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion for its award-winning subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), will arrive in stores on November 13th in North America, Europe, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Russia, and November 14th in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. The expansion will be available in Korea and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau on November 18th. The new expansion pack takes all World of Warcraft players to the cold, forbidding continent of Northrend, where the fearsome Lich King Arthas Menethil, last seen in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, works from his secluded citadel to bring all of Azeroth under his twisted dominion. Players will battle the Lich King's undead army from the shores of Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra to the seat of his unholy power in Icecrown Glacier. In addition, players will be able to advance characters to level 80 and gain powerful new abilities while exploring several new zones and dungeons. The expansion also introduces a number of exciting new features, including an achievement system, expanded player-vs.-player combat options such as siege weapons and destructible buildings, and the game's first Hero class - the necromantic death knight. Available for Mac and Windows players, the expansion pack will come in two packages — a standard edition that costs $39.99, and a Collector's Edition priced at $69.99. The Collector's Edition includes an art book, an exclusive in-game pet, a behind-the-scenes DVD, a soundtrack CD, a mousepad featuring a map of Northrend and two starter decks for the World of Warcraft trading card game March of the Legion. Retailers in North America are currently taking pre-orders for the game, reserve your copy now online here.

Source: Blizzard

No Necromancer Class in Blizzard's Diablo 3

Blizzard has confirmed that the Necromancer, a character class featured in the second versions of Diablo, will be entirely missing in the third installment of the game. Speaking to Kotaku at the Leipzig Games Convention, Jay Wilson Diablo 3's lead designer said:
The Necromancer was simply a victim of his own success, ... He was just too well crafted as a character.
The absence of the Necromancer will be replaced by a new class called Witch Doctor, the Barbarian will also go through some changes and character improvements. That's all for today Diablo fans, more is coming when Blizzard decides its time.Source:

AMD and Blizzard Entertainment Join Forces in Strategic Global Agreement

AMD today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Blizzard Entertainment that will allow AMD to bundle Blizzard’s best games across all ATI Radeon graphics products, to deliver a superior gaming experience. As the exclusive graphics sponsor for BlizzCon 2008 in Anaheim, Oct. 10-11, AMD will treat gamers to the unparalleled graphics capabilities of the ATI Radeon HD 4800 series in all PCs for game play at BlizzCon.

WoW Turns Woo, New Achievements Added

World of Warcraft (WoW), the largest MMORPG, is fun. People have gone lengths and breadths to achieve higher in the game. Those endless hours of playing it comes at a cost, the WoW subscription. But once you reach a high level (say 70), and own lot of gold, and basically have all achievements under your belt, your inclination to play the game retards. The fact that you have to pay to keep your subscription alive only makes it worse. For you, it means that you're bored, WoW isn't fun anymore, and so you could join another MMORPG. For Blizzard (now Activision-Blizzard), it means losing revenue. Not that they're short of it, but no company would want to lose it.

In what can be seen as a bid to woo such players and maintain their patronage, new achievement levels have been added to the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King Expansion pack. Similar to the achievements you have with console gaming, players will now be awarded titles, gear, bragging rights for several tasks, serious thru trivial. They can be as serious as defeating scores and scores of enemies or as trivial as getting a hair-cut done. Custom animations and sounds would accompany each achievement earned and in-game pets, special clothing and titles will also be awarded. According to Blizzard, these rewards will be “purely cosmetic” and won’t affect actual gameplay.Source: TG Daily

Activision-Blizzard planning a Music Store

The 'newly-wed' Activision-Blizzard is reportedly planning a music store and content delivery service to directly compete with Apple's iTunes service. For now nothing is even close to concrete, Activision-Blizzard is considering launching its own download store on its Guitar Hero game platform for now. Says CEO Robert Kotick: “When you think about the potential for what we will be able to do together, there have not been many viable alternatives to iTunes.” in an interview to Reuters. He adds: “If you're downloading a song to play on your 'Guitar Hero,' there's no reason why you can't download the performance also. So there's all kinds of things you can think about.”

Vivindi currently owns the World's largest music publication company, Universal Music. This could serve as a content source for this delivery platform.Source: Reuters

Activision and Blizzard to Merge Today

Publisher Activision today announced that its merger with Blizzard Entertainment parent company Vivendi Games has been approved by the board of shareholders, and the transaction is expected to officially close today, July the 9th. The new company, dubbed Activision-Blizzard, is valued at roughly US $18.9 billion.

Activision and Vivendi Games will combine their businesses through the merger of a newly formed, wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision with and into Vivendi Games. As a result of the merger, Vivendi Games, the parent company of Blizzard Entertainment and Sierra, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision. Vivendi will receive approximately 295.3 million newly issued shares of Activision common stock. Concurrently with the merger, Vivendi will purchase approximately 62.9 million newly issued shares of Activision common stock at a price of $27.50 per share for a total of approximately $1.7 billion in cash, resulting in a total Vivendi ownership stake in Activision Blizzard of approximately 52% on a fully diluted basis and approximately 54% of shares outstanding. As of the closing of the transaction, Activision will be renamed Activision Blizzard and will continue to operate as a public company traded on NASDAQ under the ticker ATVI.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Blizzard, Inc. is a worldwide pure-play online and console game publisher with leading market positions across all categories of the rapidly growing interactive entertainment software industry.Source: Activision

Blizzard Intros WoW Authenticator Device to Counter Account Misuse

Following countless complaints of World of Warcraft (WoW) user account hijacks and misuse, Blizzard has come up with a device, a security code generator that each user possesses, the device generates a six-digit security code that the user has to enter when logging on to the WoW account. The generation pattern is unique for each user's generator and this effectively eradicates account misuse, or at least attempts to. Blizzard CEO and cofounder Mike Morhaime says "It's important to us that World of Warcraft offers a safe and enjoyable game environment", he further adds that an aspect of that is helping players avoid account compromise, so they are pleased to make this additional layer of security available to them.

Once activated with Blizzard, the authenticator offers a six-digit code that must be used within 60 seconds on a gamer's WoW account. The user has to enter this number alongside username and password. Similar methods are adopted by PayPal, banks, and other financial institutions to help protect data, PayPal charges US $5 for the PayPal Security Key.

Blizzard plans to charge US $6.50 for the device but no announcements are made as to when it will be available.

Source: Blizzard

AMD/ATI Tempts Game Developers with DirectX 10.1

With a market position resurrection in progress, AMD/ATI look to compete using a tried and tested tool for technological supremacy over its rival(s), developer-level optimizations for their games. Blizzard has been looking at implementing DirectX 10.1 with its future games. If that happens, it becomes a favorable scenario for AMD's products since Blizzard aren't habituated to making games that run best on only the most expensive hardware, but that with DirectX 10.1, they will look to implement certain DX10.1-exclusive effects, which means that even mid-range users of ATI products could enjoy the best visuals that the game has to offer, something NVIDIA and its users could miss out on.

Blizzard Presents Diablo III

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today revealed Diablo III, the newest entry in its critically acclaimed action role-playing-game franchise. The announcement was made during the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational at the Porte de Versailles Convention Centre in Paris, France. A cinematic trailer and an extended gameplay demonstration with commentary from the development team introduced the game to the thousands of players in attendance.

"We've wanted to expand on the epic story and gameplay elements of the Diablo universe for some time now," stated Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We know that players have also been long awaiting a return to the series, so we're very excited to be sharing this announcement with Blizzard gamers here in Paris and around the world today."
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