By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net PHILIPPINE online game publisher IP e-Games said it was already looking into licensing a new online game that will help the company break into the regional market. IP e-Games is a fully owned subsidiary of publicly listed firm IPVG Corp. In its annual stockholder's meeting, IPVG said that part of its planned acquisitions this year are related to its online games business that would help propel the company to growth markets such as Vietnam. "It is one of the most anticipated online games," said Steve Tsao, president of IP e-Games, as he disclosed that the company was planning to acquire this new game this year, in an interview after the meeting. Tsao confirmed that the new acquisition will help IP e-Games penetrate the regional market for online games. Asked if the company was eyeing Blizzard's World of Warcraft, the executive said, "It is not WOW," referring to the game but added "it is the next biggest game." In its annual stockholders meeting, IPVG chief executive officer Enrique Gonzalez said the company now owns 55 percent of the market for online games, claiming that three of the top four games in the country are published by its subsidiary. IPVG said the revenues from its online gaming subsidiary has slightly dropped to P66.26 million during the second quarter of this year from P67.21 during the first quarter of 2007, the company disclosed during its stockholder's meeting. Gonzalez said the drop in revenues could be attributed to "seasonal drop in business" and acquisitions made by IP e-Games this year. Tsao said the acquisition involved the licensing of Granado Espada. The subsidiary's net income also dropped to P1.49 million during the second quarter of this year from P8.81 million for the first quarter of 2007. Tsao stressed that the company expects revenues to kick in once Granado Espada becomes commercial next month. IP e-Games is the publisher of RAN Online, O2 Jam, Audition, Supreme Destiny and Granado Espada in the Philippines. Granado Espada, which is currently on open beta, is scheduled to go commercial in August. It was produced by game designer Hakkyu Kim who was also the designer and developer of Ragnarok. Gonzalez said that the Philippine online gaming market continues to grow by more than 50 percent every year, "outpacing the internet industry as a whole." IP e-Games said it now has about 2 million active users, and an average of 40,000 concurrent users a month, added Tsao. Meanwhile, Tsao disclosed that Granado Espada has about 300,000 registered users from the Philippines now playing the open beta version. Overall, IPVG reported that its first-half revenues of 2007 grew five times year-on-year to P335 million from P65.4 million of the same period last year. IPVG said that one of its growth drivers for the second half was its online game business.
July 2007 Archives
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net IF you're done with flying in the older version, the newer version of massively multiplayer online role-playing game Flyff (Fly for Fun) now aims to lure more Filipino players who love action. And action means war. Touted as the most active online game community of Level Up! Philippines, Flyff's Heroes Rising was introduced Wednesday. Apart from allowing more player-versus-players gameplay in all the game's servers, the newer version will also have longer guild wars, said Wudie Morales, brand manager of Flyff in Level Up! Philippines. Flyff has about one million registered users, and 50,000 players logging on everyday. It was the first online game in the country to allow free-to-play, which means people can play for free but can also purchase in-game items to improve and dress-up characters. The new version will also have more in-game events, a duel system and guild war scenarios, said Morales. The new Flyff guild war system has increased battle duration to 30 minutes, with each guild given the chance to resurrect twice more than the previous version. After a battle, the winning guild will be rewarded with rare times that will improve characters' experience points. The new version also comes with new skins and costumes to enable more customized characters, Level Up! Philippines said. Players can choose from Sentai sets, fantasy-themed sets and other skin items that can transform virtual character's faces into famous anime and cartoon characters. New items and pets will also be introduced. Flyff is a 3D online adventure game that allows player to roam a fantasy and magical land of Roika. Players can walk, run and fly within the game. The game was developed by Aeonsoft.
UPDATED: Editor's Note: Added video clips of the two games between the Philippines and Germany. By Joey Alarilla, hackenslash Editor INQUIRER.net SEOUL, South Korea—The Philippines crushed Germany, 2-0, in their best-of-three match to win third prize in Ragnarok World Championship 2007. Here's the video clip of the first game: And here's the video clip of the second game: As the third prize winner in the international tournament that drew participants from 11 countries, the Philippine team will be going home with a trophy and 3, 000, 000 won (3,287 US dollars or 146,561 Philippine pesos). “We had a strong performance,” Milton Sy, the manager of the Philippine team, Armada, told INQUIRER.net in an interview after the Philippines defeated Germany in the battle for third place. "It's just so sad that we had to immediately face South Korea. Their build [the choice of which characters will make up a party and the stats for these characters] was strong against the Philippines. Their build negated our Dancer [one of the Ragnarok character classes], so it was almost like seven versus six in our match against them," Sy explained. The Philippines lost to South Korea, 0-2, in the semifinals match held this morning. In the championship match, however, the Thai team Destruction shocked South Korea by defeating the host country, 3-1, in the best-of-five encounter. Thailand drew first blood by winning the first game, but South Koreans fought back to level the score, 1-1. Thailand, however, would not be denied as Destruction won the next two games to bring home the gold. Thailand won the first prize of 10, 000, 000 won (10,958 US dollars), while South Korea received 5, 000, 000 won (5,479 US dollars). Asked what the Philippine team learned from their experience and how they will further improve their performance, Sy replied, "Since this is our first time to experience an international tournament, now we have more exposure. We will be more prepared than ever for the next international tournament." Team Armada is composed of Bein Patrick Limpin, Mel Bryan Ungra, Chris Dimaunahan, Emmanuel Deleon, Jeffrey Custodio, Frederick Banaag and Aaron James Fernandez. The 11 countries that participated in RWC 2007 are South Korea, the US, Russia, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Germany and the Philippines.
By Joey Alarilla, hackenslash Editor INQUIRER.net UPDATE: Editor's note: Added video clips of the two games. SEOUL, Philippines—The Philippine team lost to South Korea in the semifinals of Ragnarok World Championship 2007 this morning. The South Koreans won, 2-0, set up a championship match with Thailand, which ousted Germany in the other semifinals encounter. Here's the video clip of the first game. And here's the second game. The Philippines will play for third place against Germany this afternoon.
By Joey Alarilla, hackenslash Editor INQUIRER.net UPDATED: Editor's note: Hot off the grill :) Added video of third game between RP and Brazil. SEOUL, South Korea--Great news from South Korea! :) The Philippine team has barged into the semis of Ragnarok World Championship 2007. For the full story, check out the Breaking News article I wrote. Here's a video of the third and deciding game courtesy of iVDO. The Philippines will next face host South Korea on Sunday. South Korea defeated Russia in the match that immediately followed the Philippines-Brazil encounter. Like the Philippines, South Korea fell behind, 0-1, before winning two consecutive games to oust the Russians. RWC 2007 is being held in Lotte World together with Gravity Festival 2007. Gravity is the developer of the Ragnarok massively multiplayer online game, while Level Up! Inc. is the Philippine publisher. By the way, the teams here have been complaining against lag, which is ironic since South Korea is arguably the world's broadband capital. And yup, you can see the effects of lag in some of the matches when you watch on the big screen. Heck, while complaining against lag after their victory over Indonesia in the first round this morning, the members of the Philippine team quipped that it's a good thing they're used to lag in the Philippines, heh :)
By Joey Alarilla, hackenslash Editor INQUIRER.net UPDATED: Editor's note: Added video of second game between the Philippines and Indonesia, and a post-match video with Team Armada after they defeated the Indonesians. SEOUL, South Korea--It was a sweet victory indeed as the Philippine team, Team Armada, beat Indonesia, 2-0, in their best-of-three match to advance to the next round of Ragnarok World Championship 2007 which kicked off today in Lotte World. The Ragnarok World Championship is being held concurrently with Gravity Festival 2007. Here's a video of the Gravity Festival 2007 opening ceremony courtesy of iVDO. The Philippine contingent led by Level Up! officials and team supporters, led by team manager Milton Sy, who actually paid their own way to Seoul to root for Team Armada, broke into cheers after the Filipinos finished off the Indonesian team. Here's a video of the second game between the Philippines and Indonesia. After stamping their class over Indonesia, the Philippines will next face the Brazilian team. Ironically, Ragnarok is distributed in the Philippines and Brazil by Level Up! International (PLDT is the majority owner of Level Up! Inc. in the Philippines, with a 60-percent stake, while Level Up! International owns the remaining 40 percent). The Philippine team, Team Armada, is composed of Bein Patrick Limpin, Mel Bryan Ungra, Chris Dimaunahan, Emmanuel Deleon, Jeffrey Custodio, Frederick Banaag and Aaron James Fernandez. Here's a post-match interview I did after they won over Indonesia. Asked about how they felt about having to face their “sister team” Brazil next, the Filipino players said, “May the best team win,” noting that it just so happened that the two countries, which have been supportive of each other, landed in the same bracket. Eleven countries are participating in Ragnarok World Championship 2007, namely South Korea, the US, Russia, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Germany and the Philippines. Each team is composed of seven players. At stake, apart from national pride and bragging rights among gamers, is between US$25, 000 to US$30, 000 for the team that will emerge as the Ragnarok world champion.
By Alex Villafania, hackenslash Reporter INQUIRER.net THE WORLD Cyber Games Philippines finals on Sunday produced eight players who will represent the country in the upcoming World Cyber Games Grand Final. Seattle, Washington, will play host to the WCG Grand Final from October 3 to 7. The US is the third country other than South Korea to host the international gaming tournament. The others are Singapore and Italy. The US first hosted the WCG Grand Final in 2004, when it was held in San Francisco, California. The Philippine Finals was held last July 15 in SM North EDSA. Five of the players are returning Philippine champions. The rejuvenated Horsemen of the Apocalypse will represent the Philippines in Counter-Strike. The team is composed of Kristoffer Romillo, Arvin Agbisit, Gary Guevarras, EJ Clores and Jupiter Gaboy. Israel Magante, who represented the Philippines in past WCG tournaments, will return to play the racing game Need for Speed: Carbon. The country's StarCraft: Brood War top player is Byron Bongon while Tristan Solee is the new star player for Warcraft III: Frozen Throne. This year's WCG Grand Finals Philippine representatives also won the biggest prizes meted out to players. They each received a cash prize of P30, 000, a Samsung mobile phone, a Powercolor video card, gift certificates from Villman Computer Systems worth P2,000, a Logitech G15 gaming keyboard and Animax premium items. Samsung Philippines General Manager for Marketing Jerry Lacson said they look forward to seeing the eight players square off against hundreds of competitors from different countries. "We are proud to give these cyber athletes the opportunity to strut their stuff in the global arena," Lacson said. Samsung is the main proponent and major sponsor for the entire WCG tournament, which has been held since 2001. The Philippines joined in 2002. Over 700 players from about 70 countries will be competing in the WCG 2007 Grand Final. Other games that will be featured in the said competition are FIFA 07, Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, Age of Empires III, Carom3D, Gears of War, Dead or Alive 4, Project Gotham Racing 3 and Tony Hawk's Project 8.
By Alex Villafania, hackenslash Reporter INQUIRER.net THEY may not have the look and accent of British students but they love Harry Potter just the same. Members of the online forum Pinoy Harry Potter (PHP) were at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell Center, Makati City to be part of New Worlds: Transformed, the weeklong convention that showcases science fiction in literature, movies and TV. July 11, Wednesday, was a Harry Potter-only day wherein members of the PHP conducted an entire day’s worth of activities including costume play and parade, board games, caricature drawing, film showing and book reviews. This photo of some Filipino fans who dressed up in costumes as they paraded inside the mall is courtesy of Associated Press. The event also marked the first day of showing of the latest film adaptation of the fifth book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Likewise, the group is also preparing for the last and final book, Harry Patter and the Deathly Hallows, which will be launched worldwide on July 21. Meann Ortiz, co-administrator of PHP, said the event was among the biggest the group has conducted as it is part of a weeklong celebration of science fiction. PHP is a member of the sci-fi umbrella group New Worlds, which headed the weeklong event in Rockwell. The group also joined other sci-fi organizations in the Philippines, particularly those who are part of Transformers fandom, with the Michael Bay/Steven Spielberg movie that was recently launched. “We’ve conducted at least one event per month since we started PHP in 2001. Most of the time it would be book discussions and there are times when we co-organize book launchings of the latest book, especially with the bookstore Fully Booked,” Ortiz said. Aside from events for the members, Ortiz said PHP also holds parties in orphanages where they conduct similar games and book readings to children. “Some of the kids are familiar with Harry Potter because they’ve watched the movies, so we introduced them to the book.” Ortiz said the group has so far at least 1,000 members and many join the discussion boards in their online forum. As in the book and subsequent films, members are also split into four "houses" based on J.K Rowling’s book. They are split into Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. “We base the placement of the member from the answers they give to our questionnaires. Like in the book, they also get points for posting in the forums.” With the last of the Harry Potter books ready to be launched, will it be the end for PHP? Not so, according to Ortiz, who said there are still many activities that can be done even with J.K. Rowling putting the final words. “We can continue to discuss the books since there is so much detail that we can cover. Besides, we still have the movie adaptations of the final two books so it’ll still be exciting for fans of Harry Potter.”
THE JULY issue of GAME!, the gaming magazine of INQUIRER.net's sister company Hinge Inquirer Publications, is already out in newsstands. Here's an announcement from the GAME! team to give you an idea of the goodies the July issue has in store for you.
GAME!, the Philippines’ best online gaming magazine, whips up a storm this July with facts and trivia on the most anticipated gaming event of 2007 -- the Ragnarok Philippine Championships! Get jiggy with Flyff v7’s job quest guide for high-level characters and learn how to win fast in Warcraft III: Defense of the Ancients. Don’t miss out on important quests when you set foot in the New World of Granado Espada with GAME!’s walkthrough. Dress to impress with armor sets in Silkroad Online, get lucky with anniversary items in RAN Online, and take your pick of bestselling items in Skyblade: Sword of the Heavens. Enjoy our rundown of reviews for PC and console games like Spider-Man 3, Armored Core 4, Picross, Virtua Tennis 3, Rayman Raving Rabbids, and WarioWare: Smooth Moves! While you're at it, join GAME!'s raffle promo. You might just win a NextBase portable DVD Player! Grab GAME!’s July issue from newsstands & bookstores for only PhP80. For comments, advertisements, and promos, e-mail us at email@example.com, or visit www.gamemagazine.ph daily.
By Alex Villafania, hackenslash Reporter INQUIRER.net EVEN if the movie isn't as fun as it should be, the game plays out well (excuse the pun). Shrek the Third the video game is loosely based on the movie of the same name and casts almost the same retinue of the film's characters from Shrek, Fiona, Puss in Boots and Donkey. However, anyone who has watched the film and intends to play the game version will be surprised that Sleeping Beauty and Artie are added as playable characters. As in the film, Shrek's mission is to find the young would-be king Arthur (a.k.a. Artie) to install him as the king of Far Far Away. The adventure extends to some of the characters trying to stop Prince Charming and his army of fairy tale villains from taking over the kingdom. Be aware, though, that this game is targeted at children, thus the gameplay has been toned down to the level applicable to younger players. Shrek the Third is in full 3D and is similar to most action-adventure games. Players can control Shrek, Fiona, Puss in Boots and Donkey in a series of levels with different requirements, but the main goal is to just get through the levels without dying, which is in itself a fairly easy thing to do since the enemies aren't exactly that difficult to beat. Each of the playable characters has different attacks with goofy movements but nearly all copied from the movie. For instance, Shrek has his normal punches but he has a combo uppercut punch that connects with one of his throws, the end of which has Shrek catching an enemy and throwing him against other enemies. Despite his size, Puss in Boots does have a fairly good number of attacks especially with his sword. Donkey doesn’t have really good combos but he does deliver a powerful kick that can beat an enemy after one or two good hits. There is also a special attack for each of the characters and the energy collected from beating enemies accumulates as fairy powder; Shrek and Fiona have an Ogre Power special attack that slows down time allowing the player to beat his enemies when overwhelmed. Similarly, Puss in Boots can stop his enemies when he uses his "Cute Puss" special, when Puss in Boots shows his wide eyes. The game itself has a lot of basic platforming and is almost reminiscent of the 3D Mario Bros. 64 for the Nintendo 64. In fact, Shrek the Third copied a few missions from Mario Bros 64 but it’s very linear and children wouldn’t get lost in the levels. All they need to learn is to use their combos properly and double jump when going form one platform to another. The graphics for the PS2 version isn’t all that great but neither does the PC version. The frame rate is really slow and it’s often difficult to direct the characters towards a specific target. As such, players will be forced to keep on button mashing in the hopes of hitting something. This isn’t appealing to older players but kids from 3 years old to 8 might enjoy not having to coordinate their eyes and hands when fighting hordes of enemies. The dialogue is also surprisingly sloppy. Only John Cleese, who voiced the frog king in the movie, lent his voice to the game. The rest are ordinary voice actors. On the other hand, even if the movie voices were used in the game I doubt if the dialogue would improve. Shrek and Fiona’s dialogues were bland while Donkey, who should have been the saving grace as far as verbal comedy is concerned, isn’t funny at all. Nonetheless, younger players wouldn’t worry about that anyway, as long as they are still able to control their favorite fairy tale characters. For all attempts to be funny, I would say that the Shrek the Third video game is good as it is but could have been made better.
By Tony Maghirang Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--There's alternative music inching to cross over into the mainstream -- and it’s made in Japan. Twice a year, about 1,000 fans of Japanese rock or J-Rock gather together as a community in concerts that celebrate the music they love. J-Rock cover bands, composed mostly of male college students and adoring female fans, a motley crowd of high school kids, colegialas and young professionals, turn up for these gigs. Five years ago, the entire Japanese music scene in the Philippines was restricted to Internet mailing lists which allowed fans to merely trade information on Japanese acts and their recordings. The lists did not gather enough support from their intended audience and their own administrators, who failed to sustain the lists. In 2003, a group of fans met at an anime convention and started toying with the idea of putting up an organization that would serve as a venue for local enthusiasts to share with others their passion for contemporary Japanese pop. The Ongaku Society was born and a website followed, which has become a hang-out on the Web for Pinoy Japanophiles. In Japan, all types of popular music is simply pop. When Japan pop moved to the international center stage in the early 21st century, music fans and critics made a distinction between fluffy J-pop and the more exciting music of J-Rock. The Ongaku Society focused on promoting J-Rock because of the thrill of watching bands in a live setting. Ria Aguilar, who handles marketing for the Ongaku Society, says, "J-Rock is a treat for the eyes and ears, with its unique melodies and interesting lyrics, and an amazing fashion sense. The diverse sounds of the performers and the glam look of both the bands and the audience are a blast." Since its inception, the Ongaku Society has nurtured the musical lives of local J-Rock cover bands. NEOtaku, tRANCE and Himitsu Heiki have progressed into solid power pop stars while Do ‘Ahou and Progeny took their edgy rock to powerful exhilarating highs. The Society has promoted a series of bar concerts that not only showcased the pleasures of J-Rock but also challenged the creative prowess of cover bands. The Ongaku Sessions in October 2005 featured musicians sitting in with other bands just for the fun of it. Performances at Ongaku Fusion in 2006 saw bands performing a Pinoy rock number and two J-Rock covers. The recent Ongaku Rewind at Freedom Bar in April witnessed the likes of NEOtaku, Progeny, Do 'Ahou and Himitsu Heiki injecting Japanese soul into the new wave of Billy Idol, Duran Duran and Boy George. "It’s the next best thing to flying off to Tokyo and watching J-Rock bands in the flesh,” gushes Rotch Dumlao, the garrulous moderator of the Ongaku website. “And you still get the whole J-Rock scene along with the music.” “It’s good clean fun,” adds Jill Solidum, administrator of the Ongaku website. “Definitely no drugs in our concert parties. Really, we already spend a lot of money on imported J-Rock CDs, there’s none left for non-essentials, much less drugs.” The Ongaku Society expands its reach to its community through Internet technology. The most active section of the website is the Forums where members as well as casual visitors can view and join the discussion on diverse topics such as J-Rock and video games, punk and pop rock, solo performers, jazz and fusion, and traditional Japanese music. It’s the same Web through which J-Rock fans get updates on the music. Track samples from new releases are available on specific websites for download on iPods for personal review and to share with others. The fan may then decide to purchase the CD, which normally goes for P400 a pop. The Society also helps expose its stable of cover bands to a wider audience. The J-Rock groups can be contracted to play in exhibits and conventions such as Japan Foundation Manila’s Nihongo Fiesta and TOEI Animation Philippines’ TOEInty Anime. Some of the bands worked on the revised soundtrack for the re-release of the “Voltes V” movie for ABS-CBN’s Hero TV cable channel. NEOtaku is currently in the studio producing promotional tracks for a series of manga called Project Stage Two, to be released by Psicom Publishing later this year. Despite the worldwide success of such J-Rock idols as Utada Hikaru and L’Arc-en-Ciel (French for rainbow), local record distributors still do not carry J-Rock titles in their catalog. Ongaku moderator Rotch recalls that there was a plan to release J-Rock titles three years ago, but the sudden surge in popularity of Chinese and Korean telenovelas (and the soundtrack artists behind them) put the plan on hold. The continuing success of anime as youth entertainment, and the fact that anime aka J-Rock fans have spending power -- they import CDs don’t they? -- may yet lead to an unexpected boon for local fans. For the time being, the online community is enough distraction to sustain their obsession for rock from the Land of the Rising Sun. First exposure Ongaku Society recommends that beginners in J-Rock should listen first to the following artists to get the full measure and pleasure from contemporary Japanese music: 1. L’Arc-en-Ciel 2. Utada Hikaru 3. Orange Range 4. X-Japan 5. Do As Infinity
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net MAYBE you’ve had enough of Transformers for the past few days. But these guys (I’m not sure where they’re from) have created Transformer costumes that could literally, er, transform. Brilliant, eh. Catch these guys transform into their favorite robots in this YouTube video The Real Transformers that also features the original soundtrack. Of course, the award for best costume should go to the one who did Optimus Prime. (Thanks Maui Terrado for this link!) Here’s the video clip:
FILIPINO band Callalily performs "Pasan," the official song and music video for the massively multiplayer online game Lineage II in Southeast Asia. Video provided by AsianMedia, the Manila-based regional distributor of Lineage II. For more videos, visit iVDO, INQUIRER.net's online video channel in partnership with Yahoo!
YUP, "Transformers" is lording it over the Philippine box office just as it is setting records in the US. Here's a press statement from UIP Philippines and its local distribution partner Solar Entertainment, which are understandably pleased over the record-breaking performance of "Transformers." The two companies, however, have also issued warnings against unauthorized recording of the film.
The movie "Transformers" proved to be a box office juggernaut in its second week of release, staying at number one as families nationwide enjoyed the story of the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons battling each other on Planet Earth.
The Philippines, which was one of only a few countries releasing on June 28 ahead of the US, garnered P128.5 million in its opening week. The film’s box office gross -- now surpassing P200 million -- represents the top results in history for UIP Philippines, its local distribution partner Solar Entertainment, and the films of Paramount, DreamWorks, Michael Bay, and Steven Spielberg. "Transformers" also garnered the top non-franchise-film Friday, Saturday, and Sunday grosses in Philippine history. In the US, "Transformers" grossed $27.45 million for the biggest 4th of July Independence Day haul of all time, beating out former record-holder "Spider-Man 2" ($21.9 million in 2004). The domestic success of "Transformers" came on the heels of stunning international launches last weekend which set a wealth of records for international distributor UIP, studios Paramount and DreamWorks, director Bay, and executive producer Spielberg. Local execs were delighted with results. "A big factor of our success was the incredible support of Filipino fans, especially the Cybertron Philippines group," said UIP general manager Selina Gecolea. "Young moviegoers in particular watched the film several times, and women and mothers like myself enjoyed the film immensely. 'Transoformers' was definitely not just a toy movie for boys." Wilson Tieng, president of Solar Entertainment, UIP's sole distribution licensee in the Philippines, added, "We want to thank exhibitors everywhere for the stellar results, and for helping our security agency ICT catch and prevent many incidents of camcording." Nine perpetrators were caught making unauthorized recordings, capturing portions of the film on various recording devices, starting from the film's premiere on June 27, through the opening weekend. All incidents were recorded in police blotters, although charges were held in abeyance to give perpetrators a chance to apologize for their unauthorized recordings of the film. Movie Industry Anti-Film Piracy Organization president Roesholm Camaligan lauded Solar-UIP's creative way of dealing with perpetrators: letters of apology which had to be signed by the perpetrators' immediate family, spiritual advisor, school dean or employer, and the theater manager where the perpetrator was caught. "This proved to be a far more effective way of ensuring that the person would not do it again. The public needs a reminder that bringing recording devices into theaters is strictly prohibited," Camaligan said. Geronimo Sy, State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice, added, "In the face of modern technology, we should continue to be aware that the rule of law applies with equal force in the business of entertainment and take responsibility for our actions."
By Alex Villafania, hackenslash Reporter INQUIRER.net HARRY POTTER, Optimus Prime and their posse are the main cast of a weeklong sci-fi celebration at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, Makati City. Dubbed as New Worlds: Transformed, the event is organized by New Worlds Alliance, an online umbrella website of several other fan forums that talk about different sci-fi material, from books, toys to movies. In an interview with hackenslash, NWA representative Nick Yarte said the weeklong event, which starts today until July 15, celebrates the opening of two blockbuster films, "Transformers" and "Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix," as well as the launch of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows, the seventh and last Harry Potter. In fact, as part of the event, NWA will have a "Harry Potter" day on Wednesday, July 11, wherein fans of the book and the films can wear related costumes. There would also be panel discussions regarding the previous six books, as well as the fate of Harry Potter in the seventh book, which is rumored to detail the death of an important character in the series, quite possibly Harry Potter himself. "There’s a lot of stuff about Harry Potter and we have Filipino fans who will be discussing it on Wednesday. It’s also the first time that we’ve done a week of events but we usually have the annual New Worlds Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention in the past four years," Yarte said. Other highlights for the event in Rockwell Powerplant Mall include exhibits of Star Wars, Magic: the Gathering, costume play (cosplay) competitions, Narnia, Battlestar Galactica, Gundam, Highlander and the TV series "Heroes." New Worlds Alliance is an umbrella website composed of at least 24 fan sites of Transformers, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Japanese "mecha," Harry Potter, and several TV series, including "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Trek" and "Xena." Yarte said there are new groups coming up as new TV shows, books and movies are released. Likewise, membership in current groups continue to grow as more Filipinos become interested in the different sci-fi materials. "There’s still a lot to expect in the coming years. There is the next chapter of Narnia, Star Trek, the next Harry Potter movies, the new season of 'Heroes' and 'Battlestar Galactica.' Things will just become more exciting," Yarte said.
By Alex Villafania, hackenslash Reporter INQUIRER.net AFTER almost three years, Jojo Añonuevo officially announced his resignation from online entertainment and game distribution firm Digital Media Exchange (dme). Añonuevo, who was one of the first executives of Oracle Philippines, will function as the company president until July 31. He will be working with dme Chief Technology Officer Rob Locke to transition Añonuevo's responsibilities to the rest of the company's executive and management teams until new hires are on board. In an official statement, Añonuevo cited a "difference in style" with dme Chief Executive Officer Scott Countryman for his departure from the company. "Scott (Countryman) and I believed in the same destination but held a different approach. Scott and I agree that this is in the best interest of the company," Añonuevo said. Nonetheless, Añonuevo said he still believes in dme's goals, particularly in digital entertainment publishing. Countryman said he has accepted Añonuevo's resignation and lauded him for his contributions to the company. "He (Añonuevo) was instrumental in formulating the technology and distribution strategy for mobiusonline, growing our good reputation in the industry, showing leadership to develop our people and processes, as well as executing on hundreds of projects across the Company. He and his direct reports (and their teams) have been responsible for many great successes over the past two-and-a-half years," Countryman said. Countryman also promised that dme will adjust from Añonuevo's departure and continue to prosper. dme distributes a number of online games in the Philippines such as MU Online, Rakion and Gunbound. It also has other non-game-related businesses such as online music distribution and has presence in several Southeast Asian countries. * * * Here, reprinted in full, is the official statement that dme provided to hackenslash:
July 6, 2007--dme (Digital Media Exchange) today announced that Jojo Anonuevo has resigned his position as President of dme effective July 31, 2007. “I have accepted his resignation and respect this decision. Jojo made numerous contributions to Digital Media Exchange since he joined the company in 2004. He was instrumental in formulating the technology and distribution strategy for mobiusonline, growing our good reputation in the industry, showing leadership to develop our people and processes, as well as executing on hundreds of projects across the Company. He and his direct reports (and their teams) have been responsible for many great successes over the past 2 ½ years,” said Scott Countryman, CEO of dme. “His departure will leave some big shoes to fill but I am confident the organization will adjust and continue to prosper.” “My dream and outlook for dme still applies. The reason for my departure is due to difference in style. Scott and I believed in the same destination but held a different approach. Scott and I agree that this is in the best interest of the company.” said Jojo Anonuevo. “I still believe in dme and how it will continue to usher in new business models and lead the way in Publishing Digital Entertainment.” Rob Locke, dme Chief Technology Officer and Jojo Anonuevo will work together through July to transition many of Jojo’s former responsibilities to others on the executive and management teams until new hires are on board. Announcements of additions to the management team will be shared at the appropriate time.
INQUIRER.net is one of the sponsors of New Worlds: Transformed, where fans of science fiction, fantasy, role-playing games and comic books are expected to converge in droves. Here's the press release:
Do you love Harry Potter? How about those amazing Transformers? Admit it: you were a fan of something at some point in your life. Books, TV shows, movies, comics, and many other creations in the media can make an indelible impression on anyone and stay for the rest of our lives.
On July 9-15, get the chance to get together with like minds and celebrate what you love at the Rockwell Power Plant Mall! The New Worlds Alliance, in conjunction with Rockwell Power Plant Mall, Level Up! Games, Fully Booked, PLDT MyDSL, Growee Vitamins, Crime & Suspense, Dream FM, and INQUIRER.net, presents New Worlds: Transformed. In this weeklong affair, find fellow fans among the Trekkies, Tolkienites, Wizards from Hogwarts, Robots of Cybertron, Highlanders, the Jedi, Narnians, Slayers, Stargate explorers, residents of Arkham, local Heroes, the Lost ones, Xena's Amazons, Anne Rice's Vampires and Witches, the Dragonsworn, Gamers and many others and live your fandom. Play the games, watch the films, be awed with the toys, browse the books, walk around with your favorite characters and experience fandom unhinged. The best part? Entrance is free!Visit the New Worlds: Transformed site for more information.
By Alex Villafania, hackenslash Reporter INQUIRER.net "WE’RE in for the long haul." This was what Samsung Electronics Philippines Marketing Team General Manager Jerry Lacson told reporters during the World Cyber Games Philippines media event on July 5, regarding its support for th said program. In the last seven years, the Philippines has yet to see a player to win any medals from either the Grand Final of the WCG or the relatively new WCG Asian Championship. Lacson explained that the goal of the WCG was not mainly to have a Filipino win in either international competitions but to encourage more Filipinos to join an international community of professional gamers and change the perception about video games. "We encourage sportsmanship. Just as we supported players for the Olympics and the Asian Games, we’ll support any endeavor that pushes players to be at their best," Lacson said. Lacson also said that, eventually, they intend to turn the WCG into a regular spectator sport and invite private companies to sponsor or support Filipino professional gamers. "We’re still in the amateur level when we're against professional players abroad so we’ll do as much as we can to make gamers more serious and professional," Lacson said. WCG Organizing Head Tjader Regis also said this year’s players are much better than they were before, giving them a competitive edge against professional gamers. In particular are players in Warcraft III and Counter-Strike, wherein the players have been consistent winners in the past WCG Philippines finals and represented the country in international tournaments. However, he warned that while Filipino gamers have much improved, so have their counterparts from other countries. Regis said they have held the Philippine games at least a month before the Asian Championship and three months before the WCG Grand Final to give the winning players more time to hone their skills. The games included in the WCG Philippines competition are Counter-Strike, Warcraft III: Frozen Throne and its offshoot, Warcraft III: Defense of the Ancients, Need for Speed: Carbon, StarCraft: Brood War, Age of Empires III, FIFA 07 and Dead or Alive 4. The Philippine finals will be held on July 13 to 15. The winners will be sent to Singapore for the WCG Asian Championship on August 2 to 5, and to Seattle for the WCG Grand Final on October 3 to 7.
By Alex Villafania, hackenslash Reporter INQUIRER.net STELLA KIM, president and CEO of South Korean game development firm O2 Media, visited the Philippines to show her support and appreciation for the huge success of its online music game O2Jam in the country. Kim, whose last visit to the Philippines was a mere one-day stopover in Manila in 1973, sat with Filipino reporters and players to give her insights about casual games, her fondness for music and her plans for the Philippines. Kim also gave a glimpse of O2 Media's direction for the currently in-development game which has the working title O2Jam X2, the next version of O2Jam. O2Jam is distributed in the Philippines by IP e-Games, which also publishes several other online games, such as the hack-and-slash game RAN Online and the casual dance game Audition. The huge success of O2Jam in the Philippines prompted Kim to make a visit and use the country as a model for distributing the game in other countries, particularly in the US where O2Jam is slated to be launched in August. According to IP e-Games president Steve Tsao, O2Jam has more than 500,000 unique active users per month, which translates to about 10,000 concurrent users. "I was surprised with the huge success of O2Jam in the Philippines and I have e-Games to thank for that. The game is already popular in other Asian countries but not as intense as in the Philippines. This game’s major appeal is it’s a family game; parents can have fun with their kids without having to play a violent game," Kim said. Because of this, she said she hopes to provide more services to the Philippines, particularly in localizing the content to be more at appealing to players. In particular are new songs, avatars and items. There would also be new game modes such as Boy and Girl Mode and Junior and Senior, which would be introduced soon. Kim said she also intends to make O2Jam a major carrier for independent musicians who want to be featured in other countries. "For example, we’ll get new artists from the Philippines and bring them to Korea and vice versa," she said. Kim also talked about O2Jam X2 and as the name implies, it is supposed to be twice as much fun as the first game. The game, which took a year and a half to develop, is currently under closed beta test in Korea and will have an entirely new game engine. Kim also promised that X2 will be made available by 2008 and the Philippines will be among the first to have it.
By Joey Alarilla, hackenslash Editor INQUIRER.net I WAS with Level Up! Inc. CEO Jane Walker and Marketing Director Jake San Diego yesterday, and we had an interesting chat over coffee. Lots of things are a-brewing (heh) over at Level Up! and you'll find out more about these developments in these pages soon, but one thing Jane and Jake are definitely excited about is Perfect World, which is slated for open beta on July 18. Jane said it was heartwarming to see the buzz Perfect World has generated, as the company's message boards have been very active in anticipation of this 3D massively multiplayer online role-playing game's open beta and eventual commercial release. Now, what does Boracay have to do with Perfect World? Those who sign up for the open beta might find themselves enjoying the perfect getaway in Boracay. Here's an excerpt from the press release:
In preparation for Perfect World’s open beta launch on July 18, 2007, registration for the game will begin on July 4. Adding even greater excitement to this highly-anticipated game is a special treat awaiting those that register early, the Race-to-168 promo. The 168th, 1,680th, 16,800th and 168,000th unique registrant will win a trip for two to Boracay, for three days and two nights, complete with hotel accommodations.The promo will last from the first day of pre-registration, July 4, 2007, all the way up to July 17, the day before the game’s open beta launch. The trip promo greatly reflects what you can do in Perfect World. It is the first MMORPG in which players can uniquely customize their characters, craft every piece of weapon and gear that they use, signature the items they craft, engage in both player-versus-player duels and clan-based territorial battles, own and expand territories, quest both individually or as a group, engage in avatar interaction and interpersonal relationships with other players in the game, trade in volatile currency exchanges, fly and swim and even fight while in the air or water, cultivate pets and compete in races all in one game.And what about the other stuff we discussed yesterday? Wait and see :)