E3 '07: DGamer heads to DS

Disney planning community-based online network to launch in May 2008 for Nintendo handheld.

SANTA MONICA, Calif.--Surprising to some, a few of the biggest announcements coming out of this year's E3 Media and Business Summit weren't from the big-three participants; rather, they came from Disney Interactive Studios. During Microsoft's press conference, Jeff Bell revealed a deal with Disney to bring a whole slate of films to Xbox Live Marketplace. Yesterday, the House of Mouse revealed its unlikely pairing with industry luminary Warren Spector, whose credits include the universally lauded System Shock II, Deus Ex, and Thief games.

Disney revealed one final announcement for the show. Partnering with Nintendo, Disney will launch the social-networking service DGamer for the Nintendo DS. By way of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, DGamer lets players create and customize personal avatars, chat with other DS owners, view leaderboards, and vote in polls. DGamer will come packed in with all Disney games on the DS released after the service launches, and gamers can also access the network through the DGamer Channel on Disney's Web site.

The first games to implement DGamer will be the recently announced The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Spectrobes II, and Hanna Montana 3, all coming next year for the DS. By completing challenges in-game or online, players will be able to unlock special content for their DGamer profiles, including game-themed backgrounds, items, skins, and avatar costumes. Players can then trade or gift these items to others in the DGamer network.

DGamer is the product of Disney's Fall Line Studio, which was created last year to focus exclusively on Nintendo Wii and DS development. DGamer is set for a May 2008 release in North America, and Disney plans to expand the service to its worldwide audience at a later date.

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