BizSpots: Blizzard, The9, Trilogy, Commodore, D2C, GC Asia, Paradox

Satellite TV provider offers free Warcraft; Chinese online game provider reports revenues; casual MMOG maker funded; PC maker sets up US shop; IP creator lent cash; games convention gets support; ex-Atari execs explore absurdity.


Blizzard transmits WOW Direct
Following up on the World of Warcraft Visa card and South Park DVD set WOW offer, DirecTV announced this week it would be partnering with Blizzard to offer free playtime to new subscribers of the premium television service. Beginning today and running through November 30, new DirecTV customers who use the promotional code "57417 NEW" will receive a free 11-month subscription to World of Warcraft. For those customers who aren't currently WOW subscribers, Blizzard will also be offering a free copy of the original game in addition to the 11-month subscription.

The9 posts minor net revenue climb
Shanghai-based online game operator The9 reported a 5 percent year-over-year increase in its Q2 net revenues this week, with sales rising to RMB270 million ($35 million). For the quarter ending June 30, The9 noted that its sales remained stable in comparison to Q1 due to marketing efforts for its latest game, SUN. Owned in part by Electronic Arts, The9 is best know as the online host for EA's FIFA Online and Blizzard's World of Warcraft in China.

Trilogy raises three millions
Earlier this month, casual massively multiplayer online game developer Trilogy studios revealed it had received a "significant" injection of funds from Chichen Itza Ventures, which runs social-networking site Today, Trilogy announced it had finalized its second major round of funding, totaling $3.2 million. As with this month's first investment, Trilogy's most recent funding will be channeled into the expansion of its virtual world and casual MMOG development. Trilogy also announced that Michael Wilson, CEO of Makena Technologies and producer of, had joined the company's board of directors.

Commodore takes flight in America
In March, the Commodore PC was revived in name when Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Commodore Gaming announced it would be releasing a new line of high-performance PCs. To help it reach a global audience with those PCs, Commodore Gaming today revealed it would be opening a North American headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. To head up the new offices, Commodore Gaming has appointed Bill Sims as vice president of North American Sales. A 17-year Electronic Arts veteran, Sims' role with the company will be to implement an online and big-box retail program, as well as to expand the company's sales and branding opportunities.

D2C secures $6M
Downloadable game publisher and developer D2C announced this week that it has secured $6 million in investment from Rubicon Venture Partners and 755 Capital Partners. With the funds, D2C Games plans to expand its publishing efforts as well as create original intellectual properties. Currently, D2C is focused on developing intellectual property and content for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PC, and 3G Mobile platforms. Originally known as Bigdog Games, D2C was founded in 2005 by Scott Orr, better known as the lead designer on the original Madden NFL Football.

Nintendo, Sony, and EA sign on to GC Asia
Less than month after the Games Convention drew tens of thousands of gamers and media to Leipzig, Germany, its organizers will hold a sister event in Asia. Inventively titled Games Convention Asia, the event will be held in Singapore from September 6-9, just two weeks prior to the all-important Tokyo Game Show (September 20-23).

Today, event organizers announced several major games companies would be in attendance. Sony will be on hand to show off its latest PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable titles, while local distributor MAxSoft will officially launch the Nintendo Wii in Singapore. Electronic Arts' Asian arm will be on hand in force, displaying nearly 20 games on seven platforms.

Paradox appoints two ex-Atari executives
Europa Universalis III publisher announced it has hired two former executives from its New York City neighbor, Atari. Reena Miranda, previous director of product acquisition and third-party, will now head up Paradox's US sales and marketing offensive. Martin Sirc, ex-managing director at Atari Nordic, will lead Paradox's Scandinavian distribution efforts. The studio's next game, Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power, is due out September 10.

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