BizSpots: Nintendo, Xfire, NaturalMotion

Wii sets up shop in sub-Sahara; Hellgate: London gets integrated voice chat; Kane & Lynch creator licenses animation technology.

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Nintendo's console journeys to South Africa
Despite ongoing struggles to meet current demand due to a shortage of components, Nintendo is opening up a new territory to release the Wii. News24 is reporting today that the Wii will be available for purchase in South Africa as of early October. While no firm price for the console has yet been announced, News24 noted the console will come at a premium, with the anticipated price being around R2 700 (about $390). Conversely, the 60GB PlayStation 3 currently retails in South Africa for R6 600 (about $920), while the Xbox 360 Premium goes for R3 699 (about $515).

Xfire enters the Hellgate
Viacom-owned game-matchmaking service Xfire today announced that its proprietary voice chat functionality would be included in Flagship Studios' upcoming role-playing game/shooter hybrid Hellgate: London. The service will allow players to chat in-game without the need of an external voice server. Players will also be able to access Xfire's matchmaking features from within the game, letting them more conveniently add others to their voice chat room. Xfire is a free-to-use, ad-supported service.

Io Interactive morphs with NaturalMotion
Traditionally an animation middleware provider for such developers as Rockstar Games and LucasArts, NaturalMotion announced in August that it would be cashing in on its proprietary technology for its first game, Backbreaker. However, that doesn't mean the company is getting out of the middleware business. Today, NaturalMotion announced that Kane & Lynch: Dead Men developer Io Interactive has licensed its morpheme animation technology for use in an undisclosed next-generation game title. No other details on the project were revealed.

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