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BizSpots: Ozzy, Ubisoft, Crytek, Leipzig, Marvel, 42

Osbourne tackles Madden, Pachter pumps up French publisher, German studio expands, comic house loses game chief, ilovebees-maker builds <i>Dark Knight</i> buzz.


The Prince of Darkness joins forces with EA.
The Prince of Darkness joins forces with EA.

Ozzy sinks teeth into Madden soundtrack
Electronic Arts' Tiburon studio today revealed the first track from the soundtrack of Madden NFL 08. In part of a deal cut with Epic Records, "I Don't Wanna Stop" by Ozzy Osbourne will appear in the footballer. The track is from Osbourne's album Black Rain, which went on sale today. In August, EA will ship Madden NFL 08 for the PC, Nintendo DS, Wii, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Portable.

Analyst bullish on Ubisoft
This week, widely respected Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter raised his rating of Ubisoft from a "buy" to a "strong buy." In a note subtitled "We Think the Ubisoft Story is Misunderstood," the analyst said that "Ubisoft management was conservative with its financial year 2008 guidance," which predicted revenue of "at least" 800 million euros (around $1.076 billion) and earnings of 0.91 euros ($1.21) per share. Pachter believes that next Tuesday, the company could report revenues upward of 850 million euros ($1.143 billion) with earnings per share above 1.50 euros ($2.01).

Crytek opens Budapest studio
Two weeks after it expanded its Kiev subsidiary into a full-fledged studio, German developer Crytek has opened another development branch in Eastern Europe. Located in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, the new studio will help the Crysis-maker "leverage its CryEngine 2 technology and expand the number of gaming genres for which it is developing new products." No specific titles or platforms were mentioned.

Leipzig Game Conference reports record registration levels
With Britain's once-mighty gaming events a thing of the past, the Leipzig, Germany-based Games Convention has become Europe's top industry expo. More evidence of its prominence came this week, when GC organizers announced that they were selling floor space at the 30,000 square meter Leipziger Messe convention center at a 40 percent faster rate than last year. So far, exhibitors from 15 countries--including Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, Konami, Eidos, Sega, Vivendi, and Disney--have signed to exhibit at the event, which runs from August 23-28.

Report: Marvel game chief departs has learned and GameSpot has confirmed that Ames Kirshen, former chief of Marvel Entertainment's games division, has left the company. Kirshen joined Marvel in 2004 after working at its archrival DC Comics and Warner Bros., holder of the Batman film license. During his tenure, Marvel sued Cryptic Studios over copyright infringement in City of Heroes--and then struck a deal with the studio to develop an Xbox 360 and PC Marvel superhero massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

Rough  Knight, Heath?
Rough Knight, Heath?

ilovebees-maker builds Dark Knight buzz
Three years after the notorious Halo 2 alternate reality game promo, the people behind ilovebees are being tapped to promote one of Hollywood's biggest movie franchises. This week, 4orty2wo Entertainment, the marketing company which was also behind the hex168 Xbox 360 promotion, briefly teased a photo from The Dark Knight on The site briefly hosted a minigame which unlocked the first shot of Heath Ledger as the Joker (pictured) from the forthcoming Batman Begins sequel. Now it has a much less cryptic puzzle that indicates the first trailer for the film will be unveiled in December.

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