NewsSpots: WOW, Xbox demos, Persona 3, more

Blizzard hits new milestone; XBL gets more game trials; demon-slaying RPG delayed; F.E.A.R. 360 gets downloadable maps; Forza 2 to get add-on car packs.

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WOW: Now serving 9 million
The beast, it thrives. Blizzard today announced that its massively multiplayer online game that needs no introduction has surpassed the 9 million worldwide subscribers mark. Debuting in November 2004, World of Warcraft has consistently been in a league of its own as far as installed user base. Earlier this year, the game's first expansion, The Burning Crusade, set PC-game records by selling a staggering 2.4 million copies within 24 hours of release. The publisher anticipates it will continue to acquire waves of new subscribers, noting The Burning Crusade is currently being prepped for launch in China.

All-Pro 2K8, NASCAR 08 demos dash onto XBL
Despite the rocky deployment of demos on Xbox Live earlier this week, it appears two more have made their way to Microsoft's online service. Demos for 2K Games All-Pro Football 2K8 and NASCAR 08 are now available for download. While the All-Pro 2K8 demo theoretically weighs in at 681MB, a widely reported error seems to be preventing the demo from downloading. Clocking in at 589MB, the NASCAR 08 demo drops racers into the driver's seat at the Daytona International Speedway. The Darkness demo also appears to have reappeared on the service after going dark for a brief period of time. The Dynasty Warriors: Gundam demo, however, still has not surfaced on Xbox Live.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 shelved until August 14
Originally slated to appear this week, the latest update to the demon-slaying Shin Megami Tensei role-playing series has been delayed. Atlus today confirmed that Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 for the PlayStation 2 will now make its journey to store shelves come August 14. The delay stems from an issue with the reproduction of an art book that was planned to be packaged with the game. According to the publisher, "Without the art book, the outer box would lack the structural integrity to endure shipping; all extras would need to be discarded." Atlus notes that the new ship date is still tentative, barring any other manufacturing issues.

Five new maps to feed F.E.A.R.
In June, Sierra Entertainment updated its supernatural shooter with a pair of multiplayer game types, control and conquer mode. At that time, the publisher also revealed it had several map packs planned for release this summer. The first of those map packs is available on Xbox Live today, and a couple of the maps included are for the new modes. Titled the Synchronicity Pack, the latest add-on features five new multiplayer maps. Three of the new playfields can be used for capture the flag and conquer all game modes. The remaining two maps are designed for deathmatch games and control mode, respectively. The Synchronicity Pack is a 316MB download and will cost gamers 550 Microsoft points ($6.87).

Forza 2 gets tune-up, mods set for August
Despite boasting more than 300 different automobiles in its most recent racer, Turn 10 is ready to expand Forza Motorsport 2's car list even further. Posting to its Web site, the developer recently revealed that the Forza team "definitely have DLC up our sleeves and will release a series of car packs and new tracks starting in August and running probably through a good chunk of fall." The studio also outlined Forza 2's most recent patch, which includes a number of fixes and tweaks to its online game.

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