E-games go public


Leading online gaming publisher IP E-Game Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of publicly listed technology firm IPVG Corp. marks another first in Philippine gaming by becoming the first online gaming company to become publicly listed at the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The stock will trade on the PSE under the symbol “EG.” The listing ceremony comes after IP E-Games secured approval from PSE on February 1, for the initial listing by way of introduction of 33,545,554 common shares, under the Second Board of the PSE, at an indicative reference opening price of P50.00 per share.

The historic Listing Ceremony happened on February 17, and was held at the trading floor of Philippine Stock Exchange in Ayala, Makati City. IP E-Games Chief Executive Officer Enrique Gonzalez sounded the PSE opening bell at 9:30 a.m. to mark the company’s debut on the trading floor.

E-Games has become the leading online game publisher in just a few years, with over 11 million registered gamers all over the country as of the end of 2009. Since commencing operations in 2006, IP E-Games has commercially launched six MMORPGs and three casual games in the Philippines. The company’s MMORPG portfolio includes CABAL Online, a futuristic fantasy game, and RAN Online, a modern campus-themed game, and the popular beat mania game, Audition Dance Battle. It has also entered into a partnership with GMA New Media Inc., and has launched Operation7, a casual online first person shooter Runes of Magic, a quest-based MMORPG and is looking to release two new games, Super Star Online and BandMaster, within the first quarter of 2010.

The company pioneered the free-to-play business model, wherein gamers are not required to pay a subscription fee to play online games but rather are given the option of purchasing “in-game items” to enhance their gaming experience. The company sells its virtual currency (e-Points) that is used to purchase these in-game items.

Listing by way of introduction involves the listing and trading of a company’s shares at the stock market without going through an initial public offering (IPO). However, the Philippine Stock Exchange requires companies who list, in compliance with the regulatory requirement, to conduct a public offering and comply with the minimum public ownership requirement within one year from listing.

IP E-Games, by virtue of being a firm registered with the Board of Investments, and being certified by the Bureau of Internal Revenue as not being a closely held corporation, qualifies to list its shares by way of introduction.

In a “Top-Of-Mind” survey conducted by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication in November 2009, from a market of over 40 games, Audition, RAN Online and CABAL Online were the top three games garnering over 41 percent of the responses.

In September 2009, IP E-Games secured a P500M deal with GEM Global Yield Fund Limited (GEM), with E-Games granting shares to GEM for up to an aggregate value of P500 million, provided the average market price of the shares at the time of draw down is greater than or equal to P50 per share.

The GEM Group (Global Emerging Markets) is a $ 2.7-billion alternative investment firm engaged in the management of a diverse set of investment tools centered on emerging markets all over the world. It is a UK-based fund management group with offices in London, New York, Paris and Hong Kong.

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You’ve seen gaming consoles transformed into laptops, and PC’s modded to look like remote controlled cars, now here’s something that looks straight out of Egon’s Lab. Gamer Jack Rossi, who probably enjoyed the Ghostbusters game a little bit too much, decided to create a controller that would really make busting feel good. Jack proudly showcased the first ever fully fictional Wii-Proton Pack that could be used in conjunction with the Nintentdo Wii version of the Ghostbusters game.

According to Jack’s post “The cyclotron features four blue LEDs allowing you to know which player is selected or active and the Blue Power Cell actually shows you how much power the pack has. The Thrower has been carefully designed in regards to ergonomics and function. The front of the wand has an area in which you can place the Wii-mote and the back handle is where the Nunchuck is placed. Since the Wii-mote has in internal speaker in it’s housing, when playing the game the pack makes all the iconic Ghostbusters SFX. And being that the Wii utilizes wireless technology, the wand is not tethered to the pack via a cord.”

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Want to be among the first to play Starcraft II? Then prepare to pay $400.

Yes, that would be roughly around P19,000—enough to buy you a basic desktop, a notebook or even a PS3! But this is the amount some gamers are willing to pay to be among the first to try out the game during the “beta test” period. These access codes were apparently handed out for free during a 2008 fan festival organized by Blizzard. However, a few business-minded fans decided to put it up on auction sites like eBay and are now fetching bids of as much as $400—and that is just for a few months of gaming.
Beta accounts stop working shortly once the game is released. And since the recipients of the key codes do not actually own them, Blizzard can even cancel any beta accounts if it finds that it is being used inappropriately.

So why is it fetching such high prices? Because as any gamer knows, Starcraft is the best real-time strategy game ever made and that fans have been waiting for more than 10 years for its sequel. It’s also been one of the reasons for the rise of the professional gaming scene especially in South Korea, where televised Starcraft tournaments continue to attract millions of viewers. Still the price isn’t a record high for Blizzard as beta keys for the most recent expansion of World of Warcraft were being sold for over $1000 in 2008.

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Ragnarok to release Episode 20: Into the Unknown;
the Path into Renewal

Ragnarok, still one of the most played MMORPGs in the country is set to release its 20th episode next month. The new episode is about the emergence of two other mysterious new races, the fairy-like Laphine who live in the lush grounds west of the Expedition camp, and the wood creatures known as Sapha in the east. Each race has sworn to protect the World Tree Yggdrasil and have been fighting a war spanning hundreds of years.

Now, everything changes with the unearthed ruins of a cave that Rune Midgard scientists believe leads to the roots of the World Yggdrasil Tree. Commander Hibba Agip, leader of the expedition, has sent a call to any and all adventurers to explore the cave’s mysteries, but little do they know that it will bring them farther and deeper than any adventure they’ve experienced.

For in the darkest reaches of the ruins, an ancient guardian has been awakened. Rumors of its terrifying power have all but stopped the expedition in its tracks. Only the Laphine and the Sapha have information about the ruins and the secrets it holds, but no one knows how to decode their language yet.

Is there any adventurer brave enough to venture into the unknown? Learn more about the latest episode by visiting http://ragnarok.levelupgames.ph/episode20/index.php

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