BLIZZARD HITS MANILA, UNLEASHES STARCRAFT FEVER; LU STRENGTHENS GAMING BPO


Just in the nick of time. After years of waiting (and praying), Blizzard Entertainment has finally set up shop in the Philippines. 

The guys behind World of Warcraft, Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo series recently opened the doors of its Makati office in preparation for the launch of Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty on July 27. 

The company also announced that they would be having a new dedicated battle.net server in Singapore that will serve the Philippines and the rest of the greater South East Asia region. This would result into lower latency for those connected to Blizzard’s free online gaming service.

IAH Games will be handling the service and the server in line with their signing the distribution rights for Blizzard Products in their seven territories on May 25. Infocomm Asia Holdings, or “IAHGames”, is headquartered in Singapore, and is a leading publisher, operator and distributor of interactive entertainment.

According to Fadzly Yusof, managing director for IAH Philippines, “This is the first time that a major gaming company has opened an office in the Philippines and hopefully this will bring Blizzard closer to our local gamers and serve them much better.” He also revealed that they are currently in talks with local gaming companies to help them organize café-level tournaments.

Datablitz on the other hand will the official distributor of their games, as well as cards for World Of Warcraft players.

Starcraft II: Wings Of Liberty will initially come in two packages. The standard-edition set is priced at P3,500 while a very limited collectors editions will sell for P6,500. There are only 50 allocated in the Philippines so you are planning on getting one I would suggest heading off to the nearest Datablitz branch and reserve your copy now.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s 1998 hit StarCraft, which has been hailed by players and critics worldwide as one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. StarCraft II will once again center on the clash between the protoss, terrans and zerg, with each side deploying favorite units from the original StarCraft, along with numerous upgraded and brand-new units and abilities that allow for fresh tactics and strategies.

The solo campaign will continue the epic saga where it left off in Brood War and chronicles the exploits of marshal-turned-rebel leader Jim Raynor. Players will be able to tailor the experience, choosing their own mission path and selecting technology and research upgrades to suit their playing style throughout the 29-mission campaign.

Several challenge-mode mini-games will also be included, with focused goals designed to ease players into the basics of multiplayer strategies. In addition, dozens of multiplayer maps will be available for competitive play through the new version of Battle.net, which is launching alongside StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. 
This new version of the service has been built from the ground up to offer an unparalleled online play experience, with new features such as voice communication, character profiles and achievements, stattracking, ladders and leagues, cloud file storage and more.

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Level Up! announces organizational movements
In line with ePLDT’s thrust to reengineer its outsourcing and Information and Communications Technology businesses to achieve better focus and efficiency, Level Up! Inc. (LUI) has recently announced a few changes in its organization.

LUI’s pioneering experience in Game Publishing has kept it the leader in the Philippine gaming industry. Now, the company hopes to be a driving force in the Knowledge Process Outsourcing industry as well with Level Up! BPO (LU BPO), an independent unit within LUI.

To further fuel LU BPO’s growth momentum, the LUI Board has decided to transfer LU BPO to SPi Global Solutions to bring the business to higher levels of growth and profitability.

SPi Global Solutions is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, now home to all outsourcing businesses within the ePLDT group which includes Ventus, Parlance and SPi Technologies. The management team of LU BPO will continue to be led by Jane Cruz Walker as president and chief executive officer. Jane has been critical in strengthening the management team and maintaining Level Up’s leadership position through the years despite an increasingly competitive market environment. 
She founded the gaming BPO in 2008 which has since then grown to become the top provider to the biggest game publishers in the world.

Cruz Walker says, “Our years of experience in Online Game Publishing has given us the edge in providing the best outsourced game operations and Information Technology services to game publishers worldwide. 
And now, with SPi Global Solutions, LU BPO is right on track to further growth and profitability. With the combined strength and expertise of SPi and LU BPO, we are confident that the Philippines is poised to become a major force in the gaming BPO field.”

As for the publishing business, the new management team of Level Up! Inc. will now be led by Jake San Diego as general manager, reporting directly to Ben Colayco, Level Up! International Holdings chief operating officer.

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DATABLITZ PICKS FOR THE WEEK
while waiting for the release of Starcraft 2, you might want to check out these two great games first. 
Transformers: War for Cybertron is being hailed as the best Transformer game ever made, while Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, as expected, will breath new life into your PSP.

Transformers: War for Cybertron (PC)
Transformers: War for Cybertron challenges players to become the ultimate weapon as a Transformers character in the final, epic war that will determine the survival of their entire race. Armed with a diverse arsenal of lethal, high-tech weaponry and the ability to instantly convert from robot to vehicle at any time, players will engage in heart-pounding battles on land and in the air in this gripping, third person action shooter set in the Transformers’ war-ravaged homeland. Complete with several multiplayer modes, Transformers: War for Cybertron allows gamers to play through story missions with their friends in drop in/drop out online co-op, and also create their own Transformers character for competitive head-to-head multiplayer modes, choosing among four distinct character classes, personalizing its look and selecting from a huge variety of weapons, skills and abilities.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)
The era is the 1970s. Big Boss has stations his “Soldiers without Borders” in Columbia, South America, where he was approached by a visitor from Costa Rica, “A Nation Without a Military. In the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, as Latin America became a key to maintaining the power balance between East and West, Costa Rica has miraculously managed to maintain its peace and neutrality. However, in various regions of the country, a mysterious armed force seemed to be engaging in suspicious activities. Now, to preserve peace in this nation without a military, the “Soldiers without Borders” move into action. In time, they would come to be known as the founders of “Outer Heaven . . . ”

Developed by legendary Hideo Kojima—the mastermind behind the most successful video game tactical-espionage series of all time—this game lets players take control of the famed Naked Snake at a critical junction in modern history. An advanced cooperative technique allows multiple players to sneak into the fray and accomplish the mission together.

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BLIZZARD HITS MANILA, UNLEASHES STARCRAFT FEVER; LU STRENGTHENS GAMING BPO

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