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Newly-Acquired SOE-Denver to Develop Online Version of Popular “Build-And-Battle” Strategy Game

 GENCON, Indianapolis, INAugust 10, 2006 – Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE), a global leader in the online games industry, today announced a joint venture with Bellevue, WA-based WizKids Incorporated to develop an online version of their popular Pirates™ Constructible Strategy Game (CSG). Developed by SOE’s new Denver studio (also known as Worlds Apart Productions), SOE will bring all of the fun, strategy and excitement of this new and rapidly growing game to computer desktops everywhere.

            “As the newest member of the SOE family, the SOE-Denver team is very excited about working with WizKids to bring the world of Pirates online,” said Scott Martins, director of development SOE-Denver.  “Our Collect! Trade! Play! Platform is a proven means of translating the CSG experience to a digital medium, and gamers of all types will have a blast playing Pirates on their PCs.” 

            WizKids introduced the CSG genre with the launch of Pirates in 2004. Packaged like a collectible card game, players use die-cut parts from each card to construct 3D galleons, schooners and pirate ships, seeking treasure on the high seas while fending off enemy attacks.

The game is easy to learn and fast to play. Each game pack contains everything a person needs to play, including two ships, crew and treasure, an island, complete rules, and a die. Initial production runs, planned for a two-year lifespan, sold out one month before the product released.    Following a successful launch into the hobby games market, Pirates expanded into the mass market in March 2005, and was supported by a national television advertising campaign.  Pirates can be found in stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, Toys ‘R Us, 7-11 as well as gaming, comic, and hobby stores everywhere.

“WizKids couldn’t be happier working with SOE to bring the Pirates CSG game to the online masses,” said Joe Hauck, Executive Vice President Sales, Marketing and Product Development. “The enormous success of this property combined with fast and easy game-play will translate well to this format.”

The Pirates CSG Online is expected to launch this fall, featuring sea monsters and the supernatural with the Pirates of Davy Jones Curse and an online version of WizKid’s upcoming Pirates board game, The Quest for Davy Jones Gold.

The online game will feature tools to manage offline and online Pirates CSG collections, as well as quick and easy match-making for a variety of two-player and multiplayer game  

formats and scenarios, a robust fleet-building utility, secure ship trading, league and tournament play, and great promotional tie-ins between the offline and online versions of the game.

Games in the Pirates franchise have received critical acclaim and awards from publications such as InQuest, Creative Child and Playthings Magazine, as well as and endorsement from the well respected Dr. Toy and the prestigious Vanguard award from the Game Manufacturers Association. Since the original game’s release in 2004, there have been four sequels plus a booster pack that incorporates new features into the base game. 




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