THQ scores three alliances
THQ and LucasArts Entertainment Company has announced a worldwide agreement giving THQ the rights to publish Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance Games based on LucasArts' popular Star Wars and Indiana Jones properties.
The deal also grants THQ the rights to develop and publish four additional LucasArts properties for Game Boy Advance. Obi-Wan's Adventures and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine are being developed by LucasArts and will be distributed and published worldwide by THQ.
THQ has also announced a strategic agreement with Siemens AG's Information and Communication Mobile division to create games for Siemens' mobile devices. These devices range from WAP-enabled mobile phones to Windows-based devices with multimedia, wireless Internet and mobile phone capabilities.
THQ also recently acquired revolutionary game developer Volition. The acquisition was consummated on August 31, 2000 and will be accounted for as a pooling of interests. A spin-off of Parallax Software, the Volition team is best known for the top-selling, critically acclaimed Descent and Freespace PC game franchises.
Visa gets smart
In an effort to help banks and financial institutions pull smart-card technology from the slow-to-adopt quagmire of the US market, Visa USA launched its "smart Visa" card platform this week.
The new modules are designed to be used in conjunction with a smart-card reader connected to a PC, allowing smart Visa card customers to download new applications and upgrades to their cards without having to be issued a new card, according to Gray. Future services and development work with Visa member banks will bring wireless and PDA (personal digital assistant) connectivity to the smart cards, according to company officials.
Smart-card implementation has been stunted in the US, but flourishes in Europe. This is due to two primary factors: the higher price of telecommunications overseas, which makes online authorisation by banks costly; and rampant European credit card fraud.
The Visa release coincided with a pair of high-profile security breaches that added to consumer wariness about online transactions. The Web site hacks launched last week against Western Union and furniture seller IKEA also reinforced the need for credit card companies and other online businesses to protect customer information, said John Pescatore, research director for Internet security at Gartner.