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Funcom Extends Agreement for Conan Franchise

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DURHAM, N.C. — International game developer


, which maintains an operation in Durham, has extended its agreement with the Conan character franchise.

Funcom is developing a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game for release later this year. The company said it has the option to develop Conan games through 2023.

The agreement covers MMO game development for personal computers, present and future gaming consoles, portable devices and mobile systems. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Licensing for the Conan character is handled by Conan, Inc.

"It's great to see the evolution of Age of Conan, and we truly believe we will deliver a special and fun online experience," said Trond Arne Aas, chief executive officer of Funcom. "At the same time we look ahead, and we feel confident that Conan is a brand which will stand strong for many decades. With the investments involved in today's online games and the very long life spans of MMOs, it is important to have long term license agreements, and together with Conan Inc. we will continue our focus on investing in the Conan brand."

Funcom is developing a version of Conan as a showcase game for the forthcoming Vista operating system from Microsoft.

"We have a great passion for the qualities and works of (Conan creator) Robert E. Howard, and we share this with Funcom," said Fredrik Malmberg, head of licensing at Conan Inc. "We have worked very close with Funcom for more than three years now, and we have great belief in their ability to deliver. Virtual worlds become ever more important, and we feel certain Age of Conan stands a great chance of gaining a large share of the MMO market."

Howard, a native of Texas, created the Conan character and the age in which he lived (the Hyborian Age) in the 1930s.

"Age of Conan", the forthcoming Funco title, won three awards from online gaming sites during the recent E3 game and entertainment show in Los Angeles.

Microsoft's Vista will include features designed to capitalize on video and online games growth. Microsoft also plans to integrate gaming capabilities to link players over mobile phones and its Xbox 360 game platform.

"Age of Conan" title is an online role-playing game. Funcom and Microsoft have signed a marketing and development agreement under which Microsoft will showcase Age of Conan. A Windows version of the game is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter.

In a press release issued at the E3 game show in Los Angeles, Microsoft described "Age of Conan" as "an online action-RPG with a mix of a deep, story-driven single-player experience and massive and brutal multiplayer end game, bringing to life the ultimate representation of the Age of Conan."

For more information about the forthcoming title, see:


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