Avast! Sony Online Entertainment to Collaborate With WizKids Incorporated to Bring Pirates™ Constructible Strategy Game Online

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


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.

About WizKids

WizKids is a Seattle-based game developer and publisher dedicated to creating tabletop games driven by imagination. Its HeroClix® and Pirates brands are among the most successful games on the market today, and the company has sold hundreds of millions of game pieces worldwide. For additional information, visit www.wizkidsgames.com .

About Sony Online Entertainment

Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) is a recognized worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online games, with hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the globe. SOE creates, develops and provides compelling entertainment for the personal computer, online, game console and wireless markets. Known for its blockbuster franchises and hit titles including EverQuest®, EverQuest® II, Champions of Norrath®, Untold Legends™, and PlanetSide®, as well as for developing Star Wars Galaxies™, SOE continues to redefine the business of online gaming and the creation of active player communities while introducing new genres on various entertainment platforms. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, with additional development studios in Austin, TX, Seattle, WA, Denver, CO, and Taiwan, SOE has an array of cutting-edge games in development. SOE is owned by Sony Pictures Digital and Sony Computer Entertainment America.

SOE, the SOE logo, EverQuest and PlanetSide are registered trademarks of Sony Online Entertainment LLC. Untold Legends is a trademark of Sony Online Entertainment LLC. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

© 2006 WizKids Inc. All rights reserved. MechWarrior, HeroClix, Tsuro,

Oshi and WizKids are trademarks of WizKids Inc.

SOURCE: Sony Online Entertainment LLC

CONTACT: Michael Shelling of Sony Online Entertainment, +1-858-790-3521,
mshelling@soe.sony.com; or Jennifer Berg of WizKids Incorporated,
+1-425-460-3388, jenny@wizkidsgames.com

Web site: http://www.wizkidsgames.com/