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World of Warcraft CCG rights go to Upper Deck

August 18th, 2005: Mike Sugarbaker says...
World of Warcraft CCG rights go to Upper Deck

The fine people who brought you Yu-Gi-Oh! will now be bringing you the CCG – sorry, that’s TCG – based on the most popular MMPORPG in America. I think of Blizzard’s work generally as video gaming’s epitome of both class and mass appeal; I am not convinced that Upper Deck is a great match on that score, but then again, they are the first not to make a total mess of superheroes in CCG-land, so it’s probably time for me to reevaluate them. This comes out in spring. And hey, if any of you play WoW and see a gnome named Oompal anywhere, kick him in the nuts for me. [EDIT: Upper Deck's site is slow right now, so we've copied the press release below]

Upper Deck press release follows:

Upper Deck Entertainment Inks Deal With Blizzard Entertainment® To Bring World Of Warcraft® To Trading Card Game Players

CARLSBAD, CA – August 18, 2005 – Setting the mark as the industry’s leader in innovation, Upper Deck Entertainment (UDE), a division of The Upper Deck Company, announced today plans to create and distribute a trading card game (TCG) based on the biggest name in the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) genre, World of Warcraft®.  Teaming up with award-winning and internationally recognized online computer gaming company Blizzard Entertainment®, Inc., Upper Deck’s World of Warcraft TCG — and it’s supporting Organized Play programs — will be available to consumers in Spring of 2006.

“The World of Warcraft TCG will perfectly capture all of the action-packed combat and furious competition that online players have come to expect,” said Jerry Bennington, Senior VP of Upper Deck Entertainment.  “There are a myriad of similarities between online and TCG gaming communities; Blizzard and Upper Deck have focused on creating products that both support and capture the imagination of these gamers. With the combined efforts of these two great companies the World of Warcraft TCG will be nothing less than phenomenal.”

“TCG’s have always been very popular with Blizzard’s development teams, so we’re especially excited to be working with Upper Deck to produce a card-based World of Warcraft game,” commented Mike Morhaime, Blizzard Entertainment president and co-founder. “In addition to offering our players a new way to experience Azeroth, this new game will also introduce World of Warcraft’s fantasy setting to a whole new audience.”

“Upper Deck is proud to offer a robust organized play structure which allows players to come together for special events from all around the world,” said Jeff Donais, UDE Director of Game Development.  “Among the activities, players will be able to build their decks and attend events that let them challenge Onyxia, or raid Molten Core in an attempt to defeat Ragnaros with the hopes of getting powerful Epic cards.  We expect a tempest of activity surrounding the game and plan to support it to the fullest for many years to come.”

World of Warcraft is currently one of the most popular MMORPGs in the world, with more than three and a half million paying customers playing the game in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Europe, China and Singapore.  In World of Warcraft, players assume the roles of legendary heroes and interact with thousands of other players online as they explore, adventure and quest across a vast realm. Whether journeying together or fighting against one other in epic battles, players form friendships, forge alliances and compete against enemies for power and glory.

For more information on the upcoming World of Warcraft TCG, please visit www.upperdeckentertainment.com/wow.

About Blizzard Entertainment®, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® series, Blizzard Entertainment®, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Vivendi Universal Games, is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating many of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard’s track record includes nine #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company’s free Internet gaming service, Battle.net®, reigns as the largest in the world, with millions of active users.

About The Upper Deck Company, LLC.

Founded in 1988, the Upper Deck Company is the leading sports and entertainment publishing company and delivers a portfolio of relevant, innovative and multi-dimensional product experiences to sports collectors and entertainment enthusiasts.

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