Wizards of the Coast Announces Online Home for Hard Core Gamers

Gleemax.com Gives Gamers a Voice, a Gaming Arena and a Place to Interact in Todays Vast Online Universe

GenCon

RENTON, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wizards of the Coast, Inc. (NYSE:HAS), the leader in trading card, tabletop strategy and role-playing games, today revealed plans to launch Gleemax.com, a first of its kind online destination for hard core strategy and hobby gamers. Building on its heritage in the space with Magic: The Gathering® and Dungeons & Dragons®, coupled with its success with Magic Online® and its understanding of what serious strategy, hobby and tabletop gamers want, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) will now provide gamers with a centralized destination online to get everything they want or need.

“Wizards has long been the champion of great game play and Gleemax furthers our commitment to this ideal”

Gleemax will be built on three pillars Community, Games and Editorial Content each representing the essence of what WotC has been providing gamers for more than 15 years. Specific site features will include an online social community, existing and future releases of WotC digital gaming properties as well as independent strategy games, player profiles, interactive analog and digital community activities, editorial content including community message boards, WotC and player blogs and game rankings and reviews.

Wizards has long been the champion of great game play and Gleemax furthers our commitment to this ideal, said Loren Greenwood, President of WotC. This moment marks an evolution of our company and to this end, weve created an entirely new digital division led by a longtime senior member of our research and development team, Randy Buehler.

There are several firsts for WotC with Gleemax, including the sites social networking community tool functionality. The tools will run the gamut from traditional social networking fare (blogs, friends lists, etc) to gamer-specific tools (game reviews, game ratings, ways to search for games and gamers) to specialized content that adds to the enjoyment of specific kinds of gamers (ways to build and arrange warbands for various miniatures games, ways to talk about characters in role-playing games, etc.).

Deep down in the DNA of our company we know that the way to sell hobby games is to invest in the community of hobby gamers, said Randy Buehler, Vice President of Digital Games for WotC. We feel that Gleemax will provide a lasting infrastructure that supports not just our own customers, but the entire hardcore gaming culture.

In addition to the social networking capabilities, as part of todays Gleemax announcement, WotC also announced several game initiatives coupled with the sites features. The website will include an indie strategy game portal devoted to digital distribution of PC Games that the company believes will be attractive to its community and worthy of the WotC Seal of Approval for fun, strategic games.

WotC also announced a hardcore board game portal, which will give players access to its backlist of Avalon Hill® titles such as Axis & Allies® and the award-winning Vegas Showdown. These two portals supplement a WotC digital game lineup that already includes Magic Online (which recently celebrated its 5th birthday) and Uncivilized: The Goblin Game, previously announced and slated to begin external play testing later this year.

Gleemax will also give core hobby retailers a place to advertise upcoming tournaments and events, which will automatically populate the calendars of players in those areas interested in those games. This community will have one foot in the digital world and one foot in the analog world, commented Buehler. Based on our experience with the communities around our various games, we find this makes for a particularly vibrant online experience.

And as an extension to the already robust Wizards.com editorial content, Gleemax will include blogs from WotC insiders and a discussion of game-play, which is so often neglected or overlooked by mainstream computer gaming publications. Our gamer has been slipping through the cracks, said Buehler. Right now the tabletop and strategy gamers are scattered across many websites and they can have a hard time finding each other or finding information about good games to play. Gleemax fixes this problem.

To ensure Gleemax provides players with engaging content and vibrant features most commonly requested and wished for in online communities, WotC is enlisting industry thought leaders in all areas dedicated to online social experiences and strategy/hobby games to sit on a Gleemax Advisory Board. WotC will use the boards input to not only assist during the development stages of the site, but ongoing to ensure Gleemax is providing everything possible for enthusiasts.

In addition to the Advisory Boards industry thought leaders, to kick off the launch celebration, WotC is making an Open Casting Call to select a few players to sit on the Advisory Board, ensuring the hobby and tabletop gamers and fans are represented on the board. The selection process will be a reality TV style contest run through Gleemax.com over the course of the summer. Bringing player members onto the Advisory Board reinforces WotCs long-standing tradition of engaging with its consumers to ensure their thoughts, opinions and voices are heard.

We want to build something that the whole industry can embrace, said Buehler. The only way to get this right is to build it in collaboration with our community and this Advisory Board will make sure we do exactly that.

Gleemax.com will launch in various phases, each phase providing additional online community tools for todays players with the first phase previewing at GenCon in August. Phase one will offer hardcore gamers online community tools, gamer personal profiles, and editorial content. Then over the back half of the year and into early 2008, new features will be steadily added and new games will start coming online.

For more information on the Gleemax.com launch and phase launch plan, please visit www.gleemax.com.

About Wizards of the Coast

Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS), is a worldwide leader in the trading card game and tabletop role-playing game categories, and a leading developer and publisher of game-based entertainment products. The company holds an exclusive patent on trading card games (TCGs) and their method of play and produces the premier trading card game, Magic: The Gathering®, among many other trading card games and family card and board games. Wizards is also a leading publisher of role-playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons®, and publisher of fantasy series fiction with numerous New York Times best-sellers. For more information, visit the Wizards of the Coast website at wizards.com.

© 2007 Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Gleemax, Gleemax.com, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic Online, Vegas Showdown and Uncivilized: The Goblin Game are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. in the U.S.A. and other countries. Avalon Hill and Axis & Allies are trademarks of Hasbro, Inc.

Contacts

Wizards of the Coast
Caitlin Roulston, 425.204.8035
Caitlin.Roulston@wizards.com
or
Porter Novelli for Wizards of the Coast
Lincoln Davis, 206.770.7025
Lincoln.Davis@porternoveli.com

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