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<I>Star Wars</I> Game Demo on DVD Set

30 Apr, 2004 By: John Gaudiosi

When Xbox fans buy 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's four-DVD Star Wars Trilogy Sept. 21, they'll be able to pop the fourth disc into their Xbox console and play a demo of LucasArts' new Star Wars: Battlefront video game.

Shipping on the same day with the trilogy on Xbox, PlayStation 2 and PC, Battlefront is an online-enabled game that lets up to 16 players on consoles and up to 32 players on PC choose sides and re-enact battles on 10 planets from all six “Star Wars” films. The playable demo will include the Battle of Endor from Return of the Jedi, as players fight as Imperials or Rebels across the densely forested planet.

This marks only the second time that a playable game demo has been put on a DVD. The first was Universal Studio Home Video's inclusion of Vivendi Universal Games' Hulk Xbox game demo on the best-selling DVD. But that game had shipped on the same day as the theatrical release, which meant many gamers had already played the game by the time the DVD hit stores.

Earlier this year, Lions Gate Home Entertainment's Step Into Liquid included the complete Kelly Slater Pro Surfer game, released for Xbox and PS2 in 2002.

The Star Wars: Battlefront demo release should help LucasArts reap huge benefits in terms of game sales.

Unlike Sony, which to date has not allowed any playable PS2 game demos on a movie DVD, Microsoft has spent money to develop proprietary technology to protect the Xbox's game code. By the time Star Wars Trilogy comes out, Microsoft is expected to be close to an installed U.S. base of 11.3 million Xbox owners.

Albert Penello, Xbox hardware marketing manager, said that 60 percent of Xbox owners watch movies on the gaming console.

Also on the Star Wars Trilogy is a “Star Wars: Episode III Making the Game Preview,” which will give fans a first look at how LucasArts has worked with Lucasfilm to create the game based on the last “Star Wars” movie. The Episode III game will ship in spring 2005 for PS2 and Xbox in conjunction with the theatrical release of the movie

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