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San Francisco, CA, September 12, 1997 -- Ubi Soft's POD, the rock-'em-sock-'em sci-fi racing game that roared into cyberspace last spring, has just been released in a new shareware version that gives shareware users access to the retail edition's free matchmaking service for the first time. Available for the next two months at www.ubisoft.com and other major gaming sites, the new shareware is the latest in a series of "extras" from Ubi Soft that have included the release of 19 additional cars, 15 additional tracks, and a variety of desktop accessories since POD burst on the scene earlier this year.

With the new POD GS / Shareware, shareware users can not only test-drive the game but also ask POD's Game Service (the GS of the title) to arrange play sessions against owners of the full retail edition. All games organized in this fashion are played with one car, the Fuego (the retail edition has eight, plus the 18 new downloadable vehicles) and on one track, Lake (the retail editions comes with 16, plus the 15 that can be downloaded). This gives shareware players a taste of the full rip-roaring, eye-popping, 280-mph-power that has made POD one of the biggest hits in online gaming.

POD's Game Service has been beta tested by gamers for the past three months and was just released in final form August 15. Accessible either from the Ubi Soft Web site or from a Ubi Online direct-connection button in the game interface, it can be used by owners of the full retail POD edition or the version that came bundled on MMX machines to organize a session, join in on someone else's session or just chat about POD.

"Our new shareware and our final Game Service will add to POD's reputation as the fastest, smartest, most Internet-capable racing game on the market," said Ubi Soft President Yves Guillemot. "We're continuing to give the POD gaming community the richest gaming experience around."

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Ubi Soft Entertainment, a $60 million European-based software publishing and distribution company, was founded in 1986 in France. Ubi Soft entered the software development arena in 1991 after its continued success in software distribution, representing 35% of all entertainment software to the French market. It is best known in the U.S. for Rayman, a blockbuster action/adventure game for all ages that debuted in 1995. In addition to its U.S. offices in California and its headquarters in France, Ubi Soft has offices in Japan, Germany, Spain, Italy, England, Australia China and Canada.

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