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Codemasters Enters New Market
American Idol leads lineup
 
Codemasters continues to focus on its core gaming market with an all-new Operation Flashpoint game set in Vietnam and a brand-new IndyCar racing series, but the launch of a title based on mega-popular television hit American Idol marks the company's initial foray into the burgeoning mass-market gaming sector. "By launching the American Idol videogame in the United States," Senior Vice President of Marketing Steve Lux explained, "Codemasters is making a strategic push into the growing mass-market gaming sector. The show has already proven to be an interactive favorite with millions of fans…. This videogame actually puts you right into the world of American Idol." Given that Fox's premiere of American Idol 2 attracted nearly 27 million viewers, Codemasters may well be on to something.
 
A music-based rhythm-action game in which gamers perform button combos to match what they see onscreen, American Idol allows players to create, style, and train a contestant for competition. Digital versions of Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul provide their usual sharp-tongued evaluations.
 
Evidence that the company will remain loyal to its core gamers comes in Codemasters' recent announcement that Operation Flashpoint 2 is set in the jungles of Vietnam. While specific details surrounding the time frame and missions remain unclear, the Vietnam setting is both intriguing and exciting, given the dearth of action games set there.
 
Codemasters describes its new IndyCar Series as a blisteringly fast racing title for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 2. The series' first iteration is the only game to feature the official cars, teams, drivers, and tracks of IndyCar racing, including the Indy 500, where gamers can choose to complete the entire 500-mile race. IndyCar Series is scheduled for release in late spring of 2003.
 
Other titles in Codemasters' 2003 lineup include Colin McRae Rally '04 for Xbox, PS2, and PC; Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis for Xbox; and Dragon Empires, an online RPG for PC gamers.
 
- By George Jones
 
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