EA ships four Mac games

Electronic Arts (EA) late Friday announced that it is shipping four of its promised six new games for the Macintosh, including Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Need for Speed Carbon, Battlefield 2142 and Command & Conquer Tiberium Wars.

Users can order the games from Apple’s online store today. Need for Speed Carbon and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix are both going to be available in Apple retail stores beginning Tuesday, August 21, while Battlefield 2142 and Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars will be available a week later, on the 28th.

“We’re thrilled that the world’s number one games company is making this major commitment to the Mac and game fans are going to love playing these new EA titles on a Mac,” said Apple spokesman Anuj Nayar.

Customers looking for the games will need to go specifically to Apple’s retail or online stores. The titles aren’t available anywhere else. Apple confirmed to Macworld that the games are exclusive to the Apple stores, at least for the moment.

The announcement that EA is shipping these titles comes weeks later than expected. Back in late July, EA had no explanation for the delay.

“Over time, as EA gains experience in completing and shipping Mac games, the gap will narrow. This is a huge leap compared with past launches. We’ve shorted the gap between the Mac launch and other platforms to just a few weeks,” said EA spokesperson Tammy Schachter.

When EA co-founder Bing Gordon originally announced plans to publish Macintosh games at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, 2007, the company said it would release Mac versions of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008 and Madden NFL 2008 as well — two of the company’s landmark sports titles. EA indicated both games would ship simultaneously on the Mac and other platforms.

Madden NFL 2008 was released on August 14, 2007, but the Mac version is nowhere in sight. And this afternoon EA confirmed that the game’s release — along with Tiger Woods PGA 2008 — had been postponed. Mac versions of both games are now slated for “the September/October window,” according to EA.

“It is our intention to ship the games as close to other platforms as possible,” said Schachter.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a tie-in to the recently released movie of the same name; an adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s fifth novel in the Harry Potter series where players help Harry, Ron and Hermione form “Dumbledore’s Army” as they bolster their defenses against Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

Need for Speed Carbon is a street auto racing game in which you and your crew race vehicles to take over territory by winning progressively more difficult races. You don’t just face heat from other races, but from the police, as well.

Battlefield 2142 takes the venerable war combat action game in a very different direction. While past installments of the game on the Mac have focused on World War II-era warfare, this game takes you to the future, where two multinational coalitions wage a war for survival; each side is armed with an arsenal of weaponry and gear like active camouflage, EMP grenades and more. You have to work as part of a team to win battles.

Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars is the latest installment of the hugely popular real time strategy game series. This game takes place in 2047, after a nuclear fireball initiates the Third Tiberium War. The infamous Kane has returned and the Brotherhood of Nod is staging a massive assault on the Global Defense Initiative. You have to use your skill to fight for your side in the battle as you deploy forces and use the mysterious alien substance known as Tiberium to the best of your ability.

All of the new games have been developed for the Macintosh using Cider, a technology developed by TransGaming that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows games inside a translation layer running on Mac OS X. They are not playable on PowerPC-based Macs.

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