Gaming Roundup: Warner/Snowblind; hi5; Konami/Saw

imageWarner Bros. acquires Snowblind: Warner’s gaming division, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, has bought out Snowblind Studios, publisher of RPGs like Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and Justice League Heroes. Founded in 1997, Bothell, Wash.-based Snowblind is Warner’s third indie studio acquisition: the company bought out TT Games in 2007 and Monolith Productions in 2004. Release.

Hi5 goes “casual” with games; plans virtual world, too: The social network unveiled a casual games portal; games are ad-supported now, but members will eventually be able to buy upgrades and other extras with “Coins,” Hi5’s recently-launched virtual currency. The micro-transaction model has been popular with the network’s Asian members; VentureBeat reports that Hi5 plans to launch a full-scale virtual world later this year. Release.

Konami picks up Saw IP: Konami has acquired the rights to release a Saw game; Brash Entertainment, the heavily-backed gaming studio that folded late last year, previously had the rights. Variety reports that Lionsgate planned to develop the game on its own, but ultimately decided to do the deal with Konami, who will publish the title; Seattle-based Zombie Studios will be the developer. The game will launch alongside the sixth Saw film this fall.