The job of a whistleblower is a dangerous one, and Robert Delaware has paid the price for speaking out against Microsoft. The contracted game tester had worked closely with the Xbox line, and particularly Bungie Studios since early 2005. For those who haven’t been following the story, Delaware’s testimonial was the basis for an article that made headlines last week regarding Xbox 360 hardware failures at launch. In the VentureBeat article, Delaware detailed the known quality issues with the 360 and that management ignored multiple warnings in order to gain an advantage over the not yet released Playstation 3. Legally Microsoft was within its rights to fire Delaware for his unauthorized interview, but he remains defiant. Delaware claims to have been aware of the possible ramifications but was willing to take the risk. Upon termination Delaware was also warned by an HR representative that he faces possible lawsuits from both Microsoft and the company who contracted him out. The Interview conducted by VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi remains unconfirmed by Microsoft and in response had only this to say: "This topic has already been covered extensively in the media. This new story repeats old information, and contains rumors and innuendo from anonymous sources, attempting to create a new sensational angle, and is highly irresponsible.”
Did Robert Delaware do the right thing? Or was he just looking for publicity?
Had a chance to play Spore yet? If not, you're missing out on one of the most addicting games to be released in recent months, although you're far from being alone. For as much fun as it is to play Spore (and make no mistake, it's a crazy addicting game), what has long been an anticipated release is now being made an example of for any publisher considering using a similar DRM scheme.
Somewhere along the line, EA's brass decided it made good business sense to not only require online activation, but to limit its customers to only three activations. Exceed the number of activations and you'll need to get EA on the phone to request more. The idea, of course, is to stop or limit people from pirating the game, but not only has that already failed, but the three-activation limitation has the PC gaming community tossing pitchforks and torches in EA's direction.
Specifically, gamers have zoned in on Amazon as the meeting ground for their anti-DRM rally. In just over two days, Spore has been given an overall 1-star rating by nearly 2,000 angry gamers. They can do this, at least for the time being, because Amazon makes it possible to leave user reviews without actually having to buy the game, and that's exactly what has happened. Publishers, are you paying attention?
Are gamers who haven't purchased Spore justified in slamming the game in the form of a 'customer review,' or has EA brought this on themselves with its draconian DRM scheme? Hit the jump to post your thoughts.
Paramount Digital Entertainment bought DVD games developer Screenlife. The move will allow Paramount to strengthen the reach of it cinematic offerings. Screenlife has to its credit the well known “Scene It?” game brand. Screenlife will continue to operate autonomously even after this deal. Thomas Lesinski, Paramount Digital Entertainment’s president, said that the acquisition will advance the company’s multiplatform strategy. Paramount didn’t elaborate upon the financial details of the transaction.
Despite what the console crowd may like to claim, PC gaming isn't going anywhere. But just because the death knell isn't ringing doesn't mean gamers should be complacent with the current state of the industry. That's the stance Stardock purports to claim with the announcement of The Gamer's Bill of Rights, what the company calls "a statement of principles that it hopes will encourage the PC game industry to adopt standards that are more supportive of PC gamers."
First on the list of the rights states "Gamers shall have the right to return games that don't work with their computers for a full refund." Taking a practice what you preach policy, Stardock has put in place a policy where consumers can return their copy of The Political Machine at retail for a full refund if their PC wasn't sufficient to run the game.
Hit the jump to see all ten of the Gamer's Bill of Rights.
From baseball's Mitchell Report to track star Marion Jones being stripped of her Olympic medals, the awareness of drug use in competitive sports is at an all-time high. So high, in fact, that even professional gaming can't stay ducked under the radar.
Casting aside for the moment whether or not gaming qualifies as a 'sport,' there's no debate to the amount of money being made in professional gaming. Major League Gaming gives up to $100,000 a tournament in prize money, and the other U.S. based major league, the newly minted Championship Gaming Series, has awarded as much as $500,000 in tournaments. The tally gets even higher when expanding to a global view.
And whether or not you count professional gaming as a sport, with that much money at stake, is anyone surprised that accusations of drug use have started to be thrown? According to GamePlayer, an Australian lead gaming site, some of the commonly abused substances include marijuana, amphetamines, Dexamphetamine and Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Caffeine, and FpsBrain.
In a followup to the story, GamePlayer pinged Alex Walker, the director of the Australian World Cyber Games Tournament, who readily acknowledged that players are abusing drugs in order to enhance their performance. Walker notes seeing "a number of players at national tournaments who came in "baked" purely so they could play better."
As professional gaming grows in popularity, drug use could potentially become an even bigger problem. But at the current profit margin, gaming leagues can ill afford to implement drug testing, and DailyTech notes that a strict drug enforcement policy that includes marijuana could be met with a backlash among gamers.
Thoughts on the subject? Hit the jump and let us know.
All that experience in court looks to be paying off for Microsoft. After all, how else could you explain receiving $20.75 million from the very company whose patents you're using. Confused? Let's backtrack.
In 2002, Immersion took exception to the rumble effects in Microsoft's controllers for the Xbox and sued the Redmond giant for patent infringement. Microsoft ultimately settled with Immersion, agreeing to pay $26 million to end the litigation, but not without a clause. Before agreeing to pay the sum, Microsoft stipulated that if Sony should ever license Immersions force feedback technology for it's PS3 controllers, Immersion would have to pay a portion of the settlement.
Immersion did end up settling with Sony last year, and that's good news for Microsoft. It took some legal wrangling to get it done, but Immersion has finally agreed to pay Microsoft and make good on the clause.
"We are pleased to have reached a resolution to our legal dispute with Immersion that includes a $20.75 million payment to Microsoft," said Steve Aeschbacher, associate general counsel for Microsoft. "We are gratified that we have successfully resolved our claims under the 2003 settlement we negotiated with Immersion, which provided benefits to both companies and specific rights to Microsoft."
And Microsoft has every reason to be pleased. Legal costs aside, the payment whittles down the company's initial $26 licensing settlement to just over $5 million.
Electronic Arts' infatuation with rival video game maker Take-Two Interactive have been anything but secret, nor has Take-Two's rejection. In late February, Take-Two publicly rejected EA's unsolicited takeover bid worth roughly $2 billion, a move Take-Two accused of being "opportunistic" with Grand Theft Auto IV nearing release. Not taking the rejection well, EA threatened with a hostile takeover in the following months, but has since backed down.
Now it appears the two game makers may be on the road to recovery, but unlike the previous spats, the current negotiations are being kept secret. According to EA's recent regulatory filing, both companies have signed a confidentiality agreement after agreeing to hold private talks about a potential transaction.
"As a result, EA does not intend to make any further announcements regarding the status of any discussions or negotiations with Take-Two unless and until discussions between EA and Take-Two have been terminated or such parties have entered into a transaction," EA wrote.
3DFX changed the gaming landscape forever when it brought 3D graphics to the masses, and in a similar fashion, ray tracing technology looks to be the next big revolution on the horizon. The promise of photo realistic scenery has provoked both developers and gamers, but is real-time ray tracing in games anywhere close to being a reality?
In an interview with Tom's Hardware, Intel's Daniel Pohl talked about the API Intel is using to showcase ray tracing demos and what he thinks needs to happen before the technology will be ready for commercial development.
"Creating higher image quality even faster. That requires smart anti-aliasing algorithms, a level of detail mechanism without switching artifacts, particle systems that also work in reflections, a fast soft shadowing algorithm, adoption to upcoming hardware architectures. We have some topics to keep us busy," said Pohl.
In the case of ray tracing, it's a matter of the hardware needing to catch up with the software. Pohl and his team of ray tracing researchers have been "targeting future architectures that consists out of tens, hundreds, and even thousands of cores," noting an almost linear scaling of frame rates with the number of processor cores.
Intel isn't the only one looking to push ray tracing technology into the mainstream, with Nvidia putting on demonstrations of its own. Here's hoping the race to the finish line ends up resembling more of a sprint than a marathon.
Remember those happy-ending fairy tales your mother used to tell you? Well, your mama was feeding you sugar-coated rehashes of the original morbid tales. Grimm, the mischievous protagonist of this episodic platform game, wants to set the record straight—and he’s using his soot-spreading powers to do it.
No one has been more critical of Nvidia then rumor and news outlet The Inquirer, who recently declared that all of the chipmaker's G84 and G86 parts are bad. The extent of the problem is still to be determined, but here's what's known so far.
A batch of bad GPUs have found their way into the wild causing an "abnormal failure rate" among certain laptop models
To deal with the problem, Nvidia said it was setting aside a one-time hit of $150 to $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with the faulty mobile parts
Both HP and Dell have released a list of notebook models potentially affected by the faulty GPUs and are encouraging owners to update their BIOS as a preventive measure (the newer BIOS kicks on the cooling fan earlier than it normally would). HP has also extended their warranty for the affected models.
Nvidia has since moved on to its 9-M series GPUs, and in the process has presumably solved whatever problem affected the previous generation parts, right? Not so fast, says the The Inq. According to the rumor site, the fundamental flaw in the manufacturing process still exists, and now G92 and G94 parts are reportedly failing. The Inq claims that no less than four partners are already seeing the new chips go bad at high rates, and believes that Nvidia "is simply stonewalling everyone" about the alleged problem.
If true, another batch of parts could be disastrous for the chip maker, who continues to lose graphics market share to Intel and has seen its stock price plummet in the wake of a disappoint 8-K filing.
Is the problem bigger than Nvidia's letting on, or will it be this latest rumor that ultimately turns out to be the dud?