Several game companies support an initiative to remove registered sex offenders from their online game worlds.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that more than 2,100 additional accounts of registered sex offenders have been booted from online gaming platforms as part of "Operation: Game Over," a first of its kind initiative designed to protect children from online predators. This is the second major purging, with more than 3,500 accounts belonging to registered sex offenders having been removed earlier this year, Schneiderman said.
Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind the insanely popular World of Warcraft franchise and, more recently, Diablo III, confirmed that it's Battle.net game service suffered a security breach that compromised certain user data. The full extent of the hack attack is still unknown, but at this stage, Blizzard doesn't believe that any financial data was lifted, including credit card info, billing addresses, or real names.
Bioware said it's adding a free-to-play (F2P) option to its online game Star Wars: The Old Republic this fall. The F2P option will give players access to each of the eight Star Wars character class storylines, which they can grind up to level 50. Bioware's pro bono mode will also include unlimited game access and new higher-level game content and features made available through individual purchases or via a subscription.
If you're anything like us, you probably love nothing more than to get home from a rough day at work, rush past those other humans who inhabit your house, and settle in for a nice evening of stress-evaporating, catharsis-inducing game time. For many of you, that means some multiplayer man-shooting or some massively multiplayer raiding. Unless, that is, you live in Vietnam.
From the makers of the ill-fated 3DO game console comes the “Jungle” handheld gaming system. Let us rephrase the last line for accuracy's sake: from one of the four manufacturers of the … . If you haven't guessed it already, we are talking about Japanese consumer electronics company Panasonic.
With the 3DO debacle buried under tons of “time sand,” Panasonic is gearing up to invade the handheld gaming space on the back of an upcoming portable device focused entirely on online gaming and MMORPGs. The Jungle, as the device is called, reportedly runs a Linux OS, and according to Fudzilla, features a Tegra chip.
Not a lot is known about the Jungle. Even the official site only features a video teaser and a sign-up-to-stay-updated form at this stage.
Proteins are large molecules made up of amino acids that are capable of many things; from catalyzing biological activity, to physically supporting tissues. One of the first pieces of the puzzle in understanding a particular protein is to know about its 3D shape, or conformation. That's what Foldit does. Users are presented with a partially folded protein as determined by an algorithm. They use a number of tools built into the interface to align the protein's folds of amino acids until they find the lowest energy state. This is the shape a protein must have in order to perform its function.
The study authors notes that different players have different play styles. Some were adept at making large scale changes to approximate the final shape. Others had a knack for fine tweaking of the structure to find the perfect conformation. When gamers combined their skills, they accomplished some real science. Researchers in other fields are considering employing gamers in similar ways after the success of Foldit. The next time someone tells you you're wasting time playing games, tell them about this.
Five minutes here, a lunch break there, the urge to procrastinate. The free browser-based Flash game has evolved with the technology, producing some high-quality time-killers that can interrupt the most productive of days. With volume comes choices. But you don’t want to waste time browsing—you need the definitive go-to guide to the best of what’s out there. We did the leg (hand and mouse) work for you. Many sites collect hundreds of these free games—check out Kongregate.com, Armorgames.com, Gamebrew.com, as examples—but scan our list and you’ll be on the road to fun, free entertainment in no time. Plus, for a hint of nostalgia, or to get your feet wet with casual gaming, spend some quality time with classics of the genre, collected in our list of all-time favorites.
Does your favorite time-wasting game make the list?
Hard times come quickly for social networking sites. One minute you’re on top, popping open bottles of vintage sparkling mineral water and picking up the tab for another round of tofu burgers. The next you are head-in-hands wonder how it all went so horribly wrong. Today’s patient on the couch is MySpace, with parent company News Corp. none to pleased with what’s going on.
Jonathan Miller, who keeps the watcher’s eye on News Corp.’s Internet services, put it pretty plainly: "The thing you see in this space more than anything else is that if you don't keep innovating and moving forward, you get in trouble. You can't stop. And MySpace stopped." MySpace’s stopped and, since being number one in 2006, has been outpaced by more popular alternatives: Facebook and Twitter.
Time, again, to reinvent the wheel, according to Miller, and return to what MySpace does best: music and gaming. MySpace recently purchased the online music provider iLike. And it has announced a new music video service which will allow labels and artists to see how well their music is doing on MySpace.
To expand gaming opportunities, Miller believes MySpace must open up its system to external developers. He also hinted that some paid premium services to be in the offing.
"Everybody in the company is upset that we didn't keep going when we had the real momentum. Regaining momentum is always much harder than keeping momentum going,” Miller stated. That, and keeping an eye on your rearview mirror to see who’s about to overtake you.
They’re there. You know they’re there. And they aren’t going away. Certainly not if Microsoft has a say. “They” are in-game advertisements, which have been steadily creeping into the on-line gaming experience. And right now they are generate buckets of cash for Microsoft, and show the potential of generating buckets more
Massive, the on-line gaming advertising arm of Microsoft, uses a dynamic process to inject ads that “enhance” the online gaming experience. According to JJ Richards, at the Microsoft Advertising Blog, “Our research indicates that most gamers like advertising in the game because it adds to the realism. Imagine playing a Major League Baseball game with no ads behind home plate, next to the scoreboard or on the outfield wall - not very realistic. Now imagine the outfield with up-to-the-minute ads you just saw on television or read in a newspaper - the latest movie release, television show, or a new car model. That is much more realistic.” Massive’s objective is to place ads where you would expect to see them in everyday life, while taking care not to degrade the game-playing experience.
On-line gaming is a logical step for advertising because of the audience: 18-34 year old males, who spend a lot of time gaming (and have become harder to reach by traditional means). Richards claims that Massive is able to reach “40 million Xbox and PC gamers in 31 countries worldwide.” And apparently in-game advertising works. Microsoft reports that 72% of gamers recall seeing the ads, and 65% say that such ads standout more than traditional advertising. Whether this translates into actual sales Richards doesn’t say.
Last month we reported on the rather bleak fortunes of the gaming industry, and it appears as though the trend that was identified in June has carried over to July. According to the NPD Group, July marks the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year video-game sales declines. Not only is the gaming industry no longer considered recession proof, but it managed to shed a staggering 29 percent compared to the same period last year. Sales of software and hardware for July 2009 were approximately $848.9 million, down from $1.1 billion in 2008.
NPD blames the summer tailspin on lackluster new game releases, and fewer hardware purchases. The industry on a whole is expected to pick up some steam in the traditionally strong Q4 period with several high profile launches expected. "This isn't the best time of year for video-game sales. In a down economy it makes it all that tougher said Michael Gartenberg, a vice president at Interpret. "Of course, there's nothing that's ultimately going to be recession-proof if the recession goes on long enough."
“Video games have large amounts of entertainment value beyond short-term enjoyment," Gartenberg said. "That's typically one of the reasons video games have done well." Would you agree?