The wait is over. Today, LucasArts and BioWare finally force unleashed the first details on their joint MMO production, and it sounds like the best thing that could possibly come from Star Wars and gaming's unholy union aside from a Jar-Jar killing sim where you blast Jar-Jars with a Jar-Jar launcher*.
The game will take place a few hundred years after KOTOR 2 caught fire and skidded off a cliff to an eventual -- and undeniably painful -- halt, and will cast you as a jedi, sith, or something else that you probably won't bother with. As with any BioWare title, MMOTOR will focus on story foremost, spicing up the MMO genre with BioWare's top-notch storytelling prowess.
And oh will there be story content. According to BioWare president Greg Zeschuk and CEO Ray Muzyka, the game isn't KOTOR 3, "it's KOTOR 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. There's that much to it."
"It's a whole galaxy. It's a galaxy of Star Wars," they added.
In order to make such an ambitious story possible, The Old Republic will saddle you with single-player RPG-esque companion characters. You can change and manipulate them, and they can assist you throughout your adventures. As such, the game will "allow players to carve out their own epic stories," with your actions affecting the entire game world, as well as your characters' morality.
Even crazier, every class and faction configuration will have its own storyline. Lead writer on the project Daniel Ericson even claimed that his latest progeny could feasibly be played like a single-player RPG. There's that much story.
“If you’re a BioWare fan, you’re going to get everything you ever imagined from an extension of KOTOR,” he said.
We couldn't want this any more if it came with a ticket to beautiful women and infinite money island**. How about you?
*The alt fires are lightsabers and Hayden Christensen.
I feel like my eyes have just been opened for the very first time. This iTunes store junkie has finally seen the true light when it comes to buying music online, and it comes in the form of Lala.com.
When buying a song on iTunes I find myself searching around the very easy to navigate store, buying music at a reasonably priced 99 cents per song, and downloading a file with attached DRM. I’d always accepted it, it didn’t seem unaccommodating. Now that I’ve had a chance to check out the eminence that is Lala.com, I can’t ever see myself going back to iTunes again. Not to say that iTunes is bad, but Lala is just that good.
Why is Lala good? First of all, they sell MP3’s for 89 cents without any attached DRM (seriously!), or you can buy a streaming only version for just 10 cents (which will go towards the purchase of the full version). Albums themselves come at the price of $7.49, less than both iTunes and the legendary price-slashing Amazon.
Lala also allows you to listen to a song completely before you decide to buy it – and there’s plenty to listen to. Lala offers tunes from the four major record labels and 170,000 independents. New members are also allowed to pick up their first 50 streaming songs for free, no strings attached – no credit card, no nothing.
Say you’re like me, you’re packing a hefty amount of songs on your computer. You’ve purchased some from iTunes with that nasty DRM attached and MP3s that you’ve ripped straight of CDs. What do you do? You use Lala’s safe to use uploader! It scans the music on your computer’s hard drive, identifies the songs you’ve got and tosses them onto your library so that you can listen to them anywhere. Users accustomed with MP3.com’s MyMP3 service will already be familiar with this concept.
I could quite literally go on and on about how great this service really is, but if you use it for even just a little bit you’ll realize its potential on your own. Be sure to drive your browser over to Lala’s web site, and sign up straight away (and keep your eyes glued to your iPhone’s app store, they’ve got an app on the horizon). And remember, cash in those 50 free songs!
In the most pointed paragraph of the letter, the MPAA’s Jeff Williams writes:
“Forgive us if we take offense when the EFF and other activist organizations that continually take the side of those who profit from widespread copyright infringement attack our industry as one that stifles innovation. It's a desperate throw-back to the Napster days of old when they pull out this tired and weathered playbook. It's not 2001 anymore.”
The letter also argues that Hollywood and the internet are no longer at odds, and that legal services like iTunes and Hulu represent ways in which the industry is embracing innovation.
What do you think? Is the MPAA right to say that “The days of Hollywood being from Mars and Silicon Valley being from Venus are simply over?” Hit the jump and let us know.
Last week’s Gmail outage, which lasted for about 28 hours, has once again highlighted a major shortcoming of cloud computing and web-based services. The incidence exemplifies cloud computing skeptics’ greatest concern that unheralded disruptions in cloud computing services might cost businesses’ and individuals dearly.
Some Gmail users – including paying Google Apps subscribers - couldn’t access their accounts between 16 and 17 October. Incensed users expressed their indignation across the internet, while Mark, a Google Apps adviser, provided regular updates on the status of the issue, as long as it lasted.
Earlier this year, Amazon’s Simple Storage Service remained unavailable for 8 hours. That particular episode had also spawned similar questions regarding cloud computing. Companies will have to come out with ways to keep outages to a negligible count.
If you’re a news junkie, chances are you use RSS feeds. According to a new study about the technology, that puts you decidedly in the minority, and it looks like that’s not going to change any time soon. The report found that only 11% of those surveyed used RSS feeds, and that that percentage is unlikely to see a large increase in the future, unless changes are made in how RSS is promoted.
The study found that of those people who don’t use RSS, 81% aren’t interested in using it in the future, seriously limiting the technology’s potential for growth. In the report, analysts explained the problem as follows:
“Unless marketers make a move to hook them—and to try to convert their apathetic counterparts—RSS will never be more than a niche technology.”
It’s not all bad news for RSS, though. The report mentions that feed usage has risen from 2% to 11% in the last three years, and that about half of marketers have added feeds to their websites.
Do you think RSS is doomed to be a tool only for the technological top tenth? Let us know after the jump.
Piracy continues to be the bane of both software developers/publishers and consumers alike. Electronic Arts caused an uproar among gamers when it decided to use a modified version of SecuROM for Spore, which ultimately ended up punishing paying customers while pirates still got their hands on the game through torrent sites from the outset. Is there a solution?
Microsoft hopes to answer that question by taking the fight against software piracy global. In what Microsoft is calling Global Anti-Piracy Day (not to be confused with the International Talk Like a Pirate Day), the company will use a mishmash of education and enforcement tactics in 49 countries, which includes filing 20 lawsuits against software resellers in the U.S. allegedly selling pirated copies of Office 2007 Enterprise, Windows XP Pro, Office 2003 Pro, and Office 2007 Pro.
"One of the reasons we believe this announcement is important is it consolidates a lot of our activities in connection with our partnerships with governments, our customers and partners,” said Bonnie MacNaughton, Microsoft senior attorney.
Different tactics will be used in different countries. For instance, Microsoft is partnering with the American Chamber of Commerce to launch an anti-piracy educational blog in Brazil, whereas in Italy the company has begun an employee anti-piracy ambassador program. Regardless of specific strategy, it's all part of an effort to reduce the estimated $50 billion pirated software is costing the industry on a global scale.
Hit the jump and let us know if you think Microsoft's approach will work or not.
Most of the buzz surrounding Microsoft has to do with the company's next operating system, Windows 7, and what changes to expect over Vista. But a new OS isn't the only thing the software giant has been working on, as the next version of Office is receiving some attention as well.
At next week's Professional Developer Conference (PDC), Microsoft plans to talk about Office 14 (as the next version of Office has been code-named) with attendees, giving them a sneak peek at some of the features. Sure to be a highlight of the discussion is Office 14's ability to run in different modes, online or offline.
"We will rewrite Office to work in a browser," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview with Britain's Computer Weekly.
But while attendees will get a first look at Office 14 - specifically, Office business applications and the software's Open XML file formats, according to the two listed sessions - it doesn't appear they'll be walking home with a copy, so don't fret if you won't be in attendance.
Corporate honchos often abuse earnings calls – and other similar events - for making grandiloquent claims and promises. Google co-founder Sergey Brin used Google’s third quarter earnings calls to broadcast his partisan review of the T-Mobile G1. He went gaga over the G1.
Brin said that he has been using a G1 as his primary phone for a few months now. He pointed out a few of the endearing qualities of the G1, while omitting any possible shortcomings. “I'm able to search and browse through my Gmail just as if I was at my desktop,” said Brin. He also praised its web browser and, finally, encouraged people to try the first Android phone themselves.
Being a blight upon the 99.8% of the gaming industry that enjoys making money, it's not too surprising that piracy has a place at gaming's Bad Guy table, where maniacal cackles flow freely and glasses are always half-empty. However, when one of PC gaming's great beneficiaries, the PC Gaming Alliance says piracy isn't so bad -- just misunderstood -- well, jaws drop.
That's exactly what happened when we heard about PCGA Pres. Randy Stude's plan to plant a money tree in piracy's apparently fertile soil.
"Let's monetize every one of those pirates, and let's advertise the hell out of them," Stude told Gamasutra.
Fearing that the big cheese had finally snapped, we nearly missed his explanation, wherein he said that such monetization should be "blatant." For instance, he noted, developers could plaster six times the number of in-game ads around unauthenticated versions of a game. The end result: pirates get an "inferior" version of a game, while developers rake in cash from ads.
"Don't throw [pirates] off [of the server], but show an ad every time a new level loads. The [paying customer] gets a billboard, a passive, less-aggressive ad than [pirates] are going to get," Stude added, demonstrably sane.
So those of you who play but don't pay, if Stude's grandiose plan were enacted, would you willfully download Far Cry 2: Viagra Blue Edition, or would you finally change your ways?
While it seems most PC users got a kick out of watching Seinfeld inquire about the future of chewy computers and Bill Gates doing the robot, I've remained critical of Microsoft's $300 million ad campaign and have yet to be impressed with one of its commercials, including the "I'm a PC" segments currently being aired. By contrast, I found myself chuckling at Apple's initial round of ads, not because I thought they were accurate (they're not), but because they managed to throw humorous jabs without going for that impossible knockout punch. For those of you who follow baseball, it's like being a Red Sox fan (which I am) and tipping your hat at the Tampa Bay Rays for outplaying your team last night (which they did), even though you despise them (which I do).
But lest anyone accuse me of sleeping with the enemy (you know, those whiny Mac losers), let me go on record as saying that the new Mac ads suck too, and not just because I've developed an urge to want to punch Justin Long-in-the-tooth square in the face (I bet he's a Tampa Bay fan too, the smug bastard).
Hit the jump to read my beef with the new Mac ads.