It's the last Roundup before E3, and I must say that gaming news didn't really slow down as much as I'd expected this week. This, of course, calls E3's relevance into question, and whether or not the show will blow our minds or simply flaunt how awesome Starcraft II will be for the umpteen-jillionth time. I'm hoping developers are keeping a few secrets pressed tightly to their chests in anticipation of next week, but those same hopes aren't too high.
As for today's batch of news, we have a bevy of Acti-Blizzard details -- including which developers are taking a few blows as a result of their new daddy -- some sad news for Warhammer Online fans, and some even sadder news for-- oh wait, it's Hellgate.
Unless a playable demo manages to leak onto the web like the trailer for the upcoming Max Payne movie did, Far Cry fans won't be catching a sneak hands-on peak of the hotly anticipated sequel, Far Cry 2. Slated for release sometime before Christmas, Ubisoft's first person shooter isn't being developed by the same team that conceived the original game, and will sport a new game engine. Because of the changes, gamers are holding their collective breaths on whether or not the follow-up can maintain the same appeal that made the first game such a surprise hit, but it looks like that won't be known until it ships.
Far Cry 2's creative director Clint Hocking explained the decision not to release a demo saying there's no way to offer a teaser without giving up a significant amount of game play. "I don't know too many people who are willing to give away a 12-hour game or free," Hocking said.
In the world of online searches, there's Google and then there's everyone else. Take a peek inside Merriam-Webster and you'll find Google officially recognized as a verb. Of course, M-W hasn't exactly been stingy when it comes to including tech terms, but when you dominate the market with a 68 percent slice of the pie (and close to 90 percent depending on geographic location), perhaps you're entitled to alter the English language.
By comparison, Yahoo, the second most popular search engine behind Google, only accounts for about 20 percent of searches, according to Hitwise statistics. That leaves a considerable gap to close, and to help them do it, Yahoo has begun calling on start-ups to lend a hand. It's a scratch my back and I'll scratch yours approach, whereby Yahoo is willing to open its search technology and data centers, giving start ups with limited funds a way to develop a search service from the ground up. Yahoo will then sell ads on those search engines and share the revenue.
Yahoo execs are calling the new strategy Boss, or build your own search service. How it ultimately pans out remains to be seen, but in the meantime, Google is still the real boss of the internet. Can the search giant be toppled?
Cut off the supply for a product that people still want, and the demand skyrockets. Windows XP is the product, and Amazon.com's Software Bestseller list proves that Windows XP is still a hot item. CNet reports that Windows XP ranks high on the Amazon.com best-selling software list. So, how popular is Windows XP? How does Windows Vista compare? And, where else can you buy Windows XP in the wake of its retail discontinuance by Microsoft?
Hype. The gaming industry lives and dies by it. More often than not, however, our expectations are sent crashing to the floor when our anticipations finally come to fruition. Today, then, was like tumbling to the ground, only to look up and glimpse an 18-Wheeler that's primed to make you into a road pizza. So, if you think you can take it, why don't you jump past the break to find out why you should be feeling more than a little let down?
Oh, and to make up for today's Debby Downer syndrome, you'll also find a link to a page that sells completely legal DRM-free copies of classic games. Or will sell them. In September. But that's something, right?
As Google looks to sell more ads for its YouTube subsidiary in an attempt to make the video site more profitable, San Francisco video ad network VideoEgg thinks it has a better way. VideoEgg announced the launch of five new kinds of video ads designed to "give advertisers more effective engagement with users inside social environments." The new features include:
LIVE: Use real-time RSS feeds to continually update the ad experience
LOCAL: Deliver ZIP code-specific messaging
RICH: Easily deploy and track a rich multi-video ad experience to increase user interactivity
SHOP: Bring the browser to the user, merchandising multiple items in a single real-time ad experiences
SHARE: Viral capabilities help spread the message through virtually any communication or social channel
VideoEgg's pricing model is based on a cost per engagement (CPE) instead of tallying up page views or click counts. And while VideoEgg hasn't made mention of Google or YouTube, the new features might make for a better alternative than the pre- and post-roll ads Google is reportedly trying to sell.
At just four months old, VideoEgg's future has yet to be decided, but in that short, over 50 brands including Microsoft, Comcast, Disney, Nike, GM, Hershey, and others have advertised across the VideoEgg network. Could Google/YouTube be next?
There have been rumors galore about Google’s Android mobile operating system as is the case with any thickly-veiled technology before launch. Another rumor doing the rounds is that T-Mobile USA will soon commercially roll out the world’s first Android-based handset to coincide with its planned extension of 3G services in fall 2008.
Though this is just an ordinary unsubstantiated rumor, T-Mobile might be amongst the first operators to launch an Android phone as it is part of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of different companies that patronizes the Android platform.
Our friends at eWeek are reporting that a T-Mobile spokesperson made them aware of his company’s determination towards launching an Android handset in Q4 2008 – not a confirmation of this rumor. Also, speculation is rife that the first commercially available Android handset might be the HTC Dream. All we can do is wait and watch.
Today's Roundup explores a few ways games reach the marketplace -- from free downloads, to piracy, to not being released at all. Between BioWare, the creator of Earthworm Jim, and even Google, everyone has their own way of placing games into the hungry mouths of gamers. Er, you know what I mean. Anyway, "Read More" and all that.
(Ed Note:We're currently investigating the RIAA's alleged involvement with the audio problems users are facing on Dell laptops. An official Dell representative has stated that the omission of the Stereo Mix option is most likely an issue with Windows XP, and a driver has been released to fix the problem. We've contacted the RIAA and are awaiting their response. We'll follow up with this story when we have more information.)
Gateway and Pac Bell are the other two manufacturers to have bowed to the RIAA at the expense of their customers’ satisfaction and disabled the stereo mix feature without warning.
The trade group, which comprises leading record labels, has a very controversial past. Although RIAA doesn’t favor home audio recording and file sharing in an effort to prevent piracy, this same, ostensibly prudish organization was all for depriving several musicians of their own musical works by supporting a controversial “work made for hire” clause in 1999 legislation, which unfairly transferred copyrights of musical works to record labels.
Internet research and security firm Netcraft has released the findings of its June 2008 Web Server Survey. Netcraft pegged the number of websites at a shade over 172 million, an increase of 3.9 million from the preceding month. Although the main objective of this survey wasn’t to perform a headcount of websites but to size up web server usage trends, it still gives a fair idea of the website population.
Click through to find out how accurate Netcraft's census is and whether you need to make a beeline for that proverbial pinch of salt.