Comparing Age of Conan’s dark, blood-splattered fantasy world to those of its competitors is like comparing night to day, so we suppose it’s only fitting that we can’t really see a light at the end of this tunnel.
Age of Conan developer Funcom recently announced its relocation to the pointy edge of a quickly crumbling cliff (artist’s depiction here) – reporting that it lost $23.3 million during its fourth quarter of 2008. The culprit: Age of Conan’s free-falling subscription numbers, which now sit at a mere 100,000 after reaching an all-time high of 700,000.
On top of that, Funcom CFO Olav Sandnes decided to risk a dip in the economy’s increasingly choppy waters rather than continue with Funcom, announcing his resignation with all the optimism he could muster.
"Funcom is a company with a substantial potential based on a unique combination of skill sets in a fast growing global market. I wish Trond Aas and the rest of the organization all the best in realizing the full potential of the company," he said.
The Kiwi government seems to have been somewhat precipitate in formalizing a controversial “three strikes” rule meant to discourage copyright usurpation. The anti-P2P law, which was originally scheduled to come into force on February 28, has been pushed back to March in the face of some stiff resistance from a group called the Creative Freedom Foundation and country’s ISPs.
An internet blackout organized by the group has forced the government to reconsider the controversial legislation. The Kiwi government plans to bring it into effect on March 27. However, the government wants the ISPs and copyright holders to see eye to eye on the issue before enforcing the law.
The ISPs are opposing the legislation, which makes repeat copyright infringers liable for disconnection, because they want tainted users to be able to defend themselves (using counter-notices).
Will Windows 7 bring glad tidings for gamers? Chris Lewis, VP of Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft EMEA, certainly believes the new OS will keep gamers happy.
"It's all good news - it's even more robust, it's quicker relatively, and the early testing cycles are proving very promising overall,” an excited Lewis told Gameindustry.biz in an interview. He said the company will divulge more details later this year.
Lewis didn’t forget to reassure gamers that Microsoft remains committed to PC gaming. “Ultimately we're a Windows and PC company at heart,” Lewis accentuated Microsoft’s commitment to its roots.
Microsoft Windows’ hegemony in the netbook market is currently unimpeachable. Contrary to conjectures and forecasts, Linux has failed to take control of the netbook market, a segment tailor-made for it. But can an entirely new Linux distro reverse the trend?
What's that? You're not on Twitter? Get out. From Will Smith to surgeons--freakin' surgeons!--millions of people worldwide are using this popular online service to offer up brief, 140-character descriptions of the key events in their fascinating lives. And you too could join the bandwagon/party/mayhem, but you sure aren't going to do it from Twitter's Web page. That just wouldn't be very Maximum PC of you when a host of other options exist for pulling an up-to-the-second ton information out of this living, breathing Web entity.
So join us as we explore five of the top Twitter clients. If you like what you see, perhaps you'll even be so inspired as to write your very own "Tweet," or "Twit," or "message" about your software adventures! Just promise you won't do it from the operating table, ok?
Videogames? In web browsers? When did this happen? Boy howdy – next thing you know, they’ll be putting those suckers in televisions. What a world.
Fortunately, if you’d like to set up shop on the ground floor of this sure-to-be revolution, you’ll soon have the opportunity to frag a Firefox with Quake Live. Or frag inside a Firefox. We’re not sure which, but both options sound equally awesome.
The free-to-play, browser-based edition of Quake III Arena will flip its window sign around from “Closed” to “Open” on February 24, assuming the above official teaser isn’t some kind of mirage brought on by living in a world without Quake Live for so many years’ worth of when-it’s-dones.
So, who plans on joining us when we christen a very special new browser tab on Tuesday?
The original Mass Effect may still be priming the DLC buffet for one or two more bites, but that isn’t stopping BioWare from slipping gamers a small dose of its sequel.
The trailer in question can be seen here, and – for those who are deathly afraid of even the remote possibility of a Rickroll and would rather not click that link – not-so-vaguely suggests that Commander Shepard (your main guy or gal in Mass Effect) suffered a quick and clean off-screen death. And a permanent one at that – not simply due to bad camera angles.
But, to be honest, we’re thinking the rumors of Shepard’s death have been greatly exaggerated, mostly because the only other tidbit BioWare’s dropped concerning 2Mass2Furious involves reusing save files from Mass Effect – probably for stat boosts, character profiles, and other such pieces of space bling. Otherwise, BioWare could’ve tossed in a few “So, how about that one guy who saved the universe that one time?” questions, ala Knights of the Old Republic 2, and called it a day.
If you're on the Microsoft Connect testing list for Windows Vista SP2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2, Redmond has just rung the "come and get it" bell - SP2 RC (the same package upgrades both Vista SP1 and Windows Server) was released to MS Connect testers yesterday, Ars Technicareports.
So, what's special about SP2 RC? Some highlights include:
Support for VIA's 64-bit CPU
Integration of the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, including support for Bluetooth 2.1
Support for writing to Blu-ray media
Integration of Windows Search 4.0
Better and more secure installation experience
Over 690 hotfixes
If you're not among the fortunate few testing Vista SP2 RC, what should you be doing until you can try it? For our suggestions, as well as an early comparison with Vista RC1 (not to mention your chance to sound off), join us after the jump.
Cuba has debuted a new national Linux-based operating system dubbed "Nova." As one might expect, Cuba claims that the move will help the country replace proprietary Microsoft software running on the nation's computers. It almost sounds a little silly, but Cuba makes two noteworthy points as to why it's trying to purge this United States-based software from its networks. Nor is this the first international body that's sought to replace Microsoft software with an open-source alternative.
According to Cuban officials, the switch is more intended to turn away from United States-backed software as opposed to specifically Microsoft. They claim that governmental agencies would be able to infiltrate Cuban systems because they would could to pressure Microsoft to give up its "codes." It's unclear whether Cuba expects U.S. officials to actually hack into Cuban databases, break through encryption measures, or any combination of nefarious activities. Cuban officials also suggest that importing Microsoft software violates the U.S. trade embargo, an explanation for why Microsoft operating systems are allegedly more difficult to acquire for the island nation.
Grab your cigar and click the link to find out just how much Linux adoption Cuba expects to have within five years!
Stanford Professor Byron Reeves is a Planeteer, and you can be one too -- if you’re an MMORPG player. Reeves’ plan hedges its bets on the idea that you’re willing to install a Smart Meter, a device that monitors electricity usage in your house and sends a report of your wasteful excesses to power companies.
However, instead of giving power companies the skinny on your war against the Energizer Bunny, Reeves hopes to send pertinent information to games like World of Warcraft. He outlined his energy-saving plan during radio show Living on Earth’s Green Gaming segment:
"So imagine that you're in your home, you're signed into [the] game… and you make a decision in the game to turn off the lights in an unused bedroom [in real life]. As soon as you do that, the Smart Meter recognizes that, sends the information through the network to your computer and your house [in the game] turns a shade of green that it wasn't before,” he explained.
“And if I'm using less electricity, my team might do well. I get gold pieces and points… whatever the game designers think is fun. You get feedback in an entertainment game about what you're doing in the real world."
Sounds good to us, though implementing it – especially in a game as colossal as World of Warcraft – might be a bit rough. Then again, Blizzard did invent a race of hippie cow-people, so you never know.