Narrowly power-walking past Duke Nukem Forever in the Vaporware Race to The Starting Line, it seems Phantom is actually doing something. Oh, Phantom? No, we don’t blame you for 404-ing that one. See, originally, the Phantom was planned as a PC-console marriage of sorts – download PC games to a sci-fi pizza box connected to your television and let the good times roll.
But in the end, Phantom was quite an apt name.
Now, one four-year-long facepalm later, here we are, and Phantom Entertainment is hanging a gaudy “Grand Opening” sign on the functioning half of its original plan: an online storefront. We’re sure Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are breathing relieved sighs into megaphones at this very moment.
“Phantom Entertainment today launched its highly anticipated online game store, located at gamestore.phantom.net. The game store features an impressive catalog of over 2,600 PC games including top sellers like Fallout 3 and Far Cry 2. The store allows for outright purchasing of video games or try before you buy, and features level 4 merchant abilities,” read the press release.
Apparently, the service will also begin streaming titles in early ’09, which at least has the potential to be all kinds of cool.
So, anyone care to join us in partaking of Phantom’s steamy new service? Or do you plan to wait four years before giving Phantom’s bank account some love? After all, turnabout is fair play.
It looks like some up at Redmond have been finding the iPhone to be a sexier development platform than their very own Windows Mobile.
Seadragon, Microsoft’s backbone for Photosynth, has recently been released onto the iPhone app store. The snazzy app allows users to quickly “deep zoom” pictures while online, as well as take a grouping of images and forge them together into a mock 3D enviroment.
According to Alex Daley, the group product manager for Micorsoft Live Labs, “The iPhone is the most widely distributed phone with a (graphics processing unit). Most phones out today don't have accelerated graphics in them. The iPhone does and so it enabled us to do something that has been previously difficult to do."
Ubisoft has had a strange, and ugly history with DRM (read: Far Cry 2), but it looks like they’re aiming to change that.
The latest Prince of Persia game will have zero DRM on the PC in the name of an experiment. “You’re right when you say that when people want to pirate the game they will but DRM is there to make it as difficult as possible for pirates to make copies of our games,” stated UbiRazz, a Community Developer for Ubisoft. “A lot of people complain that DRM is what forces people to pirate games but as [Prince of Persia] PC has no DRM we’ll see how truthful people actually are. Not very, I imagine.”
It’s nice that Ubisoft is giving the PC gamer market an honest chance in the world of DRM. This blogger just hopes that it actually helps our cause, and doesn’t end up making things much, much worse.
Gaming with just a mouse and keyboard might soon be considered old school if all the new tactile feedback technologies gain traction. There already exists several virtual reality devices (see Norman Chan's Killing Box column in the Holiday 2008 issue of PC Gamer), and coming soon, VR technology will start knocking around your noggin.
TN Games, the same company responsible for the 3D Space Gaming Vest, announced it is working on a force feedback helmet. The company says the HTX helmet is designed to work in conjunction with its gaming vest and will deliver "blows to the head when are you are fired upon." Near-misses will also be registered, letting you "feel bullets whizzing by your helmet."
Rather than use haptic feedback, TN Games' approach to force feedback involves a small air compressor system capable of delivering up to five pounds of force per actuator. As TN Games puts it, five pounds of force feels similar to dropping a roll of pennies on your stomach from six inches above. The question is whether or not blows to the head can be considered safe, and TN Games says it is, claiming the helmet will pose no physical danger so long as it's used according to the instructions.
No pricing information information is yet available, though TN Games says you can expect the helmet sometime in 2009.
Grand Theft Auto's Hot Coffee mod made the whole concept of transitioning from dinner and dancing to bedroom antics seem way too easy. Now it appears it might be harder to take that relationship to the next level, according to a new survey which suggests women prefer the internet to having sex.
The survey, which was commissioned by Intel, pinged 2,119 adults in an attempt to show how essential the internet has become, the Wall Street Journalreports. What Intel found is that 46 percent of women would rather put their sex drive on hold for two weeks than to go without internet access for that long. And it's not just older females who feel that way. According to the survey, 49 percent of women aged 18-34 feel the same way, compared to 52 percent of women aged 35-44.
Not surprisingly, the numbers are somewhat lower for men. About 30 percent of men said they'd rather go without sex for two weeks than internet access, but unlike women, that number goes down as the age goes up. Some 39 percent of men aged 18-34 prefer the internet to sex, but only 23 percent of men aged 35-44 feel the same way.
Hit the jump and tell us which you would rather give up for two weeks.
It looks like Toshiba has been keeping the Japanese gamer market satisfied lately, with a very beefy line of Qosmio laptops that boast some pretty impressive stats.
The Qosmio line has been pretty successful, releasing some 20 notebooks over in the land of the rising sun. Their most recent additions include the Qosmio FX (15.4-inch screen) and GX (18.4-inch screen). Both feature a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo P8600, an Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB HDD.
Their even beefier SpursEngine G50 will feature the same specs of the FX and GX, but with the addition of a SpursEngine graphics system, a second 250GB HDD, a digital TV Tuner, four USB ports, a eSATA socket, 1.3-mexapixel camera, a fingerprint sensor and a dual-layer DVD burner.
The pricing has been listed between $2,327 and $3,767, and they should be available before the end of the year.
You know spyware and virus, malware and DDOS, Trojan of horse fame, phishing and worm. But do you recall the brand-newest threat of them all? (apologies to Johnny Marks). Well, the Federal Trade Commission does: it's called "scareware," and late last week, the FTC slammed two of the biggest scareware providers with an asset freeze and a temporary injunction.
What is "scareware?" Arstechnica.com's report explains it thus:
Scareware-selling companies would contract with reputable websites to display advertisements on behalf of other reputable companies, but would poison the ads in question. Once clicked, visitors were actually redirected to a vendor-controlled website, which would then "scan" their computer and amazingly enough, find evidence of damage or infection. Cue the appropriate links, websites (just $39.95), and a few minutes later the result is one scammed customer who has just paid good money for nothing. The thieves, meanwhile, earn extra points if they manage to nick a credit card number in the process.
Some typical examples include Antivirus XP, DriveCleaner, and WinFixer. Drop by the Trend Micro blog for an animated portrayal of a typical Antivirus XP attack, which includes a replacement desktop wallpaper with no way to change it and a scary-looking fake BSOD screensaver.
To learn more about the baddies behind Antivirus XP and its ilk, and to learn how to clean up after scareware, join us after the break.
One way to show off your wealth is to invest in an OLED keyboard, but do the brightly lit keys really mesh with your many leather-bound books in a home office that smells of rich mahogany? No, of course it doesn't. To complete your home office decor, what you really need is a leather-wrapped keyboard, and now you can get one.
The Japan-made Gokukawa keyboard comes hand-wrapped in rich black leather with a glossy black-on-black design and takes workers two weeks to make. And like Metadot's Das Keyboard, you can order the leathery Gokukawa with or without labeled keys. But what isn't so luxurious is the decision to saddle the plank with a USB 1.1 hub instead of 2.0. We're also not digging the lack of a numpad, which can make adding up all that extra money needlessly difficult.
The Gokukawa has one other dirty little secret, this one for the better. At the current exchange rate, the marked and unmarked versions run about $550 and $600 respectively, a veritable bargain next to the $1,580 Optimus Maximus.
It's finally possible to piss off your pregnant wife, annoy your Twitter followers, and brand your unborn son as the kid with the dorkiest dad on the block all at the same time. Making it all possible is the Kickbee, the first gadget to enable Twittering from the womb.
"The Kickbee is a wearable device made of a stretchable band and embedded electronics and sensors," creator Corey Menscher wrote on his blog. "Piezo sensors are attached directly to the band, and transmit small but detectable voltages when triggered by movement underneath. An Arduino Mini microcontroller transmits the signals to an accompanying Java application wirelessly via Bluetooth. (a SparkFun BlueSMIRF v2 module that communicates serially with a Macbook Pro)."
The wearable waistband isn't likely to start any new fashion trends, but then again, anyone interested in the concept of unborn Twittering probably isn't into fashion anyway.
Google continues to improve its Gmail service, which has seen several upgrades this past year ranging from new themes to Mail Goggles. Gmail's newest trick is the ability to view PDF files on its own without the need to load your installed PDF viewer of choice.
"When I get sent a PDF, sometimes I just want to view it -- I don't always need to download and save it right then," Google wrote in a blog post. "So starting today, you'll see a new "View" link next to PDF attachments you get in Gmail."
Once you click on 'View,' the option to view the PDF file in plain HTML returns via a link at the top of the new viewer. You can also download the file straight away or from within the integrated viewer.
According to Cnet, Google.com search results will be next to get the updated PDF viewer. Until then, you can still skip the long load times inherent with Adobe's Acrobat by switching to Foxit Software's leaner and much faster PDF Reader.