More bad news for big business, as Japan's Sony Corp. announced plans to cut 16,000 jobs, cut back on investments, and pull out of businesses all in attempt to save $1.1 billion a year. The job cuts rank as the biggest ever announced by an Asian company so far in the economic crisis, but some analysts are saying it might not be enough.
"The number sounds big, but this staff reduction won't be enough," said Katsuhiko Mori, a fund manager at Daiwa SB Investments. "Sony doesn't have any core businesses that generate stable profits. After the workforce reduction, the next thing we want to see is what is going to be the business that will drive the company."
Sony already trails Apple's iPod in portable music and the company is losing money on flat TVs. But it could get even worse. Sony acknowledged the market may force its hand at making equivalent cuts from its videogames and movie businesses, saying that the situation was "under simultaneous review."
To weather the storm, Sony said it has also raised European prices for its electronics products. And yes, that could mean higher Blu-ray player pricing, but not for PS3 consoles.
Earlier this month Nvidia reiterated interest in the mini-laptop market, essentially saying it was taking a wait-and-see approach. The graphics chip maker must have liked what it has seen since then, because it appears the company isn't going to wait much longer.
According to DigiTimes, Intel and Nvidia are taking their suddenly cozy relationship into the netbook sector. The two, who just recently finally resolved a licensing dispute allowing SLI technology on Intel chipsets, are said to be working together to enable Nvidia chipset support for the Atom platform. If the rumor pans out, Nvidia's MCP7A chipset will be the first to support Atom processors, with Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI ready to take advantage of the collaboration.
Rumors of a partnership between Intel and Nvidia have been going on since last summer. At the time, Nvidia and VIA had entered into an alliance, leading many to speculate the move was intended to give Nvidia a bargaining chip in convincing Intel to let its Atom chip support Nvidia's MCP73 IGP chipset, or face stiff competition from what could be a potent VIA Nano platform.
No matter what prompted the change of heart, this partnership can be viewed as another major win for Nvidia, who has had a tumultuous year. But more recently, the company has managed to wiggle its way into Apple's refreshed MacBook line, and now appears to be in position to profit from one of the few markets withstanding the global economic storm.
According to the latest entry in Google's blog, the word "magazine" is derived from the Arabic word 'makhazin," meaning storehouse. So what would you call an online storehouse of magazines, both new and old, and accessible for free? We call it a kick-ass idea, one that is now part of Google Book Search.
"Today, we're announcing an initiative to help bring more magazine archives and current magazines online, partnering with publishers to begin digitizing millions of articles from titles as diverse as New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Ebony," Google wrote on its blog.
Fans of Popular Mechanics can peek all the way back in time to May 1872 and read what Rev. T.W. Fowle had to say about Science and Immortality. And then continue to get your geek on by sifting through back issues of Maximum PC, which goes all the way back to October 1998. Who won the Pentium III versus Athlon showdown? The CPU Showdown starts on page 59 of the October 1999 issue.
Google isn't finished adding articles and promises that over time you'll find more and more magazines appear in Google Book Search results. Even still, there's an impressive collection already available and you could easily waste an afternoon, or longer, just digitally flipping through old issues of your favorite rags.
Update: *Waves hand in front of your face* This is apparently just a big misunderstanding. EA told Shacknews that "no statements have been made about the Star Wars business model," and that Ricitiello's statement was misunderstood. Thus, we can't really know how EA will sink its hooks into your wallet until February rolls around. So yeah, these droids? Totally not the one's you've been searching for.
Subscription fees, as we've discussed at length, are the beginning of a slippery slope down Blizzard's single, mega-games' throats, but microtransactions might be a different a story. Most titles that take up the little big label offer their services for free (or a small nominal fee), hoping that you'll drop a few coins into their cup at some point in the future. And if EA has its way, Star Wars: The Old Republic will be one such game.
"We are continuing to stick to the plan relative to building out our direct-to-consumer models which include microtransactions and subscriptions," said EA CEO John Riccitiello in a recent conference call. "The recent launch of Warhammer [Online] is a great example of that."
"Other initiatives we've announced, for example [the] Star Wars online MMO, are mid-session games which are microtransaction-based," he continued. "You'll be hearing more about those in the February [conference] call."
This announcement certainly seems to suggest that BioWare's galaxy far, far away won't take subscription fees as a viable method of payment, though Riccitiello didn't go so far as to completely rule them out.
Regardless, the potential accessibility of a "free" MMO combined with the production values and gameplay of a Scrooge McDuck-level big-budget game could very well melt the Lich King right off his frozen (and likely very uncomfortable) throne -- probably ending all productivity as we know it.
tl;dr: Looks like the Mayan Apocalypse might be coming early this existence. Neat!
Yuck. It's one thing to give the spotlight over to piracy and other dirty deeds on a bi-daily basis, but after seeing it all culminate, well, we're going to need to lie down for a little while.
Torrent-tracking blog TorrentFreak recently scoured the undersides of gaming's most illicit tables, putting together a list of piracy's greatest hits. The bottom line: Spore, as expected, took home the golden failboat ticket, while three of EA's other titles made the top five.
Meanwhile, big names like Call of Duty 4, Fallout 3, and Far Cry 2 also felt significant disturbances in their sales. Check out the full list below:
Spore / 1,700,000 / Sept. 2008
The Sims 2 / 1,150,000 / Sept. 2004
Assassins Creed / 1,070,000 / Nov. 2007
Crysis / 940,000 / Nov. 2007
Command & Conquer 3 / 860,000 / Mar. 2007
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare / 830,000 / Nov. 2007
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas / 740,000 / Jun. 2005
Fallout 3 / 645,000 / Oct. 2008
Far Cry 2 / 585,000 / Oct. 2008
Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 / 470,000 / Oct. 2008
Remember kids, only you can prevent PC game piracy. Otherwise, we'll light you on fire. Don't mess with us. We're crazy.
It wasn’t too long ago that YouTube began testing out their HD capabilities. And now, just a few short weeks later they’ve released a fully capable HD feature on their site.
Bear in mind that this isn’t the “watch in high quality” button that many of you have been seeing lately, but there’s an actual “watch in HD” button available for many videos on the popular video-sharing site.
The quality of the videos is easily up to par with other sites offering the same feature, such as Vimeo, and this finally catapults YouTube into the HD ring.
Should you be interested in streaming some of the new HD content make sure that your ISP is up to par – you’ll need a high-speed connection in order to watch these babies smoothly.
CNet's Ina Fried reports that Microsoft's Windows Vista Ultimate Product (RED), a special version of Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, previously available only bundled with certain Dell PC models, will be available at retail starting later this month. Part of the proceeds from Microsoft's Product (RED) go to help the Product (RED) charity fight AIDS in Africa.
Microsoft's Product (RED) edition of Windows Vista Ultimate features, of course, a special Product (RED) package, and is also outfitted with an exclusive DreamScene animated wallpaper, as well as an exclusive screensaver, wallpapers and gadgets.
Not in the market for the Product (RED) edition of Windows Vista Ultimate right now? To find out other ways you can shop and help the fight, join us after the jump.
The Department of Optics at the University of Granada has recently revealed a new technique that provides the means to identify the difference between a bootlegged CD and one made industrially (other than checking if the top has “Workout Mix” written in Sharpie).
At a base level, they’re simply checking out the light diffraction from the surface of the CD. Ideally, it’ll be noticeably different between a CD made at home and made at the factory. In fact they’re so confident with the process, they’ve filed for a patent.
Sadly, they’re a bit late. For many of us, the CD boat has sailed and this technology is generations behind. But, there might be some of you out there that still prefer your music in disc form, and to that I say kudos.
In the coming days and years the uses for multitouch will only grow, some will act as innovative new pieces of technology that the world will benefit from, and then there will be others that lack practical use. This is the latter.
While the PQ-DVD made app (the same folks responsible for the iPod video conversion software) looks like a Microsoft Surface made just for synching media to and from an iPod (because it is), it just doesn’t look useful. The tasks, while pretty, would be far easier to complete with the traditional mouse and keyboard.
Admittedly, the software is easy on the eyes – nobody’s questioning that. But ultimately, this is a party trick. Sure it’s cool to show off when people are around, and you might use it once or twice when you’re home alone, but you and I both know that there are far easier ways of opening that bottle of beer than with your molars.
OCZ's making a pitch for its new Slate Series ExpressCard, a storage expansion drive the company claims is better suited than USB flash devices and external hard drives.
Compatible with USB 2.0
18 MB/sec read
12.5 MB/sec write
Voltage: 2.7V - 3.6V
The new ExpressCard storage drives aren't going to win any speed crowns, so OCZ is touting convenience and low power consumption over alternative backup solutions. Users who don't like to lug around external hard drives or who are prone to bumping into USB keys sticking out of a notebook may find appeal in an ExpressCard that stays put and out of the way.
Specific pricing and availability has not yet been announced, though OCZ did say its new Slate Series will come in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities.