Activision Blizzard, aka gaming’s Death Star lurking in a system of Alderaans, is about the only game company to avoid placing hundreds of jobs on the chopping block in order to fuel rapidly waning economic fires, and there’s a reason for that: World of Warcraft.
According to Stern Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia, WoW subscriptions likely made up about half of Acti-Blizz’s earnings during its previous fiscal year. This means that World of Warcraft was responsible for earnings per share of around 30 cents out of a total 60 cents. The bottom line for those who don’t follow @thestockmarket on Twitter: Activision Blizzard pulled in $400 million from a four year-old game about orcs, elves, and cow people. Say what you will about Blizzard’s games, but they have some serious staying power.
So then, after all these years, do you still play WoW? You know what? Actually, that’s a dumb question. How about this: why are you still playing WoW, and do you see yourself continuing your genocidal rampage through Azeroth over the next year – even knowing that Blizzard probably won’t release another expansion until 2010?
Microsoft has released the source code for its Sandbox virtualization technology, offering Web developers a new method for protecting the contents of a Web page from malicious exploits and code injections. The project has been released under the Apache 2.0 license, a source no doubt familiar to Microsoft, as the company began sponsoring the Apache Software Foundation to the tune of $100,000 annually last July.
While the Apache Software Foundation isn't sponsoring or endorsing Sandbox--Microsoft's just using the software license--the move is nevertheless the second time Apache and Microsoft are tangling up this year. Microsoft announced its intentions to donate code to Apache's Stonehenge project on January 19.
We've explored Microsoft's increased interest in the world of open-source solutions before. Click the jump to find out why the software giant is so interested in letting everyone else play in its Sandbox for free.
Contrary to all portents, it isn’t still time for Zune’s farewell. Although it appeared that the $100 million drop in sales would prove to be Zune’s coda, Microsoft is still willing to persist with its beleaguered music player division.
Adam Sohn, director of marketing at the music player division, told PaidContent that the company remains committed to the business. He even hinted that the Zune experience might be made available on other devices; rumors to this regard have been circulating ever since the Zune appeared on store shelves for the very first time. How much longer can Zune hoodwink its fate?
If all you want a secondary display for is to keep track of your IM conversations, stock quotes, emails, and other tasks of that nature, Buffalo may have just what you're looking for with its new 7-inch display.
As the model number suggests, the FTD-W71USB LCD display plugs into a USB port and offers an 800x480 resolution, 300 nits brightness, a 500:1 contrast ratio, 25ms response time, and a wide viewing angle (vertical: 120 degrees, left and right: 140 degrees). Buffalo says you can rotate the display for either vertical or horizontal viewing, and can also be attached to a tripod stand for use with digital cameras by removing the stand.
If you really want to go hog-wild, Buffalo says you can use up to six units at the same time, making it possible to devote an entire display to every Skype conversation you might have going or, well, whatever else you might require six pint-sized displays.
As it turns out, those of us responsible enough to have a computer generally aren’t responsible enough to keep ourselves safe online. Sure, we might get Norton or McAfee at checkout, but that’s generally the easiest step to take. When it comes to surfing the net, if the browser doesn’t update automatically, we probably won’t take the time to update it on our own.
At least, that’s what a study by a pair of Swiss academics and a Google employee revealed. The study, which ran Google results from January 2007 to April 2008, revealed that as a general whole PC users are reluctant to swap software. The swap from IE6 to 7 came gradually, with a primary boost from sales of new PCs with Windows Vista (and IE7) preinstalled. Mac users “seemed more willing to live on the cutting edge, as the Safari 3 beta release was accompanied by a major jump.”
To security conscious users Mozilla’s Firefox came out on top. Its self-updating nature made it a favorite, opposed to others like Opera, which have an update that basically functions as a manual download followed by a new install.
The analysis suggests that most users of web browsers aren’t filled with thoughts of Internet security, but rather with thoughts of convenience. If you’re interested in checking out the study for yourself, you can be sure to check it out in its entirety, here.
As the NAND flash memory market slowly stabilizes in the later half of this year, it’s expected that SSDs will take over as the primary source of storage for computers industry-wide.
According to research firm DRAMeXchange, the oversupply of NAND flash chips is currently weakening the global SSD market, and is scheduled to balance out. Once this balance happens, the price gap between the HDDs we all currently know and love and the SSDs we all fantasize about and desire will close, ultimately causing a HD-to-SSD replacement cycle that was delayed thanks to the worldwide economic crisis.
Reportedly many computer manufacturers have been preparing for the transition. Many have begun to include SSDs in their laptops, but many desktops are beginning to feature them as well.
The financial crisis does not appear to have caused much trouble to Netflix. The company enjoyed a prolific run during the fourth quarter. The company announced that its year-over-over profit increased sharply by 45% during the fourth quarter to $22.7 million.
Its revenue during the quarter stood at $359.6 million, up 19 percent from the same period last year. The movie rental company surpassed all expectations with its strong showing during the quarter.
Netflix imputed its success to the popularity of its internet streaming service and a reduced marketing bill. Proponents and detractors of digital distribution have another opportunity to lock horns in the comments section.
Professional Photographer Rob Galbraith undertook the task of figuring out which notebook has the best screen for others of his trade, and according to his research the Dell Mini 9 finished the rigorous testing with the highest marks.
While Lenovo’s W700 did come up near the top of the list thanks to its built-in pantone calibrator, the Dell Mini 9 took the top spot. That’s right, a $300 notebook has a display with better “overall huge accuracy” than the $2000 MacBook Pro, which apparently sports a display that is “one or two steps below a good desktop.”
Having an internet connection will no longer be mandatory to read, compose, or search through your Gmail. Instead, you'll soon be able to do all of these offline as Google rolls out an experimental feature in the next couple of days to everyone who uses Gmail in the US or UK.
To turn the feature on, you'll click on Settings in your Gmail account, select the Labs tab, and select Enable next to Offline Gmail (our account didn't yet have the feature). After you save the changes, your browser will reload and display a new 'Offline' link which, when clicked, will download the open-source Gears. Google then uses Gears to download a local cache of your mail.
"As long as you're connected to the network, that cache is synchronized with Gmail's servers," Google writes on its blog. "When you lose your connection, Gmail automatically switches to offline mode, and uses the data stored on your computer's hard drive instead of the information sent across the network. You can read messages, star and label them, and do all of the things you're used to doing while reading your webmail online"
Google says not to worry if you have a dodgy or slow connection - enabling the "flacky connection mode" will synchronize your mail with the server in the background, but browsing will take place in the local cache for immediate access. Sounds groovy.
If ever there was a case for parental controls, it's this: According to Virtual Worlds Management, there are now over 200 youth-oriented virtual worlds live, planned, or actively being developed. In other words, rather than grab a ball and glove after school, kids left on their own with access to a computer will literally have hundreds of virtual worlds to choose from and plenty of opportunities to spend their allowance.
When broken down into worlds targeting kids (7 and under), tweens (8-12), and teens (13+), VMW says "the kids market is the clear leader," noting 107 worlds are banking on at least part of their audience consisting of kids in the under-7 range. To make money off these markets, 59 of the virtual worlds use micro-transactions, giving users free access to the world but charging for virtual goods. Another 57 worlds follow the subscription based model, and 46 use advertising, VMW says.