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.
In the latest episode of As the Social Networking World Turns, Facebook not only remains the most popular hangout, but now boasts twice as many users as MySpace. That wasn't the case back in June 2008 when, according to ComScore, both sites hovered around 100 million unique users. Since that time, Facebook has grown by another 100 million users, while MySpace appears to have plateaued.
However, there's always a twist, and MySpace is quick to point out that it still dominates the lucrative U.S. market where the bulk of advertising revenue is to be made.
"We are laser focused on building a sustainable global business which we measure by profits and revenue -- not just eyeballs," MySpace said in a statement. "In a tough economic climate, our international revenue is up 30% year over year and we continue to focus on those markets with the strong monetization opportunities.
"Additionally, MySpace continues to dominate the U.S. market -- where the bulk of online advertising revenues reside -- both in terms of monetization and user engagement with more than 76 million unique users and a 40% spike in engagement year over year."
While true for today, MySpace would do well to prepare for tomorrow. Consider this interesting tidbit: According to ComScore, the internet recently passed a billion global users, which means one-in-five internet users are on Facebook.
One day we'll look back at dual-core CPUs and wonder how it was we were ever able to get anything done with such primitive processors. Some users would contend we're already there, proclaiming it's quad-core or bust, but not everyone sees the value in more cores over faster clockspeeds. For those of you who fall into that category, start saving your pennies for Intel's upcoming Core 2 Duo E8700 CPU.
At 3.5GHz, the E8700 will be Intel's highest clocked Core 2 Duo, with the 3.33GHz E8600 nipping at its heels. Like the E8600, the 45nm E8700 will run on a 1333MHz frontside bus and come with 6MB of L2 cache. The new chip is expected to carry a TDP of 65W.
No word yet on a release date or expected price point, though don't be surprised to find another round of Core 2 Duo price cuts when the E8700 makes its debut.
Oft rumored but not yet confirmed, New York Times blogger Brad Stone says Amazon will introduce the Kindle 2 eBook reader in New York City on February 9th. Reaching that conclusion took a little bit of detective work on the part of Stone, who noticed Amazon changed the ship date for its out-of-stock Kindle from 11 to 13 weeks down to 4 to 6 weeks. This would coincide with a news conference Amazon has planned for February 9th at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York.
"The device has been out of stock since November, after Oprah Winfrey touted it on her show," Stone writes. "The announcement seems to confirm our suspicions that the original Kindle has been obsolete since that time and that everyone who purchased the device over the holidays from Amazon.com — or put their name on a waiting list — will receive the newer version."
Back in October 2008, BoyGeniusReport.com posted what it claims were leaked photos of the upcoming Kindle. Among the changes shown were smaller buttons to help avoid inadvertent page turns, and a joystick instead of a scroll wheel. The photos also revealed a miniUSB cable port.
“Moving ahead, Microsoft will continue to invest in Windows as a first–class gaming platform through great Windows out of box experiences, our online gaming services including Games for Windows – LIVE, MSN Games, and Messenger games, and through new games for Windows developed by Microsoft Games Studios," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
"Our Windows gaming service efforts will be led by General Manager Ron Pessner, who is joining Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business. He comes from within Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division.” “Beyond these changes, we are not commenting on specific personnel issues at this time.”
But enough talk; outside of an admittedly nice redesign, GFW’s actions haven’t made a peep as of late. So c’mon, guys – give us your best “Have at you!” The world is watching. Now deliver.
We’re not going to lie; relations with our Xbox 360 have been strained as of late. Its once-alluring vanilla sheen has faded to a dull gray. At one time effortlessly slim and sleek, its hard drive has fallen into a self-destructive cycle of binge downloading and purging. The passive-aggressive blog posts aren’t helping. And now, as though a sign from the heavens to ease our conflicted minds, Resident Evil 5 is officially infecting PCs the world over. Or, at the very least, in Poland.
"We know for sure that a PC version RE5 will be released. We don't know when exactly but we expect that it will arrive to shops in second half 2009,” said Jerzy Cichocki of CD Projeckt, the company that publishes Capcom titles in Poland.
However, the Xbox 360 isn’t ready to relinquish its control on our Gamerscores (and consequently, our hearts) just yet. Fable II’s radioactive crumb trail, sadly, has no intention of illuminating a path to the PC – at least, not in the near future.
"We're not working on a PC version of Fable II... If this changes we'll make sure you know about it on our website(s),” said Lionhead community head “Woody” after rumors of a PC port surfaced.
With the announcement of Craig Barrett's retirement in May, one of Intel's last links with the pre-PC era will vanish. Barrett's career at Intel started in 1974, when Intel was just seven years old and was introducing the first general-purpose microprocessor, the 8080. The 8080's descendents included the first 16-bit processor, the 8086, and the IBM PC's processor, the 8088. The IBM PC and its many descendants enabled Intel's rise to processor dominance.
Barrett became Intel's CEO in 1998, taking over for the legendary Andy Grove. Barrett's tenure as CEO saw the development of Intel's first Celeron economy CPU and high-end Pentium III processors, the introduction of the Pentium 4, diversification into communications chips, development of new Xeon and Itanium server processors, and the introduction of the Centrino portable chipset/processor technology.
During this period, Intel received formidable challenges from AMD's Athlon and Athlon XP, and frequently saw its processors beaten by AMD's processors in real-world performance tests. Barrett became chairman of Intel in 2005, and during his tenure as chairman, saw Intel retake the performance crown from AMD with the introduction of the Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, and Core i7 processor lines.
Barrett, 70, is retiring at a time in which Intel, like other technology companies, is facing tough times, and announced last week that it's closing two fab plants in the US as well as three assembly test facilities in Malaysia and the Philippines, affecting over 5,000 employees.
What was the first Intel product you used? Was it a processor, motherboard, chipset, network adapter, or something else? Looking back at Barrett's long career, what do you think were Intel's biggest hits - and misses? Join us after the jump for your chance to tell all.
This happens to be the second instance of an anonymous Belkin employee accusing the company of unabashedly resorting to unscrupulous means to further its interests. Gizmodo had very recently published an email from an anonymous Belkin employee, who claimed that even Belkin’s employees maintain a safe distance from the company's products, including the free ones.
While Emo Labs wasn’t a heavyweight at CES, they were able to garner some attention for their Edge Motion technology. A demo given to the crew of Technologizer gave plenty to be excited about, and for once the idea of an “invisible” speaker could be worth looking out for!
Evidently, the technology is similar to NXT’s SoundVu that had plenty of issues getting off the ground back in 2005. But, this new system uses “arrays of motors to wiggle the edges of a clear membrane” in order to produce audio, something that SoundVu didn’t do.
Emo Labs optimistically hope to have this concept integrated into the panels of TVs by the end of next year.
Patent #7,479,949 (better known as Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics) has been awarded to Apple at long last. And while this is mighty good for Apple, this brings a lot of potential trouble for other multitouch smartphones in the future.
The Palm Pre is one of the many devices that should be looking over its shoulder. Given that it supports swiping and pinching, much like that of the iPhone, it has plenty to worry about (namely, Apple’s legal department).
And, if the rumor is true about Tim Cook’s thirst for the blood of anyone that’s looking to rip off Apple’s intellectual property, then just about anyone that’s looking to swipe, pinch or squeeze their way to a new phone experience should be careful to tread lightly.