Well, looks like EA finally came to its senses. After waving away the issue by, uh, talking about it, the mega-publisher finally popped a wedding ring on Tim Schafer and co.'s baby. Schafer, naturally, is super stoked.
“This is awesome news!” he said. “The quality and creativity of the games EA Partners has been involved with make it a perfect home for our baby, Brütal Legend. Some people were starting to wonder if the saga of Eddie Riggs would ever see the light of day, but now I think it’s clear that this game, like Metal itself, cannot be killed!”
Bit of an odd match, if you ask us -- but then, we're talking Tim Schafer here; only a publisher owned and operated by hundreds of other Tim Schafers would fit his curves.
Really though, we just hope EA doesn't pull a Microsoft before things are all said and done. Our poor hearts are still retching from the last rollercoaster ride.
With pirates closing in on all sides, many publishers abandoned PC gaming's ship as though it were already a potential set for Little Mermaid 9: I Don't Want to Be A Mermaid; I Want to Be A Boat. PC Gaming Alliance president Randy Stude obviously wasn't one of those naysayers, but he does have a few choice words for them.
"If someone wants to leave the PC market [because of piracy], we’ll miss you," he told Gamepolitics. "We’ll watch with admiration as your titles ship in a diluted fashion without a whole lot of game play innovation, at least until you copy the innovation that occurs on the PC. We'll find the great games on PC and we’ll play those."
On top of that, Stude believes PCs and consoles aren't so different from each another, and thinks the two walks of life will end up meeting somewhere down the road.
"The guts of every console should tell you that the capability is there for the PC to act as the central point for all the consoles," he said. "If you bought a PC and as part of that equation you said, Okay, when you’re on the phone with Dell, 'Hey, Dell, on this PC, this new notebook I’m buying, can you make sure it has the PlayStation 4 option built into it?'"
"Well, why not? Why shouldn’t that be the case? [Sony is] certainly not making any money on the hardware. I mean, can’t they create a stable enough environment to specify that if Dell’s going to sell that notebook and say that it’s PlayStation 4 [compatible] that it must have certain ingredients and it must meet certain criteria? Absolutely they could do that."
Sony’s latest addition to the Walkman line is slated for a 2009 debut at CES. The supposed touchscreen Walkman will come in 16GB and 32GB flavors, sport an OLED screen, and even feature some Wi-Fi capabilities! You know, so you can watch YouTube and other completely original tasks for a internet-capable touchscreen MP3 player.
It’s suggested that the software of the Walkman will remain essentially the same, and there won’t be much difference between the menu structure of current Walkman players and the expected arrival. It’ll support MP3, WMA, AAC and PCM audio codecs along with AVC, MPEG-4 and WMV video.
Heck, the player is so advanced that it even features a fully featured music store, a web browser, and to help set it apart from anything else on the market that might bear any resemblance, an FM tuner! Booyah!
It’s rare that in today’s market you’ll see fresh and original pieces of technology like this. It’s always great when a big company like Sony takes it upon themselves to really break the mold. I wonder what Appl--- err, Sony will come up with next?
Straight out of the “really?” file, it looks like a Russian businessman that goes by the name of Oleg Teterin is claiming that he owns the trademark for the ;-) emoticon.
Mr. Teterin is looking to go after corporations that are using the emoticon for profit - or any others that resemble it, including :-), ;) or :). “Legal use will be possible after buying an annual license from us,” stated Mr. Teterin. “It won't cost that much - tens of thousands of dollars.”
Many critics doubt the legality of the trademark because the emoticon has been in the public domain for so many years. One opponent of the claimed trademark is the president of the Russian social networking site odnoklassniki.ru, Nikita Sherman. She’s been quoted as saying “You're not likely to find any retards in Russia who'll pay … for the use of emoticons.”
And it doesn’t help that Mr. Teterin isn’t the first Russian to lay claim to the emoticon. Sadly, he might end up :’(, instead of :-D.
Cnet reports that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be using January's CES trade show to spread the good news about Windows 7. Ballmer is one of the keynote speakers, along with the CEOs of Ford and Sony, for the annual electronics extravaganza. The Windows 7 push is expected, but some observers think that Microsoft might have really big news in store for CES - perhaps, a Zune-based phone.
While Cnet's sources deny that a ZunePhone will be on tap for CES, it's a hard rumor to kill. Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry claimed recently, in a posting at Barron's Tech Trader Daily blog, that Microsoft would be rolling out a phone combining the features of the Zune and the Danger Sidekick handheld.
So, will early January see a new convergence device from the folks in Redmond, or just the expected emphasis on Windows 7, Xbox 360, and the like? Talk amongst yourselves, and we'll all find out in about three weeks.
According to a new study by the psychology department at the University of Illinois-Urbana, senior citizens should trade in their Bingo nights and fire up an RTS game instead. By doing so, over-60 seniors have a good chance of improving their cognitive functions.
The test consisted of 40 seniors playing Rise of Nations, a turn-based real-time strategy game with a heavy focus on building cities. Half of the test group received 23.5 hours of training in the game, while the other half did not. Each participant was assessed before and after playing on a variety of tests designed to "measure executive control functions," such as the ability to switch tasks, short-term memory, and other cognitive functions.
Senior gamers who underwent a training session were found to be "significantly better -- and faster -- at switching between tasks as compared to the comparison group" with no training. Working memory, short-term memory of visual cues, reasoning abilities, and the ability to identify rotated objects was also improved after playing Rise of Nations.
Now you know what to buy your grandparents for Christmas if you're having trouble coming up with a gift idea.
The CherryPal could computer has been in and out of the ether for the past months, but finally the folks over at TG Daily can confirm that it exists. Sadly, while there were some good impressions, it’s clear that there’s plenty of work left to be done on this little black box.
First, let’s start with the good. The machine’s size is diminutive; they compare it to the size of an iPod. And what’s better is that it has zero moving parts, making it entirely silent. The default ports on the back of the box are a VGA monitor port, Ethernet, two USB ports and a headphone/speaker jack. Inside, it’s also got built in wireless card that picked up on their present wireless network effortlessly.
Now, it’s time for the all too dreaded bad. While the box is tiny, it’s also flimsy. The enclosure is nothing to be impressed with, and gave pretty cheap feel. And while this machine is meant for simple desktop functions, the Freescale 400MHz processor under the hood was barely able to do so. Firefox was consistently struggling to load, and it’d really only be manageable as a word processing machine . Also, you should note that you get zero extras with a machine of this size. No analog microphone port, no CD/DVD drive, and the two USB ports fill up pretty quick.
Overall, it sounds like a nice idea, but it looks very much like a rushed product. If you want to read the whole preview, be sure to check it out here!
Rumors that XFX might be defecting from Nvidia have been stirring for months now, and at the time, Evga was also being mentioned. More recently, it's just been XFX at the center of speculation, and according to Fudzilla, it's a done deal.
"We've managed to confirm that XFX will join the ATI camp at the start of the new year," Fudzilla writes. "XFX won't drop Nvidia products either, but obviously, Nvidia won't be thrilled by this turn of events."
Nvidia might not be thrilled at losing an exclusive add-in-board (AIB) partner, but AMD should be, and rightfully so. While AMD's graphics division has finally caught up with Nvidia in terms of performance, some enthusiasts found their buying decision coming down to brand. XFX, Evga, and BFG all offer lifetime warranties and other end-user perks, and all have been exclusive to Nvidia. If Fudzilla's confirmation turns out to be correct, AMD gains a major player for its graphics division, and one has to wonder how long it would be until Evga and BFG start playing both sides as well.
Sony BMG has agreed to pay $1 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle charges claiming Sony violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). While $1 million might seem a drop in the bucket to a company like Sony, the FTC points out the $1 million penalty matches the largest ever paid in a COPPA case.
The suit, which was filed just yesterday, alleged that Sony managed to collect personal information on roughly 30,000 users under the age of 13, including full names, gender, birth date, email addresses, mobile phone numbers, and in some cases, full mailing addresses. According to the FTC, the information was obtained through various Sony-owned websites designed to promote and advertise the company's music offerings, but didn't restrict visitors under the age of 13 from registering.
"Sites with social networking features, like any Web sites, need to get parental consent before collecting kids' personal information," FTC Chairman William Kovacic said in a statement. "Sony Music is paying the penalty for falling down on its COPPA obligations."
In addition to the $1 million penalty, Sony must also delete all personal information it had collected from those under 13 years old, and must also distribute the FTC's "How to Comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule" to all of its employees. In addition, Sony's also required to link to the children's privacy section of the FTC's website for five years.
The promise of in-game physics has yet to be fully realized, but the technology doesn't appear to be going anywhere. Leading the charge is Nvidia, who has a vested interest with its acquired PhysX technology. But in an interview with Bit-Tech, Godfrey Cheng, Director of Technical Marketing in AMD's Graphics Product Group, downplayed the proprietary standard.
"There is no plan for closed and proprietary standards like PhysX," said Cheng. "As we have emphasized with our support for OpenCL and DX11, closed and proprietary standards will die."
The comment came in response to questions about EA's and 2K's decision to license Nvidia's PhysX technology across all of their worldwide studios. And while Cheng said he can't comment on competitor's business models, he did say that AMD views "Havok technologies and products to be the leaders in physics simulation," pointing out that game developers share that same view. If true, it would be reasonable to assume EA and 2K have gone against their development studios' wishes by adopting PhysX.
"People need to scrutinize various announcements on what is beling 'licensed,'" Cheng pointed out. "Is it to replace the whole physics simulation / tool stack within a game or within the whole studio? Is it for a specific physics simulation product or just a couple of titles? Remember PhysX also has game physics libraries in addition to its new GPU based products."
Cheng went on to say that Havok physics on Radeon videocards is still forthcoming, possibly by early 2009, but noted that this is just the beginning of in-game physics.