The Courts

A Broke Fan Owes $5,400 For Pokemon-Themed Party Posters 209

Jason Koebler writes: A fan has been ordered by a Washington judge to pay the Pokémon Company International $5,400 for copyright infringement after attempting to throw a Pokemon-themed party earlier this summer. Even though he canceled the free event, the Pokemon Company successfully sued Ramar Larkin Jones, for using an image of Pikachu to promote the Unofficial PAX Pokemon Kickoff Party.

UK Gamers Can Now Get Their Money Back For Publishers' Broken Promises 73

An anonymous reader writes: An amendment to the UK Consumer Rights Act regarding digital-only purchases seems to give British videogamers redress towards publishing houses which deliver buggy code or inveigle consumers to pre-order games based on trailers or betas that demonstrate features, characters or quality not delivered in the RTM release. But the legislation is so loosely worded as to be an invitation to litigation and interpretation, and does not address mis-delivery issues for consumer models such as cloud subscriptions.
The Internet

NVIDIA Launches GeForce NOW Game Streaming Service 52

MojoKid writes: NVIDIA has championed game streaming for a number of years now, whether it's from a GeForce GTX-equipped PC to one of its SHIELD devices or from its cloud-based GRID gaming beta service to a SHIELD. Today though, NVIDIA is kicking its game streaming business up a notch by launching a new service dubbed GeForce NOW. The service streams PC games from the cloud to SHIELD devices at up to full HD 1080p resolutions at 60 fps. It may be tempting to call GeForce NOW an official re-branding of its GRID game streaming beta but that is reportedly not the case. The GRID beta is going away with the launch of GeForce NOW (an update will replace the GRID app with GeForce NOW), but according to NVIDIA, GeForce NOW was re-architected from the ground up to provide a better overall experience. NVIDIA sees GeForce NOW as sort of a "Netflix for games." There is a monthly fee of $7.99 for a subscription, which gives customers access to a slew of games. There are too many to list but top notch titles like Batman: Arkham City, Ultra Street Fighter IV, GRID 2 and many others are included. In addition to the games included in the subscriptions price, NVIDIA will also be offering GeForce NOW users access to AAA-titles on the day of release, for a fee. The games will typically be sold at a regular retail prices but not only will users get to play those games via the GeForce NOW streaming service on SHIELD devices, they'll also receive a key for playing the game on a PC as well. To use GeForce NOW you'll need an NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV, SHIELD portable, or SHIELD tablet (with the latest software updates installed) and a SHIELD-approved 5GHz router. Your broadband connection must also offer download speeds of at least 12Mb/s. 20Mb/s is recommended for 720p / 60 FPS quality, and 50Mb/s is recommended for 1080p / 60 FPS.

Retro Roundup: Old Computers Emulated Right In Your Browser 78

An anonymous reader writes: If you ever wanted to program an Altair, an Apple I, or a COSMAC ELF you may think you either have to buy one (expensive now) or load and configure simulation software. However, there's a slew of browser-based emulators for everything from a PDP-11 to Windows 1.0 out there. Some use Java, but many use Javascript and many perform better on a modern PC then they did in their original. If you want to learn some history or just want to finally play with the computers you saw in the magazines 35 years ago, these are great fun and slightly addictive.

Kids Prefer To Play Games On Mobile Devices Over Consoles 250

New submitter chloealsop writes: The NPD Group has published a report showing that more kids age 2-17 are playing games on phones and tablets than on consoles in the U.S.. 45 percent of kids use a home PC for gaming, a drop of 22 points since 2013. "The largest and most surprising shift in the 2015 gaming ecosystem was kids' move away from the computer," NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said in a press release. "In the past, the computer was considered the entry point for gaming for most kids, but the game has changed now that mobile has moved into that position. This may be related to a change in the behavior of parents that are likely utilizing mobile devices for tasks that were once reserved for computers."

Fable Legends DX12 Benchmark Stressing High End GPUs 51

Vigile writes: In preparation for the release of the free-to-play Fable Legends game on both Xbox One and PC this winter, Microsoft and Lionhead Studios released a benchmark today that allows users to test performance of their PC hardware configuration with a DirectX 12 based game engine that pushes the boundaries of render quality. Based on a modified UE4 engine, Fable Legends includes support for asynchronous compute shaders, manual resource barrier tracking and explicit memory management, all new to the DX12 API. Unlike the previous DX12 benchmark, Ashes of the Singularity, which focused mainly on high draw call counts and mass quantities of on-screen units, Fable Legends takes a more standard approach, attempting to improve image quality and shadow reproduction with the new API. PC Perspective has done some performance analysis with the new benchmark and a range of graphics cards, finding that while NVIDIA still holds the lead at the top spot (GTX 980 Ti vs Fury X), the AMD Radeon mid-range products offer better performance (and better value) than the comparable GeForce parts.

Google DeepMind's AI Beats Humans At Even More Computer Games 96

An anonymous reader writes: Google DeepMind's learning algorithm has trumped human performance in an even greater range of games from the Atari 2600. The system's performance in classic games for the 80's games console has improved steadily since it was revealed in April last year (video) and a paper released yesterday shows it besting people in 31 titles.

Nintendo Joins Khronos Group 46

jones_supa writes: Gamasutra reports that Nintendo has quietly joined Khronos Group, the consortium managing the OpenGL and Vulkan graphics APIs. The news was brought to Gamasutra's attention by a NeoGaf post, which notes that Nintendo's name was added to the list of Khronos Group contributing members earlier this month. As a Khronos Group contributor Nintendo has full voting rights and is empowered to participate in the group's API development, but it doesn't have a seat on the Khronos Group board and can't participate in the final ratification process of new API specifications.

Pokemon Go: What Nintendo Needs To Learn From Ingress 61

An anonymous reader writes: Pokemon Go marks Nintendo's biggest move into mobile yet: the augmented reality mobile game makes use of your location as well as your phone's camera to let you interact with pocket monsters in the real world. It's an audacious idea — with an accompanying trailer — but as one writer points out it will have to nail a lot of different systems to build up an active community in the same that developer Niantic has done for its previous game, Ingress. The author looks at Ingress to see where Nintendo and Niantic may draw inspiration, pointing out that the game's portal modding system could prove a great mechanism for allowing Pokemon evolutions. Expect plenty more Pokemon amiibo to interact with the upcoming wristband, too.

Nintendo Nixes YouTube Videos of Super Mario Speedruns 151

The Boston Globe reports (based on Kotaku's story earlier this month) that Nintendo is cracking down on YouTube videos which show speedruns of its games -- computer-guided play that skips completely human hands pressing buttons on a controller. Why? The article notes that these play-throughs "require the use of ROMs, digital backup files of the original game that can be freely passed from computer to computer, or downloaded from well-known websites. Therefore, Nintendo reasons — and YouTube is clearly sympathetic to this reasoning — there are copyright issues at play, since players aren’t using the (ancient) original game cartridges, or newer copies sold directly online by Nintendo." Legally justifiable or not, this seems unlikely to build goodwill with some of Nintendo's most nostalgic fans.
Linux Business

Thanks To Valve, More Than 1,500 Games Are Now On Linux 281

An anonymous reader writes: The Steam Store crossed the threshold this morning of having 1,500 games natively available for Linux. Timberman, a 0.99$ video game was the 1,500th title, but while there are a lot of indie games available for Linux, in the past three years have been a number of high profile AAA Linux games too. What games (old or new, free or paid) would you like to see available for Linux systems?

What's In Your Hand? This Malware Knows 68

An anonymous reader writes with the story that ESET researchers have uncovered spyware targeting online poker players, called Odlanor, which works by sending screenshots of a player's game (along with that player's in-game identity) to the attacker; the attacker can then search for the player with that ID, and enjoy an unfair advantage. (Also at The Inquirer.) From the ESET report: In newer versions of the malware, general-purpose data-stealing functionality was added by running a version of NirSoft WebBrowserPassView, embedded in the Oldanor trojan. This tool, detected by ESET as Win32/PSWTool.WebBrowserPassView.B, is a legitimate, albeit potentially unsafe application, capable of extracting passwords from various web browsers. ... The trojan communicates with its C&C, the address of which is hardcoded in the binary, via HTTP. Part of the exfiltrated information, such as the malware version and information identifying the computer, are sent in the URL parameters. The rest of the collected information, including an archive with any screenshots or stolen passwords, is sent in the POST request data.
The Almighty Buck

America's First Video Game Museum Is Trying To Level Up 51

martiniturbide writes: Did you ever dreamed of a Museum where you can take your kid and show him/her what you used to play when young? This museum exists and it is called "The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE)" in Oakland, California. This is non-profit videogame museum that preserves old games, has playable exhibitions, give free classes to learn to code using Scratch and host several kinds of gaming events. This museum has over 5,000 games and over 100 consoles and computers and hosted free classes for more than 400 students. Now they are launching a Kickstarter campaign because they need a bigger space.

Neural Network Chess Computer Abandons Brute Force For "Human" Approach 95

An anonymous reader writes: A new chess AI utilizes a neural network to approach the millions of possible moves in the game without just throwing compute cycles at the problem the way that most chess engines have done since Von Neumann. 'Giraffe' returns to the practical problems which defeated chess researchers who tried to create less 'systematic' opponents in the mid-1990s, and came up against the (still present) issues of latency and branch resolution in search. Invented by an MSc student at Imperial College London, Giraffe taught itself chess and reached FIDE International Master level on a modern mainstream PC within three days.

Video GameStart Uses Minecraft to Teach Kids Programming (Video 2) 18

As we said last week, "You can't teach all programming by using Minecraft to keep kids interested, but you can use Minecraft, Java, and Eclipse to give them a good start." That's what Tyler Kilgore and his colleagues at GameStart are doing. Watch today's video (number 2), go back to last week's video (number 1) if you missed it, and read both days' transcripts for the full scoop.