An anonymous reader writes "This article at the Verge claims that Valve is currently working on a way to bring Steam to the living room with its own gaming console. Quoting: 'According to sources, the company has been working on a hardware spec and associated software which would make up the backbone of a "Steam Box." The actual devices may be made by a variety of partners, and the software would be readily available to any company that wants to get in the game. Adding fuel to that fire is a rumor that the Alienware X51 may have been designed with an early spec of the system in mind, and will be retroactively upgradable to the software. Apparently meetings were held during CES to demo a hand-built version of the device to potential partners. We're told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU. The devices will be able to run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services (like EA's Origin) to be loaded up. Part of the goal of establishing a baseline for hardware, we're told, is that it will give developers a clear lifecycle for their products, with changes possibly coming every three to four years. Additionally, there won't be a required devkit, and there will be no licensing fees to create software for the platform.'"
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An anonymous reader writes "As Slashdot readers know Intel's research project on ray tracing for games has recently been shown at 1080p, using eight Knights Ferry cards with Intel's 'Many Integrated Core' architecture. Now a white paper goes into more detail, documenting near-linear scaling for the cloud setup with 8 cards, and gives details on the implementation of 'smart anti-aliasing.' It will be interesting to see how many instances of Intel's next MIC iteration — dubbed Knights Corner, with 50+ cores — will be required for the same workload."
An anonymous reader writes "After three years, Ubisoft is finally finishing the newest installment of their Templars vs. Assassins series, set during the American Revolution. PC Magazine reports that 'If the cover art is any indicator, the new Assassin is pals with George Washington, Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, and the other leading American revolutionaries of the day.' A team of developers at Ubisoft reportedly dedicated a full three-year development cycle to re-examining every element in the franchise to improve the game — although it could've taken even longer."
New submitter dommer2029 writes "A few years back, Sony bought up a small company running an online collectible card game called Star Chamber: The Harbinger Saga. Two days ago, they announced that the servers will be shutting down on March 29, 2012. All of our virtual collectible cards? Poof. It's not surprising — the user base is small and dwindling — but it's proof that any server-based digital goods you 'own' can vanish on a corporation's whim."
silentbrad points out an article about the gradual shift of video games from being 'goods' to being 'services.' They spoke with games lawyer Jas Purewal, who says the legal interpretation is murky: "If we're talking about boxed-product games, there's a good argument the physical boxed product is a 'good,' but we don't know definitively if the software on it, or more generally software which is digitally distributed, is a good or a service. In the absence of a definitive legal answer, software and games companies have generally treated software itself as a service – which means treating games like World of Warcraft as well as platforms like Steam or Xbox LIVE as a service." The article continues, "The free-to-play business model is particularly interesting, because the providers of the game willingly relinquish direct profits in exchange for greater control over how players receive the game, play it, and eventually pay for it. This control isn't necessarily a bad thing either. It can help companies to better understand what gamers want from their games, and done properly such services can benefit both gamers and publishers. Of course, the emphasis here is on the phrase 'done properly.' Such control can easily be abused."
RogueyWon writes "According to reports in Kotaku and Forbes, Sony is planning to ditch the Cell processor that powered the PlayStation 3 and may be planning to power the console's successor using a more conventional PC-like architecture provided by AMD. In the PS3's early years, Sony was keen to promote the benefits of its Cell processor, but the console's complicated architecture led to many studios complaining that it was difficult to develop for."
An anonymous reader writes "If you're sick of playing Angry Birds, or don't like touchscreen controls, there is now an alternative if you don't mind some construction. mbed have posted full instructions and a parts list for creating your very own USB slingshot, adding a physical element to playing the game. You need a decent branch for the slingshot, a microcontroller, USB connector, accelerometer, and a rubber stretch sensor. The C++ code is provided, and as a weekend project I can see this being pretty satisfying to create."
People who hear about the Seattle Pinball Museum tend to say things like, "Seems like a must-visit destination in Seattle," and, "Why did no one tell me about this place!??!" Timothy Lord, Slashdot Editor and Video Host, agrees. Watch the video to see a huge grin on Timothy's face. And if you ever get to the Seattle Pinball Museum yourself, you'll probably have a smile on your face, too.
redletterdave writes "Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, designed every kid's dream study: they passed out Wii consoles to 78 kids who didn't already have one, and gave half the kids their choice of active game — such as Wii Sports or Dance Dance Revolution-Hottest Party 3 — and the other half their choice of inactive game, such as Disney Sing-It Pop Hits or Super Mario Galaxy. The research team tracked the youngsters for 13 weeks, testing their physical activity levels with a motion-measuring accelerometer. Participants wore the devices on a belt during four different week-long periods throughout the study, which allowed the research team to determine when they were sedentary or lightly exercising and when they were engaged in moderate-to-vigorous exercise. Accelerometer logs showed that throughout the study period, kids with the active games didn't get any more exercise than those given inactive video games. There was also no difference in minutes spent doing light physical activity or being sedentary during any week the researchers monitored."
An anonymous reader writes "My wife and just successfully funded the production of our board game on Kickstarter, and are putting the over-funding toward the development of an electronic version of the game. It's a two player game turn-taking game with pawn movement that we envision being played on a social network (Words with Friends-style) and it's important to us that it be DRM-free. Does anyone have any experience or know of issues we should consider in terms of preserving the users' rights, achieving scalability, and gaining exposure through the ability to interoperate with platforms like Facebook, the iTunes store, Android market, and so on?"
porsche911 writes with this excerpt from the New York Times: "Steve Kordek, who revolutionized the game of pinball in the 1940s by designing what became the standard two-flipper machine found in bars and penny arcades around the world, died on Sunday at a hospice in Park Ridge, Ill. He was 100. ... 'Steve's impact would be comparable to D. W. Griffith moving from silent films through talkies and color and CinemaScope and 3-D with computer-generated graphics,' [pinball historian Roger] Sharpe said. 'He moved through each era seamlessly.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Game journalist Stuart Campbell has written an incisive piece on how the digital distribution model users have grown to know and love over the past several years still has some major problems that go beyond even the DRM dilemma. He provides an example of an app developer using very shady update techniques to screw over people who have legitimately purchased their app. Touch Racing Nitro, a retro racing game, launched to moderate success. After tinkering with price points to get the game to show up on the top download charts, the developers finally made it free for a period of four months. 'Then the sting came along. About a week ago (at time of writing), the game received an "update," which came with just four words of description – "Now Touch Racing Free!" As the game was already free, users could have been forgiven for thinking this wasn't much of a change. But in fact, the app thousands of them had paid up to £5 for had effectively just been stolen. Two of the game's three racing modes were now locked away behind IAP paywalls, and the entire game was disfigured with ruinous in-game advertising, which required yet another payment to remove.'"
YokimaSun writes "Sony has today released the PSVita in the U.S. and Europe. The console comes with features such as dual touch pads at the front and rear, dual cameras at the front and rear, dual analog sticks, a 5-inch OLED screen, GPS, six-axis motion sensors and a three-axis electronic compass. The PSVita is Sony's attempt at stealing the thunder away from the 3DS but also bringing back the gamers lost to the likes of Android and iOS Devices. The PSVita in Japan sold massively on its first release week but since has struggled and sold less than the PSP. With this in mind sites like Amazon have been offering many different deals to entice people to buy the console. Can Sony stop homebrewers from taking over this console?"
An anonymous reader writes "In hopes of protecting the children of California from the ravages of violent video games, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to push through a law that would fine retailers $1000 for each infraction of selling a violent game to an underage child. However, in the wake of appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down the law, California is now forced to pay the legal fees of all parties to the tune of two million dollars."