New submitter thunderdanp writes with news that a company called Worlds Inc. has filed a patent suit against Activision Blizzard, targeting World of Warcraft and the Call of Duty series. The patents in question describe a "System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space." Worlds Inc. is quite glad that "their" technology has "helped the businesses of virtual worlds gaming and the sale of virtual goods to grow into a multibillion-dollar industry" — but now they want a cut.
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
jjp9999 writes "Bethesda announced they're bringing Kinect support to Skyrim. It doesn't sound like this will include motion detection. Rather, it will be around voice commands — tons of voice commands. It supports dragon shouts, trading, navigation, switching weapons, and a whole lot of other features that usually require you to assign hotkeys or to sort through menus. They also gave a brief hint at new content, stating they've 'been hard at work on creating the first set of game add-ons that will be exclusive to the Xbox 360. This additional content will add new quests, locations, features, and much more to the world of Skyrim.'"
New submitter Canazza writes "According to Develop, 'PC games giant Valve wants to "invent whole new gaming experiences" and is looking for people to help create new hardware, the Washington studio has confirmed. Off the back of a wave of speculation that the studio is building its own games console – a rumour which Valve has not specifically denied – the company now appears to be increasing capacity of its hardware development division.' Is Valve designing a new console? Or is this an expansion of its biometric controls research? Either way, something big is going down at Valve."
TPIRman writes "In 1994, a physics doctoral student named Dave Ring assembled more than 100 math and puzzle enthusiasts on Usenet for what became one of the earliest online 'crowdsourcing' projects. Their goal: to determine if every hand in Windows' FreeCell solitaire game was in fact winnable, as the program's help file implied. Their efforts soon focused in on one incredibly stubborn hand: #11,982. They couldn't beat it, but in the process of trying, they proved the viability of an idea that would later be refined with crowdsourcing models like Amazon's Mechanical Turk."
techfun89 writes "Ever wished that you could defeat Bowser literally right from your coffee table with giant built in buttons? Well, your dreams have come true with the fully-functional Nintendo Controller Coffee Table. This is the creation of Charles Lushear that has combined old school entertainment with maple wood and craftsmanship. Simply plug into an existing classic NES system and go to town. The table also features a removable glass top with retractable cord to use the furniture as just a table when you are done playing Mario."
Lendrick writes "OpenGameArt.org, the Free Software Foundation, and the Creative Commons are teaming up to bring the Liberated Pixel Cup, a free-as-in-freedom game making contest starting on June 1st and going through July 31st. The contest will be divided into two phases: the first phase will be about adding on to a consistent set of art commissioned specially for the contest, and the second phase, starting on July 1st, will be about building games using the provided art."
cylonlover writes "While games like Batman: Arkham City and Gears of War are certainly entertaining, virtually beating up thugs and fighting subterranean creatures doesn't exactly translate into real world skills. However, a new agreement with teaching software developer Virtual Heroes could see Epic's Unreal Engine platform used to create more practical experiences and train medical staff and law enforcement officers to handle high-stress situations. By using Epic's Unreal Engine 3, some United States government agencies like the FBI and U.S. Army are hoping to give their employees tools for virtually practicing their skills in a more realistic environment and better prepare them to save lives."
jfruh writes "Most gamers probably know that legendary game designer Tim Schafer turned to Kickstarter to help raise money a new adventure game; aiming for $400,000, he managed to raise more than $3 million. But you might not know that a host of other game projects are doing well on the crowdfunding site, with creators ranging from industry famous to unknown. By bypassing corporate funding and appealing directly to their audience, these developers are sparking a renaissance in quirky, personal games that probably wouldn't be backed by a big label looking for a sure-fire hit."
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Navy is paying a company six figures to hack into used video game consoles and extract sensitive information. The tasks to be completed are for both offline and online data. The organization says it will only use the technology on consoles belonging to nations overseas, because the law doesn't allow it to be used on any 'U.S. persons.'" Should be a doddle.
An anonymous reader writes "The battle between angry fans and BioWare has been raging since the game's release over several issues, with the biggest being the disappointing ending. BioWare have stuck to their guns and stated that they won't make a new ending, but will release free DLC to add clarity to the existing ones."
silentbrad writes "As announced last month, Notch — creator of Minecraft — is working on a sandbox space game (no, not the Mars Effect April Fools joke, though it's similar). "The game [0x10c] is still extremely early in development, but like we did with Minecraft, we expect to release it early and let the players help me shape the game as it grows. The cost of the game is still undecided, but it's likely there will be a monthly fee for joining the Multiverse as we are going to emulate all computers and physics even when players aren't logged in. Single player won't have any recurring fees. ... The computer in the game is a fully functioning emulated 16 bit CPU that can be used to control your entire ship, or just to play games on while waiting for a large mining operation to finish. Full specifications of the CPU will be released shortly, so the more programatically advanced of you can get a head start.""
An anonymous reader writes "Following up on the 2009 story about the first graphics game written for a 16-Bit Home PC, I thought Slashdot readers might be interested in seeing the game in question running in their browsers. The original hardware has been emulated and loaded with the original machine code transcribed from PDF scans. Some brief background here."
donniebaseball23 writes "Video game publisher Electronic Arts has not only had to defend itself against 'worst company in America' labels, but GamesIndustry International has revealed that EA's been receiving thousands of letters protesting the inclusion of same-sex relationship content in games like Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The campaign against EA appears to be led by Florida Family Association and the Family Research Council. The letters threaten to boycott purchase of EA games if the company won't remove the LGBT content, and many allege that EA was pressured by LGBT activists to include the content, which they say is forcing LGBT themes on children playing the games. 'This isn't about protecting children, it's about political harassment,' said Jeff Brown, VP of corporate communications."
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from ZDNet: "Security researchers from two universities say they found how hackers can retrieve credit card data and other personal information from used Microsoft Xbox 360s, even if the console is restored back to factory settings and its hard drive is wiped. Microsoft is now looking into their story of buying a refurbished Xbox 360 from a Microsoft-authorized retailer, downloading a basic modding tool, gaining access to the console's files and folders, and eventually extracting the original owner's credit card information. Redmond is still investigating, but it's already calling the claims 'unlikely.'"
MojoKid writes "The rumor mill is still churning out quite a bit of information on new consoles this week, including new data on Nintendo's upcoming Wii U. According to unnamed developers, the Wii U actually isn't as powerful as the Xbox 360 or PS3, despite boasting HD graphics and significantly improved hardware. Meanwhile, the Xbox 720, codenamed Durango, is reportedly targeting the holiday season of 2013 as a launch window. Rumors are floating about of a required always-on internet connection and of locking out the used game market. What this discussion truly highlights is just how dysfunctional the entire console industry is and how skewed its profits are. Profits on hardware sales are so small, game shops can't survive on console sales alone. $60 MSRPs are subsidized by exchange and trade-in programs. Kicking Gamestop in the teeth may occasionally sound like fun, but the idea of killing the used games market doesn't make much sense. If used title values collapse and MSRPs stay the same or rise, the entire industry could hamstring itself in the name of higher profits."