itwbennett writes "Peter Smith has done the math on Microsoft's $99 Xbox 360 — 4GB model (no hard drive) and a Kinect sensor. Here's why it's a bad deal: 'You'll be paying $99 + $359.76 in monthly fees, or $458.76 over the course of two years. Compare that with (I'm using prices from Amazon that were accurate as of May 7th, 2012) $287.70 for an Xbox 360 4GB + Kinect bundle, and two 12-month Xbox Live Gold cards at $48.41 each, a total of $384.52. So you're paying almost $75 for the privilege of laying out small cash now.' And then there's the not insignificant matter of early termination fees."
An opinion piece at Gamasutra takes a look at the recent success of Kickstarter campaigns for video game projects — Double Fine's adventure game and a sequel to Wasteland each raised around $3 million. Hundreds of other projects have sprung up, hoping to replicate that success — but will it last? From the article: "I am convinced that Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine know how to deliver a game (mostly) on time and (mostly) on budget. Brian Fargo too. Is that true for all 314 of the current Kickstarter projects? What about the projects which get started but never finished? If publishers like LucasArts can cancel games that are almost finished or like Codemasters can pay for a game it never saw, what certainty do pledgers have that the game that they have paid for will ever see the light of day? We are still in the early days of our Kickstarter relationship, the early days of falling in love. Everything our partner does is wonderful. We gloss over the risks, we ignore the downsides, because the glory of falling in love is everything. I think we have about six months left of that period. Towards the end of this year, some Kickstarter projects are going to start slipping. Some will see their teams collapse amidst bicker recriminations. Some pledgers are going to start getting very angry."
Fluffeh writes "Syria's games industry now looks like just another collateral casualty of dictator Bashar Al-Assad's struggle to hold power. 'Life for Syrian game developers has never been better,' joked Falafel Games founder Radwan Kasmiya, 'You can test the action on the streets and get back to your desktop to script it on your keyboard.' Any momentum Syria may have been building as a regional game development hub slowed considerably in 2004, when then-US President George W. Bush levied economic sanctions against the country. Under the sanctions, Syria's game developers found themselves cut off from investment money they needed to grow, as well as from other relationships that were just as important as cash. 'Any [closure of opportunity] is devastating to a budding games company as global partnerships are completely hindered,' said Rawan Sha'ban of the Jordanian game development company Quirkat. 'Even at the simplest infrastructure level, game development engines [from the US] cannot be purchased in a sanctioned country.'"
An anonymous reader writes "I guess is was inevitable, now that BMW is letting you view and make tweets from behind the wheel, but is it really a good idea to let people run smartphone apps from their dashboard monitor? I guess for navigation you could run your favorite map-app there, but there is nothing to stop people from running other apps on their dashboard too. It might be better than texting from the handset, but I'm not sure I want people playing Angry Birds while they drive."
Lucas123 writes "Researchers at UCLA have created an online crowdsourcing game designed to let players help doctors in key areas of the world speed the lengthy process of distinguishing malaria-infected red blood cells from healthy ones. So far, those playing the game have collectively been able to accurately diagnose malaria-infected blood cells within 1.25% of the accuracy of a pathologist performing the same task (PDF). The researchers hope that users of the game can help eliminate the high cost and sometimes poor accuracy of diagnosis in areas like sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria accounts for some 20% of all childhood deaths."
MojoKid writes "NVIDIA has lifted the embargo on benchmarks and additional details of their GeForce GTX 690 card today. According to a few folks at NVIDIA, company CEO Jen Hsun Huang told the team to spare no expense and build the best graphics card they possibly could, using all of the tools at their disposal. As a result, in addition to a pair of NVIDIA GK104 GPUs and 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, the GeForce GTX 690 features laser-etched lighting, a magnesium fan housing, a plated aluminum frame, along with a dual vapor chamber cooler with ducted airflow channels and a tuned axial fan. The sum total of all of these design enhancements results in not only NVIDIA's fastest graphics card to date, but also one of its quietest. In the performance benchmarks, NVIDIA's new dual-GPU powerhouse is easily the fastest graphics card money can buy right now, but of course it's also the most expensive." The GeForce GTX 690 has been reviewed lots of different places today, Tom's Hardware and AnandTech to name a few.
An anonymous reader writes "Today Bethesda announced that their popular Elder Scrolls series of video games will be getting its own MMORPG. It's planned for 2013, and will be available for PCs and Macs. 'Players will discover an entirely new chapter of Elder Scrolls history in this ambitious world, set a millennium before the events of Skyrim as the daedric prince Molag Bal tries to pull all of Tamriel into his demonic realm. "It will be extremely rewarding finally to unveil what we have been developing the last several years," said game director and MMO veteran Matt Firor, whose previous work includes Mythic's well-received Dark Age of Camelot. "The entire team is committed to creating the best MMO ever made – and one that is worthy of The Elder Scrolls franchise."'
First time accepted submitter Celexi writes "In a surprising move, Motorola Mobility (which is to be taken over by Google), has won an injunction preventing the distribution of Windows 7 and the Xbox in Germany until Microsoft starts paying royalty fees for the patents Microsoft is said to be infringing (two patents used to display H.264 video). The ruling is suspended as of now because of a restraining order, the effect in the rest of the EU and U.S. if the ban is enforced if the restraining order is lifted, is unclear." This could go into effect as soon as May 7th, pending the result of the next U.S. case hearing.
An anonymous reader writes "MIT's The Tech published an article with technical details behind the Tetris hack they did on the Green Building earlier this year. The article includes photographs of the LED modules, as well as a link to some of the source code used in the hack. The hackers have released some of the source code on GitHub, and are looking for people to contribute code that could run on the system."
MojoKid writes "The PC and console game industry is in desperate need of an overhaul. With skyrocketing costs to develop games, consumers aren't going to accept $80-$100 game titles, especially not with mobile game prices in the 99 cent — $4.99 range. Not to mention, how games are designed these days needs some serious rethinking. This list of some of the industry's most annoying gaming clichés, from scripted sequences to impossibly incompetent NPCs, and how they might be solved, speaks to a few of the major ailments in modern gameplay with character and plot techniques that are older than dirt."
An anonymous reader writes "Valve's Steam and Source Engine-based games are coming to Linux. Michael from well known site Phoronix.com has been invited to Valve's office and was able to spend a day with the developers and Gabe Newell himself. He is confirming the rumors about Linux ports from Valve, and has been able to play the games and work the developers himself. Attached in the article are pictures from Valve's offices with games running on Linux."
nukem996 writes "After initially reporting in 2010 that Valve was working on a native GNU/Linux client, one has finally been confirmed. Michael Larabel recently visited Valve's Bellvue, WA based office and has been able to see it himself. Included in the article are screenshots of the client running and speculation of a release." Valve has yet to officially comment, but you'd hope they wouldn't invite someone up to their offices and send them home to spew lies.
New submitter Serapth writes "Sony recently released the PlayStation Suite SDK to open beta. Using PSS, people are able to write games for various PlayStation certified devices in a C#/Mono based environment. This post takes a look at what's included in the SDK, which, surprisingly, is quite a bit."
tlhIngan writes "This week is Motorola's lucky week; they've won twice in two separate patent suits. First, an ITC judge has ruled that Microsoft's Xbox 360 has violated 4 of 5 patents related to h.264. This is just a preliminary ruling (PDF) and both Microsoft and Motorola will face an ITC panel later this year. In the other case, the ITC judge has ruled Apple violates a 3G patent, one that a German court ruled that Apple didn't violate earlier this year. "