New submitter The God of Code writes "EA has announced that they will be waiving all Origin distribution fees for crowd-funded games — like those from Kickstarter — for the first 90 days. 'The public support for crowd-funding creative game ideas coming from small developers today is nothing short of phenomenal,' Origin VP David DeMartini commented. 'It's also incredibly healthy for the gaming industry. Gamers around the world deserve a chance to play every great new game, and by waiving distribution fees on Origin we can help make that a reality for successfully crowd-funded developers.' The recently funded Wasteland 2 developer Brian Fargo applauds EA's move, saying, 'Having Origin waive their distribution fees for 90 days for fan funded games is a major economic bonus for small developers. We look forward to bringing Wasteland 2 to the Origin audience.'"
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medv4380 writes "38 Studios, run by Curt Schilling, is having a hard time paying its bills and employees. The gaming community hasn't been happy with the company since the issue with an Online Pass for Single Player Content, which we discussed previously. Now, 38 Studios has bounced a check intended as a payment on its $75 million loan from the state of Rhode Island. If the company defaults, Rhode Island taxpayers will have to cover the loan and interest, which could total nearly $100 million."
Vigile writes "NVIDIA today announced a new technology partnership with Gaikai, an on-demand gaming company that competes with OnLive, to bring GeForce GRID to the cloud gaming ecosystem. GRID aims to increase both the visual quality and user experience of cloud gaming by decreasing latencies involved in the process — the biggest hindrance to acceptance for consumers. NVIDIA claims to have decreased the time for game stream capture and decode by a factor of three by handling the process completely on the GPU, while also decreasing the 'game time' with the power of the Kepler GPU. NVIDIA hopes to help both gamers and cloud streaming companies by offering 4x the density currently available and at just 75 watts per game stream. The question remains — will mainstream users adopt the on-demand games market as they have the on-demand video market?"
Almost 12 years after the launch of its predecessor, Diablo III has now been released. The game went live last night with over 8,000 midnight launch parties across the world. 2,000,000 players showed up for the beta test prior to launch, including 300,000 concurrently during an open beta weekend, but even so, the login servers struggled for the first few hours after launch. Diablo III had been in the works for quite some time — another example of Blizzard's notoriously long development cycle — and game director Jay Wilson said it was in "polish mode" for the past two years. "One of our sayings internally is 'polish as you go.' We have a belief that when you put a feature in, you should prototype, but then after you prototype you should do the real thing, and you should polish it to shipping quality." For those of you who are familiar with this type of game, there's an official game guide in which you can browse class skills, items, and other game information. There are also YouTube videos showing how each of the classes work.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers Jon Moeller, Andruid Kerne, and a team from the Interface Ecology Lab at Texas A&M University showcased the latest ZeroTouch multi-finger sensing technology at ACM CHI, in Austin. ZeroTouch is a new spin on infrared sensing technology, which optimizes the sensor readout cycle for a linear array of modulated infrared light receivers. ZeroTouch also constitutes a precise free-air sensing technology (Kinect can be used as a complementary technology to sense depth). Researcher Bill Hamilton uses ZeroTouch integrated with Wacom Cintiq to showcase new embodied eSports interaction (video) for the open source Zero-K real time strategy game."
Fluffeh writes "Yesterday the Australian Division of GAME saw an email from their Marketing Manager confirming that the 95-store chain has gone into voluntary administration. PriceWaterhouseCoopers partner Kate Warwick said, 'Initially we will continue to trade all stores, operating these on as close to a "business as usual" mode as possible whilst we get a clearer understanding of the current state of the business and actively pursue options to secure its future.' It also seems that GAME is having a bit of a fire sale, with many titles, including quite a few new releases, now in a $5-$74 bargain bin. Ms. Warwick also noted that the company's customers hold various claims against the company under loyalty cards, gift cards and vouchers. She said, 'We are working on schemes aimed at giving customers some return on these claims if they are used to make additional purchases.'" This follows similar news from the UK in March.
TheGift73 writes in with this link about IE 9 coming to an Xbox 360 near you. "Microsoft is currently testing a modified version of Internet Explorer 9 on its Xbox 360 console, according to our sources. The Xbox 360 currently includes Bing voice search, but it's limited to media results. Microsoft's new Internet Explorer browser for Xbox will expand on this functionality to open up a full browser for the console. We are told that the browser will let Xbox users surf all parts of the web straight from their living rooms."
Dr Herbert West writes "20 years ago today, id software released Wolfenstein 3D, inspired by the classic Apple II game, Castle Wolfenstein. To celebrate, Bethesda Softworks on Wednesday released a free, browser-based version of the iconic first-person shooter. Users can pick which level they wish to play in the browser version, even the secret levels."
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."'