redletterdave writes "On Thursday, former Boston Red Sox pitcher and tech entrepreneur Curt Schilling fired his entire staff at 38 Studios, his Rhode Island-based video game company, leaving more than 300 employees without jobs because the company couldn't repay its debt to the state. 38 Studios failed to pay Rhode Island's economic development agency $1.1 million, which was due last week, and also failed to meet payroll for its staff in both its Providence office and its Maryland subsidiary, Big Huge Games." The company's recent action RPG, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, sold 1.2 million copies — which would have been great if they hadn't needed to sell 3 million to break even. An article at Massively goes through some of the lessons the video game industry needs to learn from this situation.
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silentbrad writes "An editorial published at CNN is titled 'The Demise of Guys: How Videogames and Porn are Ruining a Generation.' It makes the sensationalized case that not only do game addiction and porn addiction share similar characteristics, but they're also both damaging to young men, destroying their ability to connect with women, and therefore threatening the future of our entire species. A response by IGN dissects the idea that pornography and videogames are pretty much the same thing. 'The article, by psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan argues that young men are "hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz."' Zimbardo, has danced this jig before. At the Long Beach TED conference last year he told a delighted audience that "guys are wiping out socially with girls and sexually with women." He added that young men have been so zombiefied by games and porn that they are unable to function in basic human interactions. "It's a social awkwardness like a stranger in a foreign land", he said. "They don't know what to say. They don't know what to do."'"
New submitter Direwolf20 writes "The Red Power 2 mod for Minecraft has recently been updated, and it adds a fully emulated 6502 processor that can be programmed in assembly, but comes with a Forth interpreter. From the article: 'Eloraam calls it the 65EL02, because "it supports all the 6502, 65C02, and part of the 65C816 instruction set" as well as "a set of completely new instructions and two addressing modes. Since the 65EL02 is an 8-bit CPU, Eloraam didn't have as many options for programming environments as we have on today's 64-bit computers. While it's possible to program the 65EL02 in assembly language, for general use she chose to implement a Forth interpreter. Further technical information about RedPower Control's 65EL02 is available on Eloraam's blog RP Control Internals, and on the RedPower wiki's page for Red Power Control.' (Fair disclosure: The video linked in the article is mine.)"
symbolset writes "In the long running dispute between Motorola and Microsoft, Judge David Shaw of the ITC recommended Monday an import ban on Xbox 360 S consoles, as they are found to infringe Motorola's patents (PDF). The judge also ordered Microsoft post a bond of 7 percent of the retail price of all unsold U.S. Xbox inventory. The decision will go to the ITC's board of commissioners, who will either uphold the recommendation or overturn it. 'Microsoft argued that Shaw's exclusion order does not serve the public interest because it would leave consumers of video game consoles with only two options to satisfy their needs: the Sony Playstation and the Nintendo Wii. Shaw rejected that argument, finding that the public interest in enforcing intellectual property rights outweighs any potential economic impact on video game console buyers.'" This follows news last week of Microsoft winning an import ban on Motorola's Android devices.
colinneagle writes with an excerpt from Network World: "Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London began trials of a Kinect-driven camera last week that would sense body position, and by waving his or her hands, the surgeon can sift through medical images, such as CT scans or real-time X-rays, while in the middle of an operation. During surgery, a surgeon will stop and consult medical images anywhere from once an hour to every few minutes. So the surgeon doesn't have to leave the table, the doctor will work with assistants, but sometimes, if you want things done to your satisfaction, you have to do it yourself. Dr. Tom Carrell, a consultant vascular surgeon at Guy's and St Thomas', described an operation on a patient's aorta earlier this month to New Scientist. 'Up until now, I'd been calling out across the room to one of our technical assistants, asking them to manipulate the image, rotate one way, rotate the other, pan up, pan down, zoom in, zoom out.' With the Kinect, he says, 'I had very intuitive control.'"
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.'"
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."