Tag Archives: news

Recent Developments

There are certain industries that live or die by the critical and commercial reaction to their products. Now, you might be thinking that this is true of all industries, whether or not they pander directly to the customer or not. You would be right, that is the case. However, we are talking about specific industries that deliver goods or services directly to the customer, and whose operating habits are dictated by the consuming habits of the general public. The entertainment industry is a prime example of such. Their successes or failures are directly impacted by the shopping habits, popular opinion, and good faith of the consumer base and the general public. Should anything shift, as a result of a news item or a major cultural event, the entertainment industry would need to adjust accordingly in order to stay afloat. However, it seems that some factors regarding entertainment are rather surprising.

Video games, much like music and commercial films, are rated based upon content. Certain age groups are barred from purchasing certain titles without the consent of a parent or guardian. That is the nature of the beast, and has been for roughly 30 years. However, a recent undercover operation by the Federal Trade Commission has yielded some surprising results. When undercover teens attempt to purchase movies and music with Parental Advisory Labels, it was found that only 13% of the teens were able to purchase PAL games, as opposed to 64% buying advisory-labeled music and 34% buying DVDs of a higher rating. For more information, please visit The Hill.

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Fooling Around

Ah, that time of year is once again upon us. No, I am not talking about the holiday season, where good cheer and fellowship never seem to be in short supply. I am not talking about Thanksgiving, where respect for your fellow man and the celebration of family go hand-in-hand. I am not talking about All Hallow’s Eve, where mock-ups of ghouls and zombies and goblins roam the night looking for treats or tricks alike. No, we are not talking about the beginning or the end of a school year, or the birth and death of the year. No, this time of year is simple yet profound. Today is the day that the foolish, the pranksters, the merry revelers among us come out of the woodwork to wreak some (hopefully) good-natured havoc among the rest of us. No, your calender nor your eyes are playing their own tricks on you. Today is April Fool’s Day.

As such, you might have a few friends that are apt to be jokesters. You might have one or two or possibly more pranks played upon you as the day progresses, depending upon how many people see fit to target you. However, before the Internet it was rare that you were part of a mass prank, one that reached a great deal of people. These days, however, every April Fool’s is a chance for the Internet to let loose and just generally have cheeky fun. Video game sites such as IGN always seem to have a rather large prank going on, as well as non-gaming sites like YouTube and Google. Have fun today, but be wary of anything that seems too good to be true.


Positive Force

A few days ago we posted a story regarding a unique sort of relief drive for victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The response from all over the world has been overwhelming, with people setting aside their differences in order to help their fellow man in a time of immense crisis and turmoil. It truly goes to show that people can still do some real good in this world. Even a demographic and an industry as disparate as video gaming can be a positive force for change and aid. As we have previously detailed, major game developers such as Electronic Arts pledged to match all employee donations to the relief effort for the citizens of Japan. As well, the developers of popular application games have gone to similar lengths to raise funds.

It seems that now, gamers are taking things a step beyond conventional methods of donation. Any readers in the Denver area can get in on a one-of-a-kind charity event for the citizens of Japan on March 24th. Gaming blog Kotaku will be renting out the Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver and, for a ten dollar charge, hosting a night of video games (feauting “Rock Band,” “DJ Hero,” and others) as well as presenting a silent auction with great prizes. Again, if any readers in the Denver area can make it, it is a small cover charge for what promises to be great fun for an even greater cause. For more information, visit Kotaku.


Sony Banning PlayStation 3 Hackers for Life

If you’re a hacker — aspiring or otherwise — don’t event think about hacking into the Sony PlayStation 3 system. CNET is reporting that those who do will be banned for life from the system.

“Violation of the System Software Licence Agreement for the PlayStation 3 System invalidates the consumer guarantee for that system,” reads a notice posted to Sony’s official PlayStation blog. “In addition, copying or playing pirated software is a violation of International Copyright Laws. Consumers using circumvention devices or running unauthorized or pirated software will have access to the PlayStation Network and access to Qriocity services through PlayStation 3 system terminated permanently.”

According to one account, “If you get error 0x8002A227, Sony banned your PS3 from the PSN.”

This is just the latest step by Sony to thwart PlayStation 3 jailbreaks.

In the most well-publicized battle, the company last month requested a restraining order against famed iPhone jailbreaker George Hotz, also known as Geohot, for coming up with a jailbreak that lets people run unauthorized software on the PS3.

Sony alleged that the jailbreak, created with the assistance of the hacking group fail0verflow, violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and asked a court to stop Hotz from making any material related to his hack available on the Web. Hotz countered Sony’s claim, saying his solution was a jailbreak for a closed system, just like any jailbreak for mobile phones, which are explicitly allowed by the DMCA.


Xbox 360 Wireless Headphones!

ZDNet reports that Mad Catz has nailed the exclusive rights to the upcoming Xbox 360 wireless headphones.

Those powerful headsets will be equipped with Dolby 5.1 technology. Mad Catz will also be working on other headsets for the Xbox 360 that are tied down by wires within the Tritton series, but no exclusivity there.

For those who have never heard of Mad Catz, they are a leading 3rd party interactive entertainment accessory provider. They have now gone into agreement with Microsoft to make new wireless headphones for Xbox that will have the both their brands on the headphones. This will be the first time that there are wireless licensed headphones available for Xbox 360. Mad Catz had also previously done a wireless headset for the PS3, as well as a bluetooth wireless headset.

Commenting on the agreement, Darren Richardson, Mad Catz’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are delighted to be working so closely with Microsoft to design and brand a range of high performance headphones. The headphone category is the fastest growing category in the video game space – and this agreement assists Mad Catz’s Tritton brand in furthering its leadership to provide high-quality, innovative headphones that allow gamers and audio enthusiasts alike to enjoy a superior gaming and listening experience.”

The fruits of this agreement will be seen during the holiday season later this year.


Samsung’s 3D Computer Monitors!

Mobile Computing News is reporting that Samsung is forging ahead with their plans for the 3D computer monitors!

For it’s part, Engadget has uncovered the specs behind the Samsung 3D LED monitors range. There are two series of monitors, namely the 750 series and the 950 series. Both series have two monitors, sized at 23 inches and 27 inches. Resolution across all the monitors is 1080p, with two-millisecond response times, 1000:1 contrast ratios, with available inputs being HDMI, D-sub, DVI-DualLink connectivity and DisplayPort.

Furthermore, for those who would like to use the 3D-enabled monitors as televisions, it’s possible to order them with an optional extra in the form of a TV tuner.

The problem is we don’t know how much these Samsung 3D LED monitors will cost. This scares us. This scares us a lot, in fact, given how expensive 3D displays – let alone LED-enabled ones – have been up to this point.

Samsung’s biggest success in recent years has been its ability to build top quality products at very competitive prices. What the company does not get enough credit for is how much their industrial designers have stepped up to the plate. These monitors, with their unusual neck carved into the base and slim bezel look like something fresh out of a very sexy future.