Tag Archives: technology

At Once

It is amazing to witness just how exactly technology has an impact on our everyday lives. We can traverse the globe in great metal flying machines that can take us anywhere we want in a matter of hours. Our food lasts longer in the fridge and on the shelf than ever before, and we are enjoying all manner of different tastes. We can communicate with one another over literally nothing more than thin air instantaneously. It seems that there are no longer any borders, any true dividing lines. We are becoming one shared and united cultures, with similar ideals and points of contention. Technology has done wonders for truly uniting certain aspects of the human experience. It is easier than ever in this day and age to see just how similar we are, no matter where we might have originally grown up. There can be no borders, it seems.

Video game technology, as much as any other piece of technology might be, advances in such a way as to unite and inspire others. For the longest time, it has been the consoles that have dominated the gaming experience, gamers tethered to machines and physical media. Of course, downloadable content and the personal-computing aspect of gaming were contenders, sure. However, it is not until now that we have truly been able to do away with a physical media and move into the future. The future that we speak of is, of course, cloud computing. More specifically, it is cloud gaming, the on-demand experience that gamers seem to crave. For more information, please visit Kotaku

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Phenomena

One of the few constants in the world of popular technology is that you can never truly anticipate or predict, with any appreciable certainty, what will be popular and what will not. For every iPhone there is a Segway, you could say. You cannot really tell how something will be received by the public, or in what way it will have an impact on both popular culture and the technology world in general. You find that sometimes the big-money, throw-everything-at-it initiatives will turn out just the way you expected them to, with big paydays and critical acclaim. However, there is a curious little phenomenon present with our new technology that has an interesting and much more close-to-home impact than you might realize. Sometimes, contrary to real life but bolstered by movies and pop culture mainstays, the underdog, the little guy, wins big. Sometimes, the out-of-left-field piece of technology changes the game in a big, big way.

Video game development companies spend millions of dollars every year to develop the next generation of games, playable movies that double as out-of-body experiences for $60 a title. We, as the game-playing and game-purchasing public, will go along with it. It’s a thing of love and loyalty, to both the games themselves and to the hobby in general. However, it seems that a shake-up is occurring all around us. One of the most popular, if not the most popular video game on the market today is a simple physics game that sells in the App Store for roughly $2. Of course, we are talking about that juggernaut Angry Birds. It has made Apple a great deal of money, and this looks to be the trend for the coming year. 2011 could see Apple reign in over $1.6 billion in video game sales alone. For more information, please visit Forbes.


Uniting

There is an interesting phenomena occurring right now, under your very noses and among your peers, that you might or might not be privy to or aware of. However, it is very much so happening. It is most exemplified within the field of popular technology, but make no mistake, it is one that can be found anywhere and is usually found everywhere. It is a constant debunking of the myth of universal acclaim, the pure and simple fact that nothing can be without fault, nothing can completely, 100-percent well-received. Dissenting opinions will always be present, this is a pure fact. However, if you take them for what they are (and provided that they are not said in mean spirits), criticism can and often does lead to the betterment of the individual. You will never encounter something that is universally reviled or universally celebrated. Usually.

Of course, there always seems to be something that can take your previous definitions and concepts and turn them on their heads. There seems to be one singular thing that, when brought up in common conversation, elicits emotions that vary between derision and utter, palpable contempt. Of course, it was a prominent feature of the technology world, and has since left its impact on technological and popular culture alike. What, you ask, could this mysterious “thing” be? Well, it is a rather simple answer: Clippy. Yes, that pesky little cartoon paperclip that was featured in earlier editions of Microsoft Word is generally a reviled subject. However, a few game developers are now giving him his own title. Find more information at Design Taxi.


To Evolve

It is a universal constant, perhaps the only universal constant that we as sentient beings can rely on, that things are going to change. There is absolutely nothing we can do to stop this phenomenon. There are too many variables, too many people, and too little time for any one person to stem the tides of change and progress. Even on an atomic scale, we are subject to a billion changes over the course of the day. The best thing that we can hope to do in response to such a harsh and unforgiving reality is to adapt, to attempt to recognize the coming changes and to alter our plans and actions accordingly. You have been doing this all your life, really. You have done it so much, in fact, that it takes reminders or reflection to realize that change is an absolute. It is a reigning factor in not only your day but also in the great overall, the big picture. Really, we are beings not of stasis but of absolute change.

As our environment changes, so too do we. As we change, so too do our constructs, our society, and our plans of action regarding how we approach these things. The onset of the Internet has done some amazing things for industries as diverse as manufacturing and entertainment are to one another. One of these things the Internet has done is to bring our entertainment directly to the consumer, and it seems that this practice has bled out into the real world. Redbox, the popular DVD rental kiosk in the United States has been a major player in the film business for the past few years. They are looking to move further into the entertainment realm by integrating video game rentals into their business model. For more information, please visit mlive.


A Bit of Truth

Rumors are a mainstay in the world of technology. Indeed, it seems that every time you boot up your computer to peruse the newest tech stories, there is a new and outrageous rumor. Perhaps a new, extraordinary gadget is being developed by a major technology firm, one that could change the game. Perhaps a new video game title is set to be released a little earlier or a little later than previously thought. Whatever the case may be, these rumors mostly end up as little more than what they started out as: simple rumors, miscommunication, or something that got a little overstated. That is not to say that rumors do not have their place in the tech realm. They can be good catalysts for discussion, can move a dialogue on a particular issue into the limelight and truly get something rolling. They can of course also be catalysts for action, inspiring those who wish to see the fantastical brought to the real world.

It seems that even the most out-there rumors can be found to be true once in a while. We reported last week that Nintendo was rumored to have been on the cusp of announcing a new video gaming console at this June’s E3 Expo. The successor to the Nintendo Wii was also rumored to be a further innovator in the realm of the controller, as this new system was purported to have built-in high-definition screens that would compliment the big-screen gaming experience. A few of these rumors have now reportedly been confirmed. In a press release, Nintendo has confirmed that a new console will be released in 2012, and that specifics will be outlined at this summer’s E3 Expo. The rumors regarding the controller’s specifications were not addressed, but are expected to be the keynote of the E3 demo. For more information, please visit Gamers’ Mint.


Issues

There has been, as long as they have been in existence, a crusade of sorts against video games. A very specific aspect of this crusade is focused on a very specific type of video game: those that promote and feature a great deal of violence. Now, it goes without saying that these video games are quite popular with the game-purchasing public. It seems that almost every game manufactured, distributed, sold, and played features some variation of the “space marine” focus, where players take control of grizzled strongmen out to eradicate a certain specific type of enemy, usually a grotesque and tyrannical species of extraterrestrial. Now, the popularity of such games goes without saying. Franchises such as Halo, Gears of War, and of course the terrestrial war games in the Call of Duty series, have set records upon release and have come through to great critical acclaim. This trend does not appear to be reversing or changing anytime soon.

However, there has been some debate as to the true impact of these games. Yes, these games feature a great deal of violence and gore, highly stylized and unrepentant. However, is there really a cause for concern here? Do these games and games like these have an impact on players, especially the younger demographics? There are very strong opinions on both sides of this issue, as is expected. However, opinions and feelings are not sufficient: you must back up your points with facts. A recent Supreme Court case regarding video game impact on young players has demonstrated the use of evidence as a powerful argumentative tool in this debate. For more information, please visit Psych Central.


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.