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723 results for digital
GAMES@LARGE industry survey - participation wanted! in Gaming

Games and related industries professionals (games developers,publishers and industry experts/ISPs/content agglomerators/set top boxmanufacturers...): if you canspare a few minutes, your opinion on an EU-funded digital gamingplatform project would be very much appreciated. Our research team inthe Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, iscurrently working on an EU-funded digital gaming platform projectcalled Games@Large. As part of an industry consultation process we haveset up a short online survey. Any help in completing the survey and/or getting it out to other industry professionals would be great.
The survey (and links to project brochure) is at:

http://homepages.gold.ac.uk/ps-tec/galic


THANKS!
Dr Richard Carmichael
Goldsmiths, University of London
Posted by R Carmichael Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:35 pm
New 60GB Xbox 360 announced, cheaper 20GB version in Gaming
Microsoft has announced that it willbe producing a new $349 60GB Xbox 360, and the 20 GB version that itwill slowly replace will be cut in price in the US to $299.
AlthoughUK price changes have not been published, the arrival of a new 60GBversion – giving users much more memory for things like movies,trailers and Xbox Live Arcade games – is in keeping with Microsoft'spush into downloadable content.
"We know consumers need moreand more space to store the amazing digital content Xbox 360 offers,and we're giving it to them at no extra charge," said Albert Penello,Xbox director of product management at Microsoft.
"No onedevice offers the depth and breadth of entertainment that Xbox 360 candeliver, and now you'll have three times the storage to manage all thatgreat content."
What does it mean for UK?
The20GB version of the Xbox 360 – normally known as the Pro – currentsells for £199.99, and it seems likely that the news 60GB version willretail for the same price when it hits UK shelves.
This meansthat the older 20GB version will be given a price reduction, althoughit remains to be seen how close that will be to the Arcade version(with a much smaller storage capacity) which is currently priced at£159.99.
Microsoft's support of the now-failed HD DVD drive has meant a shift of focus onto downloadable HD (and SD) content.
Thesuccess of Xbox Live Marketplace has buoyed the console, and the offerof extra storage to boost these services makes a good deal of sense.


Prices for all other models remain unchanged, so that’s $279(£141/€176) for the Arcade (that’s the one with a 256MB memory card)and $449 (£226/€283) for the Elite – the flagship model with anintegrated 120GB HDD.
Although the leaked email said the new machine would be called thePro, Microsoft’s official announcement of the 60GB model didn’t use anysuch uplifting title.
The bad news is that – at least for the time being – the 60GB Xbox360 will only appear in the US and Canada when it goes on sale nextmonth.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:08 pm
Samsung SyncMaster 245T in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
There's an awful lot of panel sharing going on in the LCD market thesedays, isn't there? It seems that even some of the most no-name brandsare now sporting panels made by a few giant, well-known manufacturers.It's enough to make a consumer wonder whether paying extra for apremium branded monitor is really worth it.

With that in mind, what is there to think about Samsung's newlyincumbent 24-inch model, the 245T? One thing is for sure, if you want amonitor with a quality Samsung-manufactured PVA panel, you don't needto pay over £600 for a monitor with that Samsung badge on the front.There are plenty of other screens with Samsung PVA panels inside, andsome can be had for less than £350.

Hence, the key question is not whether the new 245T is a good monitor.Instead, the question is this: Can the 245T really be worth nearlytwice as much as the lesser branded but similarly specified opposition?

That's what we're here to find out...and we just happen to have a muchmore affordable 24-inch widescreen on hand, one powered by a SamsungPVA LCD panel. That'll be the Hyundai W241D-PVA.


Features and Build QualityThe 245T is hardly the last word inswishy, swanky styling. The aforementioned Hyundai (with its glossyblack and white plastics) roasts it for pure desktop presence, forinstance. But thanks to the high quality of its construction, itnevertheless has a certain understated class. The bezel is a slim 15mmall the way around which emphasises the display, although the entiremain panel is quite a weighty 80mm thick. Front to back, you'll need atleast 25cm of desk space to accommodate the large, sturdy base.


Click to enlarge

The no-nonsense OSD controls are an extremely welcome and user-friendlyfeature, as is the stand's comprehensive adjustability. Not only areswivel, tilt, rotate and height tweakage on the menu, but they are all incredibly smoothto operate yet easily hold any position set without the need for clipsor locks. Given the panels size and weight, it's not light enough tomove without some effort - but it certainly doesn't require brute forceeither.


Click to enlarge

In terms of inputs, most of the usual suspects make an appearance.Digital connectivity takes the form of a single DVI port and an HDMIsocket, both with HDCP support. However, there is no DisplayPortavailable. On the analogue side, it has the lot - VGA, S-Video,component and composite. In short, there's very little that you can'thook up to the 245T. It even sports picture-in-picture mode for smoothmulti-input juggling; however, that feature is limited to onlycomponent (AV), S-Video and composite, not the digital inputs or VGA.

A final disappointment is the presence of inverse ghosting. As we havementioned previously, inverse ghosting is a problem that's thought tobe a result of pixel-response-enhancing overdrive technology. In simpleterms, it involves a trail or shadow that appears in the wake of movingobjects in some situations, typically in more or less the oppositecolour to the moving object.

Most of the time, it's a minor issue with the 245T. But with certaincolour combinations, it results in some pretty horrific renderingartifacts. For instance the text on this page exhibits some particularly horrible black trails and smearing when jostling the window around.

It's absolutely not what you expect from a premium brandlike Samsung. What's more, if you had just invested over £600 on thismonitor, well, you'd have every right to feel extremely let down.



Click to enlarge

Final ThoughtsThere's a lot to like about the 245T includingits static image quality, viewing angles and contrast performance. Butat this price point, something close to perfection is to be excepted.At £600+ any major flaws are simply unacceptable and the fact that the245T actually has two – moderate input lag and occasionally seriousinverse ghosting – might seem pretty shocking.

However, these problems are related to the PVA panel technology thatdominates the high end 24-inch monitor scene at the moment. Moreprecisely, they appear when pixel overdrive techniques are used tospeed up the extremely slow response. In other words, they are hard toavoid on PVA monitors.

So, what we would really like to see is more choice in this part of themarket. Without question, IPS panel technology has some weaknessescompared with PVA as contrast performance and the depth of renderedblacks are typically a little off the pace. But PVA technology hasenough drawbacks that mean the extended choice would be very welcome.


In any case, the key points to note about the 245T go something likethis. Yes, it is that little bit more vibrant and accurate than cheaperPVA monitors from lesser brands; the colours boast better fidelity, theblacks are deeper and the whites a touch cleaner. But even Samsung hasnot been able to eradicate the overdrive related glitches that commonlyspoil 24-inch PVA monitors.

With all that in mind, it's pretty hard to recommend the 245T. If youcan live with the minor image quality issues, then you are better offwith a significantly lower priced but only slightly inferior model froma lesser brand. Even a TN+Film 24-incher with slightly sludgy coloursand washed out blacks makes more sense – it's certainly a much cheaper option and will do a much better job for games.

Until a monitor maker manages to solve the input lag and inverseghosting issues with PVA screens or plops in a quality 24-inch IPS TFTalternative, the perfect 24-inch panel will remain infuriatingly out ofreach.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:14 am
11 Best 'God Games' Of All Time (Sims, Darwinia,Spore...) in Gaming
Whenit comes to video games, everyone talks about first person shooters andRPG's.  But don't forget about god games.  They differ greatly from theaction of those other genres, but their difficulty lies in how theyrequire skill in strategizing and dealing with real time challengeswhile utilizing only what resources are available.

11.)  Utopia (1982)

Utopia was released in 1982, and is probably the first god game of all time.  Unlike most games of this genre, Utopia isa two player game.  Players controlled their own island, and got pointsfor things like feeding the people and preventing violence from rebelactivity.  Players can also sabotage the other player by putting rebelsoldiers on their island in the hopes that they destroy somethingvaluable.  Alright, you wouldn't play this game today in favor ofsomething more modern, but in its day, Utopia was a great strategy game that allowed you to destroy something your friend had built.  Props for that.

10.)  Populous (1989)

Populous, which was released in 1989 by Bullfrog for the computer,is considered one of the earliest god games.  The user plays the roleof god, or some sort of deity, and is given a plot of land in which heor she has to create a civilization.  Your civilization has to protectitself from other civilizations.  The only way for a player to advancein the game is to accrue points through the statistics of theircivilization.  Depending on the amount of points, players can advancemultiple levels at once.

9.)  Black and White II (2005)

Released in 2005, Black and White 2 is the sequelto the game that enables the player to be a god that rules over avillage.  They can choose to be either a good god or an evil god, whichis obvious by the way the god conducts himself ie, protecting hisfollowers when in need, or just destroying their homes for no reason. In order to control the game, the player utilizes a hand that performstasks for the inhabitants of the village, tasks like miracles can onlybe performed with a certain amount of prayer power, that is, thefollowers must be asking for a miracle if you want to grant one.  Black and White 2 built on the potential of its predecessor, and made the series even better.

8.)  The Settlers (1994)

The Settlers is a pretty straightforward premise:  You'rehelping people who've moved onto a new land to create a community thatproperly feeds, shelters, and protects all its inhabitants.  In orderto import goods, you need to build roads, if you want protection, youneed knights, and if you want knights, you need a healthy supply ofgold or they'll bolt.  Send your knights to attack other lands, and beas ruthless as necessary.  The Settlers is your chance to be a cut-throat feudal lord.

7.)  Zeus: Master Of Olympus (2000)

Slightly different than most god games, Zeus: Master of Olympusgives the player the role of city builder, as opposed to being anactual god.  In fact, players can build temples to the gods forrewards.  Players are encouraged to gather raw materials like wood,bronze, and marble for buildings.  Players are encouraged to buildphilosophy and drama schools, as well as gymnasiums to train athletesto compete in the games that are held every four years. Land isrequired to grow crops like wine grapes, and olives.  Zeus: Master of Olympus is a fun way to live like the Greeks.

6.)  SimCity2000 (1993)

The sequal to SimCity, SimCity2000 gave playersmore control of their environments.  Players are able to build newfacilities, namely, sports stadiums, hospitals, schools, prisons, andzoos etc.  One of the coolest things the game allows the player tobuild is the arcology, a giant and futuristic structure meant to housemany people.  At one point in the game, if the player has built enougharcologies, all of them will take off in order to start newcivilizations on far away planets.

5.)  Roller Coaster Tycoon (1999)

Who doesn't want to design and build rollercoasters?  Roller Coaster Tycoonfrom Frontier Developments gave players the chance to do just that withthis 1999 release, and it didn't disappoint.  Players were able tocreate their own amusement parks from scratch, all the while dealingwith financial and landscape restrictions.  In order to have asuccessful park, it's important to maintain a level of customerhappiness, enough employees to entertain guests and repair rides, witha wide array of both intense and low-intensity rides to appeal to allpossible guests preferences.  Don't forget to hire a cleaning crew,guests will vomit if they go on intense rides.

4.)  The Sims (2000)

The Sims is the best selling video game for the PC ever.  It passed Myst and has sold over 6 million copies.  The Sims doesnot have an ultimate goal or ending of any sort.  Goals are to simplycontrol a sim and have them lead a good life, and accomplish personalgoals.  This can be done by getting a good job, having a nice house,interacting with other sims and forming relationships, among otherthings.  It is possible to fail however, and this occurs when theplayer's sim dies.  Death can happen due to starvation, accidents (likedrowning or electrocution), or disease.  Sims can have a limited amountof personal freedom in the game, but any action they perform isoverwritten by the player's commands.  The Sims offersplayers the chance to control another person's life, which isimportant, especially if you're trying to escape the shittiness of yourown.

3.)  Evil Genius (2004)

Give into your destructive urges with Evil Genius.  Thegame parodies many of the classic evil genius cliches; secret lair onan island, a giant map of the world, evil henchmen, and secret agentssent to destroy you.  The player is given the chance to choose one ofthree characters to run their evil organization.  From there, you needto research weapons, enlist the help of evil minions, and devise plansfor the destruction of the world.  When you've reached the point ofworld domination, you can launch a powerful and destructive weapon thatwill bring the world to its knees, with you as its leader.

1.)  Darwinia

While not specifically a god game, Darwinia employs a lotof god game like elements in order for the player to completeobjectives.  The storyline revolves around Dr. Sulpaveda, a mysteriousman who invented a digital theme world that is currently beingdestroyed by a virus.  Dr. Sulpaveda enlists the players help indestroying the virus so that he can protect the years of research he'sput into the digital world.  It's very unique in that the player isdefending a world that doesn't exist except as a digital place on acomputer.

1.)  (Possibly Upon Release) Spore (2008)

We admit, this game hasn't even been released yet, but by the looks of it, and the hype surrounding it, Sporecould be the best god game of all time.  The ideo of the game is tocreate an entire species beginning with the creation of a single celledorganism.  Your cell eats weaker cells and plants, gaining "DNA points"which allow you to buy upgrades.  You continue to grow the cell untilit grows into a social animal, where it can finally ascend into spaceto interact with other complex beings.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:56 am
Gamecock and Firefly studios titles now available via Steam in Gaming
Gamecock Media Group and Valve Corporation have announced anagreement to launch Gamecock titles on the Steam digital distributionplatform.
The first titles available on Steam will be FireflyStudios' Stronghold Crusader Extreme and Insecticide Part 1, which arenow available for USD 29.99.
Additional Gamecock titles -including Insecticide Part 2, Velvet Assassin and Legendary - will bemade available via Steam later this year.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:54 am
Rating the Games-on-Demand Services - with WIRED Video in Gaming
Digital delivery -- downloading games directly onto your console --is going to be a big part of the future of videogames. But Sony,Microsoft and Nintendo are all taking different approaches to theconcept, and none of them are entirely superior.


In this week's episode of Game|Life the Video, we rate the Wii's,Xbox 360's and PlayStation 3's games-on-demand services in twocategories: How the services stack up against each other now, and howthe companies' strategies will shape the future potential of theservices.
Which has the most potential: Xbox Live Arcade, WiiWare or PlayStation Store? Tell us in the comments section, won't you?
As always, if you're having trouble viewing the embedded video above,this week's episode of Game|Life the Video is also available on Wired's YouTube channel and on iTunes.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:22 am
Spore Creature Creator tops US charts - have you got it? in Gaming
The NPD Group has released US PC software sales datafor the week ending June 21, with EA's Spore Creature Creator comingout on top.
Maxis reported that one millionSpore creatures were created and shared during the stand-aloneprogram's first week of availability. The full Spore game will bereleased in September.
Sales of Spore Creature Creator werestrong enough to place the game at number six on the All Categorieslist - the only game to appear alongside business, education andutility software.
                   
The Top Ten best-selling PC games in the US for the week ending June 21 were:

  • 1      Spore Creature Creator (EA)
  • 2 The Sims 2 Double Deluxe (EA)
  • 3 Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (Eidos)
  • 4 World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Expansion Pack (Vivendi>
  • 5 World Of Warcraft (Vivendi)
  • 6 World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest (Vivendi)
  • 7 The Sims 2 FreeTime Expansion Pack (EA)
  • 8 The Sims 2 Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff Expansion Pack     (EA)
  • 9      Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare     (Activision)
  • 10 Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (LucasArts)


The Spore Creature Creator was software that allowed players to create their own creatures with a standalone version of the Creature Editor from Spore; the software was one of the first aspects of the game to receive focused development, and had undergone ten rewrites since the start of development. It was rated E by the ESRB in early March 2008, indicating that the editor would be released separately well before the game's release as a utility program. Electronic Arts told MTV Asia that "EA Screen will provide visitors a chance to interact with EA's game producers hailing from the studios, and unveil the hugely anticipated SPORE Creature Creator demo version to gamers for the first time in Asia." Electronic Arts VP Mark Buechner stated on the Spore Facebook page that the editor would be released in June or July 2008, saying, "We are looking at releasing it two to three months before the launch of the full game."

The SimCity Box artwork showed a blurb stating that the creature editor would be included with it. IGN revealed that the Spore Creature Creator utility will be available in two different versions on June 18, 2008. There was a paid version (for $9.95) and a free demo that was downloadable from Spore.com and included for free, bundled with The SimCity Box. The free version of the editor only contained 25% of the available creature parts that were found within the full version.

The utility included a test environment for players to see their creatures go through animations and allow the player to import other user-created creatures through the Sporepedia at Spore.com. The utility included screen capture and video tools as well, including YouTube functionality.

The editor also gave the user the ability to create animated avatars,and output in RSS and embeddable HTML code to facilitate easy incorporation into such sites as MySpace and Facebook.

Shortly after its introduction, the Creature Creator was used to create creatures with oversized genitalia, either stand-alone or engaged in coitus (a phenomenon quickly dubbed 'sporn'). EA responded with e-mails sent to those who made pornographic machinima from its demo, and has flagged certain on-line accounts for "TOS violations". Furthermore, YouTube has pulled several such videos for violations of its own TOS.

By June 24, 2008, users had already created over one million creatures.

It has been noted by those using the Spore Creature Creator, that while the Social and Attack categories can reach a max score of 20 with enough parts on the creature, the Abilities category does not achieve a max in the Creature Creator. This has led to speculation from it being the brain levels to advanced sensory abilities to telekinesis.


Electronic Arts confirmed that Spore will be receiving post-release expansion packs. No other information is available as to what sort of content the packs will feature, but EA has hinted it will be similar to The Sims expansions.


In the news
Spore Creature Creator free in the UK Videogamer.com

A Wii spinoff of the game has been mentioned by Will Wright several times, such as in his October 26, 2007 interview with the Guardian.Buechner confirmed it, revealing that plans for a Wii version were underway, and that the game would be built from the ground up and would take advantage of the Wii Remote, stating, "We're not porting it over. You know, we're still so early in design and prototyping that I don't know where we're going to end up, so I don't want to lead you down one path. But suffice to say that it's being developed with the Wii controls and technology in mind."The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Spore are still under consideration.

Merchandising

There will be an iTunes-style "Spore Store" built into the game, allowing players to purchase external Spore licensed merchandise, such as t-shirts, posters, and future Spore expansion packs.There are also plans for the creation of a type of Spore collectible card game based on the Sporepedia cards of the creatures, buildings, vehicles, and planets that have been created by the players.There are also indications of plans for the creation of customized creature figurines; some of those who designed their own creatures at E3 2006 later received 3D printed models of the creatures they created. The Spore Store also allows people to put their creatures on such items as T-shirts, mugs and stickers.

The Spore team is working on a partnership with a comic creation software company to offer comic book versions of your own Spore story. Comic books with stylized pictures of various creatures, some whose creation has been shown in various presentations, can be seen on the walls of the Spore team's office.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:13 am
Nikon launches D700 - technology used in D3 in Film, Photography, Digital Animation, Broadcasting / Production
While there's been rumours surrounding the D700 for some time now, at a press event in London yesterday, with TechRadarpresent, Nikon finally confirmed it is to release the D700 andexplained how it fits into the company's expanding DSLR portfolio.
The D700 is a 12MP camera that uitlises the same image quality of its bedfellow, the Nokon D3.
The12MP images come courtesy of the cam's CMOS sensor, while othertechnology taken from the D3 include the EXPEED high-speedimage-processing system, 14-bit A/D conversion and 16-bit processingpipeline that helps with smoothing out images when they are reproducedon a large scale.

Lightweight design
TheNikon D700 is a lightweight and durable camera that builds on the workdone by the company with the D3, but achieves it with a smaller,lighter design.
Working in low-light conditions the D700 isimpressive, shooting up to ISO 6400 and delivering virtually noise-freeimages, according to its makers.
Continuous shooting can bedone 8fps with the appropriate battery pack, while autofocus is done toprecision with a 51-point AF system.
As Nikon has made its DSLRrange easier to carry, it has taken on board that people may want toshoot in less-than perfect conditions, so the company has added a sealto the camera that protects it from moisture, dust and evenelectromagnetic interference.
The sensor is also protected withan Integrated Dust Reduction System that stops the CMOPS chip fromcoming into contact with dust and humidity.
Recognition
Oneof the newer options is the ability for the camera to recognise peopleand places and to automatically configure the controls accordingly.Included is Nikon's Scene Recognition System, and the camera will alsorecognise certain colours that can aid in faster capturing of, say,individuals at a sports event.
As with most new cameras, the D700 houses Live View, but the company has made the mode more responsive this time around.
Accordingto Nikon, you can now focus the camera while in this mode, and you canalso zoom in, which can aid in setting up the focus for your shot.
The menu system is the same as that found on the D3 and D300 so regular Nikon users will feel right at home using the camera.
TheNikon D700 is an expansion of the companies FX range and has beendesignied to sit in between the D3 and D300 in terms of technology. Thecamera is out in July at a price of £1,999.99 (body only).

Nikon D700 Digital SLR Packs Powerful Punch PC World
Nikon debuts D700, full frame for the midrange CNET News
Nikon D700 goes official
T3, UK
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikond700/
Quote:

The introduction of Nikon's new D700 may been one ofthe worst kept secrets in an industry with more leaks than the Titanic,but it was still something of a surprise coming so hot on the heels ofthe D3 and D300. Essentially a D3 shrunk down and squeezed into a bodyroughly the same size as a D300, the D700 is Nikon's first 'compact'professional SLR, and seems designed to go head-to-head with whateverCanon has up its inscrutable sleeve to replace the EOS 5D.

Theimaging side of the D700 is pretty much the same as the D3; it sharesthe acclaimed 12.1MP full frame ('FX') sensor and has the sameprocessing engine, so we would presume output to be almost identical.The main differences (aside from being considerably smaller) arephysical; there's a different shutter (good for 150,000 exposuresrather than 300,000 on the D3), different viewfinder prism (with 95%coverage) and a slower burst rate. You also lose the rear LCD infopanel (there's no room for it) and one of the D3's two CF card slots,but you do get a couple of extra features to soften the blow slightly;most notably a self-cleaning sensor and a built-in flash. We'll look alittle more in-depth at the differences between the D3 and D700 in amoment.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:55 am
Games Industry Movers: Trion, 38 Studios, Kongregate & M in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
his past week, 38 Studios (the developer founded by Red Sox pitcherCurt Schilling) announced that Thom Ang was appointed Director of Art.He will oversee the direction and management of 38 Studios' artisticdevelopment, including the MMOG codenamed Copernicus, whileworking closely with Todd McFarlane and R. A. Salvatore. Ang willreport to Vice President of Creative Development, Scott Cuthbertson.
"38 Studios' creative teams have been meticulously crafting thesignature look and feel for our upcoming MMOG over the past 18 months,"said Brett Close, CEO and president. "Thom's extraordinary talent andexperience will be key in driving the vision and quality of our OnlineEntertainment Experience."
Ang has been working as a director for notable franchises and brandsfor over 15 years. He's worked as a senior artist at DisneyInteractive, working on titles like Toy Story II and Tarzan. Ang also created illustrations for TV shows, including The X-Files and was a storyboard artist for Sony/Columbia/Tri-Star TV Animation programs, which include Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles and Max Steel.He then moved on to be art director at EA LA, where he headed up artproduction, team management and visual concept development for the Medal of Honor franchise. In his last position, Ang was art director at THQ, managing more than 25 titles.
"38 Studios is absolutely committed to the next evolution of MMOGs, andevery team member has great pride in the value of what they do,"remarked Ang. "I am excited to contribute to this vision and become apart of an extraordinary team."
Lisa Jablonsky - Kongregate
Kongregate announced this past Friday that Lisa Jablonsky will open thecompany's New York ad sales office. She will work with Kongregate'sChief Revenue Officer Lee Uniacke to secure high-profile advertisingpartnerships based on the site's reach and appeal to young men, ages 13- 34.
"With high user engagement and a growth rate of over 25 percent monthover month, Kongregate provides the ideal medium for advertisers tryingto reach this hard-to-pin-down demographic," stated Uniacke. "As webuild our sales force to address these opportunities, Lisa's proventrack record in developing successful partnerships across a range ofyouth-driven digital consumer brands will add tremendously to theexpertise of our team."
Jablonsky has worked in the New York advertising scene for 21 years andshe was as an early proponent of the digital advertising arena. Amongher projects, she has conceptualized and implemented ground-breakingfilm contests for Intel and Kohl's, and created one of the first mobilecontests for Alltel. Jablonsky helped create games for McAfee Softwareand the National Guard, as well as construct an editorial integrationprogram for Coke's NBA March Madness Flash game. She was most recentlyan account executive with MTV Networks, where she successfully droveadvertising and integrated sponsorships for Comedy Central,AddictingGames.com, Shockwave.com, and AtomFilms.
"Kongregate is an advertiser's dream as it attracts young men betterthan virtually any other site on the Web and puts them in a cool, edgyenvironment where our audience can really interact with their brand,"commented Jablonsky. "At over 3 million unique users today, a highgrowth rate, and just being named one of Time Magazine's Top 50 sitesfor 2008, we're on track to give advertisers the big reach that theyneed to effectively target the young male demographic this fall."
Trion World Network - Glen Van Datta
Trion World Network announced recently that Glen Van Datta has beenhired as Vice President of Engineering and General Manager of TrionWorld Network Austin. He will oversee day to day operations at Trion'sAustin studio and supervise all customer service, quality assurance,operations and other support activities with relation to the Trionplatform.
"Glen is a tremendous hire for Trion and an excellent addition to ourworld class technical organization", said Nicholas Beliaeff, VicePresident of Product Development & Head of Trion World Network SanDiego. "Glen's vision, leadership, and deep history maturing andproductizing compelling online game technology will help Trion take ourserver based game technology to the highest levels while helping us andour partners get to market more quickly."
Notably, Van Datta has worked for over 22 years in softwaredevelopment, including the past dozen in game development. He wasco-founder and Vice President of Engineering at RTIME, where he oversawthe development, design and testing of the RTIME SDK online, in-gameand player matching platform. Van Datta most recently worked at SCEA asDirector of Online Technology, where he oversaw a team of more than 80employees that developed SCE-RT SDK to enable online games for PS2, PS3and PSP games, including Singstar, Warhawk, Resistance, Home and GT5 Prologue.
"For more than 12 years I've believed that online games, online socialnetworks and online media distribution were the future ofentertainment," said Van Datta. "Trion's innovative, dynamic platformand content are the next generation in the online entertainment space."
IGN Entertainment – Jamie Berger
IGN Entertainment announced recently that senior vice president ofconsumer products and technology Jamie Berger will start overseeingbusiness development for the company. He will continue managing IGN'ssubscriptions, digital distribution, and e-commerce portfolio includingIGN's Direct2Drive and GameSpy Technologies.
Berger has over 16 years of professional brand management and marketingexperience from within the online gaming industry. He began hisprofessional career as an Account Manager with the NCR Corporation.Berger spent six years in the consumer products division of The WaltDisney Company before joining IGN Entertainment. He currently helpsextend the IGN brand by creating and leading partnerships thatdistribute content and drive revenue.
AMD - Emilio Ghilardi
AMD, which runs the ATI graphics card business, announced this pastweek that Emilio Ghilardi has been appointed senior vice president andgeneral manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He will beresponsible for all sales and marketing operations within EMEA,starting in mid-August 2008. Ghilardi will report to AMD chief salesofficer Gustavo Arenas.
"Emilio adds tremendous global sales and marketing leadership to AMD inEMEA which we expect to help strengthen and grow relationships with ourend-user customers, OEMs and distribution partners," said Arenas.
Ghilardi comes to AMD from HP, where he started as vice president ofConsumer PC Clients in EMEA. He then moved on to be vice president andgeneral manager of Commercial Hardware within the Imaging and PrintingGroup. Ghilardi was most recently vice president and general manager ofHP's EMEA Consumer Business Unit, managing the business for consumerPCs and Imaging and Printing products.
AMD added that Alberto Macchi, corporate vice president of Sales andMarketing for EMEA, is departing the company "to pursue newopportunities."
Warner Bros. Digital Distribution - Jacqueline Jourdain Hayes
Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) recently announced thatJacqueline Jourdain Hayes has been named Senior Vice President Businessand Legal Affairs. She will manage legal issues around new digitalbusiness models (such as distribution of Warner properties on Xbox Liveand elsewhere) globally, oversee the negotiation of Warner Bros.video-on-demand and electronic sell-through licenses across multipledigital platforms, and provide legal counsel to the Company's seniormanagement on the acquisition, distribution and protection of contentfor digital platforms and other digital initiatives.
"Jackie has been working on our digital business for quite some time,her expertise in this area is unparalleled," said Clarissa Weirick,General Counsel, WBDD. "The digital business is still one of thoseareas where you are often making the rules as you go along, whichrequires someone like Jackie who is confident and creative innegotiating this new terrain. We are extremely fortunate to have hercontinued expertise as our digital business moves ahead."
Hayes has worked as an Associate in the Corporate Departments of TroopMeisinger Steuber & Pasich in Los Angeles, of Goulston and Storrs,P.C. in Boston, and of Moses & Singer in New York City. She joinedWarner Home Video in 1998 as Counsel, and was promoted to VicePresident Business and Legal Affairs of WHV in 2000. Hayes joined theWarner Bros. Digital Distribution division in July 2006.
TC Digital Games – Andi Smithers
Recently, TC Digital Games announced that it appointed Andi Smithers tothe new position of Director of Technical Development. He will overseedevelopment of the company's digital services, including mediatechnology and format strategy as well as interoperability of digitalservices and devices.
"Andi joins our team at a pivotal moment in the evolution of Chaoticand TC Digital," said Bryan C. Gannon, President and CEO of TC DigitalGames. "He will become an integral part of our efforts to enhance theChaotic online experience and further develop our digital services.Andi's expertise in developing technology, his extensive background increating computer game software and his vision for emerging technologymake him a perfect fit to lead this innovative game play convergence."
Smithers has held several executive roles and technical positionsthroughout his 20-year career, having worked for Microsoft, Activision,Psygnosis, LucasArts, and Midway. He was most recently with Sony OnlineEntertainment where he served as Senior Engineer in the Research andDevelopment group. Smithers pushed advanced physics and graphicstechnologies forward to ensure their quality and was responsible foroverseeing the strategy and development for a cloth simulator.
Microsoft – Michael Delman
As we previously reported, Microsoft this past week appointed MichaelDelman to the position of corporate vice president of global marketingfor the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) in the Entertainmentand Devices Division. He takes over the role for Jeff Bell who left thecompany earlier this month. Read more about the move here.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:42 am
Revealed: Sony's future plans for PS3, PSP and TV in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
"This is not your father's Sony", sums up what Howard Stringer has done at Sony since taking over the reins in 2005.
TheWales-born CEO was underlining the challenge that the company now facesin the digital age, as he led the Japanese giant's corporate strategybriefing in Tokyo today.
In the absence of any attention-grabbingnew hardware announcements, most headlines are likely to go to Sony'spledge to increase revenues in the PC, Blu-ray-related and componentsbusinesses.
Game plan
Stringer said thatSony would build these into "trillion-yen businesses" by FY2010,putting them alongside the core business units of TVs, digital imaging,gaming and mobile phones. One trillion yen is currently worth around£4.7 billion.
Although gaming is a traditional Sony strength, thedivision is mired in red ink after the costly development and launch ofthe PlayStation 3. Addressing that, the CEO promised to bring it toprofit by March next year.
Stringer also outlined plans to investclose to £9 billion in new technology in a concerted drive to becomethe world leader in LCD televisions within three years. Beyond that,the assembled execs wouldn't be drawn on precise numbers or revenuetargets.
Mobile content
Although he didn't address recent speculation about the possibility of a PSP phone or the stability of the Sony Ericsson joint venturethat produces mobile phones, Stringer did emphasise that such handsetswould continue to be sold and that "Sony music and pictures content[would be] embedded in all key Sony Ericsson product lines."
As expected, there was no discussion on life after Blu-ray– the so-called 'death of disk'. However, a hint of how quickly onlinedistribution will move centre-stage came in the news that SonyPictures' summer blockbuster, Hancock, will be made available exclusively to all internet-connect Bravia televisions in the US before its DVD release.
Movie download service
The movie theme resurfaced in a presentation from Kaz Hirai, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment, with the news that the long-anticipated film download service would finally reach the online PlayStation Network this year.
Hiraiconfirmed that US users would get first crack at PS3 movie downloads inlate summer, with Europe and Japan to follow by year's end. He addedthat full details would be announced at E3 in LA next month and thatboth standard- and high-definition titles would be available.
       
Virtual world
Warmingto the theme, Hirai added, "Please expect more from our evolvingPlayStation business." That evolution will also include themuch-delayed PlayStation Home virtual world, which Hirai demonstrated,along with new dynamic in-game advertisements that change according tothe context.
The littlest PlayStation also featured prominently,with the PSP being positioned as an interactive extension of the PS3console, as well as a tool for accessing the PlayStation Store for gamedownloads and, possibly, feature films at some undisclosed point.
Hirai's presentation concluded with something of a surprise in a new network service called Life With PlayStation.The rough demo showed a view of the Earth from space, which rotated toreveal location-related news items, reminiscent of similar services onNintendo's Wii.
Innovator and creator
Returningto the podium to sum up, Stringer emphasised his firm's creative skillsand took aim at a company many see as having inherited the Sony mantleas innovator supreme.
"We have products to get excited about [including] OLED TVs, Rolly, CyberShot smile detection and the new Bravias.
"Appleis a boutique company, but we're a large conglomerate. We recently cameout number one in a poll by Incite on innovative companies, just aheadof Apple. I rest my case."
Whether or not that's overstating thecase, Stringer's confidence in the once-troubled company is almosttangible, leaving little room for doubt that Sony is back and that itmeans business.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:41 am
Top 10 most vital people-powered technologies - FEATURE in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
Linux
Thedaddy of people power, this open source operating system owes prettymuch everything to the massive community of users and developers who'vebuilt it, broken it, put it back together again and added all sorts ofgoodies.
The penguin logo unites a truly incredible group oftalented people, from driver developers to desktop designers, advocatesto application builders.
Firefox
Even people who think that Linux is a character in the Peanutscartoon know about Firefox. What makes it special isn't the open sourcecommunity that created and maintain it, however; It's the efforts ofthe developer community whose extensions make Firefox the Swiss ArmyKnife of the internet.
Whether you want to block annoying ads,keep track of interesting sites or just stay up to date with footieresults from around the world, if you can imagine it, there's almostcertainly an extension that does it.
Half-Life 2
This month we've mostly been playing Minerva, Adam Foster's excellent mod for Half-Life 2 (http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/MINERVA). Modders have been creating new stories since the days of Doom, and a quick look around Moddb (www.moddb.com) uncovers stacks of mods for your favourite PC games.
Smartdevelopers - such as Half-Life's Valve - know that mods make theirgames even more attractive, so the firms make modding as easy andaccessible as possible.
Xbox
Is your original Xbox gathering dust in the loft? Why not dust it down and turn it into a fully-fledged media centre?
While Microsoft blabs about the 360's multimedia features, the talented team at the Xbox Media Center project (www.xboxmediacenter.com)can turn an ageing original Xbox into a multimedia marvel (although ifyou don't fancy modding your console, steer clear - XBMC only works onhacked machines).
Job done, they're turning their attention to other platforms: a Linux version of the software is in development.
TiVo
Thecommunity that's sprung up around the TiVo digital video recorder(www.tivocommunity.com) is a thing of wonder, with users offering eachother advice, commenting on the company and fiddling with its products- often in ways that would give film and TV studios heart attacks.


       
While TiVo claims not to encourageor discourage the hacking community, it's pretty obvious that thehacking community makes the product even more attractive to tech-heads- and hackers' ideas often turn up in the official product, such aswhen the community found and fixed a date problem in older TiVo boxes.
iPhone
iPhonehackers aren't just trying to free the phone for use on any network.They've found ways to turn your existing tunes into ringtones withoutpaying for them all over again, created all kinds of add-onapplications and best of all, found a way to change the truly horriblefont on the Notes screen.
PlayStation Portable
Sonydoesn't like it - recent firmware updates mean that unless you've gotan older PSP, your options are limited - but thanks to Homebrew (www.psp-homebrew.eu)you can add all kinds of goodies to the device. There are loads,including customisers, emulators, chat programs and GPS software.
Overclocking
Changingchips' clock speeds and hoping they wouldn't set your house on fireused to be a shadowy pursuit that tech firms frowned upon. Thenhardware firms realised that overclockers had money as well as PCs toburn.
Now, motherboard makers often provide everything a speeddemon needs, either in the motherboard BIOS or on the driver CD, andgraphics card firms are keen too. For example, ATI actively encouragesoverclockers to ramp up their Radeons.
Windows Media Center
Microsoft'smedia system is pretty nifty, but it's niftier still when you tweak ituntil it squeaks. Microsoft knows this, which is why it happily linksto two independent community sites: the Media Center-specific GreenButton (thegreenbutton.com), and the general audio-visual AVS Forum(www.avsforum.com/avs-vb).
The software giant also has its own community site (www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/communities/mediacenter.mspx), where media center experts share their top tips.
Web apps
Firms who make it easy to interact with their online apps have createda massive community of developers. Google Maps has been adapted toprovide maps of speed cameras (http://spod.cx/speedcameras.shtml) and to create flight simulators (http://www.isoma.net/games/goggles.html), while keen developers have created software for apps such as Google Mail and Flickr.
You'll also find useful and useless apps alike on social networks such as Facebook.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:31 am
Why the PC is the future (from VALVE) [FEATURE] in Gaming
When Valve summoned a handful of US and UK journalists to itsSeattle headquarters at the end of last month, it promised to talkabout the future of Steam, its digital distribution system. That itdid, revealing the ambitious Steam Cloud service for remote storage of game data, and boasting that it would soon be making more money selling games digitally, all the while remaining untroubled by piracy.
Valvemastermind Gabe Newell and his cohorts had an ulterior motive forbringing reporters together, however, and unusually for an ulteriormotive, it wasn't a wholly self-interested one. It was this: toevangelise the PC as the games platform of the future.
"Thisreally should be done by a company like Intel or Microsoft, somebodywho's a lot more central to the PC," says Newell, pointing out thatcompanies like Blizzard, PopCap and GameTap would have just as much tosay as Valve about how PC gaming is leading innovation in technology,business models, and community-building. But, notwithstandingMicrosoft's occasional promotionof Games For Windows - an initiative Newell refrains from attackingdirectly, but exudes disdain for - that support has not beenforthcoming.
Where console platforms have merciless andwell-funded PR armies poised to combat any criticism, negative storiesabout the PC - mostly publishers, or developers like Crtyek,complaining of rampant piracy and flat sales - run unimpeded. Salesdata that focuses solely on boxed copies sold at retail appear to backthem up. Valve has had enough. "There's a perception problem," saysNewell. "The stories that are getting written are not reflecting whatis really going on."



You want figures? There are 260 million online PC gamers, a marketthat dwarfs the install base of any console platform, online oroffline. Each year, 255 million new PCs are made; not all of them forgaming, it's true, but Newell argues that the enormous capitalinvestment and economies of scale involved in this huge market ensurethat PCs remain at the cutting edge of hardware development, andconsoles their "stepchildren", in connectivity and graphics technologyespecially. Meanwhile, Valve's business development guru, JasonHoltman, notes that without the pressure of cyclical hardware cycles,PC gaming projects - he points to Steam as an example - can groworganically, over long periods of time, and with no ceiling whatsoeverto their potential audiences.

More pertinent, perhaps, are thefigures directly relating to games revenue that the retail charts -admittedly a stale procession of Sims expansions and under-performingconsole ports - don't pick up. "If you look into the future, there's animportant transition that's about to happen, and it's going to happenon the PC first," says Newell.

At its heart, he explains, is a shift from viewing games as aphysical product, to viewing them as a service - something that is alsohappening in other entertainment media. Digital distribution is part ofthat; more fluid and varied forms of game development, with games thatchange and engage their communities of players over time, are another;as is, naturally, the persistence and subscription (or otherwise)revenues of MMO games. None of this is reflected in the sales chartsanalysts, executives - and gamers - obsess over.
Valve sees 200per cent growth in these alternative channels - not just Steam, butincluding the likes of cyber-cafes as well - versus less than 10 percent in bricks-and-mortar shop sales. Steam has a 15 million-strongplayer-base with 1.25 million peak concurrent users, and 191 per centannual growth; none too far off a console platform in itself. The PCcasual games market, driven by the likes of PopCap, has gone from nextto nothing to USD 1.5 billion dollar industry in under ten years, andhas doubled in size in just three. Perhaps most surprisingly, Valve hasfound that digital distribution doesn't cannibalise retail sales - infact, a free Day of Defeat weekend on Steam created more new retailsales than online ones.


And then there is the game that many claim has been the death of PCgaming, but that Valve sees as its greatest success story, and itsfuture. "Until recently, the fact that World of Warcraft was generating120 million dollars in gross revenue on a monthly basis was completelyoff the books," Newell says. "Essentially, [Blizzard is] creating a newIron Man every month, in terms of the gross revenue they're generatingas a studio. Any movie studio would be shouting about that from therooftops. But it was essentially invisible."
Newell thinks thatWOW is "arguably the most valuable entertainment franchise in any mediaright now", and also believes, rightly, that it could only ever havehappened on the PC. He also tips his hat to South Korea's Nexxon forits enormous success with free-to-play, microtransaction-driven gameslike Kart Rider and Maple Story, soon to be aped by EA's BattlefieldHeroes.

There is another reason for the gulf between theperception and the reality of the games market, Valve thinks, and it'sa geographical and linguistic one. The dominance of the Englishlanguage gives the US and UK games markets, where the PC is weakest,undue prominence. In several major Western markets - notably Germanyand the Nordic countries - the PC performs much better. What's more, inthe emerging markets of China, Korea and Russia, where gaming is seeingunprecedented, explosive growth, console install bases are negligible,and the PC is king. Valve thinks that there's a silent majority ofglobal gamers who are skipping the console era entirely, the way thesedeveloping nations already skipped dial-up internet.

Steam isavailable in 21 languages for this reason, and Valve reckons that itsspeedy localisation and lack of physical distribution is an effectivecounter to the piracy common in these markets. It's also allowing Valveto get games to players in regions traditional channels don't support."PC's are everywhere in the world," says Holtman simply. "PC's are thesame all over the world. All of sudden, if you can open up emergingmarkets and go somewhere like Russia or South East Asia, you've goneway further than you can go with a closed console. There are 17 millionPC gaming customers in Russia alone."

A key shift in this brave new world of games as services rather thanproducts - and one that runs contrary to the traditional image of PCgaming - is a move away from graphical fidelity being the yardstick ofprogress. "As a company that's really proud of the job we do withgraphics it's funny to say this," Newell says, "but we get a betterreturn right now by focusing on those features and technologies thatare about community, about connecting people together."
He citeseasy uploading of gameplay videos to YouTube as a bigger source ofentertainment value than marginal improvements in graphics. "I thinkthat people thinking about how to generate web hits on their serversare a lot closer to the right mentality for what's going to besuccessful in entertainment going forward, than somebody that's used tohaving conversations about how to get end caps at Best Buy."
Therevolution in distribution and business models also offers a major newopportunity for smaller games - and smaller games developers - tothrive. The demands of retail - the logistical problems of gettingboxes to shops, and the budgetary drain of huge marketing campaigns -mean that bigger is necessarily better in the traditional games market.
Notso on Steam and its equivalents, says Valve, pointing to the hugesuccess of indie darling Audiosurf, as well as its own Portal. "As youmove away from that huge first weekend, big blockbuster mentality,"says Newell, "you're getting back to an area where smaller and smallergroups can connect with customers. I think you're going to find thatthe enjoyment of being in the game industry as a developer on the PC isa lot greater than outside of it."

He's backed up by an actual indie, Audiosurf creator Dylan Fitterer.This one-man development, created without financial backing -impossible on consoles, due to the cost of development kits - was thebest-selling game on Steam full-stop at its release, outclassing manybig-budget titles. "I didn't have to ask anybody if I could release it,except for my wife," Fitterer says. "It took a few years, and I waspretty darn tired by the time it was ready. Something likecertifications? No thanks." He also points out the tight limitations ofconsole servers versus PC servers for online gaming; Audiosurf'sscoreboard for every song ever recorded would be out of the question ona closed platform.
Holtman argues that Steam and Steamworks - thesuite of free tools it offers - revolutionise the environment fordevelopers and publishers. The auto-updating system means that a gamecan be developed right up to release and beyond. It eases painfulcrunch times, and allows game makers to respond to their audiences,publishers to develop their titles as continuously evolving franchisesrather than finite products.
"All of a sudden, PC games becomethis thing that's reliable and up-to-date," says Holtman. Team Fortress2 designer Robin Walker weighs in, noting that the PC version of theshooter has had no less than 53 updates since its release last year -something that certification cost and time have prohibited for onconsole - and that this "ship continuously" ethos is a key component tothe success of the best multiplayer titles. Steam, he says, makes thatprocess fast and transparent.
"I don't want anyone between me andmy customers," says Walker. "I want to write code today and I want allmy customers running it tomorrow." Possible on the PC - Steam inparticular, naturally. Not possible on consoles. For his part, Fittereradded achievements to Audiosurf in a total of two days. This constantiteration creates a feedback loop between developer and customer that,reckons Walker, can only improve the quality of the game. "The more Italk to my customers, the better my decisions will be. Without a systemof talking to my customers, I will make bad decisions."

The implication is a striking one: sporadic, excessively controlledupdating means that console multiplayer games will never reach theheights of their PC counterparts. There is a counter-argument - that PCgames descend into a poorly-defined, indistinct mess of constantpatching - but it is effectively squashed by the fact that, if you lookfor a multiplayer game with the longevity and massive popularity of aWOW or a Counter-Strike on console, you won't find one (with the veryarguable exception of Halo).
Auto-updating is the reason Valvecreated Steam in the first place. It's the reason it now finds itselfin an odd position for a developer: semi-publisher, leadingdistributor, market analyst, agony uncle and technocrat - not tomention defender of a platform that's still being proclaimed dead, whenall signs point to the very opposite.
At the end of the day, PCgaming's health - and its trickiest challenge - comes down to a bottomline that even the format's detractors can't refute: there are just somany of the damn things. "We think the number of connected PC gamers weare selling our products to dwarf the current generation of consolesput together," states Newell. "There are tremendous opportunities infiguring out how to reach out to those customers.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:22 am
nVidia turning it's GPU's into 'PhysX Physics Processors' in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
3D card manufacturers shouldn't take this the wrong way, but ittakes a lot to make us crawl out of the communal Eurogamer bed (yes,all the Eurogamer writers share a single large bed - we do it forfrugality and communality, which remain our watchwords) and go to ahardware presentation. There's a nagging fear someone may talk maths atus and we'd come home clutching the local equivalent of magic beans.And then we'll be laughed at by our fellow writers and made to sleep inthe chilly end where the covers are thin and Tom left dubious stains.That's no fun at all.
Then again, there's some things you can'thelp but go and have a gawk at. So when an invite claims, "All toooften new hardware brings with it a small performance increase - maybea 5-10 percent over the previous fastest thing. Wouldn't it be far moreexciting to see a speed increase of x20 or even x100... well, we'll behappy to show just that on Friday," you have wander along. Even thoughyou suspect it may be a trap and they're going to attack you withill-shaped blades, you have to find out what on earth they're talkingabout.
As we suspected, it wasn't quite what we were hoping for.Sure, there are programs which gain a x100 increase via the methodsNVIDIA talks about on this particular Friday, but unless you're workingin economics or astrophysics modelling, it's not exactly that relevant.However, something more quietly astounding was explained. Mainly, thatdespite the fact that no-one you know bought a PhysX card, if you're aPC gamer with a relatively recent NVIDIA card, you've already got one.Or, at least, you will soon. Spooks.

Get him!

The primary idea NVIDIA was trying to push was Optimised PC - the approach discussed in Rob Fahey's interview with Roy Taylorthe other day. The idea being that the traditional PC approach whereyou buy the fastest PC processor you can doesn't actually lend the bestresults, at least in most situations. If you spent more on -predictably - a GPU-driven 3D card, for an increasing number of areas,you're going to get much higher performance. If the program is usingthe GPU in a meaningful way, anyway. NVIDIA highlights areas likeimage-processing and HD video-encoding, as well as - natch! - games.You lose in single-threaded activities - like, say, just booting up aprogram - but they argue a small loss in opening a Word Document isless noticeable than frames in games or similar.
Where it startsgetting interesting is NVIDIA's development language, CUDA. The problemwith all the threading programming methods is that it's radicallydifferent to single-threading (and, yes, we're getting into, "Why wouldanyone care about this but a programmer?" territory, but its backgroundfor the key point later). It's hard to do, and CUDA is basically a wayto make things more accessible.
NVIDIA claims anyone experiencedin C or C++ will be able to get a grip on it (i.e. not us, but theaforementioned programmers). This means that anyone who codes in CUDAcan program the GPU to do pretty much whatever they like; it's byturning the 3D card into a bank of processors that the financialanalysts and the astrophysics guys are getting such impressive results.And impressive savings, as it's a lot cheaper to do it this way.

Now, NVIDIA claims that the fact GPU solutions are cheaper is goingto push better GPUs into more business machines. This will help pushthe idea that an okay CPU/good GPU machine gives better performancethan a good CPU/okay GPU, leading to more machines with better GPUs...and so, making more PCs abstractly available for gaming. Or, at least,raising the bottom level of hardware that you can expect people to have.
Interms of a more general use, transcoding video can take hours. Later inJuly, all GeForce 8000+ cards will ship with Elemental HD, a programwhich manages to perform the odious task - in the words of NVIDIA - "ina matter of minutes". The software will also be available for people todownload online, probably with a small fee ala Quicksave if theyalready have a GeForce card.
Point being: this CUDA malarkeyisn't something that's just for future NVIDIA technology. It'ssomething that allows the hardware many PC gamers already have to berepurposed.
For example, PhysX. NVIDIA's Physics 3D Card systemwas only supported in a minor fashion, as no-one would buy a card justto make explosions fancier, but with CUDA it can run on one of theother GPUs. A proportion of the 3D card's power can be given over torunning physics, giving those fancy PhysX-style interactions withoutactually having a specific card for it. CUDA's porting to PhysX willbecome available to the public in July, but developers already have thetools.

The Euphoria engine of Natual Motion. It's hard to illustrate this sort of thing.

You'llbe able to - for example - manually, up front, decide to devote aproportion of your 3D card's power to PhysX. Alternatively, developerscan commandeer it and do exactly the same thing. The new generation ofcards which are about to be announced are able to deal with pretty muchanything that exists on the highest setting with power left over, sothat power can be given over to acting like a 3D card would.
Andit goes further. Where previously you'd have just thrown out your old3D card when you upgraded your PC to a new one, if you have a G8000+ 3Dcard already, you can keep it, and just set it to concentrate solely ondoing PhysX tasks. This isn't a SLI situation where you need two of thesame cards working in tandem - any post-8880 card, rather than beingput out to digital pasture, can be given a job of deciding how bits ofglass bounce off a skyscraper, or similar. NVIDIA claims it's talkingto ATI to try and get them to use CUDA too, which.... well, we'll seethere, eh?
The potential is interesting. Demos shown include Natural Motion, whose Euphoria engineis heavily physics-dependent, allowing unique, convincing moments ingames. A straight collision isn't enough, as straight ragdolls areludicrous - the system involving AI (so the hit object will try andmove limbs to protect self and similar) leads to impressivelynaturalistic results. The first sign of this publicly was in GrandTheft Auto IV, but Natural Motion's own American football game, Backbreaker,is a fascinating example of what a physics-heavier approach tocollisions can give games. And, with CUDA-esque use of GPUs to do thisstuff, the PhysX related boon is accessible to even more of us.
So they did talk some maths, then, but we survived.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:11 pm
Obama vs McCain from a Gamers Perspective - Guide inc. VIDEO in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney has made computer games part of the thrust of his campaign,with references to the media genre in an ad campaign. In the promotional slot,he implicates them in "oceans of filth" in which America's youth areswimming. You can only imagine what he'll do if he gets into the WhiteHouse.
According to a Common Sense Media survey,which posted questions about interactive and other entertainment to theleading candidates, he intends to, "get serious against those retailersthat sell adult video games that are filled with violence and that wego after those retailers," and "to restore values so children areprotected from a societal cesspool of filth, pornography, violence, sexand perversion." Surprisingly similar to his Democratic opposite,Hillary Clinton.
John McCain
Second-time Presidential runner McCain has a team that thinks seriously about technology. In response to a CNet survey,"McCain" (aka his policy-writers) tackles net neutrality, governmentsubsidies for high-speed internet access, internet data privacy andcopyright issues. Unfortunately, there was only an oblique reference togames.
GamePolitics suggeststhat the anti-game slant of Independent candidate Joseph Liebermann mayhelp his friend McCain, whose inability to connect with the ReligiousRight in the US could be bolstered by their association.
McCain didn't respond to the CSM report, and so his intentions remain a mystery, for now.
Mike Huckabee
The evangelical Iowa caucus winner has been completely silent on thesubject of computer games, although, like McCain, he "expressedinterest" in participating in the CSM survey.
At the moment, games aren't an important policy issue, but I predictpolitical eyeballs will turn towards interactive entertainment whencontroversy temperatures rise in the summer months. If the potentialcandidates are silent now, they'll have to take a stand one way or theother. My guess is that all will play conservative, and with varyingseverity, call for federal government regulation of games in the US.
Meanwhile, in this country, we are anxiously awaiting the release of the Byron Report later this year, which should establish a useful baseline about the effects of violent videogaming on consumers.
Not sated by this roundup? Catch the dirt on the Democratic candidates in yesterday's post, or go to Gamepolitics for coverage. They have a special category, Game Decision 2008.


Debate over World of Warcraft - an interesting take.

We don't actively support wegame.com
Take a look at one of the comments below...
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did anyone notice the voices sound like george bush and that guy whos running for president? XD really well done..                                   


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LOL funny work                                   


There are a surprising number of British media eyeballs on the earlystages of the US elections. Reports suggest that people are coming outin droves to participate in caucuses, primaries and polls, particularlypopulations who've neglected politics before. And this includes a wholeraft a newly-eligible voters, many of whom happen to be computer gamers.
While it's still too early to suggest who'll be sworn in come 2009,there's still a whole lot of side-taking happening throughout the gamesblogosphere. Gamepolitics, the most obvious platform, is having a fieldday publishing satirical casual games, posts about candidate Obama'slikeness to Tiger Woods (seriously), and rumours about potentialsenatorial anti-games candidates.
This is undoubtedly a technologically-saturated election. All of thecandidates have MySpace pages (demonstrating the lightening speed withwhich politics adopts new media; where are their Twitter updates forgoodness sake?), and with the next few gaming months certain to be hotwith the release of the latest episode in a certain controvesry-ridingfranchise, we can expect to see gaming and techno-morality in a fewpolitical broadcasts.
So where do the front-runners sit with regards to computer games?This handy primer gives the dirt on their past actions and theircurrent attitudes. Today, the Democrats. Tomorrow, the Republicans.
Hillary Clinton
New Hampshire Democrat primary winner Hillary (whatever happened to the Rodham?) Clinton has never been a fanof computer games. Two years ago, Sen. Clinton introduced the FamilyEntertainment Protection Act (FEPA) in the wake of the Hot Coffeeincident, to regulate and counteract the effects of violent andsexually-explicit content in digital media. Had it passed, it wouldhave mandated:

On-site store managers would be subject to a fine of $1,000 or 100hours of community service for the first offense and $5,000 or 500hours of community service for each subsequent offense.
The bill would also require an annual, independent analysis ofgame ratings and require the FTC to conduct an investigation todetermine whether hidden sexual content like what was in Grand TheftAuto: San Andreas is a pervasive problem and to take appropriateaction...
Finally, the bill would authorize the FTC to conduct an annual,random audit of retailers to monitor enforcement and report thefindings to Congress.


more information from gamepolitics
More recently, in response to a Common Sense Media poll of the attitudes of the candidates to video game entertainment, Clinton argued,

"When I am President, I will work to protect children from inappropriate video game content"

Barack Obama
The Iowa caucus winner has suggested on several occasions that gamersare slackers. "It's time to turn off your Game Boys," he said at anAustin, Texas event last February. He's also returned a donation made by the Electronic Software Association's Doug Lowenstein and has repeatedly argued that working harder means playing fewer games.
In the CSM poll, Obama promoted industry self-regulation:

I would call upon the video game industry to give parents betterinformation about programs and video games by improving the voluntaryrating system we currently have. Broadcasters and video game producersshould take it upon themselves to improve this system to include easierto find and easier to understand descriptions of exactly what kind ofcontent is included. But if the industry fails to act, then myadministration would.

Indeed, in the same response, he does hint at federal regulation,and promotes funding research into the "impact of video games onchildren's cognitive development."
John Edwards
Edwards was the likable second to Hillary's first before Obama camealong, but his standings in the recent primary and caucus suggest thathe may take a back seat in November. However, he too could become aComeback Kid, so it's worth taking a look at what might happen to gamesif he gets the keys to the White House.
Edwards notably launched his campaign inside virtual world Second Life, and like many high-profile areas in this cyber-space, it was subsequently vandalised. Otherwise, he's been quiet on the digital entertainment front, with little action in either direction.
So it's unsurprising that when the question was posed, point blank,in the CSM poll, he (and his policy-writers) played a cautious,hands-off game; he applauds the work of the internal ratings boards,but suggests that there's much more to do to keep inappropriate contentaway from kids:

If the industry does not continue to make progress in keeping videogames with intense violence and adult content away from children, wewill need to consider further steps to ensure that parents' decisionsabout their children's exposure to these games are not being underminedby retailers, advertisers and manufacturers.

Of the three Democrats, only Clinton appears to have made this apolitical issue, and has thought seriously about the implications ofinteractive media. She's the only one ready to take action, one way orthe other. While Obama has despaired at games in the past, both he andEdwards are less explicit about any actions they would take if theywere to take up residence on Pennsylvania Avenue next year.
Tomorrow, we cover the Republican candidates, but in the meantime,more information on where the candidates stand is available at gamepolitics, in their category Game Decision 2008.
Disclaimer for articles or content containing "wegame.com":
iVirtua Media Group (UK) does not recommend nor endorse the third party service "Wegame.com" or any of its associates. For more information contact our Public Relations team via William Tildesley in our Social Media Department - william.tildesley@iVirtua.co.uk or williamtildesley@gmail.com
Posted by Editorial Team Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:54 pm
82% react positively to contextual in-game ads in Gaming
A new research study conducted by Nielsen BASES andNielsen Games on behalf of IGA Worldwide finds that in-game ads providebrands a measured lift in overall consumer awareness and opinion.
Nielsentested multiple variables with multiple brands across multiple games -as opposed to just a single brand in a single game. The companysurveyed over 1,300 PC gaming participants in their homes by linkingIGA's proprietary measurement software with research trackers embeddedwithin sample game discs.
Participating brand advertisersincluded Taco Bell, Jeep and Wrigley, and game titles were provided byElectronic Arts and Activision.
                   
The study found that 82per cent of consumers felt that games were just as enjoyable with adsas without. In addition, there was an average 61 per cent increase inconsumers' favorable opinions of products advertised in-game post-play.
Thestudy also found that there is an average 44 per cent increase inpost-game aided recall from pre-awareness and that the games increasedpositive brand attribute association 33 per cent across all brands.
Over70 per cent of consumers who were most opinionated about in-game adsfelt the ads made them feel better about the brand, feel more favorabletoward the brand, make them more interested in the brand, and believethe ads are for innovative/cutting edge brands.
Over 60 per centof that group felt the ads caught their attention, made games morerealistic, did not interrupt the game experience and were promotingrelevant products.
"With young adults now spending on average 6hours a week gaming, advertisers should be excited at how well theirmessages were embraced and the brands positively perceived," saidJustin Townsend, CEO of IGA Worldwide.
"The consumer insightswe've gleaned from this data will help drive the industry' firstresearch-based in-game advertising measurement standards as well asstrengthen IGA's position as an effective in-game ad network brands cantrust to efficiently deliver their message to target audiences."
Quote:


In-gamead exposures with a duration over 2 seconds, as they are measured inIGA's in-game ad methodology, generate on average an almost 30 per centincrease in key ad metrics, including ad noticeability +100 per cent,recall +42 per cent, and fit +27 per cent versus ad exposures with aduration of less than 1 second.
"This study offers proof thatdynamic in-game advertising is an influential digital ad medium," saidDave Anderson, a senior director of business development for Activision.
"Justas important to us is how users react to the ads. From the research itis clear that the overwhelming majority of consumers enjoyed the gamingexperience just as much, if not more, with dynamic ads present.
"As game publishers, it is reassuring to know advertisers and consumers both stand to benefit from dynamic ads."

Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:18 am
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