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Social Networks

The New Reality of Gaming 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-blame-the-schools dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Video games used to be about fighting aliens and rescuing princesses, writes Rohin Dharmakumar in Forbes, but the most popular games today have you tilling your farm, hiring waiting staff and devising menus for your restaurant or taking your pets out for walks while maintaining cordial relations with the neighbors. 'Reality, it would seem, is the new escapism.' Video games of the pre-social network era were mostly played by boys or young men but 'now the core audience of social network games are girls and young women,' says Alok Kejriwal, founder and CEO of games2win, an online gaming company. The tipping point in the US came in 2008 when women outnumbered men on the Internet. Combined with millions of parents and grandparents who're new to the Internet, the traditional face of the gamer is changing from that of a 25-year-old male to a band stretching from 16 to 40 years comprising men and women in almost equal numbers, says Sebastien de Halleux, one of the co-founders of Playfish, who predicts that someone is going to create a social game very shortly that pulls in a billion dollars a year. Gaming for this new set of players is less about breathtaking graphics, pulsating sound or edge-of-the-seat action and more about strengthening existing real world relations through frequent casual gaming. 'Think of these games as a sandbox where everybody has the same tools, yet everyone achieves different results,' says de Halleux."
Science

Pumpkin Pie increases Male Sex Drive 173

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-going-to-need-more-whipped-cream dept.
Dr. Alan Hirsch, Director of Chicago's Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Center, says the key to a man's heart, and other parts, is pumpkin pie. Out of the 40 odors tested in Hirsch's study, a mixture of lavender and pumpkin pie got the biggest rise out of men ages 18 to 64. That particular fragrance was found to increase penile blood flow by an average of 40%. "Maybe the odors acted to reduce anxiety. By reducing anxiety, it acted to remove inhibitions," said Hirsch.
Businesses

Viacom To Sell Rock Band Creator Harmonix 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-for-the-next-fad dept.
UgLyPuNk tips news that Harmonix, the game developer behind Rock Band and the early Guitar Hero games, will be sold by parent company Viacom, signaling the media conglomerate's exit from the console game market. Quoting Wired: "The news is yet another ominous sign for the music-game business, which exploded seemingly overnight in 2005 with the release of Guitar Hero. ...sales have been in free fall since the dizzying heights of 2008, with Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock moving only 86,000 copies in its first week... Thus far in calendar year 2010, the balance sheet seems to show that Harmonix has been a $300 million liability for Viacom. And it doesn’t look like Viacom believes in the long-term future of music games. With any luck, the company will find a buyer that can help Harmonix grow, but it’s hard to imagine a better partner in the music biz than MTV."
Transportation

Denver Airport Overrun by Car-Eating Rabbits 278

Posted by samzenpus
from the night-of-the-lepus dept.
It turns out the soy-based wire covering on cars built after 2002 is irresistible to rodents. Nobody knows this better than those unlucky enough to park at DIA's Pikes Peak lot. The rabbits surrounding the area have been using the lot as an all-you-can-eat wiring buffet. Looks like it's time to break out The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.
Security

Home WiFi Network Security Failings Exposed 161

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the passwords-are-for-suckers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The shocking state of home wireless (Wi-Fi) network security in the UK has been revealed by a life assistance company study. CPP used an 'ethical hacker,' Jason Hart, to test thousands of Wi-Fi networks across six UK cities, including London. He found that many didn't even have a password and roughly half of home UK Wi-Fi networks could be hacked in less than 5 seconds."
Businesses

Game Prices — a Historical Perspective 225

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
The Opposable Thumbs blog scrutinizes the common wisdom that video games are too expensive, or that they're more expensive than they were in the past. They found that while in some cases the sticker price has increased, it generally hasn't outpaced inflation, making 2010 a cheaper time to be a gamer than the '80s and '90s. Quoting: "... we tracked down a press release putting the suggested retail price of both Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64 at $69.99. [Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumer's Association] says that the N64 launch game pricing only tells you part of the story. 'Yes, some N64 games retailed for as high as $80, but it was also the high end of a 60 to 80 dollar range,' he told Ars. 'Retailers had more flexibility with pricing back then — though they've consistently maintained that the Suggested Retail Price was/is just a guide. Adjusted for inflation, we're generally paying less now than we have historically. But to be fair, DLC isn't factored in.' He also points out all the different ways that we can now access games: you can buy a game used, rent a game, or play certain online games for free. There are multiple ways to sell your old console games, and the competition in the market causes prices to fall quickly."

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