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The Almighty Buck

Economic Climate Spurring Independent Game Success 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
Eurogamer is running an opinion piece suggesting that innovation and creativity have been on the decline for years within the games industry. Now, with the threat of the economic crisis looming, game publishers are shying further from new projects and ideas, instead choosing to rehash popular IP in order to minimize the risk of failure. The upside is that their reluctance, along with technological improvements that make game distribution easier, is allowing independent developers to gain exposure like never before. "This revolution will give us a new wave of developers who see games through very different eyes to those of their studio-bound compatriots. Forced to consider the financial bottom line, the technological bleeding edge and the whims of Metacritic at each turn, big studio development is by no means uncreative, but certainly has to follow certain set patterns. ... The studio system couldn't have created a game like Flower, the utterly beautiful PSN title which came out earlier this month; but more than that, it couldn't have created a persona like Jenova Chen, the mind behind Flower, who happily talks in interviews about evoking emotions, moving past primal feelings and 'maturing' the industry in ways that don't involve sex, blood and swearing. He talks about making games that don't empower gamers, but instead make them experience other things, other emotions. It's spine-tingling stuff. It's also commercial suicide — or would be, to a studio working in the traditional development context."
Education

+ - Grad student suspended after pro-gun-rights e-mail

Submitted by fredklein
fredklein (532096) writes "A Minnesota university has suspended one of its graduate students who sent two e-mail messages to school officials supporting gun rights.
"Hamline University also said that master's student Troy Scheffler, who owns a firearm, would be barred from campus and must receive a mandatory "mental health evaluation" after he sent an e-mail message arguing that law-abiding students should be able to carry firearms on campus for self-defense."
When informed that suspending him violated the school's freedom of expression policy, the University changed their tune: Now they claim he's being suspended because of "anonymous allegations" they received, and they can't tell him (or the press) what those allegations are, or who his accusers are. With all the talk of 'Big Brother' throwing people into detention centers without knowing the charges, are we overlooking 'Little Brothers' closer to home?"
Role Playing (Games)

+ - Second Life Seeks Sensitive Data About Residents

Submitted by deviantphil
deviantphil (543645) writes "Linden Labs, the company that runs Second Life, is seeking to roll out a new age verification mechanism which among others things may require residents to turn over their Social Security Number, government ID, or other sensitive personally identifying data in order to access content which is "explicitly sexual or excessively violent in nature". This would be equivalent to requiring a person to give out their Social Security Number before purchasing a game rated "M"."
Patents

+ - Patenting Life

Submitted by Archangel_Azazel
Archangel_Azazel (707030) writes "The New York Times is running a story here : http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/13/opinion/13cricht on.html?_r=1&oref=slogin about an opinion that Michael Crichton wrote about patenting genes and the harm to innovation and lives that gene patents cause.

There's also information about a bill being sponsered that may offer a solution, from TFA:

"Fortunately, two congressmen want to make the full benefit of the decoded genome available to us all. Last Friday, Xavier Becerra, a Democrat of California, and Dave Weldon, a Republican of Florida, sponsored the Genomic Research and Accessibility Act, to ban the practice of patenting genes found in nature.""

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