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PC Games (Games)

Blizzard Boss Says Restrictive DRM Is a Waste of Time 563

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-about-lan-play dept.
Stoobalou writes "Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce reckons that fighting piracy with DRM is a losing battle. His company — which is responsible for one of the biggest video games of all time, the addictive online fantasy role player World of Warcraft — is to release StarCraft 2 on July 27, and Pearce has told Videogamer that the title won't be hobbled with the kind of crazy copy protection schemes that have made Ubisoft very unpopular in gaming circles of late. StarCraft 2 will require a single online activation using the company's Battle.net servers, after which players will be allowed to play the single-player game to their hearts' content, without being forced to have a persistent Internet connection."
Education

Obama Calls Today's Ubiquitous Gadgets and Information "a Distraction" 545

Posted by timothy
from the what-pegs-your-truth-meter-precisely dept.
zaphod was one of several readers unhappy with the sentiment expressed in President Obama's graduation address to the students of Virginia's Hampton University, writing: "According to Obama, 'information becomes a distraction' when it comes to iPads, the Xbox, etc. (All items he admits not knowing how to use.) He's basically saying we are getting too much information too quickly, and from 'unreliable sources.' Of course, he's referring to talk radio, blogs and other mediums that tend to disagree with his political views." CNET has a slightly different, less critical reaction, focusing on the differences among the actual devices named; they note that the Xbox is not an iPad.
Privacy

School Spying Scandal Gets Even More Bizarre 699

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the lesson-learned-junkfood-is-bad dept.
Several sources following the recent school webcam spying debacle are reporting that an even stranger twist has surfaced. The student in question that was disciplined for an "improper act" was apparently accused of either drug use or drug selling. Turns out he was eating Mike & Ike candy, not popping pills. While there is probably more to this story than has made it to the general public, the officials involved have done a particularly bad job of actually managing the events.
Role Playing (Games)

10 Years of Baldur's Gate 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the decade-of-bioware-goodness dept.
RPGVault is running an article commemorating the 10th anniversary of acclaimed RPG Baldur's Gate. They sat down with members of the Dragon Age: Origins team, some of whom worked on Baldur's Gate, to talk about their experiences with the game and what made it so popular. "The other thing I was responsible for was balance testing. It was a constant fight between me and the Interplay testers; they were always trying to make it easier, and I was always pushing back to make it harder. At one point, I got so frustrated with the final battle with Sarevok that I created a 7th level Minsc, gave him some weapons and armor, and then began to spawn in Sarevok's — mowing through them like a hot knife through butter. After I'd killed six or seven of them, I spawned in a final one and took a screenshot, with the fresh one standing among all his slaughtered predecessors. I edited it and put a bubble above Minsc's head that read 'Sigh... another one of those pesky Sarevoks' and then e-mailed it out to the company. Growing up playing D&D with James Ohlen (the Lead Designer on BG, and now on our new MMO), I knew that would piss him off to no end, and suffice to say he was much tougher when I tried to fight him the next day."
Games

Is the Gaming PC Dead? 417

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-way-dude-check-out-my-$8000-alienware dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Rahul Sood, HP's CTO of gaming, argues that the days of a market that wants PCs running three $500 GPUs is history; he argues that it's really a tough or impossible sell. '... let's face it, high-end hardware has delivered diminishing returns in terms of value. This is why you don't see ridiculous offerings like Quad SLI and 2-kilowatt power supplies coming from our company.' But don't the ideas of customization and market pricing for components tend to undercut that? Is the gaming PC dead?"
Role Playing (Games)

SOE Allows Purchase of In-Game Items In Everquest I, II 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-that-gold-farmers dept.
Zonk points out some big news for fans of the Everquest games; Sony Online Entertainment has rolled out a system which allows the exchange of real money for items used in the game. Sony is making use of a transaction system called Station Cash which charges your credit card in exchange for a virtual currency which is then spendable on the items. Massively has a walkthrough of how it will work, and shows some of the items up for sale, including vanity armor, non-combat pets, and potions that make various aspects of your character better. "Each of these types of flasks comes in a tier. Tier I flasks increase XP by 10% and cost $1.00. Tier II flasks increase XP by 25% and cost $5.00. Tier III flasks increase XP by 50%, and cost $10.00 each. All flask tiers last for 4 hours on use, and more than one can't be used at a time." Further details on the system are available in the FAQ and the Terms of Service. This comes alongside news today that upcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic will not be subscription-based, but entirely based on micro-transactions instead.
Businesses

Atari Purchases Cryptic Studios For $26.7 Million 45

Posted by Soulskill
from the rare-positive-mmo-news dept.
Trevor DeRiza writes "Early this morning, Atari announced that they had purchased US MMO developer Cryptic Studios for an initial 26.7 million USD, along with a possible 20 million USD bonus for future performance. Cryptic has three games coming out in the next three years: Champions Online (2009), Star Trek Online (2010), and a secret project (2011). All three will now be released under the Atari logo." This is welcome news in light of all the recent troubles in the MMO market.
Security

Botnets As "eWMDs" 172

Posted by kdawson
from the trying-to-wake-sleeping-policymakers dept.
John Kelly writes "The current issue of Policy Review has a paper by an American computer scientist and the recent Permanent Undersecretary of Defense for Estonia. Drawing on the Estonian cyber attacks a year and a half ago, as well as other recent examples, they argue that botnets are the major problem. They propose that botnets should be designated as 'eWMDs' — electronic weapons of mass destruction. The paper also proposes a list of reforms that would help to limit the scale and impact of future botnet attacks, beginning with defining and outlawing spam, internationally." Many of the proposed solutions are common-sensical and won't be news to this audience, but it is interesting to see the botnet threat painted in such stark terms for readers of the Hoover Institution's Policy Review. For a more comprehensive overview of cyber-security threats, listen to NPR's interview with security experts on the occasion of the release of a new report, "Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency," which recommends creating a cyber-security czar reporting to the President.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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