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Comment: Re: GameStop, etc. (Score 1) 395

by silentbrad (#43795459) Attached to: Xbox One: No Always-Online Requirement, But Needs To Phone Home

Most of GameStop's profits come from used game sales. They make next to no profit on new games--that money goes almost wholly to the publisher.

That's what I thought, too. Then I read this today:

Interestingly, [GameStop president Tony] Bartel revealed that 70 per cent of GameStop's $1 billion market sales comes from the sale of new games rather than pre-owned ones.

+ - 10 years later, 'Star Wars Kid' speaks out

Submitted by silentbrad
silentbrad (1488951) writes "Almost a billion viewers across the planet know him as the Star Wars Kid, but they’ve never heard him speak, until now. Ghyslain Raza was a normal high-school student in small-town Quebec back in 2002, a shy 14-year-old who liked to make videos. In 2003, classmates posted one of those videos on the Internet without his knowledge–in it, Raza wields a makeshift light saber, clumsily imitating a Star Wars Jedi knight. The video went viral, and the Trois-Rivières teen became one of the earliest and highest-profile victims of a massive cyberbullying attack, one that played out among classmates and strangers online. Recorded while Raza was “goofing around” alone at his school’s TV club studio — the group had been working on a Star Wars parody — the video had soon been seen by tens of millions, all the more remarkable in a pre-YouTube world. Raza said he lost what few friends he had in the fallout, and had to change schools. “In the common room, students climbed onto tabletops to insult me,” he told L’actualité. Raza, now a law-school graduate from McGill, said he was driven to speak out by the recent spate of high-profile cases of cyberbullying, some of which have pushed their victims to commit suicide. If the same situation were to happen today, he said he hopes school authorities would help him through it. “You’ll survive. You’ll get through it,” he said. “And you’re not alone. You are surrounded by people who love you.”"

+ - Hollywood Studios Fuming Over Indie Studio Deal With BitTorrent

Submitted by silentbrad
silentbrad (1488951) writes ""It's a deal with the devil," one studio executive told TheWrap. "Cinedigm is being used as their pawn." Cinedigm announced this weekend that it would offer the first seven minutes of the Emily Blunt-Colin Firth indie "Arthur Newman" exclusively to BitTorrent users, which number up to 170 million people. ... Hollywood studios have spent years and many millions of dollars to protect their intellectual property and worry that by teaming up with BitTorrent, Cinedigm has embraced a company that imperils the financial underpinnings of the film business and should be kept at arm's length. "It's great for BitTorrent and disingenuous of Cinedigm," said the executive. "The fact of the matter is BitTorrent is in it for themselves, they're not in it for the health of the industry and Cinedigm is being used as their pawn," the executive added. Other executives including at Warner Brothers and Sony echoed those comments, fretting that Cinedigm had unwittingly opened a Pandora's box in a bid to get attention for its low-budget release. ... "Blaming BitTorrent for piracy is like blaming a freeway for drunk drivers, " Jill Calcaterra, Cinedigm's chief marketing officer said. "How people use it can be positive for the industry or it can hurt the industry. We want it help us make this indie film successful." ... "We'll be working with all of [the studios] one day," [Matt Mason, BitTorrent's vice president of marketing] said. "It's really up to them how quickly they come to the table and realize we're not the villain, we're the heroes." ... "I really missed them being at the forefront of the piracy issue," the studio executive said. "I don't remember them going, 'Naughty, naughty, don't use our technology for that.' They don’t give a shit.""

Comment: Re:Oh Canada... (Score 1) 205

by silentbrad (#43487369) Attached to: Canadian Official Escorted From House For Others' Facebook Comments
Unfortunately, Alberta's isn't that great. This article mentions having to move equipment from hospital to hospital in taxis. My dad, because of Redford's (and previous Premiers') health care cuts, has to spend his time in one hospital, and will have to be moved back and forth to another one on the other side of the city up to three times a week for the treatment he needs. The Conservatives keep pushing for a more privatized health care model - which means cutting funding for the nurses to staff the beds at the hospitals.

+ - Man Thinks He Never Has to Eat Again 1

Submitted by silentbrad
silentbrad (1488951) writes "From Vice: "You know what's a complete waste of time, money, and effort? Eating. I mean, wouldn't you rather just ingest a tasteless form of sustenance for the rest of your life and never have to go through that tedious rigmarole of opening and eating a premade sandwich or feasting on a pile of fried delicacies ever again? Rob Rhinehart—a 24-year-old software engineer from Atlanta and, presumably, an impossibly busy man—thinks so."

The article continues as Vice interviews Rob about his drink Soylent, which contains "Everything the body needs—that we know of, anyway—vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients like essential amino acids, carbohydrates, and fat"; why he stopped eating, "I started wondering why something as simple and important as food was still so inefficient, given how streamlined and optimized other modern things are. I also had an incentive to live as cheaply as possible, and I yearned for the productivity benefit of being healthy"; the merits, drawbacks, and more."

+ - 'Zorro' Rights Challenged as Invalid and Fraudulent->

Submitted by silentbrad
silentbrad (1488951) writes "The Hollywood Reporter has a story about a playwright who has filed a lawsuit claiming that Zorro is in the public domain: "For nearly a century, the masked outlaw Zorro has been a popular character who in books and films has been featured defending against tyrannical villains who seek to oppress the masses. Zorro has been played by Douglas Fairbanks, Antonio Banderas and others. ... But now comes a big attempt to free Zorro from any intellectual property grip. On Wednesday, a lawsuit was filed that asserts that Zorro is in the public domain, that trademarks on the character should be canceled and that the company currently professing rights on Zorro has perpetrated a fraud and that the masses should be able to exploit Zorro as they wish. According to complaint, "Defendants have built a licensing empire out of smoke and mirrors." The lawsuit, filed in Washington federal court, comes from Robert Cabell, who says that in 1996, he published a musical entitled "Z — The Musical of Zorro," that's based upon author Johnston McCulley's first Zorro story published in 1919 and the Fairbanks film that was released the following year. Cabell now says that he has been threatened with litigation after licensing his musical so that it can be performed in Germany this summer. The threats allegedly come from John Gertz, who owns Zorro Productions Inc. As a result of the reported threats, Cabell has gone to court with a complaint that's similar to the one that was recently filed in an attempt to declare "Sherlock Holmes" in the public domain. Except this one goes even further by alleging fraud on Gertz' part. "Specifically," says the lawsuit, "Defendants have fraudulently obtained federal trademark registrations for various 'Zorro' marks and falsely assert those registrations to impermissibly extend intellectual property protection over material for which all copyrights have expired. Defendants also fraudulently assert that copyrights for later-published material provide defendants with exclusive rights in the elements of the 1919 story and the 1920 film." In a 2001 decision, in a footnote, a federal judge said, "It is undisputed that Zorro appears in works whose copyrights have already expired, such as McCulley's story 'The Curse of Capistrano' and Fairbanks's movie, 'The Mark of Zorro.'" Cabell says that despite the ruling, Gertz and his company have fraudulently obtained multiple trademark registrations on "Zorro" and after allegedly duping the Trademark Office, have been using the registrations to prevent others like him from exploiting expired Zorro intellectual property. Cabell now seeks a declaration of non-infringement, permanent injunctive relief and cancellation of trademarks. He's also seeking damages for tortious interference, fraud and violation of the Consumer Protection Act. ... Read the entire lawsuit here."
Link to Original Source
Canada

+ - Canada Introduces Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Compliance Law->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Canadian government today introduced a bill aimed at ensuring the Canada complies with the widely discredited Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Despite the European Union's total rejection of ACTA, the new bill is designed to ensure that Canada is positioned to ratify ACTA by addressing border measures provisions. The core elements of the bill include the increased criminalization of copyright and trademark law as well as new powers for Canadian border guards to detain shipments and work actively with rights holders to seize and destroy goods without court oversight or involvement. The bill disturbingly suggests that Canada is gearing up to ratify ACTA since it addresses many of the remaining non-ACTA compliant aspects of Canadian law."
Link to Original Source
Businesses

+ - Cliff Bleszinski: vote with your dollars-> 5

Submitted by silentbrad
silentbrad (1488951) writes "Cliff Bleszinski, formerly of Epic Games, posted a blog entry titled "Nickels, dimes, and quarters" yesterday:

"The video game industry is just that.An industry. Which means that it exists in a capitalistic world. You know, a free market. A place where you’re welcome to spend your money on whatever you please or to refrain from spending that money. ... Adjusted for inflation, your average video game is actually cheaper than it ever has been. Never mind the ratio of the hours of joy you get from a game per dollar compared to film. To produce a high quality game it takes tens of millions of dollars, and when you add in marketing that can get up to 100+ million. In the AAA console market you need to spend a ton of cash on television ads alone, never mind other marketing stunts, launch events, swag, and the hip marketing agency that costs a boatload in your attempts to “go viral” with something. ... Another factor to consider is the fact that many game development studios are in places like the San Francisco bay area, where the cost of living is extraordinarily high. (Even Seattle is pretty pricey these days.) Those talented artists, programmers, designers, and producers that spent their time building the game you love? They need to eat and feed their families. ... I’ve seen a lot of comments online about microtransactions. They’re a dirty word lately, it seems. Gamers are upset that publishers/developers are “nickel and diming them.” They’re raging at “big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal their money.” I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m tired of EA being seen as “the bad guy.” I think it’s bullshit that EA has the “scumbag EA” memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can Do No Wrong. ... If you don’t like EA, don’t buy their games. If you don’t like their microtransactions, don’t spend money on them. It’s that simple. ... The market as I have previously stated is in such a sense of turmoil that the old business model is either evolving, growing, or dying. No one really knows. “Free to play” aka “Free to spend 4 grand on it” is here to stay, like it or not. ... People like to act like we should go back to “the good ol’ days” before microtransactions but they forget that arcades were the original change munchers. Those games were designed to make you lose so that you had to keep spending money on them. Ask any of the old Midway vets about their design techniques. The second to last boss in Mortal Kombat 2 was harder than the last boss, because when you see the last boss that’s sometimes enough for a gamer. ... If you don’t like the games, or the sales techniques, don’t spend your money on them. You vote with your dollars.""

Link to Original Source
Businesses

+ - Don't call it a comeback (working remotely)->

Submitted by silentbrad
silentbrad (1488951) writes "From a blog I came across: 'Remote working has existed for centuries. And now is the perfect time for it’s comeback. ... Prior to the Industrial Revolution, goods were manufactured by contracting individual craftsmen who worked out of their homes. The merchant would drum up sales, and would coordinate the production with at-home sub-contractors. ... This all changed with the Industrial Revolution: production was centralized in factories and cities. For merchant capitalists, this made sense: it was cheaper and more efficient to produce goods in one place, with machinery. ... We’ve been in the Information Age for at least 25 years. We’ve made huge leaps in technology. Many of us would describe ourselves as Knowledge Workers: we don’t work in factories, we work at desks in front of glowing screens. We don’t make goods with physical materials, but rather things made out of bits. The great thing about bits + the internet is that the materials and means needed for production aren’t dependent on location. But here’s the funny thing: the way work is organized hasn’t changed. Despite all these advances, most of us still work in central offices. Employees leave their computer-equipped homes, and drive long distances to work at computer-equipped offices. ... CEOs, like Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Apple’s Steve Jobs, think that a central office fosters more innovation and productivity. I think they’re wrong. We’re still early in the research, but recent studies seem to dispute their claim. ... Managers have developed centuries worth of habits based on the central workplace. The hallmarks of office work (meetings, cubicle workstations, colocation) need to be seen for what they are: traditions we’ve kept alive since the Industrial Revolution. We need to question these institutions: are they really more innovative and efficient?'"
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Apple

+ - Gabe Newell: Steam Box's biggest threat isn't consoles, it's Apple->

Submitted by silentbrad
silentbrad (1488951) writes "The biggest danger facing the success of Steam Box or any other PC ecosystem hoping to find space in the living room is Apple, according to a lecture given by Valve co-founder Gabe Newell to a class at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs. "The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," Newell said. "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room? ... We're happy to do it if nobody else will do it, mainly because everybody else will pile on, and people will have a lot of choices, but they'll have those characteristics. They'll say, 'Well, I could buy a console, which assumes I'll re-buy all my content, have a completely different video system, and, oh, I have a completely different group of friends, apparently. Or I can just extend everything I love about the PC and the internet into the living room.' ... I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together.""
Link to Original Source
DRM

+ - New Sony Patent Blocks Second Hand Games->

Submitted by silentbrad
silentbrad (1488951) writes "From IGN: "... the patent application was filed on 9 December 2012 by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, and will work by linking individual game discs to a user's account without requiring a network connection meaning any future attempt to use this disc on another user's console won't work. The patent explains that games will come with contactless tags that will be read by your console in much the same way as modern bank cards. When a disc is first used, the disc ID and player ID will be stored on the tag. Every time the disc is used in future, the tag will check if the two ID’s match up and, if not, then the disc won’t work. The document goes on to explain that such a device is part of Sony's ongoing efforts to deter second-hand games sales, and is a far simpler solution than always-on DRM or passwords. It's worth noting that Sony has not confirmed the existence of the device, and the patent doesn't state what machine it will be used in, with later paragraphs also mentioning accessories and peripherals. ... There's also the issue of what happens should your console break and need replacing, or if you have more than one console. Will the games be linked to your PSN account, meaning they can still be used, or the console, meaning an entire new library of titles would need to be purchased?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:peaceful protesters? (Score 1) 584

by silentbrad (#42441687) Attached to: New Documents Detail FBI, Bank Crack Down On Occupy Wall Street
Maybe it's just differences in education in different parts of the country (although, considering the political leaning of Alberta, and especially the town I grew up in, it was probably just my specific teachers), but I was taught that Socialism and Communism are not the same - Socialism being a combination of Capitalism and Communism using the selected best bits of each to form a mixed economy. And I agree (if I'm reading your "ruin things" correctly) that it's too bad that more people can't see Harper and the Tories he's leading for what they are. Although, with only 40% of the popular vote, I guess most of us tried to get rid of them and screwed ourselves through split-votes.

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