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PlayStation (Games)

Best Buy Unapologetic About Charging For PS3 Firmware Updates 454

donniebaseball23 writes "After discovering that electronics retailer Best Buy was charging ignorant customers $30 for the 'service' of installing updated firmware on PS3s, IndustryGamers got word from the company on its policy. Best Buy sees no problem with charging for this convenience, even though it's something Sony provides to PS3 owners completely free. 'While many gamers can handle firmware upgrades easily on their own, those customers who do want help can get it from Geek Squad, and we continue to evaluate this offering to ensure it meets their needs. The service goes beyond a firmware updates, and includes user account setup, parental control setup and other components,' a representative said."
Portables

Can NetBooks & Tablets Co-Exist? 291

bsk_cw writes "According to Computerworld's Serdar Yegulalp, there has been a lot of talk about whether the iPad will take the place of the netbook — or, in fact, whether it will eat into the market share for more mainstream desktop and laptop computers. But, he continues, the iPad has a long way to go before it becomes a netbook killer — if only because it has created a space all its own."
United States

Rupert Murdoch Publishes North Korean Flash Games 186

eldavojohn writes "You might recall back in June when it was noted that North Korea was developing and exporting flash games. Now, the isolated nation state is apparently home to some game developers that are being published by a subsidiary of News Corp. (The games include Big Lebowski Bowling and Men In Black). Nosotek Joint Venture Company is treading on thin ice in the eyes of a few academics and specialists that claim the Fox News owner is 'working against US policy.' Concerns grow over the potential influx of cash, creating better programmers that are then leveraged into cyberwarfare capabilities. Nosotek said that 'training them to do games can't bring any harm.' The company asserts its innocence, though details on how much of the games were developed in North Korea are sparse. While one of the poorest nations in the world could clearly use the money, it remains to be seen if hardliner opponents like the United States will treat Nosotek (and parent company News Corp.) as if they're fostering the development of computer programmers inside the DPRK. The United Nations only stipulates that cash exchanged with companies in the DPRK cannot go to companies and businesses associated with military weaponry or the arms trade. Would you feel differently about Big Lebowski Bowling if you knew it was created in North Korea?"
The Courts

Lineage II Addiction Lawsuit Makes It Past the EULA 267

We recently discussed a man who sued NCsoft for making Lineage II "too addictive" after he spent 20,000 hours over five years playing it. Now, several readers have pointed out that the lawsuit has progressed past its first major hurdle: the EULA. Quoting: "NC Interactive has responded the way most software companies and online services have for more than a decade: it argued that the claims are barred by its end-user license agreement, which in this case capped the company's liability to the amount Smallwood paid in fees over six months prior to his filing his complaint (or thereabouts). One portion of the EULA specifically stated that lawsuits could only be brought in Texas state court in Travis County, where NC Interactive is located. ... But the judge in this case, US District Judge Alan C. Kay, noted that both Texas and Hawaii law bar contract provisions that waive in advance the ability to make gross-negligence claims. He also declined to dismiss Smallwood's claims for negligence, defamation, and negligent infliction of emotional distress."
Social Networks

Target To Sell Facebook "Credits" As Gift Cards 96

Julie188 writes "Target will begin selling Facebook's virtual currency as gift cards on September 5, becoming the first brick-and-mortar retailer to do so. Facebook Credit gift cards will be available in $15, $25 and $50 denominations at the retailer's 1,750 stores. That's right, you can now spend real dollars to get fake ones so you can buy imaginary items for games like FarmVille, Bejeweled and 150 other FB games or apps. If that interests you, please contact me. I have some swamp land in Florida I'd like to show you."
Games

More Devs Going Indie, To Gamers' Benefit 137

Wired is running a feature about how a growing number of game developers are abandoning jobs at major publishers and studios and taking their experience to the indie scene instead. Quoting: "They’re veterans of the triple-A game biz with decades of experience behind them. They’ve worked for the biggest companies and had a hand in some of the industry’s biggest blockbusters. They could work on anything, but they’ve found creative fulfillment splitting off into a tiny crew and doing their own thing. They’re using everything they’ve learned working on big-budget epics and applying it to small, downloadable games. The good news for gamers is that, as the industry’s top talents depart the big studios and go into business for themselves, players are being treated to a new class of indie game. They’re smaller and carry cheaper price tags, but they’re produced by industry veterans instead of thrown together by B teams and interns. Most importantly, unlike big-budget games that need to appeal to the lowest common denominator to turn a profit, these indie gems reveal the undiluted creative vision of their makers."
The Almighty Buck

EA Says Game Development Budgets Have Peaked 157

Gamasutra reports on comments from Electronic Arts VP David Demartini indicating that the company thinks AAA game development budgets are not going to continue their skyward trend. "If [a developer] happens to make a lot of money based on that budget, great for them. If they come up short and have to cover some of it — y'know, they'll be smarter the next time they do it. That's kind of the approach that we take to it." Certainly this has something to do with a few major economic flops in the games industry lately, such as the cancellation of This Is Vegas after an estimated $50 million had been dumped into the project. Another example is the anemic response to APB, an MMO with a budget rumored to be as high as $100 million. Poor sales and reviews caused developer Realtime Worlds to enter insolvency and lay off a large portion of the development team.

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