KingSkippus writes: Last December 1, NCsoft shut down the long-running City of Heroes superhero MMORPG. Undaunted, a group of fans formed Missing Worlds Media, a new studio to develop City of Titans. The new game is a spiritual successor with original art, stories, and code. A Kickstarter project to raise funds for software and hardware for the mostly volunteer team of developers and artists reached its funding level less than six days later, and the total is currently approaching stretch goals. Missing Worlds Media is currently targeting a November 2015 release date for City of Titans.
KingSkippus writes: At midnight Pacific on Saturday, December 1, NCsoft shut down the City of Heroes servers for the final time. Since announcing the closure, a group of players has been working hard to revive the game by getting attention from the gaming press, recognition from celebrities such as Sean Astin, Neil Gaiman, and Felicia Day, and assistance from fantasy author Mercedes Lackey. Meanwhile, NCsoft has been drawing negative publicity, including a scathing article about the shutdown from local news site The Korea Times noting that the game was earning $2.76 million per quarter and that "it is hard to comprehend what NCsoft means when they say they closed it for strategic reasons." NCsoft's stock price has fallen over 43% since the announcement in August, almost 30% below it's previous 52-week low, right when investors were counting on the success of the recently launched Guild Wars 2 to help boost the company.
KingSkippus writes: The superhero-themed MMORPG City of Heroes announced this morning that it is rebranding the game as City of Heroes Freedom ("freedom to pay and play as you choose"), and moving to a hybrid payment model including a free-to-play option. "VIP" players who still pay a monthly subscription will have most features of the game unlocked and will be given credit towards purchase towards others. City of Heroes Freedom is due to hit later this year with the next major game update.
KingSkippus writes: According to a story at CNN, Apple has begun enforcing third party promotion guidelines (PDF) that, among other things, restricts organizations from giving away iPads, using the word "free" to describe any Apple products in a prominent manner, or promoting giveaways of iPod Touches in lots of less than 250 and with Apple's explicit approval.
KingSkippus writes: Hulu is sending beta members an e-mail today announcing the official launch of Hulu Plus. Among the announcements is a price drop in the service, from $9.99 per month to $7.99. Beta members are being retroactively refunded $2 for each moth they were subscribed. Also announced is a referral program, which will split a free month of service between an existing subscriber and a new referred subscriber. The service, however, still does not include the whole catalog of shows, does includes ads, and is only be available on computers and select devices.
KingSkippus writes: "Roy Scheider, who starred as Captain Nathan Bridger in SeaQuest DSV and Police Chief Martin "You're gonna need a bigger boat" Brody in the classic creature thriller Jaws, died at the age of 75 on Sunday. The official cause of death has not been released, but Scheider has been treated for multiple myeloma in Arkansas for the past two years and his wife stated that it was due to complications from a staph infection."
KingSkippus writes: "In response to a complaint to the FCC filed by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) to change copyright warnings before movies and sporting events, Executive Director Patrick Ross of the Copyright Alliance tells us in an editorial that "fair use is not a consumer right." The Copyright Alliance is backed by such heavy-hitters as the MPAA, RIAA, Disney, Business Software Alliance, and perhaps most interestingly, Microsoft, who is also backing the CCIA's complaint."
KingSkippus writes: The $100 bill is the most widely counterfeited denomination outside the U.S., and high-end equipment available to counterfeiters has made it easier than ever to do so. To buck this trend, the new $100 bill will be getting some high-end copy protection added, including 650,000 microlenses on each bill that cause an image to appear to move counter to the bill's rotation. The new presses will also be capable of printing currency in varying sizes, possibly in response to the ruling that indistinguishable denominations violates federal law, though there are no plans to do so yet.
KingSkippus writes: Dell is now selling PCs with Ubuntu 7.04 preinstalled. Dell is offering hardware sales and support only, with fee-based software support options available from Canonical. Three systems (two desktops and one laptop) will be initially available, and according to the post, 'Initially we will offer a subset of the component options we support on the three systems. We will continue to work with vendors to improve the stability of the associated Linux drivers moving forward.'
KingSkippus writes: "BBC news is reporting that publisher Acclaim Games is working with developer Dave Perry to develop Top Secret, a new MMORPG using 'crowd sourcing.' It will be a commercial game with a paid professional core team that works with a larger volunteer community to develop the code, stories, art, and audio in the game. Perry says, 'With 20,000 people signed up we are already the biggest development team in history. We will end up with 100,000 people on this team. If 1% is any good, we are good to go.' Could this be a missing link that brings us commercial-quality community-developed gaming?"
KingSkippus writes: "Debbie Foster, who was accused by the RIAA of sharing music on a peer-to-peer network and fought for a year and a half to have her case dismissed, has won a countersuit seeking $55,000 for attorney's fees. Ars Technica reports, "The industry cartel will have to tread carefully with any secondary infringement claims now that there is case law that owning an Internet account used for infringement does not automatically make the owner liable for said infringement. Attorney Ray Beckerman told Ars that he believes there are huge implications from this opinion. 'It sends a message to the RIAA... that there are consequences to this 'driftnet' litigation strategy.'""
KingSkippus writes: "The US Department of Transportation rejected Virgin America's application to operate an airline because of restrictions on foreign companies operating in the United States. In response, Virgin has launched a "Let VA Fly!" campaign with a petition web site and twovideos on YouTube. The latter video shows off the Linux-based computer system on every seat. Charles Ogilvie, Director of In-Flight Entertainment, says of the system:
Another cool thing, and for gamers out there, you're going to love this: We're a Linux platform... We're going to be having an invitation in the future for savvy Linux game developers to actually come to us with ideas and we're going to give them the opportunity to develop for us on our platform.
If Virgin America successfully petitions the DoT, this could give the term 'high score' a whole new meaning. Other features include airplane chat rooms, an 'integrated food application,' and on-demand television, movies, and music."
KingSkippus writes: "Stephen Colbert calls it "truth that comes from the gut, not books." Merriam-Webster calls it their 2006 Word of the Year. The word, first introduced [Windows media] on "The Word" segment of The Colbert Report, won by a five-to-one margin. In spite of Colbert's ironic dismissal of dictionaries and other reference books, will Colbert's coined word actually be added to those books? With media outlets like CNN and MSNBC covering it, the idea may very well have truthiness."
KingSkippus writes: "MSNBC is running a story about taking passwords to the grave. It's a problem that is becoming more and more common: people storing information online, and that information becoming inaccessible when they die. Google and MSN have policies about dealing with e-mail accounts of the deceased, and in April 2005, a court had to order Yahoo to release a deceased Marine's e-mail account to his father. Many people have blogs, online games, hosted sites, special-purpose e-mail accounts, and other online resources that these policies would not apply to. Have you prepared for the inevitable day when you expire, and if so, how? Do you have online information that you don't want to be passed down, and if so, what steps have you taken to ensure your posthumous privacy rights? And how do you balance the desire for your online information to survive you against possible risks to privacy and security while you're still alive?"