Op-Ed

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Op-Ed

JoystickwithaQ takes the monkey this week with the sad tale of a little, Greek developer that could (not).

Op-Ed

My artsy geek alarm sounded when I saw Killer 7 sitting in the used rack at EB Games. I'd heard good things. Or, if not good things, that it was a total trip to play with buckets of style. It was pretty much mandatory that I pick it up for the $10 they demanded, since if nothing else, I could keep it in my game rack to create the illusion of depth. It's like Proust. Nobody reads Proust, but people think you're smart if you have it on your shelf.

Op-Ed

John C. Dvorak just nailed something that has been bothering me all week.

Meanwhile this democratization of the news ... is seen by the idealists in the community as profound. I see it as increasingly dangerous, for a number of reasons.

Op-Ed

More big-time upper-echelon technology experts are stepping up to voice their concerns over the current debate in Congress over whether or not to legislate a guarantee for net neutrality. This time though, we've got word from the only man who can really claim to be an expert on the world wide web: the man who invented it.

Tim Berners-Lee posted last week on net neutrality, and his post is short enough, simple enough and correct enough for anyone to read it and understand why net neutrality is such a big deal. Even members of the US House of Representatives. Maybe.

When I invented the Web, I didn't have to ask anyone's permission.

Op-Ed

Now that we've made all of the "Florescent What?" jokes we can handle, it's time to take another look at the "New Kotaku."

Glaringly eye-crushing colors aside, today's Kotaku front page features no fewer than four obvious attempts to cash in on the power of sex. In no particular order we have: one picture of a bikini model eating squid (posted for no particular reason other than to have a picture of a squid-eating bikini model on the front page); one in-game shot of a metal-clad sorceress; seventy or so upskirt shots of Japanese models; and one barely-legal picture of a model with extremely large nipples (covered with paint).

Now, I'm not a prude or anything - quite the opposite - but the problem here is that with my eyes all a-goggle looking at the sexy ladies, my eye happens to be open just enough for my retina to be blinded once again by the vibrant colors of the site's new layout. Therefore, weeks after the initial shock has faded, I find myself once more threatened with debilitating blindness thanks to Kotaku. So many expletives from which to choose ...

But that's not why we're here.

Op-Ed

The United States Senate Commerce Committee will be convening this week to debate the issue of "Net Neutrality," specifically how it applies to the communications companies who wish to enable tiered fee structures for usage of advanced broadband networks, apart from or alongside the traditional internet infrastructure.

The issue, which I've outlined previously HERE, is essentially that Verizon and other communications companies have been spending vast sums of capital establishing their own broadband networks, apart from the internet proper. These companies would like to begin charging content providers a second set of fees, in addition to the fees they already pay for internet access, in order to access these secondary networks, which in many cases may be faster and "cleaner" than the traditional internet.

The problem is that a tiered fee structured could potentially create trust issues when, say, a content provider owned by Time Warner (for example) is competing for access to the same secondary network (also owned by Time Warner) with another company which may be owned by someone else. What we would have in that scenario would be the possibility of Time Warner enforcing their own editorial control over the content available to you, the user.

Hence, the debate over Net Neutrality.

Op-Ed

It would appear that the folks at the Cyberathelete Professional League have been busy.

According to a BBC report, the CPL and satellite television provider, DirecTV, have entered into an agreement in which DirecTV has acquired broadcast rights to all CPL events, and will immediately set about broadcasting the league's Winter Championships, held in December.

I'm amusing myself greatly by imagining a Madden NFL competition broadcast with Madden as commentator. Yeah, it's unlikely, but that's kind of the point of irony. Look it up.

Op-Ed

Gamepolitics has a great write-up detailing what went down at the videogame hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday. The panel of senators seemed pretty hell-bent on taking potshots at the FTC for not throwing the book at Take-Two over Hot Coffee, but what stuck out for me was testimony by Patricia Vance of the ESRB, and follow-ups from David Walsh of NIMF and Kim Thompson, a Harvard researcher who found that the ESRB doesn't consistently follow its own rating guidelines.

What struck me most was this passage:

For her part, researcher Kim Thompson suggested that the ESRB might do well to actually play the games which it rates (the ESRB relies primarily on game publishers to tell the ratings body what type of content games contain).

That's when it hit me. It's what's had me sitting on the fence regarding Hot Coffee, and occasionally nodding my head when the "bad guys" start passing stupid laws. It's a question that plagues me wherever I encounter situations like this:

In what world does it make sense to let an industry regulate itself?

Op-Ed

Step 1: Make stuff up.

Step 2: Quote vague sources

Step 3: Reap the whirlwind.

A forum site, cum blog, which I will refuse to name or link (but its name starts with an "F" and ends with a "13") posted a story a day or so ago in which they claimed to have seen an "insider" presentation given by Vivendi execs on Wall St. Vivendi, is the company which currently owns Blizzard, and the execs (allegedly) claimed that soon, all of Blizzard's IPs would be MMOs.

Meaning, World of Starcraft, etc.

Hilarity ensued.

Op-Ed

Under the heading: Girls Just Wanna Have Relevance, the first ever Sex in Videogames Conference convened last week in sunny San Francisco and generally failed to catch the attention of gamers the world over.

With speakers spanning the full range of outspoken gamer chicks - from the always ready to intimidate, Regina Lynn, to lady game developer, Sheri Graner Ray - the stated purpose of the conference was to "Explore the Business of Digital Erotic Entertainment." I am honestly having a hard time imaging a way to make sex sound less interesting.

Adult entertainment is a multi-billion dollar industry. So is gaming. So why, therefore, have attempts to merge the two failed to penetrate the market; often showing limp (if not flaccid) sales figures?

Op-Ed

Gamasutra has published a nice, lengthy interview with the mythical Chris Crawford, in which the long-absent, once-visionary designer essentially pans the entire gaming industry as being derivative.

The industry is so completely inbred that the people working in it aren't even capable of coming up with new ideas anymore. I was appalled, for example, at the recent GDC. I looked over the games at the Independent Games Festival and they all looked completely derivative to me. Just copies of the same ideas being recycled.

Op-Ed

This, like most issues involving government, big business and "an idea" is probably one about which you've already heard a great deal, and perhaps made up your mind. In which case, carry on.

If you want to dig a little deeper, however and (to quote a guy with a very sexy voice) "see how deep the rabbit hole goes," come with me ...

Op-Ed

Yes, I'm posting about weblogs on a weblog. This officially defines me as "meta." Fear my meta-ness. Fear it.

This posting over at Slashdot, a site which I've typically held in high regard, is pretty indicative of the problems currently facing the average consumer of web-based journalism. Read it carefully, then read it again.

It's not news, nor is it, necessarily, informed opinion; it's just a posting on a website. it could have been made by any one of us. It could have even been me (It wasn't. I'm not THAT meta.).

Op-Ed

I'm seriously trying to avoid building a career based on discussing the ridiculousness of Sony's business philosophy and the outrageousness of its bannermen, but COME ON, PEOPLE! I mean ... COME ON!

Sony's Phil Harrison recently sat down for an interview with Der Spiegel Online. He had a lot to say, but little of it made sense unless you're from outer space. Or perhaps German.

"We don't need the PC."

For example, is pretty strong language. I don't know what Sony pays these guys, but some of it has to be in crack. This from a company that makes PCs.

Op-Ed

From The Korea Times, May 9, 2006:

"A Seoul court took sides with NCSoft, Korea's biggest game company in a battle against makers of game cheating programs, but the accused remain skeptical whether NC really wants to fight with them.

"The Seoul Central District Court last week sentenced two distributors of 'LinMate' computer program to suspended jail terms of two years and a 10-million won penalty on the charge of obstructing NCSoft's operation of its 'Lineage' game.