Op-Ed

Op-Ed
Your Semi-Daily Dosage 07/10/06

Joe Blancato | 10 Jul 2006 17:57
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It's that time again, folks, for your semi-daily dosage with yours truly. Not much on the ticket right now, but no one likes moving and shaking when it's 100 degrees outside.

Take-Two investigated by the SEC.
Oh, Take-Two, how far you have fallen. Amid plummeting stock prices and public opinion numbers rivaling those of a certain member of the executive branch of a certain developed nation, Take-Two is now staring down the barrel of government injunction. The Securities and Exchange Commission is taking a gander at the way Take-Two handed out their stock options to determine if they handed them out in a way to artificially boost the price of their stocks.

I know what you're thinking: What does this have to do with Hot Coffee? It doesn't. But everyone knows its best to kick people when they're down. It's the democratic thing to do.

Take-Two released a statement saying they plan to cooperate in the investigation.

This has me deeply worried. The more Take-Two suffers financially, the lesser the chances of Max Payne 3 finding its way onto store shelves. Sandbox games with dead hookers be damned, I want my game noir.

Bono likes money, too.
And that's ... OK. Pop star Bono of U2 fame thinks videogames are the future; he's invested $300 million into Pandemic Studios, creators of Destroy All Humans and Full Spectrum Warrior. But his investment has drawn some flak over Pandemic's upcoming game, Mercenary 2, which sends players into Venezuela, which in the game is led by an oil-hungry dictator who probably doesn't send cheap oil to freezing American families.

Most of the charges of hypocrisy haven't left gossip columns, but this is an instance where an outspoken proponent of peace is endorsing, through his money rather than his words, a violent, politically charged game that clashes with his publicly stated ideals. It's easy to write Bono off on this one, but once your cash leaves your wallet, it's tough to have much say in what the guy now holding it does with it.

Vietnam gets into the virtual property business.
A 10-person firm in Vietnam has opened up shop, the first of its kind in the nation. Ngo Xuan Chinh, the company's founder, decided to jump into the field professionally after playing games on his own. He's got his 10 workers divided into three shifts, who work to meet production quotas.

They're paid VND 20,000 ($1.25) an hour, which had me frothing in liberal sweatshop outrage until I realized that's only slightly less than what Vietnamese workers make on average, anyway. (Interesting note: The Vietnamese make $0.25/hour less than the Indians. Large corporate HR guy, please email me for directions on where you can put my finder's fee.)

What's most interesting about this turn of events is that Chinh can't even incorporate his company, because there are no laws governing virtual property in Vietnam, which just goes to show you, everything is legal somewhere.

Exeunt.
That's all from the home front, folks. Until next time, I'm Joe Blancato and I'm still not clever.

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