This week we learn that NASA needs a bake sale for its funding, parents aren't too happy with the microtransactions and Diablo III's beta is making its way to the masses.
Earlier this month, Jane Jensen of Gabriel Knight fame hopped aboard the Kickstarter train with Pinkterton Road, an indie game studio built around what she calls "Community Supported Gaming." Instead of kicking in money for a specific game, supporters donate to the studio as a whole and are given access to a year's worth of content in return, including any games the studio produces [minimum of one per "season"] and a variety of other bonuses depending on the amount of the donation. (Link)
NASA Announces Bake Sale Fundraiser
You may have heard about recent, dramatic cuts to the budget at NASA, the U.S. agency responsible for all that science-type stuff that goes on up in space. The cuts are particularly bad for the agency's planetary exploration activities, which covers everything from Mars rovers to probes like Cassini-Huygens; according to io9, the budget for Mars exploration alone was slashed by over 38 percent, effectively bringing further missions to a halt and forcing the cancellation of the ExoMars mission that was being undertaken in conjunction with the European Space Agency. Bill Nye, aka The Science Guy, who also also happens to be the Executive Director of the Planetary Society, said the cuts are indicative of wrong-headed priorities in the U.S. Government. (Link)
Parents Suing Apple Over In-Game Purchasing
After months of legal wrangling, a group of concerned parents has now been given permission to sue Apple for "manipulating" their kids into spending large amounts of real-world cash on virtual in-app objects (mostly Smurfberries) in various iOS games. Led by attorney Garen Meguerian, the group is alleging that the "addictive" nature of some iOS games drives their kids to buy in-game items without really knowing what's going on. (Link)
Codemasters Says "Racing is Everything"
Codemasters isn't an industry heavyweight by any stretch of the imagination but it's been around since 1986, it employs 700 people and it's put out a lot of games over the years, some of which are actually pretty good. Its best-known titles tend to be racing games, like the Dirt and F1 franchises, but it's also responsible for games like Bodycountand Operation Flashpoint. But no longer! Codemasters announced today that it is moving to a racing-only formula, beginning with the launch of a new label, Codemasters Racing, which will serve as the home for the Dirt, GRID and F1 franchises. As for non-racing games, well, there are no more non-racing games.
Diablo III Beta Goes Public This Weekend
Up until now, the lands of Sanctuary have had a decently strict immigration policy, but with a May 15th full release date fast approaching, special beta keys be damned; Blizzard is opening up Diablo 3 to everyone with an internet connection for exactly 69 hours and 59 minutes. Would-be Witch Doctors and Demon Hunters everywhere, rejoice! If you want to take part in the weekend madness, head over to Battle.net and start downloading the client. Then, beginning today at 12:01 P.M. PDT, you can grind a character all the way up to level 13 until Monday, April 23 at 10:00 A.M. PDT (Link)