When Microsoft opens the door to its special Project Natal event at the beginning of the E3 video game convention in Los Angeles next month, it will have two special partners on hand.
All invitees got an e-mail on Thursday morning informing them that the Natal event will feature a "spectacular live performance imagined by Cirque du Soleil."
That kind of makes sense, given that Project Natal is a hands-free motion controller, and I can't really think of a better group of people to put the new system through its paces than a bunch of Cirque performers. … Read more
"For the Win," the latest young-adult novel by science-fiction author, journalist, and copyright activist Cory Doctorow, hit the shelves Tuesday. The book is about the drama surrounding the unionization of virtual world "gold farmers," and is based on his hit short story, "Anda's Game."
Doctorow, who has held policy positions at both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Creative Commons, is also an editor of the influential technology culture blog Boing Boing. Add his spot on the Wired magazine masthead and there are probably few, if any, people with more geek culture cred.
From his home in England, the Canadian-born Doctorow, a Hugo Award nominee, is one of the most prolific writers going, constantly turning out blog posts, magazine articles, novels, and everything in between. And he travels more in a year than most people will in a lifetime.
His Boing Boing posts can cover issues from the fact that there are now at least 13 open-source hardware companies making $1 million or more annually, to anything related to Net neutrality, to the current battle over the U.S. Federal Communications Committee's decision to give Hollywood permission to activate the so-called "Selective Output Control" technologies in consumers' set-top boxes.
Doctorow recently sat down for a "45 Minutes on IM" interview and discussed a range of topics such as a new-style approach to print-on-demand to gold farming, NAFTA, and quite a bit more.
Q: Welcome to the third installment of "45 Minutes on IM." I wanted to start by saying I love how your official bio has a one-sentence version, a one-paragraph version, and a much longer one. How did you decide to break it out like that? Doctorow: It was based on the requests I got from press and such--my publicist, magazines, Web sites, etc.--they'd all request one of the three. I found myself trimming the long bio to fit the other two lengths over and over again, so I just made a template that included all three. I try to make a template out of any text I type more than once. Though sometimes it takes me three or four reps before I go, 'Duh, make a template stupid!' I have a grand plan to put together a wiki-editable FAQ of all the questions I get asked in e-mail someday.
In the long version of your bio, you talk about the "audacious experiment in print-on-demand publishing" for your next book. What does that mean?… Read more
With four different Macs sitting in the CNET lab right now, Valve couldn't have picked a better time to release its Mac Steam client, at least from a testing perspective. We just spent the past few hours with Steam, as well as Portal and Torchlight, two of the more graphically demanding games available for Steam at launch. So far, we find Steam on the Mac just as seamless as the Windows version. The games are also mostly trouble-free.
First, to accompany this launch Valve is offering Portal as a free download until May 24. If you haven't played Portal, or even if you have, we recommend it. It's fun.
The Steam software itself should feel instantly familiar to anyone who's used the Windows version. Valve recently gave Steam a cosmetic overhaul, so even Steam veterans might need a minute to adjust, but overall it remains intuitive to navigate. One considerate touch: In the Steam store you'll see the full list of titles available for download, Windows titles included, but a mouse-over message will warn you if you hover over a game that's unavailable for the Mac. That will hopefully prevent any incompatible purchases. At launch, there were roughly 50 Mac titles available.
For the games themselves, we have few complaints about their performance on our various test systems. Granted, we'd expect neither the older Portal nor the purposefully lightweight Torchlight to challenge a halfway respectable computer. With more games coming to Steam for the Mac from Valve and (presumably) other game manufacturers, future titles may provide more of a challenge to the Macs we tested. For today at least, we find that Apple's higher-end Mac laptops and all-in-ones make capable gaming systems.
Game developer and publisher Ngmoco has acquired game house Stumptown Game Machine, the co-creator of the Touch Pets series. The two companies had worked together on the burgeoning virtual-pet franchise for the iPhone and iPod Touch in 2009.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Stumptown Games, a creation of Andrew Stern, is Ngmoco's third developer acquisition in the past year. Previous pickups include Miraphonic, which Ngmoco acquired in November of 2009, and Freeverse, which Ngmoco bought shortly after its $25 million round of venture capital funding in February. Both of those development houses continue to run under … Read more
An out-of-control satellite is drifting into the orbit of another satellite that transmits cable programming to the United States, the Associated Press is reporting.
According to the news service, a satellite known as Galaxy 15 broke contact with its owner, Intelsat on April 5. Although the exact cause is unknown, the satellite's owners believe it could have been "knocked out by a solar storm."
Normally, losing contact with a satellite wouldn't be cause for much concern, since in most cases, satellites stop transmitting signals. But Intelsat has confirmed that Galaxy 15 is still transmitting signals to … Read more
Microsoft's Project Natal, an Xbox 360 add-on that will allow gamers to use their bodies to control on-screen action, will be released in October, according to comments made by a Microsoft representative in a recent interview.
"So I do have great news to share with everybody," Syed Bilal Tariq, a marketing manager at Microsoft's Saudi Arabia division told Saudi TV station KSA 2. "Project Natal will be launched in Saudi Arabia the same time it will be launched in the world. That is going to be somewhere in October."
Following Friday's unofficial confirmation of LittleBigPlanet 2, Sony on Monday made the game's existence official. Monday morning, the PlayStation Blog took the wraps off the sequel, which first surfaced in April via a loose-lipped musician's Twitter post. That outing came five months after a level designer at the game's developer, Media Molecule, shot down sequel talk, saying a retail follow-up would be "counterproductive" to the game's massive community.
Monday, Sony made much of the achievements of said community--which has created more than 2 million levels for LittleBigPlanet--when it formally announced LittleBigPlanet 2, which … Read more
Details about Nintendo's 3D handheld gaming device have been scarce since it was announced in late March. But the company's president says it will have a feature that lets gamers turn off 3D functionality and play in standard 2D.
CEO Satoru Iwata didn't elaborate on how the option on the 3DS will work, the Associated Press reported Friday, but he did say that health concerns related to "children's eyesight" are a key factor in why the company decided to include 2D functionality in the device.
The 3DS, which will replace the DS, is set … Read more
It may owe its fortunes to Facebook, but the word is that social-gaming giant Zynga is getting ready to launch its own site in a bid to wean itself from its dependency on the popular social network.
According to TechCrunch, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus hosted a company meeting Thursday afternoon in which he asserted that hit games like Farmville, Mafia Wars, Cafe World and others might soon appear on their own social games site called Zynga Live.
"'Pincus announced at a 5 p.m. meeting yesterday at Zynga that Zynga was going to launch a social game network called Zynga Live,'" TechCrunch wrote, quoting from an anonymous insider e-mail.
The theory here is that Zynga and Facebook are clashing over the percentage that the social gaming giant might have to pay to use Facebook Credits, the social network's nascent currency platform.
"'Facebook and Zynga [have] been negotiating on Facebook Credits and the talks turned for the worst,'" TechCrunch quoted the e-mail as saying. "'In the negotiation process, Facebook shut off Zynga's feeds and threatened to shut down games. Zynga, in the process, threatened to completely leave Facebook and prepared to do so in the previous upcoming weeks."… Read more
Warner Bros. has expanded its DVD2Blu program, a service that offers customers the opportunity to send in a DVD copy of a movie and receive back from the studio a Blu-ray version.
Citing Blu-ray's success, Warner Bros. said consumers can now choose from 90 of the company's "most popular titles to upgrade." The available movies include several well-known titles like "The Aviator," "A Christmas Story," and "Get Smart."
Although I haven't tested it out, the process of using DVD2Blu seems painless. Customers can go to the site and select … Read more