Electronic Arts says it has sold more than 1.3 million copies of Madden NFL 2005, and signed up 315,000 new accounts for online play, in the game's first week of release. This online tournament biz has been one of broadband's quiet success stories (and is helping change the culture of mainstream gaming). You hear a lot more about EverQuest and Counter-Strike in the gaming community, but in fact there are now hundreds of thousands of regular sports fans joining online game groups who wouldn't be caught dead swinging a +1 sword online.
A representative from the New York Times late Thursday contacted me with some breaking news. The venerable paper of record was posting rare video clips and interviews from inside Iraq's Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf.
For people following the war, this was a glimpse inside the last hold-out of radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army. While news reports today differ over whether the militants have given up one of the holiest Shiite shrines, the video clips were a testament to how the Web can offer a parallel, multi-dimensional element to the news.
The media has been … Read more
According to research firm Parks Associates, ISPs have helped install more than 1 million home networks for their customers, and are on track to reach 2 million by the end of this year.
That's a drop in the bucket, I'd say. There are now 29 million households with broadband in the U.S. Google is temporarily failing to find me what proportion of those have a little Wi-Fi hub going, but I'd bet it's far higher than 2 million. Wi-Fi is simple plug and play these days, and there's not much role for ISPs to … Read more
Much broadband gaming news. The new version of Valve's Counter-Strike, for a while the most popular online computer game in the world, hit the Net last night. The developers used BitTorrent to help distribute the game, easing demand on their own servers, according to Broadband Reports.
Valve's been having a string of bad luck. Last year, a hacker broke in and stole source code for much of their upcoming release Half-Life 2 (which is about as eagerly anticipated as the average new Beatles album). This week, they apparently uploaded the entire script for Half-Life 2 along with some … Read more
A group of programmers has retuned the iTunes software so you can search for and download MP3 files from people on your network (if they're also using iTunes). At the average college, that's probably, oh, seven billion billion tracks available at any given time. Apple and the record labels aren't going to be happy about this one.
The software is called OurTunes, and follows a similar concept called MyTunes that got blocked by Apple a few months ago.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal said today that file-sharing software is legal, as long as the developer doesn't have any control over the trades like Napster did. That's terrible news for record companies and movie studios, which still see millions of songs and movies traded every day.
But it might be welcome news for broadband companies and subscribers. If you talk to ISPs, they'll privately tell you that most of the traffic that flows over their networks (by volume) is still peer to peer swaps. And a lot of porn, but that's another story. The … Read more
Ma Bell today struck deals with all the big name cable conglomerates in hopes of dealing its CallVantage VoIP (voice over IP) service to broadband customers. The company is pinning its hopes on broadband as a last-ditch effort to say in its bread-and-butter voice services business.
I can't help noticing the irony in this. AT&T under C. Michael Armstrong went on a cable acquisition spree during the boom years, sweeping up TCI and then MediaOne to become the largest cable provider. Armstrong went for broke, and in retrospect he had the right idea, but ate crow because … Read more
The NYT writes that telephone companies and other utilities are pouring money into the congressional campaign of Becky Armendariz Klein, a Texas Republican who is widely expected to lose.
Why all the money? If Bush wins re-election, apparently she's on the short list of candidates to replace Michael Powell as head of the FCC. Failing that, a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may be in the works.
Klein, who recently stepped down as chair of the Texas Public Utility Commission, dismisses this interpretation. "I don't think that's the reason at all," she told … Read more
The latest issue of Dave Burstein's DSL Prime is out (though not online yet), and he's got some tidbits on a few companies saying they'll ship pre-standard VDSL2 chips this year. Most chips are expected in 2005 and 2006. His take is that carriers (I think mostly overseas) need to compete with cable's higher speeds, and so are looking at this technology as a possible savior. In the States, the big carriers are concentrating more on fiber optics, it seems.
There's also a good item on the possible return of line sharing, which Covad in … Read more