FCC Restarts Merger Shot Clock on AT&T-T-Mobile

August 26, 2011 -

Today the Federal Communications Commission restarted its "shot clock" for the AT&T–T-Mobile merger review. The announcement follows AT&T’s fourth and allegedly final revision of the economic models it is using to make its case for the T-Mobile acquisition.

Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner issued a short statement today with its thoughts on the latest move by the FCC:

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FCC Hosts Apps for Communities Challenge

August 4, 2011 -

The Knight Foundation and the FCC have teamed up to challenge app developers to create a software application that "delivers personalized, actionable information" to the public that are least likely to be online. Using local government and public data in under-served communities, developers will need to create an app that enables Americans to benefit from broadband communications.

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FCC: Net Neutrality Rules Heading to Office of Management Budget 'Soon'

June 25, 2011 -

A Federal Communications Commission spokesperson says that the agency is expected to send its net neutrality rules to the Office of Management Budget for Paperwork Reduction Act for vetting very soon. Of course, as Free Press points out, this is the first time that the FCC has admitted that it has dragged its feet on sending them in. Net neutrality rules were adopted in December 2010 but because of new reporting rules and requirements the commission had to put it out for comment and has been vetting it since April.

The rules can't be challenged in court until they are published in the Federal Register, which can't do that until the rules go through the OMB and are put out for 30 days. Then the rules don't go into effect for another 60 days. Given all of that the rules won't likely go into effect until October of this year.

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Advocacy Groups To FCC: Do Not Allow AT&T and T-Mobile Merger

June 21, 2011 -

A number of public interest groups have come out swinging against AT&T, saying that its proposed merger with T-Mobile will harm consumers and stifle competition in the mobile space. The groups, which include Media Access Project and Consumers Union, filed a reply with the Federal Communications Commission on Monday in response to arguments from AT&T and T-Mobile that the merger would be beneficial to consumers because it would accelerate the deployment of next-generation wireless access. The groups say that the opposite will happen if the FCC allows the merger to go through.

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Rep. Matsui Introduces 'The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011'

June 15, 2011 -

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced a bill yesterday called "The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011." The bill would deliver high speed Internet access to lower income households to close what she calls the "the digital divide." Matsui introduced an identical bill in 2009. She is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Matsui said that low-income Americans need access to affordable high-speed internet as much as anyone else, to succeed in our modern and connected society:

"Income should not hinder the ability of hard-working American families to attain broadband services that have become a necessity, not a luxury in our technologically driven economy. If you don't have it, you are simply at a competitive disadvantage," Matsui said in a statement.

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Free Press Files Complaint Against Verizon

June 7, 2011 -

Earlier this week advocacy group Free Press formally complained to the Federal Communications Commission concerning Verizon's ban of 4G tethering apps, claiming that the action violates the openness rules set forth in the agency's net neutrality guidelines and terms the company agreed to when it bought the spectrum in 2008.

In its complaint, Free Press claims that the wireless carrier asked Google to remove tethering apps from the Android Market. The motivation for doing this, according to Free Press, is because Verizon wants to charge a monthly fee of $20 for subscribers to use their phone as an ad hoc modem. Free Press says that these requests to Google violate the openness rules that the FCC attached to the C Block spectrum that Verizon bought at auction in 2008. Those rules require that Verizon allow users to use devices, services and apps without interference from the carrier.

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AT&T's Generous Contributions to Lawmaker-Linked Charities

June 1, 2011 -

How do you give money to politicians without actually giving them a big fat check directly? Write a check to a charity they are closely associated with. That is just what AT&T has been doing, and it is getting the attention of the public and media outlets.

AT&T has given a substantial amount of money to charities connected to several lawmakers including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), who just happens to be the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has direct jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission. A charity associated with Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), who just happens to be on the Senate Appropriations Committee. AT&T also gave a generous contribution to a charity associated with Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the No. 3 House Democrat. His daughter, Mignon Clyburn also happens to be a member of the Federal Communications Commission.

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Time Warner Applauds FCC Decision on 'Rural Telco Interconnection'

May 27, 2011 -

Time Warner Cable issued a short statement today praising a recent "declaratory ruling" on a petition submitted by the cable operator to the agency related to rural telco interconnection. The ruling basically says that local telephone companies must work with telecommunications companies to enable interconnection between networks, and traffic exchanges. The company went on to say that it has been trying to enter into rural communities in Maine - unsuccessfully - for the last three years.

Time Warner's short statement below:

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Rep. Darrell Issa Wants Answers From FCC's Baker

May 23, 2011 -

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has decided that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a key investigative body of Congress which he chairs, will investigate FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker's jump from the FCC to Comcast-NBC Universal.

In a letter sent to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Friday, Issa said that Baker's departure has “generated questions” because of her recent vote to approve the Comcast and NBC merger.

Issa said that Baker's own statements about the process which led to the job offer leads him to believe that "it does not appear [Baker] violated any of her legal or ethical obligations in accepting a position with Comcast.”

Still, he thinks an investigation is still warranted “because only a short time has passed since the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, it is imperative that the public can trust the integrity of the process."

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Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

May 19, 2011 -

A controversial tweet from a non-profit supported by donations from Comcast has caused the company a bit of controversy over the last 24 hours and it all has to do with former FCC Comissioner Meredith Attwell Baker. In case you have forgotten, Meredith Attwell Baker approved the Comcast-NBC merger about four months ago and then - recently - took a job with the same company.

Reel Grrls is a summer camp for teenage girls in Seattle that offers courses on documentary film making, video production and film animation. The trouble began, as most trouble happens online these days - on Twitter. The official account for non-profit Reel Grrls tweeted its disdain for Baker joining Comcast-NBC as a lobbyist:

“OMG! @FCC Commissioner Baker voted 2 approve Comcast/NBC merger & is now lving FCC for A JOB AT COMCAST?!? http://su.pr/1trT4z #mediajustice”

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FCC Commissioner Turned Lobbyist Defends Comcast-NBC Job

May 16, 2011 -

Caught with her proverbial pants down, former FCC Commissioner and soon to-be Washington D.C. lobbyist for Comcast-NBC Meredith Attwell Baker issued a statement regarding her new job, the approval of the Comcast-NBC merger and the appearance of impropriety taking a job at the company has caused her.

The Republican commissioner issued the statement on Friday after several publications including the New York Times called into question her role in the merger and taking a job with the same company a mere four months after her vote. From her statement (found in full here - PDF):

"Not once in my entire tenure as a Commissioner had anyone at Comcast or NBCUniversal approached me about potential employment. When this opportunity became available in mid-April, I made a personal decision that I wanted to give it serious consideration.

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FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker Joins Comcast-NBC

May 12, 2011 -

Meredith Attwell Baker, one of the two Republican Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission, plans to step down from the agency to take a lobbying job at Comcast-NBC. It's an odd turn of events, considering that at the time, Baker objected to the FCC attempts to impose conditions on the merger deal.

This news comes a mere four months after approving the deal. Now Baker will become a top DC lobbyist for the newly formed entity. The media and advocacy groups that opposed the merger are having a field day with the news.

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Rep. Greg Walden to FCC: What's the Hold-Up on Net Neutrality Order?

April 8, 2011 -

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) raised concern this week about how long it is taking the Federal Communications Commission to get net-neutrality regulations on the books. The agency passed the new rules in December. Walden added that he is not excited to have the rules enacted but is nonetheless curious about what is taking the agency so long.

"I’m curious as to why it’s taken the FCC so long to file their network-neutrality rules in the Federal Register. It’s not that I’m eager to have their rules proceed, but it does raise some questions," said Walden, the top Republican on the Communications subcommittee.

He also questioned whether the FCC is following the proper procedures and if the delay is in some way a tactic to derail a GOP effort to repeal the rules using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Walden's repeal measure is scheduled for a full House vote on Friday.

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Report: 133 U.S. Cities Operate Their Own Broadband Networks

March 23, 2011 -

An interesting story on Ars Technica points out that 133 cities in the United States have their own broadband networks. This data comes from a new map developed by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The group compiled the list of 54 fiber networks and 79 cable networks. The objective of these networks is to "maximize value to the community in which they are located rather than to distant stockholders and corporate executives."

Ouch. The advantage to these networks is that they are not driven by profits; for example, a city-owned network would be more apt to extend itself out to even remote residents, while a corporate ISP would determine that based on the number of residents on a stretch of line per mile. 

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House Republicans Move Against Net Neutrality Rules

March 10, 2011 -

House Republicans today took the first small step towards overturning the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules. On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology voted 15-8 to pass a resolution that kills the FCC rules. The resolution will now go before the full House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where Republicans will have enough votes to get it passed. The resolution will make it to the House floor in the next couple of weeks.

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Rep. Greg Walden Sets Feb. 16 Hearing With FCC

February 11, 2011 -

Addressing the Ripon Society earlier this week, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) outlined his priorities as the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology this year. One of the biggest priorities for Walden is to take the FCC to task for its recent net neutrality rules. Many republicans see the new rules as an over-reach on the part of the FCC. Democrats think the rules are too weak.

"Look, whether you’re for it or against it," Walden said. "I don’t believe the FCC had the authority to do it."

Walden thinks that the FCC frequently oversteps its boundaries and needs some reform. That reform will come from congressional oversight. Walden said that Republicans plan to offer a "resolution of disapproval" and promised to hold hearings on "this issue and others" related to the FCC.

Other commissions will be considered, Walden added.

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Heritage Foundation Wants Net Neutrality Rules Rescinded

February 3, 2011 -

Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation has issued a report urging congress to review what it calls 20 "unnecessary and harmful regulations" - three of which have to do with the FCC.

"This regulatory tide must be reversed," Heritage's Dianne Katz said. "Policy­makers should not just prevent harmful new regulations, but must repeal costly and unnecessary rules already on the books."

Ars Technica details the three items that Heritage Foundation is putting a bull’s-eye on: net neutrality regulations, media ownership rules, and the FCC's merger review authority.

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Free Press: Comcast-NBC Merger a 'Comcastrophe'

January 18, 2011 -

In an email response to the Comcast-NBC Merger, internet rights group Free Press calls the freshly approved merger a "Comcastrophe." It’s a noun. A partial statement from Joe Silver, Free Press CEO and President, follows:

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FCC Approves Comcast-NBC Universal Merger

January 18, 2011 -

The Federal Communications Commission has approved a merger between cable operator Comcast and television network and media company NBC Universal. The deal has a number of strings attached according to a Washington Post report, but many net groups think that the agency didn't go far enough in its conditions for approval of the deal. When the deal is complete, Comcast (the country's largest cable television provider) will control such networks as USA, Bravo, MSNBC, NBC, and CNBC - to name a few.

Four out of five commissioners voted to approve the merger. The Justice Department also gave the green light for the deal today.

"After a thorough review, we have adopted strong and fair merger conditions to ensure this transaction serves the public interest," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.

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Report: NBC-Comcast Merger Not Likely This Week

January 13, 2011 -

According to the Washington Post, the proposed merger between NBC and Comcast will not be approved this week as the FCC considers putting net neutrality conditions on the new company. Two Democratic commissioners are pushing for the two companies to preserve local media and that Comcast does not use its new-found market power to make it harder for content and media companies to reach consumers.

The merger has received the blessing of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, as long as the companies agree to certain conditions, including some specifics on online video content. Analysts expect Comcast to agree to provide NBC shows as long as other networks are providing their content to online video providers such as Apple TV and Netflix.

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Republican Lawmakers Target FCC in First Hours of New Congress

January 7, 2011 -

The new Republican controlled House or Representatives wasted no time this week getting to its agenda which included amending the clean air act, cuts in discretionary spending, plans for hearing on the powers of the president's "czars," and a bill that would limit the power of the FCC to enforce net neutrality.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced H.R. 96, a bill "to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from further regulating the Internet."

Blackburn's new bill has 59 co-sponsors, and should have no problem passing in the House. In the Senate it has less of a chance of surviving.

Republicans in the House and Senate have vowed to find ways to curtail the powers of the FCC and other agencies. The FCC is one of many targets that lawmakers will attempt to take to task in 2011.

Source: Ars Technica

9 comments

Opinion: Wireless Net Neutrality Will Be Contested

January 3, 2011 -

Fierce Wireless offers a dire prediction for the FCC's net neutrality rules enacted in December: continued opposition. How this opposition will evolve from talking points to actual action remains unknown, but there will be plenty of sword rattling in 2011, says the site dedicated to the wireless industry.

Here is how they lay the prediction out to readers:

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Cory Doctorow on Net Neutrality

January 3, 2011 -

Cory Doctorow, best known as the genius behind Boing Boing offers some opinions on the recently approved FCC rules on net neutrality in an editorial called "Net Neutrality for Writers: It’s All About the Leverage." The column is from the January 2011 issue of Locus Magazine.

He starts out by bashing the compromise the FCC accepted when it enacted new rules. For one, the whole transparency thing is worthless because it does not stop service providers from shaping or managing traffic.

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Hutchison: Repealing Net Neutrality a Tough Fight

December 31, 2010 -

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) admits that overturning or repealing the new net neutrality rules put in place earlier this month by the Federal Communications Commission will be difficult because the Democrats still control the Senate and the White House.

Hutchinson has been one of the most vocal opponents of the new regulations on broadband and wireless service providers. Though she has pledged to put forth a resolution to "disapprove the legislation" she admits that she faces an uphill battle in both houses and an inevitable veto from the president should it make it that far.

"As long as the Democrats are in control of the Senate and the president believes this is the way to govern, we will have a hard time shutting it down," Hutchison told host David Asman during a Fox Business Channel interview. "But I hope enough Democrats will come alongside us in the Senate and Republicans in the House and say this is wrong."

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Poll: Over Half of Likely Voters Dislike Net Neutrality Rules

December 29, 2010 -

According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey 54 percent of the American public oppose the new net neutrality rules approved by the FCC last week. The national telephone survey also found that only 21 percent of likely U.S. voters want the FCC to regulate the Internet as it does radio and television, while 25 percent are not sure.

According to Rasmussen, the survey was conducted shortly after the FCC decided on a party line vote to impose net neutrality regulations on the Internet. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly opposed the FCC regulation of the Internet, while Democrats were more evenly divided. Those who use the Internet the most were most opposed to FCC regulations.

Fifty-six percent of voters believe that the FCC will use its regulatory powers to promote a political agenda. Half of that number (28 percent) disagreed.

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How to File a Net Neutrality Complaint

December 28, 2010 -

Ars Technica details how one goes about filing a complaint against a service provider under the new net neutrality rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission last week. The short answer is that for both individuals and corporate entities, filing a complaint can be an arduous task.

First, there are two kinds of complaints that can be filed: informal and formal. The FCC lets end users and "edge providers" file informal complaints through its Consumer and Government Affairs informal complaint form. Informal complaints are easier to file.

The FCC says that its Consumer Division will soon "make available resources explaining these rules and facilitating the filing of informal complaints." I hope that the process gets streamlined so that regular every-day consumers can do so without complications..

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Free Press to FCC: Don't Rubber Stamp Comcast-NBC Merger

December 23, 2010 -

Free Press, still upset over the "squandered opportunity" of net neutrality, is today urging the FCC to not "rubber stamp" the Comcast-NBC merger.

Free Press opposes the merger because "it would give the nation’s largest cable company and residential broadband provider massive media power and the ability to restrict its competitors’ access to both Comcast and NBC content."

Free Press Policy Counsel Corie Wright made the following statement today on freepress.net:

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Senator Jim DeMint Plans To Target FCC in Next Congress

December 23, 2010 -

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) said today that the Federal Communications Commission should be renamed the "Fabricating a Crisis Commission," following its vote to approve new rules to regulate certain aspects of the internet. Later on in a blistering attack of the FCC's actions this week, DeMint said he will push for legislation that limits the power of the FCC to act on its own in enforcing rules.

"Proceeding on its own liberal whims rather than facts, this FCC has chosen to grant itself broad authority to limit how businesses can bring the internet to consumers in faster and more innovative ways," DeMint said in a lengthy statement.

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Time Warner Statement on FCC Adoption of Net Neutrality Rules

December 22, 2010 -

Time Warner Cable issued a statement yesterday in support of the Federal Communications Commission’s adoption of net neutrality rules. Cable companies like Time Warner support the new rules, say opponents of the measure, because the telecom industry helped write the draft proposal.

Time Warner called the rules "a workable balance between protecting consumers' interests and preserving incentives for investment and innovation by broadband Internet service providers." The company added that, while it thinks that "regulation is unnecessary and unwarranted," it is pleased with what the FCC has come up with because it avoids reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

Here is the company line as it relates to consumers:

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Open Internet Coalition Comments on FCC's Net Neutrality Plans

December 21, 2010 -

The Open Internet Coalition issued a statement this morning in anticipation of the FCC's vote on net neutrality sometime today. The full statement below:

"Our coalition has long maintained that we needed rules with the force of law to provide baseline protections to consumers and innovators. Today’s vote, coupled with strong future enforcement, would provide a degree of certainty to all participants in the broadband marketplace and help foster an open wireline Internet online ecosystem. We thank Chairman Genachowski for initiating this process and Commissioners Copps and Clyburn for improving the order to address important issues.

However, we also recognize the great potential that wireless broadband presents to consumers, innovators and the economy. The Commission should move to apply the same rules of the road to the entire Internet moving forward.

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Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
TheSmokeyhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/call-of-duty-swatting-hoax_n_5195659.html?utm_hp_ref=canada&ir=Canada CoD loser calls SWAT on person who beat him04/23/2014 - 7:13am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/xbox-one-reaches-japan-on-september-4/ Just give it up, Microsoft. You're NEVER going to be big in Japan, especially now that the notoriously clunky in Japan Kinect is MANDATORY.04/23/2014 - 7:10am
Cheater87Has this been posted yet? http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Lord+Spencer/ssv-saudi-arabia-bans-bravely-default-because-it-promotes-pedophilia--272016.phtml04/22/2014 - 9:31pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/133898-Fatal-Frame-V-Coming-Exclusively-to-Wii-U04/22/2014 - 8:50pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a game worth playing if you have a pc/360/ps304/20/2014 - 9:34pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/IGLevine/status/457552538343325696 The Lutece Twins show up in some of the most unlikely of places.04/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
 

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