We’re not going to point fingers but there are those who would attempt to protect children by banning violent video games. Is that the best way?
Not according to Kansas State University professor Charles Smith. He says, and you may want to sit down for this radical concept, that good parenting is a far better method than banning violent games.
I know, right?
"There is a mass hysteria about violence and video games, but it's the context and type of video game, and more importantly, it's the type of child,” said Smith, a professor of family studies and human services and parenting expert.
Sony announced that it will have "full PlayStation Network services" in Japan sometime this week. This will bring all of its services online in the region nearly two and a half months after being attacked by hackers. Later this week Sony hopes to have its PlayStation Store back online, allowing Japanese PlayStation Network users access to its games marketplace and online music.
The attack on Sony’s data centers in San Diego compromised more than 100 million customer accounts and will cost an estimated 14 billion yen ($173 million) for the company this fiscal year.
Most of the delay in Japan was due to a Japanese government request in May to institute "preventive measures against data breaches," and to ease customer worries over having their information stolen. Apparently Sony has finally satisfied these requests, as well as requests from credit card companies who were seeking details on its new security measures.
A new survey from Rasmussen Reports reveals that around 67 percent of U.S. adults think that states should be allowed to bar the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Around 28 percent of U.S. adults said states should be barred from enacting prohibitions on sales and rentals of such games to minors.
Around 39 percent said video game developers and publishers should be held liable if it could be proven that their games led to someone committing a violent criminal act, while 45 percent said that developers and publishers should not be held liable.
Finally, 79 percent of Americans believe that parents are more responsible than the government (4 percent thought the opposite) when it comes to limiting the amount of sex and violence children are exposed to in video games.
The survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports is based on nationwide interviews conducted with 1,000 adults. The survey has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
In a July 1 opinion piece in First Things, Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput wrote that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the California video game violence law (Brown v. EMA) is "wrong," and will add "poison" the country's future.
Chaput also wrote that the court's ruling "extends and elevates the individual’s right to free expression – or in this case, a corporation’s right to make a healthy profit - at the expense of family sovereignty, the natural rights of parents and the intent of the Constitution’s authors."
Chaput went on to write that the ruling overlooked the government's duty to protect "human dignity and the common good."
"A law which respects mothers and fathers trying to make good choices for their family does just that," he wrote.
Sony's Welcome Back program content is now available to PlayStation Network users. For the PlayStation Network and the PlayStation Store being down for nearly a month, Sony is offering consumers an apology in the form of two free games for the PS3 and two free games for the PlayStation Portable. Here's the message Sony posted on its PlayStation blog:
If you try to log on to the PlayStation Store this morning, you may encounter some technical difficulties. Apparently the massive amounts of traffic slamming the network is spitting out an error message to some users. Sony says that this is entirely due to extremely high traffic volumes and that this should ease up as the day goes on.
"There are so many of you accessing the store at the moment that due to the excessive load, it is a little slow," said SCEA's Nick Caplin. "We are improving it as I write this, so you will see improvements in speed as the day progresses."
This sort of thing is to be expected considering that the store dedicated to PS3 and PSP has been down for well over a month.
Sony announced that PlayStation Network and Qriocity users in the United States can begin the process of enrolling in a 12-month subscription plan for identity theft protection by visiting us.playstation.com. Before announcing the news on the official blog, some PSN users were informed via email. Here's more from the official blog:
Antivirus and security firm F-Secure said over the weekend that it found a "live" phishing site active on Sony’s servers in Thailand. The malicious site was found on Sony’s official web site for Thailand, running under " hdworld.sony.co.th" and targeting an "Italian credit card company."
From the F-Secure website:
"We know you're not supposed to kick somebody when they're already down… but we just found a live phishing site running on one of Sony's servers.
However, this incident has nothing to do with the Sony PSN hack."
The security firms says that Sony has "been hacked again" but adds that the "server is probably not very important." The company closes by saying that its software has blocked the site for its customers.
F-Secure adds that it has told Sony about the site.
A leaked memo yesterday revealed that Sony expects to have its PlayStation store back online on or around May 24 (next Tuesday). The company also revealed its planned release schedule, but some publishing partners are not happy about it at all.
According to an Edge report, the news is getting mixed reactions from partners. The biggest complaint is the doubled up weekly release schedule. Developers feel that their games will be buried under a deluge of new content and quickly forgotten as even more content is piled on top in the weeks to follow.
A North Carolina father has gotten his 5 - 10 minutes of fame by complaining about adoption jokes in Portal 2. Charlotte news channel WBTV indulges the complaining parent in a story that goes out of its way to malign one of the best games of 2011. According to the report, Neal Stapel was playing Portal 2 with his adopted daughter and enjoying it until jokes started to fly about one of the characters being adopted. Stapel found himself utterly offended. None of the other jokes and occasionally crude humor bothered him, apparently.
"It throws the question, the most ultimate question that that child is ever gonna have for you and it just throws it right in your living room," he said. "It says it's rated "E" for everybody and I'm thinking maybe it's rated "E" for everybody except for orphans."
Disney's wholly-owned social game development studio Playdom has agreed to pay the Federal Trade Commission a settlement totaling $3 million for its part in collecting the private information of underage customers. The settlement is related to games operated by Acclaim (which Playdom bought last year) that the FTC said violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The FTC claims that 403,000 children registered on Playdom's general audience sites between 2006 and 2010, with an additional 821,000 signing up for kid-friendly MMO Pony Stars.
During that time period Acclaim apparently illegally collected the email addresses of children and didn't provide the proper amount of parental controls.
Sony Japan says that its PlayStation Network and Qriocity online services may not come back online until the end of May. Speaking to http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-09/sony-s-playstation-qriocity-ser... ">Bloomberg by phone, spokesman Shigenori Yoshida told the publication on Sunday that the services would remain offline and that the company is uncertain as to when they will be back online. Sony shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity April 20 because of security breach initiated by unknown hackers.
Yoshida added that the company is testing and adopting improved security measures and that the service would "restart the services fully by May 31."
Of course "fully" means fully operational with all services intact. Sony has said in the past that it would restart some of the services sooner than later.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops.
Another day, another series of questions and answers from Sony. The latest batch of questions and answers attempt to explain what users can expect when the PlayStation Network comes back online. Topics covered include download history/friends list/settings, Sony Online Entertainment's games, PS+ cloud saves, the state of trophies, and if Sony will offer some sort of good will content as an apology to users. Bullet points follow:
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is not happy with Sony's revelation today that user data and credit card information may have been stolen from PlayStation Network users (thanks to gellymatos). He is so unhappy that he has sent a letter to Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America. In his letter to SCEA, Blumenthal noted that SCEA failed its customers by not informing them sooner.
"When a data breach occurs, it is essential that customers be immediately notified about whether and to what extent their personal and financial information has been compromised… I am concerned that PlayStation Network users’ personal and financial information may have been inappropriately accessed by a third party,"
The full letter can be found below:
Could you imagine finishing World of Warcraft (hitting the highest possible level) without killing a single thing? It is hard to imagine, but it is apparently very possible to do. Incredibly hard? For sure. Impossible? No. According to one player named Everbloom he managed to hit level 85 without killing a single creature. How did he accomplish such an arduous task, you ask?
He claims that he spent the last five months picking herbs, digging up bones, exploring the wilderness of Azeroth, and doing all manner of tedious tasks to gain experience. He did this by taking advantage of the Professions system, gaining small amounts of experience for advancing in various extracurricular activities.
Below is his announcement, taken verbatim from the Battle.net forums:
Ars Technica offers a sit-down interview with Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). He is also a co-author of a2009 paper on Internet piracy, which was influential on the development and adoption of the U.S. government's Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) legislation.
In the interview, Castro says that the United States government needs to blacklist and censor web sites that traffic in pirated and counterfeit goods. Further, U.S. credit card companies would be "forbidden" from doing business with any of these blacklisted sites and U.S. advertising networks would not be allowed to advertise in these places.
Here is a choice quote about why COICA is the right way to deal with piracy:
The Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) rating board, the organization responsible for rating games in Europe, defended its decision to rate We Dare for 12 year olds and above (PEGI 12) this week, even as Ubisoft takes extra precautionary measures to warn parents about the game's content. It's interesting because it undercuts PEGI's stance.
A statement by the ratings board (found on Cubed3D) defends the decision to rate it for such a young age group, stating that "it contains mild swearing, minor assault on a human-like character and words/activities that amount to obvious sexual innuendo, explicit sexual descriptions or images and sexual posturing."
The PC Gaming Alliance published a preliminary part of its third annual Horizons research reports, revealing the state of the PC gaming industry in 2010. Prepared by research firm DFC Intelligence, the report covers 2010 and offers projections for the market worldwide through 2014. The full report will be shared with PCGA members a week after GDC - going on this week in San Francisco.
According to data from the report, the worldwide PC games market reached a record $16.2 billion in 2010 - a 20 percent jump from 2009.
China was the largest and fastest growing market in 2010, with record revenue of around $4.8 billion. Korea, Japan, the US, UK and Germany also all showed growth in 2010. Together these markets increased revenue by 19 percent in 2010 to $7.3 billion.
PCGA president and Intel analyst Matt Ployhar says the 2010 numbers show that the focus has returned to the PC.
A Saudi national who was arrested for plotting to "blow up" former President George W. Bush's Texas home and other targets in America has been connected ever so slightly to violent video games - particularly the Resident Evil series from Capcom. The 20-year-old chemical engineering student at Lubbock's South Plains College, described by authorities as a "jihadist" plead not guilty to charges last Wednesday in a Texas federal court. The charge was attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. According to an affidavit in the Northern District of Texas, Aldawarsi, who was came to the US in 2008 on a student visa, had allegedly researched how to make a chemical-based, improvised explosive device (IED) online.
The New York Post reports that enjoyed watching game videos from five titles in the Resident Evil series on YouTube - information the paper found while sifting through his blog.
Citing a report on Everything HQ, Computer and Video Games is reporting that Sony is working on a new SKU of the PS3 to deal with the leaked security key it is currently suing George Hotz and group Fail0verFlow over. The "hack-proof" model (is there such a thing these days?) is already "deep in development" and is not susceptible to the security issues that current models are vulnerable to.
Another rumor is that the company will lower the price of its current PS3 units to clear inventory. Old models will allegedly go for around £170 (roughly $274 USD). The hack-proof model is said to be a slim PS3 boasting a 300GB hard drive. The report claims it will cost £186.99 (roughly $301.USD)
A release window for this system is unknown and the system itself is not confirmed by Sony, but according to the report it will be a slim PS3 with a 300GB hard drive.
While Crytek CEO Cervat Yerli expressed disappointment earlier this week concerning the leak of Crysis 2, he still has mad love for the PC gaming scene. Writing on the MyCrysis message boards, Yerli said that his deep disappointment in this week's events have been eclipsed by the kind words and support from the community:
"While we are deeply disappointed by these events, we are all completely overwhelmed by the support we have received from you, our community," said Yerli.
"We can assure you that PC gaming is very important to us and will always be important to Crytek in the future. We are all still focused on delivering a great gaming experience to our true and honest fans," he continued. "I hope you will enjoy Crysis 2 on PC, as we think it is our best PC game yet!"
Chuck Bittner is disabled, a gamer, and in need of your John Hancock for a good cause. Chuck, who is the star of the web site, AskACapper.com, has put up an online petition asking video game console makers and game developers to allow consumers to reconfigure button configurations. Companies he is making this appeal to include Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Zipper Interactive, Infinity Ward, and Treyarch - though in general he would like ALL game developers to support remapping controller functions in games.
The reason he wants to have the ability to remap keys in games and on consoles is to make setting up configurations for those with disabilities a lot easier. You can read the entire petition below, but I urge you to visit it online and sign it:
What happens when you are playing a game in the subway and you don't pay attention? A ten-year-old boy from Milan, Italy found out when he fell off a subway platform and onto the tracks below because he was engrossed in playing a PSP game. Luckily a police officer nearby sprung into action and lifted the boy back up onto the platform.
On a personal note, I have a 10-year-old son and I could see the same thing happening to him. But it wouldn't matter if he was reading a comic book or playing a video game - sometimes he pays little attention to what is going on around him. It happens.
Anyway, watch the dramatic video to your left. Yes, I’m overselling it.
Thanks to nightwng2000 for the tip.
Earlier this week Nintendo said that it was implementing anti-piracy measures into its upcoming 3-D hand-held that will help the company quell the use of third-party devices - like the R4 device for DS. Of course device makers probably haven't had a chance to design such a device yet, so Nintendo should probably bring its "A game" to this fight. And honestly, it has been a fight for Nintendo to stop the use of R4 devices all over the world, despite some pretty successful legal victories around the world.
Nintendo UK general manager David Yarnton believes that better protection methods and consumer awareness does have a significant impact on the overall problem of piracy.
Indie developer Daniel Amitay credits piracy with a doubling of sales (thanks to The Escapist). The developer behind the iPhone game "Punch 'Em!" says that his game being pirated ultimately helped double the sales of his game. This is not what you usually hear from game developers about piracy. Punch 'Em! is a 99 cent game that lets users fight each other using the iPhone camera. He was going to write about how the holiday shopping season gave him a big boost in sales until he examined the sales data and found that it was something else driving sales: piracy.
An interesting report from Ars Technica, citing a research paper (presented at the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) conference last month in Philadelphia) from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid shows that around 25 percent of files downloaded from The Pirate Bay are fakes. Besides antipiracy companies seeding fake files into the mix, a fair share of the downloads are from hackers and other mischief makers looking to infect computers with viruses and Trojans.
From the article:
If you have read 16-year-old Sonoma Academy junior Daniel Willens' editorial supporting the California Game Law, then you will be interested in reading this rebuttal in the Press-Democrat. 18-year-old Sonoma Academy Senior Jonny Moon opens his editorial with a discussion of afternoon adventures. Just like his parents sitting before the television watching re-runs of Gun Smoke or Bonanza, Jonny speaks of exploits in the Wild West:
"I came home from school and jumped into the saddle of my American Standardbred. I galloped through the plains of the Midwest and dueled my way to fame. I shot criminals, hogtied bandits and saved a revolutionary's wife. My good deeds saved the life of innocent people, but these actions may soon be banned, as I did this while playing 'Red Dead Redemption,' an alleged 'overly violent video game.'
To counteract all the good news coming from Microsoft about its consoles sales numbers and subscribers related to the Xbox 360, Sony made an announcement of its own at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Sony says that its PlayStation Network hit the 60 million-user mark in 2010. Annual signups of its free services were 20 million in 2010, the company added.
Those figures were announced by Sony chairperson, president and CEO Howard Stringer during its CES presentation
Also this week Microsoft announced that its online gaming service, Xbox Live, had hit the 50 million user mark. Unlike Microsoft, Sony focused on connected devices and 3-D products during CES and less on gaming. Microsoft talked about Kinect, Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7.
Source: MCV UK
Conservative gadfly Phyllis Schlafly put together a list of New Year's resolutions that incoming freshman republican lawmakers on the state and federal level should adopt, in her estimation. Schlafly tackles all the usual conservative bullet points including school choice, healthcare, the Boy Scouts and video games. Here is one of the resolutions she proposes in her Townhall.com column:
"VIDEO GAMES: 'There shall be no sale, rental or arcade-playing of extremely violent video games by children without parental consent.' Explanation: Video games are increasingly graphic and harmful."