IBM Computer Trounces Humans in Jeopardy! Test Run

January 14, 2011 -

In a test run of a special battle between an IBM supercomputer named "Watson" and two of the best Jeopardy! players in the world, the computer dominates. The test of the computer is a preview of a televised battle to take place in January pitting two men against one machine. Score so far: Men 0, Computer 1.

IBM claims that Watson is a major advance in artificial intelligence, and if this test run is any indication, the company is speaking the gospel. Watson managed to beat former Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on Thursday in its first public test, a short practice round ahead of a million-dollar tournament that will be televised next month in a special series of shows.

Jennings is no lightweight: he won a record 74 consecutive "Jeopardy!" games in 2004 and 2005. Rutter won a record of nearly $3.3 million in prize money on the show.

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Kinect, Sex Games, and Your Local News

December 27, 2010 -

What is the best way to handle a news story about an adult-themed Kinect game you might have seen on YouTube? Create a report about it where parents are concerned about their kids playing it. Forget for a minute that it's not actually available on a regular retail Xbox 360 with a Kinect, or that it is basically just a video floating around YouTube..

That is exactly what Martina Valverde, Morning News Reporter at KFox TV in El Paso, Texas did in a report called Adult Video Game In The Works For Kinect System Has Parents Concerned. In the report, she apparently brings the video of an adult groping game to the attention of parents who have a five-year-old son. The son got the game system for Christmas.

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16, Pregnant, and Kind of Lame

December 15, 2010 -

An episode recap of the MTV's 16 and Pregnant reality show entitled "There's Nothing Wrong with Video Games" follows the trials and travails of teen parents Megan and Nathan. Nathan seems to be more preoccupied with lip rings and dungeon dwelling than being a father, while Megan hasn't grown up enough to give up rainbows and ponies.. There is also a lot of talk about a lack of tough love, but who cares? Let's get to the video game references:

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UK MP Watson Disappointed in Panorama Show on Game Addiction

December 13, 2010 -

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz last week, Tom Watson, Member of Parliament for Bromwich East, said that he was disappointed in the Panorama special on game addiction that aired on BBC 1 last Monday in the United Kingdom.

Watson had hoped for a balanced story on the subject that explored both the positive and negative aspects of gaming.

"It was a heavily editorialised piece," said Watson to GameIndustry.biz. "I wish they'd reached out a little bit more to talk to other people. They could have talked to some of the people who are doing very positive things with games - they could have talked to Graham Brown-Martin, he could have put them in touch with some of the greatest teachers in the country who are capturing the imagination of young people every day using off-the-shelf game packages."

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Prominent Democrats Want Conditions on NBC Universal-Comcast Merger

December 8, 2010 -

Two House Democrats are asking the Federal Communications Commission to impose conditions on the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC Universal that would preserve affordable broadband service and fair access to online content.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the current (and soon to be former) chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski this week urging him to impose net neutrality-style rules barring the new entity from giving its own online video content special treatment over competitors.

"The combination of Comcast and NBCU will give the nation's largest cable TV company and broadband provider control of a massive catalogue of content, channels and household Internet connections," Waxman said. "Video programming and Internet distribution will be inextricably intertwined to an unprecedented degree."

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OnLive Not Competing With Netflix

December 8, 2010 -

In an article called Don't Believe What You Read: OnLive and Netflix, GamePro catches up with Onlive CEO Ron Perlman to set the record straight after both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal erroneously reported that Onlive had its sights set on competing with Netflix.

OnLive President and CEO Steve Perlman spoke to GamePro yesterday about those stories and said that his quotes about Netflix were taken largely out of context. The quote he is referring to is "OnLive can deliver any experience that Netflix can."

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RPS Editorial on Panorama Game Addiction Show

December 7, 2010 -

Rock, Paper, Shotgun's John Walker responds to the Panorama TV episode on game addiction (it aired on BBC 1 in the UK last night) with an editorial of his own. While acknowledging that he does not "possess the evidence that gaming does not cause addiction," Walker lays into the Panorama episode and its host for producing a slapdash expose on gaming addiction, leading viewers to conclusions without providing any real evidence.

For example, the show promised to provide details on the secret mechanics that keep gamers "coming back for more," but that secret gaming sauce was never revealed during the program. Likewise, while the host talked a lot about studies that claimed to make a connection between gaming and addiction, no proof was ever provided.

Here is a sample from Walker's editorial:

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Panorama Producer Defends Game Addiction Episode

December 6, 2010 -

In an interview with GameIndustry.biz Panorama producer and director Emeka Onono, explains why the BBC news program decided to tackle the subject of game addiction. While Onono claims that the program is not "anti-gaming," his comments to GI.biz do not sound game industry friendly.

"What we've said is there's a potential for things in games to be addictive," he explains to GamesIndustry.biz. "There is a potential there. And that's something that the industry's always doggedly denied. The fact is it's there and however small or large that possibility is it needs to be researched and acknowledged."

Onono also accuses a segment of the games industry of being "very defensive" on the issue of addiction:

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BBC One's Panorama to Tackle Game Addiction

December 1, 2010 -

The BBC program Panorama will tackle the subject of videogame addiction in a show set to air on BBC One Monday, December 6, at 8.30 pm UK time. Reporter Raphael Rowe interviews school and university students that have dropped out to tune into videogames "for up to 21 hours a day" and "experts" who urge that more research is needed on the subject. The program, which C&VG is calling a "documentary," further promises to "reveal the hidden psychological devices in games that are designed to keep us coming back for more."

The episode is called "Addicted to Games?" and will air December 6. You can learn more about Panorama’s programming by visiting bbc.co.uk. Details on this particular episode were not available on the web site, but we'll bring you more info when we have it.

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Netflix Changes Coming Your Way

November 23, 2010 -

Netflix is changing and it is being blamed -- or if you prefer, attributed to -- the viewing habits of subscribers. Today Netflix informed subscribers that soon they would have to pay $1 more a month for the basic one-DVD-at-a-time plus streaming content subscription. The company also announced a $7.99 streaming-only option for consumers. The reason, they say, is that more users are streaming content via various devices -- Wii, Xbox 360, Ps3 -- than watching it via DVDs. The company predicts that by the end of 2010 streaming content consumption will finally outpace disc-based viewing.

While that may very well be true, Netflix's challenge is getting that streaming content to be more robust and current- a complaint voiced repeatedly on its blog today in the midst of this announcement. That being said, you can check out all the changes coming your way by visiting blog.netflix.com.

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DirectTV Dumps G4TV From Line-Up

November 1, 2010 -

DirectTV dumps game-centric network G4TV from its line-up of programming November 1. DirecTV tells Entertainment Weekly that rising costs are the main reason for dumping the network, while G4TV says that DirectTV rejected its offer to continue carrying its programming. DirectTV has an estimated 18 million subscriber in the U.S.

So what should DirectTV subscribers do? Well, you could switch to Dish Network, or cable. Cable and satellite TV subscribers always seem to get caught in the middle of negotiations over what providers should pay networks to carry programs. Why can't Home Shopping Network have a feud with DishNetwork, DirectTV and cable operators?

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Battle Pagans in The Bible Online

October 1, 2010 -

Following a short beta period, German online game publisher FiAA GbmH has released the official version of its browser-based online game entitled The Bible Online.

If you were waiting for a bible game that features both RTS and MMORPG elements, you’re in luck, as the title lets players “construct their villages, manage resources,” in addition to the challenge of protecting “their tribe from the pagans and also from other tribes.”

The first chapter of the game, called Heroes, centers on the Book of Genesis and features a temple, in which “players get the chance to actually read and type the passages of the Book of Genesis, which leads to increase of their ‘faith,’ which is one of the attributes of the players.”

FiAA GbmH plans to add chapters that eventually cover all the stories of the Bible. The game is available in both German and English.

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Netflix, NBC Expand Agreement

September 25, 2010 -

Netflix and NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution announced an expanded license agreement that will give the on-demand and by-mail movie and TV distribution service to offer more NBC TV shows. The multi-year deal kicks off next week and continues the relationship between Netflix and NBC Universal. The agreement adds more movies and TV episodes that can be streamed instantly from Netflix with a membership.

Netflix will soon offer episodes from every season of NBC's Saturday Night Live, including day-after broadcast of the upcoming 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons plus hundreds of episodes from the first 35 years of SNL.

Netflix will also offer every episode from the last season of 30 Rock, The Office, Law & Order: SVU, as well as earlier seasons of those shows. Other stuff coming includes Friday Night Lights, Psych, In Plain Sight, Monk, Battlestar Galactica, Destination Truth, Eureka, and more. More details here. No doubt, all of these shows will be available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii.


Study Indicates Gaming (and TV Viewing) Could Lead to Something

July 6, 2010 -

Playing videogames and watching television are linked with attention problems in kids, at least according to a study authored by Edward Swing, David Walsh, former head of the National Institute on Media and Family, and Iowa State University’s Craig Anderson and Douglas Gentile.

Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems (PDF) is published in the latest edition of Pediatrics and sampled 1,323 “middle childhood participants” across a 13-month session. A second sample of 210 adolescent and early adult participants was utilized as well.

The study began by offering, “Many video games seem to share many features (eg, high excitement, rapid changes in focus) that have been identified as potentially relevant to the television association with attention problems, making a similar association between video game playing and attention problems plausible.”

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Avi Arad's Pac-Man TV Series to Tackle Social Issues

June 18, 2010 -

You would think that Pac-Man would only know how to teach us life lessons about eating power pellets and gobbling ghosts, but if Marvel producer Avi Arad has his way the video game icon will teach us about life.

During a Pac-Man anniversary party earlier this week in Los Angeles, Arad revealed that the secret project he is working on is in fact a Pac-Man TV series. But instead of following the goofy formula associated with the last Pac-Man TV series, Arad wants to use Namco's number one son to deal with social issues including societal ills and race.

"We feel we have a unique opportunity to have an action adventure, human interest story," Arad told Variety. "As a filmmaker, it's a unique opportunity to get to know the characters you play."

Perhaps Arad sees something the rest of us don't. We see a yellow dude eating dots and chasing ghosts; but he sees a guy who has a back-story we know nothing about. Here's an example:

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Nintendo UK Ads Win Dubious Distinction

January 20, 2010 -

Nintendo’s UK television spots featuring the comedy team Anthony “Ant” McPartlin and Declan “Dec” Donnelly have made a list of the most irritating ads of 2009.

Marketing Magazine assembled the list of irksome ads, assigning Nintendo to 9th place, in a tie with a campaign for Country Life put together by the agency Grey London. Karmarama produced the Nintendo spots, some of which can be viewed here on EnjoyNintendo.

Is it a positive for a brand to make a list like this or not?

Saatchi & Saatchi’s Director of Strategy Richard Huntington was asked by Marketing Magazine for his take on the subject and indicated that, while the ads are certainly memorable, whether “they can form part of a sustainable communication strategy remains to be seen.

Or, as Marketing Magazine interprets, “once a brand has done its best to irritate consumers it is difficult to see where the creative approach goes next.”


|Via MCVUK, Thanks Andrew|

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G4's Sessler: Game Censorship Gone But Not Forgotten

July 25, 2009 -

In the latest edition of his Soapbox, G4's Adam Sessler expresses the view that video game censorship is pretty much gone, but that gamers should be watchful for its return.

GP: Here at GamePolitics, we're waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in the California case later this year. At that point, we'll have a better handle on where the game censorship issue is heading.

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Conan Finds Humor in Game Biz Slump

July 22, 2009 -

Apparently taking note of recent reports that video game sales are in the midst of a four-month slide, Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien dropped this one on the audience recently:

Experts say the video game industry has been dramatically hurt by the economic downturn. Which explains the popularity of the new Nintendo game, ‘Wii Job Interview.’

Source: Political Irony

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WonderkarpI repeat, Its concidered a victory because, if its true, then it shows they are causing change in (Changes) Journalistic Practices in Games Media.11/24/2014 - 8:38pm
Wonderkarpits not the easiest "Ethical Issue" to discuss. Its more trivial. I'm playing devils advocate on this one.11/24/2014 - 8:36pm
black mantaEthics in what? Advertising? All you're doing is needlessly complicating things. There's no "victory" in that.11/24/2014 - 8:35pm
WonderkarpIts just a article's title. Its concidered a victory because, if its true, then it shows they are causing change in ethics. We were discussing those ethics11/24/2014 - 8:33pm
Andrew EisenNot knowing what cards a retailer accepts beforehand can be a headache. Not knowing the site you came from to purchase a good gets a small percentage of the sale? I'm not seeing it.11/24/2014 - 8:32pm
black mantaFurther evidence that shows just how horribly misguided this movement is.11/24/2014 - 8:30pm
black mantaSorry, no. A little blurb stating the obvious is hardly a major "victory."11/24/2014 - 8:29pm
WonderkarpI went to Costco on saturday, new costco, to sign up. and at the very end right before the membership, right as I'm swipping the card, they tol dme they only accept Amex...A little Disclosure helps11/24/2014 - 8:24pm
Wonderkarpand it just feels like having that disclosure somewhere will avoid headaches.11/24/2014 - 8:23pm
Wonderkarpyep. alot of people are very ignorant and look at life as black and white and are naive.11/24/2014 - 8:22pm
Andrew EisenThat's what I'm asking though. Are there a significant number of people that don't realize that's what happens when you buy the product through that link?11/24/2014 - 8:20pm
Wonderkarpits just a disclosure. if there is a tiny paragraph in the legal mumbo jumbo at the bottom of the page, its perfectly ok.11/24/2014 - 8:18pm
Wonderkarplink to buy that game and give you money without knowing it"11/24/2014 - 8:17pm
Wonderkarpyeah but thats just advertisements. those are out there. you know what adverts do. but, say you write a review for super mario, and you link to amazon on that review, anybody can say "Wait, you are giving this game a good review so people will click that11/24/2014 - 8:17pm
Andrew EisenDo you think it's not apparent to most people that that's how ads and "Buy Here!" links work? Are disclosures stating "we get money when you click here" really necessary?11/24/2014 - 8:16pm
Wonderkarplike, I listen to podcasts, and they say "Here's my sponser Amazon, click on the link and do your shopping and we can keep this podcast going"11/24/2014 - 8:15pm
Andrew EisenWhat about ads? Is it unethical to run an ad for a game your site has or will review?11/24/2014 - 8:14pm
Wonderkarpwhile not disclosing it11/24/2014 - 8:14pm
WonderkarpIf they Are making money off of it, yeah. Its like owning stock in a company, and going out and reviewing a product for that company on a major platform and then saying "Here go buy". I mean, if they were just providing a link, sure.11/24/2014 - 8:10pm
Andrew EisenSo, what do y'all think? Obviously, writing a positive review specifically to make more money from "Buy Here!" clicks is unethical but is hosting such links on a product review page, in and of itself, unethical?11/24/2014 - 8:07pm
 

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