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.


Punching to Battle Paunch and to Bridge Health Gap

September 21, 2010 -

Researchers from the UK’s Teesside University have developed a modified Wii control system and boxing game in the hopes that it can motivate sedentary middle-aged participants into becoming more active.

Backed by a £200,000 (approximately $311,000 U.S.) grant from the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC), the exergame system eliminates the ability for standard Wii users to cheat by replacing full movements with flicks of the wrist.

The university’s home-grown system utilizes a controller-based sensor in each hand, along with head and chest sensors. The hand controllers are also tied to a belt via a rubber-resistance band, all to ensure players must expend some degree of energy.

The project, which will be tested at the Buff’s Social Club in Stockton and is targeted at members of “workingmen’s clubs,” has a different goal in mind other than just having participants lose weight.

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Wii Seen as Cheap Alternative for Assessing Concussions

August 18, 2010 -

Citing its affordability and simplicity, researchers from Maryland and Ohio State University are trying out Nintendo’s Wii as a means to evaluate the severity and lingering effects of concussions.

A Washington Post article on the subject indicates that taking tabs on an athlete’s balance is one way to measure recovery from a blow to the head, but researchers are split on the effectiveness of using the videogame device.

Experts at Maryland have athletes get on board a Wii Fit and attempt to mimic three different yoga poses, once with their eyes open and once with them closed. They also play a weight-shifting game and, eventually, all data recovered from the activities is tabulated and stored. If a player receives a concussion, the thought is that team doctors would now posses “a frame of reference to measure how far an athlete's ability to function is from its starting point.”

Once athletes met their pre-concussion scores, in theory, they could return to the field.

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Child Shrink: Time for Games to Feature Exercise Ratings

August 17, 2010 -

As the gaming world continues to evolve further into the era of true interactive gaming, one child psychiatrist thinks it’s time for a new ratings system that informs consumers about a game’s ability to contribute to exercise.

Paul Ballas guest-authored a Wired article on the subject following an introduction to, among other things, Sony’s Move and Microsoft’s Kinect technology at this year’s E3 Expo. Ballas thinks that if videogame developers focused their efforts on creating games that also provided a cardiovascular workout, “there is a real chance of striking a blow against childhood obesity.”

To that end Ballas outlined the type of content descriptors he would like to see:

Similar to Food and Drug Administration-mandated labels on food, an exercise rating system could estimate the calories burned by the average person in an hour of gameplay. The label could range from Sedentary for lean-back, button-intensive shooting games to Active for games with a calorie-expenditure rate comparable to playing basketball.

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Soap Star is New Face of Wounded Warrior Virtual Rehab Program

August 10, 2010 -

All My Children actor J.R. Martinez (pictured) is the new spokesperson for Rehabbing with the Troops, a virtual rehabilitation program that links wounded U.S. military personnel with professional athletes via webcam as they work out using a Nintendo Wii.

Martinez himself is an ex-infantryman who suffered burns to more than 40 percent of his body in 2003 while serving in Iraq. He will work out with wounded warriors from Season One of Rehabbing with the Troops, which kicked off in June and wraps up on August 21 in New Orleans. Members of the Super Bowl champions Saints acted as this year’s pro trainers.

Martinez said about his new role, “This program is so important—it raises awareness of the challenges facing wounded warriors while giving each participant a source of motivation and a goal to work toward.”

Participants in the virtual rehab document their workouts on the Wounded Warrior Arena website. More on what a season consists of:

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MS Still Lobbying to Sell Consoles in China

August 9, 2010 -

While Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is made in China, it still isn’t available for legal purchase there, nor is Sony’s PlayStation 3 or Nintendo’s Wii, but the Redmond, Washington-based company isn’t giving up hope.

Microsoft executive Zhang Yaqin told the Shanghai Daily (subscription only) that the company still hopes to receive approval to sell the 360 in China, but that “… it all depends on the government.” There’s still no set timetable for launch and the issue involves “several government bureaus,” which, of course, only adds multiple layers of bureaucracy.

Last month, Kotaku investigated why game consoles are banned in China. A Niko Partners researcher told the publication, “The government thought that was the best way to protect Chinese youth from wasting their minds on video games, after a parental outcry.”

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Wii, Gears of War Part of Wisconsin Embezzlement Scheme

July 16, 2010 -

A probe into the misuse of city funds by management information systems employees vendors of the Wisconsin city of Fond du Lac turned up money spent on videogames and will result in criminal charges.

Over $200,000 in municipal funds was spent illegally by four MIS employees and two city vendors, all of whom have been, or will soon be, charged in the embezzlement scheme according to the FDLReporter. Money was spent on items including an infant kangaroo costume, a Nintendo Wii bundle and even an $87 ham. Additional items seized under the investigation included a copy of Gears of War and 16 guns, “three or four” of which were suspected of being purchased with taxpayer funds.

Checks and balances designed to stave off such improper spending were easily circumvented, in part, because MIS employees new their supervisor’s password.

Items that were able to be physically recovered are being stored at the police department and may be sold at auction so the city can recover some money.


Study: Fat, Old People Can Burn Calories Using Wii

June 4, 2010 -

A research team led by University of Delaware Associate Professor Elizabeth Orsega-Smith looked into the calorie consumption of healthy, yet overweight senior citizens who played Wii Sports games.

The 24 participants in the study had a body mass index (BMI) ranging between 26 and 39 and were in the age range of 66 to 78. BMI in the range of 25-29.9 indicates a person is overweight, while a 30+ BMI is a sign of obesity. Using wrist-mounted accelerometers, the researchers measured “caloric expenditure” during 30-minute long Wii play sessions.

According to Medical News Today, when playing Wii Bowling by themselves, participants burned between 20-176 calories, while playing in teams resulted in 18-89 calories being burned. Baseball play sessions led to the expenditure of 22-144 calories and Wii Tennis led to 17-72 calories being burnt off.

Orsega-Smith noted, “Wii playing may be a vehicle for physical activity participation, especially for those older adults who do not have access to a fitness facility or who may have physical limitations to their mobility.”

7 comments

Blind Gamers Benefit from University Project

June 1, 2010 -

Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have developed motion-sensing games that are aimed at increasing the activeness of blind children.

The VI Fit project currently has two adapted titles available for download, VI Tennis and VI Bowling. Both games utilize the Nintendo Wiimote in combination with a PC (the PC must feature support for Bluetooth or a Bluetooth dongle can be used). VI Tennis was upgraded to include audio and vibrotactile clues that help to indicate when a player should serve or return a shot, while VI Bowling uses vibrotactile feedback to assist gamers in finding the appropriate direction to aim their bowling ball.

Research team leader, and assistant professor, Eelke Folmer, stated, “Lack of vision forms a significant barrier to participation in physical activity and consequently children with visual impairments have much higher obesity rates and obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes.”

Executables for both games can be downloaded from the VI Fit webpage free of charge.

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American Heart Association and Nintendo Team Up

May 17, 2010 -

Recognizing the Wii as an enjoyable way to stay moderately fit, the American Heart Association (AHA) and Nintendo have paired for a “multifaceted” strategic relationship.

Nintendo will benefit from the AHA logo appearing on packaging for the Wii system and specific products like Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort. A united call to action will urge consumers to “Get Informed,” “Get Empowered” and Get Active,” while the jointly-produced ActivePlayNow website will inform people on the benefits of being physically active and offer helpful tips such as “Choose a parking spot farther away than usual, and take some extra steps.”

Nintendo and the AHA also plan to produce a “multidisciplinary” summit later this year that will “take a closer look at the synergies and potential benefits of active-play video games and physically active lifestyles.” Participants will include AHA Exercise Physiologist Dr. Timothy Church and Entertainment Software Association (ESA) President Michael Gallagher.

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Wii Named Top Gaming Console Brand

April 28, 2010 -

Research agency Millward Brown has released its annual list of the Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands (PDF).
 
The top five overall in the BrandZ Top 100 are probably not too surprising; Google tops the list, followed by IBM, Apple, Microsoft and Coca-Cola. Nintendo checks in at number 32 and Intel is at number 48, while Sony is number 94.

The report also broke out a section specifically for videogames. It was noted that the category was down 3.0 percent in year-over-year results, a shift blamed on the economic downturn. In a bid to spur fan-boy debates perhaps, specific game machines were also ranked by brand value, with the Wii taking the top spot, followed by the Nintendo DS, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP and PlayStation 2.

360 Again Emerges Triumphant in Parental Control Test

April 16, 2010 -

Yet another examination of parental controls on the current crop of consoles has resulted in the Xbox 360 being labeled the best of the bunch.

A Game Informer editor created a scenario for his wife tasking her with adjusting parental controls for a pair of fictional teen boys on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. The wife was chosen because of her lack of hands on time with the game machines.

A sampling of the article’s commentary and grades for each console are featured below:

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Texas School Grants Back Wii-Based Initiatives

March 30, 2010 -

The Lindale Independent School District Education Foundation of Lindale, Texas has awarded grants to 23 teachers that will fund classroom projects, including two based around Nintendo’s Wii console.

The Early Childhood Center was one recipient; with teachers Cookie Hartley and June Wright (pictured) receiving $1,021.40 in order to fund their project called Wii Can Do It! The project utilizes Wii games as “therapy and instructional tools” for preschool students afflicted with disabilities. Use of the Wii will promote a way to “address educational goals and objectives in the areas of communication and academics” in the youngsters.

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3 Year Old Mistakes Gun for Wii Remote, Shoots Herself

March 8, 2010 -

A three-year old Lebanon, Tennessee girl apparently shot herself in the stomach after mistaking her stepfather’s pistol for a Wii controller.

WSMV in Nashville has the story, which began after Douglas Robert Cronberger investigated a trespasser on his property. Returning inside, Cronberger placed his gun on the counter where Cheyenne Alexis McKeehan picked up the weapon, possibly mistaking it for a Wii controller according to her mother, and shot herself in the abdomen.

The little girl succumbed to her injuries on Sunday night. No charges have been filed against the stepfather.

It’s unclear if the girl mistook the gun for a standard Wii remote or for a Wii gun accessory, but in the end it doesn't really matter.

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Playing Wii Sports May Well Help Depressed Geriatrics

March 4, 2010 -

Another day, another medical condition that using Nintendo’s Wii may help to alleviate.

Researchers at the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine believe that the Wii can assist people with symptoms of subsyndromal depression (SSD). A pilot study conducted on 19 SSD-afflicted participants between the ages of 63 and 94 years of age had users play a Wii Sports game on the console three times a week for 35-minutes intervals reports Science Daily.

Study lead, Dilip V. Jeste, MD, reported on the results:

More than one-third of the participants had a 50-percent or greater reduction of depressive symptoms. Many had a significant improvement in their mental health-related quality of life and increased cognitive stimulation.

Jeste cautioned that the study needed to be expanded to larger samples and control groups.

14 comments

Wii-based Rehab Helps Stroke Victims Recover Motor Skills

March 2, 2010 -

Initial results from a University of Toronto study seem to indicate that using Nintendo’s Wii can assist stroke victims in regaining and improving motor skills.

The Effectiveness of Virtual Reality Using Wii Gaming Technology in Stroke Rehabilitation (EVREST) Study utilized twenty stroke survivors with an average age of 61. Those studied were split into two groups, with one group playing recreational games (card games, Jenga etc…), while the other group played Wii Tennis or Cooking Mama. There were eight sessions over two weeks that lasted about 60 minutes each.

While one Wii user reported nausea or dizziness as a side-effect, researchers found that the Wii users exhibited “significant motor improvement in speed and extent of recovery.”

Study lead Gustavo Saposnik stated:

The beauty of virtual reality is that it applies the concept of repetitive tasks, high-intensity tasks and task-specific activities, that activates special neurons…

Basically, we found that patients in the Wii group achieved a better motor function, both fine and gross, manifested by improvement in speed and grip strength. But it is too early to recommend this approach generally. A larger, randomized study is needed and is underway.

The research was funded by grants from the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSFO) and the Ontario Stroke System (OSS).


|Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer|

6 comments

Super Mario Pirate Appears on AU News Show

February 10, 2010 -

Australian TV news show A Current Affair recently covered the story of the man slapped with a $1.5 million dollar AU fine for pirating Super Mario Bros.Wii.

A reticent James Burt (pictured) himself appears in the piece, saying that the fine will have a “devastating affect” on his life. The 24-year old added, “It’s so easy to get carried away and take part in things you may not agree with.”

Burt admitted that what he did was “very stupid,” and something he would have to “work through for the rest of his life.” Interestingly, a broken street date may have helped contribute to Burt’s eventually piracy, as he stated that he found the game in a retail store over a week before it was to be officially released. Recounting to online friends that he already possessed the game led them to demand proof, which in turn led Burt to make the fateful decision to upload the game to the Internet.

The reporter engages a bit of hyperbole in the report, saying that the decision to upload the game by Burt led to “billions of gamers around the globe” receiving the game free of charge. Immediately following the reporter’s use of “billions,” a Nintendo spokesperson appears and pegs the number of downloads at around 50,000, which still equals a significant loss of revenue for the publisher.

The report uses a $1.6 million dollar figure as what Burt owes, which combines the $1.5 million dollar fine and $100,000 in court costs he must reimburse to Nintendo.

Burt had a few words of wisdom for others in the gaming community, saying “Don’t do what I did.”


Thanks Michael!

41 comments

Game Averse Mom Demonstrates Open Mind

February 9, 2010 -

A columnist for a local Minnesota paper recently detailed her ability to overcome an aversion for videogames.

Maggie Modjeski, a writer for the Winona Daily News of Winona, Minnesota, was given a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit for Christmas. The console remained boxed for sometime after the holidays as Modjeski wrestled with the fact that the game machine was “against everything I had preached for so long to my children.”

After some setup assistance from her kids, the Wii was ready to go. Modjeski noticed that her offspring playing Wii Fit were not only occupied, but “they were active and they were getting tired,” in addition to “burning pent-up energy that comes with a long, cold Minnesota winter.”

Once her weary children went to bed, the author tried her own hand at the Wii, playing Wii Tennis until her “arm was about to fall off.”

Modjeski’s opinion of games changed almost immediately:

Since that day, the Wii has become my friend. However, I don't condone hours of play or use it as a babysitter. I don't believe it is a revolutionary tool that brings families together, nor does the system replace a trip to the YMCA or any other real activity.
 

The Wii isn't going to eradicate childhood obesity, and, to be honest, when I hear about kids using it during their physical education classes, I do get a little irritable.

I have come to the conclusion that, like most everything else, in moderation it's OK.

A little different than the last mom covered around these parts.


|Image from Flickr|

14 comments

Price of Piracy for AU Man: $1.5M

February 9, 2010 -

An Australian man charged with pirating Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros.Wii has reached a settlement and will be fined $1.5 million AU (approximately $1.31 million U.S.).

GameSpot gives the accused pirate’s name as James Burt of Queensland. What had to be particularly galling to Nintendo about this case was that the game in question was released Down Under in advance of other territories, a departure from general release timing that usually sees later releases for new games in Australia.

Subsequently a Nintendo spokesperson indicated that Australia could see a delay in releases, saying, “Unfortunately, due to the actions of this individual, future release dates may be affected for Australia, which is disappointing for us.”

In an official statement on GoNintendo, Nintendo said that the game was first made available for illegal download on November 6, 2009, a week before it was released in Australia.

Nintendo was able to nab Burt by using “sophisticated technological forensics to identify the individual responsible for illegally copying the file and making it available for further distribution.” They received a court order to search Burt’s home on November 23, 2009, which led to “the seizure of property from those premises in order to gain further evidence against the individual.”

In viewing court documents from the case, GameSpot  additionally noticed that Nintendo was poking around for any information Burt may have had on the Wii hack website Yafaze.com, which now appears shuttered, offering a message that “the site and all of it’s (sic) content has been removed out of respect for Nintendo.” The message added, “Yafaze will never return.”


Thanks Andrew and iheartassassinmaids!

19 comments

Estavillo Drops All Suits

February 2, 2010 -

We will have to find a new nickname for professional plaintiff/serial suer Erik Estavillo, as he is dropping all his lawsuits.

Estavillo wrote that his medical conditions, particularly symptoms related to panic disorder and Crohn’s disease, contributed to his decision to abandon the cases. He indicated that the long wait for cases to be heard was starting to get to him, causing his doctors to advise him to walk away from the lawsuits in order to improve his health. Estavillo also provided us with some individual reasons for dropping each case, mostly due to those being sued making improvements or fixes which seemed to appease Erik.

Estavillo had sued Sony over being banned from the PlayStation Network following Resistance: Fall of Man online gaming sessions. He had alleged that Sony was ineffective at stopping players under the age of 17 from playing the game and that banning him from the network amounted to theft, in regards to his PSN pre-paid points. Estavillo wrote that a signup page for PSN appears to have been added, which requires a parent or master account to add a new account to a PS3, addressing his concern of younger kids playing the game.

Erik has also sued Microsoft over a red ring of death on his Xbox 360 and Nintendo over a Wii system update that rendered his homebrew channel unusable. Estavillo said he just learned that Microsoft is not charging 360 owners to fix a console that received a RROD and that he has found many websites that would easily allow him to re-install the home brew channel if he so chose to do so.

A suit against World of Warcraft maker Activision Blizzards had alleged that characters in WOW walked to slow, thus enabling the game’s publisher to continue to reap monthly subscription fees as it took long periods of time just to travel in the game. Estavillo notes that now, it appears that WOW avatars walk much faster in Ghost mode.

Another factor in dropping the suits was that Estavillo could not afford to pay the process server fees needed to serve the people he had subpoenaed for some of his cases. Those subpoenaed by Estavillo had included Bill Gates, Winona Ryder, Depeche Mode’s Martin Lee Gore, Lady Sovereign and Krayzie Bone.

Estavillo will also drop his most recent case, which targeted a variety of gaming and popular websites for libel.

28 comments

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|

3 comments

Wii Balance Board Substitutes for Costly Medical Equipment

January 19, 2010 -

Nintendo’s Wii Balance Board, which typically costs about $100 (and comes with a game), is performing on par with $18,000 medical equipment when it comes to assisting stroke victims regain their balance.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne and Singapore General Hospital tested thirty subjects who were “without lower limb pathology.” After running four types of tests, the researchers reported that the Wii Balance Board outperformed the expensive laboratory-grade force platform (when it came to minimum detectable changes) in three out of four tests for assessing standing balance in patients.

Researcher Ross Clark told the New Scientist:

The low price of the Wii kit is now seeing it used to assess rehabilitation after stroke, traumatic brain injuries and to examine standing balance in children who were born pre-term.
 

I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up.

Catching terrorists, helping stroke victims… what’s next for the little Wii accessory?


|Via Gizmodo|

13 comments

Lock Up Your Consoles

December 16, 2009 -

Videogame console thefts have risen dramatically over the years, according to data released by the FBI.

A USA Today story indicates that reported cases have risen 285% over three years, to a number of 42,615 such incidents in 2009. That number is even more astounding when factoring in that overall property crime numbers, which include theft of electronics, dropped from 10.0 million in 2006 to 9.8 million in 2008.

The FBI produced the numbers at the behest of Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who wanted to see the data after complaints from constituents about electronic thefts.

Weiner’s take on the growing problem, “It's the omnipresent, miniature electronics crime paradox: Even as crime goes down, when you have more electronics, you have more theft.”

Laptop computer thefts grew from 96,834 in 2007 to 128,280 in 2009, a gain of 32%. Cellphone snatches were down over the same period however, dropping 5% to over 106,000 stolen in 2009.

University of Massachusetts-Lowell Criminologist Larry Siegel added, “Criminals are rational. They steal things that have high value, are easily transportable and easily sold.”

5 comments

Christian Game Company Not Leaving Xbox or Wii Behind

December 10, 2009 -

Left Behind Games plans on bringing its brand of Christian-infused videogames to the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360.

Left Behind is teaming up with LifeLine Studios to develop a title called Bible Adventures for both consoles. The new effort will draw content from Left Behind’s Charlie the Church Mouse series, which is currently available on the PC. Bible Adventures will “educate young children by teaching them academic lessons vital to early childhood development through Bible stories.”

Left Behind CEO Troy Lyndon added:

Parents and kids already love the Charlie Church Mouse Bible Adventure games for the PC. Our strategy is to follow Nintendo's example by including up to 18 story animations and mini-games, providing significant value for our customers. We expect our financial projections to grow exponentially as we transition from a PC game developer to a Wii & Xbox developer.

Left Behind games is also known as Inspired Media Entertainment. In October the company announced a pilot effort to sell its religious-themed PC games in Texas-area Wal-Mart stores.


|Image via Kerusso|

155 comments

Console-based Emergency Alert System Testing Underway in NY

November 24, 2009 -

While it might not mean the end of the traditional air raid siren, New York State is currently testing a plan that uses networked videogame machines to send emergency alerts and warnings to the state’s population.

The alert system is just one component of New York State’s Empire 2.0 initiative, which is designed to make the state’s government more “transparent, participatory and collaborative,” reports Information Week.

New York State Deputy Chief Information Officer Rico Singleton thinks the plan to alert the populace via videogame consoles is a natural, “considering the amount of time our youth spend on video games.“

Other Empire 2.0 measures include monitoring Facebook in a bid to spot and stop potential suicidal behavior, using Second Life to train 700,000 Homeland Security first responders and publishing Senate bills online where members of the public can comment on and mark up proposed legislation.

10 comments

Banned Resistance Gamer Targets MS and NOA in Latest Suits

November 19, 2009 -

Erik Estavillo, the Resistance: Fall of Man gamer who sued Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) over being banned from the PlayStation Network has targeted the remaining two major console makers in a new lawsuit.

Microsoft Corporation and Nintendo of America are defendants in a federal complaint, which was filed November 18 in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.

Microsoft is being sued for a “red ring of death” affecting the plaintiff’s Xbox 360 console. Estavillo notes that as he is disabled, he cannot afford to pay the “well over $100” fee to fix the console, nor can he afford to purchase a new one. He feels “that Microsoft should have to bear the burden that is now put on the shoulders of this disabled plaintiff.”

Estavillo is seeking $75,000 from Microsoft, due to the “undue stress” he has undergone since the 360 broke and the “sadness he will have in the mean time of finding one he can afford.”

The same complaint targets Nintendo over a Wii system update. Estavillo claims that update 4.3 disabled his Homebrew Channel, which he used to unlock characters in Mario Kart Wii. Plaintiff states that the only way to unlock characters in Mario Kart Wii is to purchase Super Mario Galaxy, which will unlock a single character in the former title. “In essence, Nintendo is forcing customers to buy another game to unlock one character in a different game.”

Damages to the tune of $5,000 are sought from Nintendo, for interfering in plaintiff’s “pursuit of happiness.” An injunction is also being sought to prohibit Nintendo from “deleting, blocking or prohibiting the Homebrew Channel and Ocarina applications.”

Estavillo says he suffers from depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia and Crohn’s disease, all of which lead to his leaning on videogames “heavily” for happiness.

Estavillo plans to file a lawsuit in state court as well, which he wrote will “pretty much” be identical to the federal suit.


|Image from Flickr|

48 comments

Wii Being Sold In… The Sports Authority?

November 18, 2009 -

Despite split opinions on the actual effectiveness of it as a method of working out or maintaining health, the Nintendo Wii is now being sold at a U.S. sporting goods chain.

The Sports Authority will sell both Wii and Wii Fit Plus systems and is launching a new campaign and dedicated in-store section designed to promote the new offerings. “We Know Fit, We Know Fun,” will have Wii-branded fitness trainers on hand in order to encourage customers to try out the system before purchasing it.

David Campisi, president of Sports Authority stated, “Sports Authority recognized that the Wii console is a product that can help you stay active and have fun with your family at the same time, which is why the retail partnership with Nintendo is a perfect fit.”

The Sports Authority, which has 465 stores throughout the U.S., has also launched a dedicated micro-site for the Wii at www.thewiiauthority.com. 102 stores will have the Wii setup in store by November 19, with the rest following suit by next spring.

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12 comments

CNET Survey: 60 Percent of 360s Fail

November 17, 2009 -

A survey commissioned by CNET UK asked gamers to weigh in on the failure rate of the current generation of game consoles.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Microsoft’s Xbox 360 came in first (last?), with 60% of the respondents indicating that their 360 had failed at some point. Sony’s PlayStation 3 broke for 16% of those who took part in the poll, while the Wii stopped working for just 6%.

Even worse news for Microsoft, of those who did report their 360 breaking, 32% said the console broke twice and 19% claimed it stopped working three or more time. One unfortunate respondent indicated that their 360 failed six times.

The 360 failure rate fell to 34 percent for respondents who had purchased a console since January 2008.

Of those with broken 360s, 72% percent returned their machine to Microsoft for fixing, while 15% chose to toss the 360 or try to fix it themselves.

All in all, 1,128 people took the poll, with 591 owning a Wii, 562 owning an Xbox 360 and 473 possessing a PS3.

CNET notes that the poll has its faults—those surveyed do not constitute a random sample—but adds that since console makers do not release such information, this is about the best we can go on.

GP: What about you, how are your consoles holding up? My launch 360 red ringed once (under warranty) and my original PS3’s Blu-Ray drive failed once (also under warranty) but the Wii keeps on ticking, although it hasn’t been plugged in since February.

 

55 comments

Study Measures Wii Energy Expenditure

November 16, 2009 -

A Nintendo-funded study claims that some Wii games and activities offer energy expenditure levels at least on par with moderate real-world exercise.

Presented at the American Heart Association’s 2009 Scientific Session, the research consisted of putting a dozen people between the ages of 25 and 44 into a metabolic chamber to measure the average Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) or energy expended. Wii Boxing performed the best of the activities offered in Wii Fit, averaging about 4.5 METs, followed by Baseball (3.0), Tennis (3.0), Bowling (2.6) and Golf (2.0).  By comparison, an adult walking at three miles per hour on a flat surface burns about 3.3 METs.

Wii Fit’s single-arm stand challenge measured 5.6 METs, though it was noted that overall Wii Fit activity MET readings were low because of the product’s focus on yoga and balance-based exercises.

Motohiko Miyachi, Ph.D, lead author of the study, added, “The range of energy expenditure in these active games is sufficient to prevent or to improve obesity and lifestyle-related disease, from heart disease and diabetes to metabolic diseases.”

This study’s apparent preference of Wii Sports over Wii Fit when it comes to exercise jibes with findings from the American Council on Exercise reported on last week.

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13 comments

Wii Bowling Cops Spared Tough Sanctions

November 11, 2009 -

Remember those Florida cops caught playing Wii Bowling following a drug raid?

Disciplinary measures for those who took part in the gaming party have been revealed and they are rather lenient. The Ledger reports that, following an investigation by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, 11 members of the task force in all were found to be at fault.

Undercover detectives who were on the scene received a letter of retraining and will undergo two hours of retraining, while supervising sergeants earned a letter of guidance and were sentenced to four hours of retraining.

Sheriff’s Chief of Staff Gary Hester said, “We are learning from our mistakes. I'm absolutely convinced these folks will never do that again. I think we handled (the investigation) appropriately. We told them we were disappointed in what they did.”

The actual incident took place way back in March of this year, but was not brought to the public eye until September, when a local TV station obtained the footage captured by surveillance cameras.


Thanks Andrew

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Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
Craig R.Btw, the guy who swatted security expert Brian Krebs? He got picked up recently. It can be done.09/20/2014 - 8:55pm
Craig R.Such things are not done in a vacuum... hence why the 4chan and other logs show what fools you've all been, tricked into doing the trolls' work09/20/2014 - 8:49pm
Sleaker@Technogeek - How do you call someone out that anonymously calls in a SWAT team, or sends threats to people?09/20/2014 - 7:04pm
Technogeek"It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so." I'd say you're certainly obligated to call them out when you see it happening.09/20/2014 - 5:17pm
SleakerNow if you disagree with anything in my last 2 posts then we obviously have a difference in world view, and wont come to any sort of agreement. I'm fine with that, maybe some people aren't?09/20/2014 - 5:09pm
SleakerIt also doesn't mean that just because a news outlet says that Gamers are the problem and you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem. It also doesn't mean you're obligated to stop harassment from all gamers that are doing so.09/20/2014 - 4:59pm
SleakerJust to re-iterate: People getting harassed is wrong. Just because someone is harassed by so called 'gamers' doesn't mean that all gamers are bad. nor does it mean that you need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers.09/20/2014 - 4:56pm
SleakerAnd furthermore just because someone doesn't 'crusade against the evil' that doesn't make them the problem. You can have discussion with those around you. There's a thing called sphere of influence.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
Sleaker@Conster - one person getting harassed is a 'problem' only so far as the harassee's are doing it. Just because a select few people choose to act like this doesn't make it widespread. Nor does it immediately make everyone responsible to put an end to it.09/20/2014 - 4:54pm
james_fudgeno worries09/20/2014 - 4:15pm
TechnogeekI misread james' comment as "we can't have a debate without threatening" there at first. Actually wound up posting a shout about death threats and "kill yourself" not technically being the same thing before I realized.09/20/2014 - 3:59pm
james_fudgeDon't hit me *cowers behind Andrew*09/20/2014 - 3:20pm
ConsterYou take that back right now, james, or else. *shakes fist menacingly*09/20/2014 - 3:00pm
james_fudgeOur community is awesome. We can have a debate without threatening to kill each other.09/20/2014 - 2:50pm
Andrew EisenNo one's crossed a line but I just want to remind you all to keep discussions civil.09/20/2014 - 1:54pm
Craig R.tldr: I'm a gamer, and imo those who support GamerGate should feel free to take a flying leap off a cliff.09/20/2014 - 1:27pm
Craig R.Not only that, I'm pretty sure that if actual studies were done, you'd still deny them, Sleaker. After all, it's not what you'd want to hear to support your rose-colored view of GamerGate.09/20/2014 - 1:18pm
Craig R.There IS an issue. Nor do we need a study to show that if you deny it then you're part of the problem.09/20/2014 - 1:17pm
 

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