Newly anointed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said this week that it would be okay for Internet service providers to charge Netflix and other companies for a faster lane to consumers. While some think that Wheeler's stance is surprising given that the FCC implemented the Open Internet Order in 2010 to stop ISPs from discriminating against certain types of traffic, anyone who knows Wheeler's past is not in the least bit surprised. Wheeler is a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries.
Only a few hours after it was revealed that cloud-based file-sharing destination Hotfile has agreed to pay $80 million to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) as part of a settlement for a trial set to begin next week, the site went offline. Not only did the site go offline, but it took all of the user content being stored on its servers with it. Users who stored legal personal and business-related documents are now left in much the same situation that Megaupload users were left in, but this time it can't be blamed on anyone except the service provider.
You've probably heard of games being cancelled while being in early development, in beta, and at various stages of development but one game is likely the first to be cancelled after it has been released. Published by 505 Games and developed by Trickstar, Ashes Cricket 2013 is the first game to be cancelled publicly by a publisher - in addition to being unceremoniously pulled from Steam for being awful. Naturally 505 Games points its fingers at the game's developer who did not deliver a game up to anyone's standards.
Is this next story officially the dumbest story of 2013? I don't know but it has to be in the running. Some users who bought Xbox One systems with failing disc drives say you can solve the problem by punching your console. Yes, you've read that correctly: people are so frustrated with the Xbox One that they have decided to, as Wally Cleaver liked to say (an obscure 1950's reference to the show Leave it to Beaver) "Give it the business."
We are not sure if the man in this video shot outside a Montreal Best Buy is pulling an elaborate prank, is genuinely angry about something or is simply out of his flipping mind, but it provides the official "WTF" moment of the day. If you watch the video to your left you'll see a man appear in the frame suddenly go berserk with what we assume is a freshly purchased PlayStation 4. He angrily tears at the console's box, raises it over his head and slams it on to the pavement.
I am pretty sure his warranty doesn't cover THAT.
Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has fined Samsung and two local PR firms for what it described as an organized campaign to post positive reviews of its products, while maligning competitors' products. Samsung reportedly carried this plan out through two local public relations firms who used a "large number of hired writers and designated employees" to get the job done. Samsung and the two local firms were fined $100,000 each, though the original fine it faced was much higher - as much as $1 million.
A special needs student who brought a picture of a bomb to school that he drew has been suspended. The student, 13-year-old Rhett Parham, enjoys drawing and watching videos of his favorite game Bomberman 64 on YouTube.
He drew a picture of an a old fashioned bomb and took it to his school - Hillcrest Middle School in Simpsonville, SC. At one point on Monday during one of his classes, he told his classmates that he "had a bomb" and showed them his drawing. This apparently led to the school suspending him.
His mother, Amy Parham, was shocked and outraged.
Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus recently said that he's bored with games. Pincus made his comments during a Q&A at a Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup called Garage Geeks that he was visiting. Pincus took questions from attendees and was asked by Israeli venture capitalist Yossi Vardi what his current favorite games were.
"Right now, I'm pretty bored with all games," Pincus replied, according to a Wall Street Journal writer attending the event.
A nine-year old boy from Orlando, Florida has been placed in "home confinement" for bring weapons to school. His father claims that the boy brought "an unloaded handgun, a magazine with six bullets inside, a steak knife and a small-handled sledge hammer" to school because he was emulating what the main character "Steve" does in Minecraft.
"They use hammers to dig and knives and guns to protect themselves from zombies," he said, according to the a report from Orlando news station WFTV.
When the smart phone revolution began five years ago, the National Security Agency began looking for ways to crack the myriad of devices that were hitting the market including iPhones, Android devices, and Black Berry devices. Black Berry devices were the most popular among politicians and business people at the time.
Earlier today, we reported that the White House had appointed the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, a guy who has by his own admission lied to Congress about the NSA spying on Americans, to "establish a Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies" to assess the NSA's surveillance efforts.
Australian nurse Katrina Fincham had struck it big by playing World of Warcraft. After earning around $75,000 by farming and selling gold in the popular MMORPG from Blizzard, she decided to convert that cold hard cash into cold hard gold bullion. After doing that she put it in her wall safe at her Adelaide home. All was right with the world, but then something horrible happened: her house was robbed and her wall safe was emptied!
On Friday President Barack Obama promised to create an outside and independent review board to look into the NSA's surveillance efforts. Today we have learned that the person who has been selected to oversee this undertaking is less than credible. In a letter obtained by TechDirt (thanks EZK), we learn that it's the same old same old in D.C.
There's a petition for everything it seems. For example, there's currently a petition on Change.org to make playable Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. game for Wii U and 3DS. The petition directed at game producer Sora Sakurai and Nintendo has already garnered 7,752 supporters as of this writing. Here's a bit from the petition appeal:
The next Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS will not have a Story Mode because of... the Internet. Yeah, apparently Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai said in his bi-weekly column in Weekly Famitsu that story mode and CG cutscenes would be eliminated from the next game because the movie scenes from it were uploaded onto the Internet. Yeah, that's really the reason for it.
The results of a new survey released today by the Newseum Institute shows that roughly 34 percent of Americans think that the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, up from 13 percent in last year's survey. This is the largest single-year increase in the history of the State of the First Amendment national survey. The survey has been conducted since 1997 to determine public opinion about First Amendment rights and issues. The results were released today by First Amendment Center President Ken Paulson and Newseum Institute Chief Operating Officer Gene Policinski.
A former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer claims that a bet on a Wii game competition involving sex as the prize was what triggered him murdering her in self defense. Keith Wiens is currently on trial for shooting his common law wife and faces a charge of second degree murder. Wiens testified this week, admitting that he fired a single shot into the head of Lynn Kalmring in August 2011 at their Penticton (British Columbia, Canada) home, but maintained that he did it in self defense because she was brandishing a knife.
Would you buy a peripheral - for the purposes of training yourself to be a better gamer - that gives you feedback in the form of an electric shock? If the answer to that question is "yes," then you might be interested in the $249 Foc.us, "a tDCS [transcranial Direct Current Stimulation] headset for gamers" that allows users to "overclock your brain to increase the plasticity." The Foc.us comes with an iOS app so that the headset "can be controlled manually using the touch sensor."
Hearing about the youth of China selling their vital organs for something stupid is nothing new, but apparently the trend continues... Kotaku (by way of Tencent) reports that an 18-year-old Chinese man surnamed Zhang from the Gangsu province has sold his kidney. Zhang had to find a way to pay down some debt he apparently amassed while playing "video games" according to the Chinese press.
Microsoft's Don Mattrick seems to live in an alternate universe where throwing gasoline on a fire puts it out. It doesn't in this one. Speaking to GameTrailers, Mattrick said that consumers who are concerned about connectivity issues - for example soldiers that might deployed overseas or someone deployed on a submarine - have an option for this generation: buy an Xbox 360.
A Russian coder and hacker known only as "Barabus" has ported Ska Studios popular "M" rated XBLA action game The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile to the PC. But before you celebrate, this PC version of the game is not an official port and doesn't exactly have the blessing of Ska Studios founder James Silva. It is basically pirated version of the game.
Barabus defends his action by arguing that the developer of the game should have made a PC port himself and that by not doing so is "not very nice."
Sony has released a trailer for a new PS Vita game that lets you be a men's room attendant called "Men's Room Mayhem." In the game - coming to the PS Vita "soon" - players direct patrons to stalls and urinals, keep the men's room sparkling clean, break up fights that might occur, and deal with other situations that apparently crop up in public bathrooms all over the world. The game avoids some of the other more unseemly things that happens in public restrooms, thankfully.
Say the name of an Electronic Arts title you'd like to see come to the Wii U. Okay, now let me break the bad news to you as gently as I can: There are no games from Electronic Arts coming to the Wii U in the foreseeable future. Not one title. Not even a Sims game.
"We have no games in development for the Wii U currently," company spokesperson Jeff Brown told Kotaku yesterday.
Facebook has blocked an app that lets users play a game of "Russian Roulette" with their Facebook account. The social suicide game was a little too over the top for Facebook, apparently. Like the real-world game involving a gun with one bullet in it, the app gives participants a one-in-six chance of deleting their Facebook account. Social Roulette was brought to the attention of Facebook by an automated system that deals with "negative user experience."
Swedish MMO developer MindArk announced today that a recently discovered moon in its long running MMO Entropia Universe was auctioned off for $150,000, or 1.5 million PED in the game's virtual currency. The winner (?) of that bid was Jan Terje Egeland (whose Entropia Universe alter-ego is "Modified Akoz Power"), who MindArk claims will be able to share revenue with the company from all activity on the moon.
Andrew Eisen obsesses over all the games that aren't coming to the Wii U in his latest video. Will he be able to name 50 games not coming to the Wii U (that are coming to other platforms)? Will his sister be able to name just one title that is coming to the Wii U and one other platform and not on another? Will Andrew's head explode by the end of this video? Watch it and find out!
In a post today on the blog for DayZ - the zombie survival game he is working on (perhaps you have heard of it or have confused it with The War Z - it happens a lot) - which was originally built as a mod for the first-person shooter Arma 2, DayZ designer Dean "Rocket" Hall announces that he is taking a "two-month sabbatical" to go climb Mount Everest in Nepal.
New Jersey State Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) plans to introduce legislation to ban violent video games in public places. The Assemblywoman has proposed a law that would ban all "M" rated and "Adults Only" games from public places such as amusement parks, movie theaters, bowling allies, retail stories and other public places. It is a move similar to what the Massachusetts Department of Transportation did on its thruways earlier this year.