Games you just don’t want to hear are in development

As a hardcore gamer, there are some things you just don’t want to hear in reference to games. Anything referring to Barbie is bad. Barbie and Horse appearing in the title is much worse, because you know only one way that could be a good game, yet you also know there is no way Barbie would be in a bestiality pr0n game. Though Mary Kate and Ashley are hotties, seeing their name on any game is a sure sign you’d want to pass it by. But we’ve got a couple of new entries into the games-you-never-want-to-see-developed category.

Did you know there’s actually a Barbie MMO? is the kinda thing that makes hardcore gamers groan, but there is — a pink-festooned, dolls-getting-manicured, ‘tween girl-focused MMO, and moreover, it’s ridiculously popular. In its first 60 days, it signed up three million users. Now it’s up to four million — that’s half of what Second Life has drummed up in its entire lifespan — and growing at a rate of 4500 a day.

. . .

Not to be left out of the competition, the freaky skank dolls of Bratz are getting in on the action with, another ‘tween girls’ virtual world with a real-world component — you buy a $29.99 Bratz doll-slash-USB key, and it comes with some pink computer peripherals (a mouse and pad) that look like Japanese sex toys.

Please – if you ever hear that I’m playing these games in any serious manner, just shoot me. Neither Barbie nor Bratz should ever exist in a game title that references MMOs.  (via Kotaku)

[tags]Barbie, Bratz, beastiality, horses, MMOs, gaming[/tags]

Nokia tries again – new N-Gage this summer or fall

It appears that the dismal failure of the first two passes of the N-Gage gaming/MP3 phone (well, MP3 was dropped in the first re-tooling) weren’t enough to dissuade Nokia.  With an announced ship date of later this year, the new N-Gage is predicted to be more successful.

According to the Nokia sponsored semi-official blog Future Watch, by the middle of this year, “the N-Gage experience will evolve into the next generation of mobile gaming.” The blog suggests that the new N-Gage will make its debut this September and that two major publishers, EA Mobile and Gameloft, are already backing Nokia’s latest effort.

. . .

“By early 2008, we expect to have some of the biggest franchises and hottest mobile games included in the N-Gage experience,” it concluded.

Seems like I recall predictions from Nokia that the first N-Gage and the revamped N-Gage were going to be big hits, too (in case you don’t know – they weren’t).  I also seem to recall all of 1 good game and 2-3 decent games were all that were available once you threw out the crappy games.  (via /.)

[tags]New generation N-Gage later this year, Nokia says *This time the N-Gage* will succeed, One ringtone to rule them all?[/tags]

On the iPhone

Let’s pretend for a minute that Apple successfully defends the iPhone name from Cisco’s claim of ownership. Instead, focus on the features and benefits of the phone. apple-iphone-specs-narrow.jpg With a 2 year contract, the iPhone basic runs $499, which gets you a 4 gig iPod+phone combo. For $599, you get an 8 gig iPod+phone combo. Of course, that’s not all the features of the phone:

Sweet, glorious specs of the 11.6 millimeter device (that’s frickin’ thin, by the way) include a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the screen when it’s close to your face, 2 megapixel cam, 4GB or 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR and A2DP, WiFi that automatically engages when in range, and quad-band GSM radio with EDGE. Perhaps most amazingly, though, it somehow runs OS X with support for Widgets, Google Maps, and Safari, and iTunes (of course) with CoverFlow out of the gate. A partnership with Yahoo will allow all iPhone customers to hook up with free push IMAP email. Apple quotes 5 hours of battery life for talk or video, with a full 16 hours in music mode — no word on standby time yet.

What I’m wondering on this, though, is why get a phone with all those features if it is going to cost that much? I’ll admit that I’m probably not the target demographic for this whiz-bang gadget. I like to get single task gadgets for the most part – I want a phone that is just a phone, a camera that is just a camera, and an MP3 player that is just an MP3 player. For a geeky, dorky, gadget-whore like me, that probably sounds bizarre, but I want functionality at reasonable prices. What happens if next year you want to carry around more music? What if you decide you really want a 6 megapixel camera? Sure, you can choose to carry around those in addition to the iPhone, but why would you given what you’ve spent on the multi-function phone?

Continue reading “On the iPhone”

Sony Pres. promises us more stuff we don’t want with PS3

Continuing the apparently intractable path to PS3 irrelevance, Sony’s Ken Kuraragi is promising a PlayStation 3 based media center console.

In other words, audio and video capabilities first, gaming second (if at all), in a device built around the Cell-processor platform. Ken says that the device would certainly be more expensive, reflecting the prices and margins expected on high-end consumer electronic devices such as TVs, Blu-ray personal video recorders, etc. — not the relatively cheap, but powerful gaming rigs sold at a loss under Sony’s Computer Entertainment division. Impress speculates that the device could cost as much as Â¥300,000 or about $2,500.

More expensive? Wow. Because really, there were just too damned many people buying the PlayStation 3 since it came out at an impulse buy price.

[tags]Sony promises more unnecessary/unwanted features in PS3 based AV center[/tags]

Double-barrel cigarette holder

This brief article from the November 1931 issue of Modern Mechanix has the accessory every smoker needs:

Double-Barrel Cigarette Holder
We don’t know whether the cigarette manufacturers were behind this idea, but it might be a good idea for them to give away one of these new holders to all smokers. Just think how cigarette sales would jump if everybody smoked two at one time!

[tags]Modern Mechanix, Cigarettes, Smoking[/tags]

Company works to increase American laziness

(via Slashdot)
As mentioned in the Slashdot article, I’m sure this is a sign of the coming apocalypse.  In an eight week trial program labelled “Laundry Time,” the Internet Home Alliance will have nine families test washers and dryers with advanced technology.  This will allow family members to receive laundry status updates and control laundry functions via cell phone , TV, or Internet connection.

Those skeptics in the audience (such as myself), might see this as a heightening of American laziness.

Laundry Time’s high-tech vision: “You settle down to do some Web surfing after a busy day. When you start up your browser, you get an Instant Message alert telling you that the dryer did not start its cycle. You realize that you forgot to press the start button. Laundry Time asks you in the IM whether you would like to start the cycle. With your mouse, you select “yes,” which starts the dryer, and you continue Web surfing without interruption.”

My solution is to not be stupid.  Pushing the damn START button before walking away seems like a given.  Perhaps it’s time we start mandating non-stupidity tests for people who want to be parents?

I’m with the BuzzBlog guy on this one:

BuzzBlog’s low-tech alternative: Wrinkles-schminkles.  If you’re taking phone calls from your laundry appliances while operating an automobile let’s just say that a messy crease in the khakis is the least of your concerns.

[tags]American laziness, Laundry Time, Net-enabled laundry[/tags]

AOL attemping to remain relevant

(via Ars Technica)

After suffering massive declines in subscription numbers, America Online has changed directions in an attempt to remain relevant. While still charging for dial-up access, the company has announced plans to offer the AOL service for free to broadband users. This effectively changes the company from a subscription based business to a primarily advertising supported business. So some details on how this will pan out:

AOL could give up as much as $2 billion in subscription revenue if a gambit aimed at boosting the Internet service’s advertising revenue goes ahead, the Journal said.

. . .

AOL expects that 8 million of its existing dial-up customers would cancel their subscription to take advantage of the new offer. Nearly one-third of the company’s customer base of 18.6 million in the first quarter already has high-speed access, it said.

AOL is losing subscribers to high-speed Internet providers at a quickening pace, losing about 850,000 in the first quarter, the Journal said. Total U.S. subscribers at the end of 2002 was 26.5 million, the newspaper said.

So there you have it. I’ve never used AOL, but honestly, if the service were free (as in beer) to me, I might at least check it out as, some of the offerings on the service sound potentially useful.

After losing $99 billion in 2002, and while continuing to bleed-out its subscriber base, I think someone at AOL realized that this might be the only way for the once mighty company to remain viable in a broadband based future.

[tags]AOL, America Online[/tags]

Sony continues work on making people not want PS3

(via Dubious Quality)
In an apparent attempt to get the whole world ready for excessive game prices to accompany its excessive console prices, Sony has announced that games probably won’t be $99.99 at release. OK, so it isn’t really an announcement of excessive pricing just yet, but check out the quote and see if you don’t read it the way I (and Bill) do.

SCEA president Kaz Hirai isn’t promising a $59.99 price tag for PS3 games this fall. In an interview with PSM, the Sony leader explained. So, what I can say now is, I think it would be a bit of a stretch to think that we could suddenly turn around and say “PS3 games now $99.99.” I don’t think the consumers expect the software pricing to suddenly be double,” he told the magazine. “So, if it becomes a bit higher than fifty-nine bucks don’t ding me, but, again, as I said, I don’t expect it to be a hundred bucks.”

So Sony is not announcing $100 games, but it certainly seems a setup for games costing more than the $60 XBox360 owners are already paying.  This is on top of the extra (at least) $100 a PS3 will cost over the XB360.  Maybe I’m seeing too much in that quote, but it does look to me like preparing a table for $70 and possibly $80 games for PS3.  This console will have enough trouble fighting the 1 year and $100 price lead of the XB360 since Sony has saddled the thing with a next-gen drive that so far gives shows no value to me (but then, I’m like many others who don’t see the value in next-gen video discs anyway).  I hope I’m wrong, but I see Sony working hard to make consumers not want this console.
[tags]PS3, Playstation, Sony, OMGWTFBBQ?[/tags]

Sony looking for new leader of consumer-hating technology

(via boingboing)

If you are technically skilled, hate people, and want to try creating ways to limit your customers use of your products, then Sony has a job for you.

The New Technology Division is responsible for approving new media and technology, partners, formats, and security methods for distribution of digital content on CD/DVD’s, over the Internet, and mobile networks.

We are seeking a director, focusing on content protection, to join the New Technology Group at Sony BMG Music Entertainment. The candidate will work to provide research, security reviews, and recommendation on new technologies, digital rights management and digital distribution channels for the Global Digital Business Division of Sony BMG Music Entertainment.

. . .

The following areas of technology proficiency are required:

–Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies and standards on various platforms including PCs (e.g. Wintel, Apple, Open Source), Consumer Electronics Devices and Mobile Devices

–Working knowledge of multimedia file formats and compression including Windows Media (WMA), QuickTime (AAC), MPEG Layer-3 (MP3), WAV, AIFF, etc.

–A working understanding of networking architectures and high-speed data transmission

–A working knowledge of Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX operating systems, PDA/Mobile: Symbian, Windows Mobile, Palm OS

–Hands-on knowledge of Macromedia (Director, Flash, Dreamweaver), Java, HTML, and XML programming languages is of advantage

And no, I didn’t doctor that last line – the job announcement really say that. So if you are capable of coming up with the next great way to limit your customers’ ability to use your product, apply today. Contact information is available as part of the job announcement.
[tags]Sony, job announcement[/tags]