Video Games

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) currently being debated in Congress is quite clearly a massive overreach. It gives the government the potential authority to effectively shut down major, largely legitimate web sites for hosting a minuscule amount of pirated content. It could threaten the very existence of sites that host a wide range of used-submitted content, and could easily be used by the government to stifle Americans’ free speech rights. The bill’s potential effects on the very structure of the Internet make it much too broad a cudgel for a problem like online piracy.

Yet online piracy is still a problem. And despite the myriad flaws with the legislation, I have to say I can kind of see where the Entertainment Software Association industry trade group is coming from when they say they support the law.

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The past year has offered plenty of major stories to keep gamers chattering. Here’s what we thought were the most important stories to hit the industry over the past 12 months.

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Having a background screening program in place will encourage applicants to be more forthcoming about their behavior history. It will encourage them to be more forthcoming about their health history in order to ensure that it is not disclosed. It will discourage them from taking advantage of a false sense of security because they are aware that they are not welcome here. I have been an attorney for thirty-eight years, and I understand how people come to trust attorneys to help them.

I want to stress this point because if there are not good background screening programs in place to identify people who may be susceptible to blackmail, or may be inclined to sell confidential information, there will be bad actors, and that’s why so many decide to go with private solutions, since now a days you can go online to find the best background check services which offer a professional and precise work in this area.

So as Attorney General I am going to have a task force that looks at all those things. It is going to be a national task force. I will convene that task force in January of 2013, with input from both federal law enforcement and private sector leaders. We want to get this right. We will work very closely with our partners in the private sector to implement a very effective background check system that is robust, works, and is also consistent with the Constitution.”

As the New York Times reported last year, “Most gun dealers do not do criminal background checks. Those who do sometimes charge $200 or more, which can be prohibitive for most gun buyers, particularly those who can’t pass a check easily.” The federal background check system has a 97 percent failure rate, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s 2007 analysis of FBI-reported crime data indicates that background checks don’t keep guns out of the hands of those with criminal records, drug and alcohol problems, and other concerns.

The NRA also argued that states have the authority to regulate the sale of guns and ammunition, but some courts have questioned this, noting that the Second Amendment provides “an individual right to keep and bear arms” but does not give states the power to ban certain weapons or ammunition. The Supreme Court will rule on that dispute next term.

In an interview, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) said the Supreme Court should reverse those cases.

“It’s been a long time since the Second Amendment was written and interpreted and applied in an individual sense,” he said. “And I think it’s time to say, ‘Let’s take a look at it.’ ”

The National Rifle Association has fought against the new guidelines, saying they would give federal authorities a “blanket license” to ban firearms.

“These changes will inevitably lead to more confiscation,” said executive director Wayne LaPierre. “Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms, and nothing in this proposal will infringe on that right.” LaPierre called the changes “politically driven” and warned that they could create a federal registry of gun owners. The Department of Justice will have discretion over what guns it regulates and what types of firearms can be sold in the United States. If guns made after Jan. 1, 2000 are banned, the Department of Justice would be given the authority to create its own system of registration, in order to regulate firearms.

The Department of Justice’s announcement comes at a time of intense debate over gun control, and the Obama administration faces opposition from Republicans who claim the administration is usurping legislative authority by usurping the authority of the federal gun registry.


Stories of Xbox Live users seeing their accounts hacked and used to make unauthorized purchases have continued to come in at a slow trickle since they were first widely reported last October. But one user has taken to the Internet with a highly personal account of her hacking experience, and what she says was, initially, an almost total lack of help from Microsoft on the matter.

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“I want to clear my name. I want to get these people to stop bothering me.”
That was the main message from Ocean Marketing’s Paul Christoforo, a former representative for N-Control’s Avenger controller attachment. He gained immediate infamy among the Internet gaming community after a hostile customer service email exchange went viral after landing on popular gaming webcomic Penny Arcade.

In a matter of hours, Christoforo went from being just another customer service agent to a focus of ire for thousands of gamers. Christoforo was featured in mocking images and videos, and the Avenger product he was representing was hit with widespread derision and negative Amazon reviews, forcing the company to publicly drop Christoforo as its marketing representative.

A chastened Christoforo is now looking for forgiveness from the Internet community he unwittingly antagonized, saying in an interview with’s In-Game he was “caught on a bad day” and that he hopes they will “let sleeping dogs lie.”

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Each year brings a host of new technologies to the table that make the gaming landscape seem significantly different from what came before, and 2011 was no different. Here are some of the most important technological advancements the game industry saw in the past 12 months.

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With an efficient Data Center solution for enterprise business, you can reduce barriers to internal operations that affect customer service. There are a number of internal processes that can slow the entire organization down, such as building, testing, deploying and maintaining data centers.

With SPCI you can create integrated infrastructure for data, not just storage. Unlike other companies that use a multiple data center infrastructure, you do not have to look for a different solution to put everything together. The process is as simple as selecting the required storage and networking platform. Once everything is configured, you have the flexibility to scale horizontally for your organization, and there are services that help with this, and you can get in Fortinet online.

Plenty of new technologies have come out of since D3 1.7 was released. How has the community been working in that regard?

We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve performance and integration. We’ve released multiple updates and new features in that time period. Most of our work has been in the following areas:

Plumbing support The’splash-screen’ and other standard events work much better in user facing areas.

User experience work Design improvements to new API, new dashboard styles and new visual display widgets.

Inventory support We added a multi-user inventory for Postgres and SQL servers, allowing you to manage multiple concurrent user accounts.

You can see that the work for Windows has been an ongoing effort for D3. We continue to work on improving Windows data integration, especially in search. This includes working on performance and accuracy improvements to searches for Windows users.

User interface work Various changes to the UI. We continue to optimize features that make managing your Postgres database easier, and that have a “real world” use case for companies.

What about new features?

On our roadmap for the future of are improvements to our HTTP API and the REST API. Both of these technologies allow us to create rich interactive data experience which are centered around your data.

Finally, you stated that you want to make your users happy. Can you discuss a few steps to increase conversion from customers to supporters?

Ideally you would want a wide array of forms of email engagement. For example, getting emails on new features is a good marketing approach, especially in the early days of a new product. Supporting your customers with “when I write this, I want this” emails is also a good tactic.

Finally, for upcoming posts, do you have anything planned on the front page that shows off the D3 news?

Yes! In the future we will be hosting more “firsts” announcements and items on what’s going on with D3. We will also have highlights of the work we’re doing on the D3 web site. We’re not quite there yet, but we are a ways from that happening.

To say that writing “Star Wars: The Old Republic” was a massive undertaking would be an understatement. Like seemingly everything in the multi-year development of Bioware’s highly anticipated massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, which has already attracted over a million players before its official launch today, the developers took their previous experience making epic single-player console role-playing games (RPGs) and scaled it up for a new gaming space.
“The Old Republic” is “ten times bigger than any game we’ve ever done before,” Lead Writer Daniel Erickson said in an interview with’s In-Game. “It’s pretty much as big as every game we’ve done before put together.” The game’s 20 writers coordinated on what amounted to 60 man-years of work on the games multiple branching storylines, Erickson said, leading to the humbling thought that “it would have taken one person their entire natural life to write [the game].”

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Microsoft’s Kinect 3D camera got its start as an accessory that lets you use your body as a controller for Xbox 360 games like Dance Central. Since then, hackers have used the hardware for everything from art projects to robotic helicopters! Here are just some of the cool things clever hackers have done with Microsoft’s depth-sensing camera.

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When EA acquired the exclusive rights to the NFL license in late 2004, now-defunct publisher and former Blitz owner Midway used the opportunity to effect a bold change in direction for its popular football series, which originally debuted in arcades in 1997 as NFL Blitz.

2005’s Blitz: The League and its 2008 sequel featured fictional players and teams engaging in the kinds of activities that the real-life league would never approve of in an officially licensed game. Players earned bonus money for brutal, injury-inducing hits, which they could use to gamble on game results, buy drugs to treat injuries and even hire prostitutes to distract the opposing team.

Now, with the rights to the Blitz franchise in the hands of EA, the NFL imprimatur is back on the series’ coming relaunch, which has been in development for over a year by EA Tiburon.

“I think that without the NFL license, the game wouldn’t be NFL Blitz,” project lead Dave Ross told Gamasutra in a recent interview. “It’s kind of the hyper-real NFL football experience where you’ve got the 32 teams, 32 stadiums. For me it’s a lot of fun to choose my favorite team and go up against their rivals and opponents as I work my way through the game, so I think the game absolutely has to be NFL Blitz.”

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