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New SimCity players will require an Internet connection to save game

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: Dec 20, 2012 1:32 am

If you're looking to become the next mayor of a virtual city, just make sure you have an internet connection. Otherwise, all of your hard work will go down the drain about as quickly as you can shut down your computer. That's right, the next SimCity will need a persistent Internet connection to play.

 

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But, it's a bit more important than most games make it. Some require it to start, however SimCity will require it to save the game. This could prove troublesome if your Internet goes down while playing. Think about it--you might have to restart your system to get the connection back, but you can't do that because you can't save.

 

The reasoning behind the constant connection is both for piracy reasons, but also because of the multiplayer features, according to Maxis' Stone Librande. In response to a Reddit question, Maxis responded that if you lose your connection, you'll be allowed "to play for as long as we can preserve your game state," which is a period that will "likely be minutes."

ReportTT: Apple Television not coming anytime soon

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Dec 20, 2012 1:05 am

There has been a lot of talk about Apple TV lately, with Tim Cook even complaining about TV, saying it's like going back 30 years. A few analysts have been predicting that the release of an Apple TV is imminent, but it has yet to materialize. A new report from Apple Insider suggests that the TV isn't anywhere near ready.

 

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Citing Focus Taiwan, who cited a source at Hon Hai Precision Industry, or Foxconn, Apple Insider says that the TVs are just starting to undergo initial product testing, suggesting that the TVs won't be available to ship until the end of 2013 or beyond. The report says that they are testing TVs sized 46 to 55 inches.

 

Taking away a bit of the validity of the report, it says that Apple TV-related products will be shown at CES, a trade show that Apple has seemingly avoided like the plague in past years. If they do show something this year, we'll be sure to get the scoop while we're in town.

EFF gets a $500k donation from Mark Cuban and Notch, creator of Minecraft

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Dec 20, 2012 12:29 am

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has gotten a $500,000 donation from Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, and Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. The donation is going to be used to hire attorneys as the EFF pushes to reform the entire software patent system.

 

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Cuban's $250,000 will go to pay for EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels's new position that will be called "The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents." Persson's $250,000 isn't quite as earmarked as Cuban's, and will contribute to the EFF as a whole.

 

"Temporary fixes aren't good enough - we need deep and meaningful reform to protect software development and keep it as free and democratic as possible," Persson said in a statement. "New games and other technological tools come from improving on old things and making them better - an iterative process that the current patent environment could shut down entirely."

 

Cuban's said in a statement: "The current state of patents and patent litigation in this country is shameful. Silly patent lawsuits force prices to go up while competition and innovation suffer." and "It's time to fix our broken system, and EFF can help."

Kodak to sell patent portfolio for $525 million

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Dec 20, 2012 12:01 am

Kodak is in a bit of trouble as they have filed for bankruptcy and have been battling the changing market known as the digital camera. Kodak is selling 1,100 digital imaging patents for $525 million. The patents are being purchased by a collection of companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Samsung.

 

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Kodak needs this sale to try and stay afloat and adapt to the changing market. "This monetization of patents is another major milestone toward successful emergence," Antonio M. Perez, Kodak's chief executive, said in a press release. "Our progress has accelerated over the past several weeks as we prepare to emerge as a strong, sustainable company."

 

Of course, as part of the deal, Kodak retains the ability to use the patents in future products, as well as use for the companies that it is selling.

 

In other Kodak news, the company is looking to move into the professional printing and packaging business, an area where it expects to have "significant competitive advantages and strong growth prospects."

Football fans rejoice! Super Bowl will be streamed live by CBS this year

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Dec 19, 2012 11:41 pm

Football fans rejoice! CBS will be live streaming the Super Bowl again this year. Last year, the Super Bowl was one of the largest streamed events in history, and this one will likely be the same. CBSSports.com and NFL.com will feature the live streams, which will be the same as the one shown on TV.

 

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Online viewers will also have access to additional features, such as live stats and in-game highlights. My one hope for the live stream is that it features the same ads that the TV version does. After all, the Super Bowl has become more about the ads than the actual game, and it would suck to miss out on those by watching online.

THQ files for bankruptcy protections, sells assets to Clearlake for $60 million

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Dec 19, 2012 10:31 pm

Gamemaker THQ has filed for bankruptcy. Over the past year, they have had issues with cash and have finally decided they can't make it. They have sold their assets to an investor. Clearlake Capital Group purchased the assets for $60 million. The deal looks to shed "legacy obligations and emerge with the strong financial backing of a new owner with substantial experience in software and technology."

 

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"The sale and filing are necessary next steps to complete THQ's transformation and position the company for the future, as we remain confident in our existing pipeline of games, the strength of our studios, and THQ's deep bench of talent, said Brian Farrell, chairman and chief executive of THQ, in a statement. "We are grateful to our outstanding team of employees, partners and suppliers who have worked with us through this transition. We are pleased to have attracted a strong financial partner for our business, and hope to complete the sale swiftly to make the process as seamless as possible."

 

The reason THQ has suffered isn't 100 percent clear, though it appears to be a victim of the quick transition from traditional games, such as Xbox 360 and PC, to mobile games, such as Temple Run on the iPhone. The business is set to keep running and customers shouldn't notice any impact during the deal.

Nintendo TVii service coming to Wii U on December 20 in US and Canada

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: Dec 19, 2012 10:03 pm

Nintendo was supposed to have this TVii service on the Wii U at launch, and it disappointed many when they didn't. However, they have announced that the service will be available on the Wii U starting December 20, at least for the US and Canada. TVii, for those who don't follow Nintendo closely, uses the Gamepad to organize online video content from different sources.

 

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When it launches tomorrow, it will support Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, and cable and satellite providers. Netflix and TiVo won't be coming to the service until "early 2013" for the US, and an unknown date for Canada. It's not clear if this update will be as large as the day-one update that has plagued the Wii U.

 

"After Dec. 20, you'll never look at your TV the same way again," said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. "Wii U owners have already experienced the transformative effect that the GamePad has on game play and social interaction. Nintendo TVii shows how the integrated second screen of the GamePad can also transform and enhance the TV viewing experience. Welcome to the new world of TVii."

Samsung acknowledges Exynos vulnerability, going to update 'as quickly as possible'

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Dec 19, 2012 9:33 pm

Over the weekend, a bug was discovered by XDA-Developer forum members that showed that Samsung devices running Exynos processors could be hacked with a kernal-level exploit. In other words, a serious vulnerability. Samsung has told Android Central that they intend to fix this bug as quickly as possible, an important thing when there are so many vulnerable devices running around.

 

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Samsung is aware of the potential security issue related to the Exynos processor and plans to provide a software update to address it as quickly as possible.

 

The issue may arise only when a malicious application is operated on the affected devices; however, this does not affect most devices operating credible and authenticated applications.

 

Samsung will continue to closely monitor the situation until the software fix has been made available to all affected mobile devices.

 

In the meantime, Samsung suggests that users only use official markets to limit their exposure, though it doesn't make them completely safe. With spam botnets making the rounds via sketchy apps, it's important that Samsung get this fixed up quickly.

Nokia Lumia 920, 820 get software update from Nokia, Microsoft, said to increase battery life

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Dec 19, 2012 9:06 pm

Nokia and Microsoft have pushed out an over-the-air (OTA) update to AT&T Lumia 920s and 820s. The new update is a pretty important OTA update, with the companies saying that it will help Bluetooth reliability and connectivity, bolster Nokia Messaging, improve start-up performance, and update battery management.

 

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Currently, you'll have to be on AT&T or Canadian's Rogers to get the update, though Nokia insists that they are "working with our operator partners in all regions to ensure the highest quality experience in every market." They add that they are "working closely with Microsoft...to deliver these updates to other markets in early February 2013."

 

So, if you have a Lumia 920 or 820 on another carrier, you have another 2 months, or so, to wait until you get these same improvements. Of course, you're highly encouraged to download the OTA update if you can as the fixes and updates are pretty significant.

EBay ditching ads inside of its mobile apps, says the revenue isn't worth the clutter and worse user experience

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Dec 19, 2012 8:40 pm

EBay has decided to ditch placing mobile ads inside of its apps. They say that the revenue generated from the ads is "not worth it," especially when they consider how it affects the user experience. "We aren't happy with the user experience and we don't need the money," Devin Wenig, eBay's president of global marketplaces, said.

 

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Dropping ads altogether is fine when you have an alternative source of income available. EBay makes the lion's share of their money by selling stuff online. Free apps and services don't have this same revenue stream and have no other way of monetizing but through advertisements.

 

Clearly, the current version of mobile advertising isn't working. However, for the time being, it's about all that some apps have and they will have to continue using it until a better solution comes along. Thankfully for eBay, they have plenty of other income coming in. Ebay expects to conduct more than $10 billion from its mobile apps next year.

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