Researcher: Violent Content Alone Does Not Increase Aggression

October 27, 2010 -

A psychology student at Canada’s Brock University has undertaken a study on the relation between videogames and aggression, but his research seeks to examine whether other elements of games, rather than violence only, can lead to increased hostility.

26-year old Paul Adachi, as part of his push for a PhD, has already experimented on 50 students between the ages of 17 and 19. His plan, as detailed by the Standard, involves having subjects play two games—one non-violent (the racing game Fuel) and one violent (the action-adventure title Conan)—while attempting to determine if a game’s level of competiveness, difficulty and pace of play contributed to a rising level of aggression.

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Sperminator Almost Ready to Go Again

October 27, 2010 -

Earlier this year we told you about an online game featuring a penis-armed villain that was designed to educate kids on the perils of sexually-transmitted diseases. That game, Adventures in Sex City, has proven so popular that a sequel is in the works.

Created under the direction of London, Ontario’s Middlesex-London Health Unit, the original game featured the characters Captain Condom, Power Pap, Willy the Kid and Wonder Vag, and had players answer sex-related questions in order to repel the seed of the evil villain, and sufferer of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), dubbed the Sperminator.

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Mounties Across Canada Bust Counterfeiters

October 25, 2010 -

Two separate detachments from Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have succeeded in arresting suspected counterfeiters.

Officers from the Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine RCMP just announced the seizure of approximately 3,500 DVDs, 400 copies of software, 1,000 computer games and 100 music CDs, all counterfeit, from a residence in New Richmond, Quebec. The Mounties also snatched computer equipment related to copying and producing the discs, and stated that the unnamed owner or resident of the dwelling could face charges under Canada’s Criminal Code and/or its Copyright Act.

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WarCraft III Smack Talk Culminates IRL Beating

October 22, 2010 -

A Vancouver high school student was assaulted by a group of people on Monday, all because the victim and his friends reportedly trash talked opponents after a victorious WarCraft III skirmish.

The student in question was roughed up at Eric Hamber secondary school during lunch hour. The Vancouver Sun reported that the beating came following a WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos online battle in a Defense of the Ancients custom scenario, after which the winning team mocked the losers.

“Four or five assailants,” described as in their late teens, tracked the boy to Eric Hamber, and “made him kiss their feet before hitting him with batons, breaking his fingers.” No arrests have been made yet, though Vancouver’s police youth squad continues to investigate the assault.

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As THQ Selects Montreal for New Studio, TIGA Laments Lost Opportunity

October 19, 2010 -

Game industry group TIGA is using comments from a THQ executive to further press for tax relief for the videogame industry in the UK.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, THQ Executive VP Danny Bilson called the talent in the UK “extraordinary,” and while he would love to see his company build a new studio in the region, it won’t happen anytime soon because “it's all about money at the end of the day.”

THQ opted instead to build a new 400-employee studio in Montreal, where it will receive tax breaks of 37.5 cents for every dollar spent on labor costs, which Bilson called a "huge win" and would enable the developer to "put more on the screen."

Bilson added:

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Canada's CMF Doles out $12.9M in Funding, Some to Game Makers

October 15, 2010 -

A dozen game projects were among twenty-seven total ventures awarded funding from the Canada Media Fund’s (CMF) Experimental Stream.

All told, the fund doled out $12.9 million, with an average of $478,000 granted per project. Three projects, including one game initiative, received the maximum amount of $1 million.

Bot Colony, an online game designed to assist players in improving English skills in development by North Side Inc., was the sole game project to land the max funding amount.

Other games receiving backing included:

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Canadian Mayoral Candidate Talks About Luring Developers

September 29, 2010 -

One candidate in the Brantford, Ontario mayoral race thinks videogames could help boost the local economy.

Chris Friel is one of nine candidates for mayor in the Southern Ontario town with a population of around 90,000. Seven of the nine candidates answered questions Tuesday night at Laurier Brantford University, where Friel broached the idea of attempting to lure developers to the town, noting that the gaming industry is “versatile enough to locate anywhere if given the incentive.”

Friel stated, “That’s why we need to move into industries that are more accessible for university students.”

He added, “They could literally be working at something while they were going to school and be able to move right into that field afterward.”

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Pac-Man-Inspired Mayoral Race Game Draws Mixed Reactions

September 20, 2010 -

An online game featuring Toronto’s five mayoral candidates was designed to raise awareness of the race while perhaps providing a very informal look into who might win the October 25th election.

Mayor Munch, created by the OneStop Media Group is based on Pac-Man, and has players choose one of the five candidates— Rob Ford, Rocco Rossi, Sarah Thomson, Joe Pantalone, Giorgio Mammoliti or George Smitherman—to play as.

Results show how much each candidate was chosen, figures that might presumably correlate to their outcome in the election. As of today, Rossi was leading, having been selected as the on-screen avatar of choice 29% of the time, a number that directly contrasts figures showing Ford with a huge 24-point lead.

Montreal Police: Dawson College Massacre Developer Won't Be Charged

September 15, 2010 -

Montreal police will not charge the creator of a game that uses the September 2006 shooting at Dawson College that left one dead and 19 injured. Police said that they could not charge the 23-year-old Ontario man who goes by the name "Virtuaman" because no one could accuse him of an actual crime.

His crime, according to some who were deeply offended by the game, was recreating killer Anastasia DeSousa’s violent rampage. While the Montreal police department has asked for the game to be removed because it is not "socially sensitive or moral," the creator has no obligation to do so.

The game, a simple top-down action game called Dawson College Massacre, was released on September 8. It is available on Newgrounds.com now. Despite the complaints, Newgrounds has not taken the game down.

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Columnists Rips Canadian Defence Minister for MOH Comments

September 9, 2010 -

In response to Canadian Defence Minster Peter MacKay’s (pictured) disapproving comments about the Electronic Arts game Medal of Honor, an Ottawa Citizen columnist took to his pulpit in order to offer a spirited defense (defence) of videogames.

Referring to the ability to play as the Taliban in the game, MacKay had said that, “I'm sure most Canadians are uncomfortable and angry about this.”

In his column, Dan Gardner replied, “No one ever accused Peter MacKay of being Her Majesty's most cerebral minister…”

MacKay had also lamented that children might take on the role of insurgents in the game, a point which Gardner addressed:

UK vs. Canada: Why Tax Breaks Matter to the videogame Industry

September 7, 2010 -

In an article called "UK vs. Canada: Do Tax Breaks Build An Industry?" at Gamasutra Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley says that the UK government’s decision not to give tax breaks to the videogame industry is one of the reasons why so many UK studios are slowly setting up shop in Canada.

Though Kingsley said that tax breaks would have been nice to have, his company is coping with the reality that - for now - they are not available.

Richard Wilson, CEO of UK video game trade organization TIGA, is a bit more concerned as he watches companies make a slow exodus to regions in Canada such as Quebec and Ontario, who offer generous tax breaks on labor costs that UK developers can't ignore.

"We are competing with the rest of the world on an uneven playing field," says Wilson. "In 2006, the UK games industry was the third largest in the world in terms of revenue generation; we have since fallen to fifth place."

But TIGA doesn't plan on giving up the fight anytime soon:

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Another MOD Criticizes MOH

September 7, 2010 -

The red phones connecting the world’s defense/defence ministers must be working fine, as yet another member of that group has jumped on the anti-Medal of Honor videogame bandwagon.

This time around Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay took issue with the Electronic Arts game, specifically over the ability to play as a member of the Taliban in Medal of Honor’s multiplayer mode. MacKay, via the Ottawa Citizen, had this to say about the game:

The men and women of the Canadian Forces, our allies, aid workers, and innocent Afghans are being shot at, and sometimes killed, by the Taliban. This is reality. I find it wrong to have anyone, children in particular, playing the role of the Taliban. I'm sure most Canadians are uncomfortable and angry about this.

Canadian Summer Incubator Results in Pair of New Games

September 3, 2010 -

A cool little videogame incubator project put on this summer in the Canadian town of Charlottetown, located on Prince Edward Island, resulted in two teams of recent graduates churning out a pair of videogames.

Sponsored by the Interactive Media Alliance (IMA), Telefilm Canada and Innovation P.E.I., the three-month long program, called Game Garage, ran from June 1 to August 31.

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Inafune on the Great White North’s Emergence: “Canadians Are More Serious”

September 2, 2010 -

By all accounts, Canada is now the third largest home to videogame developers in the world, a realization that Capcom’s Keiji Inafune attributes to both favorable tax breaks and the populace’s work ethic.

Speaking to NowGamer
, Inafune, who produced Dead Rising 2 and is head of R&D for the Japanese publisher, noted that Canada was “getting very important now,” before conveying his opinion as to why that might be.

“There are lots of background reasons for it, tax relief and government policies and so on and so forth, but from the developers point of view, Canada is part of North America so you can sort of [include it as] North American,” he stated.

Inafune continued:

But compared to Americans, Canadians are a bit... more serious, if you like. Also, compared to big cities such as Los Angeles, it's also a little bit cheaper. So they've got potential to be at the epicentre of videogame development.

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As TIGA Slams UK Pols, Canada Trys to Lure More Devs

August 17, 2010 -

While we’ve been using data from the Entertainment Software Association of Canada to crown our neighbors to the north as the world’s third-largest home to videogame development for a few months, trade association TIGA seems to have just recognized that claim as official, and used it to lash out at UK politicians.

TIGA said that UK politicians have been “asleep at the wheel” while Canada, and other countries, cherry pick UK talent with incentives. TIGA Chief Dr. Richard Wilson said that there was “nothing inevitable about this process,” and added:

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Canadian Ad Bureau Breaks out In-game Ad Revenue

August 11, 2010 -

For the first time, revenue from in-game advertising was broken out in a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB), and the figures were not all that overwhelming.

The Canadian Online Advertising Revenue Survey (PDF) serves up actual 2009 results in addition to 2010 estimates. The report stated that 2009 revenue from Canadian in-game advertising was $3 million, or less than one percent of the year’s total of $1.82 billion.

Videogame advertising, as defined by IAB, “can range from an Advertiser buying some or all of the ad units in or around a game, to a 'Sponsored by' link to a custom-branded Game experience.”

Speaking to The Star, IAB President Paula Gignac called videogames “something of a walled garden” when it comes to marketing information.

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Death by Economy: Winnipeg Videogame Incubator to Close

August 10, 2010 -

Billed as North America’s first videogame business incubator, Fortune Cat Games Studios is preparing to close up shop after four years of operation.

The Winnipeg, Canada-based initiative provided rent-free office space and computer systems to small project teams and hooked up the fledgling developers with mentors and contacts in order to advance their skill sets.  According to a Winnipeg Free Press story, the non-profit is shuttering because it could not secure any funding for operations in 2011.

Federal funding for the incubator ceased about a year and a half ago, while provincial funds run out this year. The provincial government stated that it seeded the business with $662,954 between 2005 and 2010.

Fortune Cat’s Executive Director Ryan FitzGerald said about the closing, “I cannot blame anybody. The worst thing I can say is that we had the right idea, but bad timing for federal reasons and provincial reasons and for industry reasons.”

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Cutting Edge Digital Production Center Opens in St. Catharines

August 5, 2010 -

The Niagara Interactive Media Generator (nGen) has announced the opening of a $3 million dollar, state-of-the-art facility in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario.

Dubbed the Generator at one, the facility is designed to facilitate the production of entire media projects in a single location, and features an advanced motion capture system, a pair of Red One Cameras (capable of shooting at 4X HD quality), a theatre and a boardroom  in addition to software and workstations for editing video, audio and adding visual effects.

Technology is available to rent or the facility’s tech partners can produce any digital interactive media that might be needed.

nGen Executive Director Jeff Chesebrough stated, “The technology at the Generator at one is second to none. Coupled with the fact that we are 25 minutes from the U.S Border and an hour from the heart of downtown Toronto, we are extremely excited about the future of digital interactive media in Niagara.”

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Woof: Alabama Developer Lured to Canadian Province

July 30, 2010 -

The Canadian province Newfoundland and Labrador has granted $300,000 to a Huntsville, Alabama-based videogame development company in order to aid it in setting up a studio in the Great White North.

Bit Trap Studios Canada is developing multiplayer online games and expects its game and online portal to be released in the next three to four years. It’s anticipated that Bit Trap Canada will infuse an estimated $1.6 million into the local economy as it creates its projects. The company expects to employ at least 18 people in its Canadian office.

A government news release indicated that the $300,000—which is forgivable if certain goals are met—was made via the Business Attraction Fund, and is “provided in the form of payroll rebates.”

Minister of Business Ross Wiseman stated:

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ESA Canada: 'All's fair in love and war'

July 19, 2010 -

Danielle Parr, the executive director of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada says that his country's game industry and government can do anything they want to entice game developers to the great white north because "all's fair in love and war." While UK developers and government officials have been vocal about Canada's mission to "steal" developers from the region and bring them home, Parr, like a Jerry Springer guest, has no problem enticing talent to another bedroom.

While at Develop last week, Parr told BBC's Politics Show with a smile and a laugh that she sees no problem with it:

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BattleGoat Chief Not Enamored with Canadian Copyright Bill

July 7, 2010 -

BattleGoat Studios co-founder and co-owner George Geczy has called Canada’s newly proposed copyright bill (C-32) “unacceptable and entirely unbalanced.”

Specifically, Geczy takes issue with the digital rights management section of the Bill, and is strongly in favor of allowing consumers to break digital locks in order to make a back up, or to unlock content from companies that may have gone out of business or had their copyright expire.

In a letter on the subject, as reported by CBC News, Geczy stated, “While nobody would question the cultural significance and imperative for preservation of a Shakespeare play or Beethoven symphony, cultural media in the past decades has suffered significant content losses when commercial entities do not see a financial benefit in preservation."

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UK Developers: Pro-Canada Marketing Stunt Takes the Piss

July 6, 2010 -

Attendees of a recent Game Horizon Conference in the UK last week found mock Canadian passports on their seats in a stunt designed highlight Canada’s pro-game developer tax incentives. The timing of the marketing initiative however—coming less than a fortnight after similar tax breaks were killed in the UK—managed to rankle a few feathers.

One anonymous British developer told CVG that the promotion, put on by the relocation firm Quickstar Global, made Canada seem like “vultures.” The source stated, “As a British developer it makes me disappointed and angry to see the Canadian government agencies circling the UK like vultures as soon as word was out that the Government u-turned on our tax breaks.”

Another source bemoaned “Are things now so tight that we can't find British companies to sponsor our events rather than having the Canadian Government preying on our talent and companies?”

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London, Ontario Looking to Build Game-based Technology Center

June 29, 2010 -

Not to be outdone by Hamilton, Ontario’s $11 million dollar interactive institute, London, Ontario is attempting to wrangle enough funds to build its own technological center of excellence based around videogames.

The goal of such a center, according to the London Free Press, would be to “bring together video game companies and academics to commercialize games technology to other video game companies and other industries.” Digital Extremes President Michael Schmalz said that such an ideology could help to cut through the “competitive realties” that make it difficult for technology creators to share their work with each other.

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Silicon Knights Assisting in Creation of Ontario Interactive Institute

June 18, 2010 -

Game maker Silicon Knights is teaming up with McMaster University, Mohawk College and the Art Gallery of Hamilton to create an $11 million dollar institute for interactive digital media.

Expected to open sometime in 2011, the group is calling the venture “Eight,” a name meant to canonize interactive media as “the eighth major art form after music, poetry, dance, sculpture, painting, architecture and cinema,” according to the Hamilton Spectator.

The paper also outlined what the institute hopes to accomplish:

Though the fine details are still in play, the groups are expected to collaborate on developing games and work on technical and creative problems, such as making games look more real, while also training students to work in the field.

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British Columbia Passes Tax Credit for Interactive Devs

June 8, 2010 -

Thanks in large part to lobbying from the eight-person B.C. Interactive Task Force, which represents 30 local videogame makers, the Canadian province of British Columbia is now the proud purveyor of shiny new tax credits for interactive developers.

The Interactive Digital Tax Credit was passed by local legislature late last week and provides a 17.5 percent tax credit for labor on projects commencing after August 31. To qualify, productions must feature two out of the following three components: text, sound or images.

While the tax credit is an improvement, the Vancouver Sun notes that the percentages “pale” when compared to those offered by other Canadian provinces:

Nova Scotia offers 50 per cent of labour and up to 25 per cent of total productions costs. Manitoba offers 40 per cent of labour, the same percentage as Ontario, which also offers 40 per cent of marketing and distribution costs. Quebec, B.C.'s main Canadian competitor, offers up to 37.5 per cent of labour.

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Children’s Miracle Network to Benefit from Xbox Live Promo

June 3, 2010 -

Canadian Xbox Live users can now help support the Children’s Miracle Network non-profit by purchasing special items offered through Xbox Live.

The Mission 4 Miracles promotion serves up picture packs, themes, the ability to play games with celebrities—such as professional golfer Stephen Ames—and a game, Avatar Golf. All proceeds from the sales of these items will be converted from points to dollars and donated to the Children’s Miracle Network.

Another cool aspect of the drive, via Market News, will see donations routed by postal code, so a gamer in a specific location of the Great White North can be assured that he or she is helping out a local branch of the charity. The Children’s Miracle Network funds 14 hospitals in Canada.

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Third Time the Charm for Canadian Copyright Bill?

June 3, 2010 -

Canadian Ministry of Industry Tony Clement (pictured) and Heritage Minister James Moore outlined new copyright legislation yesterday, and the pair’s choice of venue to introduce Bill C-32 might assist in indicating just which side (business or consumer) the legislation tends to favor.

While legislation is typically introduced amid the backdrop of Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, C-32 was introduced at the Montreal offices of Electronic Arts, which the Financial Post says was “a member of a lobby group that is pushing for a hard line approach to copyright.”

Among the Bill’s provisions, according to CBC.ca, is a measure that would criminalize the breaking of digital locks contained in media or devices. Shifting purchased media from one device to another, or from a CD to a device, would be legal however.

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Nova Scotia Politician Spending Probe Turned Over to RCMP

May 18, 2010 -

A probe into improper spending by four former members—and one current member—of Nova Scotia’s House of Assembly may evolve into criminal charges.

Auditor General Jacques Lapointe today issued a report (PDF) detailing his investigation in which he stated that the members in question “may have committed illegal acts related to their constituency expense claims.”  Due to “the serious nature of his findings,” Lapointe said it was inappropriate for his office to continue exploration and turned over his files to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

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GDC Canada 2010 Attendance

May 14, 2010 -

If you were wondering how much of a success the recent Game Developers Conference Canada was, then you need look no further than GDC Canada's own accounting on the matter. According to organizers of the event attendance numbers were in line with 2009; 775 game industry professionals gathered last week for the two day event, to listen to and partake in 35 lectures, panels, and sessions.

Bill Mooney, a Vice President at Zynga Studios and General Manager of FarmVille, kicked off GDC Canada with a keynote on the social gaming space and its future. GDC Canada also featured the Game Career Seminar, an expo area, a business to business lounge and networking receptions where attendees met with representatives from Epic Games, Radical, Relic, Blue Castle, Hansoft and Sony Computer Entertainment.

Next year's event, taking place in May 2011, will coincide with the Vancouver Interactive Digital Week 2011. Get more info at www.gdconf.com.


Vancouver Least Taxing of World’s Major Cities

May 12, 2010 -

Given that taxes plays a major-role in the ability of states and countries to lure videogame developers, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at results from a recent KPMG study (PDF) into the tax competitiveness of 95 cities and countries around the world.

The guide rated the locales using a Total Tax Index (TTI), which was described as a measure of “the total taxes paid by corporations in a particular location, expressed as a percentage of total taxes paid by corporations in the U.S.” This methodology uses the U.S. as a benchmark with a score of 100.0*.

The TTI rankings placed Mexico first among countries, with a 59.9 score, indicating that total tax costs in the country are 40.1 percent lower than in the U.S. Canada came in second place, followed by the Netherlands, Australia, the UK, the U.S., Germany, Italy, Japan and France.

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Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
IanCSo im guessing a bunch of edutainment games, which a lot of people elsewhere are going gaga over, dot count as classics? Okay. If you don't mind me, i have a sudden urge to play Putt Putt....04/19/2014 - 6:15am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
 

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