RI Gubernatorial Debate Offers Spirited Jousting Over 38 Studios Deal

August 27, 2010 -

The more feisty exchanges in a debate among Rhode Island gubernatorial candidates on Thursday revolved around plans from that state’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to grant 38 Studios $75 million in guaranteed loans in order to get the Curt Schilling-helmed company to move from Massachusetts.

As recounted by the Providence Journal, when asked by a moderator for their views on the 38 Studios deal, Independent candidate, and perpetual opponent of the transaction, Lincoln Chafee called the loan a mistake and indicated that the first payment of $15 million would go out to Schilling’s company next Tuesday.

This prompted Democratic candidate Frank Caprio to snap at Chafee, saying, “You don’t have your facts straight. You don’t understand the deal. You don’t know the first thing about this.”

Dundee Receives Welcome £1M Investment from Channel 4

August 26, 2010 -

UK public-service broadcaster Channel 4 is pumping some timely funds into the Dundee, Scotland economy, just a week or so after that city’s RealTime Worlds entered into administration.

According to the Herald Scotland (thanks The Escapist), the one million pound infusion (approximately $1.55 million U.S.) will be used to commission “apps and games” based on the TV shows Come Dine With Me and Peep Show from Tag Games, as well as a Facebook game from Dynamo Games, which will draw on various Channel 4 shows such as Gok Wan’s How To Look Good Naked.

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Eutechnyx Hopes to Bring Game Jobs to Dundee

August 24, 2010 -

Following last week's news that Dundee, Scotland-based game developer Realtime Worlds had entered into administration, that region of the UK was in need of some good news, not to mention an infusion of jobs, and now, help just might be on the way.

Developer Eutechnyx, best known for its output of racing games like Big Mutha Truckers, Street Racing Syndicate and Supercar Challenge is looking to add a new studio to its repertoire and wants to put it in Dundee.

In a press release on its website, the company said that after securing “substantial investment earlier this year for its latest MMO Auto Club Revolution,” the company “has gone through one of the biggest periods of growth in its 23 year history.”

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Arkansas Feels Left Out of ESA Game Education Story

August 24, 2010 -

Last week we ran a story from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) in which it discussed the growth of game-related degrees offered in U.S. schools and universities. One of eight states tagged as not offering such degrees, however, took a little onus with its exclusion.

In a list of schools offering videogame-related degrees on the ESA website, eight states are missing—Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, West Virginia and Wyoming. Arkansas officials took time out to argue their case in a piece running on the City Wire, stating that the ESA’s report “does not accurately reflect ongoing efforts to provide video gaming degree options to incoming students.”

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Schilling Deal Still Fueling Chafee’s Campaign

August 24, 2010 -

Rhode Island Independent candidate for governor Lincoln Chafee (pictured) is continuing to utilize a $75 million loan used to lure Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios from Massachusetts to the Ocean State as a campaign issue, but is running into some closed doors.

Chafee had previously stated that Rhode Island’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) should suspend the 38 Studios deal and start a public process in order to see if the loan money might be better spent on other companies or proposals. On Monday, Chafee attempted to gain access to a meeting between the EDC Board and Governor Donald Carcieri, but, according to the Providence Business News, Chafee, after “a quick handshake” with Carcieri, was “waved off” in his request for a face-to-face confrontation.

A campaign representative for Chafee later delivered a letter to EDC attorney Robert Stolzman at a public meeting, but only after the current governor refused to accept it.

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UK Lawyer Accused of “Bullying” Suspected Copyright Infringers

August 24, 2010 -

After accusing a member of a UK law firm of sending bullying letters to suspected (and often completely innocent) file sharers, a consumer magazine is proudly trumpeting news that a member of the firm will have to answer to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

Which? Magazine has been dogged in its pursuit of Andrew Crossley and ACS Law Solicitors, a firm that “specialises in assisting intellectual property rights holders exploit and enforce their rights globally.” The complaint filed by Which? with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) revolved around a May 2009 incident in which ACS Law allegedly engaged in “bullying” and “excessive” actions towards the public, sending out thousands of letters accusing people of illegally downloading and sharing copyrighted material over peer-to-peer networks.

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Australia’s Krome Studios Loses Some Luster

August 19, 2010 -

Times are tough Down Under too, as it seems that one of the larger Australian game developers has closed an office and downsized personnel at two additional locations.

GamePron reports on the shakeup at Krome Studios, which appears to have closed down its Adelaide office altogether, while laying off staff from both its Melbourne and Brisbane studios. The site notes that the Adeliade office was initially opened in order to try and give some jobs to employees of developer Ratbag, which shuttered in 2005, just months after being acquired by Midway Games and undergoing a rebranding as Midway Games – Australia.

At its peak, Krome was one of the largest independent videogame studios in the world and has produced some 19 titles covering 40 SKUs. It’s best known for its creation and development of the Ty the Tasmanian Tiger series.


Thanks Ryan!

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IGDA Announces New Acting Executive Director

August 19, 2010 -

In late July it was revealed that International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Executive Director Joshua Caulfield was stepping down and the organization was looking for his replacement.

According to an IDGA blog post, they have found their man, at least temporarily anyway, as Gordon Bellamy will serve as Acting Executive Director. A member of the IGDA Board of Directors since 2009—and Chairman since March—Bellamy has a long career in the game development business, with stops at Electronic Arts, THQ, MTV Networks and Z-Axis. He was also formerly Executive Director for the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS) and is currently a Senior Producer of Emerging Media at yU+co.

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TIGA Responds to Realtime Worlds News

August 18, 2010 -

Calling it “terrible news,” UK game industry group TIGA has reacted to word that  Scottish developer Realtime Worlds is going into administration with a call for action directed at the "Scottish videogames industry in particular and the UK games sector in general.”

TIGA CEO Dr. Richard Wilson called for Games Tax Relief to be introduced at the “earliest opportunity,” the beefing up of R&D tax credits and the formation of business incubators which could assist with the formation of a “new wave” of videogame development firms.

Wilson also stated that games clusters “should be consciously supported” and that higher education should be adequately funded with a renewed focus on STEM subjects.

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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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ESA: Number of Schools Offering Game-related Degrees Skyrockets

August 16, 2010 -

According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), 300 U.S. colleges, universities and art schools will offer videogame-related degrees in 2010-2011, representing almost 20 percent growth from the 2009-2010 timeframe.

The growth in this sector has continued unabated, with a reported 220 schools offering video game design, development, programming or art curriculums in 2008-2009 and around 250 in 2009-2010. California is still the leader in terms of schools offering game-related degrees with 50 institutions, followed by New York (26), Texas (21) Illinois (17) and Florida (15).

ESA Senior Vice President for Communications and Industry Affairs Rich Taylor commented, “While computer and video games have been a source of entertainment for decades, our society is increasingly recognizing the broader uses of games and their positive impact. Whether it is in healthcare, education, business or government, schools across the country see the value of games and are training their students to meet the demand.”

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RI Treasurer Continues to Question Schilling Deal

August 11, 2010 -

Rhode Island Treasurer Frank Caprio is still attempting to poke holes in a $75 million guaranteed loan that helped lure Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios to the Ocean State from Massachusetts.

Speaking to Providence’s NBC 10 I-Team, Caprio, who is also a Democratic candidate for Governor, said that investors might be hesitant about buying into the $75 million "moral obligation" bonds because the nature of their structure makes them high risk and "there's nothing legally that would make Rhode Island pay off the investors."

Caprio continued:

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RI Candidates Lash Out at 38 Studios Sweetheart Deal

August 10, 2010 -

Say this for the deal Curt Schilling and his 38 Studios worked out with the state of Rhode Island; it’s giving political candidates in the state a platform to campaign on and rail against.

38 Studios was lured to Rhode Island from its current home in Massachusetts, largely due to a guaranteed $75.0 million loan from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC). This commitment raised the ire of Ocean State Independent Gubernatorial candidate Lincoln Chafee, who previously questioned Schilling’s integrity by intimating that the pitcher may have faked an injury in the 2004 American League Championship Series.

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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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ESA: U.S. Games Industry Contributes $4.9B to GDP

August 10, 2010 -

A report issued by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) indicates that the U.S. videogame industry employs almost 32,000 people and adds $4.9 billion in value to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Video Games in the 21st Century (PDF) also claims that the industry achieved an annual growth of 10.6 percent per year from 2005 through 2009, eclipsing the 1.4 percent annual growth rate posted by the U.S. economy as a whole. Outside of a staid 2009, when sales of entertainment software totaled $10.5 billion, sales rose each year from $7.0 billion in 2005, to $7.4 billion in 2006, to $9.5 billion in 2007 and $11.7 billion in 2008.

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TIGA Report Provides Outline of UK Developers

August 9, 2010 -

Following a “comprehensive” survey of 78 UK-based game developers, industry group TIGA is meting out statistics that paint a picture of the industry in broad brushstrokes.

The average size of a publisher-owned studio, according to the State of the UK Video Games Development Sector report, was 245 people, versus 45 for the average indie developer and 51 people for the indie developer who also publishes their own titles.

88 percent of all workers in the industry were male, while 12 percent were non-UK citizens.

The average game development house has been in business for seven years.

On average, developers spent £570,800 (approximately $910,000 U.S.) to develop a game, though there was great disparity between averages for indie developers, who spent £897,700 (approximately $1.431 million U.S.) per game, publisher owned studios, which spent £3,000,000 (approximately $4.782 million U.S.) and indie developers who also publish, which spent £133,700 (approximately $213,093 U.S.) per game.


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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Analysts Offer Thoughts on Schilling’s Future

August 4, 2010 -

As Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios prepares to move from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, lured in part by a $75 million loan, stipulations of the agreement between the game maker and the state are coming to light.

One provision of the deal dictated that 38 Studios would eventually ramp up to 450 employees. According to WPRI.com, if Schilling’s company fails to meet that goal by August of 2013, the developer would have to pay the state $7,500 a year for each absent job.

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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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Michigan Game Maker Sues State

July 28, 2010 -

Nathaniel McClure (pictured), CEO of the game development Scientifically Proven Entertainment, has launched a suit against the Michigan Film Office and the Michigan Department of Treasury claiming that the state has denied his application for tax credits.

The Detroit Free Press reports that McClure is incensed over rules that “make it impossible for all but the smallest video game developers to use Michigan's 42% video game tax credits.” McClure and his company, which employs 15 and also provides internships to Michigan State University students, are creating a game based on the Discovery Channel show Man vs. Wild.

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Schilling Brushes Back Criticism About Move to RI

July 28, 2010 -

Curt Schilling, who accepted a guaranteed $75 million loan from Rhode Island and will move his game development company 38 Studios to the Ocean state from its current home in Massachusetts, took to the airwaves of WEEI to stand up for his decision.

Schilling, appearing on the Dennis & Callahan Morning Show earlier today, was asked, “In a perfect world, would you have liked Massachusetts to have shown a little bit more love and kept your company here?” Schilling answered, “Absolutely.”

He continued:

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NC Org Against Incentives for Developers of “Kill with Skill” Games

July 28, 2010 -

Not everyone, it seems, is a fan of the recently passed North Carolina tax incentives for videogame makers, film producers and other makers of interactive media.

The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law (NCICL) bills itself as a “nonprofit, non-partisan organization devoted to educating the public, bar, and policymakers about constitutional issues,” but what really seems to raise its hackles is “the granting by governmental entities of so-called ‘incentives’ in the form of taxpayers’ money being used for corporate welfare.”

The Raleigh-based organization came out against the recently enacted tax breaks in the latest issue of its newsletter, entitled Corporate Welfare Weekly, writing:

Schilling Bolts Massachusetts for Rhode Island (Updated)

July 27, 2010 -

Unable to resist a $75 million dollar loan from Rhode Island, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling will pull up stakes and move his videogame development company 38 Studios to the Ocean State.

Boston.com reports that the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation approved the loan guarantee yesterday, because the addition of 38 Studios to Rhode Island “offered growth opportunity and could help drive the state's economy.” Massachusetts officials didn’t give up without a fight, as talks had been ongoing with the company to see what could be done to keep it in the state, but incentives offered couldn't match those of their neighbor to the South.

Schilling stated, “I’ve invested a significant amount of my life’s earnings in 38 Studios, and I will protect the loan guarantee that’s been given by the state with the same passion and interest that I’m protecting my own investment in this company.”

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Massachusetts Fighting to Keep Schilling’s 38 Studios

July 15, 2010 -

While Rhode Island may be trying to entice Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios to move south with a proposed $75 million dollar loan, Massachusetts, current home to the development studio, is not taking the attempted poaching without a fight.

A Boston.com story (thanks IndustryGamers) features quotes from Kofi Jones, a spokesperson for Massachusetts’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Gregory Bialecki, who stated, “We have been proactive in working with them and asking them what their needs are, as far as staying here and growing here in the state.”

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UK Trade Associations Unite on Behalf of Tax Relief

July 13, 2010 -

The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) and fellow industry group TIGA have joined forces in order to apply further pressure to the UK government for videogame developer tax breaks.

Members of both organizations, along with specialists from the law, tax and public affairs domains, have already formed a steering committee. Led by TIGA, the committee will “review the existing TIGA submission with a view to enhancing the arguments, evidence and justification for the government to provide a tax break for the sector for the production of qualifying videogames and interactive entertainment products.”

ELSPA board members from the following game companies backed the move: 505 Games, Activision, Disney, Electronic Arts, Mastertronic, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony Computer Entertainment, Square Enix and Warner Brothers.

The UK’s emergency budget, introduced in June, contained no provisions for game developer tax incentives.

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Ocean State Trying to Lure Schilling’s Development Company

July 12, 2010 -

Ex-Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling may have retired some years ago, but he is still getting wooed like he’s still a top free agent pitcher.

Boston.com carries word that Rhode Island is in the midst of guaranteeing a $75 million loan to Schilling’s 38 Studios LLC in order to get the company to relocate from Massachusetts to its neighbor to the South. The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, a “quasi-public agency,” will hold a meeting on Thursday to consider the plan.

38 Studios, currently working on an RPG codenamed Project Mercury that will be published by Electronic Arts, as well as an MMORPG (codenamed Copernicus), currently employs 180 people in locations in both Maynard, Mass. and Maryland. Schilling expects to ramp up to 500 employees eventually.

Fantasy author R.A. Salvatore and comic creator Todd McFarlane are listed, along with Schilling, as 38 Studios’ “visionaries.”


The Philippines Hopes to Ramp Up Game Development Services

July 9, 2010 -

Citing a future ability to provide an end-to-end solution, along with an openness to collaborate, Philippine business leaders believe that the country is poised to become a player in the game development industry.

Jonathan de Luzuriaga, of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the country is in the “early stages of building up its video game development business.” While the country currently does some work for developers, such as “cleaning up” motion capture animations and 3D art, Philippine businesses may attempt to band together in order to provide additional, more well-rounded solutions.

de Luzuriaga stated, “If we can tell companies that they can have everything done here, then that’ll be a better value proposition than having each part of the process done in different locations around the world, which is what they are doing today.”

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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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Removal of Tax Breaks has Publishers Rethinking UK Investments

June 30, 2010 -

Executives from two of the world’s largest videogame publishers indicated that removal of tax breaks for game developers from the UK’s budget could have an impact on their plans to expand in the region.

Activision Blizzard Chief Bobby Kotick, told the Financial Times, “The talent pool in the UK is among the best in the world for what we do. But we really need to see some more incentives. We are seeing great incentives in Canada, Singapore and eastern bloc countries.” Activision currently employs about 700 people in the UK.

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), which has a trio of studios employing around 1,200 might also rethink its strategy in light of incentives being pulled off the table. UK Managing Director Ray Maguire said, “The existing plans will continue but any further new developments would have to be looked at. Maybe something that was planned for the UK would go abroad now.”

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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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MaskedPixelantehttp://www.nerdist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/WW_Cv36.jpg The new Wonder Woman design, created specifically to shut people up about Gal Gadot being too skinny to play Wonder Woman.07/24/2014 - 8:12am
InfophileVery nice article, Zen. I definitely agree that many devs won't support something unless everyone has it. So many other examples from the past, even as far back as the SNES and accessories for it like the mouse or superscope.07/24/2014 - 5:40am
ZenWrote up a story about people wanting Nintendo to drop the GamePad...and why I think it needs to stop. :) http://bit.ly/1raIQvv Let me know what you think!07/23/2014 - 10:53pm
MaskedPixelanteHey, so remember that "redeem your Sims 2 key on Origin for a free copy of the all-in-one edition" promotion? Well, it didn't work, so to make up for it, just go into your Origin profile and redeem the product key "I-LOVE-THE-SIMS" for your free Sims 2.07/23/2014 - 9:12pm
Andrew EisenThe Steam controller may have changed again. http://www.vg247.com/2014/07/23/steam-controller-valve/07/23/2014 - 6:46pm
james_fudgePlease use the comments section for bitching about specific articles :) We do read them, after all.07/23/2014 - 10:52am
Andrew EisenThat's unfair but thank you for the tip on the Reddit thread containing the Kickstarter message to backers. The article has been updated.07/23/2014 - 10:50am
SleakerHere's the message Areal backers recieved from Kickstarter: http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/2beqlc/areal_kickstarter_suspended/07/23/2014 - 8:52am
Sleaker@MW - I still think Cogent/Level3 hookups were lacking prior to the comcast switch, but I do think verizon is being dumb here.07/23/2014 - 12:06am
Andrew EisenOf course it's a question. It's got a question mark and everything!07/22/2014 - 6:43pm
Matthew WilsonHate to say it, but that poll is not even a question. there is too much evidence that points to Verizon. http://www.extremetech.com/computing/186576-verizon-caught-throttling-netflix-traffic-even-after-its-pays-for-more-bandwidth07/22/2014 - 6:23pm
Andrew EisenHuh. The new Battlefield has been delayed to early next year. Are you feeling okay, EA? http://blogs.battlefield.com/2014/07/bfh-will-launch-2015/07/22/2014 - 6:11pm
SleakerWest End Games - Areal developers just got their Kickstarter suspended. Might want to dump that 'fully funded' status.07/22/2014 - 12:08pm
MaskedPixelanteHas anyone who bought it gotten their Sims 2 Ultimate Edition upgrade yet? Still waiting on mine, especially since they're supposed to be out by today.07/22/2014 - 10:45am
IanCDynasty Warriors 8 for the PS4 finally has the option to turn off the OTT depth of field that made the game look like a blurry mess. Only a few months behind the JP version patch...07/22/2014 - 10:17am
NeenekoI see nothing in Section 111 that would exclude IP transmission. It even explicitly includes 'other transmission methods'07/22/2014 - 9:28am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/07/19/ruling_aereo_is_not_a_cable_company07/22/2014 - 8:13am
ZippyDSMleelul what?07/22/2014 - 7:53am
ZippyDSMleehttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/07/bungie-cross-generation-destiny-wouldnt-be-fair-to-low-res-players/07/22/2014 - 7:53am
 

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