Andrew Eisen, E. Zachary Knight, and I have been toying with the idea of doing a podcast for quite some time, and after much discussion, consternation, and a couple of dry runs with the process of recording and editing one, we've finally come up with our first episode. We're calling it the "Super Podcast Action Committee," mainly because we like the idea of being part of a Super PAC, but without all the red tape and influence peddling.
Adam Sessler officially exited stage right at G4TV, according to a Kotaku report, and while the split seems to be less than amicable, Sessler's representatives are playing down any tensions that might possibly exist between the long-time network host and the network. The last episode of X-Play featuring Sessler aired on April 25. Sessler had been the face of X-Play since its launch and a regular lead anchor on the network's coverage of various events from Comic-Con and GDC to DICE and E3.
Students who enroll in a new video game-based narrative writing course at the University of Iowa beginning in the fall will get a chance to explore worlds, characters and plotlines popularized by video games. They'll also get credits. The course is called "Specialized Reporting & Writing, Video Games & Communication," and is a step by the university to add video games into the curriculum, though video-game education experts say that analyzing off-the-shelf commercial games isn't the typical approach taken by universities.
GameSpot and Giant Bomb owner CBS Interactive has inked a deal with Justin TV and Major League Gaming to bring advertising, promotions, and sponsorships to the game competition and game-streaming service. More importantly, it makes CBSi Games the exclusive online broadcaster of the Pro Circuit competitions.
A nifty Flash game called The Republica Times lets you be a would-be editor-in-chief for a state-owned newspaper where you must balance editorial control with keeping the government happy by selecting headlines that make your country look like a utopia instead of the mess that it probably is. With a little imagination, you can pretend you're in Russia, Cuba or North Korea keeping the populace safe and happy with news that is likely one-hundred percent fabricated.
If you weren't at PAX EAST in Boston then you missed out on some great panels. One of the wildest was The Escapist's Blankety-Blank panel, which recreated the classic TV game show Match game using a PAX East audience and a clever group of panelist to create a game-related version of the show.
The latest edition of The Escapist's The Jimquisition tackles BioWare's decision to make changes to the ending of Mass Effect 3 after fans applied public pressure on the company through petitions and general Internet rabble rousing. The latest episode of Jim Sterling's video show is called "Changing A Game's Ending And Destroying Art," and you can probably guess where he is going with it.
Here's the tease from the official site:
Yesterday Giant Bomb and GameSpot announced that they were getting the band back together, in a manner of speaking. While the deal might have seemed like a spur of the moment deal that happened over night Giant Bomb Editor-in-chief Jeff Gerstmann had been talking with GameSpot for quite awhile about it.
According to a GameIndustry International report and this NeoGaf thread, a handful of IGN and 1UP employees have been laid off today. IGN's Jack DeVries and 1UP employees Matt Leone, Thierry Nguyen, and Ryan Winterhalter have been let go.
"As of today, I no longer work for 1UP. Not sure what's next yet. Contact me and offer me glorious things!" tweeted Matt Leone.
Jeff Gerstmann and friends formed GiantBomb after working at GameSpot, who fired him in 2007 for writing a Kane & Lynch: Dead Men review that Eidos disagreed with. Management at the company acquiesced to pressure from the publisher (because they were giving the popular site lots of advertising business) and let Gerstmann go.
The Washington Times has an opinion piece that takes a shot at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration over what they are calling a proposed "Drudge Tax." The reference is to conservative Matt Drudge's popular web site The Drudge Report, which aggregates news from all over the web. While the flavor of The Drudge Report may not sit well with many, the concern with a new proposal being pushed by Merkel's administration is that it will levy taxes on web sites that aggregate content.
The company behind The Verge, SB Nation and Vox Games has managed to raise an additional $17 million in investments from various sources, according to GameIndustry International. The information on the new financing was disclosed in a Form D filing from CEO James Bankoff with the SEC. Vox Games, the company's newest venture, made a splash when it hired Joystiq's Chris Grant, Kotaku's Brian Crecente, and former The Escapist EIC Russ Pitts - among others.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has done something that no other individual or company has been able to do in a long time: surpass the number of monthly visitors gaming sites IGN and GameSpot get. For the first time the for-profit gaming community site Wikia is the number one destination for gamers, beating out the likes of GameSpot and IGN who have dominated the top two spots for years. Wikia had 26 million monthly unique visitors last month.
Internet advocacy group Public Knowledge has launched a new web site called The Internet Blueprint. The goal of this new hub is to develop bills that will strengthen internet laws and ultimately make the internet a better place. The site is the group's response to lawmakers in Washington who asked Public Knowledge for input on how to improve the Internet.
Vox Games has launched over at The Verge, offering what can best be described as well-crafted and thoughtful long-form journalism. The gaming hub features top talent from such publications as Joystiq, Kotaku, The Escapist, and more.
ABC's popular late night news program Nightline, will offer viewers an exclusive inside look at the working conditions at one of Foxconn's notorious assembly plants on Tuesday evening. The program promises an "unprecedented" look inside Apple’s Foxconn plants in China, which have been criticized as being sweatshops and labor camps with poor working conditions that treat their employees horribly.
Yesterday, we reported that French gaming site Gameblog had apparently been blacklisted by Activision for reporting that Amazon’s French portal had briefly posted a listing for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
Gameblog editor Grégory Szriftgiser spoke to Kotaku about what happened:
Activision is not a happy camper today as the name of its next Call of Duty title is leaked by Amazon's French portal, then quickly taken offline. According to the Amazon France page, the name of the next game is "Call of Duty Black Ops 2." The news was first reported by Gameblog.
A story by the UK's Daily Mail newspaper and the BBC that tapped an expert claiming that games were turning children who played them in to the wee hours of the night in to zombies has been debunked. The expert cited in the story says that the quotes attributed to him were completely fabricated.
The Daily Mail and BBC reports quoted Robert Hart-Fletcher of charity Kids and Media. According to the reports he said:
At the same time Future was laying off employees at multiple publications within its ecosystem, IGN was telling long-time video game site VooDoo Extreme that they could no longer afford to pay them to update the site. They asked them to stay on as volunteers, according to one staffer.
Here's what "Jube" over at VooDoo Extreme said about the situation in a post called "Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes - The State Of Our Voodoo Extremities" :
Yesterday was a bad day for anyone that worked at Future US Publishing. The company laid off 19 employees as part of a restructuring plan from various divisions including Games Radar, Mac|Life, MaxPC, and Future Studios. The company will continue to publish Nintendo Power, PlayStation: The Official Magazine, OXM, and @Gamer.
The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) announced three debates to take place at the 2012 D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit. The event will be held at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, February 8-10, 2012, and feature a line-up of industry leaders, decision makers and visionaries. Kicking off the conference on February 8 (prior to the Keynote Opener) will be the three "Hot Topics" sessions co-moderated by Adam Sessler, host of G4’s X-Play and Perrin Kaplan, Zebra Partners.
VentureBeat has acquired Bitmob and hired its founder, former Ziff Davis Media editorial director Dan "Shoe" Hsu, as the new Editor-in-Chief of the GamesBeat section. Ben Popper, a founding editor of Betabeat (the Silicon Alley blog from The New York Observer) also joins the company as VentureBeat's East Coast Editor.
In a mailer from advocacy group Free Press they ask the question we have all been asking ourselves for months: Why is the media ignoring the Stop Online Piracy Act? The short answer is that various broadcast and cable networks may have been muzzled by their parent companies. The only network that has mentioned it so far has been Bloomberg, and that coverage consisted of ten minutes - and only because Reddit's CEO brought the issue up on air.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has put together a nice little list of where each member of the ESA stand on SOPA. While many of the member companies have not responded, the list shows that - when pressed - many don't support it.
The name "Justice League" was already taken, unfortunately. Yesterday Kotaku's long-time editor-in-chief Brian Crecente announced that he was leaving the website, and today we know where he's going: Vox Media. They own tech site The Verge (and sports site SB Nation), but that's not where Crecente is heading.