University of Michigan Medical Center Gets $4.5 Million Grant to Study Games

November 21, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical Center have been awarded a $4.5 million grant to study the effectiveness of video games and technology in creating more independence in young people suffering from spinal cord dysfunction and neuro-developmental disabilities.

While details on the study are thin, we do know that the $4.5 million grant comes from U.S. Department of Education's National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research and will be doled out over a five-year period.

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Rep. Justin Amash Publicly Rails Against CISPA

April 18, 2013 -

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI 3rd District) has increased his public critique of Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act in the last few days after an amendment that would have added more privacy protections to the bill were rejected in the House Rules Committee this week.

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Stardock Sues Former Marketing Manager for Elemental Fiasco

August 16, 2012 -

Stardock Systems has filed a lawsuit against a former employee claiming that her actions damaged the launch of its strategy game Elemental: War of Magic. The company filed the lawsuit last month in Michigan Eastern District Court. Their complaint contends that when former marketing manager Alexandra Miseta resigned, she "deleted, destroyed, and/or stole promotional materials, analytics data, and trade show information" that was vital to the game's launch.

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Robber Steals Console from Boy's Bedroom While He Sleeps

July 9, 2012 -

File this one under extra creepy - we're talking almost as creepy as anything involving "Jerry Sandusky and young boys creepy." According to a Michigan Live report, a Flint, Michigan grandfather discovered that someone had broken into his grandson's bedroom at 1:00 AM on July 3 to steal his video game console while the boy was asleep. The report does not divulge the boy's age.

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FBI Raids University of Michigan Students' Apartment over WoW Gold Farming

April 14, 2011 -

The FBI has raided the apartment of two University of Michigan students to investigate what it has called "potentially fraudulent sales or purchases of virtual currency that people use to advance in the popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft." The story comes from Computer World. The FBI thinks the two students are terrorists who are doing "something" in World of Warcraft to further some sort of terrorist plot. It's hard to say what exactly they suspect from the two within Blizzard's virtual world, but they obviously aren't going on a hunch here.

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Michigan Governor Targets Entertainment Industry Tax Breaks

February 21, 2011 -

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has proposed a new budget that severely limits the amount of tax bonuses to game developers and other entertainment enterprises that want to operate out of the state. Under the new budget, tax rebates that currently cover up to 42 percent of an entertainment company’s tax expenditures would be limited to an annual cap of $25 million.

The tax incentive program was introduced in 2008 to much fanfare. Since that time nearly 130 entertainment projects have received an estimated $648 million in tax savings. The governor is targeting the tax incentive plan to make up for a $1.4 billion budget gap. He claims that lower corporate tax rates for all companies would probably be a better idea for the state and for companies in general.

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Michigan Developer First to Take Advantage of State's Incentives

November 23, 2010 -

Pixofactor Entertainment is being billed as the first game developer in Michigan to make use of the state’s incentive packages aimed at the film and interactive entertainment industries.

The Royal Oak-based company is set to begin work on a Ben Hogan videogame for the Nintendo Wii, part of a suite of Hogan-related products that will include mobile apps, an interactive website and a DVD. The application was submitted to the Michigan Film Office by BH Golfing Game Productions LLC.

The entire project has a budget of $2.7 million and iPhone and Wii games are scheduled for release by the 2011 holiday season. The company expects to hire an additional 20-30 artists, animators and programmers to back the green-lit project.

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Michigan’s Film Incentives, Do They Work?

November 15, 2010 -

An issue paper published by Michigan’s Senate Fiscal Agency examined the state’s film incentive program and stated that the economic enticements “represent lost revenue and do not generate sufficient private sector activity to offset their costs completely.”

Authored by economist David Zin, the paper (PDF) imparts a belief that tax breaks (which also apply to videogame makers) have “generally exhibited” a positive impact on the private sector, at least in terms of creating jobs and generating income, he added, “Any probable impact from the film incentives is likely to have a negligible impact on economic activity in Michigan, particularly when the economy is viewed as a whole.”

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“Cyber Junkie” Author Discusses Addiction

October 21, 2010 -

If you happen to live in the Michigan area, the Royal Oak Public Library will be holding a videogame addiction discussion on Thursday, October 28.

The chat will be headed up by Kevin Roberts, author of the book Cyber Junkie: Escaping the Gaming and Internet Trap. Roberts, who states that he has been “both gifted and challenged with ADHD,” is a self-proclaimed recovering “cyber junkie” himself, having “wasted years” of his life in front of a computer screen.

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Op-Ed Focuses on Retail Implications of Schwarzenegger Case

October 18, 2010 -

Entertainment Software Association (ESA) chief Michael Gallagher, along with Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) CEO James Hallan, took to the Lansing State Journal website for an opinion piece outlining the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court battle could impact retailers.

The piece states that the “misguided” California law—which contains “subjective and indefinite language” in relation to what would constitute an offensive game—is “particularly concerning for retailers,” because “the retail industry has already taken giant strides toward ensuring that violent videos do not end up in children's hands.”

According to the opinion piece, the “vague law” could be trouble for retailers because:

Pro Athletes Against Proposed Michigan “Right of Publicity” Bill

August 19, 2010 -

A proposed House Bill in Michigan that deals with the rights of an individual to control the commercial use of his or her “name, likeness or persona,” has drawn fire because of, among other things, an exemption for videogames.

HB5964 (full bill text) was introduced earlier this year on March 18, but has yet to be voted on since being referred to House Judiciary Committee that same month. Violators of the bill would be “liable for actual damages attributable to the unauthorized use of one or more of the personality’s attributes, including profits attributable to the unauthorized use not taken into account in computing actual damages, or $1,000, whichever was greater. “

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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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Gamers Outreach Foundation Preps Next Event

April 8, 2010 -

The charity non-profit organization Gamers Outreach Foundation will hold its next fundraising event at the Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor, Michigan on May 1.

This is the third annual installment of the event—called Gamers for Giving—and will feature videogame competitions, including a 2 vs 2 Halo 3 tournament and a 4 vs 4 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 tournament, along with free play gaming areas, game industry special guests, raffles and the ability to take on a pro-gamer. The event will run from 10:00 AM through 9:00 PM.

Proceeds from the event will be used to continue the Gamers Outreach Foundation’s funding of portable videogame kiosks used by patients at the Mott Children’s Hospital, and to back the group’s Fun For Our Troops initiative, which sends videogame care packages to U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.  The Gamers Out Reach Foundation hopes to raise $30,000 in total this year.

Those wishing to participate in the gaming tournaments should register on the event’s webpage.


Worst Development Project Overview Ever

March 3, 2010 -

If you were to propose a multi-million dollar, 46-acre development project, which included a new mass transit system and hydrogen energy plant, you probably wouldn’t use an image from Sim City for illustration purposes in your master plan, would you?

That’s exactly what Duane Faust, of ESNA Corporate Realty, did however, according to MLive.com.  The would-be developer used a Sim City image to illustrate a planned hydrogen energy plant in his 27-page proposal (PDF), which is part of a sweeping redevelopment plan for Grand Rapids, Michigan.

MLive.com also notes that Faust’s plan lifted an image used to illustrate a proposed hydrogen-powered subway system from hydrail.org, a “program designed to promote hydrogen-powered rail systems created by Appalachian State University.”

City Planning Director Suzanne Schulz called the project “a long shot,” adding, “It could be anything from an April Fool's joke to testing the waters to see if it's a legitimate project.”

Mayor George Heartwell labeled the proposed subway system “absurd.”

Members of the UrbanPlanet community have been picking the project apart, even going so far as to compare Faust with Simpsons character Lyle Lanly, who duped Springfield residents into paying for their own monorail system.

It was also reported that, "Faust could not be reached for comment. Telephone numbers connected to him and his firms in Atlanta and California have been disconnected."

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Twittering Michigan Congressman Cops to Owning a Wii

April 16, 2009 -

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) has, it would seem, something of an up-and-down relationship with digital technology.

GameCulture reports that Hoekstra visited a second-grade class in Holland, Michigan yesterday. While there, Hoekstra revealed that he owns a Wii:

After lofting Hoekstra a string of softballs, such as "Do you like your job?" "Have you, um, ever, like, gone to Hong Kong?" and "How old are you?" the shorties laid in with the bomb — "Do you own a Wii?"

After confessing that he was 55, "really old," Hoekstra broke down and conceded that, yes, he owns a Wii. He also let slip that he has a dog and a cat and that the two are friends.

Nice.

Also to his credit, Hoekstra is heavy Twitter user, although GamePolitics readers may recall that in February, Hoeksta spilled the beans about a top-secret congressional trip to Iraq by tweeting about it

During the Bush years, Hoekstra presided over a 2006 congressional hearing during which House Intelligence Committee members were told that a YouTube video featuring stock Battlefield 2 gameplay footage and a voice-over from Team America: World Police were products of an Al Qaeda propaganda campaign.

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Michigan Senator Wants Ban on Texting, Gaming While Driving

March 20, 2009 -

A Michigan State Senator has proposed legislation that would ban texting or playing video games while driving, reports ClickOn Detroit.

Sen. Buzz Thomas (D), the sponsor of the measure, said:

There is no need to be sending a text while driving your car, it’s one of the most dangerous things a driver can do. If it’s really that important, pull over and send your message, or just wait until you get to where you are going.

 

This is the second session in which I have introduced this bill, and hopefully we can all realize the urgency and just get this passed.

If the bill becomes law, violations would carry a $100 fine.

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CEO Explains How Govt. Incentives Kept Stardock in Michigan

February 10, 2009 -

When Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) gave a shout-out to Stardock CEO Brad Wardell in her State of the State address last week, there was a back story.

As GamePolitics reported at the time, Granholm credited Michigan's game and film production incentive program with keeping Stardock located in the state.

For its part, Edge Online interviewed Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, who explained the impact of the Michigan incentives on his company:

[Michigan state officials] came to us and said look, what are your problems with Michigan?" Wardell rattled off some of the barriers of Stardock's location: a shallow talent pool, the weather and the communication infrastructure (Stardock's offices use a Comcast cable connection)...

 

the state was receptive, coming to Stardock with a package that outlined plans to improve communication infrastructure, incentives to hire from local colleges and breaks on relocation costs when recruiting out of state.

"If you're having to pay a guy a salary of $50K, $60K, $75K, and then you have to pay extra for relocation costs, the tax credit can make the difference. It can take away the cost of moving expenses."

5 comments

Michigan Guv Gives Stardock a Shout-out in State of State

February 4, 2009 -

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm gave PC game publisher Stardock (Sins of a Solar Empire) some Guv-love in her State of the State address yesterday.

Speaking at the State Capitol in Lansing, Granholm acknowledged that Michigan has been hit hard by the economic downturn. But the Guv looked for a silver lining in the film and video game sectors:

There’s real pain in the auto world. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost... Those losses have fueled our determination to bring new industries to Michigan...

 

Since enacting the nation’s most aggressive film [and video game production] incentives in April, we have seen more than 70 film and TV projects slated for production in Michigan, bringing some $430 million in economic activity here...

 

Tonight, I’m pleased to make three major announcements... Stardock Systems, a digital gaming manufacturer, will build its production facilities in Plymouth...

 

The fact that these jobs exist in Michigan today is no accident. These jobs are here because we put a strategy in place to bring them here – often by beating out other states and other countries to get them...

As GamePolitics reported in 2008, Gov. Granholm's administration aggressively pursued a financial incentive package for film, TV and video game production.

Stardock is known as a gamer-friendly publisher which eschews DRM on its PC titles. The company and its CEO, Brad Wardell, garnered major attention at PAX 2008 with the release of the controversial Gamers' Bill of Rights.

GP: Big thanks to reader Chris Bray for the heads-up!

Obama's Exclusive Super Bowl Party Guest List Includes Congressional Game Biz Critics

February 1, 2009 -

Between the food, the football, the commercials and the schmoozing, it's unlikely that the topic of video game regulation will come up at President Barack Obama's White House Super Bowl party this evening.

But if it does, at least two of the Congressional types on his small, bipartisan guest list have some background on the issue.

In December, 2007 Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) stood with Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and Family as Walsh zinged the video game industry for what he referred as "an ominous backslide."

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who is known for almost never missing a vote, proposed a 2005 Congressional resolution directing the FTC to investigate the Hot Coffee scandal. In 2006 he sponsored the  Video Game Decency Act, a piece of legislation which ultimately failed to pass.

Perhaps more interesting than the (admittedly unlikely) video game angle is trying to decipher the formula used by the Prez in determining his guest list:

  • 11 Democrats, 4 Republicans
  • 5 from Pennsylvania (Steelers?)
  • 2 from Arizona (Cardinals?)
  • 1 from Illinois (Obama's old Senate partner)
  • 1 each from Minnesota, Maryland, Michigan, DC, Alabama, Connecticut and New Hampshire
 
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Should 'Hatred' have been removed from Steam Greenlight?:

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Matthew WilsonI hope its released to netflix or amazon12/18/2014 - 12:11am
prh99Basically they've given every tin pot dictator and repressive regime a blue print how to conduct censorship abroad. The hecklers veto wins again. At least when it comes to Sony and the four major theater chains.12/17/2014 - 11:55pm
MaskedPixelante"It's not OUR fault that our game doesn't work, it's YOUR fault for having so many friends."12/17/2014 - 9:48pm
Matthew Wilsonapparently tetris did not work because he has a full friends list12/17/2014 - 9:21pm
WonderkarpSo Sony cancelled the release of the Interview. was it ever confirmed that the Sony hacking was done because of that specific movie?12/17/2014 - 8:54pm
MaskedPixelanteWow, Ubisoft went four for four, I didn't think it was actually possible.12/17/2014 - 8:37pm
MechaTama31Oh, ok, I was mixing up "on Greenlight" and "Greenlit".12/17/2014 - 8:23pm
Matthew Wilson@phx you beat me to it. how do you screw up tetris?! my ubisoft this is just stupid. no one should ever preorder a ubisoft game again! ps people should never preorder any game regardles of dev.12/17/2014 - 6:28pm
PHX Corphttp://www.ign.com/videos/2014/12/17/what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-tetris-ps4 I give up on ubisoft12/17/2014 - 6:01pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://comicbook.com/blog/2014/08/16/exclusive-original-unaltered-cut-of-star-wars-trilogy-to-be-rele/ Yeah, this'll never happen.12/17/2014 - 5:03pm
NeenekoThey have and exercise control over which games are allowed on their privately controlled 'open forum'. Their endorsement is fairly minimal since it is only 'we do not reject this', but it is still an endorsement of sorts.12/17/2014 - 3:58pm
NeenekoHistorically there have been issues with libraries allowing some groups but not others. Perhaps 'endorsement' is too strong a word, but their editorial control IS a preapproval process, even if the standards are pretty minimal.12/17/2014 - 3:56pm
E. Zachary KnightLet's put this a different way. My local library allows any group to reserve and use multipurpose rooms. That does not mean that the Library endorses all events that take place in those rooms.12/17/2014 - 12:54pm
E. Zachary KnightValve's editorial control comes from removing problem games and accepting games to Steam. They make no claim over any games otherwise.12/17/2014 - 12:52pm
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, It is not at all a form of endorsement. Grenlight is an open forum for game developers to pitch their game to Valve/Steam and Steam users. Does Valve have some editorial control? Yes, but not to the point that they preapprove games.12/17/2014 - 12:51pm
Neeneko@EZK - I disagree. Greenlight is built off Valve's brand. While not an explicit endorsement, it is a form of it, otherwise Greenlight would have no value over other platforms.12/17/2014 - 12:05pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.latino-review.com/news/exclusive-viola-davis-bags-amanda-waller-role-in-suicide-squad Latino Review says Viola Davis will be Amanda Waller. History of Latino Review says "wait for a REAL news site to confirm".12/17/2014 - 10:48am
PHX Corphttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/17/7407869/assassins-creed-unity-glitch-broken-problems-xbox-one-patch -Facepalm- Screwup means Assassin's Creed Unity's patch is the 40GB full game on Xbox One12/17/2014 - 10:17am
PHX Corphttp://www.theverge.com/2014/12/16/7401769/the-mpaa-wants-to-strike-at-dns-records-piracy-sopa-leaked-documents Sony leaks reveal Hollywood is trying to break DNS, the backbone of the internet12/17/2014 - 10:05am
E. Zachary KnightA Game being on Greenlight is not an endorsement of said game by Valve, Steam or anyone related to Valve or Steam. Greenlight is a combined sales pitch to Steam and its users.12/17/2014 - 9:51am
 

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