Center for Democracy & Technology Offers Form for Opposing Comments on FTC's Proposed Changes to COPPA

September 21, 2012 -

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) has put up a form that interested parties can sign onto concerning some changes that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has planned for the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

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Xbox Live Team Supports GaymerCon

August 30, 2012 -

A new video from members of Microsoft's Xbox Live team throws its support behind GaymerCon, the first GLBT friendly gaming event to take place in early 2013 in San Francisco, California. Obviously organizers of the event are glad to have the support of Xbox Live.

You can watch the video to your left. At the time of this writing the GaymerCon Kickstarter has managed to raise $75,000. The Kickstarter campaign ends Friday, August 31 at 11:43 pm EDT.


Research: Hand-Held Gaming Systems More Popular Than iPads with Children

August 14, 2012 -

According to new research from NPD Group, hand-held consoles are still more popular than the iPad, despite Apple's popular tablet device making in-roads with children because of its ease-of-use and large library of games and apps. According to the data released by the retail research firm, children ages 4 - 14 still spend most of their gaming time with dedicated gaming machines. Tablet devices did have gains from 2012 usage though: according to NPD tablet usage was up 10 percent of 2011 numbers.

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Winners of the EMA's 2012 Scholarship Program Announced

August 10, 2012 -

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) has revealed the winners of its 2012 scholarship program. The trade group that represents retailers in the United States (and was the lead in Brown v. EMA) has awarded five students $1,500 a year for up to four years who are entering college as freshmen.

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Habbo Hotel Now Available to Teens in Turkey

August 8, 2012 -

Apparently the troubles are behind Sulake's Habbo Hotel, because the popular virtual hangout for teens is opening up to teens in Turkey. The new destination for Turkish teens is located at www.habbo.com.tr. The site, like every other region supported by Habbo Hotel, is free to play.

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Australia NSW Police Commissioner Takes Heat for Video Game Comments

August 6, 2012 -

Australia New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione is taking a lot heat for comments he made recently blaming the rise of teen knife-related crimes on playing violent video games. Scipione recently told The Daily Telegraph that teens were being desensitized to violence by playing violent video games that reward them for "killing and raping people." Obviously a tired trope related to Grand Theft Auto spewed by politicians.

GaymerCon Surpasses Funding Goal in Less Than Five Days

August 6, 2012 -

GaymerCon the first-ever all-inclusive fan gaming event that promises a friendly and fun atmosphere for gamers and geeks to get together for two days in San Francisco (August of 2013), has managed to surpass its funding goal of $25,000 in just a few days via a Kickstarter campaign. With 25 more days to go, the GaymerCon Kickstarter has managed to generate $28,471 (as of this writing) in funding from 560 backers.

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GaymerCon Kickstarter Funding Drive Launches

August 2, 2012 -

You may recall our interview with Matt Conn (Episode 5 of the Super Podcast Action Committee) of GaymerCon, the first-ever gaming event that caters to the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) community set to take place in San Francisco in 2013.

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Online Gaming Leads to Attempted Murder Charge for California Teen

July 31, 2012 -

While details are still a bit sketchy, an Oakley, California teen has been arrested for attempted murder after an altercation while playing a video game online turned to real-world violence. The incident occurred on Monday afternoon after two friends - an unnamed twenty-year-old man and a seventeen-year-old boy got into an altercation. According to Jimmy Lee from the Costa County Sheriff's Department, the two men were playing an unnamed video game online, which led to an argument about something.

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Disney to Spend $4.7 Million on Online Safety Campaign for Club Penguin

July 5, 2012 -

In the wake of Sulake's problems with Habbo, Disney has decided to spend $4.7 million on an internet safety campaign for its popular massively-multiplayer online game for kids, Club Penguin. The announcement was made by the game's co-founder Lane Merrifield today. The internet safety campaign hopes to target more than 100 million children and parents around the world who use Club Penguin.

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Game Companies, Parents Sue Over South Korea's 'Shutdown Law'

June 27, 2012 -

South Korea's new "Shutdown Law" was supposed to keep teens from gaming during a six hour block every night to focus on "more important things" like studying, but two groups have already filed lawsuits that question the legality of the new nanny state law concocted by lawmakers in the country. A group of game makers doing business in the region including NCsoft, Neowiz, and Nexon, have filed a lawsuit claiming that the Shutdown Law is unjust and unfair to them.

Sulake Begins Relaunching Habbo with More Safety Features in Select Regions

June 26, 2012 -

In the aftermath of a Channel 4 investigation into pedophiles targeting young users of the virtual hangout Habbo, owner Sulake has begun a soft launch of chat services in select regions. Sulake CEO Paul Fontaine announced via the company's blog that a new and improved Habbo (with more security measures in place) has launched in Finland, Spain and Brazil - with more regions being relaunched in the next few weeks.

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Study: Active Games Do Not Change Sedentary Behavior in Children

June 25, 2012 -

A new study disputes the claims that using exercise video games at home can change the sedentary lifestyles of children in any significant way. A study conducted by researchers at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas found that children overcompensated in "other areas" after playing active video games - basically making any calories burned a zero net gain.

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Reddit Co-Founder to Star in Dungeons & Dragons: The Documentary

June 25, 2012 -

Apparently Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has turned his Brooklyn Heights, New York apartment into a set for an upcoming documentary on Dungeons & Dragons.

While Ohanian hasn't played D&D since high school, the Reddit co-creator tweeted that he will be interviewed for the documentary and will have his Brooklyn Heights apartment temporarily transformed into a D&D themed set.

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Habbo Owners Detail Major Changes to Virtual World

June 22, 2012 -

Habbo owner Sulake has issued a statement today announcing its plan to reintroduce chat channels and instant messaging within the virtual world that offer better protections for teens that frequent it against pedophiles. A report from British TV's Channel 4 detailed how pedophiles were using the service to engage youngsters in lewd and suggestive conversations.

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Australian Researcher Compares Violent Media Consumption to Greasy Burgers

June 20, 2012 -

In an obvious bid to promote the new book he co-authored with Danya Braunstein, "Growing Up Fast And Furious: Reviewing The Impacts Of Violent And Sexualised Media On Children," Macquarie University Children and Families Research Centre (in Sydney, Australia) deputy director Dr. Wayne Warburton tells Adelaide Now that years of research from every corner of the globe show a definitive link between time watching violent media and the "likelihood" of aggressive behavior in kids.

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Researchers Use Virtual Game World to Treat Anxiety Disorders in Adolescents

June 15, 2012 -

Researchers at the University of Central Florida's Anxiety Disorders Clinic along with Atlanta-based company Virtually Better have created a virtual game world where children with social anxiety can practice to become more comfortable in social situations.

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Habbo Makers Prepare for 'Great Unmute'

June 15, 2012 -

British TV station Channel 4 ran a damning story about pedophiles in the virtual world of Habbo earlier this week that caused two major investors in the Sulake - the owner and operator of it - to walk away from the company. Now Sulake is trying to recover from the bad press, even as loyal users held silent vigils in the game in a show of support this week.

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How Nintendo Will Keep the Wii U Miiverse Clean

June 8, 2012 -

The first thing that crossed my mind when Nintendo showed the Miiverse at its E3 press conference was "how long after the Wii U launch will the first user type out an expletive?" Well apparently Nintendo's solution for dealing with potty mouths is a system that uses actual humans to screen bad or inappropriate language.

Nintendo's chief executive Satoru Iwata says that the company plans to implement and use three separate systems. The first system is a traditional filtering system that checks for unpleasant words and replaces them with asterisks.

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Research: More Swearing in Teen Novels than in Video Games

May 24, 2012 -

We hear a lot about the explicit language found in many video games but a new study by a Brigham Young University social sciences professor says that the level of strong language in many popular teen novels is substantially worse than what is found in most video games on the market. According to a new study by Brigham Young University social sciences professor Sarah Coyne, bestselling novel meant for teens are rife with cursing - they contain twice the rate of cursing of most video games.

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UKIE Sponsors Games Britannia Festival

May 4, 2012 -

UK video game industry trade group UKIE will sponsor the Games Britannia Festival, it announced today. Games Britannia is a week-long festival that brings British video game talent into the classroom, giving students a unique insight into the skills, techniques and qualifications required to have a successful career in the gaming industry. Over 1000 children, between the ages of 5 - 18 have already signed up to attend, according to UKIE. The event is scheduled to take place July 2 - 6.

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Man that Inspired NY’s 'Operation Game Over' Agreement Sentenced

May 4, 2012 -

A man from Greece, New York (a suburb of Rochester) has been sentenced to six months in jail, ten years of probation and registration as a sex offender in New York State. Twenty-year-old Richard "Ricky" Kretovic pled guilty to the crime of Criminal Sexual Act in March of this year as part of a plea deal and on Friday Monroe County Court Judge Victoria Argento delivered his sentence.

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Virginia Attorney General and George Mason University Team Up to Fight Gang Recruitment with Games

May 3, 2012 -

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA) and George Mason University President Alan Merten announced the creation of a series of interactive and educational computer and mobile phone game applications that teach youngsters about the risks and consequences of joining gangs. The goal of these programs is easy enough: to slow down gang recruitment levels in the state.

During the spring semester, GMU students used their programming skills and tapped into the attorney general’s office information of gangs to create several games and apps.

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Report: Dena, Gree Plan Caps on In-Game Purchases for 16-19-year-olds in Japan

April 27, 2012 -

Casual game giants Dena and Gree have agreed to enforce a new policy that will restrict how much 16 - 17 year-old consumers can spend on in-app purchases, according to a news report from Japan Times. The new self-regulating policy, according to that report, is in response to reports that Japan's youth in that age range are spending ridiculous amounts of money on in-game purchases. The company's might also be trying to avoid national in-app spending laws in Japan.

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Activision's Joby Otero Talks Skylanders at Digital Kids Conference

April 10, 2012 -

Activision's VP of Art and Technology Joby Otero will discuss using toys with technology and gaming in a presentation about the company's popular Skylanders franchise at the 6th annual Digital Kids Conference. The Digital Kids Conference takes place at the Pasadena Convention Center on April 25. Otero, who also serves as creative director for product and brand at Skylanders, will discusses the magic of transmedia and inter-connected play with ShadyLogic Founder and CEO Marty Poulin.

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Registered Sex Offenders in New York Targeted by 'Operation Game Over'

April 5, 2012 -

Registered sex offenders of all designations residing in the state of New York will no longer be able to interact with children in some online console and PC games. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office has convinced several platform holders and game companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Warner Bros. and Disney Interactive Media Group to shut down the communication privileges of registered sex offenders.

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Child Molester Convicted Thanks to Victim's Quick Thinking and Her DS

March 29, 2012 -

A 46-year old man from Ipswich, England has been convicted and sentenced to three and a half years in prison for molesting a ten-year old girl, who was smart enough to capture the act using the camera on her Nintendo DS. The man, John Fisher, admitted in court that he touched the girl inappropriately in January 2010 and November 2011. He really had no choice but to admit to the crime because photographic evidence was presented to the court proving Fisher's evil act.

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Jennifer Ann Group's 'Life. Love. Game Design Challenge' Accepting Entries

March 28, 2012 -

The fifth annual Life. Love. Game Design Challenge is officially underway and entries are now being accepted. The game design contest was created by Jennifer Ann’s Group with the goal of promoting games that deliver awareness on the dangers of teen dating violence. This topic is particularly important to the group's founder, Drew Crecente, who lost his daughter.

News Station Talks About Kids and the Nasty Language on Xbox Live

March 28, 2012 -

There's no denying that sending your child online to play a game alone is like sending a puppy into a lion's cage at the zoo. If you want someone to experience the crassness of society, you can get a quick lesson playing Call of Duty, Battlefield, or even UNO as teenagers call you every name in the book (and some you didn't even know existed). Anyone that plays games online knows this, but it's always interesting to see how local news channels handle such topics. Usually they handle it badly, but one station does a good job of delivering a balanced report..

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Britain's Association of Teachers and Lecturers Attack Parents over Video Games

March 26, 2012 -

The head of Britain's Association of Teachers and Lecturers thinks parents are doing a crappy job by ignoring game ratings and letting their children play violent video games. They are pulling the proverbial fire alarm, in this BBC report like a teenager might do a one-off prank to send the principal into a tizzy fit (thanks beemoh).

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Andrew EisenYes, the Wii U upscales but rendering in a higher resolution looks a hell of a lot better.08/01/2014 - 10:35pm
Andrew EisenIt's pretty. Lots of videos of it floating around. Just search "Xenoblade dolphin" and you'll find them.08/01/2014 - 10:32pm
ZippyDSMleeThe WII upscales tho. Matthew: It might be becue cartoonish desings do not age as fast as presudo realisim.08/01/2014 - 10:29pm
Matthew WilsonPeople who have run the Mario Galaxy games on a emulator have said they look better then most xb1/ps4 games when upscaled, so it would be interesting to see a upscaled version of Xenoblade08/01/2014 - 9:24pm
Andrew EisenHeck, it would probably sell better to newbies anyway. Even with its awesome art direction, the game looked dated when it came out years ago. I imagine an SD version would be a tougher sell.08/01/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenBecause it would be cool, would serve the game's fantastic art direction well and encourage people who've already played it to buy it again.08/01/2014 - 7:42pm
ZippyDSMleeWhy bother with an HD relese just repack the damn thing and promote it since it will play on the WIIU anyway....08/01/2014 - 7:04pm
Andrew EisenPlus, with Nintendo carrying the Wii U almost all by itself, it could help plug one of the unfortunately inevitable release schedule gaps.08/01/2014 - 3:23pm
Andrew EisenAn HD re-release would be cool though. It's a great game (and quite the looker, especially when up-rezzed) and more people should play it (the game had a limited release at a time when the Wii was all but dead an buried).08/01/2014 - 3:21pm
E. Zachary KnightSo no, people are not going to need to play the Wii game to undstand or enjoy the Wii U game.08/01/2014 - 1:27pm
E. Zachary KnightFrom what I understand, the two games have as much to do with eachother as Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy 2.08/01/2014 - 1:26pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's my secret hope that Nintendo announces Xenoblade HD to be released in the leadup to Xenoblade Chronicles X, or at least a mass market version of the first game so that people aren't going into this one blind.08/01/2014 - 12:40pm
PHX CorpI'm going to do a test stream later today, if anyone is intrested07/31/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenYes, I'm such a big Nintendo dork that I read Nintendo's quarterly financial reports.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenCool tidbit - Mario Kart 8 sales account for more than half of total Wii U software sales for the last quarter even though it was only available for the last third.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenStill a pretty cool promotion. Unfortunately for me, I'm not interested in purchasing Mario Kart 8 and I already owned or didn't want any of the free games on offer.07/31/2014 - 1:43pm
Andrew EisenInteresting that EU had 10 games to choose from while North America only had four.07/31/2014 - 1:41pm
MaskedPixelanteIt certainly worked, I probably would never have bought Mario Kart 8 if it didn't come with a free copy of Wind Waker HD.07/31/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenI imagine will see similar promotions like "Buy Mario Kart 8 get a download code for one of these specific games" but almost certainly not for all of its (however you would define) biggest releases.07/31/2014 - 11:24am
MaskedPixelanteI wonder if Nintendo is going to be doing "buy one get one free" promos for all their biggest releases going forward.07/31/2014 - 10:48am
 

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