Tomorrow is Here

Society 2.0

PC Pwns Consoles?

by on Mar.25, 2009, under Fun and Games, Society 2.0

According to a report produced by the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA) the PC is the largest single platform for games with annual worldwide revenues of US$10.7 billion. This is more than any of the consoles currently available from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

PCGA president Randy Stude told the BBC these figures underline the PC as the “Number one platform for gaming world wide.” He said, “Despite Xbox LIVE and PlayStation, the online platform that remains the most accessible and robust is the PC.”

The report, released to coincide with the opening of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, noted the three biggest trends in 2008 were:

  • The growth of online digital distribution via services like Valve’s Steam
  • The growth of free games with a virtual item purchase model
  • The growing presence of game cards at major retailers like 7-Eleven

    Ironforge

    Ironforge

The report also contains many interesting factoids such as:

  • Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) are the leading products for both revenue and profits
  • World of Warcraft is generating over $1 billion in annual revenue
  • PC games regularly generate over $50 million in sales but can generate substantially more in subscription and/or add-on revenue
  • Several Asian MMOGs are generating over $100 million in annual revenue after 5+ years on the market
  • The Lich King expansion to World of Warcraft outsold its predecessor.
  • In 2008, two major new subscription MMOGs, Warhammer Online and Age of Conan, sold over 1 million units each.

However, the PCGA is an umbrella organization for companies interested in promoting the PC as a gaming platform. Mr Stude, its president, works for Intel, the chip manufacture behind most of the CPUs that drive PCs. So its reports may be little biased. Something the BBC interview did not point out.

Still, I don’t think anyone needs the PCGA to tell them MMOGs are where all the fun’s at.

alliance

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Teenager Sacked for Facebook Comments

by on Feb.27, 2009, under Employment

Sixteen-year-old Kimberley Swann has been sacked from Ivell Marketing & Logistics in Clacton-on-Sea, England. Her boss, Stephen Ivell had seen comments she had left for her friends on her Facebook page.

We all have had a good moan about our jobs from time to time. But from now on, you had better be careful where you do it.

Kimberley Swann started work as an office administrator just under a month ago. The first day was not what she had hopped it would be. She posted to Facebook, “first day at work. omg !! So dull!!” Then two days later, “all i do is shred holepunch n scan paper!!! omg!” Another fortnight produced, “im so totally bord!!!”

On Feb. 23, Ms Swann was called into the office of boss, Stephen Ivell and sacked on the spot. She was handed a letter and marched from the offices. The letter said:

“Following your comments made on Facebook about your job and the company we feel it is better that, as you are not happy and do not enjoy your work, we end your employment with Ivell Marketing & Logistics with immediate effect.

Ms Swann told the Daily Mail:

“I didn’t even put the company’s name, I just put that my job was boring. They were just being nosy, going through everything. I think it is really sad, it makes them look stupid that they are going to be so petty.

Is posing a comment on Facebook any different from making the same comments to a friend in a public place? Ms Swann thinks Mr Ivell overreacted, she said:

“I was an office administrator, so of course it was boring at first and I knew it would get more interesting. I was happy there, although they said I wasn’t. It’s not fair. I think it’s really out of order but there is nothing I can do now.

Mr Ivell told the Daily Mail his firm had done everything by the book:

“We were looking for a long-term relationship with Miss Swann as we do with all our staff. Her display of disrespect and dissatisfaction undermined the relationship and made it untenable.

“It is unfortunate that we didn’t come up to Miss Swann’s expectations on this occasion and we wish her every success in the future

Mr Ivell appears to be motivated by protecting his company’s image. According to Miss Swann:

“He called me into the office and said, ‘I have seen your comments on Facebook and I don’t want my company being in the news.’ They said it was not good for the company.

If that was the objective then this heavy-handed action has backfired gaining Ivell Marketing & Logistics national coverage in the UK MSM and internationally on the internet.

However, this is another warning for any users of social media sites. Do not ever consider them private or erasable.

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Does Obama Want the Moon?

by on Dec.18, 2008, under Around the Solar System, Politics

Reports of a public row between NASA administrator Mike Griffin and Lori Garver, a member of Barack Obama’s transition team, has reignited speculation on the future of NASA’s manned Moon mission.

The Moon

The Moon

The Orlando Sentinel reported a “heated” 40-minute conversation between a “red-faced” Griffin and Garver at a book-publication party at NASA headquarters last week According to witnesses Griffin demanded to speak directly to Obama.

President Elect Obama has sent teams to every government agency in order to ensure smooth transition between administrations. Their job is to dig through budgets and plans to find anything that may cause problems for the incoming administration. The Bush White House has ordered full cooperation.

Griffin appears to consider this a personal insult. Witnesses to the “animated conversation” reported Garver as saying, “Mike, I don’t understand what the problem is. We are just trying to look under the hood.”

“If you are looking under the hood, then you are calling me a liar,” Griffin replied. “Because it means you don’t trust what I say is under the hood.”

Griffon Worried

Griffin was appointed by President Bush four years ago to lead NASA in the efforts for a return Moon shot by 2020 and then on to Mars. He has overseen the selection of Constellation, with its NASA-designed Ares I rocket and Orion capsule for the job. Griffin would like to stay on under the new administration, “under the right circumstances.”

Budgetary problems and technical issues with Constellation have been the subject of the transition team’s scrutiny. They have asked NASA how much could be saved by cancelling the Area I rocket. They have also asked about accelerating the program. The cancellation question has obviously worried Griffin.

The Orlando Sentinel also reports Griffin is orchestrating a campaign to defend Constellation. It says Griffin is:

“…scripting NASA employees and civilian contractors on what they can tell the transition team and has warned aerospace executives not to criticize the agency’s moon program.”

NASA’s Chief of Strategic Communications, Chris Shank denied there was an argument or that Griffin is trying to keep information from the Garver’s team. He denied that Griffin is seeking a meeting with Obama.

He did acknowledge that Griffin felt the team lack the expertise to assess some of the information they have been given. Griffin, an engineer, has said the Garver is “not qualified” to make decisions on NASA’s rocketry program.

Garver has refused to comment, but people close to her say she has confirmed “unpleasant” exchanges with Griffin and other NASA officials. Garver recently told a Washington meeting of aerospace representatives, “there will be change” to NASA policy. She hinted that there would be a new administrator soon.

Obama’s Shifting Position

The situation is exasperated by Barack Obama’s lukewarm support for the Moon shot during his election campaign. His position early in the primaries was to see more NASA spending on education at the expense of the Moon landings. He shifted several times during the campaign.

Obama only came out firmly in support of the new Moon shot when if became obvious that the loss of jobs in important battleground states such as Florida could derail his bid for the Presidency.

However, these pledges were made when the federal budgetary considerations was very different from those today. It would not be hard to find justification for cutting NASA’s budget.

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