Links for November 25th 2010 through December 2nd 2010:

  • Report on video games clears way for R18+ rating [News.com.au] – This is a BIG DEAL in the battle to get an R18+ rating for Aussie videogames: “Violent video games have no “greater impact” on players than movies or music clips, government research has found just days ahead of a decision expected to allow the sale of R18+ games. Games are currently limited to a top rating of MA15+, which means violent titles are either banned outright or have some graphic content removed. In some cases, games have been given a MA15+ rating here despite copping an 18+ rating overseas. Australia’s attorneys-general will meet in Canberra tomorrow to discuss the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games, bringing their ratings into line with those of films and literature. Both the gaming community and family groups believe the adult rating is almost a certainty after Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor yesterday released a research paper into their impact on encouraging violent behaviour.” (See full report here.)
  • Justin Bieber Swears Off YouTube For Facebook, Unwittingly Steps In Copyright Minefield [Forbes] – “Over the past weekend, Internet pop sensation Justin Bieber went to upload the music video of his new song called “Pray” to his personal YouTube site. He was in for a rude surprise: YouTube automatically blocked his video upload on “copyright grounds” that the video contained content from Universal Music Group (UMG), parent company to Bieber’s record label, Island Def Jam records. “yo youtube…how u gonna block my own song?!?!?!” wrote an outraged Bieber on his Twitter account. In another Twitter update, he wrote, “dear youtube…we started this journey and now u r cheatin on me with this vevo chica…i see how it is…i will be over here with facebook [sic].” (Vevo is the music video website responsible for Bieber’s official YouTube syndication, and is a joint venture between music giants Sony Music Entertainment, UMG and Abu Dhabi Media.) In response, YouTube wrote back to Bieber on its Twitter account, “sorry about the upload pain around ‘Pray’. That’s between you and your label …”
  • WikiLeaks website pulled by Amazon after US political pressure [Media | The Guardian] – “The US struck its first blow against WikiLeaks after Amazon.com pulled the plug on hosting the whistleblowing website in reaction to heavy political pressure. The company announced it was cutting WikiLeaks off yesterday only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security. WikiLeaks expressed disappointment with Amazon, and insisted it was a breach of freedom of speech as enshrined in the US constitution’s first amendment. The organisation, in a message sent via Twitter, said if Amazon was “so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.” While freedom of speech is a sensitive issue in the US, scope for a full-blown row is limited, given that Democrats and Republicans will largely applaud Amazon’s move. Lieberman, though an independent, is a former Republican who switched to the Democrats last year.”
  • Report: In-Game Purchases To Blow Mobile Games Revenues Past $11 Billion By 2015 [TechCrunch] – “A new report from Juniper Research forecasts global mobile games revenues to surpass $11 billion by 2015, nearly double what they were in 2009. All in all, it’s a fairly conservative prediction in my opinion, but what’s interesting is that the research firm also says in-game purchases will overtake the traditional pay-per-download model, with Apple’s in-app billing mechanism leading the way, as the primary source of monetizing mobile games in about two years (by 2013). At the same time, Juniper Research acknowledges that, with the ever-increasing amount of apps on all popular platforms (and app stores for that matter), discoverability remains a problem for game developers and publishers alike.”
  • Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards [State Library of Western Australia] – Significantly, this year, the WA Premier’s Book Awards will be offering a Digital Narrative Award which has a $5000 prize attached to it, and fairly broad parameters of what a digital narrative might be. (Only open to Australians, though, sorry!)
  • Facebook looks to trademark the word ‘face’ [BBC News] – My MyFace, FaceWorld and CyFace domains will be worthless! “The social networking giant Facebook is a few steps away from trademarking the word face, online documents reveal. The site has been asked to detail a “statement of use” by the US Patent and Trademark Office, explaining how it intends to use the word. If granted, the trademark will only apply to online sites and services used to exchange messages. It could limit the use of the word in other social networks and services, such as Apple’s Facetime, lawyers said.”
  • Axl Rose sues Guitar Hero makers over animated Slash [Music | guardian.co.uk] – “Axl Rose even hates the cartoon version of Slash. The Guns N’ Roses frontman is suing the makers of Guitar Hero for $20m (£12.6m), claiming they “spun a web of lies and deception” by including an animated Slash in the video-game version of his band. Slash left the group in 1996. According to his claim, Rose licensed Welcome to the Jungle to Guitar Hero III on the condition that any reference to the departed guitarist or his new band, Velvet Revolver, would be omitted. But in early versions of the game, a Slash-like character could be seen parading around the stage in the guitarist’s trademark top hat, sunglasses and nose piercing. [...] One of the highest-grossing video games of all time, Guitar Hero III has amassed more than $1bn. “This lawsuit is about protecting Guns N’ Roses and Welcome to the Jungle, and is about holding Activision accountable for its misuse of these incredibly valuable assets,” Rose’s lawyer insisted.”

Links for June 13th 2009 through June 29th 2009:

  • Just Add Performance [Kiri Miller / Flow 10.02] – "… if you want to get involved in value-oriented debates about it, here’s a thought experiment: rather than concluding that Guitar Hero players are wasting the time that they would otherwise be putting into long hours of practice on a real guitar, consider the possibility that they might otherwise spend that time just listening to recorded music (or, of course, playing Grand Theft Auto). Anyone who has played Guitar Hero or Rock Band for more than five minutes will tell you that it requires a deeper level of musical engagement than listening to an iPod—intellectually, emotionally, physically, and often socially. Moreover, everyone I’ve interviewed for my research reports that the games have substantially changed the way they listen to popular music when they’re not playing. [...] Guitar Hero and Rock Band let players put the performance back into recorded music, reanimating it with their physical engagement and performance adrenaline." (Great little article!)
  • Keeping News of David Rohde’s Kidnapping Off Wikipedia [NYTimes.com] – "For seven months, The New York Times managed to keep out of the news the fact that one of its reporters, David Rohde, had been kidnapped by the Taliban. But that was pretty straightforward compared with keeping it off Wikipedia." The weird tale of trying to keep something (that was legitimate news) out of the Wikipedia.
  • Picasa With Creative Commons Search [Goole Blogoscoped] – Search Google's PicasaWeb for CC-licensed images: "Google’s photo album service, Picasa Web Albums, now allows you to show options during your search. As Ionut noticed, as part of these options you can tick the “Creative Commons” link, which will only return shareable pics. The amount of images is not all too bad either, at least for some queries: a CC-only search for the keyword google shows 276,529 pics, according to Picasa. A search for obama returns 43,510 pics right now. For comparison, the same CC-only obama search yields 127,858 results on Flickr."

Links of interest for November 20th 2008:

  • New Study Shows Time Spent Online Important for Teen Development [MacArthur Foundation] – “Results from [a] … US study on teens and their use of digital media show that America’s youth are developing important social and technical skills online – often in ways adults do not understand or value. “It might surprise parents to learn that it is not a waste of time for their teens to hang out online,” said Mizuko Ito, University of California, Irvine researcher … . “There are myths about kids spending time online – that it is dangerous or making them lazy. But we found that spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age.” [...] Significant findings include – There is a generation gap in how youth and adults view the value of online activity; Youth are navigating complex social and technical worlds by participating online; Young people are motivated to learn from their peers online.” [Full Report]
  • Musicians Get Meta in Guitar Hero and Rock Band [Waxy.org] – “There’s something satisfyingly self-referential about watching talented musicians try to play their own music in Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Especially when they’re worse than you.” (So, the connection between Rock Band, Guitar Hero and actual instruments seems … tenuous at best! :P)
  • Google iPhone app baffled by foreign accents [The Age] – “A new voice-recognition search tool for the iPhone has problems understanding British accents, leading to some bizarre answers to spoken queries, reports say.The free application, which allows iPhone owners to use the Google search engine with their voice, mistook the word iPhone variously for sex, Einstein and kitchen sink, said London’s Daily Telegraph…. But British iPhone owners had less luck when speaking the word iPhone into the application – a Scottish user was offered a porn website after it mistook his search for sex, the Telegraph reported.” (What’s all this about the AmericaniZation of English? :P)