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Fotopedia Is Shutting Down; Data Avallable Until August 10

Dutch Gun Re:well.... (42 comments)

Exactly. The "cloud" has a few absolutely killer apps. Offsite backup services are one of them, and everyone who has anything remotely important on their machines should be using one of them. No excuses at this point. My NAS device automatically backs up to my Amazon S3 account, which is so inexpensive for the few GB I need to backup, it literally costs me pennies per month ($.07 last month, in fact). Seriously, if you don't have huge amounts of data to backup, it's unbelievably cheap, since you only pay for what you need.

The other killer app I use is device synchronization, which is especially handy for my various Kindle devices / device apps (i.e. iPad, phone, PC, and Kindle, of course). I purchase Steam games as well, another sort of remote service and data synchronization type of platform, albeit of a specialized nature.

Think it's weird or hypocritical to be all-in like that with Amazon services or Steam but still be so leery of the cloud as an end-all be-all? Maybe, but this isn't about some religious aversion to the cloud - it's completely pragmatic from my point of view. If you're going to put your apples in a remote data basket, make sure it's a basket that's not likely to go *poof* anytime soon (i.e. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, or Apple). And make sure it's a basket where, if it does disappear, you're not completely boned. I'd miss my book or my games library, but I could live without them. I could *not* live without what's on my PC. Quite literally, in fact, since I work from home. So, there it stays.

12 hours ago
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Fotopedia Is Shutting Down; Data Avallable Until August 10

Dutch Gun Welcome to the world of the Cloud... (42 comments)

... where your data disappears and your apps stop working the moment the company goes under.

Post-PC era my ass.

yesterday
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Unesco Probing Star Wars Filming In Ireland

Dutch Gun Re:Quote from the article (159 comments)

So, maybe there's a different interpretation, and maybe it does take weeks to figure out HOW A FUCKING ECOSYSTEM WILL BE IMPACTED.

If you read the article instead of ranting angrily at me, you'd find that it really doesn't sound like the film crew or local authorities are ignoring the island's ecological safety.

The Irish Film Board, which helps international film producers locate in the Republic of Ireland, said consent was granted for a limited shoot on Skellig Michael after extensive scientific analysis by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Ok, the National Parks and Wildlife Services seems to think things will be fine. They may have contacted Mr. Newton only days in advance, but you can bet they were in contact with the NPWS for a hell of a lot longer than that. I suppose the NPWS could be lying about their extensive scientific analysis, but I'm more inclined to take them at their word, with it being their butts on the line if anything bad happens to the island. Let's read on:

The film agency said experts are on the island during the shoot and have the authority to intervene if they suspect any impact on the habitat and wildlife.

"The production company also has a senior ecological advisor on set at all times," the spokeswoman added.

"Activity is confined to visitor areas and pathways."

Ok, that sounds reasonable, right? The ecological advisor has veto authority on the set, which is good. Now, let's note that last part. The film crew will only be filming where people already visit on a regular basis. So... you really think that, while staying on existing pathways and areas that visitors regularly use, the film crews are somehow going to damage this ecosystem? That, unless this particular expert, one Mr. Newton, studies the problem for weeks, that there may be some ecological damage?

Sorry, I don't buy it. And here's the biggest reason why. He was supposedly an expert on this particular ecosystem, right? Given the plans of what the film crew was to do, shouldn't he be able to tell immediately if their shooting would bother the local wildlife? What would weeks of study tell him that his previous years of expertise wouldn't? How would he be able to tell if the wildlife were being disturbed unless he were monitoring them as they were filming? It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Apparently, it didn't make much sense to the film company or the NPWS either, since they simply proceeded without him.

I don't think I've ever wasted this much time responding to an AC troll before, but you know what, I'm fucking tired of wacko environmentalist loonies strumming their heartstrings without engaging their brains. Guess what - I happen to love the environment too, and don't want to see any protected ecosystems get screwed up. But damn, you have to be reasonable or people just tune you out, and that ends up hurting a worthwhile cause in the long run.

yesterday
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Unesco Probing Star Wars Filming In Ireland

Dutch Gun Re:Quote from the article (159 comments)

"We can't tell what the filming of Star Wars on the site will do to the wildlife."

I'm pretty sure I can tell you. Not a fucking thing. Nature is not so fragile that a film crew will destroy an ecosystem just by walking around and filming a few scenes. They're under restrictions on what they can do (i.e. they're not going to be blowing up the island), and they've got an ecologist on the set at all times. This is all about a local jackass getting his nose in a snit.

Stephen Newton, a seabirds expert with Birdwatch Ireland, said he could not get onto the island to check the important colony.

Mr Newton said he was asked by the film producers only days before shooting was to begin if he would help them with an impact assessment to secure permits for filming.

He refused, arguing it would take several weeks to assess, as many of the species breed underground or in rocky crevices where it would be difficult to see what damage is being done.

Are you kidding me? Several weeks for an impact assessment? Does that strike anyone else as a bit over the top?

Likely translation: He tried to shake the movie company down for a few weeks worth of work rather than a day or two, and they told him to piss off, then contacted someone more reasonably inclined. They obviously got the permits, meaning that someone was able to do the work in just a few days. And why the hell should he be allowed on the island after what he tried to pull? The fact that he's blabbing to the press and causing trouble for them now shows they were probably right to snub him.

yesterday
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Crytek USA Collapses, Sells Game IP To Other Developers

Dutch Gun Re:Not Getting Paid (112 comments)

Videogame development houses are not like most places, especially not the smaller, more tightly knit development houses. I suppose nowadays you'd probably call them "indie" shops. Back then, they were just called "very small game studios". Most places you go to work because you want a paycheck. Videogame developers, for the most part, go to work because they want to make cool games, and the paycheck is an important yet ultimately secondary concern. If they were more interested in the paycheck, there are lots of places you can go work a must less stressful 8 to 5 job for more money than in the videogame industry (well, certainly for programmers, at least).

I was with a very small game studio when it lost the next big project it had lined up. We were small enough that we didn't have a backup plan of any sort, unfortunately, and after about half a year or so without any projects being landed, the company inevitably ran low on funds, and employees had to go on half pay. During my time there, I became friends with my fellow employees and got along great with my bosses, who were really good to their employees and genuinely nice people. I stayed on for another couple of months, but I eventually had to look after my own financial needs, and let them know I when started searching for another job. We parted on good terms, and several months later, the company folded.

Game development teams go through a lot together, often working under very stressful conditions on very demanding products, and developers are often loathe to break up a really good team. Additionally, finding a new job is, of course, a very stressful thing. Sometimes it's just developers not wanting to face reality, or hoping things improve. I can only speak for myself, but I stayed as long as I could on half pay because I really loved working at that company. It was really as simple as that. Had we managed to land one of the deals we were desperately trying to get, who knows how things might have turned out. It seemed worth trying at the time, and I don't regret it.

yesterday
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Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

Dutch Gun Re:So... (104 comments)

I perhaps worded it poorly, as I didn't mean to imply the EU judgement was necessarily without merit. Rather, I'm simply implying that the Chinese government may have been looking at the end result of Microsoft's and Google's cases (i.e. paying large fines to the EU), and could have seen that as a lucrative opportunity, either economically, politically, or both.

yesterday
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Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

Dutch Gun Re:So... (104 comments)

I'll bet the Chinese government took a page from the EU and figured out it could levy whatever the hell sort of fines it wants against these tech giants, and they'll probably just eat it as a part of the cost of doing business. That is, so long as they don't fine them more than it's worthwhile to do business there, because of course, said company would simply say "screw you" and leave. They figured that a charge of "Microsoft is a monopoly!" would work just fine, since that's been bandied about in the West so much already. You watch - I wouldn't be surprised if MS is going to get a nice, hefty fine levied against them, but probably not so much that they'll contemplate pulling out of China's market completely. Nothing like a government-sponsored extortion racket.

The other possibility is, like the linked article implies, that this is part of the government's push for technological self-reliance, and a move to start pushing their own operating systems and squeeze MS out of the picture. We've seen that with Google pretty clearly already. Or, maybe it's a bit of both - a way to squeeze a bit more cash out of the tech giants before eventually pushing them out altogether.

Hard to say, really. China is a mystery wrapped in an enigma to most westerners like myself.

yesterday
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Is the App Store Broken?

Dutch Gun Re:Too many apps, too much appcrap (236 comments)

All I see is a natural settling of the app bubble. This is a good thing. It just means the market is maturing. The alternative is a hard crash, like when the dot-com bubble popped, and no one wants that.

The author all but admits that app development was seen as a get-rich-quick scheme, and acknowledges the market is maturing, but falters when it comes time to face reality. Removing "top sales" lists or curtailing frivolous app development would be a bandaid. It would inconvenience users in a ham-handed attempt to "spread the wealth" - exactly the wrong approach to take, since users would simply lash out at the app store developers for doing that.

What's the solution? Probably the same as it's always been: work hard, create a great product, sell it for a fair price, market it in a unique and clever way, and hope for the best. If an app developer goes under, it just demonstrates that wasn't exactly beating a door down for their app. It's harsh, but that's how markets work. App stores could better solve the problem by developing algorithms to show more relevant products based on purchasing and browsing history, but honestly, you can't rely on anyone else to sell your app for you.

Launching a startup has always been immensely risky. The notion that app developers should somehow be immune from normal market realities is laughable.

2 days ago
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

Dutch Gun Re:Is Jackson arguing against diversity? (493 comments)

It seems he's basically arguing that there's a correlation (and therefore maybe causality) between being diverse and not leading the market.

Makes sense. Companies intent on "diversifying their workforce" are probably too focused on politics or appearances rather than paying attention to their products and customers.

2 days ago
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Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

Dutch Gun Re:There's no talent shortage (493 comments)

If they're laying off mostly non-programmers (i.e. "overhead"), but are still hiring for programming positions, then this would make sense. If not, then it's pretty inexcusable. In either case, someone should have known that at the very least, this would end up looking really bad for them.

Regardless, the fact that the e-mail describing the layoffs actually used the word "synergies" three times told me all I needed to know about the new CEO. Someone in touch with today's culture would never have used that word unless he was mocking another company for using it. Even when using business buzzwords, Microsoft is still about five years behind the times.

2 days ago
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The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

Dutch Gun Re:Trailer not HFR? (155 comments)

I was actually going to make the comparison between "warm" vinyl sounds vs CDs (I'm not sure what SCAD is though), as well as tube amplifiers versus digital, but I thought it would distract from the point I was trying to make. Plus, the post was already getting long. But yeah, I think both of those are somewhat appropriate comparisons.

2 days ago
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The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

Dutch Gun Re:Not looking good (155 comments)

Read LoTR's description of Tom Bombadil again, an equally powerful but rather loony figure in his own right, and tell me that Tolkien couldn't have imagined Radagast the way he was depicted (admittedly probably without the bird shit).

Frodo and Sam stood as if enchanted. The wind puffed out. The leaves hung silently again on stiff branches. There was another burst of song, and then suddenly, hopping and dancing along the path, there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a long blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a bound there came into view a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big People, though he made noise enough for one, stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a blue coat and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, and his face was red as a ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray a small pile of white water-lilies.

A bit silly-looking for one of the most powerful entities in Middle-Earth, no? Somewhat frivolous-minded, too. The Council of the Ring considers Bombadil as a safekeeper:

‘No,’ said Gandalf, ‘not willingly. He might [take the ring], if all the free folk of the world begged him, but he would not understand the need. And if he were given the Ring, he would soon forget it, or most likely throw it away. Such things have no hold on his mind. He would be a most unsafe guardian; and that alone is answer enough.’ ‘But in any case,’ said Glorfindel, ‘to send the Ring to him would only postpone the day of evil. He is far away. We could not now take it back to him, unguessed, unmarked by any spy. And even if we could, soon or late the Lord of the Rings would learn of its hiding place and would bend all his power towards it. Could that power be defied by Bombadil alone? I think not. I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First; and then Night will come.’
 

Why should Radagast have necessarily been a clone of Gandalf or Saruman? Tom comes across as halfway insane or a goofball, dressed like a clown and constantly breaking into song. Gandalf also speaks of him as ancient and powerful, but one who, if they gave him the ring, would literally forget about it. Jackson's take on Radagast was, I think, similar to Bombadil, one who concerned himself more with nature than the goings-on in the world of wizards, men, elves, and dwarves.

2 days ago
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The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

Dutch Gun Re:Trailer not HFR? (155 comments)

Believe me, 48FPS is not the future. Or if it is, then there is a long way to go in setting it up and filming it properly.

It probably is, but I'm guessing our generation will have a really hard time accepting it. Our minds have been conditioned to think of 24 FPS displays as "cinematic" and higher FPS (30 or higher) at "cheaper", because for years the TV images we've seen *have* looked much "cheaper". It's an association that I don't think we can easily rationalize our way out of. Why do you think videogames have gone so far as to artificially render fake film grain or lens flare artifacts? That's a completely illogical thing to do except for the pleasant association people have with the look of traditional movie media.

Simply put, I think the high frame rate and high fidelity end up causing a negative association in our minds. It's not that it really looks worse - we're just not used to it looking quite so sharp and fluid, and it just doesn't feel "cinematic" to us. At least, that's the conclusion I've come to. Honestly, nothing else makes much sense to me, because otherwise, we're always pushing to make the picture better, more realistic, etc. After all, you can't really blame increased frame rate for making a movie set look more "fake", right? Film has always been a "high resolution" experience, after all.

Or, put another way, I think film technology just fell into the uncanny valley for some people, where it looks so close to reality that their brains are rebelling a bit and causing distractions, which leads to a poor viewing experience.

2 days ago
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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

Dutch Gun Re:Wrong device (540 comments)

That's sort of like ranting how the PC is vastly superior to the gaming console, and how the mouse is clearly the superlative input device compared to the gamepad because of its precision. All very true, but you're neglecting the *convenience* factor. It's incredibly convenient to have an all-in-one predesigned, prepackaged computer made for playing games that you just plug into your TV. Likewise, it's incredibly convenient for your phone to be able to act as a mobile computer without actually needing to lug around a laptop everywhere you go.

Despite ddt's comments being marked as "Troll" (sheesh, touchy about our phones much?), he actually has a point. In general, a phone is a pretty poor substitute for a full size physical keyboard. There are exceptions of course (users who text each other all day, or authors who write entire books on their phones), but I'd imagine the most common use cases for smartphones actually don't include a whole lot of typing. Phones and tablets excel at consuming content, not creating it. As such, a physical keyboard is, to some degree, working against the strengths of the smartphone - being as lightweight as possible relative to screen size and optimally designed for consuming content.

I think that's why you don't see a lot of physical keyboards anymore. Even if someone prefers the feel of a physical keyboard, does it really matter if the most common use case only requires them to swipe on the screen or speak commands the vast majority of the time as opposed to touch typing? More to the point, are they willing to sacrifice features and bulk for that keyboard? A few might, but most won't. At least, so goes the thinking of people who manufacture the things, I'd imagine.

3 days ago
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Popular Android Apps Full of Bugs: Researchers Blame Recycling of Code

Dutch Gun Re:Not surprised (145 comments)

How many reasons would you like? F-Droid has about a thousand apps to the Play store's 1.2 million. You have to install it through side channels. Relatively few in the mainstream have heard of it. None of the apps that people's friends or favorite websites are talking about are available on it. A quick peek at some of the new apps listed on the front page reveal these potential blockbusters:

* A guessing game: try to guess a number between 1 and 100 in under eight tries
* A ROT-13 encoder/decoder
* An ASCII/Hex/Ocal/Binary converter
* Swimming distance calculator
* TI graphing calculator emulator (no ROMs included)

It surprises you that people aren't flocking to this in droves? Look, nothing against F-Droid. It's cool that people are doing this, but let's keep our expectations grounded in reality.

4 days ago
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Off the Florida Coast, Astronauts Train For Asteroid Mission

Dutch Gun Re:Useless Internet (84 comments)

Sigh... whoosh? Apparently, I also made a wise choice in becoming a programmer rather than an entertainer of any sort.

4 days ago
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Off the Florida Coast, Astronauts Train For Asteroid Mission

Dutch Gun Re:Useless Internet (84 comments)

sex is a physical need, how is this addressed for astronauts?

First, I'm afraid I can personally guarantee you that sex is NOT actually a physical need. Second, they're already astronauts, for heaven's sake! Do their sex lives really need enhancement? Fighter pilots and astronauts impress girls. Videogame programmers impress geeks. What was I thinking, damnit?

4 days ago
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Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

Dutch Gun Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (728 comments)

Here's how a REAL professional behaves. The CEO of Boeing told analysis that he makes his employees "cower", and actually thought that would be a funny joke. Everyone knew that Steve Jobs was something of an asshole. So is Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. A lot of the most famous and effective military leaders were real sons of bitches as well. Patton comes to mind, as does his long-time rival, Monty. Norman Schwarzkopf was known for his fiery temper, which gave him the nickname "Stormin' Norman".

Most professional communities are rather pragmatic, and ultimately rewards *success* above all else, unless you cross over a very big line, like doing something illegal, or embarrassing your company to such a degree that it has a negative effect on business (e.g. Patton slapping a soldier). There may something about those personality types that are driven to succeed. It's not universal, of course. Pete Carrol, the head coach of last year's Superbowl winning Seattle Seahawks, is known for being a very nice and laid-back guy, and doesn't fit the typical mode of the "screamer" type coaches we've all seen.

Look, I'm not going to defend Torvold's rants. I think they're childish as well, but let's not kid ourselves. These sort of rants and worse happen all the time in "professional" environments. Would it be great if people were universally nicer to each other? Sure. But when getting a job done, is being nice or being competent more important?

At least he hasn't tossed any chairs around that we know of.

4 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

Dutch Gun Re:Institutional hypocrisy (183 comments)

From the article I linked to:

Arret Sur Images reports that this is the first example of an amateur, unpaid blogger having to pay damages for a negative review. Doudet sees this as part of a growing problem around freedom of speech. "Recently several writers in France were sentenced in similar proceedings for defamation, invasion of privacy, and so on. And I find it really serious if we no longer have the freedom to write," she says. "I don't see the point of criticism if it's only positive. It's clear that online, people are suspicious of places that only get positive reviews."

This is apparently the first instance of an amateur blogger being sued because of a negative review, which is sort of the definition of a legal precedent, isn't it? I agree, though, that it's probably not national policy, and I very much doubt it's in the spirit of the law. That's of little comfort to someone on the sharp end of a bad court decision though, and seems awfully likely to have a chilling effect to some degree.

4 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

Dutch Gun Re:Institutional hypocrisy (183 comments)

Could you follow that link of mine and double-check to see if we're talking about the same case? Because it sure doesn't sound like it to me.

4 days ago

Submissions

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Penny Arcade Honored by Washington State

Dutch Gun Dutch Gun writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dutch Gun (899105) writes "Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik (Tycho and Gabe) of Penny Arcade have been honored by the Washington State legislature with a resolution. The bill praises their charity work with Child's Play, for attracting tourist dollars by starting the Penny Arcade Expo, which has grown to become the largest video game exhibition in the country, providing student scholarships, and for their leadership role within the computer gaming community. Washington State is home to at least 45 game development companies, including such notable names as Nintendo of America, Microsoft, Bungie, Valve, ArenaNet, PopCap, Gas Powered Games, Monolith, Zipper Interactive, Snowblind Studios, and more.

This is a marked departure from the typical news involving governments and gaming. One could see the courtship of the computer gaming industry by the State of Washington as a shrewd political move, given the current tough economic times and the seeming resistance of the entertainment industry to recessions. Or, perhaps a bit less cynically, this might just be a sign that gaming has reached a critical threshold of mainstream normalcy."
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Microsoft Lays Off Entire Flight Sim Team

Dutch Gun Dutch Gun writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dutch Gun (899105) writes "Microsoft has just laid off the entire Flight Simulator development team. This continues a long-running trend of terminating or severing relationships with game development studios, such as the Bungie split, FASA, or the closure of Ensemble Studios.

While one would presume that core Xbox development is not currently in jeopardy after spending up to a billion dollars to pay for Xbox 360 repairs and salvage its reputation with gamers, does this signal a reversal from Microsoft's recent focus on internal game development? And what are it's plans for Flight Simulator, a twenty-five-year product with an extremely loyal user-base and a multitude of externally developed add-ons?"
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Microsoft Lays Off Entire Flight Sim Team

Dutch Gun Dutch Gun writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dutch Gun (899105) writes "Microsoft has just laid off the entire Flight Simulator development team. This continues a long-running trend of terminating or severing relationships with game development studios, such as the Bungie split, FASA, or the closure of Ensemble Studios.

While one would presume that core Xbox development is not currently in jeopardy after spending up to a billion dollars to pay for Xbox 360 repairs and salvage its reputation with gamers, does this signal a reversal from Microsoft's recent focus on internal game development? And what are it's plans for Flight Simulator, a ten-year product with an extremely loyal user-base and a multitude of externally developed add-ons?"
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NCSoft and Epic sign exclusive PS3 deals

Dutch Gun Dutch Gun writes  |  about 7 years ago

Dutch Gun (899105) writes "Epic has announced that Unreal Tournament 3 will be a 2007 Playstation 3 exclusive. Perhaps even more significant, though, is the fact that the widely-used engine will be ported to and optimized for the console, providing an efficient development system for other games.

Sony has also partnered with Korean-based MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) developer/publisher NCSoft to develop exclusively for the Playstation 3. This could be seen as a move by Sony to ramp up it's console's online presence to compete with Microsoft's popular Xbox Live service. NCSoft's more well-known games include Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Lineage I & II, and Tabula Rasa (currently in beta). No specific titles were announced, but it seems plausible we'll be hearing about one or more of these MMOs being developed for the Playstation 3 in the foreseeable future.

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?st ory=14650"

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