4/19/2012

Dad sues Apple for pushing cash-draining ‘free’ games at kids

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

An iPhone-owner whose daughter downloaded $200 worth of “Zombie Toxin” and “Gems” through in-app purchases on his iPhone has been allowed to pursue a class action suit against Apple for compensation of up to $5m.

Garen Meguerian of Pennsylvania launched the class-action case against Apple in October 2011 after he discovered that his nine-year-old daughter had been draining his credit card account through in-app purchases on “free” games incluing Zombie Cafe and Treasure Story. This month, Judge Edward J Davila in San Jose District Federal Court has allowed the case to go to trial, rejecting Apple’s claim that the case should be dismissed.

Meguerian claimed that Apple was unfairly targeting children by allowing games geared at kids to push them to make purchases. He describes games that are free to play but require purchases of virtual goods to progress as “bait apps” and says they should not be aimed at children:

Numerous gaming apps are offered for free, although many such games are designed to induce purchases of what Apple refers to as “In-App Purchases” or “In-App Content” i.e. virtual supplies, ammunition, fruits and vegetables, cash and other fake “currency”, etc within the game in order to play the game with any success.

These games are highly addictive, designed deliberately so, and tend to compel children playing them to purchase large quantities of Game Currency, amounting to as much as $100 per purchase or more.

7/28/2011

Nintendo cuts cost of 3DS by a third

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Nintendo has confirmed it will slash prices of the 3DS by a third next month and offer current owners 20 free games, so early adopters don’t end up feeling shortchanged.

The global trade price will reduce from 12 August to combat subdued interest, after Nintendo failed to meet initial sales targets.

1/11/2011

Ballmer: Kinect to support PCs in the future

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has promised that the company will support Kinect for PCs sometime in the future. This is news that should make Bill Gates a very happy man. The motion controller is currently only officially supported for the Xbox 360, although it has been hacked and tweaked to work on pretty much any platform that can be plugged into via a USB port.

10/16/2010

Microsoft is offering a free full version of Fable II

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft/Xbox Live is offering a free download of full version of Fable II game for Xbox 360.

The game is available for download from Microsoft’s XBox LIVE marketplace here.

“Fable II is a the best-selling action role-playing game, in which you take on the role of a Hero in the fully realised land of Albion. Play through an epic story, become the world’s greatest fighter, gunslinger or mage. Explore dozens of open, unique environments with your faithful dog. Make friends, fall in love and start a family. Meet hundreds of characters and face some very tough decisions. In Fable II, everything you do has a consequence. “

8/17/2010

Microsoft links new smart phones to Xbox Live

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. is bringing its video-game expertise to the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 line, an attempt to capitalize on the success of the Xbox 360 as the software maker tries to compete with Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

Microsoft says a dedicated group inside of Microsoft Game Studios will develop video games for Windows phones, help outside game publishers and scout out small, independent game makers. Video game companies will be able to use the same tools to make a game for a Windows phone or for the Xbox 360 console.

The company is also announcing a preliminary lineup of games that will be available when the phones go on sale during the holidays. The list includes popular Xbox 360 console games such as “Halo Waypoint,” “Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst” and “Guitar Hero 5,” as well as newcomers including “ilomilo,” a puzzle game in which players try to unite cute little cartoon critters separated by increasingly tricky paths and mazes.

6/15/2010

Microsoft Kinect arrives November 4th

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp will begin selling its “Kinect” motion-sensing game system on November 4, before the crucial holiday season, hoping to lure new and casual players to the Xbox and steal a march on rivals Nintendo Co Ltd and Sony Corp.

The world’s largest software vendor, which has ambitions of making its Xbox 360 not just a gaming device but a hub of home video and Web entertainment, will also begin selling a smaller, same-priced version of the console this week.

Microsoft would not say how much Kinect — which plugs into Xboxes and lets players control games with body and hand gestures — will sell for, though analysts’ estimates range from $50 to $200. Executives said 15 titles, including one from Ubisoft, will be available at the time of launch.

6/8/2010

Hackers plant viruses in Windows smartphone games

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hackers have planted viruses in video games for smartphones running on Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating system, according to a firm that specializes in securing mobile devices.

The games — 3D Anti-Terrorist and PDA Poker Art — are available on sites that provide legitimate software for mobile devices, according to John Hering, CEO of San Francisco-based security firm Lookout.

Those games are bundled with malicious software that automatically dials premium-rate telephone services in Somalia, Italy and other countries, sometimes ringing up hundreds of dollars in charges in a single month.

6/6/2010

Lord of the Rings Online goes free-to-play this fall

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Lord of the Rings Online will become a free-to-play game this fall as its new owner launches a major upgrade.

The move is another validation of the free-to-play business model, where gamers can play for free and pay real money for virtual goods such as better weapons or decorative gear for their game characters. The business model has been popular in Asia but only recently took off in the U.S. This move shows the pressure is building on game publishers to shift to the new business model or face declining audiences.

4/25/2010

Brain training games don’t train your brain

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A new study has shown that brain training games do little to exercise the grey matter.

Millions of people who have been prodding away at their Nintendo DS portable consoles, smug in the knowledge that they are giving their brains a proper work-out, might have to rethink how they are going to stop the contents of their skulls turning into mush.

The experiment, saw more than 11,000 people using the games for six weeks as part of the broadcaster’s annoyingly upbeat science slot Bang Goes the Theory.

The participants were subjected to a barrage of cognitive test before and after the experiment but the study found that they showed no improvement when compared to a control group which just buggered about on the Internet.

Clive Ballard, director of Alzheimer’s Society, told the BBC, “This evidence could change the way we look at brain training games and shows staying active, by taking a walk for example, is a better use of our time.”

3/23/2010

Nintendo to launch 3D-capable DS in 2010/11

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Nintendo Co plans to launch a new model of its DS handheld game console that allows users to play three-dimensional (3D) games without using special glasses, aiming to reinvigorate demand for the five year old machine.

The Japanese company said the new portable player, tentatively named “Nintendo 3DS,” will be able to play titles created for previous DS models and will be launched in the financial year starting in April.

3/8/2010

Microsoft Demos Game Across Phone, Xbox 360 & Win 7

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

During the keynote presentation at TechEd Middle East in Dubai, Microsoft’s Eric Rudder played the same Indiana Jones-ish game on a Windows computer, a Windows Phone 7 phone, and an Xbox 360. Gaming is about to get real ubiquitous.

Not only is the game itself playable on all three platforms, but the session is maintained when you move from device to device: if you’re playing on your Xbox and have to run out the door, you’ll be on the same level when you fire it up on your Windows Phone 7 Series phone. Basically, you’ll never have an excuse not to be gaming.

2/7/2010

Microsoft to end Live support for old-school Xbox

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft has announced it will soon no longer support the original Xbox console on its Live online service.

From 15 April, Microsoft will “discontinue Xbox Live service for original Xbox consoles and games”, according to the software giant’s Major Nelson blog.

The decision will also impact Xbox 360 owners - specifically, those who play old Xbox games on their second-gen consoles over Xbox Live.

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