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GDC 2008: Can These Men Save PC Gaming? 50°
February 25, 2008 // 12:17 am - It's one of the oldest songs in the catalogue but somehow it never seems to go out of style. You know the one I mean. It's the one that goes something like, "PC gaming is dead." Year after year we hear doomsayers proclaim the coming apocalypse of PC gaming and yet here we are.

News of PC gaming's ever-present demise always seems to hit an apex around the launch of a new console but with the Xbox 360, the Playstation 3 and Nintendo's Wii still dominating the sales charts perhaps now is the time to seriously consider that our past time may be in trouble.

Enter the PC Gaming...

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Wubi arrives: a look at Ubuntu 8.04 alpha 5 50°
February 25, 2008 // 12:16 am - The Ubuntu development community has announced that the fifth Ubuntu 8.04 prerelease is now available for testing. Ubuntu 8.04 alpha 5 adds additional polish and reliability as well as a few intriguing new features. The official release of Ubuntu 8.04, codenamed Hardy Heron, is scheduled for late April and feature freeze is already in effect.

We tested alpha 5 to get a first look at the new features in action and to see how it compares to alpha 4, which we reviewed earlier this month. Ubuntu 8.04 includes a new sound server called PulseAudio, the new GIO and GVFS I/O abstraction layer...

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Activision offering refunds for Wii version of Guitar Hero III 200°
February 25, 2008 // 12:14 am - As our bat-eared readers discovered when the game was first released, the Wii edition of Guitar Hero III, though advertised as possessing Dolby Surround Sound capabilities, could only duplicate one channel of audio through multiple speakers (a.k.a. mono sound).

Incensed, Nintendo's virtual troubadours demanded action -- Activision responded with a somewhat less-than-timely disc replacement program. Now, four months after the game was released, Activision has announced another method of atonement for their single-channel sins.

Instead of replacing your half-mute disc with...

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Game-Ad Boom Looms as Sony Opens Up PS3 50°
February 25, 2008 // 12:14 am - Sony is opening up its in-game advertising platform -- likely providing a boost to the already-burgeoning $400 million in-game-ad market and sparking a battle among the three key players who sell these ads.

The maker of the PlayStation3 system will offer an open platform, meaning in-game-ad-serving companies Double Fusion, IGA and Google-owned AdScape all will be able to sell ads in games that run on PS3, according to people familiar with Sony's plans.

The three companies will strike deals with the major game publishers creating PS3 games, such as Electronic Arts, Activision...

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XBLA Royalty Rate Changes - Closer To The Truth? 50°
February 25, 2008 // 12:13 am - So, one of the big stories from earlier this week was Kotaku's one on Microsoft apparently 'cutting XBLA royalties in half', and it's one that has caused a lot of controversy, with plenty of predictable name-calling and insistence on the death of XBLA as a viable platform.

One of the problems here, of course, is that Kotaku's report only had one side of the story - and Microsoft isn't really in a position to refute the reports, because it will not discuss original or current royalty rates in public. Which leads us to a problem to be resolved - did Microsoft really cut its XBLA royalty...

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EA desperate to buy Take Two 50°
February 25, 2008 // 12:12 am - EA is trying to buy TakeTwo. The speed with which EA management is moving hints at desperation. A cash offer of US$26 per share was rejected outright by the Take-Two board, even though that's 65% higher than what those shares are currently worth.

It was an extraordinarily generous offer, until you factor in GTA IV. EA lost money last year, and the prospect of reaping the profits from what could be the biggest video game of all time was impossible to ignore.

Since the Take-Two board rejected the offer without bothering to tell their shareholders, EA has taken the liberty...

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Electronic Arts audacious bid to buy Take-Two 50°
February 24, 2008 // 9:10 pm - Electronic Arts today announced that it has proposed to acquire Take-Two in an all-cash deal valued at approximately $2.0 billion.

The news follows weeks of rumors that Take-Two would be the subject of an acquisition bid, with Viacom touted as a possible suitor at $1.5 billion. EA has, it turns out, attempted to buy Take-Two for $25 a share, and, after being rebuffed, has upped the ante by a buck. But the firm has warned shareholders that they won't get a better price.

EA's proposal of $26 per share in cash represents a premium of 64 percent over Take-Two's closing stock...

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After HD DVD Drop, Toshiba Spends $835M to Back PS3 50°
February 24, 2008 // 9:10 pm - Sony gives Toshiba something in return for its troubles -- Japanese Cell chip plants for $835M

A new twist has emerged with the death of HD DVD. After Warner, Best Buy, Walmart and Netflix jumped on the Blu bandwagon, the fate of HD DVD was already sealed.

Despite the grim news, the principle HD DVD developer, Toshiba Corporation, refused to initially comment on its plans for its HD DVD. However, as many analysts predicted, Toshiba came out last week and officially surrendered to Blu-ray.

Many saw Toshiba's willingness to give up on HD DVD as a logical...

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