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Army is Paying $17.7M for a Training Game

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321w ago - According to Stars and Stripes (linked above), the Army is paying nearly $18 million in order to acquire a new training simulator that will allow soldiers to virtually drive vehicles, fire weapons, and pilot aerial vehicles in combat scenes.

To quote: The Army is shelling out nearly $18 million for a new training simulator game that will allow soldiers to drive virtual vehicles, fire virtual weapons and pilot virtual unmanned aerial vehicles in combat situations.

The contract for "Game After Ambush" was awarded late last month to software developers Laser Shot, of Texas, Bohemia Interactive, of the Czech Republic, and Australia-based Calytrix Technologies.

The new simulator – a modification of the commercial "Virtual Battle Space 2" – will replace the Army's Official video game "DARWARS Ambush," which the service uses to train soldiers for combat.

Since 2006, the Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation, or PEO STRI, has fielded more than 3,000 copies of "DARWARS Ambush" to the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Homeland Defense Department, according to spokeswoman Kristen Dooley McCullough.

In an e-mail, McCullough said the contract included $10.7 million awarded on Dec. 19, with another $7 million in options.
 

Gamer States Sony Discriminates with the Word 'Gay' from Home

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321w ago - A gamer believes Sony is discriminating as they have banned words such as gay, lesbian, and bisexual from names of clubs or in postings in club forums as part of PlayStation Home.

To quote: Michael Marsh, an 18-year-old gamer from Norwalk, Conn., wanted to set up a gay/straight alliance club in PlayStation Home, Sony's new free 3-D virtual world component for the PlayStation 3.

The problem was that the words he was using - "gay," "lesbian" and "bisexual" - were being filtered from text chats and were not being allowed in the naming of clubs or in postings in club forums.

Marsh, who is straight but supports gay rights, said he raised the issue with Home community managers during the private beta test, but the problems persisted after the public beta introduction of Home on Dec. 11.

"I can understand if they're filtering out profanity, but if feel like it's discrimination," Marsh said. "By blocking a word like 'gay,' which is a preferred term by the gay community, you're encouraging it as a bad word."
 

Killzone 2 Demo Available at GameStop on January 5th, 2009

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321w ago - There is now a date for the Killzone 2 GameStop PS3 demo- January 5th, 2009.

Earlier this week we reported that GameStop would in fact have the demo available for pre-orders to pick up, but it was unclear when they would become available.

On the company's official Web site, it clearly states when the demo will become available for in-store pre-orders to pick up. (Online pre-orders will have to wait almost a month longer for their code to arrive)

"A rave card granting access to the Killzone 2 Demo will be available in stores while supplies last beginning the week of January 5. Check with your local store for more information."

Below is a screen-grab of the Killzone 2 page!
 

What Apple Can Teach Nintendo and Sony on iPhone Games

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321w ago - Nintendo, Sony: Let's talk for a sec- just you and me. Look, guys, over the past couple of years, you've had a great run.

Nintendo, your DS has tons of games, a wide variety of unique stuff that's a blast to play. Sony, your PSP is a gadget-lover's gaming tool, with everything from Skype to Internet-radio support (oh, yeah, and you have some cool games, as well). But unless you both do something in 2009, the iPhone and iPod Touch will soon become the top dogs in handheld gaming.

Apple, the same folks who have pretty much ignored games since I played Marathon on a Mac, came on strong in 2008- and now Nintendo and Sony must consider the iPhone a legit competitor. The proof: Apple's iPhone/iPod Touch games start at a buck (going up as high as $10), and games have flooded Apple's App Store since it opened its digital doors in July.

Nobody at either company has asked, but here's my free advice.

Nintendo: Get that new DSi to the United States, on the double! The bigger screens and the 256MB of memory are a good start, but we need to see a Wiiware-style channel where people can easily download DS games directly onto their handheld no matter where they are, stat!

Also, while I'm mentioning it, set it up so that we can run said downloaded games directly from SD Card....
 

Downloading Your Games? Get Ready for Extra Fees

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321w ago - The business of selling games has rapidly changed over the past few years, mainly because online services have allowed developers to bypass the middleman that is retail stores.

There are major advantages to purchasing a game via digital distribution: it's insanely more convenient than driving to a store, customers avoid pushy salespeople, the titles themselves are often cheaper than physical copies, and no one has to keep track of the game disc.

As it turns out, though, that last aspect might not be entirely true, because one of the biggest digital distributors requires customers to buy the option to re-download programs for more than a limited amount of time.

When Spore first came out, I was too preoccupied with other titles to pick it up, but I've found myself intrigued recently when I watched my brother play it over the holidays. Since I'm currently in Tahoe, where there isn't a video game shop or a Best Buy within a 45-minute drive, I checked out EA's online store; downloading the game for $40 sounded more appealing than driving to Reno and spending $50 for a physical copy.

However, that option quickly became less appealing when I saw something extra sitting in my shopping cart: the "extended...
 
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