Archive for the 'Gaming' Category

At What Point are we Taking Things Too Far? “Playstation War”

Playstation 2 Component Called Coltan Incites African War in the Congo

Playstation War in Africa over ColtanI came across an article today entitled “Playstation 2 component incites African war”. The story goes on to talk about how a rare metal called coltan, used in the production of the PS2 has become the modern day blood diamond of the tech industry.

The story mentions that numerous devices including cell phones, computers and, of course, game consoles all make use of this rare metal to produce certain components.

The article came off as sounding desperate for news to me, and we all know it is not uncommon for the media to go to any length to create something political to generate a story.

The fact that the article was peppered with words like “claims,” “allegedly,” and “according to,” makes me question the facts that were presented in the story.

While mentioning that numerous hardware manufacturers utilize this metal, the article focuses on singling out Sony, probably due to the high profile success of the Playstation game console.

The article’s tone carries an overall air of guilt that is being targeted towards companies producing these devices, and the consumers who are buying them. This is very apparent in two of the comments in the story that are listed below.

“Kids in Congo were being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms,”

“a company often has no idea where the original coltan ore came from, and frankly don’t care to know.”

I wonder if they actually believe this is part of some clandestine attempt to bring suffering to people, or just the fact that there are thousands of other considerations surrounding a Video game console release.

With factors like digital media rights, trademarks, violence & ERSB ratings, soundtrack licensing, political & religious implications and more, I think expecting a company to track down the source of every material they use to build a piece of hardware is completely unrealistic.

The article does a great job of (unknowingly) highlighting the real source of the issue, which are the numerous ongoing conflicts around the world.

These problems will not go away if we stop producing video game systems, or refuse to use cell phones and computers. These are cultural issues that need to be addressed on a global scale, as opposed to grasping at straws to assign blame.

Once we can get past the “who is at fault” mentality that pervades our society, we can focus on ideas that will make a difference and ask “how can we make things better”.

Unfortunately we don’t see a lot of news stories asking “what can we do to make a difference” in our modern day culture. Maybe that in itself is one of our biggest problems?



Games for Windows – LIVE, the Free Gaming Service

Microsoft Announces Free Gaming Service for Windows

Games for Windows LiveMicrosoft has revealed their new gaming service “Games for Windows – LIVE”, a free gaming service that allows users to play games online through a service similar to that of Xbox Live.

The new service will utilize gamer tags, friends lists shared between Xbox 360, Windows Live and Zune, text & voice chat, and gamer achievements. All of these features are similar to those found on Xbox Live, the service that Microsoft has received high marks for on its Xbox and Xbox 360 console platforms.

On top of the PC game play aspects offered by the service, Microsoft has also announced cross platform gaming between Windows users and Xbox Live gamers. Although there was no mention of any plans to offer the Xbox Live service for free.

The Windows Live service sounds like it will attempt to set some new standards for online gaming. While it worries me when companies try to create standards for the rest of the industry, some of the innovations delivered by Xbox Live would be a welcomed change in the PC gaming world.

So far there has yet to be any industry standards regarding online gaming with PCs leading to a rather fractured online community consisting of millions of users. It would be very cool to allow those people to easily interact in a common ground to further the gaming culture, and bring gamers closer together.

To read the full details checkout the Games for Windows – Live homepage here.

With the new standards and features offered by Games for Windows – Live what are your impressions of how well the service will be received by users? Do you think standardizing online gaming will provide value to gamers, or make people feel as though they are being told how they should play. Let’s hear your thoughts!




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