Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The sales figure of games is down, Analysts say it's because of sequels. That's not completely correct I think. Sure people are bored of sequels, but most of these are coming from EA, who manage to produce update after update of the same title.

I can't see this model working for much longer. In an age where everybody is connected most of the games from EA should be available as a downloadable patch/update. Just take a look at what Blizzard is doing with Diablo 2. It still gets worthy updates and changes, if EA would have released this game we would be at Diablo 9 or something by now. The game changed, but it would not have changed enough to warrant spending 50 euro on.

People are not tired of sequels, Doom 3 and Half Life 2 are good examples of this. They are both FPS and sequels, still they sold lots! Because they were good games, they presented a worthy upgrade to the previous game(s).

The industry might not be heading for a crash, but EA certainly is.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

So I went to Linux World Expo in Utrecht - The Netherlands yesterday. And although its primary focus group was manager type of people there was one interesting thing to go to, the panel discussion about software patents.

All types of people were presented in the panel, lawyers, programmers, multicorps and jurists. The talk was OK, although too short and nothing new came out of it. Although the stance each of these people take was interesting to witness.

The programmer was against it, which is logical. The lawyers and the multicorps were pro patents and the jurist was slated against patents (note the this difference between a lawyer and a jurist).
The lawyers said there is no problem because there are no court cases on software patents in Europe. I'm sure he would love to have more of them. The multicorp (in this case Philips) said they wanted to patent as much inventions as possible and required it from anybody who worked together with them to do the same. They also said in this day and age it is unclear on where software comes into play in an invention because almost everything invented these days contains software of some kind. Another point they raised was that if you invent something physical made with your hands it is patentable so why shouldn't it be the same for software.

These people had a hard time discovering the true danger and problems behind software patents. The lawyers denied the problem, but were faced with hard facts when the programmer pulled up some letters against popular open source projects threatened by a company holding a patent in Europe. Asked if they would want to defend this project they merely answered - 'if they are willing to pay us, sure.' - which made it very clear why they are pro patents.
The reason why you could make a difference between a software patent and some other products is that software has no costs involved except the initial development. Other, more physical, products have initial costs as well, but also recurring production costs, they need a factory line, perhaps specialized machines to reproduce the invention. Software on the other hand, once made, can be put online and downloaded unlimited times adding no extra costs (perhaps the hosted server, but at the cheap prices these days they can be neglected).

Several topics were not covered, but still interesting. Like the fact that patents are not world enforceable. The extreme long time a patent is valid, etc. I don't have to tell you that I'm against software patents myself. Everybody in the EU (you don't need to be an EU member though), I must recommend to go to the European of the Year voting guide.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I just bumped into the escapist magazine issue 17, which deals about women and gaming. A good read is OMG girls don't exist on teh intarweb!!!1, there are some very funny anecdotes in that article.

Still, not surprising at the least. The biggest game playing group are men, from all ages for sure, but those with the most time to lose in games are teenage boys, most probably of the geek/nerd type. Just give those guys a few years to grow up, they're not all bad.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

If this is true, I would say it's about time!

Don't forget that Novell both owns Suse and Ximian. You should compare Suse with RedHat, which are both targeted at the server side of things. Ximian is a long time linux desktop company, they should be looked at as really the first Ubuntu. I'll confess to the fact that I even bought Ximian in the past during the RedHat 8/9 days because it was so good compared to all the other so called desktop linux offerings around.

Suse was never about the desktop, Ximian is. I was never a Suse user, but now I just might give them a try once more.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I just found out about x2x, this must be the hottest app I've ran into these last months. Finally, using two keyboards and mouses on one desk drove me almost insane at certain times.

No more, thanks to x2x, which can be considered as a software KVM, but without all the wires.