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Kids PlayingA recent study by Pew finds that 97% of American teens of the age 12 to 17 play computer, portable, console or online video games. When asked, half of them claimed they played yesterday and the ones who admitted to daily playing say they did so for at least an hour. Here are some of the other statistics:

  • 86% of teens play on a console like the Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii.
  • 73% play games on a desktop or a laptop computer.
  • 60% use a portable gaming device like a Sony PlayStation Portable, a Nintendo DS, or a Game Boy.
  • 48% use a cell phone or handheld organizer to play games.
  • 80% of teens play five or more different game genres, and 40% play eight or more types.
  • Girls play an average of 6 different game genres; boys average 8 different types.

We expect that if Pew queried adults, they would find at least the same statistics, or more for those who play MMORPGs like WOW. As for the good news, another study last September found that, for the most part, teens playing games resulted in positive social action.

Read More | Pew

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WoW Pod

Leave it to MIT to come up with an extreme WoW “accessory.” Cati Vaucelle, a self-confessed hardcore gamer, developed the WoW pod, which is self-contained and resembles a hut in the game. Made of MDF wood painted with lacquer, it has acrylic sheets outside for texture and skin and fur inside. Because she doesn’t want to be interrupted during her game time, she added a throne that doubles as a toilet, a pot for cooking and automated stovetop. This is how Ms. Vaucelle describes her creation, “The WoW Pod is a cocoon that structures a relationship between your physical body and your avatar.”

Read More | Cati Vaucelle

WOW Steins

Show everyone you can drink hearty and play WOW at the same time. Ceramarte artisans have crafted these limited edition World of Warcraft Steins and all are hand-painted. Made of stoneware with bas-relief sculpting and pewter lids, they come in Horde, Alliance and Lich King designs. Each tops 10-inches and weighs about 3 lbs. The steins are priced at $89.99 and $174.99. Purchase a pair and you save on shipping.

 

Read More | WOW Steins

WoW Mouse

Blizzard and SteelSeries have created a gaming mouse specifically for WoW. With features like 15 programmable buttons, 130 pre-defined commands for drag and drop macro creation, 16 million illumination choices and 3 intensity and pulsation levels, it will be more difficult than ever to stop the addiction. Not to mention that it looks pretty hot. The MMO Gaming Mouse can handle up to 160 macros and comes with a price of $99.99.

 

Read More | SteelSeries

The Witcher screenshot

Atari’s new president Phil Harrison has plans to have its name associated with more than simply retro gaming. Their “Jenga World Tour” and “Godzilla Unleashed” didn’t receive the best of reviews so they plan to move into MMO games, such as “The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf” that will be released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 late next year. Other plans include “EVE Online,” “Ready 2 Rumble Revolution” on Wii and “Ghostbusters: The Videogame.” Be that as it may, we still remember when “Asteroids” was hot enough for us and were grateful for the Atari name.

 

Read More | Reuters

WOW LichBlizzard Entertainment certainly knows how to promote a product. The company announced that it sold 2.8 million copies of Wrath of the Lich King within the first 24 hours, beating the previous record in Jan. 2007, when they sold 2.4 million copies of The Burning Crusade. As we previously let you know, Blizzard opened doors at midnight at over 15,000 stores worldwide. Before the launch there were more than 11 million gamers. We expect that the amount will increase with the new expansion sales.

Read More | New Launches

Get ready, hard core WOW players. The new Wrath of the Lich King expansion will be officially available in stores tomorrow, but midnight madness has set in. Copies will go for $39.99 for PC or Mac one second after midnight. There are also official launch events in NY, SF, Austin and Anaheim where you can enter a contest to win a Blizzard Entertainment signed copy. A Collector’s Edition will be available as well. Get moving. You only have a few hours left to partake in the gaming merriment.

 

 

Read More | Digital Tech News

City-of-Heroes-MacCity of Heroes has long been on the PC and now it makes the move to the Mac.  The MMORPG is is coming from a pertnership between NCsoft andTransGaming, Inc.

“Players will soon be able to join the battle of good versus evil in the most popular comic book MMO on both the PC and Mac platforms…and in the same game world,” commented Brian Clayton, executive producer of City of Heroes for NCsoft West. “Given Mac’s fame as a platform for creative people and City of Heroes’ unprecedented character customization options, I think City of Heroes is a perfect fit for the Mac gaming community.”

You can pre-order the game GameTree for $19.99.  You can also sign up for a sneak peak via a beta here.

Read More | NCsoft

Testing Disease Response From Corrupted Blood WoW EventThe New York Times has a story about a group of researchers who examined the outbreak of the in-game disease ‘corrupted blood,’ originally designed to affect only high-level characters, for clues about what the social response might be to an actual pandemic. The game provided the authors of a research paper set to be published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal a unique set of conditions for this research that had typically been difficult to simulate: A wide population, an emotional response (because WoW players get really attached to their characters) and the ability to disseminate information among the population.

The corrupted blood outbreak was a glitch in WoW that took place in September 2005 and provided a unique look at the responses both by the population and the “bug:”

As the virus spread, very real challenges emerged, such as the failure of quarantine measures, further transmission by character’s pets and the existence of “immune” characters, who act as carriers, passing the virus to others while failing to succumb to symptoms.

It’s a fascinating use of the social construct that WoW has become.

Read More | Times Online via Slashdot


age of conan

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, Funcom’s highly anticipated PC/ online RPG, is bowing out of the crowded Fall ‘07 release window.  Based on the press release, it sounds like given the scale of the game, the development team just needed more time to polish and perfect the experience.

“We naturally regret that we have to push back ‘Age of Conan’. However, after careful consideration, and analysis of recent Beta feedback, we believe that the new release date is in the best interest of the gamers, our company and our owners,” said Trond Arne Aas, CEO of Funcom.

You have to respect a developer that delays a game to make it better, and doesn’t just shove it out the door for the sake of the company’s shareholders.  At any rate, MMO players can now look forward to slashing their way through the world and characters of Robert E. Howard on March 25th, 2008.

Read More | Kotaku

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