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Activision Blizzard has solid 2010, confirms layoffs

Activision Blizzard's two strongest franchises helped the company have a stronger financial showing in 2010.

The video game publisher announced yesterday that it generated over $4.4 billion in revenue last year, up from the nearly $4.3 billion it tallied in 2009. It was able to nab a profit of $418 million last year, nearly quadrupling the $113 million profit it posted in 2009.

Even with help from the recently released Call of Duty: Black Ops and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the company reported that its revenue slid in the fourth quarter to $1.4 billion, compared with … Read more

Adult-only Kinect games

Links from Thursday's episode of Loaded:

Facebook will soon release auto-photo tagging software

MetroPCS is rolling out 4G networks like gang busters

Google's newest Chrome browser is apparently ready for business use

Google is in trouble in France for findings of anti-competitive practices

A porn company shows off 3D role-play sex simulation using the Microsoft Kinect. I know I promised a video but it looks to have been removed from YouTube. Sorry!

A new plug-in electric tricycle will make you super cool on your urban commute

Experience Miles Davis' music with all five senses

Miles Davis' music has always been a feast for the ears, but now it can reach all five senses: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting.

It's the release of Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" in a "40th Anniversary Collector's Edition" box set that inspired the album's new sensory explorations. The set comes with a 48-page book; three CDs (two CDs containing the original 94-plus minutes of music with six bonus tracks); a third CD with a previously unreleased concert by Davis' group with Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Airto Moreira, and … Read more

Ballooning to the top

Flight Doodle is a simple, fun, and extremely polished casual flying game in which you pilot a hot-air balloon through endless hazards to ever-increasing heights.

The interface is simple: you use tilt controls (tilting your device left and right, with adjustable sensitivity) to steer a hot-air balloon up an infinitely scrolling vertical skyscape; you can use touch-screen buttons on the left to slow down, speed up, or get a temporary boost. You face an inexhaustible supply of enemies that threaten to pop your balloon and end your game--including rock-throwing cloud men and pointy thumbtacks that materialize at the edge of … Read more

StarCraft 2 causing system overheating?

One of the latest and popular game titles from Blizzard Entertainment is StarCraft 2, which was released about two months ago. As with many modern games, this title has some advanced graphics that may at times be demanding on video cards, which in turn causes them to heat up. Heat generation is the nature of anything that demands processing power, but with StarCraft a couple of people have reported the game causing their hardware to overheat and fail.

Recently we were contacted by a MacFixIt reader and StarCraft player "Ricardo" who mentioned that the game ran only a … Read more

MetroPCS launches second 4G LTE market

MetroPCS Communications opened its second 4G LTE market today, this one in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.

The new service follows the carrier's initial 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) launch in Las Vegas last week. As in Vegas, the Dallas-Forth Worth service will offer prepaid monthly plans starting at $55, which include unlimited talk, text, and data, and require no contract.

But Dallas-Forth Worth customers will also get a few additional features. MetroStudio, available through the $60 monthly plan, will offer downloads and ringtones as well as video content from NBC Universal and other providers, MetroPCS said. A new combined … Read more

What's in the StarCraft II Collector's Edition box?

The long-awaited sequel StarCraft II is easily the biggest PC game release of the 2010, with millions of players around the globe waiting to sign on and engage in massive galactic battles. Being a pop-culture ephemerist, however, I was more interested in what kinds of trinkets and extras came packed into the fancy Collector's Edition of the game, which, handily, just landed on my desk.

Though the basic boxed (or downloadable) version of StarCraft II costs $59--the current standard for mainstream games--the Collector's Edition runs $99, and comes in a large box made of heavy laminated cardboard. Packed … Read more

StarCraft II takes flight with Korean Air

They print anything and everything on aircraft these days. Following Pikachu and the recent Gundam mecha skins on Japan's All Nippon Airways, StarCraft II has also joined the sky high club, with two Korean Air planes--a B747-400 and a B737-900--wrapped with the image of terran hero Jim Raynor from the game. These birds will fly both the domestic and international routes in the U.S. and Europe for six months from June 24 and early July, respectively.

Back on the ground, four Korean Air limousine buses skinned with StarCraft II characters will also be in service throughout this period. … Read more

Blizzard's StarCraft II wings into beta

World of Warcraft publisher Blizzard Entertainment on Wednesday announced that it has begun closed beta testing for its real-time strategy game, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

StarCraft II has been a long time coming. It is the sequel to the 1998 hit, StarCraft. The new game will feature an entirely new 3D graphics engine, and like its predecessor, will focus on the battle between the protoss, terrans, and zerg. Blizzard said StarCraft II should launch sometime in the first half of 2010.

Already, the company said in a release, there are thousands of people in the beta test. One of … Read more

Audio as art: Sonic frontiers in hand-crafted design

Exoticism and the high-end audio aesthetic ought to be a natural combination, but that's rarely the case. There are exceptions, and when I find them I'll cover them in this blog.

Walking down Crosby Street in SoHo in Lower Manhattan with a few friends, we spotted a trendy shop, BDDW. The window display featured brilliantly designed furniture.

Once inside, it wasn't just the furniture that dazzled, there were quite a few vintage motorcycles on display! Looking further I came upon one of the strangest looking turntables I've ever seen. BDDW was definitely not your average boutique … Read more