Monthly Archives: November 2009

Chris Nuttall

Activision Blizzard may have the biggest selling game of all time at launch on its hands with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but the performance of two other key franchises is under scrutiny.

Tony Hawk: Ride, was released today , with a new skateboard accessory. It follows the October 27 launch of DJ Hero, an extension of the Guitar Hero franchise, using model turntables rather than instruments. 

Chris Nuttall

Apologies for our second post of the day on social gaming, but the news just keeps on coming in this hot area for the industry.

In fact, the arrival of Twitter and Facebook on the Xbox today is not social gaming in the strictest sense, and the emergence from stealth mode of social game developer CrowdStar is unlikely to frighten Zynga (newly financed as we reported earlier), but both events are worthy of note. 

David Gelles

Zynga, the largest social gaming company, has raised an additional $15m in funding, in yet another sign that this nascent industry has quickly become big business in the Valley.

The San Francisco company, which operates games on Facebook, MySpace, and Apple devices, has attracted nearly 200m monthly users to its games. 

Chris Nuttall

Maija Palmer reports in today’s Business Life section on the growth of mega data centres:

In the middle of a scrubby business park on the outskirts of Dublin, a hulking grey building has recently sprung up. It is protected by high, spiked railings and two sets of steel security barriers that are thick enough to stop a tank. 

Tim Bradshaw

Stephen Fry was crowned “King of Twitter” at this morning’s 140 Conference, a London seminar about the “state of now” organised by entrepreneur Jeff Pulver.

Mr Fry used a large part of his time on stage at the O2 to defend twittering celebrities such as himself and attack “deadwood” newspapers. For Mr Fry, who has over 1m followers on the messaging site, the former is the solution to the failings of the latter.

“I know how much contempt the world has for us as a breed,” he said of “that awful object, the celebrity twitterer”. “But it has driven Twitter.” 

Chris Nuttall

Apparently robotic hamsters are the cute must-have gift this Christmas, but, as they’re in short supply, the Palm Pixi might make a good alternative.

Palm’s newest smartphone, made available on November 15 on the Sprint network in the US, has a cuddly form factor you can almost fit in your palm and an interface to coo over. 

David Gelles

The FT’s editorial page takes issue with the EU Commission’s involvement in the Oracle / Sun deal:

The mere possibility that a $7.4bn technology merger in California might be blocked by regulators nearly half the world away over a fly-speck of a business shows how odd the dispute over Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems has become. 

Richard Waters

Nowhere was the anger at Google’s original digital books plan greater than in Germany, where it was seen as blatant cultural imperialism.

So you’d think that Friday night’s news that German books (along with most of the world’s non-English language publications) would now be excluded from the vast digital library would have been greeted with joy. 

Richard Waters

One of Silicon Valley’s most ambitious “green” start-ups looks like it’s about to join the consolidation that’s sweeping through the solar industry.

Ausra, which was backed by more than $90m in equity from blue-blooded venture capital firms like Kleiner Perkins and  Khosla Ventures, is in talks with three potential acquirers, according to a person familiar with the situation. Possibilities range from a full buy-out of the firm to a majority investment, this person says.

Originally from Australia (hence the name), Ausra’s founders were lured to California two years ago by the flood of VC money that was pouring into solar at the time. Their company is founded on concentrated solar thermal (CST) technology, which uses mirrors to focus the sun’s rays in order to heat water and drive a turbine. 

Chris Nuttall

On this Friday’s FT techtalk, we were joined by Robert Scoble, one of the best known tech bloggers and social media evangelists.

Robert has more than 50,000 subscribers on Friendfeed and 100,000 plus followers on Twitter. He works for Rackspace, is constructing an internet community at Building43 and writes at Scobleizer.com.

We discussed the week’s tech news, social media trends and the latest gadgets. There’s an archived transcript of the chat after the jump.