The official Twitter account for the country of Sweden has tweeted relatively uneventfully following its Henry Blodget moment back in June, when a Swedish citizen named Sonja dispatched some questionable tweets about Jewish people. But this week’s Swedish tweeter is Naseer Alkhouri, a “homeopathic Swede” who develops games for a living. In addition to tweeting adorable fruit sculptures and a treatise on citizenship, the issue of sexism in gaming appears close to Mr. Alkhouri’s heart. For the past couple of hours, he’s used the platform–which boasts close to 68,000 followers–to broach the sensitive topic.
The dream of the nineties is alive on Kickstarter! Or one specific dream is, anyway: virtual reality. Think the holodecks from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Oculus Rift is a new gaming headset currently raising money on the crowdfunding platform, and it’s already garnered quite a bit of attention. And how could it not, promising “truly immersive virtual reality”? The excitement is such that its campaign is already overfunded, having raised $1,688,407 to the requested $250,000, and there’s still a big chunk of August left to go.
Don’t pull out your credit card just yet, though. According to Wired, the folks behind the campaign don’t want your money. Not if you’re a consumer, anyway:
XX in Tech
With all this spare cash we have lying around, we were getting concerned that there weren’t enough outlets on the Internet for us to waste it. Luckily, Facebook has our back, and it’s an even better way to spend money than on shitty Zynga goods.
According to the Financial Times, Facebook has launched its first game where users can bet real money (with the hopes of winning real money, of course). Because gambling laws in the U.K. are closely regulated and allow for that sort of thing, the game will only be available to U.K. users, which is a damn shame for those who love Atlantic City but don’t feel like venturing out of their dark basements.
As a pretty avid Xbox aficianado and also a person with two X chromosomes, this Betabeat reporter was unsurprised to read in the New York Times today about the seriousness of sexism in gaming culture. We gave up using a mic on Xbox Live long ago, the slew of vicious insults hurled at us just for having a girly voice not worth it when we could happily kick friends’ asses on local co-op mode, no slurs necessary.
But the Times‘s piece hammers home just how rampant the degradation is, and it’s pretty jarring. In one video clip embedded in the article, a female gamer’s coach threatens to “smell her” as punishment for losing a round in Cross Assault. It’s not the creepiest thing we’ve ever seen, but it comes damn close.
Be Like the Virus
This is the Summer of Zynga’s discontent. There are Zynga’s stock woes, which have prompted Forbes to question whether the gaming company is really worth any money at all. Forbes‘s Eric Savitz writes that “the market is basically saying it simply does not see any long-term value in the company’s ongoing business.”
Then there’s also this class action suit filed against Zynga in a California Superior Court on July 16, which alleges Zynga failed to pay overtime and has unfair business practices.
IP Uh Oh
Less than a month ago we reported that Draw Something had ousted Angry Birds from the highly coveted top paid app spot, but it would appear that success was really Draw Something’s plateau: just six weeks after Zynga acquired the New York-based app shop, its user numbers have dwindled considerably.
How many ‘Words With Friends’ points is ‘jackpot’ worth?
Betabeat stopped by Stack Exchange the other day to interview the CHAOS team. We snapped some pictures of the big monitor array they have set up, including some eye popping stats on the way traffic is growing. But we didn’t want to make those public just yet, since we were invited in to visit to report another story.
But today Stack Exchange COO did an interview with founder Joel Spolsky about the big board and tipped their hat about some of these numbers. Over the last 30 days Stack Exchange has grown 40 percent, hitting more than 17 million page views on 6.3 million unique visitors. Gaming.stackexchange.com led the way, with 245 percent growth in the last month.
The best part of Sim City was always reacting to the natural disasters. Local gaming vets Margaret Wallace and Nick Fortugno have just raised a million bucks to build Shadow Government, a Facebook game that where players can build or destroy their own nations.
The interesting part is they are using software initially designed for real world governments by the Millennium Institute.