Have you ever gotten so addicted to a video game (I’m looking at you, Civilization!) that you’ve foregone eating and not felt hungry until after you’ve stopped playing? Well it turns out that there’s a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. Researchers at Plymouth University’s Cognition Institute in the United Kingdom have found that playing Tetris for a certain period of time actually seems to reduce natural cravings such as hunger. Essentially, the researchers claim that having an interactive visual stimulus such as Tetris or other video games in front of you can replace your cravings for a little bit. The researchers conclude that “Tetris might be a useful task for tackling cravings outside the laboratory,” although we’re unlikely to see a Tetris diet in the near future and forsaking food to play video games probably isn’t the healthiest way to lose weight.
While violent video games are often unfairly used as scapegoats for mass shootings, scientists have found that playing violent video games for several hours a day every day actually can do bad things to your sense of morality. BBC News reports that researchers at Brock University in Canada have found that “over-exposure” to violent games can weaken teenagers’ sense of right and wrong and can lower their ability to develop empathy for others. Lacking a sense of right and wrong and lacking empathy are, of course, two primary traits of sociopaths. More →
Thanks to a few huge fall releases, video game sales managed to improve year-over-year once again in October, according to the latest numbers sent to us by the NDP Group. This makes for the third month of positive growth for the industry, an estimated $1.3 billion in total consumer spending that signifies a 5% jump over October 2012. The Nintendo 3DS led the hardware segment for the sixth consecutive month, in part due to 2DS sales, although overall hardware sales were down 8% from last year. With the launch of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One this month, hardware sales should see a major surge in November, but for now, Nintendo still has the best-selling console on the market. More →
Last month Rockstar set the gaming world — and lots of virtual police cars — on fire with the release of Grand Theft Auto V, the game that made $1 billion in a weekend. USA Today shared the NPD Group’s video game sales report for September on Friday and revealed that after months of subpar results, overall retail sales were up 27% from August. These improved sales were mostly thanks to GTA V, which accounted for more than half of all game sales revenues on the month. “Grand Theft Auto represented over 50% of dollar sales in September, and had the highest first month sales than any other previous launch in the Grand Theft Auto franchise,” said NPD analyst Liam Callahan. More →
The thriving video game industry has struggled in recent years to maintain the momentum it developed over the last decade, but according to a recent report from the NPD Group, August 2013 represents the first month for year-over-year growth in sales since October 2011. The report states that retail sales “grew a modest 1% over August 2012 as growth in software and accessories offset soft hardware sales as we near the launch of the Xbox One and PS4.” More →
There are a lot of valid reasons to not play too many video games, but the idea that they’ll rot your brain may no longer be one of them. The Wall Street Journal reports on a new study conducted by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco showing that “older adults improved cognitive controls such as multitasking and the ability to sustain attention by playing a specially designed video game.” In fact, the study even shows that certain video games can even produce long-lasting improvements in conditions such as attention-deficit disorder and depression. This doesn’t mean that all games are potentially helpful for mental illnesses, of course, and the scientists emphasize that it’s far too early to tell whether gaming is a net positive or negative for mental faculties.
The stereotypical gamer is often thought of as a young male who possibly lives in his parents’ basement. In reality, this isn’t the case. According to research published by the Entertainment Software Association, nearly half of all gamers, or 47%, are female and the average age of gamers in 2012 was 30 years old. Interestingly enough, woman 18 and older represent a significantly greater number of the game-playing population, 30%, than boys aged 17 or younger, who represent 18%. Adult males, however, have been playing games longer than their female counterparts, an average of 16 years compared to 12 years. Smartphones and tablets have shaken up the gaming industry, and mobile games have been successful in appealing to young and old consumers. The average U.S. household owns at least one dedicated game console, PC or smartphone. In fact, the ESA’s survey found that 33% of respondents play games on their mobile devices, with the most popular category being casual games such puzzles, card games and trivia. More →
A user at password-hacking forum Inside Pro earlier this month published a half-gigabyte file that contained as many as 11 million passwords collected from users at the popular German gaming site Gamigo, Forbes reports. Even though the file containing the passwords has been removed from the forum, Forbes says the damage may have already been done since the file was available for weeks before being taken down. More →
Ubisoft on Wednesday released the trailer for the latest installment of its Assassin’s Creed franchise. Unlike its predecessors, which took place during the Italian Renaissance, Assassin’s Creed III will take place during the American Revolution and feature a new protagonist named Connor Kenway. Ubisoft has previously announced that Assassin’s Creed III will be bigger than any of its previous installments. The action-adventure video game is being developed for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U, Mac OS X and Windows PCs, and is set to be release on October 30th, 2012. Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed III gameplay trailer follows below. More →
Rovio on Monday announced the company’s financial results for 2011. The mobile game developer generated $106.3 million in sales based on the success of its Angry Birds games and strong merchandising business. “The strong growth in revenue clearly demonstrates the popularity of the Angry Birds brand.” Mikael Hed, Rovio CEO said. “The heavy investments made in 2011 to all business areas will be seen in future products. To ensure continuous success we need to be creative and stay focused on entertaining our millions of fans by continuously developing new and innovative products and services.” Rovio’s three Angry Birds offerings in 2011 — Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio — were downloaded 648 million times and featured 200 million active monthly users. The company expects business to continue to grow well into 2012. “We are very optimistic about 2012 due to significant investments in product development, cutting-edge branding, brand protection and corporate infrastructure,“ the CEO said. Rovio’s press release follows below. More →
Sega exited the video game console business in 2001 after stiff competition from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo forced the struggling company to shift gears. Now, more than 10 years later, Sega is back with new video game hardware… but it’s definitely not the kind you might expect. Unveiled late last year, Sega’s “Toylet” is now available in Japan and the surrounding region. The system connects to a urinal, allowing users to play a variety of interactive games by urinating on a sensor connected to the main device. A screen above the system then displays each game to the player, examples of which include filling virtual coffee cans and blowing wind up a cartoon news anchor’s dress. The Toylet costs roughly $1,750 and each game runs an additional $125, but it’s likely money well spent for bar owners, at least until the novelty wears off. A video demo of the Toylet (not in action, thankfully) follows below along with a pair of images that show examples of Toylet installations in Tokyo. More →
A Texas electronics company has allegedly begun production on Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox gaming console, according to a report from IGN. Production of the Xbox 720 is reportedly underway at the Austin, Texas branch of Flextronics, the same electronics company responsible for manufacturing the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. Despite these reports, however, Microsoft firmly stated that the next-generation Xbox will not debut at this year’s E3 gaming convention. The hardware currently being manufactured may instead be development kits for top-tier game developers that will get early access to Microsoft’s next-generation hardware in order to prepare new titles. The “Xbox 720″ is rumored to be six times more powerful than the current Xbox. It has been reported that the console will be equipped with a GPU based on ATI’s Radeon HD 6670 and should offer support for 3D technology, 1080p HD output, multiple displays and DirectX 11. Microsoft may also be looking to use online downloads and swappable solid state cards rather than a traditional disc drive. More →
As previously rumored, Microsoft is now offering a subsidized 4GB Xbox 360 gaming console and Kinect for $99 with a monthly subscription option. The bundle requires customers to sign up for a two-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold Membership for $14.99 per month. The subscription plan is similar to the model wireless carriers have been using for years. If a customer is to break off the agreement prior to end of the 24-month contract period, early termination fees will apply. The deal is only available at Microsoft Stores for the time being. A chart from Microsoft outlining applicable early termination fees follows below. More →