Hot Tech At The Winter Olympics

Writing for Fast Company, Dan Nosowitz has a fun roundup of high-tech gadgetry the kind not related to producing or broadcasting the event in play at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.  Look past the, you know, excellence in sports and triumphs of human will, and the Olympics can come across as a quadrennial celebration of host cities, official sponsors and TV ratings.  Now according to Nosowitz, emerging tech trends make the list, with appearances by Google, social media nets, iPhone apps, green thinking, and at least one high-tech concept that has better messaging than execution (the weBlimp).

Check it out at FastCompany {link no longer active}.

Sony Confirms PS3 Shortages

Sony has confirmed that shortages of PlayStation 3 are looming in the U.S. and U.K., saying demand for PS3 Slim beat its expectations.  As reported in MCV UK, Sony first indicated over this past weekend that it was preparing for tight inventory for the coming months in the U.S.  The company now says the same goes for the UK market.  Sony’s Mark Howsen told MCV that there are inventory issues based on overwhelming demand since the launch of the PS3 Slim, which he said was running 20 percent ahead of expectations.  He added that the PS3 Slim 120GB model is particularly affected.  MCV surmises that whatever issues Sony is having, PS3 systems are sure to be plentiful as high-profile first quarter titles such as God of War III and Heavy Rain hit shelves in the coming weeks.  Read more at MCV UK.

Sony Ericsson Phones To Get PSN

Sony chief Howard Stringer has said that Sony Ericsson mobile phones will get PlayStation Network, part of the company s publicized strategy to extend the network to all connected Sony devices.  Edge-Online reports on Stringer’s comments at the Mobile World Congress, which were first posted on game news site Lost Gamer.  Howard called PSN a not so secret weapon that Sony will leverage given its strength in entertainment hardware and content.  He also hinted to the network representing the company’s exploration of a consistent user interface across its products.  Read more at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

Jimi Joining Rock Band

The sister of Jimi Hendrix has told LA Times that a version of MTV Games Rock Band featuring his music is in the works.  As reported in Billboard, Janie Hendrix mentioned the game in an LA Times interview discussing her handling of the late guitar legend’s estate.  She said that Hendrix’s label Sony Music had executed a licensing deal to make his music readily available, including for a new edition of Rock Band that she pegged to later this year.  Billboard says the timing would make sense given the 40th anniversary of Hendrix’s death this fall, for which Sony and his estate have prepared other offerings such as issued music and the compilation of never-before-heard tracks Valleys of Neptune.    The news outlet says MTV Games and Rock Band developer Harmonix didn’t return its requests for comment.  Read more at Billboard {link no longer active}.

Rockstar Heavies Form iPhone Studio

Two lead developers who worked on Grand Theft Auto titles have left Rockstar Leeds to start up iPhone app developer Double 11, reports Develop.  The new studio is headed by Lee Hutchinson, former Rockstar lead engineer who worked on the iPhone version of GTA: Chinatown Wars.   Develop says that Hutchinson is soon being joined by Matt Sphepcar, Rockstar lead programmer on Grand Theft Auto titles including GTA IV.   Hutchinson said the departure from Rockstar was very, very amicable, adding that the move is part of a trend he described as developers who are sick of huge all encompassing next-gen projects and want to get back to grass-roots bedroom coding.   Develop points to another recent move in the same vein, with Lionhead Studios lead designer Dene Carter forming iPhone studio Fluttermind.  The news outlet tags their report with a link to a site survey asking whether large-scale game development has peaked.  Read more and access the survey at Develop.

Survey: Most Women Play Games, Some Warily

A survey by Q Interactive and Engage Expo on women’s videogame habits has found most play games, yet some admit to being wary about it.  As reported in CNET, the firms ran a survey of 700 women and found that 54 percent play social games daily, and among them 42 percent consider themselves gamers.   More than a quarter said they felt it was okay to play games more than six hours per week.  Yet for some, any playing they do is under the radar.  CNET points to a surprising finding from the survey that about 16 percent, or nearly one in six, said they hide or sometimes hide their game playing.  Women also shunned gaming in the office, with only about seven percent admitting to sneaking in games while at work.  The firms also pinpointed mothers in the survey to ask about how they monitor their children s videogame habits.  They found that 40 percent let their children play games daily, while 37 percent do so weekly.  Read more at CNET.

Facebook To Launch Text Version For Mobile

Facebook is introducing a text-based version accessible by those who don’t own smart phones or subscribe to mobile data plans.  TechCrunch reports that the company slipped the announcement for the service, called Facebook Zero, into a presentation at the Mobile World Congress.  Facebook described the service is a lightweight version of that omits data intensive applications, and said the service will launch within weeks.  TechCrunch says the name comes from Facebook s description of the system as having zero-rated pages, a likely reference to its not-so-taxing data rate.   Read more at TechCrunch.

Hailing The King

Microsoft debuted this trailer for Remedy Entertainment’s Alan Wake at the X10 Xbox 360 game expo.  The game makers haven t shied away from openly presenting the title as made-for-games Stephen King style horror.  That messaging has been prevalent in the trailers.  The game’s E3 2009 trailer {link no longer active} opened with a near shot-by-shot lifting of two King film opening sequences, pasting director Frasier Clark Heston’s intro for Needful Things  {link no longer active} next to Stanley Kubrick’s for The Shining {link no longer active}. This one plays more like the second-to-third act span in a King film trailer, giving glimpses of the action and hinting to the presence of incarnated evil.  All in all it’s a brilliant tether for the title’s product positioning.

Watch it at GameTrailers {link no longer active}.

Can New Ad Exchanges Boost Banners?

Writing for Adweek, Brian Morrissey looks at how new web architecture could reinvigorate the lowly yet resilient banner ad.  Morrissey says the launch and revamp of ad exchanges by Google for DoubleClick, Yahoo for Right Media and Microsoft for AdECN, among others, aim to unlock value in banners by finally giving them a level of targeting on par with search marketing.  Among advertisers, he says firms from ad agencies to tech companies are rolling out demand-side platforms to address the coming exchanges.  Morrisey writes an in-depth piece and gets viewpoints on what the automation could mean to the online banner ad market.

Read the article at Adweek {link no longer active}.