Links for Thursday, October 19, 2006

Om on Steam
Mr. Malik today talks about the baby steps that the gaming industry is taking into digital distribution. Steam is the digital distribution arm of Valve Software, makers of the popular Half Life series, and recently they have started distributing other game makers’ games.

Games, while heavily pirated online, would benefit greatly from pure digital distribution as Xbox Live seems to be proving. Valve seems to operate a somewhat “locked box” model like the closed system of the Xbox 360 and presumably the PS3.

Midsummer Night’s Virtual World
Interview with the Indiana University professor, Edward Castranova, who won a grant to create, “Arden: The World of Shakespeare,” online game. The idea behind the game is to create a virtual petri dish to study virtual worlds. Castranova wrote the book Synthetic Worlds last year and is the head of IU’s Synthetic Worlds Initiative. This doesn’t sound like the next WoW, but the study should be interesting.

Turning Social Networks into Dollars
CNET talks today about how social networks are devising ways to make money from their users through targeted advertising.

Mac LightScribe Software
So, unfortunately, if you already own one of these drives, it doesn’t look like this will help, but LaCie has created the first software to create LightScribe discs on the Mac. LightScribe, is a technology for CD burners that can burn an image on the top of discs that you burn. Pretty cool stuff and finally available for the Mac.