Blabbelon launches free voice chat for online gamers

If anyone can appreciate the quality of voice calls over the web done right, it’s gamers. That’s the bet that Blabbelon is making as it launches a free voice chat system for game fanatics. The service is based on Skype’s Silk voice-chat codec, which tries to connect people over the Internet with crystal clear voice quality.

Intel and Numonyx report a breakthrough in new kind of memory chip

Intel and startup Numonyx said today they have accomplished a breakthrough in a new kind of memory chip that combines the best features of a variety of memory types. Numonyx (founded in 2000) has been working on something called “phase change memory” for years, with Intel as an investor, and the companies view it as a candidate for the ideal memory chip. But it seemed to be lost in an endless research cycle. Until now.

Runic launches fantasy role-playing game Torchlight

Max Schaefer and his brother Erich have been toiling away in the fantasy role-playing video game business for 15 years. After a spate of bad luck, the Schaefers have managed to hang on to a seasoned team and now, with their startup Runic Games, they’re releasing their first game, Torchlight, on Wednesday.

Norwest's Tim Chang explains why virtual goods are so hot in social games

Tim Chang, principal at Norwest Venture Partners, has immersed himself in the online games sector for some time and he says that the hottest business model for game startups in 2009 is virtual goods. With the virtual goods business model, game companies let users play online games for free. But they charge them when they want to upgrade to new capabilities such as cool clothing or better weapons. This model was pioneered in Asian online games, but it has only recently been embraced in the U.S. While ad-based games have cooled off in the recession, virtual goods is finally taking off in the U.S., with revenues expected to hit $1 billion this year. We asked him about the state of the game industry and the role of virtual goods in this interview. Chang will be a speaker at the Virtual Goods Summit, which takes place this week on Oct. 28 and 29 in San Francisco. Look for our coverage of it.

Xerox develops silver ink for wearable or throwaway electronics

Xerox researchers have invented a kind of ink that can conduct electricity and be used to put electronic circuits on top of plastics, film, and textiles. That means in the coming years we’ll be able to wear or bend our electronics. You could even print out your electronic gadget on plastic sheets, as if you were printing a document.