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This is my first shot at News Blips — I promise I'll get funnier with practice. Bear with me as we delve into new streaming services, company layoffs, lawsuits, and Mega Man.
GameStop enters the digital distribution arena. The retail chain announced that it has acquired the streaming company Spawn Labs and agreed to purchase digital-distribution group Impulse, Inc. Spawn Labs will work on GameStop's existing research and development projects, and Impulse's service gives players access to more than 1,100 games across multiple platforms. The service also offers digital rights management and reporting tools for developers and publishers. Considering how many people in the industry have complained about the used game market, I wonder how many of them will enjoy working in an online system controlled by GameStop.
Sony Online Entertainment closes studios in Denver, Tucson, and Seattle, laying off 205 workers in the process. SOE also cancelled development on the massively multiplayer online shooter The Agency in order to focus on its upcoming PlanetSide and EverQuest games as well as its current offerings. We hope those out-of-work employees can find new jobs as soon as possible. [Joystiq]
A federal court says Silicon Knights may have its day in court after a four-year legal battle with Epic Games. The Too Human creator claimed that Epic hurt their game's development by withholding updates on its Unreal Engine 3 and spending licensing fees to fund Gears of War instead of on improving the engine. Silicon Knights said the ruling was a “victory in their litigation.” Meanwhile, Epic said in a statement that the judicial system will allow it to present its own claims that Silicon Knights violated its agreement and stole technology. It’ll be up to the jury to decide this duel of contract disputes. [Kotaku]
Capcom cancels the do-it-yourself platformer Mega Man Universe. Most of us remember this game from the stop-motion trailer that had the Blue Bomber blasting enemies in a '80s kid’s dream bedroom. The actual title allowed players to customize characters and stages and featured cameos like Arthur from Ghosts n' Goblins. The game’s biggest casualty, however, is “Bad Box Art Mega Man,” the bold hero depicted on the liberty-taking cover of the first Mega Man. People have been waiting since 1987 for the day when graphics would be advanced enough to make that image a reality. [andriasang]
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