The UpStream

California GameStops Now Required to Include DLC Warning for Used Games

posted Saturday Apr 14, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

California GameStops Now Required to Include DLC Warning for Used Games

California is simply a weird state. As you may have read and heard about that fact several times through our show and on The UpStream, the great state of California has always tried to do things just a little bit different than the rest of us. They've tried to ban violent video games, impose extra restrictions to any game that is not rated Early Childhood and are the reason that products anywhere else in the country say that the state of California recognizes that lead in products might be a bad thing. Combine the crazy state with a company like GameStop and you're bound to eventually get something interesting out of the pair.

That's exactly what happened this week. GameStop stores in California will now be required to post downloadable content (DLC) warnings on used games that make the free item or map pack void upon first use.

Microsoft Buys AOL Patent Portfolio for Over $1 Billion

posted Saturday Apr 14, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft Buys AOL Patent Portfolio for Over $1 Billion

AOL announced a couple weeks ago that it would be selling its 800 patent portfolio to the highest bidder. Rumors were flying around that Google might be interested after losing to the Rockstar Consortium with crazy math constants in the Nortel bids. As it turns out, Microsoft swooped in and picked up the portfolio this week at a hefty $1.3 billion price tag.

What's in this portfolio that warrants such a high price and why is this important? The full story is after the break.

Nintendo's Wii U Might Sell for $300

posted Friday Apr 13, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Nintendo's Wii U Might Sell for $300

In the past few weeks, both Microsoft and Sony said that they would not be talking about new hardware at this year's E3 and that they still have at least another year before a new console would be hitting the market. Therefore, it would only be right for Nintendo to start talking about their upcoming Wii U before E3 in just a couple months.

We've mentioned on the show that in order for the Wii U to even be competitive, they'd have to launch at a sweetspot pricepoint of somewhere between $249 and $349. Well, it looks like Nintendo may just do that.

We have the details after the break.

Why Wait for an IPO - Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion

posted Monday Apr 9, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Why Wait for an IPO - Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion

It's been a long time since an Internet conglomerate purchasing a fast-growing start-up for way above its valuation has caught the world's attention. In fact, the last time it happened was Google purchasing YouTube in 2006. That is why today's announcement that Facebook has purchased photo sharing service Instagram for a cool $1 billion is such a shocker.

Like YouTube, Instagram has only been around about 2 years and gained popularity rapidly and surprisingly. While YouTube got to where it is because of a single upload of the comedic music video for Lazy Sunday from Saturday Night Live, Instagram has grown in popularity because of the viral nature of the product itself. Every time someone shares a photo through the service, it is incredibly branded, advertising itself to everyone who sees it. This has helped build the business incredibly fast.

Now, when I say business, I use the term loosely. Like Twitter, who they currently integrate with for photo sharing, there seems to be no business model. The app is free, the service is free but the servers that power it are not. The only business model available to them was an acquisition by an existing company. Now enters Facebook.

Why would Facebook want Instagram as part of their family and why make the purchase now, just ahead of their IPO? Hit the break to find out.

Netflix Buys DVD.com, Cares About DVDs

posted Sunday Apr 1, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Netflix Buys DVD.com, Cares About DVDs

After The Great Netflix Debacle of Late 2011, the company has managed to minimize its losses and keep itself under the media radar. At this point, that's probably the best thing for the company, as they look to recover from the damage inflicted.

This week, however, news comes out of the Netflix base for the first time in a while. It was announced that Netflix has purchased the three-letter domain DVD.com. This move is pretty interesting and a spokesperson for Netflix says that "Netflix cares about keeping DVD healthy, and this is just one small investment in keeping DVD healthy."

Several Internet snoopers saw the nameservers change from worldnic.com to ultradns.net, which is the same service Netflix uses, on March 25th, and Netflix confirmed the purchase right before the weekend hit. The URL now redirects to dvd.netflix.com. With three-letter domains being so expensive, however, I have got to wonder how much cash they forked over to pick it up.

I think it is noteworthy that this is after the whole Qwikster thing didn't work out so well. At least with the DVD.com purchase, you're not leaving the Netflix site and are instead being redirected to it. By the way, does anybody have any of the branding or POP from the Qwikster project? We want some!

House Votes Down Blocking Employers from Asking for Facebook Passwords, Sort of

posted Sunday Apr 1, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

House Votes Down Blocking Employers from Asking for Facebook Passwords, Sort of

It is very rare that we mix politics with technology in the writing of this publication and on our show, however there are times where it becomes a necessity in order to explain what is happening in the ever-evolving world of the Internet. Last week, Avram Piltch, Online Editorial Director for LAPTOP Magazine, discussed on our show in his weekly Piltch Point segment about an article he wrote where employers are asking employees and candidates for their Facebook and other social network passwords. While Facebook has come out and said they don't agree with the practice, because of a lack of law that prevents this practice, employers are trying to make it a common question during the interview process.

This obviously brings up several problems and one would imagine asking for a password like that would be the same as asking someone's age or asking if it's okay to put a camera in their house for a week during the interview process. As you could guess, now the government wants to get involved and decide one way or the other if something should be done about this.

What happened in our nation's capital this week? The story is after the break.

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