Tag Archives: cybersecurity

Blizzard Cashes in on Virtual Game Spending

I think I am in the wrong line of business. I knew already that Facebook’s Farmville was a huge hit. Every time I log into the site, I see people harvesting their crops and begging me to fertilize them. I’ve also seen people cooking up delicious things in their restaurants on Cafe World. I’ve heard (and read) that you can use real money to advance yourself in these games. I had no idea, though, just how huge of a market this is until now.

The people behind World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment, struck gold this week – literally. In the past, they have occasionally offered limited-edition virtual pets for sale in their online store. Pay Blizz some real money, and you can have yourself a seriously cool pet on the toon of your choosing. This week, the geniuses introduced a new Celestial Steed, which allows you to “travel in style astride wings of pure elemental stardust.” I’ll admit that the steed is pretty cool looking. But I can’t see paying twenty-five real dollars for it if I was already paying fifteen every month just for the privilege of playing the game.

Apparently, one heck of a lot of people disagree with me, though. Blizz is reporting that in the first four hours that the mount was available they made an astonishing two MILLION dollars just off of that pet alone. That is over eight-thousand smackers per minute.

The mount doesn’t give a player any advantages in the game over other subscribers. It simply looks cool. Who knew that you could make a fortune in moments through a virtual game? I need to put my brain to work to come up with one of my own.

Photo courtesy of MMO Champion and Blizzard Entertainment.

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Google Buzz Abandons Auto-Follow

Due to the public outcry against Google’s lack of concern for our privacy with the introduction of Buzz, the company has wisely chosen to nix the auto-follow feature. This comes as excellent news to most people. However, for some, the damage has already been done. The following system is now being switched to a “suggestion model”. Google will present you with a list of friends they think you’d like to follow. You get the chance to deselect them before you start using the service.

When Buzz launched four days ago, one of its selling points was that it took no work on the user’s part to get started, because Buzz would automatically follow the people you interact with most on Gmail. Their first response to the situation was to makes it easier to hide which users you are following. However, that wasn’t enough to quell the tempers of most people. Therefore, Google rolled out this newest change today.

Two other changes makes sense to me, as well. Buzz is also going to stop automatically connecting Google Reader and Picasa albums to your account. However, those options will still be available. Additionally, you can now – FINALLY – adjust your Buzz settings right from within your Gmail Settings page.

The changes today bode well for the future of Buzz, in my opinion. What do you think?

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