Shutdown rumors swirl around Interplay

Shutdown rumors swirl around Interplay: “Today, however, unconfirmed reports began to surface that the publisher was indeed shutting down. Several stock- and Interplay-game-related sites claimed to have received reports from Interplay employees that they were told by the company’s human resources department to file for unemployment insurance. According to the sites, staffers were also told to collect their belongings by 5 p.m. PDT on Tuesday because the property managers were preparing to lock all Interplay employees out of their Irvine offices.”

GameSpot, a CNET Networks Web property, also reports that the storied computer gaming publisher of famous titles like Starcraft, Star Reach, and Star Trek: Judgment Rights — to name a few, has shut down its Web site and e-mail server meaning all e-mail messages sent to company employeess or executives are bounced back. This has been confirmed by me, as well.

So, it’s a sad end to a remarkable gaming company that, like Sierra, produced many great early computer game titles. Ah well, I suppose some game companies eventually need to be put out to pasture.

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KaZaA no longer most downloaded software application

KaZaA, the controversial file swapping application infested with invasive adware and owned by Vanuatu-based Sharman Networks, is no longer the Internet’s most downloaded software application. On May 3rd, Ad-aware surpassed KaZaA with 1,517,622 downloads for the week to take the coveted number one spot on Download.com’s list of the most popular free and paid software applications.

Peer-to-peer industry analysts and online publications have said that the news would not normally receive any attention, if say fellow adware-laden Morpheus had beat KaZaA. However, since the very antithesis of KaZaA has beat it, the news is significant.

Since that time, in less than a month, KaZaA has plummeted to a dismal 49th place. (The list only ranks the top 50 applications. Grokster was number 50.) In my view, it marks a paradigm shift in the industry and should serve as a warning to companies looking to attach adware or spyware to their software programs. If they need proof, they should look no further than LimeWire, which recently removed all bundled software, adware, and spyware from its Gnutella-based file swapping software. It has rocketed up the CNET Download.com chart, to take sixth place. If that wasn’t enough, Spybot Search & Destroy, another free pest removal application, has shot up to number two.

Nikki Hemming should take note. Computer users are sick and tired of these kinds computer vermon that inhabit our machines, fester, and deliver us all sorts of advertisements they deem “targeted and relevant.”

Federal legislation, and perhaps an international treaty, prohibiting adware and spyware would certainly help. However, this news ultimately proves the power the consumer has, even though consumers are often jaded by the fact they are controlled by big media (or not-so-big media) companies.