February 2nd, 2006

Tennessee Volunteers for Video Game Service

Video games are big business these days and Tennessee hopes to compete for a slice of the game development pie.

As reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Governor Phil Bredesen (left) and lawmakers commissioned a study which outlines incentives to lure film and television production companies to the state, along with video game developers.

This is one lesson Tennessee learned the hard way, losing out on eight different movie projects since 2003 due to a lack of financial incentives. The net economic loss to the state from failing to attract those film production companies is estimated at $138 million.

It is expected that legislation designed to provide tax credits and other incentives will be considered during the 2006 legislative session.

David Bennett, executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission, told the newspaper that luring video game developers to relocate to Tennessee would attract additional technology companies and animators, which would in turn provide opportunities for a special-effects industry.

Scary Recap of Pentagon Nuclear War Game

Buh-bye, Alaska.

The 49th state suffered a nuke strike in a recent Pentagon computer simulation in which members of the press role-played the president, secretary of defense and various key military officials. The exercise is reported in chilling detail by reporter Sam Bishop of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Of course, you can't buy this strategic war game in any store. The simulation is clearly being used by the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency to build support - and funding - for its program. Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) is a key backer of the agency and its simulation, which uses video-game technology to promote the missile defense system.

Retired Admiral David Frost, now a consultant, told Bishop, "Our objective here is simply to increase the understanding of how the system operates... we're on the verge of making some degree of operational readiness of new capabilities, really powerful new capabilities, and that's why we're doing this now."

The war game presentation centered on the additional strategic options presented by a missile defense program.

"Congress spent a lot of money on missile defense so far, and part of its value, maybe even the largest part of its value, is its deterrence value," Frost said. "We hope to make it clear to other countries that it's sort of pointless to attack us."

Not everyone is convinced.

"Any president that relied on this missile defense system for national security decisions is relying on a chimera, on a mirage," John Isaacs, president of the Council for a Livable World told Bishop. "Any simulation like this is based on fantasy as opposed to reality... The exercise is a phony exercise, no better than a computer game."

GP: Whaaaa? We like computer games...
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Political Backlash for Game Legislating Politicians?

Here and there, if you read the tea leaves carefully, you'll find some criticism directed at the anti-game violence efforts of prominent politicians. Here are some recent samples in which the issue raised by critics concerns the relevance of game legislation in the overall political process:

Seattle University's Spectator Online tackles Hillary Clinton in a piece called "Time for a Democrat, but not Hillary."

The editorial reads, in part: "Though viewed as 'the liberal who could take us to victory,' even her position as a liberal is questionable. Much of Clinton's recent action has been to take measures against personal liberties. Her campaign against the violent video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a prime example. I know that simulated sex scenes in adult-oriented video games are probably the biggest threat to America at this point in time, and I'm certainly resting easier now that copies were pulled from shelves, but is this the mentality we want our leader to have?"

Meanwhile, in San Mateo, California, the Daily Journal reports on a tight race for a State Senate seat in the June Democratic primary. Assembly Speaker pro tem Leland Yee, architect of California's violent video game law, is facing tough competition from fellow Dems Lou Papan and Mike Nevin.

Papan is 77, but remains a political force in the contested district, which includes San Mateo and San Francisco. Nevin, 64, is a retired San Francisco police officer who has never held state office. Nonetheless, the Daily Journal thinks Yee, 57, may struggle in the primary.

Papan took a shot at Yee's highly-publicized game legislation, telling the newspaper, "Quite frankly, video games aren't the most pressing issue in Sacramento right now."

Indiana Video Game Bill is Dead

A video game bill before the Indiana legislature has died from lack of support.

SB135, proposed by Democratic State Senator Vi Simpson (left) and Republican State Senator Dennis Kruse, would have prohibited the sale of violent or sexually explicit games to minors.

But as reported in today's Indianapolis Star, Simpson's bill failed to generate enough support for an initial vote. With the state's legislative deadline for first-level approval now in the rear-view mirror, there is no chance the bill will see the light of day in the 2006 session.

Punxsutawney Phil Sees.... Another Take Two Lawsuit

A press release issued today by the Hartford, CT law firm Schatz & Nobel outlines plans for a stockholder suit against Take Two. Qualifying members of the plaintiff class are those who purchased Take Two common stock between October 25, 2004 (GTA San Andreas release date) and January 27th of this year.

The complaint essentially alleges that Take Two's mismanagement of the GTA franchise and the Hot Coffee scandal caused the stock price to drop significantly, thereby harming investors.

Despite being filed in the Southern District of New York, this is not the St. Clair Shore General Employees Retirement System case mentioned earlier this week by GamePolitics in our report on Take Two's SEC filing.

Oddly enough, Schatz & Nobel seem to be hunting for a lead plaintiff. Their press release reads, in part: "If you are a member of the class, you may... request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff... a class member that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation... lead plaintiffs make important decisions which could affect the overall recovery for class members, including decisions concerning settlement."

GP: Hey, since he bought a share of Take Two stock in order to crash the upcoming shareholders' meeting, maybe Jack Thompson could be the lead plaintiff. What a three-ring circus that would be!!

Many thanks to Jabrwock for digging up this story...

Read the Latest Take Two Lawsuit

Hot off the press, download Fenninger, et al vs. Take Two.

So we are wondering, who are you Fenninger? What is motivating you to file this suit?

UPDATE: It's odd, but our correspondent Jabrwock has pointed to at least two more press releases which appeared today from legal practices, using much the same language as that used by Schatz & Nobel in announcing Fenninger. What gives? Are the law firms tag-teaming Take Two?

Here is the Schatz & Nobel annoucement. Here's one from Nashville's Barret, Johnston & Parsley. And here's one from Lerach Coughlin, a New York firm, which is offering a PDF of the case on their website. And guess what? It's the same case - Fenninger - that we received from Schatz & Nobel.