Around the Virtual World

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A weekly wrap up of interesting news about virtual worlds, virtual goods and other social media.

From the Supreme Court to Anonymous, 2011 was a transformational year for games

It’s no exaggeration to say that 2011 was a transformational year for the game industry. As the game industry’s trade group chief, Michael Gallagher, said, “The word ‘historic’ is overused, but as we look back on 2011, it is a perfect fit for our industry’s year.” Here’s a recap of 13 events that made this such a big year for games.

Viacom Owes Additional $383 Million in ‘Rock Band’ Video Game Dispute

After already paying $150 million to former shareholders of Harmonix, arbitrators have determined that Viacom owes an additional $383 million to the video game company that created Rock Band, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

New Wave of Hacker Attacks Coming

Virtual currency, sometimes called cybercurrency, has become a popular way for people to exchange money online. These online “wallets” are not encrypted and the transactions are public, making them an attractive target for cybercriminals. There have already been attacks directed at users of Bitcoin, one of the largest virtual currencies, said Dave Marcus, McAfee’s director of advanced research and threat intelligence. “Our concern isn’t confined to Bitcoin. Virtual currencies seem almost designed to attract hackers,” he told me.

5 social network predictions for 2012

Facebook is the power hitter in social networking today, and is likely to drive the most activity and a fair share of the innovation in social networking in 2012. But it’s not the only company driving things forward. Here are five ways social networking is likely to play out in the coming year.

Welcome to the future: We predict big trends in social games for 2012

Now it’s that time of year that we, once again, reshuffle our tarot decks and see what the next 12 months will hold for games of a social nature. And, even if the Mayan predictions about the world ending in 2012 prove true, that won’t happen until December — so everyone has plenty of time to get this stuff in under the wire.

Virtual Reality Treadmill

Some of us prefer running outdoors simply because it offers something different for the eyes (and senses), instead of pounding it on a treadmill like a hamster in a gym. Of course, there are others who do it right from the comfort of their home, and there are also some pros to offset the cons – you definitely lower the risk of being robbed, and neither do you need to sacrifice your morning run whenever the skies open and start to pour. With the $2,000 Virtual Reality Treadmill, you will be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.