Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Marginalia 1.5.11:

  • Apparently Ubisoft has finally decided to (sorta) stop being a bunch of dumb douchebags. The French software giant inspired a chorus of WTFs from gamers around the world when it announced in January that all of its PC titles would feature online DRM integration. Online DRM basically means that users have to be logged in to the Internet for the whole time they're playing a Ubisoft game. In practice, this means that if you lose your connection to the Ubisoft servers for even a second while playing a single-player game like, say, Assassin's Creed 2, you'll be dropped like a bad habit. That's a scary thought for those of us with crappy internet connections or, um, anyone who plays a Ubisoft game, apparently. It seems the company's finally loosening their sphincter, though, as they've removed the online DRM requirement from a few of their games, including the aforementioned Creed and Splinter Cell: Conviction. It's not clear, though, which of the publisher's titles still retain the connection requirement or whether future titles will include it. Nice to see some common sense, even if it follows massive, headache-inducing stubbornness. (Via Joystiq.)
  • Facebook is worth $50 billion. Let that number sink in for just a second. As the Economist points out, that means that this seven year old company that has just 2,000 employees is worth as much as fucking Boeing, a company that has been around for nearly a century and employs 160,000 people. To put it in perspective, Google is worth four times either of those companies, with its publicly-traded stock valuing the company at around $200 billion. Google employs nearly 20,000 employees, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to Boeing's massive workforce. The Economist (and some erstwhile investors) are worried that the company is overvalued, and I think there's something to that. Most of Facebook's revenue comes from those ads on the side of the page, most of which seem completely irrelevant or just silly. Facebook's making its billions off of asking me if I want to meet Christian singles? I can't imagine people actually clicking on the things, but I guess I'm just not tuned in to consumer habits, since telemarketing apparently actually works sometimes. Perhaps Facebook really is worth that much, though. Yet another indication that gigantic, profitable companies don't necessarily employ that many people. (Via Daily Intel.)
  • This last bit isn't really news, and, yep, it's Kanye-related. But it's so wonderful, I doubt you'll mind. I guess even the titans of popera have a sense of humor. Who knew? (Via