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PC game violence raise gun issues around the globe

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March 15, 2013

Computer game violence still continues to raise a lot of social issues around the globe, having been fingered as a cause of gun violence in the U.S., and suggested as an underminer of civility just about everywhere else.

What to make, therefore, of an imminent game that will simulate nineteen years of imprisonment and mind-numbing labour on a hellish prison island?

And the people behind this imminent game still believe that it will have historical and educational value, because the software will offer players the chance to understand Nelson Mandela's long ordeal on Robben Island, where he spent 18 of 27 years as a political prisoner.

Mandela developed a philosophy of forgiveness when on the island and, after his release, became South Africa's first President elected by all South Africans of all races.

The game offering insights into his life may therefore sound banal, but needs to be understood in its full context, namely a project called Mandela 27 that aims to help children better understand Mandela's life.

The EU-funded project will see Coventry University's Serious Games Institute do some of the work on the game, which will offer an interactive map of Robben Island, the site of the prison where Mandela was held.

As visitors to the exhibition leave a replica of Mandela's cell, they will “go outside to the prison yard and play the serious game-– a dark graphic novel about his time at Robben Island.” The game will simulate activities like breaking rocks.

In all, the Mandela 27 project will tour the United Kingdom, South Africa, Sweden and Belgium from 2014. Once the physical component of the project concludes, the online content will remain online for three years.

In other hi tec news

Samsung has agreed to acquire an equity stake in Sharp, in the first capital tie-up between major consumer electronics makers in South Korea and Japan.

Samsung will invest US $107 million for a 3 percent equity position in Sharp, it said yesterday. This will make Samsung one of the largest shareholders in the Japanese group, a rival in the global LCD and TV industries.

While Samsung says it's not going to intervene in Sharp's business management, it could nevertheless end up with some insight into new technology and some kind of influence on future products. And now some industry observers think that could be a risk for Apple going forward.

With Apple reportedly trying to reduce its reliance on Samsung, things just got a bit harder with the Korean company investing $111 million for a 3 percent stake in another big Apple supplier: Sharp.

While Samsung repeatedly said that it won't get involved with Sharp's business management in "any way, shape or form," it will be getting a "steady" supply of LCD panels used for smartphone and tablet displays. And it probably will get a line of sight into Sharp's future products and customers, as well as early access to Sharp's cutting-edge technology.

Apple is believed to buy about 31.5 percent of all its LCD panels from Sharp, and it closely relies on the company for some of its most advanced products, according to industry analysts. When Sharp has issues, it can slow down the release of Apple devices. So if Sharp starts to favor Apple's chief rival, Samsung, that could have big implications for Apple, some are saying.

"It's not like Samsung is going to write a memo to Sharp to have unfavorable terms with Apple," said Susquehanna analyst Mehdi Hosseini. "But they could certainly influence Sharp or indirectly influence Sharp's relationship with Apple and it gives them better market intelligence on their competitor and is a way of putting more pressure on Apple."

Apple and Samsung are fiercely battling in court, but Apple still buys a lot of components from Samsung. There's talk that Apple is trying to move away from Samsung, including by having its processors made somewhere else, but it has yet to make any such moves, at least not publicly.

Overall, Apple may not see a big impact in the short term from Samsung's new partnership with Sharp, but issues could pop up longer term. Apple is known for tightly controlling its vendors, but it may one day find Samsung has priority when it comes to Sharp's LCD shipments.

If a lot of Sharp's steady supply is going to Samsung, it could mean fewer panels for Apple. And that could result in delays, or shortages in new hit products, like the iPhone, which uses Sharp displays.

Additionally, Samsung executives won't be influencing business matters, but Sharp could still end up tailoring its road map to fall more in line with Samsung's needs than those of Apple.

Source: NMTTP.

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