The BBC has a good article on CGI, focusing particularly on ILM. You would be sensible to gather some quotations about the increase in quality year-on-year, as well as on the possibilities offered by CGI.
Tela Tiquila has upset MySpace by using the site to promote herself (she's a singer and model) and make money by selling her music via a site not approved by MySpace (MySpace aren't financially linked to it, so why would it be approved?). Perhaps it's a timely reminded the rise of Web2.0 isn't springing from a generally-held belief in the power of community endeavour, but from the opportunity to make loads of cash.
All this talk of Web2.0 extending the opportunities of audiences, democratising the media and engendering greater creativity does get away from the fact that all kinds of rubbish gets posted on YouTube:
Hopefully my demonstration of Wii Boxing allowed students to reflect on the more active and social nature of videogames (not that they haven't always been social, but perhaps in a less obvious way).
Okay, that's a slight simplification, but it appears one of the big hopes at Sony for the PS3 is the Home Network - dubbed by some as a 3D MySpace. It seems that the expensive PS3 is to be used to connect to an online environment where you can interact with others. It's a sign of a few things: games consoles aren't just about games; that new applications, or methods of control are vital to engage more users; that online is the future of consoles; that social networking gets everywhere.
Videogaming is a rich area of investigation for a case study for you NMT exam, but you shouldn't restrict yourself to thinking about games only: a convergent technologies, consoles have to offer more than just games. Develop your thinking around (to name just a few):
the interaction between films and games
new methods of control which have extended the audience reach of consoles
consoles as media centres for a home's digital media
Just because you can restrict usage doesn't mean you have to: are the days of DRM numbered? (Digital Rights Management technologies are used to place restrictions on how files downloaded can be used.) The BBC has a fairly detailed run through the arguments surrounding the use of DRM in music and video files. What's apparent is that there remains a tension between giving consumers what they want and 'protecting' content copyright (or is that revenue?). Researching the ways in which both audiences and institutions have adjusted to the online distribution of media would be excellent preparation for this summer's exam.
Viacom aren't happy with YouTube's rather relaxed approach to copyright, so they're reportedly planning to sue Google (the owners of YouTube) for $1 billion. Other institutions have embraced the video site as a way of engaging with an audience which is watching less TV; perhaps Viacom are posturing in preparation for talks about licensing content on YouTube? As the music industry discovered, audiences will get what they want, even if it's not offered legitimately, so working with NMTs is arguably the best bet.
I've finally updated the list of student blogs on the right. You can use the links to see what other students are writing / researching. As you'll soon discover, the students who want to do well are posting much more frequently than the others...
Here's an interesting discussion of the problems of user-generated content in videogames. It is very specific to videogames, but the issues are fairly universal when applied to other NMTs which encourage the audience to become contributors and producers.
YouTube on proper TV? Former American Vice-President Al Gore has launched a TV channel in the UK (Current TV) which will include a high proportion of viewers' productions. He says he hopes to 'democratise' television - I'm sure you've heard me use that word before and it's good to hear someone else use it! You can watch some programme clips on the official website, as well as find out more about the service which is intended to re-engage the 18-34s with TV by embracing the Web2.0 trend towards an active, participatory audience experience. Fingers crossed it doesn't turn into 'You've Been Framed'...
The amount of news about TV developments (particularly internet delivered TV) means it's perfect for your consideration as a case study. It's getting towards the time for deciding on a case study - you'll need at least one - and TV (digital as well as internet and mobile) seems to be the best bet for a rewarding and fast-developing focus for your research. It also brings in multiple technologies, so means you'll end up probably only needing one case study.
Virtual worlds are very popular, largely owing to the freedoms they allow; in Second Life for example, you can be whoever you want to be (and do just about anything!). The problem is that nothing can escape big-business. So, to stick with Second Life, the place is filling up with adverts and even a casual internet search will reveal loads of media institutions (like the BBC) and companies developing a presence in the online world. The BBC has a good article on the future of MMOGs (massively multiplayer online games), and of course a big part of that is going to be the bringing into the mainstream of online gaming in virtual worlds, as well as the appropriation of the concept for all sorts of uses (mostly to sell you stuff, although perhaps to do other things too, including teaching).
The BBC have a useful article which goes through the evolution of videogame controllers. It might seem a bit frivolous but remember that the controller is the means of interaction with the videogame system. Traditional controllers, especially the bigger and more fiddly ones of recent years, are said to favour male gamers; the Wii's popularity should come as no surprise given the way in which it allows no gamers to play with the more straightforward and familiar remote control shaped device.
No, they allow all sorts of exciting collaboration (useful for thinking about the role of collaboration and community in the world of NMTs - the term Web 2.0 would be justifiably applied in this instance).
Finally, Wired.com has a great article about the use of digital distribution of videogames, which includes lots about the benefits of NMTs to institutions.
Many criticise new media for the rapid rate of development, arguing that consumers are being forced to an endless upgrade cycle which is both expensive and environmentally disastrous. For videogames hardware at least, it looks like there could be some stability, forced on the industry by the difficulty in turning development into profit. Given that videogames are worth more than cinema box office takings don't feel too bad for them.
According to BBC's Click Online programme music is the important development feature of mobile phones, particularly in terms of online music and portability. It's fairly obvious really - music has long been seen as a portable media; think of Walkmans, radios in cars and iPods. Unlike the TV idea, institutions should see a lot of mileage in pushing the music agenda.