Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pirates Are Not Thieves, They Are Fans

There's a long-standing — and incorrect, I think — view amongst publishers that a game pirated is a game stolenIt's not (who says they'd ever have bought a copy anyway?), and in a great piece over on GameSetWatch, Irish designer Tadhg Kelly (formerly of Lionhead) argues an even better reason why this isn't the case. Instead, he says, we shouldn't think of pirates as thieves. We should think of them as fans, and change the video game business accordingly.
Talking about publisher's stance on piracy, he says "They're seeing their business as a content business, where the content is the thing that has value. This is not the case."
"The games industry, like all the arts, is about finding and interacting with fans, so that value comes from a relationship."
"What it means is that your game, and you as a developer, needs to be built with the idea of forming a connection with players, and to do so with as many players as possible. The relationship that you establish with those players is the true source of revenue and success."
It's perhaps a little "pie in the sky" for big publishers as they exist today, but as Kelly's full article explains, there's something fundamentally broken with that, too, something that actually in some ways encourages piracy. It's an interesting read, if only because it seeks to tackle "piracy" not from a direct, reactionary standpoint but in terms of changing the entire business of video games.



Thursday, February 10, 2011


We have all heard the term before.  But to each gamer it can hold a very different meaning. For some gamers, an exclusive title can be cause for celebration.   But if you spend enough time on videogame forums, it becomes clear that most gamers would rather use the idea of exclusivity as a weapon, and as a means to brag about their superior gaming device. But when all is said and done, exclusivity is nothing more consumer loyalty, and this is exactly why so many gamers are so defensive about their precious exclusives.Crysis for example, was originally a PC exclusive title which hinged on its outrageous system requirements and stunning visuals to garner the envy of all PS3 and 360 owners alike.  Now, EA has decided to widen its audience by bringing Crysis 2 to the console owners of the world – and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  But like Square Enix’s decision to bring Final Fantasy XIII to the 360, many view the exclusivity loss as something to look down on.  Like Square Enix, EA’s decision to go multiplatform is just a way to increase profits, allowing the company to create more of the titles that gamers know and love. With the support of two major console brands, the Crysis franchise has a chance to flourish.  So I ask, why all the fuss?
PC and 360 owners are probably feeling stuck on the same boat right about now. Much like the PC’s once exclusive shooter, the 360 is also losing a title with Mass Effect 2. But if you really stop and think about, what does this really mean? The titles are going to be essentially the same regardless of which console they first appeared on and then later brought over to.  Exclusivity isn’t something that gamers should use to validate spending money on the only console they were able to afford.  Cause a lot of times, these arguments seemed to be fueled by just that. If you were place one of every console and portable gaming device in every gamers home right now, do you think that exclusivity would even matter anymore? But as upsetting as it is for a gamer to be deprived of great gaming experience, the true purpose of exclusivity is to harden the industry and to push developers to create better quality titles.  In a world without exclusives, there would be no rhyme or reason to improve.
Take Halo for example.  Halo is Microsoft’s cornerstone FPS. It was so successful, that it made Sony take notice and develop its own FPS sensation with Killzone. And what about the Uncharted franchise? When I look at Naughty Dog’s action title, my mind drifts to the Gears of War franchise.  Not because of the titles’ similar play styles, but rather the reason why Uncharted plays the way it does.  What would Uncharted be like if Gears of War wasn’t around to push Sony to create its own flagship action series?
There is no changing the game at this point.  Gamers will always resort to their exclusives as the primary reason as to why their consoles are ‘better’. And yes, if you’ve got a console that is rocking plenty of exclusive content, you may be subject to that feeling of superiority. But in looking passed childish bragging rights, and the ‘look what I have’ mentality, you will see that exclusives help us consumers in the long run, and raise the standards by keeping our favorite developers on their toes. Personally, I am a bit envious Playstation 3 owners this year; Sony’s console has a lot of incredible titles coming its way.  But rather than dwell on it, I should be appreciate the fact that I will one day have such great titles to look forward to – all spawned out of the need to push the industry forward and to outdo the competition. So I ask you, fellow gamer: How do you believe exclusives have hurt/helped the gaming industry?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Should the next Call of Duty take place in the future?

Look upon the title of this article and put some much needed thought into it. Almost every usable war has been imitated by the Call of Duty franchise. Now realize that it is speculated by “industry sources” the next Call of Duty game (which is being made by Sledgehammer Games, Raven Software and Infinity Ward) will take place in the future while in Space. This is a big step
for a franchise which has based itself solely on realism. But what is realism in this sense? What can’t occur in real life based on physics, what can’t occur for now because the technology doesn’t exist, or whatever our minds can fathom?

If a Call of Duty game will take place in the future, will we be expected to see “robot” armor and sci-fi guns (like Vanquish)? Perhaps the 3 developers can cook up an imaginary war that happens only a FEW years in the future. That way we won’t expect all the tech and futuristic ideas associated with “the future”. In fact, it would be very interesting to see a made up battle with the assumptions of war we have now. Instead of more sci-fi looking guns there could be upgrades to our modern weapons, such as larger magazines, automatic reload tool, incendiary bullets, electrical grenades, or just more stylish sights.

So with that said, Call of Duty doesn’t seem like Call of Duty if it was full of futuristic armor, made up future guns, and Space involvement. Slightly in the future seems reasonable for a Call of Duty’s story at best. So if the “industries sources” rumors are true, how much of this new Call of Duty game will be Call of Duty? To establish that we’ll have to look back on what realism truly is.

Let’s say this new Call of Duty game has an interactive bubble shield to protect your health. Is this against the law of nature or possible but lacking in technology as of now? Maybe they’ll be some weird new invention that has no possible way of ever coming into existence within the game or real life. Now question if a Call of Duty game should even be thought about like this. In the end, Activision has pretty much taped out every available war for a video game. So looking towards the future is an acceptable procedure but don’t overdo it to lose the Call of Duty feel. This could be an easy event because people think future wars consist of technology based science fiction over combat. (However, MAG pulled off the future war but still modern affair nicely).

How many followers think Call of Duty could work in Space?

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Location:Weatherford,United States

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

11 year old boy racks up $1,000 on Mom's credit card playing Xbox Live

         A desperate mother has condemned Microsoft after her 11-year-old son racked up a $1,000 debt on her debit card - through his Xbox. Brendan Jordan racked up a bill of $1,082.52 on his Xbox without realising all the purchases were being charged to his mum Dawn Matthews' card. The schoolboy made the payments to buy accessories and new games on his console after it saved the details of a previously registered card.

Single mum-of-two Dawn, 37, from Strood, Kent, has now complained to Microsoft but claims the computer giant is ignoring her.
She said: 'When I put my card details in 18 months ago I thought it was just for his membership to play online with his friends.

She entered her debit card details into the family Xbox to pay for Brendan's subscription to his favourite game.
However, Brendan repeatedly clicked on additions and extensions - racking up a £1082.52 debt to her account over six months.
Microsoft say they offer parental control accounts so parents like Dawn can monitor what their children are spending.

 Dawn wants her experience to be a lesson to other parents and blames Microsoft for making it 'too easy' for her son to spend the money.

Comment Below What You Think :)


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Call of Duty: Black Ops First Strike.

It's been a long, cold three months since the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops. Despite having 14 multiplayer maps and three zombie modes, players across the globe are no doubt hungering for more content to spend hundreds of hours exploring. Earlier this week, Activision released its first set of maps, available exclusively for a limited time on the Xbox 360. For 1200 Microsoft Points ($15), Black Ops players will receive four new levels (Stadium, Discovery, Kowloon and Berlin Wall) plus a new zombie arena (Ascension). I've had some time to run around the levels and get my ass kicked, but in all honesty, I get my DLC for free. You have to pay money – and quite a bit of it too. So the real question is, should you buy First Strike? 
Here are my thoughts:

Berlin Wall
A more traditional, larger map that is split into two areas by walls and a "no man's land." The catch here is that the area between the two sides, except for a couple narrow corridors, are guarded by computer-controlled turrets. Step into those areas for long and you're going to have a few dozen holes put into you. The solution, Run Like Hell

 Small and intense, Stadium is one of the most exciting maps from First Strike. Built around an abandoned hockey rink, the map definitely forces you into closer fire fights, though there are still plenty of areas to set up shop and take out opponents from safety. Snipers might have trouble adjusting, but you'll still find yourself plenty of opportunities no matter what type of style you prefer. 

Pits, pits and more pits. If you enjoy falling off of ledges, sign right up for a match in Discovery. Set in an Antarctic base, this map is notable for its ice bridges – which you can destroy with explosives or even repeated gunfire. No doubt many of you will be eager to test out your C4 skills here. 

Remember Modern Warfare 2's Favela map, set in a shanty town in Brazil? This is a lot like that, but it's at night, more vertical and more chaotic. Oh, and it has zip lines for some reason, keeping the trend of map interaction alive and well. 

Ascension [Zombie Mode]
Space Monkeys and Black Holes. That tells you all you need to know about this zombie mode, which certainly is distinct from its counterparts. The core concept is the same – last as long as you can, earning points for rebuilding obstacles and killing the undead. 


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sony Hunting Down PS3 Hackers Like Animals

Sony is vigilantly defending the PS3 against future hacker and jailbreak attacks.   The company is taking even further legal action against developers who have so far managed to steer clear of legal tie-ups.  Behind the minds of George Hotz and Fail Overflow there are hundreds of other hackers, firmware developers, and program creators that are now clearly marked by Sony in it's lawsuit.  It is rumored that Sony is planning to subpoena various internet sites like xxx-Scene, YouTube, Twitter, PayPal, and Slashdot in order to find the real identities of those that are still releasing and creating programs that undermine the security of the PlayStation 3.

These include names that you may or may not have heard of , depending on which side of the fence you sit.  Kmeaw, who developed one of the first working firmwares compatibile for 3.55 has been included in the subpoena.  As well as Graf Chokolo who is at the moment working on returning Linux functionalities to the PS3.  Numerous others were highlighted, or should I say targeted by Sony in it's further legal actions.