This Isn’t The News

By John Walker on April 16th, 2010 at 10:02 pm.

Is that clear enough?

Since there hasn’t been any PC gaming news today, I thought I’d make some up.

PopCap Announces 70 Billionth Download Of Bejeweled.

PopCap boss, Simon Chuzzle, today announced that Bejeweled has now been downloaded ten times by every person on the planet. The match-3 puzzle game has proven so popular that even remote tribal groups in the Amazon have been reported to be downloading the game onto wicker machines via satellite internet connections. Said Chuzzle this afternoon,

“We’re absolutely delighted by the continued popularity of Bejeweled, despite it actually being a bit shit. We obviously all know that Zoo Keeper on the DS was by far the better game, and indeed most of the rest of our own games are enormously more well made and interesting than the rather average match-3 game. However, you can’t argue with absolutely every human in existence, nor this towering pile of money that threatens to topple and kill us all.”

Other PopCap employees were seen celebrating the news by throwing gold bars into the ocean from their luxury yachts.

Ubisoft Chairman Explains He Just Fancies The Employee Who Makes The DRM

CEO of Ubisoft, Michael Creed, has revealed in an interview with Eurogamer that he’s just really into the woman who’s responsible for developing new DRM.

“Yeah, I know, it sounds kinda lame,” explained the boss of the much criticised publisher. “I think she’s really nice, and this new system gave me loads of excuses to talk with her.”

It seems that on learning of the boss’s crush, colleagues in the DRM development team dared their team leader, Sarah Cooper, to see how ridiculous a suggestion she could put forward. “We tried to come up with some really silly DRM solutions,” explained an unnamed member of the team. “When we came up with the always-online idea, we thought we were maybe going too far. I mean, who would seriously think that’s an okay thing to do to customers? And you know, the rest is history.”

Activision Sues Itself

Court proceedings were filed today as Activision prepares to sue itself for various claims. The publisher made the following statement this morning when the news first broke.

“Activision Blizzard, Inc. has filed a suit against Activision Blizzard, Inc. this morning, alleging breach of contract and defamation. We intend to see justice is done to ensure the future of Activision Blizzard Inc. is not jeopardised by the actions of Activision Blizzard Inc. No further comment can be made at this time.”

It is thought that Activision may be suing itself in response to Activision’s damage to the name of Activision for the volume of lawsuits the company is currently involved in. Other insiders at Activision have suggested that it may simply be that the publisher has run out of anyone else to take to court.

Activision responded to the suit this afternoon by announcing they will be counter-suing Activision for violating their fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment.

Australia Bans Being 18

As the battle for an R18+ rating for Australian videogames grows more intense, former South Australian Attorney-General Martin Arkinson has brought forward proceedings to ban the age of 18 completely from the Australian nation. With a recent petition gathering nearly 100,000 signatures, and both GAME and Electronics Boutique getting behind the campaign for an adult rating to match cinema and DVD, the government states that the new bill is the only sensible response to ensure the prevention of violence and sexual videogames being available.

“18-year-olds’ determination to get their hands on these games, and thus inevitably into the hands of children, is completely out of hand,” explained the recently resigned politician, who will continue to work until 2012. “The only option that remains is to remove the problem at its root.”

If the bill passes successfully, as is predicted, then being 18 will be illegal in Australia from July 2010. Anyone caught being this age will be fined up to $100,000 (Aus), and can expect up to twelve months in prison.

Final Infinity Ward Employee Walks Out

David Gardening, the last employee left at Infinity Ward, has walked out of the company. Following the departures of West and Zampella, and indeed everyone else who works there, Gardening explained to ShackNews that he thought he “may as well.”

“I didn’t really have any beef with Activision,” explains the final member of the team. “To be honest, I never really got on with Jason and Vince. Everyone else seemed to think they were great, but I thought they were kind of dicks. I dunno, maybe it was a personality thing. But anyway, when they were fired I wasn’t that fussed.”

However, once everyone else in the company had left, Gardening realised that there wasn’t much point in sticking around. “I mean, I was only really responsible for the headbob. There was only so much I could do on Modern Warfare 3 on my own. I looked around, and felt pretty lonely, so I figured I’d go.”

GameStation Admits Its Terms Of Service Took Customer’s Souls

Oh no, wait, this one’s actually true.

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68 Comments »

  1. Bas says:

    Infinity Ward one made me smile.

    • Edawan says:

      They should have added at the end :

      “Activision says it shouldn’t affect Modern Warfare 3′s development”.

      Then it would have been perfect.

  2. ascagnel says:

    The GameStation one was a great line when I happened across it yesterday. Just the fact that these agreements are in place is a bad sign, especially with something so potentially important buried in legalese. Would it be beyond a publisher/developer to put into their EULA that, upon installing a game, they have the right to do whatever they want in your system? It would give “legal” backing to DRM.

    That said, EULAs have never been proven enforceable in the US, and would likely fail for several reasons. First, they alter the means of the purchase after the fact. You buy some physical item in a shop, take it home, unwrap it, and only get the EULA after unwrapping it — a point at which most stores will refuse a return. Second, a EULA states that something that previously had all the traits of a purchase is now a mere license — a temporary granting of limited rights.

    EULAs are pretty stupid, and they’ll get tossed out someday. I hope.

    • Uhm says:

      Ascagnel, EULAs have been tested in court several times. Sometimes enforced, sometimes not.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “This is false and if -I- told someone this, I’d be liable for malpractice.

      Lucky for you, you’re just a random kid on the internet.”

      Do you have any specifics?

      I’m actually interested in hearing more, but I imagine you don’t actually know anything.

    • Bret says:

      So, if one had previously sold their soul to another interested party, (say, a really gullible fifth grader) would signing the EULA be a breach of contract?

    • Gwyn says:

      If you’re incapable of working your google machine, you’re doubly incapable of understanding EULA law anyway, so you should forget about it. :)

    • Wulf says:

      Of all the stories I’ve read on Slashdot I can’t say I ever saw a EULA being enforced, but rather in cases involving a EULA the situation pretty much always came down to: We have many, many lawyers and you don’t, we can afford a long, drawn out legal battle and you can’t, we’re going to make an example of you and dig up as much dirt on you as we can, making sure it’s brought into light at court. We win because of money. Now accept our settlement.

      This is almost invariably the case, as I recall. So it’s not that EULAs are legally binding (and everything I’ve read says the opposite, since there’s no signature and no way to really say that the actual person agreed to that EULA), but rather that people with bags of money and lots of scary lawyers are good at intimidating other people who don’t have these things.

    • ascagnel says:

      I was thinking a slightly different case, Adobe v. SoftMan, but that was ruled that the EULA was unenforceable because SoftMan had never agreed to such a license.

      Either way, EULAs are pretty scummy. They change what, for all intents and purposes in its “smell,” is a sale into a mere licensing that removes substantial rights from the consumer.

      For example, via its EULA, any mods to STALKER Clear Sky are not allowed (emphasis mine):

      You may not use, copy, modify, enhance, retouch, transfer, <b<merge part or portion, sublicense, rent, lease, convey, translate, convert to programming language or header file or format or de-compile or disassemble the software or any copy modification or merged part or section in whole or in part except as expressly provided for in this license at any time.

      The EULA does not go on to “expressly provid[e]” any exceptions. My reading of this, since it doesn’t expressly say anywhere that mods are allowed, all mods are against the EULA. As a consumer, this can only be hurtful to me. Mods are something that must be sought out and electively installed — they are not foisted upon you, and so the developer/publisher has no right to claim any damages.

      Also of note, from the text of ProCD v. Zeidenburg,

      Following the district court, we treat the licenses as ordinary contracts accompanying the sale of products, and therefore as governed by the common law of contracts and the Uniform Commercial Code. Whether there are legal differences between “contracts” and “licenses” (which may matter under the copyright doctrine of first sale) is a subject for another day. See Microsoft Corp. v. Harmony Computers & Electronics, Inc., 846 F. Supp. 208 (E.D. N.Y. 1994).

      In Microsoft v. Harmony, there was no decision rendered as to whether these are licenses or contracts; that case was decided that Harmony had never legally acquired MS software for resale in the first place, thus the first-sale doctrine that would override a license like this would not come under evaluation.

      IANAL, but I’d always like to learn more. If I’ve messed any of this up (and I probably have, its ~2:30am and I’m very tired), correct me as necessary.

    • ascagnel says:

      Ah crap, I forgot one last point. From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

      In response to Adobe’s claim, SoftMan argues that first sale doctrine allows SoftMan to unbundle and sell the Adobe software without Adobe’s restrictions. Adobe asserts that it does not sell any software, rather it licenses its end users the software. Furthermore, the EULA attached to each copy of the software prohibits the “licensee” to unbundle the software.
      The court disagrees with Adobe’s assertion. Since the purchaser pays a fixed fee to obtain the rights to use the software for an indefinite period of time and also accepts the risk commonly associated with a sale, the court determines the transactions between Adobe and SoftMan are sales. Thus, first sale doctrine applies and Adobe’s copyright claims are rejected.
      In response to Adobe’s claim that SoftMan violated terms of service described in the EULA, the court decides that SoftMan is not bound by the EULA because there was no assent. However, the court declines to comment on the general issue of shrinkwrap licenses.

      — SoftMan Products Co. v. Adobe Systems Inc.

      That part seems to strike down EULAs as legally binding documents. That is a better way of describing the “smell test” I spoke about in the previous comment.

    • TheApologist says:

      @Mark
      ‘leave the actual lawyering to us lawyers’

      I appreciate the informed perspective on EULA’s, but, however frustrating you find it, I think you should welcome ordinary people’s attempts to get their head around what they are getting into when they contract will a seller or publisher.

      We shouldn’t leaving lawyering to lawyers because the law doesn’t exist for lawyers – it exists for everyone else to get on with lives.

    • Vitamin Powered says:

      @TheApologist

      The problem is not the non-Lawyer people trying to wrap their heads around Law, it’s them voicing un-informed, often wrong, opinions as facts.

      Medicine may involve the maintenance and management of something that concerns us all, but if it’s all the same to you, I’ll leave the doctoring to the doctors, not a public given to the belief that the MMR vaccine causes autism. Or, for an example less horrific consequences, if I lived in the US I’d entrust the management of my taxes to an accountant, rather than someone who believes that they don’t have to pay tax due to the US Constitution.

  3. Army_of_None says:

    Ha. Awesome. Thank you, John, for making me laugh today :)

  4. pedant says:

    The fake news are about as awful as the real news but a lot more entertaining. Consider keeping it up?

    Kinda wish the Ubisoft one was true, that would at least make sense or be understandable.

    Unrelated but cheery news, the Danish equivalent of The Guardian/[insert your vaguely do gooder social liberal newspaper here] has a two articles hating on Ubi DRM. Directly translated the headers are “New copy protections punish the law abiding” and “Do not buy this lovely game” (Settlers 7). So at least in places main stream media is picking up.

    http://politiken.dk/tjek/digitalt/internet/article949122.ece

  5. Vinraith says:

    Finally, a credible reason for Ubi’s recent behavior. That’s some damn fine reporting, John!

  6. Velvet Fist, Iron Glove says:

    If the bill passes successfully, as is predicted, then being 18 will be illegal in Australia from July 2010. Anyone caught being this age will be fined up to $100,000 (Aus), and can expect up to twelve months in prison.

    I wonder what the punishment is for repeat offenders?

  7. rob says:

    Hehehe, it’s Rock, Paper, Onion!
    Well done boys!

  8. westyfield says:

    Haha, brilliant! I love the Ubisoft one, made me chuckle, thanks!
    It’s kinda strange that you would post this today, as Chris Livingston (Mr. Concerned) has just started a new website where he writes fake news stories from ‘inside’ games:
    http://www.firstpersonobserver.com/
    Worth checking out, there are a couple of absolute gems.

  9. Velvet Fist, Iron Glove says:

    Also I should point out another lovely source of Not The Gaming News, launched today by Chris Livingston (the Concerned and Living in Oblivion guy:

    First Person Observer

  10. Andrei Sebastian says:

    This
    is
    brilliant!

    The first line says it all.

  11. Zaphid says:

    This can’t be real, nobody died in those news!

  12. Dreaded Walrus says:

    “If the bill passes successfully, as is predicted, then being 18 will be illegal in Australia from July 2010. Anyone caught being this age will be fined up to $100,000 (Aus), and can expect up to twelve months in prison.”

    What’s the sentence for re-offenders?

  13. The_B says:

    Although Gamestation may own many people’s souls, it is worth noting that a piece of it does in fact die, every time John is called a terrible healer.

  14. JonFitt says:

    Thanks John.

    For the next one, try channelling Chris Morris…

  15. GetOutOfHereStalker says:

    A man decides to download a game or something, but he doesn’t read the EULA because he wants it that badly, but little does he know he’s playing a different game, a game called… The Twilight Zone.

    (spoilers: the man can’t play the game because his glasses break, the owner of the company who sold him the game was really Hitler, he takes a train to their studio to reclaim his soul but when he walks off the train he dies IRL and gets buried in GameStation Cemetery, he was also a toy or something)

    • Drexer says:

      That my dear sir, is brilliant. If someone manages to actually make some kind of machinima out of that, he should win some kind of Nobel prize of gaming.

  16. bleeters says:

    Ah, that was good, all the more so for ‘Activision sueing itself’ not being especially unrealistic at this point.

    The Ubisoft DRM part was a bit too far fetched, though. Everybody knows the higher-ups there don’t have hearts.

  17. Babyspice says:

    @LiliputKing

    “Do you have any specifics?”

    The validity of shrinkwrap/clickwrap licenses is unsettled law, and different jurisdictions handle them differently.

    For example, in Pro CD v. Zeidenberg, 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996), the court held that shrinkwrap licenses (i.e., licenses accompanying boxed software) are enforceable contracts because the user has the ability to return the software if he decides that he doesn’t agree with the terms of the license. In that case, the user also had to read through the EULA and click “I Agree” in order to install the software. See also Hill v. Gateway, 105 F.3d 1147 (7th Cir. 1997), in which the same appellate court held that the plaintiff was bound by the terms of a contract that arrived with a boxed computer, even though the plaintiff had already paid for the computer before he received those terms, because the plaintiff could return the computer to the manufacturer if he refused to accept the terms.

    Contrast that a bit with a more recent decision by a different federal court, Specht v. Netscape, 309 F.3d 17 (2d cir. 2002), which held that a clickwrap license was invalid because the user was able to install the software before reading and agreeing to the EULA. That court also specifically distinguished shrinkwrap licenses because in those cases the users have the opportunity to review the terms and return the software if the terms are not acceptable.

    And that’s federal courts we’re talking about. At least one state Supreme Court that I’m aware of has upheld the terms of a EULA; there are probably more.

    There are also both state and federal decisions holding that shrinkwrap and clickwrap licenses are not enforceable.

    Bottom line: it depends.

    • Babyspice says:

      as to the above: that’s all American law; I have no idea how non-American jurisdictions handle it, although my uninformed hunch is that the other common law countries do things similarly. I don’t know enough about the various civil law countries to venture even an uniformed guess.

    • Gwyn says:

      It’s not enforceable in the England & Wales (dunno about Scotland) as there’s insufficient consideration to create a legally binding contract.

      What that means is that you can’t be legally bound to give something for nothing – you’ve paid money to own the boxed software, but you don’t get anything further in return for agreeing to obey the EULA.

      If you got a partial refund or other benefit in exchange for agreeing to the EULA, then it would be enforceable as that’s sufficient consideration. It’s all a bit academic either way – removing copy protection is a criminal offence here so it really doesn’t matter what’s in the EULA.

    • Babyspice says:

      @Gwyn

      “It’s not enforceable in the England & Wales (dunno about Scotland) as there’s insufficient consideration to create a legally binding contract.”

      Huh, interesting. So the English courts treat the EULA as a proposed modification to the original sales contract? The courts in the US of which I’m aware generally treat EULAs as part of the original sales contract, whether or not they’re enforceable (there’s one outlier of which I’m aware, but it carried little precedential value and I’m not aware of any other jurisdictions that have followed).

      /boring legal thinkies

    • Gwyn says:

      The EULA doesn’t modify the sale, it’s something new altogether. The sales contract is between you and the shop, but the EULA is between you and the publisher. The sale contract can only be amended if you and the shop agree to do so, and the publisher can’t stick their oar in.

  18. Flaringo says:

    And this is why RPS is awesome.

    Among other things, of course.

  19. A-Scale says:

    This was great. I hope it becomes a staple of RPS. Lord knows you guys have the sarcastic wit to get the job done.

  20. Lukasz says:

    funny. i also like infinity ward news… which won’t be fake soon.

    and the news about blizzard making even more money. Jesus christ those guys struck platinum.

  21. Senethro says:

    I think theres a danger of running out of material for a regular version of this article, but I really enjoyed this one.

  22. 0graham0 says:

    …but sleep is death officially came out today…

  23. Toby says:

    Nice font!

  24. Toby says:

    … What is it?

    • phuzz says:

      @Toby
      I’m not sure what font it is, but it’s ripped off the BBC News site, they might well say what it is on there somewhere…

  25. Spliter says:

    this is the best take on the current events ever

  26. Finn says:

    @Toby: reminds me of the BBC header or something of that sort.

    Awesome article by the way, oh! oh!, do a Charlie Brooker next, please sir!

  27. mrpier says:

    WTF, you can’t just make shit up……………………………… man!

  28. Junch says:

    Hey John, you might want to check out this site. http://www.firstpersonobserver.com/

    You guys have totally the same idea with all these fake game news.

  29. Namos says:

    Well, that’s a creative way to combat the aging problem.

    Never seen politicians legislate against themselves, though.

  30. angryhead says:

    “What is this garbage you’re watching? I wanna watch the news!”
    “This IS the news!”

  31. Dreamhacker says:

    Haha, great! News item #2 is good it must be true :D

  32. rocketman71 says:

    Great news, but you forgot that Valve announced the release date of Ep 3 for this year.

  33. gary says:

    i didnt finish reading eula contract arguement so this might of alreayd been stated..how is someone under 18 figure into this? most if not all states cant bind a minor to a contract..

  34. David McBride says:

    I believe the font is Gill Sans MT.

  35. salasq says:

    I doubt there will be many repeat offenders after 12 months in gaol.

  36. Alomax says:

    lol, this should be a weekly feature

  37. The Dark One says:

    Quiet, or you’ll give the Scientologists ideas about how to extend their billion-year contracts on your immortal thetan.

  38. MartinNr5 says:

    I liked this.

    Don’t listen to Mark, he’s a laywer after all…

  39. prom dresses 2010 uk says:

    Its so cool, so full of information that I just didnt know.

  40. party gowns says:

    Youve got a great deal to say about this subject, and so much knowledge.

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