Legal Threats Endemic Among Games Pubs


Last week we celebrated CD Projekt RED’s decision to back down from the practice of demanding cash settlements from alleged pirates. The gambit, that subverts the legal process of innocent until proven guilty, and is based on threatening people with spurious lawsuits with only flimsy, unreliable IP evidence, has been condemned on many occasions, and when tried in the UK led to some rapid backtracking. Many have viewed it as extortion, frightening people into paying fees in the region of €800 in order not to have to go to court to prove their innocence or argue against the notion of piracy equating to lost sales. And as TorrentFreak revealed yesterday, it’s something being done by a huge proportion of the publishing industry.

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IGF Factor 2012: Gunpoint

Next in our series of chats with this year’s impressive roster of Independent Games Festival finalists is Tom Francis, lead brain behind future-noir stealth game Gunpoint, which is up for the Excellence In Design gong. Here, he’s quizzed about what, why, when, who and the most important question of all.

Important conflict of interest disclosure: I used to play badminton with Tom.
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Vigilant: THQ Denies 40K MMO Cancellation

Rumours wildly frothed out of the internet this weekend regarding the financial peril of THQ. This chap, an IGDA fellow, said that Vigil’s Warhammer 40k MMO had been cancelled. He went to explain that the cost would be beyond the current wallet of the troubled company, and that it had also returned its Disney licence. GamesIndustry also has anonymous sources claiming that the in-development MMO is for sale. Newschums VG247 have picked up a contradictory statement from THQ Australia, which states: “THQ has not cancelled its 2014 line-up, and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMO.”

Continued below.
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E-Sporting Chance: 2012 Kick Off

Our e-sports correspondent is ESFI World’s Samuel Lingle.

E-sports in 2012 got going quickly as a number of January events opened the year. The Global StarCraft 2 League (GSL) kicked off their new season. The fighting game community knocked off APEX 2012, featuring Super Smash Bros and various other titles. The DotA 2 beta continues to chug along with various tournaments and leagues. The biggest of the past week, though, was the StarCraft 2 tournament at HomeStory Cup IV. Coverage and results right here.
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The Sunday Papers

Sundays! Sundays are for grand victory on the field of battle! The smell of smoke and blood in your nostrils, the knowledge of having trampled the bones of your nemesis. Yes, Sundays are for the champions who write their own history. But are these some of those? Let’s find out…

  • This piece by MMO designer Raph Koster fascinated me. It asks “Is immersion a core game virtue?” and then decides that “Immersion is not a core game virtue.” Regardless of how nebulous a concept “immersion” actually is, I find it totally unconvincing, as it seems to be a piece of writing about Raph’s perception of where games are as a medium, and I am not sure that I agree. “Immersion does not make a lot of sense in a mobile, interruptible world. It comes from spending hours at something. An the fact is that as games go mainstream, they are played in small bites far more often than they are played in long solo sessions. The market adapts — this reaches more people, so the budgets divert, the publishers’ attention diverts, the developers’ creative attention diverts.” But personally I only see what Raph is talking about here as diversification, not an overall change. The kind of games (and resulting imaginative engagements) Raph is talking about are not gone, there’s just a lot of other noise, too. I think he’s making a mistake of following trends in the market and seeing that as the whole picture.
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Cardboard Children: Boardgame Of 2011

Hello youse,

Welcome to my first column of the year, and in time-honoured games website tradition I’ll be using it to write a list of some sort. It will be a list, and it will be a list detailing my favourite games of 2011. I will even list them in order of preference, culminating in one itemised entry that I will declare the “winner”, in a sense. Indeed, I will call this column THE CARDBOARD CHILDREN GAME OF THE YEAR 2011, and invite you all read it.

I will invite you all to read it below.
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Biff: Streetfighter IV Getting 2012 Update(s)

Capcom’s blog has mentioned that the PC version of Super Streetfighter IV Arcade Edition is getting multiple updates: “Our development team has been cracking the whip on this project, and are aiming to have the 2012 update ready for you all by the end of February. We will have additional updates in these upcoming weeks. so keep an eye on this space for more info.” The patch was a big rebalance of various characters, which were deemed out of whack, so to speak, on the console versions for a patch in December.

Idly Tower: Kingdom Rush

Yeah, so, at about 1pm a couple of people sent me a link to Kingdom Rush, a polished and artfully constructed browser-based tower defence game, and I’ve only just managed to tear away my mesmerised eyes from the screen to scribble something about it. I don’t know what it is about the TD formula, but I find it unspeakably compelling. That’s got to be wrong. Right? Anyway.

But There’s Also: Wanderlust: Rebirth

Okay, looks like RPS is Top-Down RPG News today, because I’m just going to point you at indie RPG Wanderlust, which is a neat little game in the spirit of early Zelda/Secret Of Mana and so on. It can be played single player or co-operatively online, which is a hell of a feature set for a little game like this, and it seems to be a remarkable labour love overall. There’s a free trial version with the first few chapters of the game for you to play which you can download here. Definitely worth a look if you are inclined towards such tremendous pixel-art cuteness.

Driftmoon Gets A New Trailer, Other News

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything from charming-looking top-down Indie RPG Driftmoon (made by the Notrium team), but now there’s stuff happening. The gang send word that they’ve blogged about what’s going on with their latest bit of development, and have released a trailer, which you can see below. There’s going to be a demo soon, they report, and you can of course already get access to the game with a pre-order. And I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few people don’t do that, at least if they had some of the brain written over by a certain era of 16-bit home computing, anyway. Go take a look!
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The RPS Bargain Bucket: Down South

Lewie’s gone. He’s gone, and he’s left us behind. We’re the SavyGamer B Team of Will and Tony, and we cover for him whenever he’s off somewhere, too busy. Now, he’s too busy for his friends. He’s gone down south and left us behind, and we have to clear up his mess. Oh, sure, he’ll be back next week with his checked shirts and his Lambrini, having gone full native. But we’re still here. The last hope from outside the M25, the last voice of sense. You’d have thought his bargain bone would have kept him away from the higher cost of living. But no, he’s gone, and he’ll forget about us. All about us. Us back home.
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Diablo III’s RMT Removed For South Korea

A thought-provoking little story, I think. Diablo III’s auction house will allow real-money trading (RMT) for items found in the game world. The fact that you can trade in items and then “cash out” and make money (minus Blizzard’s cut, of course) caused the game to clash with South Korea’s anti-gambling laws. Blizzard have resubmitted the game for approval with this feature removed and it has been accepted. (This page proves it, apparently.) The thought this issue raises, however, is how much this will change the psychological experience for Korean players. If they can’t get $$$ for epic loot, what does that mean for their response to acquiring it? Will the game be less exciting for them? Or do they get a “cleaner” experience, because it doesn’t have that connotation of cash, and of the world outside the game?

Diablo III Free To Twelve Month WoW Subs

Well, that's easier than reading my words.

If you’re a registered World of Warcraft player, and are willing to commit to a 12 month contract to the game, you can get Diablo III for free. In one of the more confusing offers I’ve seen, Blizzard seem to be rewarding ongoing loyalty to WoW players, rather than actually trying to get new customers, as this is an offer open only to those who have a registered WoW account on or before the 18th October 2011. If that’s you, and you’re willing to add twelve months to your sub, then not only do you get Diablo III whenever it happens to release, but access to the beta for Mists Of Pandaria (still can’t believe that’s really a thing) and a new walkie/flying mount, Tyrael’s Charger.

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