The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for sipping tea, wondering whether you’re going to be able to find any time to play a game with all the shit you have to write today (or maybe go see Los Campesinos at Rough Trade) and compiling a list of interesting games-related reading from across the week, while trying to resist posting a link to some manner of pop music that caught my (and Walker’s for that matter) ear. Go!


  1. The Dark One says:

    All I could pay attention to in that Tune-Yards video was her friend Tom Selleck.

    • ugg sale says:

      I’ve always felt that refusing to buy a game based on the DRM alone is like refusing to buy something that comes in an unorthodox package, for fear that it should perturb the look and feel of the other objects in your pantry.

  2. Heliosicle says:

    Vernon Kay is so addicted to games?

  3. hoff says:

    Ubisoft’s reply: “We are aware blablabla bla blablabla bla blablabla blablabla bla blablabla bla but blablablablablabla bla blablabla bla blablabla blablabla bla blablabla bla blablabla blablabla bla blablabla bla blablabla blablabla bla blablabla bla blablabla blablabla bla blablabla bla blablabla blablabla bla blablabla bla blablabla blablabla bla blablabla bla blablabla… doing it anyway.”

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      I think that until there is some major push back that’s exactly what we can expect from them. They see all the restrictions shoved down the throats of those that bought Modern Warfare 2 and they’re just giddy at the thought of screwing over the customer.

      However I think two things will happen: MW2 will end up having an incredibly short lifespan compared to its predecessor and that this will cause some serious push back because of the need for mobile computing. Ubisoft will die in the PC sector unless someone gets an xliveless type hack to keep them afloat. Then Ubi will decide we’re all pirates and go to the consoles in all likelihood (given that managers the world over can never seem to see the forest for the trees or even an iota of common sense).

    • Gap Gen says:

      You never know – maybe making repeated and completely unsubstantiated claims about “gameplay” actually works in PR.

    • Colthor says:

      You forgot “Added Value”! You can’t forget all this added value they’re providing, like being able to install games as many times as you want and play them anywhere.

    • Bruce Rambo says:

      Honestly, this is going to be a flustercluck. The Ubi online components for the PC versions of the R6 series & HAWX are incredibly unreliable and difficult to interface with. There’s nothing worse than everything coming together in the middle of a coop campaign only to be kicked off because the matchmaking servers have died *again*. And then there’s a multi-hour wait for them to come back and often no way to play without them.

      There are two conditions that must be met for this form of DRM to be ‘ok’: 1/ the infrastructure must be there to support it. Look how long it took steam to get set up, and we still have sale/release day slowdowns. 2/ There must be a way to play AND PROGRESS offline. If some idiot in the exchange solders someone else’s phoneline into mine (this has happened to me several times) I still want to be able to play games whilst waiting for the weeks it takes them to restore my internet access. 3/ A way to play these games in ten years time, even if Ubisoft has sunk.

      The additional features sound a lot like the steam cloud. Imagine Valve’ll make noise about this?

    • Arathain says:

      The Ubisoft reply was really upsetting. They didn’t even deal with the issues that Tim Edwards raised. It was just a standard press release. ‘Added value’, seriously? Who do you think you’re talking to?

    • Voice of the Majority says:

      After using Steam for some time, I think Ubisoft IS offering added value. It should just be illegal to make the DRM requirement active forever. The EULA (or whatever licensing contract) should say that the requirement for internet connection will turn off by itself in two years time. Surely, that would not be a big loss for publishers?

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Ubisoft have always been bastards though. One of the biggest publishers to actually use that Starforce malware. Then if you complained on their forums, they’d call you a pirate and delete your account so you couldn’t post anymore.

      They are absolute scum. I have pretty reliable internet but even mine goes out from time to time. It did this week, the day that Ubisoft announced this “Added value”. (I guess it it added value. People are always saying gamers need to exercise more. Now, with Ubi titles, when your internet goes out, you’ll be able too as you can’t play.) I sat here with my internet dead for two hours and thought “I’m glad I don’t own any new Ubisoft titles.”

      Just glad Ubisoft do no games I give a damn about. Splinter Cell = Metal Gear Light. Rainbow Six = Same game released multiple times. (I own Rogue Spear. That was the end of my road.) Ubisoft have nothing original or innovative, and any chance I had of buying the new Splinter Cell (which I admit did look good) is now dead and gone. Won’t even patronize them on the consoles anymore.

      To be honest though, I am amazed the industry gets away with this. Treating your entire customer base as thieves! Wrote about that on my blog a few months back. It’s like having a car that refuses to start until you call the police and convince them you’re NOT a thief, then you have to stay on the line with the police the entire time you’re driving. If you hang up, your car dies. Then when you park you have to give the keys to the police and hope they give them back next time you want to drive.

    • Matt W says:

      Here’s the thing:

      The majority of the market doesn’t give a shit about DRM, unless it actually gets in their way.

      (This is an assumption, but I think it’s a fair one.)

      There’s probably an equilibrium point that will eventually be reached where the publishers feel that the sales lost to the various effects of DRM balance the sales gained through the thwarting of casual piracy (and, in this case, presumably preventing resale*). I’d judge it unlikely that the “all DRM is unforgivable” faction is going to have any significant impact on their calculations.

      *Actually, piracy – being such a well-worn bugbear – makes the perfect cover for cracking down on resales, which I’d suspect is far more significant in terms of actual lost revenue.

    • wvanh says:


      You can’t really copy your car, give one to all your friends, and lower the profits of the company that made it.

    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      @Matt W,
      As a consumer, I agree. I really don’t give a rat’s ass about DRM, and am generally happy with most draconian schemes, internet checks, and live-in KGB agents, so long as they don’t get in my way and don’t watch me in bed with the wife. I’ve always felt that refusing to buy a game based on the DRM alone is like refusing to buy something that comes in an unorthodox package, for fear that it should perturb the look and feel of the other objects in your pantry. That said, I like disclosure, and can see why–if perhaps you had a very tightly packed pantry or one that is a fire hazard–the fashion in which the DRM fucks you over is important to you.

  4. l1ddl3monkey says:

    Chime has music by Paul Hartnoll (did they pay him royalties on the title)? Ok – may reconsider. Presumably they’ll release the soundtrack separately as a way of spanking a bit more cash out of people. Yeah charity etc – sorry, I am dead exceptionally selfish.

    I think the point a lot of people are overlooking with the Ubisoft thing is that it’s monstrously egotistical of them to assume that we will all submit to their demands AND pay them our money to play their games. Unfortunately GFWL and every piece of software and OS that MS ever released have indicated the PC owners willingness to part with money for software that might sort of work under certain circumstances.

    It’s probably compunded by Apple’s much lauded ability to remotely fuck about with kit they’ve sold to people (a right protected by the growing Cult of Jobs and it’s many stye over substance obsessed acolytes and their excessively vocal savagery against anyone denigrating their false idol) just adds to this. We are idiots who will pay for shit that doesn’t work the way it should in return for a bit of kudos; “Yeah I played Splinter Cell XXXIII on my iPhingermajig way before anyone else did and I only had to give away about half my soul for the privelige. How fucking cool am I?”

    I live in rural England: my internet connection is about as stable as a drunk on a pogo stick in a swamp full of land mines. That’ll be goodbye from me then, Ubisoft. So that’s Ubisoft and GFWL I won’t be buying any more; how much smaller will the pool be by the end of the year, I wonder?

    Oh well; more of my money for those creative indie types and Steam (who have got it largely right) and less for the more blatantly obvious corporate cash hoovers. I believe that’s a free market in action.

    (L1ddl3monkey is however quite upset that this means he may never play Beyond Good and Evil 2, if it’s really actually being made).

    • PC Monster says:

      “Oh well; more of my money for those creative indie types and Steam (who have got it largely right) and less for the more blatantly obvious corporate cash hoovers. I believe that’s a free market in action.”

      No, no a thousand times no! Steam haven’t “got it largely right”, they’re just the most absurdly acceptable face of DRM. It’s exactly and precisely BECAUSE of Steam’s success with the gaming hardcore that Ubisoft et al believe they can set up online hand-holding servers and get away with it! You people are making it happen by championing a scheme that generally likes to be up-and-running before you can play your games, the non-gaming equivalent of cheerfully and helpfully holding your willy while you pee. And don’t even think of retorting with “offline mode” – offline gaming should be a fundamental starting point, not a non-default tick-box option granted by a seemingly benevolent corporate cash hoover.

    • l1ddl3monkey says:

      @ PC Monster:

      I take it as a given that large soulless corporations are going to get my pennies and give me as close to fuck all as they can get away with in return, because the entire western world is structured to support exactly that and has been for decades.

      I at least try to ensure that the crumbs they deign to sweep at me of their table in exchange for my hard earned cash WORK. Steam works (for me anyway). Yeah Valve is a big cash sucking monster, my argument is more against such corporations selling stuff that clearly is not going to work properly, or at all in many cases (such as the new Ubisoft DRM platform), than against the corporations themselves.

      I haven’t had a really bad experience with Steam since about 2006 and that lasted maybe a whole day. On that basis it’s more reliable and better value for money than most of the stuff I’ve bought in the last decade.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Steam ARE doing it right. As right as you can get DRM anyway. Which isn’t very.

    • Vinraith says:


      They really, really aren’t. Gamersgate’s DRM is better, Impulse’s DRM is better, Steam’s about the worst of the big digital retailers. It’s primary strength is that it has the best sales, so people put up with it because it’s cheap (and because of Valve exclusives). DRM-wise, it directly paved the way for Ubi’s new system, which is just one more step down the bad road from where Steam already lives.

  5. MadMatty says:

    Tune Yards track was eexcellent.

    • tomeoftom says:

      sentiment echoed

      edit: Wow, I ended up listening to the song a good six or seven times. I never do that; I’m quasi-ideologically opposed to strip-mining the wonder out of a great song, but I did it anyway.

  6. Dante says:

    Damn you Craig! Do I have to write a GD counterpoint you explaining why Fahrenheit is amazing? Because I will dammit!

    • Gnarl says:


      I would like to read that. Kicking Fahrenheit is much easier (and funnier, of course) than praising it. It’s nice to know someone enjoyed it, and I’d like to hear how.

    • mcw says:

      @Dante Edge 210 has a Time Extend feature on Fahrenheit and it contains a fairly balanced analysis of the game and its director David Cage.

    • DrugCrazed says:

      I told Craig to stop playing as soon as it starts becoming stupid. He didn’t listen.

  7. Homunculus says:

    Would’ve thought you’d’ve snuck a link in to Grauniad chum DOCTOR Aleks Krotoski’s new BBC documentary about the internet somehow, what with the Sunday Papers having a happier broader remit than RPS normally focuses on.

    It’s provided a fascinating update to Robert Cringeley’s pre-crash documentary, catching up ten years later with some of the same players, like Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates, and the new ones like Jimmy Wales and Mark Zuckerberg.

    Blimey, it’s been a long way since Bits.

  8. fearian says:

    What about Ste’s amazingly inspirational Global Game Jam keynote? I should think that’s worth a post, I had to go to boing boing to get that!

  9. Srekel says:

    I’m about to be one of the judges in the Scottish branch of the Global Games Jam. Should be fun! Coincidentally, I’ve been working on my own game for the Gamma 4 contest which also ends today.

  10. Lambchops says:

    I couldn’t see the Farenheit graph. Indeed, despite liking a lot of the writing i’ve seen on Gamedaily I always get mildly irritated that I can’t see any images on their site. No idea why and I’m sure it’s all my fault!

    But as far as he text goes it is indeed right – Fahrenheit starts so promisingly then just goes and throws it all away – though despite recognising how rubbish the last few hours of the game are (especcially when compared with the brilliant opening) I have to admit to them being a guilty pleasure. They’re amusing in a kind of ridiculous way (much like Wii title Disaster Day of Crisis is all the way through) and seeing each cliche arrive in all it’s hackneyed glory becomes a fun game.

    The stealth sections can fuck right off though. And the sex bit is just a joke compared to how well the game handled the relationship troubles between the male detective and his wife.

  11. CraigL says:

    That’s really odd. Is it just our site? No ones ever mentioned that problem before – could you email me what browser/os you are using? craig(at)

    Thanks for the kind words anyway :)

  12. MadMatty says:

    The Knife double album is also good listening, thx Kieron :) , the track “Colouring of Pigeons” being the odd-man-out so dont judge the album by that song at all.
    Im fairly super-fed up by the anonymous orchestra soundtracks in games these days, couldnt they put in more ambient stuff like this?
    It proves more varied and interesting, while it can still be played in the background without distracting from gameplay (mainly thinking about the 1st disc).


  13. Kelron says:

    I can see why people call Farenheit a bad game, their arguments are very sensible and well reasoned. But they don’t understand, they see only the ruining of an intriguing mystery. Farenheit’s descent into total insanity is unique.

    On the music side of things, I think I’ll stick to Deep Cuts.

  14. Collic says:

    Matt Stone (he of south park) seems to be playing bass for a band called the Tune Yards these days. Normally I notice these things sooner.

  15. Little Miss 101 says:

    Well, if anything, Ubi’s reply finally answers whether or not they think we are punishingly stupid (Hint: They do).

    I just loved the “anywhere, anytime” thing. I could almost hear the violins in the background and whatnot =,,,,)

  16. bill says:

    Gah! I saw a spoiler because I clicked on the link to the “spoilers don’t matter” article in the “spoilers matter” article!!!!

    I also started playing indigo prophecy 2 days ago… so i hope it’s not really all down hill from here…

    • Kanamit says:

      It is. But I found its descent into ludicrousness more enjoyable than the author of that article.

    • Wulf says:

      I actually really dug Fahrenheit, the descent was rather like watching a game go completely insane. At the start you had a sane game, clinically healthy, a paragon of society and all that, one that represented an everyday Joe, in an everyday job, who got involved in an everyday CSI murder (err…), and it looked like it was going to be a fairly pedestrian tale.

      But then it starts fraying around the edges, I could almost feel the writers twitching, and then there was that marvellous spiral downward into complete insanity. It’s ludicrous, it’s absurd, and it’s utterly silly, but it’s also funny, brazen, brave, perhaps a little risque, and quite, quite enjoyable. I do feel it could’ve done without the implied necrophilia, though.

    • Wednesday says:

      Sorry Bill, I made efforts to mark spoilers and leave things vague in my blog but didn’t even give any thought to the fact that I’d started the whole piece with a spoiler link.

  17. Lucas says:

    I want to know what happens if you announce that your game will NEVER go on sale.

    Do you get a bump because people on the fence will stop waiting for a sale? Do you have to put a time limit on the “never” or else risk your reputation? Does a reputation for quality and not reducing prices (ala Nintendo) help? Would it be more dependent or less on having an established customer base? Does pricing relative to competitors help or hurt?

    These things would be very interesting indicators, but we’ll probably never get such data.

  18. Bhazor says:

    Its good to see that low price high volume is the most profitable way to sell indie games, at least on the Xbox Live arcade. Hopefully see a few PC developers attracting a bigger audience by dropping their prices a bit.

    • Blather Blob says:

      @Bhazor: I don’t know, I think the $10 price of the #3 game (by revenue) is the highest price allowed by XBL for indie games, and isn’t even allowed anymore on new games ($5 is the new highest price). If everything else in a closed marketplace is $5 or less, is $10 still a low price? And it’s also worth pointing out that the game has the lowest volume listed despite making the author the third-place most money.

    • RobF says:

      I’d be incredibly wary of looking at those figures and assuming that sell cheap reap rewards works across the board.

      Here’s a graph of my sales (with the caveat that the game isn’t the second coming or anything, just a silly 9 minute arena shooter that’s been on the PC for around 12 months prior to XBLIG and many other things worth noting):

      Here’s the first fortnight from the new releases list to relative obscurity:

      link to

      And here’s up to before my Eurogamer review (I’ve not got the stats yet for after, or rather not had chance to look at anything):

      link to

      Now, I’m happy with the sales as relatively small as they are, more than in fact. It’s just that y’know, sell cheap=more sales isn’t a guarantee. There’s over 700 games on the service, the drop off after the Top 20 you see here I’d wager is massive and my graph is more typical (although comparing to some other folks sales numbers, higher than what quite a few people manage also).

      XBLIG is a funny market and not really comparable with the PC market. For one thing, getting coverage for an XBLIG title is magnitudes more difficult than getting good coverage for the PC. Brandon Boyer wrote up a few of the problems over at Boing Boing which I’d definitely recommend a read of:

      link to

      @Blather Bob – bingo. Being closed, everything gets sort of relative. A $5 cap may still be selling games cheap but the whole thing gets messy. $5 becomes expensive by virtue of being the top tier and you can fall easily into “this is overpriced” despite being silly cheap.

    • Bhazor says:

      Reply to Blather Blob

      But look at the trial download figures. RC-Air Sim had huge interest but only a 16% uptake level compared to 27% for the game above it. But money isn’t the only interest of a developer, just as important is getting a fan-base for your next game.
      I will say Ezmuse is an anomoly in that group and have to assume its success is due to either a great deal of publicity or some kind of prexisting fanbase.

      Reply to RobF

      Yes, it can be hard to be seen on the Live Arcade but I would argue it’s harder to be seen on PC. When on Xbox live you really have a single shop front but on PC theres hundreds all bickering for attention. Unless you read alot of game blogs you’re really only going to see a handful of Popcap games and nothing from the start ups. For example, how many retail indie games does RPS cover in a year? 10? 20? Probably less than that? My point is that with a small customer base you need to do everything you can to nab them and that includes putting the price down. Once you have a fan base, then you can start upping the price and start making bigger budget games as you go from bedroom to studio.

    • RobF says:

      The top 3 is interesting.

      RC Air Sim succeeds because it’s catering to a *very* specific niche (I couldn’t for the life of me see the appeal myself, but hey ho – not for me!) of remote control plane enthusiasts coupled with the fact that most similar products on the PC are priced way, way above it. It’s a cheap alternative and evidently one that satisfies a certain craving. And it’s unique on XBLIG. Perhaps there’s room for a Bagger simulator on there, that might perk up my attention a tad. If they gave the Bagger lasers anyway.

      Avatar Drop is, well, it’s a novelty. It’s a cheap novelty and the kind of thing you’d throw over for without a thought for. It’s the avatar equivalent of iFart if you will. Just a bit of silly.

      Aaand Zombies. Well, that’s 15 minutes of pure unadulterated genius and anyone who’s sat through it will know why that sits at the top. It’s a game that -fits- the $1 price tag. It’s absolutely throwaway but it’s 15 memorable minutes where you’ll smile yourself into a smiley fit, tell your friends to try it to because everyone likes stuff that makes them grin. It’s great.

      But what’s worth noting from the Top 20 is that there’s a distinct lack of games in there. There’s 4 I’d class as anything above idle flash game status (which isn’t meant as an insult) and the rest are novelties or apps. So where do the people that make “proper” games fit in here? They don’t break the Top 20 currently* so it’d be a madness to price low based on some novelty games and apps selling big numbers priced low, right?

      There’s over 700 games on the service and there will be a MASSIVE drop off after that Top 20. My own game sells pretty consistently but it sells consistently 1 or 2 copies at $1, split between 2 people and with Microsoft taking a cut from it. I don’t really care about that because I’m not doing it for the money, I’d give it away if I could *but* if I were running a business I’d be a mental to run with a price that low on there and I’d be a mental to think “oh yeah, pricing low means more people playing it” because, well, that’s not a given. At all.

      “Yes, it can be hard to be seen on the Live Arcade but I would argue it’s harder to be seen on PC”

      No, really, it’s not. I’m on both sides of the fence here. I do stuff on PC and I’ve got a game on XBLIG.

      I also run the (Edge Webby Of The Month this month accolade fans) site most likely to get an obscure XBLIG game under the noses of the media and there’s only a couple of us doing that. Brandon does lovely stuff previously with Offworld and now at Boing Boing, Ryan over at Gamerbytes and Tim and Michael over at Indiegames are really good for getting the word out there, oh and GayGamer are pretty smart with it too. There’s other sites that do brilliant jobs of reviews and stuff for XBLIG but they’re not going to get you under the noses of the public.

      Compared to the absolute ease I can get a PC game wafted under folks noses it may as well be a ghetto in there. Getting any sort of mainstream coverage for an XBLIG is much harder work than getting a PC indie game coverage. More importantly, getting *good* coverage is much more difficult. It’s also incredibly awkward when you have to be even more selective due to only having 50 review codes to hand out to give people the full and proper review experience, you’ve got to target much harder than on a PC and from a vastly smaller pool of sites that’ll cover your game.

      After week 1 and you’re off the new releases, you’re lost in the dash. NXE is a fucker for this.

      “Once you have a fan base, then you can start upping the price and start making bigger budget games as you go from bedroom to studio.”

      And how do you eat whilst building this fanbase? How do you afford to make games? I have the luxury of time and being a full time carer means I don’t have to worry about these things. Most people don’t have either of those luxuries and will sink before they even get the opportunity to up the ante.

      *this may change as the latter part of 2009 and into 2010 is seeing more gamey good stuff appear, good enough to get Edge [8]’s even. We’ll see how that translates this time next year though.

    • Blather Blob says:

      @Bhazor: But RC-Air Sim also made nearly $50,000 more than the better selling Avatar Drop, even with that lower conversion rate. I don’t know if it makes up for the 43,000 fewer new fans than Avatar Drop, but I also don’t know how many of those fans even know the name of Avatar Drop’s developer. And it seems like $50,000 can go a long way toward helping a second game even get finished, not to mention pay for making it a more polished experience that can sell better.

      But mainly I don’t know that this really has much relation to the pricing of PC indie games. Everything is (now) on a scale of $1-$5, so you have to view cheap vs. expensive with some relation to that price range. And from what I’ve heard XBLIG is sort of XBLA’s ghetto, full of hundreds and hundreds of $1 games, with nothing as advanced as even just user reviews like Apple’s App Store has to guide people through all the cruft.

      And I’m not sure it is an advantage to only have one storefront when it’s one as neglected as XBLIG is by Microsoft. Steam is already a majority of DD users and indie sales just by itself, and at least uses its banner ads for indie games pretty frequently, plus has a more selective choice of indie games available, meaning existing steam users will actually browse them more often. I wouldn’t be surprised if Torchlight had already sold more copies, through steam, at the full $20, than that zombie game has at $1, even as the best selling XBLIG game of 2009 at 160,000 copies.

    • Bhazor says:

      OK I will concede I didn’t know that the Indies were separate from the mainstream Arcade games (I should have guessed from the lack of Splosion Man and that 2d Metroidvania I can’t remember the name of). So you’re probably both right.

      I still think its easier to be seen on the arcade than the wilds of the Internet. Unless you sell to Steam or one of the other big platforms you really will struggle to pick up any kind of traffic without sinking your profits into adverts.

  19. Rinox says:

    Yay for a Los Campesinos mention! One of those bands that put a smile on my face every time.

  20. Jugglenaut says:

    Walker’s break up letter with the DS was spot on perfection.

  21. Edgar the Peaceful says:

    After the first couple of hours, the best thing about Farenheit is Love TKO by the late Teddy Pendergrass

  22. Wednesday says:

    Oh my God Kieron, you posted my blog up.

    Fuck me.

  23. DJ Phantoon says:

    Jon Hicks said, “In fairness, this tactic can work in the US, where crowds are much more disposed to whooping and hollering. My personal epiphany was the audience reaction to the Final Fantasy XIII announcement at Microsoft’s 2008 E3 conference: a lot of large men screaming and cheering as if their favourite monster truck had just burst through the wall.”

    Yes. This is exactly how it is. In fact, it should be mandatory for monster trucks to break through walls at any major announcement.

  24. Vinraith says:

    I still can’t shake the feeling that this Ubisoft DRM thing is a ploy to introduce something restrictive, but slightly less absurd than described. Ala some of EA’s antics last year, you describe a DRM system no one will put up with, and then you look magnanimous when you step it down to something just short of unacceptable. Maybe after sufficient uproar they’ll “concede” that an offline mode and offline saves might be necessary after all, thus basically killing the conversation about Ubi having created their own publisher-specific Steam-clone that we’ll be stuck with.

    • Blather Blob says:

      @Vinraith: Except it’s more than just talk. It’s shipping as described with The Settlers 7 beta. Getting actual developers involved is a bit more complex than just a PR campaign. I suppose it’s possible they have the other actually intended version waiting in the wings, but that would still require them to spend time making this “trojan” version.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Blather Blob

      All true, of course. I suppose I just have a hard time comprehending this kind of thing. How can they possibly think this will work? And if they really DO believe that, what are the odds that they’re right? DRMageddon indeed, that could genuinely be the beginning of the end of AAA PC games for me.

    • jalf says:

      I’ve got a much simpler explanation: The big publishers are incompetent, and don’t understand the industry they’re operating in.

      If you accept that premise, everything they do suddenly makes so much more sense.

    • Vinraith says:


      In which case my concern is that the consumer base is every bit as stupid as the publishers, and enough of them won’t be bothered by this that it will never go away.

    • Psychopomp says:


      You would be right. Gamers in general are some of the least informed consumers around.

    • Hmm says:

      Part of me is glad that somebody is implementing insane DRM, in the hope it does actually work (as in, stops piracy), just so everybody can see if sales exceed the projected number by 700%. I suspect they won’t. And if there’s no real difference then Ubisoft are going to have to think “Well, we’re not making extra profit from sales, and now we also incur the expense of setting up and maintaining all these stupid servers for the stupid DRM. In many ways, we are stupid.”

    • Wulf says:


      “Gamers in general are some of the least informed consumers around.”

      Amen to that.

      Most of the problems within the gaming industry stem from the gamers themselves, more informed people are just the tip of the iceberg. Apathy is the order of the day, and most will just accept whatever nonsense is shovelled their way, and they’ll take whatever they’re told by their content providers at face value.

      I have a very, very low opinion of my fellow gamer, generally speaking, as so few are clued in and even fewer still seem to care. Failing to give a damn, as the kids today say.

      And frankly, if the gaming culture is going to be that idiotic about everything, including DRM, then we don’t deserve a future free of DRM.


      “Part of me is glad that somebody is implementing insane DRM, in the hope it does actually work (as in, stops piracy),”

      It won’t. Cowboy crackers will always be ten steps ahead of pretty much every DRM system, as was pointed out in the PC Gamer article. It’s a challenge, it’s something to break and win against, and a war against crackers is a war that simply cannot be won, because they’ll always be smarter than the people who’re actually implementing the DRM.

      Think about it: What self-respecting coder would actually put together DRM?

      The answer to that question is the reason why DRM is always so half-arsed, and why the crackers will always win.

    • Hmm says:

      I know. But still. Of course, if it doesn’t work at all, surely they’re still going to have to reconsider what must be a significant expense for their DRM.

  25. Sonicgoo says:


    You’re a Warhol or Koons fan, aren’t you?

  26. Jahkaivah says:

    I just remembered something… the first game of the latest Prince of Persia Trilogy didn’t come with DRM did it? In fact Ubisoft went out of there way to advertise the fact.

    Given the latest devlopments I suspect that it may actually be because Ubisoft were testing the waters on the issue and plan to use the piracy rates of that game as a referance point to see how effective their latest DRM is actually going to be.

    Does anyone know how the piracy rates of that game actually turned out? I suspect it didn’t change much otherwise Ubisoft would have just used Securom.

  27. mbp says:

    Just thinking about that Ubisoft thing – what happens if your internet connection goes down while you are in the middle of a game? Does that mean that you lose all your progress?

    • Arathain says:

      Presumably yes, as it stands. The game pauses, and you can’t save.

  28. Matt says:

    Being condescending about video game plots is like a teenager calling someone a homophobic slur because he listens to different music.

  29. DMcCool says:

    I really hate to be the negative one (I love the sunday papers, gaming articles are fun and exciting and loads of them are clever and teach us stuff!!) but that Gamstura Narrative/Gameplay article was woefully crap. Not only was almost everything it said demonstratively wrong but there was no actual conclusion at the end of of all the dubious claims. It was written on the level of a very, very stoned 17 year psychology A-level student trying to write an essay on his/her hobby.

    Not that it wasn’t worth posting, its nice to know what debate is actually like, its just also important to point out afterwards that the debate was confused and slightly embarressing.


    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      No really, you’re right. When I finished page six (PAGE SIX, GODDAMOT FRONK) I shouted, “AAAAAAAAND?” so loud I ruptured a blood vessel in my uvula. It’s just the sort of thing that bothers me; when a writer approaches a difficult issue head on, goes all apeshit pointing out the varying sides of the argument etc., etc., and then says, “And here we have a conundrum. Good evening.”

      BUT OTHER THAN THAT, I TOO LOVED THE SUNDAY PAPERS AS I TEND TO DO AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH KIERON OOOXX (I kind of like to lead into it subtle-like, and then lay it on at the end).

  30. Vinraith says:

    People that don’t like games for the same reason I like them are dumb.

  31. Bret says:

    And also Hitler.

  32. Pod says:

    dissapointed at the (lack of) AP love in this thread.

  33. Wulf says:

    Interesting thought on the Ubisoft thing: How long do you think it’s going to be before someone writes a trojan with the sole purpose of blocking the Ubisoft authentication servers? With Steam that’s not such a big deal, because if worst comes to worst, you can play offline.

    Especially nefarious would be if said trojan only blocked the servers at certain times, creating ten to thirty minute pauses here and there which couldn’t be avoided.

    And what if such a trojan was targeted at apathetic gamers who really couldn’t care less about their poor, abused, uncared for computer?

    …I probably shouldn’t be giving people ideas.

    • Taillefer says:

      Wulf, every gamer who wants to protest against the system could run some macro to save the game every minute or so and just leave it running forever. You want to store saves? Here you go.

      Or just don’t buy it, I suppose.

  34. Tim E says:

    Thanks Kieron.