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The Courts

Lineage II Addiction Lawsuit Makes It Past the EULA 267

Posted by Soulskill
from the four-little-letters dept.
We recently discussed a man who sued NCsoft for making Lineage II "too addictive" after he spent 20,000 hours over five years playing it. Now, several readers have pointed out that the lawsuit has progressed past its first major hurdle: the EULA. Quoting: "NC Interactive has responded the way most software companies and online services have for more than a decade: it argued that the claims are barred by its end-user license agreement, which in this case capped the company's liability to the amount Smallwood paid in fees over six months prior to his filing his complaint (or thereabouts). One portion of the EULA specifically stated that lawsuits could only be brought in Texas state court in Travis County, where NC Interactive is located. ... But the judge in this case, US District Judge Alan C. Kay, noted that both Texas and Hawaii law bar contract provisions that waive in advance the ability to make gross-negligence claims. He also declined to dismiss Smallwood's claims for negligence, defamation, and negligent infliction of emotional distress."
Wii

New Wii Menu Update Targets Homebrew Again 258

Posted by Soulskill
from the glad-to-know-you're-still-watching dept.
Nintendo has tried to block homebrew during firmware updates in the past, often unsuccessfully. Now, as it rolls out version 4.3 of the Wii System Menu, stopping homebrew modifications once again seems to be its primary goal. From Nintendo's support site: "Because unauthorized channels or firmware may impair game play or the Wii console, updating to Wii Menu version 4.3 will check for and automatically remove such unauthorized files." Since it's hard to bill that as an upgrade, they vaguely add, "In addition, there are some behind the scenes enhancements that do not affect any prominently-used features or menus but will improve system performance."
PC Games (Games)

Civilization V To Use Steamworks 295

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-it-doesn't-get-you-in-hot-water dept.
sopssa writes "2K Games today announced that Civilization V will be using Steamworks for online matchmaking, automated updates, downloadable content and DRM for the game. Steam's Civ V store page is also available now, revealing some new information about the game. There will be an 'In-Game Community Hub' for online matchmaking, communication, and for sharing scenarios between players. While including Steamworks might put some people off, it might also indicate better online gameplay than in the previous Civilization games, where it was almost impossible to have a good game without playing with just friends."
The Almighty Buck

Activision Hit With $500m Suit From Modern Warfare 2 Devs 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the pow-right-in-the-kisser dept.
Dragoniz3r writes "Activision has been served a lawsuit from 38 plaintiffs, including present and former Infinity Ward employees, demanding up to half a billion dollars. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for 'unpaid bonuses, royalties, profit-sharing, and future profits from games such as Modern Warfare 3, and punitive damages.'"
Bug

Ubuntu LTS Experiences X.org Memory Leak 320

Posted by timothy
from the like-it-when-windows-crashed-more dept.
MonsterTrimble writes "Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Beta 2 is experiencing a major memory leak due to patches for X.org. 'An X.Org Server update that was pushed into the Lucid repository last week has resulted in the system being slower and slower as it is left on, until it reaches a point where the system is no longer usable. ... In order to make the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS deadline, the developers are looking at just reverting three of the patches, which brings the GLX version back to 1.2. Ubuntu developers are now desperate for people willing to test out this updated X.Org Server package so they can determine by this Friday whether to ship it with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS or doing an early SRU (Stable Release Update). Right now this X.Org Server that's being tested is living in the ubuntu-x-swat PPA.'"
Businesses

Former Exec Says Electronic Arts "Is In the Wrong Business" 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the inspiring-internet-outrage-is-a-bad-business-model dept.
Mitch Lasky was the executive vice president of Mobile and Online at Electronic Arts until leaving the publisher to work at an investment firm. He now has some harsh things to say about how EA has been run over the past several years, in particular criticizing the decisions of CEO John Riccitiello. Quoting: "EA is in the wrong business, with the wrong cost structure and the wrong team, but somehow they seem to think that it is going to be a smooth, two-year transition from packaged goods to digital. Think again. ... by far the greatest failure of Riccitiello's strategy has been the EA Games division. JR bet his tenure on EA's ability to 'grow their way through the transition' to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles. They honestly believed that they had a decade to make this transition (I think it's more like 2-3 years). Since the recurring-revenue sports titles were already 'booked' (i.e., fully accounted for in the Wall Street estimates) it fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It's been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it's been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another. Not to mention the shut-down of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA's $850MM acquisition of Bioware-Pandemic. And don't think that Dante's Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It's a bankrupt strategy."
Role Playing (Games)

Dragon Age: Origins Expansion Coming In March 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the well-met-warden dept.
ishanjain tipped news that BioWare has announced an expansion for Dragon Age: Origins, called Awakening, that is due out on March 16th. Awakening "is supposed to run about 15 hours and will allow for players to import and edit characters they've broken in from the core game," and it will take place "in the in the role of a Grey Warden Commander who's been tasked with rebuilding the order of Grey Wardens and finding out how the darkspawn survived following the death of the Archdemon dragon." A trailer is available at the official site, as well as some information on a new bit of DLC that will be out shortly, entitled Return to Ostagar. (It was originally due for release on January 5th, but was delayed.)
Businesses

EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Cuts 200 Jobs 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the say-goodnight-folks dept.
lbalbalba writes "Electronic Arts is shutting down its Westwood-based game developer Pandemic Studios just two years after acquiring it, putting nearly 200 people out of work. 'The struggling video game publisher informed employees Tuesday morning that it was closing the studio as part of a recently announced plan to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce. Pandemic has about 220 employees, but an EA spokesman said that a core team, estimated by two people close to the studio to be about 25, will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, in Playa Vista.' An ex-developer for Pandemic attributed the studio's struggles to poor decisions from the management."
Games

An Inside Look At Tabula Rasa's Failure 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the ambitious-projects-and-corporate-fud dept.
Massively notes a couple of posts from people who worked at NCSoft while Tabula Rasa was in development. Adam Martin says the lengthy, wandering development cycle led management to push it through before it was ready. "Very late, they eventually hit upon a good formula, a good core game," but, "Before they could actually make that game, a difficult decision was taken to push the team to the wall and force an early beta test." Scott Jennings suggests that early warning signs, like the tepid reaction to the beta, were largely ignored. "One of the mantras that went around production discussions after Auto Assault's launch square into the pavement was that if you can't get people to play the beta for free, you have serious, serious issues. Tabula Rasa had those issues. Not as bad as Auto Assault — there were people doggedly playing every night and presumably enjoying themselves, and metrics were duly assembled to measure every movement those testers took. But it was pretty clear, at least from my completely disassociated and busy with my own thing viewpoint, that there wasn't a lot of excitement."
Games

Do Game Demos Have an Adverse Effect On Sales? 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-buy-the-cow dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Unigamesity has an analysis of the effects game demos and beta tests have on the full release of video games. Quoting: 'If we think about LittleBigPlanet, Age of Conan or Mirror's Edge, we notice they have two things in common: very successful and well received demo versions (or beta stages) and very poor, lower than anticipated game sales. And since these are not the only titles in which a demo (or the lack of it) appears to be connected with their commercial success, I believe we should analyze the influence demos have in the game world and debate: are game demos game killers?'"
Sci-Fi

+ - "Star Trek Gamers" Blacklisted By Bethesda

Submitted by sandus
sandus (666) writes "The largest Trek game fansite StarTrek-Gamers.com was officially blacklisted by Bethesda Softworks not long ago. To discover the reasoning behind this decision the Fallout news site NMA has conducted an in-depth interview with StarTrek-Gamers' webmaster, Victor. From the interview:

NMA: Star Trek Gamers has been officially blacklisted by Bethesda. Why, do you feel, did Bethesda do this?

Victor: They did it for several reasons. One of them being that one or two other major fansites haven't officially come out in public on their front page and panned Legacy, only the STG did."
Math

Journal: The math behind "beer goggles" 2

Journal by tomhudson

Researchers at Manchester University, among others, have discovered a mathematical formula for calculating the "beer goggles effect" (where people look more attractive after a few beers).

The factors are: how drunk you are, how dark the room is, your eye-sight, the amount of smoke in the air, and how far you are from your "target" (which also explains all those "good from far but far from good" sightings).

Enlightenment

+ - Have You Heard The Good News

Submitted by
fishdan
fishdan writes "This Sunday, many Christians of varying denominations will be doing something that will surprise many /. readers. They will hold special services celebrating Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Their purpose? Refuting creationism, which claims the biblical account of creation is literally true, and which is increasingly being promoted under the guise of "intelligent design".

"For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science," says Michael Zimmerman, founder of Evolution Sunday and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis. In the Clergy Letters, Zimmerman goes on to state: "Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts."

I'm not Christian, but I think I might attend one of the services (listed on the first link) near my house to show my support for rational religion."
Space

+ - EVE: Corp Leader Talks EVE Dev Corruption

Submitted by Jumpgatedandunsubbed
Jumpgatedandunsubbed (666) writes "In continuation of their first JumpGate story, The Escapist is running an interview with Remedial, leader of GoonSwarm, a rival alliance to BoB. The GoonSwarm alliance boards were where the hacker who exposed the EVE dev corruption first went public. Remedial explains the significance of CCP's devs cheating in relation to the game."

He who steps on others to reach the top has good balance.

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