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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 17 declined, 15 accepted (32 total, 46.88% accepted)

Submission + - Ubisoft revokes digital keys for games purchased via unauthorised retailers->

RogueyWon writes: For the last several days, some users of Ubisoft's uPlay system have been complaining that copies of games they purchased have been revoked from their libraries. According to a statement issued to a number of gaming websites, Ubisoft believes that the digital keys revoked have been "fraudulently obtained". What this means in practice is unclear; while some of the keys may have been obtained using stolen credit card details, others appear to have been purchased from unofficial third-party resellers, who often undercut official stores by purchasing cheaper boxed retail copies of games and selling their key-codes online, or by exploiting regional price differences, buying codes in regions where games are cheaper to sell them elsewhere in the world. The latest round of revocations appears to have triggered an overdue debate into the fragility of customer rights in respect of digital games stores.
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Submission + - Assassin's Creed: Unity launch debacle pulls spotlight onto game review embargoe->

RogueyWon writes: The latest entry in the long-running Assassin's Creed game series, Assassin's Creed: Unity released this week. Those looking for pre-release reviews on whether to make a purchase were out of luck; the publisher, Ubisoft, had provided gaming sites with advance copies, but only on condition that their reviews be withheld until 17 hours after the game released in North America. Following the game's release, many players have reported finding it in a highly buggy state, with severe performance issues affecting all three release platforms (PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One). Ubisoft has been forced onto the defensive, taking the unprecedented step of launching a live-blog covering their efforts at debugging the game, but the debacle has already had a large impact on the company's share value and the incident has drawn widespread attention to the increasingly common practice of review embargoes.
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Submission + - Lucasfilm announced break with Star Wars Expanded Universe->

RogueyWon writes: A recent blog post from Lucasarts had confirmed that the new Star Wars movies planned for release by Disney will formally break continuity with the Expanded Universe novels, comics and video games.

In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe.

The news is unlikely to be a surprise, given George Lucas's previous pronouncements on the issue.
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Submission + - South Park game censored on consoles outside North America

RogueyWon writes: South Park has long been vocal in its opposition to media censorship from any source, launching scathing attacks on everything from "think of the children" moral crusades to the censorship of religious imagery. In a curious twist, therefore, Ubisoft, the publisher of the upcoming video game "South Park: The Stick of Truth" has decided to censor certain scenes from the game's Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions from release in Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. American versions, as well as the European PC release, so far appear to have escaped the censor's pen.

Submission + - New Call of Duty launches - faces rougher ride than usual->

RogueyWon writes: 5 November sees the worldwide release of Cal of Duty: Ghosts, the latest installment in the incredibly successful franchise that's often seen as the poster-child for "dudebro" gaming. However, compared with previous titles, Ghosts is facing a challenging launch environment; the developer is already setting expectations that the game will sell fewer copies than previous installments. At the same time, with the review embargo passed, the critical reception for the game is looking lukewarm, with some reviews making unflattering parallels with the previous installment in the series. Could the momentum finaly be ebbing away from the Modern Military Shooter bandwaggon?
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Submission + - Dell laptops generating a nasty stink->

RogueyWon writes: The BBC reports that a batch of Dell's Latitude 6430u Ultrabooks has shipped out with a rather embarrassing problem; a strong smell of cat urine. While some users initially cast blame upon their own feline companions, Dell has now acknowledged that the problem was due to a fault in the manufacturing process for the laptop's palm rest and is offering replacement parts to affected users. The company has also reassureds customers that the chemicals responsible for the odour were not harmful to human health (so that's alright then).
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Submission + - Ouya developers share their experiences->

RogueyWon writes: Four months after the launch of the Ouya micro-console, Gamasutra has pulled together a round up of the experiences of indie developers who have brought their games to the platform. There's both positive and negative news; developers seem to like the ease of porting to the platform, but have concerns regarding the approach that its marketplace takes. Perhaps most crucially, sales of games on the platform are far from stellar.
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Submission + - Blizzard to end Diablo 3 Auction Houses->

RogueyWon writes: When Blizzard released the third installment in its famous Diablo series in May 2012, the game received a rapturous reception from some parts of the gaming press. However, many gamers were far less enthusiastic. The first bone of contention was an always-online DRM requirement (which rendered the game intermittently unplayable during the weeks after its release). Almost as controversial, however, was an auction house system which combined with the game's own reward mechanics to provide a strong incentive for players to spend real money trading in-game items. When the Playstation 3 version of the game was released last month, this widely-despised feature was notable by its absence. Now, in what is at least a small concession to the power of customer opinion, Blizzard has announced that the feature will be removed from the PC version of the game next year. The always-online requirement, however, looks set to say.
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Submission + - Games for Windows Live shutting down->

RogueyWon writes: According to a since-removed post on the Age of Empires Online forum, Microsoft will shut down its much-ridiculed PC DRM service Games for Windows Live from July 1, 2014. Launched in 2007, the service has struggled to convince either publishers or gamers of its merits and in recent months, even publishers who had previously supported the platform had ditched it. Questions are now being asked about the future of games dependent upon the service, which include popular favorites such as the Batman: Arkham series and Dark Souls.
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Submission + - Latest Humble gaming bundle offers "pay what you want" for major titles

RogueyWon writes: The latest Humble Bundle offers a number of major and relatively recent titles on a "pay what you want" basis, with revenues split between developers, the Humble team, and the Child's Play and American Red Cross charities. Legendarily over-the-top open world game Saints Row 3 arguably takes top billing this time around, though purchasers willing to donate above the average also receive Dead Island and Metro 2033. Unlike some of the earlier Humble Bundles, the games in this pack are available Windows-only and must be linked to a Steam account.

Submission + - Console region locking - has its time passed?

RogueyWon writes: One of the more welcome details of the recent E3 announcements, which got slightly lost in the furore around used games restrictions, was the news that games on both the Playstation 4 and Xbox One would be region-free. The news leaves Nintendo as the only console manufacturer still committed to region locked games. Now a fan campaign, reminiscent of the successful Operation Rainfall is seeking to persuade Nintendo to drop region locks from its 3DS and Wii-U consoles. Are the days of region-locked console games, a long-running bugbear for internationally-minded gamers, finally coming to an end?

Submission + - Playstation 3 firmware update reported to be "bricking" consoles

RogueyWon writes: A new firmware update for Sony's Playstation 3 console went live overnight, but some users are reporting that it renders their consoles non-functional. Coverage via gaming news sites indicates that Sony are aware of the problem, but have not yet issued any statement on possible resolutions.

Submission + - Ubisoft ditches always-online DRM requirement from PC games->

RogueyWon writes: "In an interview with gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Ubisoft has announced that it will no longer use DRM for its PC games that requires the player to be online and connected to its servers at all times, even when playing single-player content. This represents a reversal of Ubisoft's long-standing insistence that such DRM was essential if the company were to be profitable in the PC gaming market. Curiously, Ubisoft is still at pains to remind gamers that they will need an internet connection if they wish to play its games over the internet — a restriction that is perhaps not entirely unexpected."
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Submission + - Sony closes WipEout developer Studio Liverpool->

RogueyWon writes: "Eurogamer is reporting that Sony has closed its subsidiary developer Studio Liverpool. Beginning its life in 1984 under the name Psygonis, the development house has played an important role in the history of computer and video gaming, publishing classics such as the Lemmings series. Since its acquisition by Sony in 1993, the studio has been best known for its work on the WipEout franchise, which helped to establish the Playstation console as a successful brand. Sony's statements indicate that it will seek to find positions for staff in its other development houses, but that some redundancies will be necessary."
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Submission + - UK's largest specialist video games retailer enters administration->

RogueyWon writes: "The GAME Group, owners of high street chains GAME and Gamestation, which between them account for a large majority of the UK's specialist games retail market have entered into administration. In the hours following the Group's entry into administration, hundreds of stores were closed and thousands of staff made redundant.

While some of the factors behind the Group's downfall, such as stores located too close to each other and overly-ambitious international expansion, were likely unique to the UK-based company, other factors, such as price competition from supermarkets and online retailers, as well as a reliance on a fickle pre-owned games market, may have wider application."

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