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PC Games (Games)

PC Grand Theft Auto IV Features SecuROM DRM 531

arcticstoat writes "Game developer Rockstar has revealed that the forthcoming PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV will feature the controversial SecuROM 7 DRM system. Unlike some of EA's recent titles, such as Spore and Mass Effect, GTA IV won't limit the number of times that you can install the game, although SecuROM will be impossible to remove without leaving 'some traces' on your PC. Anyone hoping to avoid SecuROM by downloading the game form Steam will also be disappointed, as Rockstar says that all versions of the game will feature SecuROM, including digital versions online. On the plus side, Rockstar says that it's 'working with SecuROM to post information on our support pages regarding how to remove these inactive traces of the program for users who wish to do so.' Has Rockstar gotten a better balance between draconian DRM and fair copy protection here?"
Communications

EA Forum Ban Will Now Mean EA Game Ban 549

An anonymous reader writes "A post on the EA Support Forums from APOC, online community manager for Electronic Arts, outlines a new policy for their new forums, saying users who earn a ban based on their behavior in the forums will be locked out of all of the EA games tied to that account: 'Well, its actually going to be a bit nastier for those who get banned. Your forum account will be directly tied to your Master EA Account, so if we ban you on the forums, you would be banned from the game as well since the login process is the same. And you'd actually be banned from your other EA games as well since it's all tied to your account. So if you have SPORE and Red Alert 3 and you get yourself banned on our forums or in-game, well, your SPORE account would be banned to. It's all one in the same, so I strongly recommend people play nice and act mature. All in all, we expect people to come on here and abide by our ToS. We hate banning people, it makes our lives a lot tougher, but it's what we have to do.'" Update: 10/31 12:36 GMT by T : Not so! Pandanapper writes "After a flood of complaints the EA community moderator APOC corrects his statement about how banning you from the forums bans you from your game access as well:"That said, the previous statement I made recently (that's being quoted on the blogs) was inaccurate and a mistake on my part. I had a misunderstanding with regards to our new upcoming forums and website and never meant to infer that if we ban or suspend you on the forums, you would be banned in-game as well. This is not correct, my mistake, my bad."
Wii

Nintendo's Homebrew-Blocking Update Hacked 157

ElementC writes "Team Twiizers, the group behind almost all of the Wii Homebrew scene, has released an update to the Homebrew Channel (and installer) that allows for installation on a Wii with the most recent update installed. While the team still recommends against installing the Nintendo update, those who accidentally updated or purchase games that require the update are no longer left out to dry. This update to the Homebrew Channel also adds SDHC support, a feature Nintendo has not implemented in vanilla Wiis. The community has also created an app that updates just the Wii Shop Channel — allowing users to purchase Wiiware and Virtual Console games without losing their homebrew. It took the team only two days to get the fix out."
Education

Game-Related Education On the Rise At Colleges 178

The LA Times has a story about the increased interest in learning how to make video games amongst college students, and the subsequent rise in game-related education as the schools respond to that demand. Some programs are gaining legitimacy, while others do perhaps more harm than good. Quoting: "The surge in interest has led schools to add games to their menu — but not always to the benefit of its students. Recruiters say they often see 'mills' that run around-the-clock sessions to quickly churn out as many students as possible. Other programs teach specific skills but not how games are pulled together. 'It's a very hot academic growth area,' said Colleen McCreary, who runs EA's university relations program. 'I'm very worried about the number of community colleges and for-profit institutions, as well as four-year programs, that are using game design as a lure for students who are not going to be prepared for the real entry-level positions that the game industry wants.'"
Businesses

Interest Growing For Pre-Paid Game Cards 70

Worlds in Motion is running an interview with GMG Entertainment, a company finding success marketing pre-paid "digital currency cards" used online for games and other entertainment services. Customers and retailers alike are enjoying the simplicity and utility of the cards, and GMG suggests that this segment of the industry will only continue to grow: "I estimate this year that you'll see EA enter this space for some of their games, and a few other big names are absolutely interested. In fact we're in final negotiations with a couple of recognizable names. We tend to estimate the size of the total pre-paid gaming card business when we do our numbers, and this year we're looking to something between $75-100 million dollars in sales across North America. We see that going to $250-300 million in 2009 and being in the region of a half-billion by 2010. We see this market growing dramatically in the next two to five years."
The Almighty Buck

Bandwidth Use In MMOs 188

Massively is running a story about bandwidth costs for MMOs and other virtual worlds. It's based on a post at the BBC on the same subject which references a traffic analysis (PDF) done for World of Warcraft. Quoting: "If you're an average user on capped access, the odds are you have roughly 20Gbytes per month to allocate among all of your Internet usage (it varies depending on just where you are). For you, sucking back (for example) a 2GB World of Warcraft patch isn't something you can just do. It's something you have to plan for — and quite often you have to plan for in the following month. Even a 500MB download has to be handled with caution. MMOGs as a rule don't use a whole lot of bandwidth in actual operation. However, the quantity definitely rises in busy areas with lots of players, where there are large numbers of mobs, or on raids, and takes quite a much larger jump if you're using voice as well."
Programming

A Look At Successful Game Mods 287

Parz writes "Mods have been an important part of gaming for well over 15 years. Not only have they provided plenty of additional free gaming to players, but they've acted as a launch pad for independent and amateur programmers to show off their skills to potential employers. This Gameplayer article highlights the programmers who are doing it best, and what mods have made biggest and most enjoyable impact on gaming. The article not only provides details for each game, but also links to the downloads, and is a great resource for those interesting in getting up-to-date with this exciting scene." Obviously, this list will seem incomplete to anyone whose favorite mod was omitted. What mods contributed most to your enjoyment?
Star Wars Prequels

LucasArts, Bioware Announce Star Wars MMO 346

LucasArts and Bioware held a press conference today to confirm what has been suspected for a long time: they're working on a Star Wars MMO. It will be called Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it will be a continuation of the Knights of the Old Republic franchise. Further coverage is available at Gamespot, and IGN has some of the concept art. An official website for the game was launched as well. "According to the game's official announcement, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader, with the galaxy divided by war between the Empire and the Sith. That's about 300 years after the events of KotOR, a time frame that, according to Zeschuk, 'is completely unexplored in the lore.' Players can take the role of either a Jedi, a Sith or other classic Star Wars characters -- and, as perhaps can be expected from BioWare, Muzyka says story will be a major component, underlying and driving all of the player's actions."
Businesses

E3 Coming Back Big In 2009 35

Newsweek reports that next year's E3 will be expanding its attendance cap to 40,000 in an attempt to return as the premiere large-scale gaming expo. E3 scaled back its operations over the last few years, leading some to speculate that it was outliving its usefulness. This year, according to E3's organizers, we can "expect a boat load of press conferences on Monday during the day and on Tuesday morning." Newsweek also claims E3 will be opening to the public for the first time, allowing fans inside for the last two days of the event. However, G4's coverage says that while the vetting process for attendees will be eased, the event still won't be open to the public. An official announcement will be made tomorrow by the Entertainment Software Association.
Games

The State of Piracy and DRM In PC Gaming 387

VideoGamer sat down with Randy Stude, president of the PC Gaming Alliance, to talk about the state of piracy and DRM in today's gaming industry. He suggests that many game studios have themselves to blame for leaks and pre-launch piracy by not integrating their protection measures earlier in the development process. He mentions that some companies, such as Blizzard and Valve, have worked out anti-piracy schemes that generate much less of a backlash than occurred for Spore . Stude also has harsh words for companies who decline to create PC versions of their games, LucasArts in particular, saying, "LucasArts hasn't made a good PC game in a long time. That's my opinion. ... It's ridiculous to say that there's not enough audience for that game ... and that it falls into this enthusiast extreme category when ported over to the PC. That's an uneducated response." Finally, Stude discusses what the PCGA would like to see out of Vista and the next version of Windows.

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