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Submission + - Cliff Bleszinski: vote with your dollars ( 5

silentbrad writes: Cliff Bleszinski, formerly of Epic Games, posted a blog entry titled "Nickels, dimes, and quarters" yesterday:

"The video game industry is just that.An industry. Which means that it exists in a capitalistic world. You know, a free market. A place where you’re welcome to spend your money on whatever you please or to refrain from spending that money. ... Adjusted for inflation, your average video game is actually cheaper than it ever has been. Never mind the ratio of the hours of joy you get from a game per dollar compared to film. To produce a high quality game it takes tens of millions of dollars, and when you add in marketing that can get up to 100+ million. In the AAA console market you need to spend a ton of cash on television ads alone, never mind other marketing stunts, launch events, swag, and the hip marketing agency that costs a boatload in your attempts to “go viral” with something. ... Another factor to consider is the fact that many game development studios are in places like the San Francisco bay area, where the cost of living is extraordinarily high. (Even Seattle is pretty pricey these days.) Those talented artists, programmers, designers, and producers that spent their time building the game you love? They need to eat and feed their families. ... I’ve seen a lot of comments online about microtransactions. They’re a dirty word lately, it seems. Gamers are upset that publishers/developers are “nickel and diming them.” They’re raging at “big and evil corporations who are clueless and trying to steal their money.” I’m going to come right out and say it. I’m tired of EA being seen as “the bad guy.” I think it’s bullshit that EA has the “scumbag EA” memes on Reddit and that Good Guy Valve can Do No Wrong. ... If you don’t like EA, don’t buy their games. If you don’t like their microtransactions, don’t spend money on them. It’s that simple. ... The market as I have previously stated is in such a sense of turmoil that the old business model is either evolving, growing, or dying. No one really knows. “Free to play” aka “Free to spend 4 grand on it” is here to stay, like it or not. ... People like to act like we should go back to “the good ol’ days” before microtransactions but they forget that arcades were the original change munchers. Those games were designed to make you lose so that you had to keep spending money on them. Ask any of the old Midway vets about their design techniques. The second to last boss in Mortal Kombat 2 was harder than the last boss, because when you see the last boss that’s sometimes enough for a gamer. ... If you don’t like the games, or the sales techniques, don’t spend your money on them. You vote with your dollars."


Submission + - PC has a Piracy Rate of 93-95%, says Ubisoft ( 1

silentbrad writes: From GamesIndustry International: "Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has told GamesIndustry International that the percentage of paying players is the same for free to play as it is for PC boxed product: around five to seven per cent. ... 'On PC it's only around five to seven per cent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it's only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated. It's around a 93-95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage. The revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content.' ... 'We must be careful because the consoles are coming. People are saying that the traditional market is declining and that F2P is everything — I'm not saying that. We're waiting for the new consoles — I think that the new consoles will give a huge boost to the industry, just like they do every time that they come. This time, they took too long so the market is waiting.'

Submission + - What Happens to Your Used Games? (

silentbrad writes: From IGN: "GameStop’s bosses are obviously tired of hearing about how used games are killing gaming, about how unfair they are on the producers of the games who get nothing from their resale. One astonishing stat is repeated by three different managers during presentations. 70 percent of income consumers make from trading games goes straight back into buying brand new games. GameStop argues that used games are an essential currency in supporting the games business. The normal behavior is for guys to come into stores with their plastic bags full of old games, and trade them so that they can buy the new Call of Duty, Madden, Gears of War. GameStop says 17 percent of its sales are paid in trade credits. The implication is clear — if the games industry lost 17 percent of its sales tomorrow, that would be a bad day for the publishers and developers."

Submission + - Are Porn and Games Basically the Same Thing? (

silentbrad writes: IGN published an article, today, discussing an editorial from CNN: Pornography and videogames are pretty much the same thing, according to a sensational and terrifying editorial published on CNN today called ‘The Demise of Guys: How Videogames and Porn are Ruining a Generation’. Games and porn are not only equal, they are equally damaging to young men, destroying their ability to connect with women, and therefore threatening the future of our entire species. ... The article, by psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan argues that young men are “hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz”. ... Zimbardo, has danced this jig before. At the Long Beach TED conference last year he told a delighted audience that “guys are wiping out socially with girls and sexually with women.” He added that young men have been so zombiefied by games and porn that they are unable to function in basic human interactions. “It’s a social awkwardness like a stranger in a foreign land”, he said. “They don’t know what to say. They don’t know what to do.”

Submission + - Murderous Psychopaths Play Games (

silentbrad writes: From IGN: Anders Breivik is a mass murderer who killed 69 people, mostly teenagers, because he didn't like their opinions. He is a political extremist ... a fantasist who claims to have ties to The Knights Templar. He is on trial right now for those murders, and, in the presence of his victims' broken relatives, he showboats and poses. ... He is also a gamer. ... On this revelation, there's a temptation to shrug shoulders and say, 'so what?' It's such a commonplace pastime, like eating in restaurants or enjoying professional sports, that it barely merits consideration. ... Some in the games media have been quick to cry foul over media coverage ... Indeed, it's not just gaming under fire. ... Unfortunately, we'll hear a lot more from him in the days ahead, evil stuff far more troubling than his enjoyment of role-playing and shooting games and his bizarrely juvenile relationship with the fantasies he enjoyed.

Submission + - New Social Network for Trading Games (

silentbrad writes: From IGN: "A social network has been launched entirely dedicated to swapping games with people in your local area. The guys behind newly minted say they have created a better way for gamers to trade old games — with each other and in common meeting places like donut shops. is a Facebook-style website where you can sign up and start trading games with people in your local neighborhood. There's no charge, and users are encouraged to trade in-person, rather than via mail. ... It's a system that doesn't involve the traditional middle-man in used games — games retail chains. ... By taking the retailer out of the equation, gamers can squeeze more value for their old games. Instead of retailers profiting from the trade, it's all about gamers doing business with one another, giving them much more power over the goods they own. ... Co-founder Jean-Paul Rehr told IGN, 'The used games business is a bit broken. People like the idea of not having to go to a store to lose money on game trade-ins.' ... The site launches officially this week. Clearly, its success depends on achieving enough people to make it work. Rehr says the overall number of users is less important than achieving clusters of participants in populated areas, 'For us it's about local footholds in cities and towns around the U.S, to see this thing take off.'

Submission + - Link Between Violent Computer Games and Aggressiveness Questioned (

silentbrad writes: An article on Science Daily — and another on IGN — brings us back to the debate violent games and aggressiveness. From the article: "There is a long-lasting and at times intense debate about the possible link between violent computer games and aggressiveness. A group of researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, are now questioning the entire basis of the discussion. In a recently published article, they present a new study showing that, more than anything, a good ability to cooperate is a prerequisite for success in the violent gaming environment. ... The Gothenburg-based research group spent hundreds of hours playing online games and observing other gamers, including on video recordings. They focused on complex games with portrayals of violence and aggressive action where the participants have to fight with and against each other. ... Inconsiderate gamers, as well as those who act aggressively or emotionally, generally do not do well. 'The suggested link between games and aggression is based on the notion of transfer, which means that knowledge gained in a certain situation can be used in an entirely different context. The whole idea of transfer has been central in education research for a very long time. The question of how a learning situation should be designed in order for learners to be able to use the learned material in real life is very difficult, and has no clear answers,' says Ivarsson. ... 'In a nutshell, we're questioning the whole gaming and violence debate, since it's not based on a real problem but rather on some hypothetical reasoning,' he says.

Submission + - Minecraft Creator's New Game Called 0x10c (

silentbrad writes: As announced last month, Notch — creator of Minecraft — is working on a sandbox space game (no, not the Mars Effect April Fools joke, though it's similar). "The game [0x10c] is still extremely early in development, but like we did with Minecraft, we expect to release it early and let the players help me shape the game as it grows. The cost of the game is still undecided, but it's likely there will be a monthly fee for joining the Multiverse as we are going to emulate all computers and physics even when players aren't logged in. Single player won't have any recurring fees. ... The computer in the game is a fully functioning emulated 16 bit CPU that can be used to control your entire ship, or just to play games on while waiting for a large mining operation to finish. Full specifications of the CPU will be released shortly, so the more programatically advanced of you can get a head start."

Submission + - Playstation 4 codenamed Orbis? (

silentbrad writes: Kotaku reports some "details" about Sony's next console given to them by a "reliable source". They say that the console's codename—or, following Kotaku's odd-but-possible logic, the actual name—will be Orbis, and it has a planned release in time for the 2013 holiday season. They've been told that developers are being told to plan for an AMD x64 CPU and AMD Southern Islands GPU. Further on, they mention that there will be no PS3 backwards compatibility and, like rumours about the next Xbox, will have anti-used game DRM. Specifically, "new games for the system will be available one of two ways, either on a Blu-Ray disc or as a PSN download (yes, even full retail titles). If you buy the disc, it must be locked to a single PSN account ... If you then decide to trade that disc in, the pre-owned customer picking it up will be limited in what they can do. ... it's believed used games will be limited to a trial mode or some other form of content restriction, with consumers having to pay a fee to unlock/register the full game."

Submission + - Notch wants to make a Firefly-inspired sandbox space game (

silentbrad writes: From PC Gamer: After stepping back as lead designer of Minecraft earlier this year, Notch has been considering what to do next. While he’s still deciding exactly what he wants to work on, he told us that he’d quite like to do a sandbox space trading game like Elite, “except done right.” Notch is aiming for something with a bit more character than the classic trading sim. Instead of being the spaceship, you’d be a character inside the spaceship. “I want the space game that’s more like Firefly,” he said. “I want to run around on my ship and have to put out a fire. Like, oh crap, the cooling system failed, I have to put out the fire here.” He hasn’t decided to make the game yet, and doesn’t mind if someone else takes up the reins. “if someone steals the idea before me, that’s totally fine. I just want to play that game,” he said.

Submission + - 'Xbox 720 Might Reject Used Games (

silentbrad writes: Online passes are a recent staple in staving off used sales. Limiting what used buyers can access is a protective measure for publishers, much to the chagrin of parts of the gaming community. Chris Kohler of Wired argues that the death of used games is inevitable, and passes are the first step toward something exactly like a native anti-used game something integrated into consoles. He notes, of course, that digital is the future of buying games, but in the meantime we may be looking at "an interim period in which the disc as a delivery method is still around but...becomes more like a PC game, which are sold with one-time-use keys that grant one owner a license to play the game on his machine."

Also at Kotaku, the source for the Wired article (which is the source for the IGN article).


Submission + - Vavle's Gabe Newell on piracy and more (

silentbrad writes: IGN has an article about Gabe Newell, quoting his views on privacy:

'In general, we think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable. Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty.'

Gabe has more to say in the original interview, including his thoughts on e-sports.

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling