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Submission + - Just who is to blame for Aliens: Colonial Marines? Controversy abounds.

Channard writes: Despite — or perhaps because of — having been in development for at least five years, Aliens: Colonial Marines, the bug-hunting FPS from Gearbox has turned out to be a bit of a mess, receiving mostly negative reviews from pretty much every gaming site under the sun. However, it's not just the game's badness that is causing a stir, but the fact that the final product differs heavily from the demo footage that was used to promote the game.

It appears that some of the subsequently missing features were shown to journalists such as Destructoid's Jim Sterling who states: 'I feel lied to. I spoke to (Gearbox's Randy) Pitchford about Aliens: Colonial Marines, and he talked to me about the game's "next generation lighting" and other awesome features. He promised things I never saw, he showed a room full of writers things that would never make it to the final product.' Other sites have also picked up on the controversy, including VideoGamerTV who released a video highlights some of the major differences between the demo and final release.

However, the shenanigans don't end there. There are in fact four companies credited with having developed the game, and it's unclear just who, if anyone, came up with the lion's share of A:CM. There's been a lot of back and forth regards this issue, as noted by MCV. One post on Reddit, supposedly from an inside source, even goes so far as to suggest that the game was pushed through certification to avoid any potential legal backlash from Sega. Whether or not the truth will ever come out is anyone's guess.

Journal Journal: Sorted.

This has now been sorted - though it took long enough to get a refund... and the same descriptions still up on the PlayTV page.


Submission + - Dead Island's Steam problems continue, DRM style. (steampowered.com)

Channard writes: Dead Island has done pretty well in terms of sales, but the game's PC release hasn't gone smoothly. Initially, Deep Silver/Techland released the wrong version of the game onto Steam, causing some consternation amongst gamers. The game also contains a variety of other bugs. However, it now emerges that even the fixed version of the game requires you to be online and connected to Steam in order to play.

Most Steam games only require you to validate the game once, after which you have the option of switching Steam to offline mode and playing the games regardless of whether or not you're connected to the internet at the time. Since the retail version of Dead Island uses Steamworks, this problem affects retail copies of the game as well.

While this may smack of Ubisoft-style DRM, Deep Silver/Techland suggest this is a bug although they then go on to state that they ' cant make any promises' as to when or indeed if it'll be fixed. They also try to blame Steam's Steam Cloud architecture, although this seems to be a case of passing the buck since other Steam Cloud games don't have this problem and can be played fine offline, albeit without Steam Cloud synchronization.


PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Sony PSN hack preceded by 200 Sony layoffs. (psx-scene.com)

Channard writes: As noted by Sony scene website PSX-Scene, the recent Playstation Network security breaches were preceded by layoffs of over 200 staff in Sony's Sony Online Entertainment subdivision. While that's not to say for certain the hack was an inside job, the website notes...

'Like all layoffs that are hard to swallow, this case was a big one, one 1/3 of the staff that worked in the ONLINE division, in all over 200 employees were given their sad "pink slip" 2 week notice, which means they had to work right up until the very dates that Sony had to shutdown the PSN network!

Even though some of these employees were in working in remote offices, they could have easy had whitelisted server access to the San Diego HQ to do their daily work, it just seems very strange that suddenly both networks go down after a massive layoff of KEY ONLINE SONY EMPLOYEES when they have to work knowing it is their last days on the job being a lowly paid slave to an evil corporation.'

It may just be co-incidence, but can you think of a better way to screw over a company that's just given you your notice?

Comment Sony's forced updates - license issues? (Score 1) 319

I used to have a 360, and I remember Microsoft rolling out various 360 dash updates etc. But you were never forced to accept them - worse case scenario, you weren't allowed on Live till you updated.

Sony, on the other hand, force you to apply an update before you can play a game if your system has the lower version of the game. This has always bugged me - they're actually stopping you playing games you legally buy unless you let them modify the functionality of your console. And that's what they are doing - granted, every update may not remove a feature like OtherOS, but they're still altering a product that you legally own.

What happens if you say no to the update's licence terms anyway? Has anyone tried returning a game because they refused to accept/apply the update? It seems kind of a drastic thing to do, but I'd like to see this get tested - I can't see many stores accepting an opened return on the grounds of not accepting the licence/update.

Comment Some points.. (Score 1) 82

Yes, some of the claims that various firmwares have crashed the PS3 that turn up when the firmware is updated are likely a result of coincidence. However, in this case, the problem is definitely real. Here are a few points. This problem occurs whether you have the update on memory stick, or HDD. The update is also in the correct directory, which is PS3\Update - and I've swapped my HD before, with no problem. I myself did use Sony's backup facility. However, how do you get 2 HDs in a PS3? You can't - you have to put a new one in, and then use restore to put the old data back. However, the problem occurs before the PS3 even gets as far as the main menu. The PS3 requires the firmware to prepare the new HD to be used, and this is where the problem crops up. It's not clear if this affects only Slims or Slims and fats. There have at least been one or two apparent reports people with Fat PS3s having the issue. Putting the old HDD back in does mean the PS3 works - but I put the 3.41 firmware on just before I upgraded the HDD. I could kick myself.
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - New PS3 firmware causing HDD upgrade problems? 1

Channard writes: While there have been occasional reports of previous PS3 firmware upgrades causing system crashes and so forth, Sony's new firmware upgrade for the system, 3.41, is apparently stopping PS3 owners upgrading their hard disks, Slim PS3 owners at least. This problem has been encountered by many users on Sony's forums and occurs when you try to put a new hard disk into a PS3 that already has the firmware upgrade installed. The general course of action for upgrading a PS3's drive is that you download the latest PS3 firmware onto a memory stick and after swapping the hard drive in the PS3, plug the stick in allowing the PS3 to properly prepare the disk for use. But as of upgrade 3.41, the PS3 fails to recognize the firmware on the stick, complaining that it can't proceed until you insert the correct firmware. Repeating the process and re-downloading the does not fix the problem, as I can confirm, having encountered the problem myself.

Users can put the old hard disk back in, provided they've not reformatted it for some other purpose, so all is not lost. Sony have apparently told gaming website CVG that 'The information available to our Consumer Services Department does not suggest that this is a problem PlayStation(R) owners are likely to experience when upgrading the HDD with 3.41 update.' This seems to fly in the face of the currently available information — although whether or not this statement was issued by Kevin Butler is unclear. Either way, PS3 owners encountering this problem will likely have to wait a few days for a fix and use their old HDDs for now.

Comment Re:Capcom's have issued a statement (Score 1) 240

Also, Kotaku goes on to say 'the solution it (Capcom) is working on with Sony Computer Entertainment America involves providing notice of the DRM in the game's description page on the PlayStation Store in North America and Asia, not removing or altering the DRM.' But that doesn't really help people who've already bought the game. I wonder if anyone will be applying for refunds on that basis?

Comment Capcom's have issued a statement (Score 1) 240

.. and further information can be found [url="http://kotaku.com/5523238/capcom-apologizes-for-not-telling-users-of-final-fight-drm"]here[/url]. The statement from Capcom reads...

"Capcom would like to formally apologize for the issues consumers are having with the PS3 version of Final Fight: Double Impact. Typically, the notification for a required PlayStation Network connection appears in the full game description when a game is downloaded from the PlayStation Store. Unfortunately when populating this content this detail was overlooked and wasn't included in the versions of the game that released in North America and Asia. It was included in the release for Europe. Capcom should have checked to make sure the notification was included when the final game was made available and we sincerely apologize for this oversight.

The DRM requirements for Final Fight: Double Impact are not unique to this release. This protection mechanism has been implemented in numerous games offered on the PlayStation Store before. When it was brought to our attention that the notification was missing, we acted quickly with Sony Computer Entertainment America and a fix is on the Way.

We would like to thank our vigilant fans for bringing this to our attention and we will exercise better scrutiny on future Capcom releases."

Hang on a mo... not unique? So there are other PSN games that require you to be logged in to fire them up? I don't remember hearing about any. Kotaku asked Capcom to tell them which other games used a similar system, and were greeted with silence.

Submission + - Final Fight brings restrictive DRM to the PS3

Channard writes: As reported by Joystiq the PS3/Playstation Network version of Final Fight Double Impact features a rather restrictive piece of digital rights management. In order to launch the game, you have to be logged into the Playstation Network and if you're not, the game refuses to launch. This could be written off as a bug of some kind except for the fact that the error message that crops up tells you to sign in, suggesting Sony/Capcom intentionally included this 'feature'. Granted, you do have to log into the Playstation Network to buy the title but as one commentator pointed out, logging in once does not mean you'll be logged in all the time. Curiously, the 360 version has no such restrictions so you can play the game whether you're online or offline.

But annoying as this feature may be, there may be method in Sony's madness. The key difference between buying titles on the 360's Marketplace and Sony's Playstation Store is that buying a title from the Marketplace only usually entitles you to play that title on a single console. A Playstation Network account, on the other hand, can be used to licence up to five consoles, meaning any title purchased from that account can be played on five different consoles. And these consoles can be de-authorised and re-authorised at will, allowing gamers to switch licences around. This has led to a practice known as PSN game sharing, whereby gamers can purchase a title together, thereby paying a fifth of the cost of the game, and still allowing anyone to play the game on their console. Whether this has had any direct impact upon Sony or Capcom's apparent decision to implement this forced sign-in system is unknown. But Final Fight is the first title to feature this system — it'd be interesting to know whether this was done at Sony or Capcom's request.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Microsoft still unable to organise piss-up in brewery. 2

It's been nearly a month since I posted this entry about Microsoft's inability to remove my credit card from my X-Box Live Account after eight or nine months. And you know what's happened? Nothing. The card still hasn't been removed. So I decided to get an address to put a complaint in writing. Or rather, tried to. I emailed Microsoft to get the address. Who promptly told me to phone in. No, I've been along that avenue and got nowhere. S

Comment This heavily borrows from Event Horizon. (Score 1) 87

At last I know I'm not the only person to realise what a mediocre game Dead Space is. It really is survival horror by the numbers. In fact, it heavily rips off Event Horizon. I remember wandering back to the ship at the beginning of the game just knowing it was going to blow up. And it did. And then there was the stupid way you were conveniently separated from your fellow crewmen again and again.

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