dotarray writes "Iranian gamers hoping to get their hands on Battlefield 3 will be sorely disappointed, as the country has officially banned EA's latest shooter. Why? The game features an American war force launching an assault on Iranian capital city Tehran."
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New submitter silentbrad writes with a followup to our discussion this morning about Ubisoft's claims of overwhelming game piracy. An article at IGN quotes a different point of view from Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve: "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 U.S. 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." The quote was taken from an interview at The Cambridge Student Online, in which Newell speaks to a few other subjects, such as creating games for multiple platforms and e-sports.
New submitter Azmodan sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "Ubisoft is known for laying the blame for many problems on the unauthorized downloading of its games. Stanislas Mettra, creative director of the upcoming game I Am Alive, confirms this once again by saying that the decision not to release a PC version is a direct result of widespread game piracy. However, those who look beyond the propaganda will see that there appears to be more to the story than that." Another Ubisoft employee made similar comments about upcoming Ghost Recon games. Regarding Ghost Recon Online being free-to-play: "We are giving away most of the content for free because there’s no barrier to entry. To the users that are traditionally playing the game by getting it through Pirate Bay, we said, 'Okay, go ahead guys. This is what you’re asking for. We’ve listened to you – we’re giving you this experience. It’s easy to download, there’s no DRM that will pollute your experience.'" Regarding Future Soldier having no PC version: "When we started Ghost Recon Online we were thinking about Ghost Recon: Future Solider; having something ported in the classical way without any deep development, because we know that 95% of our consumers will pirate the game. So we said okay, we have to change our mind."
PolygamousRanchKid writes "In its effort to curb game addiction among adolescents, South Korea pulled the plug this weekend on young gamers after midnight by blocking access to game websites, putting a hotly debated law into practice. The new system called the 'shutdown law,' also referred to as the 'Cinderella law,' blocks those under the age of 16 from accessing gaming websites after midnight and has fueled heated anger among younger gamers and avid game fans. Critics point out that many teenagers hold gaming accounts created with their parent's personal information, easily providing them with an alternative log-in option. 'You can say someone is an alcoholic if they drink more than three bottles (of liquor) a day, but you can't call them alcoholic because they drink after midnight. It's the same with gaming,' Lee Byung-chan, the lawyer who filed the petition on behalf of parents and a young gamer said. 'From the parents' point of view, it violates their right to educate their children,' Lee added. It is for the parents to decide what time they want to allow their children to play games or not, not for the government to exclude them from that process, the argument goes."
alteveer writes "Just like Quake 3 before it, the Doom 3 source code has been released to the public (minus rendering of stencil shadows via the 'depth fail' method, a functionality commonly known as 'Carmack's Reverse')."
angry tapir writes "Microsoft has announced a program designed to help 10 developers or startups launch businesses around products for Kinect, the controller that senses motion and voice. Developers with Kinect applications for the Xbox or Windows are invited to apply to the Kinect Accelerator program, even though Microsoft does not yet allow the sale of products based on Kinect for Windows."
coondoggie writes "These aren't your basic video gaming systems here. The U.S. government gave Raytheon BBN Technologies $10.5 million today to develop what it called 'serious games' that feature an international detective theme developed by game designers, cognitive psychologists and experts in intelligence analysis."
mayberry42 writes "Finally, the wait is over — for European fans, anyway. After months (well, over a year) of delays, the latest adventure of Link is finally out. Reviews for the game are consistently favorable. Famitsu magazine has given it a perfect score. IGN says it's 'the greatest Zelda game ever created,' and even the best game for the Wii. Of course, some of you may have already known this, given that it has already been hacked to run on an emulator (and yes, it looks even better in HD). I would love to hear the opinions of you Europeans who've played it. Is it as good as they say?" (Skyward Sword doesn't come out in the U.S. until Sunday, and not until next week for Japan and Australia.) While still complimentary, Giant Bomb's review goes into a bit more depth on the game's shortcomings.
An anonymous reader writes "Desura is a digital distribution platform for video games, focusing on releases from indie developers and mods rather than AAA titles. After a two-month beta period, Desura has launched a Linux client, which supports the installation and patching of games on any Linux distribution. With this release, Desura is the first client to work on both Windows and Linux systems, enabling games to be installed with a click. They're currently in discussions to release the code under the GPL."
Coolhand2120 writes "Gamers always felt they had more grey matter. The LA Times reports there is now proof: 'Fourteen-year-olds who were frequent video gamers had more gray matter in the rewards center of the brain than peers who didn't play video games as much — suggesting that gaming may be correlated to changes in the brain much as addictions are. European scientists reported the discovery Tuesday in the journal Translational Psychiatry. Psychologist Simone Kuhn of Ghent University in Belgium and colleagues recruited 154 healthy 14-year-olds in Berlin and divided them into two groups. Twenty-four girls and 52 boys were frequent gamers who played at least nine hours of video games each week. Fifty-eight girls and 20 boys were infrequent gamers, who played less than nine hours a week. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed differences in the test subjects' brains. Frequent gamers had more gray matter in a portion of the brain known as the left ventral striatum, which affects the interplay of emotions and behavior. Previous research identified striatal function as a 'core candidate promoting addictive behavior.'"
An anonymous reader writes "id Software is still planning to release the Doom 3 source this year, but it's been delayed by a patent issue that's causing John Carmack to personally rewrite some of the code. The patent issue in Doom 3 concerns the Carmack's Reverse algorithm and has led Carmack to rewrite it in the open-source Doom 3."
redletterdave writes "PETA believes Nintendo's iconic plumber Mario takes a 'pro fur' stance" because he 'wears the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers' in the new handheld game released Nov. 13. PETA illustrated its disgust with Nintendo in an online campaign called 'Mario Kills Tanooki.' The page includes a side-scrolling Super Mario-style game called 'Super Tanooki Skin 2D,' where you play an angry, skinless tanuki that must chase a bloody raccoon-pelt-wearing-Mario across a 16-bit world and try to reclaim its fur."
SharkLaser writes "Minecraft, the most widely known and best selling indie game in the history, is now finished. Minecraft creator Notch tweeted yesterday that Minecraft has gone gold and will be released at the end of the week at the first Minecon, a gathering of Minecraft fans. So far over 4 million people have bought the game, generating over 50 million dollars in revenue. Minecraft has also had a rapid modding community around the game, developing gems like the Millenaire mod, Builders and Tornadoes. Minecraft also brought back the interest in voxel based engines, introducing games like Ace of Spades (build, make tunnels, capture the flag FPS) and Voxatron [note: you might want to turn down your volume for this video]. It also opened up many ways for new indie developers, as Minecraft showed development can be funded solely by making something new and giving out early access to the game for those who are interested in the project. The upcoming Steam-like IndieCity-platform will also employ similar feature where, in addition to normal indie game store, players can look at unfinished projects and choose to support their development."
tekgoblin writes "Cryptic Studios, the developer of the Star Trek Online MMO, announced that they are switching to a Free-to-Play model on January 17th. Free subscribers to the game will be able to play, but will not get the same benefits as paying subscribers still get. Free accounts will be Silver, while paid accounts will be called Gold. Silver accounts will be able to pay for features that Gold members will get as part of their paid subscription. These features include but are not limited to respecs and extra character slots." EverQuest II is jumping on the free-to-play bandwagon as well.
Today marks the release of Skyrim, the fifth installment of Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls series. The game is set about 200 years after the events of Oblivion, at which point the province of Skyrim is embroiled in a civil war, and dragons roam the skies. Early reviews for the game have been largely complimentary — one at Rock, Paper, Shotgun artfully details all the things the reviewer hasn't yet done, despite playing the game for over 30 hours. Quoting: "I seriously worried Skyrim would, for all its talk of lavishness, depth and dragons, continue the transformation into a trudging, consolified action game filled with clunky acting. It does not. It slams on the brakes then reverses at dangerous speed back into Morrowind territory. Some things are lost (e.g. Persuasion is a sadly watered-down, irregular affair now mostly to do with shopping), many things are changed (e.g. recharging magic items can be done anywhere) and it’s certainly not as weird (no flying or Siltstriders), but it truly reclaims that sense of being in another world, rather than a generic soft-focus, over-familiar fantasyscape." An addendum goes into more detail on the specifics. If you're curious how the game looks in action, Giant Bomb has posted a ~52-minute quick-look video with commentary.