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Microsoft The Almighty Buck Games

MechWarrior 4 Free Release Delayed By Microsoft 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-for-a-game-insurance-reform-bill dept.
Vamman writes with a followup to news from 2009 that MekTek.net was going to release MechWarrior 4 for free after obtaining permission from Smith & Tinker, who licensed the MechWarrior rights from Microsoft. Now, almost a year later, the free release has yet to see the light of day, in large part due to Microsoft. Quoting: "... the Free Release is held up at Microsoft and it is unknown to us and our studio when the Free Release will be given the final go ahead. Due to the demands placed upon us by industry lawyers to release the Mechwarrior4 Free release we were forced to insure our studio at a premium rate to meet the Microsoft standard. Our insurance policy is a one year lease and we are unable to tap out of this policy until next fall. In addition to our insurance costs we are also struggling with our server costs. Currently, our server fund has run dry and staff and beta members are paying out of their pockets to help keep MekTek online. At this point we don't know from month to month if we will be able to stay online." Vamman adds, "MekTek has released a major update for their existing community, expansion MekPak 3.1. They are also promising their new expansion, MekPak 4, in a few weeks as open beta!"
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MechWarrior 4 Free Release Delayed By Microsoft

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  • Antithesis of Free (Score:2, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:29AM (#31724830)
    Microsoft seems to be the antithesis of free especially when you look at their Xbox network. They don't allow user-generated content at all. Perhaps, just perhaps, they don't want people coming to expect that you don't have to pay for everything.
  • Re:Fallout 3 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davester666 (731373) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @12:17PM (#31725256) Journal

    So only professionally drawn penises are acceptable to Microsoft for distribution?

  • Re:Fallout 3 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:04PM (#31726102)

    Wait. What?

    PC gaming is dead because of the tons of content available for free? I don't think that having to pay for patches and being denied user-created content is a very good argument in favor of consoles.

  • Re:Financial angle (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:40PM (#31726370)
    MechCommander 2, shared source release [microsoft.com]

    This is the Shared Source release for MechCommander 2. This release contains all of the source code and source assets required to build MechCommander 2. This release can be used with the Microsoft XNA Build March 2006 Community Technology Preview (CTP).

    They've given this away for free (with source code), so why not give away Mech Warrior 4 for free, too? It's not like the games are extremely new or anything

  • by Stray7Xi (698337) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:25PM (#31727524)

    MW2 was simply made in a different era. I mean, back then MS Flight Sim was one of, if not *the* biggest PC franchise of all

    The different era is the standardization of computers. Back with the early mechwarriors not even mouses were a standard on all computers. The standard PC didn't have a sound card. You bought a sound card specifically for games (which is why sound cards have gameports for joysticks). Every PC game released in that era required setting up. So an extra $50 for a joystick and dozens of keybindings wasn't considered that much of a pain.

    Nowadays PC games are standardized, they assume you have a keyboard+mouse (or are using an xbox gamepad). With DirectX it's mostly seamless for controls, sound, and video. Joysticks are a very niche product. What's common about mech/space/flight sims is they all basically require a joystick. Gamers with joysticks nowadays are so few that the market is small.

  • by Vamman (1156411) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @06:21PM (#31727912)
    Allow me to make some sense for you. In order to release the said software Microsoft requires all companies to have insurance coverage ($5000/year) incase everyone ends up in court so you can cover yourself with a couple of million in coverage - its a safety net for a bunch of lawyers. Anyone doing software distribution should have coverage especially if they are profiting - which MekTek isn't. MekTek has paid for the insurance under the agreement but assumed the release was forth coming much faster. That was months and months ago. This has been a growing case for most larger corps requiring smaller groups to have intense commercial liability insurance. A big strain.

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