hypnosec writes "Several of Ubisoft's biggest titles won't be playable as of next week thanks to a server move by the publisher and the restrictive DRM that was used in their development. This isn't just multiplayer either. Because Ubisoft thought it would be a smart plan to use always on DRM for even the single player portion of games like Assassin's Creed, even the single player portion of that title won't be playable during the server move. Some of the other games affected by this move will be Tom Clancy's HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6 and The Settlers 7. The Mac games that will be broken during this period are Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell Conviction and The Settlers. This move was announced this week as part of a community letter, with Ubisoft describing how the data servers for many of the publisher's online services would be migrated from third party facilities to a new location starting on the 7th February. The publisher didn't reveal how long the transfer would take."
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dotarray writes "According to an Oklahoma politician, video games help cause many problems affecting the youth of today, but they can also help solve those same problems. Representative William Fourkiller, a Democrat, has proposed a 1% tax on every video game sold which has a Teen, Mature or Adults Only rating. He explains that half of the money would go towards helping to get kids playing outside, while the other half would be placed into a bullying prevention fund."
bonch writes "After taking heat over allegations of copying hit indie game Tiny Tower, Zynga founder Mark Pincus wrote an internal memo justifying the company's strategy of cloning competing titles, citing the Google search engine and Apple iPod as successful products which weren't first in their markets. Pincus infamously told employees: 'I don't want f*cking innovation. You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The CEO of the once fledging Linux Game Publishing, Michael Simms, has announced his resignation. Simms attributes his resignation from the Linux game porting company he founded more than a decade ago to being burned out and having little success as of late in his work." In his place, Clive Crouse will be taking the helm.
An anonymous reader writes "Mikael Hed is the CEO of Rovio Mobile, the company behind popular mobile puzzle game Angry Birds. At the Midem conference Monday, Hed had some interesting things to say about how piracy has affected the gaming industry, and Rovio's games in particular: '"We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy." Hed explained that Rovio sees it as "futile" to pursue pirates through the courts, except in cases where it feels the products they are selling are harmful to the Angry Birds brand, or ripping off its fans. When that's not the case, Rovio sees it as a way to attract more fans, even if it is not making money from the products. "Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day." ... "We took something from the music industry, which was to stop treating the customers as users, and start treating them as fans. We do that today: we talk about how many fans we have," he said. "If we lose that fanbase, our business is done, but if we can grow that fanbase, our business will grow."'"
thrill12 writes "The Dutch Supreme Court ruled on January 31st that the taking away of possessions in the game Runescape from a 13-year-old boy, who was threatened with a (real) knife, was in fact theft because the possessions could be seen as actual goods. The highest court explained this not by arguing it was software that was copied, but by stating that the game data were real goods acquired through 'effort and time investment,' and 'the principal had the actual and exclusive dominion of the goods' — up until the moment the other guy took them away, that is."
A few weeks back, you asked gaming-world academic and game designer Ian Bogost questions from the business, philosophical, and aesthetic sides of gaming; below, find his responses. Thanks, Ian!
Tesla Model S, a CODA electric car, both gas and electric Smarts, and the Chevy Segway. Now, in his final wrap-up video from the North American International Auto Show, he looks at some concept car models he doesn't think will ever make it to production, along with some interactive games some of the car makers used to draw attention to their products.
MojoKid writes "Studios and publishers are fighting back hard against the used game market, with the upcoming title Kingdoms of Amular the latest to declare it will use a content lock. In this case, KoA ups the ante by locking out part of the game that's normally available in single-player mode. Gamers exploded, with many angry that game content that had shipped on the physical disc was locked away and missing, as well as being angry at the fact that content was withheld from used game players. One forum thread asking if the studio fought back against allowing EA to lock the content went on for 49 pages before Curt Shilling, the head of 38 Studios, took to the forums himself. His commentary on the situation is blunt and to the point. 'This is not 38 trying to take more of your money, or EA in this case, this is us rewarding people for helping us! If you disagree due to methodology, ok, but that is our intent... companies are still trying to figure out how to receive dollars spent on games they make, when they are bought. Is that wrong? if so please tell me how.'"
New submitter DeanCubed writes "In a Nintendo investor meeting, CEO Satoru Iwata confirmed a new Nintendo Network for the company's 3DS and upcoming Wii U game systems. This includes multiple user accounts per console (not tied to hardware, a first for Nintendo) and digitally distributed retail software releases for their online store. Iwata also noted that the Wii U's tablet controller will feature NFC (Near Field Communication) functionality, allowing the ability to use figurines and cards to input visual data to the console. They are hoping to use this to make micro-transactions for paid DLC easier."
MrSeb writes "An Italian researcher with a penchant for retro games — or perhaps just looking for an excuse to play games in the name of science! — has used computational complexity theory to decide, once and for all, just how hard video games are. In a truly epic undertaking, Giovanni Viglietta of the University of Pisa has worked out the theoretical difficulty of 13 old games, including Pac-Man, Doom, Lemmings, Prince of Persia, and Boulder Dash. Pac-Man, with its traversal of space, is NP-hard. Doom, on the other hand, is PSPACE-hard."
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)."
FrankPoole writes "Indie iPhone game developer Nimblebit is accusing social games giant Zynga of ripping off its popular mobile title Tiny Tower. Nimblebit's Ian Marsh got word out about the similarities between Dream Heights and Tiny Tower with an image that's still making the Twitter rounds. The image is made up of screenshots showing how Dream Heights' interface and gameplay mechanics appear strikingly similar to Tiny Tower's."
pigrabbitbear writes "Remember your first visit to the planetarium? Neil DeGrasse Tyson does — it was what inspired him to become an astrophysicist in the first place. That same planetarium, now under Tyson's direction, is currently undergoing a transformation the likes of which Neil's young self couldn't have possibly imagined: It's becoming a giant videogame."
hypnosec writes "Australia is set to update the age rating system for video games, adding a new 18+ category which should allow for the more violent games to be sold in the country. The current maximum age rating for a console or PC game is 15+. If a title didn't meet the specifications for this age it was denied a rating and was therefore not allowed to go on sale. This didn't necessarily mean the game never hit the shelves, but it could only do if tweaks were made to remove some of the most violent or questionable content. The first parliamentary session in the new year is set for the 7th February — giving the poor fellas a nice long break — where the bill to introduce the new age rating will be voted on by the lower house. If it passes there, it will go on to the senate, which has the ability to pass it into law."