Facebook Sued over In-Game App Purchases

April 20, 2012 -

A California mother is suing Facebook claiming that the company is allowing minors to make purchases via in-game micro-transactions and that allowing this to happen without parental consent violates California's consumer protection laws.

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'Transient Man' Steals Video Games, Drops Wallet at Crime Scene

April 19, 2012 -

A man, who police describe as a "transient," robbed a house in Roseville, California, but as he was stealing video game equipment he accidently dropped his wallet at the crime scene. The story began for police at 7:30 am on April 12, when they responded to a burglar alarm that had been tripped at a house on Ajay Drive. The occupants were not home at the time. When police arrived they noticed that someone had broken a back window to gain entry into the home. According to Dee Dee Gunther of the Roseville Police Department, whoever broke in stole "video game equipment."

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GameStop Settles California Used Games Class Action Lawsuit

April 10, 2012 -

Law firm Baron and Budd has reached a settlement agreement with GameStop over DLC. The firm filed a class action lawsuit against the video game retailer over DLC and labeling related to used games. In the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Senior District Judge Thelton E. Henderson entered an order approving a class action settlement Baron and Budd reached with GameStop.

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Court Rules That Sony Has The Right to Change PlayStation Network Terms of Service

April 5, 2012 -

A Federal Court has ruled that Sony has the right to change the terms of service on its PlayStation Network service because it is a "choice" for its users. Sony changed its TOS for the PlayStation Network last year by adding a clause that anyone wanting to sue the company would instead have to go to what some like to call "mandatory arbitration." 

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Retired NFL Players Get Green Light for Lawsuit Against EA

March 30, 2012 -

The lawsuit filed against Electronic Arts by retired NFL players is moving forward. A California judge has rejected EA's motion to have the case dismissed. The suit, filed by several retired NFL players wants it to turn into a class action so that some 6,000 defendants can be represented. The lawsuit alleges that EA through its EA Sports brand used their likenesses without consent in multiple Madden NFL games over the years. Electronic Arts argues that it is basically fair use and that real names were never used.

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AWOL Soldier Steals Paul Allen's Identity, Gets Caught by the FBI

March 27, 2012 -

When you are on the run from the U.S. Military, committing a major act of fraud and identity theft is probably not the brightest idea. The FBI says that they have apprehended an AWOL Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania soldier who pretended to be former Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. In an indictment unsealed on Monday,  investigators allege that 28-year-old Brandon Lee Price called Citibank in January and requested a change of address on Paul Allen's bank account - from Seattle, Washington to Pittsburgh.

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FTC, California AG's Office Address Children's Safety at Digital Kids Conference

March 20, 2012 -

Representatives from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and California's Attorney General's office will address mobile app safety for children at the Digital Kids Conference on Wednesday, April 25 from 3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. (Room 1, Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green Street, Pasadena, CA). Federal Trade Commission Staff Attorney Kenneth H. Abbe and Travis LeBlanc, Special Assistant Attorney General for Technology for the State of California will deliver their remarks on the topic as part of conference's Digital Kids Safety Track.

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Campus Gamers Need Your Help for a Worthy Cause

March 19, 2012 -

On May 4 Campus Gamers will launch the 2012 Education and Gaming Symposium at California State University, Bakersfield. Leaders in the game industry will be attending the event to illuminate attendees on how the games they play can be used to improve education. Confirmed speakers include James Portnow (Extra Credits), Leslie Redd (Director of Educational Programming at Valve), and Geoffrey Zatkin (EEDAR).

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Rhode Island Duo Blame Call of Duty for Threats to Local High School

March 7, 2012 -

Common sense dictates that you can't scream "fire!" in a crowded movie theater and that doing so isn't considered protected speech. In the wake of the recent Ohio school shootings, making public jokes about shooting up your local high school also falls under the purview of widely held common sense doctrine.

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Zynga Wins, Loses in Latest Round of SocialApps Lawsuit

February 17, 2012 -

The Federal District Court in Oakland, California has denied a motion to dismiss a suit against Zynga brought by game developer SocialApps LLC. The developer accused Zynga of copying its Facebook game, myFarm. SocialApps claimed that Zynga had shown interest in buying the rights and code for myFarm and began the process sharing due diligence material. The companies entered into a letter agreement in May 2009 and SocialApps began sharing information and source code.

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Netflix Settles Video Privacy Protection Act Violations

February 13, 2012 -

Netflix announced that it will settle a lawsuit that claimed that it illegally retained customers’ rental histories, an act that ran afoul of Video Privacy Protection Act and California consumer laws. The settlement, which was disclosed in a Netflix securities filing with the SEC, puts to bed a 2011 lawsuit that accused the company of VPAA and California consumer law violations. The VPPA restricts video rental companies from disclosing customer information and requires them to destroy rental history data within one year.

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California Agrees to Pay ESA $950k for Brown v. EMA Court Costs

January 26, 2012 -

The state of California has agreed to pay the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) $950,000 in legal fees related to arguing Brown v. EMA before the U.S. Supreme Court. When combined with reimbursements for the 2008 case (which the state already paid), the grand total that California paid the ESA comes to $1,327,000.

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Game Developer Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bank, Mail, and Wire Fraud

January 10, 2012 -

On Monday federal prosecutors announced that a Los Gatos, California game developer pled guilty to several charges including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Speaking to the San Jose Mercury News, the former owner of UltraCade Technologies said that some of what the government announced on Monday was "inaccurate."

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2009 Final Fantasy XI Lawsuit Dismissed

December 27, 2011 -

Square Enix announced on Friday that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California has dismissed with prejudice a class action lawsuit involving its MMORPG Final Fantasy XI. The ruling came on December 20. The lawsuit was filed by San Francisco's Esther Leong in 2009 on behalf of a class (Final Fantasy XI subscribers), that accused the publisher of "deceptive advertising, unfair business practices, and fraudulent concealment with respect to the online games at the point of purchase." The game was released in North America in 2003.

7 comments | Read more

California Court: Activision Case Against EA-West-Zampella Goes Forward

December 22, 2011 -

A California Superior Court judge has told EA that it must defend itself in the $400 million contract-interference suit brought by Activision over Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella.

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Sony Faces Class Action for PSN Terms of Service Changes

December 20, 2011 -

In September Sony updated the PlayStation Network's terms of service to include a new clause removing the ability for customers (who were more than likely upset over the major security breach that happened earlier in the year) to file future class action lawsuits. Users who accepted the new TOS had to agree to individual arbitration instead of a lawsuit if they had a grievance against Sony. Since users had to agree to the new TOS in order to sign in to PSN, many simply agreed and moved on.

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California Announces eCrime Law Enforcement Unit

December 16, 2011 -

California has launched a new eCrime unit to combat various online crimes. The new law enforcement unit created by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and announced Tuesday, aims take on various "cyber crimes" such as email scams, online fraud, piracy, child pornography, and real-world theft of computer gear by organized crime.

"Today's criminals increasingly use the Internet, smartphones, and other digital devices to victimize people online and offline," Harris said while unveiling the unit in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose.

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Marketing Firm Gets Fined for Homefront GDC Balloon Stunt

December 14, 2011 -

It might have seemed cute when marketing company TrashTalkFCM pitched the idea of releasing thousands of balloons into the San Francisco sky to promote Homefront during the Game Developers Conference earlier this year. But THQ realized as the balloons flew upwards and then inevitably fell down into the San Francisco Bay that maybe it wasn't such a great idea after all. The bad local and national publicity wasn't worth it.

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GameStop Sued by Former Employee over Uncompensated Time Due to Security Checks

November 23, 2011 -

Video games retailer GameStop faces a lawsuit filed by a former employee who claims that employees who endured constant security checks during breaks and meals were not properly compensated for the time it took. GameStop has a policy of conducting mandatory security checks on employees when they take breaks or finish a shift. The lawsuit filed in California isn't about privacy or employee dignity, but about the amount of uncompensated time it takes.

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Zynga Employee Accused of $100,000 Stealing Spree

November 17, 2011 -

A temporary Zynga employee was arrested this week for allegedly stealing $100,000 in merchandise. 21-year-old Keith Brown of San Ramon, California was arrested on Tuesday, according to District Attorney’s Office spokesman Omid Talai. He stands accused of stealing laptop and desktop computers and software valued at approximately $100,000 between Oct. 31 and the date of his arrest. Zynga security took him into custody and brought him to police, Talai said.

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Good Samaritan Killed Trying to Thwart Robbery

November 1, 2011 -

TV Station KTLA reports on a tragedy that resulted from one man trying to stop a theft. Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies have arrested four teenagers as a result. The boys were arrested after a fight over a DS ended in a shooting that wounded one teen and killed an unnamed 29-year-old male. The shooting occurred just after 3:00 p.m. Monday at a shopping center where a teen met with four other teen boys to sell a Nintendo DS game system.

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Brown v. EMA Expenses Kicked to Ninth Circuit

October 3, 2011 -

It looks like the State of California and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) have not quite completed their courtroom business together, but the rest of their battle will take place in a lower court.

The Supreme Court of the United States chose not to make a ruling on the EMA’s request that the court award it $1.4 million in attorney’s fees and expenses related to Brown v. EMA (08-1448). Instead, the court sent it back to the Ninth Circuit Court for adjudication.

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A Mother's 'Long-Overdue Reaction' to Brown v. EMA

September 15, 2011 -

I'm all for letters to the editor, but one written by one Tina L. Bechtel, is particularly over the top and needs to be read to be believed. The Marysville, California mother of at least one son (at least the one she mentions in her letter) delivers what she calls her "long-overdue reaction to the 'supreme sellout' of our children," referring to the Supreme Court's decision earlier this year in the Brown v. EMA case.

West and Zampella v. Activision Gets Trial Date

September 12, 2011 -

Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella finally have a trial date in their long-running lawsuit with Activision. Their court battle with Activision over royalties allegedly owed from the Call of Duty series is set to go before a judge in Los Angeles on May 7, 2012.

"I’m really looking forward to having our day in Court," said Zampella in conversation with Forbes.

Zampella and West founded a new studio, Respawn Entertainment, in 2010, signed a deal with EA, and have hired over 60 employees.

4 comments | Read more

Amazon v. California, Round II

September 6, 2011 -

While Amazon might be on the precipice of usurping legislation passed earlier this year by the state of California with a voter referendum this November, lawmakers are on the attack. The New York Times chronicles the fight going on in California in this article, which is interesting because it pits traditional retail in the state against online retailers.

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Wargaming.net Opens San Francisco Office

August 3, 2011 -

Wargaming.net, makers of World of Tanks, announced this morning that it plans to expand into North America by opening an office in San Francisco, California. This new office will be headed up by seasoned industry veteran Jeremy Monroe, who will serve as General Manager. Monroe will expand Wargaming.net's North America presence as well as build and oversee customer service, marketing, public relations and community management, according to Wargaming.net.

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ESA Seeks Legal Fees for Brown v. EMA from California

July 25, 2011 -

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is seeking $1.1 million in legal fees from California for its work related to Brown v. EMA. The move is not an unfamiliar one for the trade group, who has successfully sued and won fees in the lower courts in states throughout the country (notably Louisiana, Michigan, and Illinois), but this is a first at the highest level of the U.S. court system.

"It's unfortunate that some officials continue to believe that unconstitutional laws are the answer, when time and time again courts have thrown out these bills and proven them to be a waste of taxpayers' dollars," the ESA said in a statement... four years ago. Hopefully California's government will listen after this expensive lesson in constitutional law.

7 comments | Read more

Call of Duty XP Tickets on Sale

July 22, 2011 -

Tickets are on sale for Activision's first annual event dedicated to Call of Duty, Call of Duty XP, at www.callofduty.com/xp. The event will take place September 2 - 3 in Los Angeles. Call of Duty XP tickets are now on sale. Tickets are $150 and are valid for both days of the event. In addition, buying a ticket gives you admission to all events and activities with the exception of food and drink. Naturally you'll have to pay for your own travel to and from the event. You can buy up to two tickets, the proceeds of which will go to the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit organization that helps returning veterans find employment, establish careers and transition back to civilian life. You must be 18 years old or older to attend.

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Webzen Sues FireFall Developer

July 14, 2011 -

Korean MMO publisher Webzen has filed a lawsuit against Red 5 Studios claiming that the developer breached a contract for the online shooter FireFall. Last month the developer filed for arbitration in a California court claiming that Webzen's new management failed to properly market the game - a provision in the original contract.

"We do not feel the new management of Webzen has honored their obligations towards Firefall, particularly in Asia," wrote CEO Mark Kern in an open letter published on the game's official forum. "The current management of Webzen is a stark contrast to the original CEO and executives who were once so excited to work with us on the game."

2 comments | Read more

Atari Sues Tommo Over Flashback Knock-Offs

July 7, 2011 -

Atari Interactive has filed a $30 million lawsuit in a California district court against Tommo Inc., alleging that the toy distributor knowingly sold knockoffs of its Flashback 2 console. According to the complaint filed by Atari and acquired by Gamasutra, Tommo sold "wholesale quantities of unauthorized and pirated copies of Atari software and Atari Flashback 2 consoles."

The Flashback 2 was released in 2005 as a plug-and-play direct-to-TV console shaped like a 2600 console. The Flashback came packed with forty games. In 2006 Atari discontinued the system after selling over 860,000 units.

Knock-offs sold by various companies are usually identical to the original Flashback units, offering the same style of packaging, design and packed-in games.

According to Flashback creator Legacy Engineering, "illegal manufacturers" were probably able to obtain the original's source files and plastic molds for the Flashback.

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MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
 

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