German developer Spellbound Entertainment has filed for insolvency after failing to secure an investment to keep it fully operational. The good news, if there is any to be had in a story like this, is that the salaries of the company's 65 employees have been secured while the preliminary insolvency proceedings take place, and Spellbound will proceed as normal. A new round of investment is set to begin immediately, and preliminary insolvency trustee Ulrich Nehrig claims that there is "a very good chance of success" because Spellbound has a number of projects underway.
The Washington Times has an opinion piece that takes a shot at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration over what they are calling a proposed "Drudge Tax." The reference is to conservative Matt Drudge's popular web site The Drudge Report, which aggregates news from all over the web. While the flavor of The Drudge Report may not sit well with many, the concern with a new proposal being pushed by Merkel's administration is that it will levy taxes on web sites that aggregate content.
German MMO developer Reakktor Media has begun the insolvency process, according to GameIndustry.biz. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz Germany, Reakktor Media managing director Kirk Lenke said that, even as the company marches towards a bleak future, the 50+ MMO team is actively looking for and ready to commission any work it can find. The company also has its own Diablo-style science fiction game at the prototype stage.
Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, has criticized the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on German television, saying of the treaty that he does not "find it good in its current form." Schulz's comments came on the heels of protests throughout various countries in Europe - including Germany, Poland and the UK. Schulz went on to say that there is no balance between copyright protection and the individual rights of internet users, noting that it "is only very inadequately anchored in this agreement".
Germany has announced that it will not ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) after its justice ministry voiced concerns about the international agreement. This does not mean that Germany won't eventually sign it - it simply means it has no plans to sign it "right now." A foreign ministry spokesperson told the AFP that the delay was to "give us time to carry out further discussions." Further details on what those discussions would be about were not disclosed at the time of this writing.
Munich, Germany-based browser games publisher Travian Games was honored with the "Best German Publisher Award" at the eighth annual German Developer Awards yesterday in Dusseldorf, Germany. The annual awards event saw nearly 600 attendees comprised of professionals from the German publishing and game development community, along with politicians, media representatives and celebrities. A total of 14 awards were given out in various categories.
Dead Island has been banned in Germany, and while that's not a surprise to gamers around the world, what is surprising is developer Techland's response to it. Speaking to GameIndustry.biz Germany, a Techland spokesperson said that they expected this to happen.
"This isn't unexpected," said a Techland spokesperson. "Germany has its unique regulations regarding video games and violence and the industry can only comply. "Both Deep Silver and Techland were aware of such a possibility from the very beginning."
In the summer of this year law enforcement agencies in several European countries conducted raids and made arrests related to movie streaming links portal Kino.to and file-hosting sites such as Duckload.com. Duckload lost 400 servers to police, worth more than 2 million dollars in total. While police managed to nab most of the targets they were looking for one man managed to escape apprehension. The net has finally fallen on that man. After five months of evading police the man known believed to be Tim C has been arrested in Germany.
German online browser and MMO game company Gameforge plans to let 100 of its 450 employees go.
"Through a more efficient organizational structure, we can optimize our use of resources and great potential for further growth increase," said Gameforge CEO and founder Alexander Roesner in a statement. "This will strengthen our long term position in the dynamic market for online games."
EA's official news blog chronicles a recent visit by German Deputy Foreign Secretary Dr. Werner Hoyer to the company’s Redwood Shores, California campus. Hoyer, a member of the German parliament stopped by to discuss a variety of topics related to the German games market and EA studio in Cologne, Germany.
This morning Kotaku pointed out a video from Germany's RTL Television in which commentators took great delight in mocking what they characterized as the "computer freaks" that they filmed at last week's Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. Today the show, apparently embarrassed (and likely humbled by fans that were pissed off at their mean-spirited characterizations) is now apologizing for their bad judgment in airing the report.
Hamburg, Germany is one of Europe's leading games industry hotspots, according to new data released by gamecity:Hamburg. According to new data from the group dedicated to creating the perfect environment for the game industry in the city, 146 companies do business in Hamburg and employ 2,510 people in fulltime positions. The video game industry in Hamburg also supports 382 freelance jobs, as well as 676 employees of Hamburg-based enterprises working in locations outside the city.
UK video game industry trade group TIGA has joined forces with members of the European Games Developer Federation (EGDF) to voice its concern that the new EU funding programs planned for media and culture and for research and innovation for 2013 - 2020 do not place "sufficient emphasis" on the video game development sector. The groups voiced their concerns at Gamescom this week in Cologne, Germany.
A mere 48 hours after George Hotz and Sony Computer Entertainment America settled their legal dispute, Sony has put its focus back on PS3 hacker graf_chokolo. According to a report on PS3 hacking site PSX-Scene, Sony has visited the home of graf_chokolo for a second time. According to that report, which is based on a post from the man himself, Sony seized a bunch of computer equipment this time around. Here is what he said on his official web site:
According to the company handling Vienna-based publisher JoWooD's insolvency, an unnamed investor has withdrawn its interest in the company. Insolvency organizer Helmut Platzgummer does say that two other investors are still interested in helping JoWooD with its cash flow problem.
The Vienna-based company is best known for role-playing series Gothic. The company has been actively seeking new investment since filing for insolvency earlier this year. At that time, the company's board claimed that it could conclude discussions with creditors within 90 days.
German MMO company Frogster is suing MMO web site Elitepvpers over the alleged "commercial sale" of gold and game accounts for its game Runes of Magic. The site's owner claims that Frogster is simply trying to shut down a whole subsection of its site dedicated to Frogster's popular free-to-play MMO. But Frogster claims the site is engaging in a number of illicit activities including farming, selling in-game accounts, and gold. This despite the fact that the publisher recently inked an ad deal with the site for Mythos.
"Elitepvpers has never sold gold for the game", site owner Dominik Isen told GamesIndustry.biz Germany. "As we found out, few of our users have offered gold, which they had acquired in the game by themselves, which they did not need anymore and which was dispensable. According to our research [nobody offered] gold which was farmed driven by commercial interest only to earn money with it."
Earlier this week PS3 hacker Alexander "graf_chokolo" Egorenkov found himself waking up to a raid. Sony, along with local German law enforcement, seized his computer equipment. Many doubted that the raid was real, but it turned out to be true. Now we are learning that Sony is seeking 1,000,000 euros in damages from Egorenkov for his PS3 hacking work. Today Egorenkov issued a defiant and lengthy message saying that he did not care if Sony doubled the amount of damages - he would continue his work undeterred. He also added that they would have to kill him to make him stop his work and that he planned to put all of his development files back online.
Epic Games and People Can Fly's latest game, Bulletstorm, has been given a USK 18 + rating by the German Entertainment Software Rating Board. Some serious changes had to be made to the game before it could be released in the region. Despite the adult rating, the German version of the game has a number of things omitted such as ragdoll physics effects, blood, blood splatter, and dismemberment.
While the game can't be banned at this point by the German youth protection board (BPjM) because it has been rated, German gamers will once again get a game experience that has been censored and watered down in the name of protecting the country's youth from violent content. Developers and publishers that want to do business in the country are well aware of the limitations and challenges thrust upon them by government rules and restrictions, with most chalking it up to "the price of doing business in Germany."
EA is the publisher of the game in Europe.
Today the Computer Game Museum (Computerspielemuseum) opened Berlin, Germany, offering 50 handheld games, video consoles, and home computers organized and exhibited in chronological order from 1971 up to 2001. The museum was open for a few years in the late 1990's but was shut down in 2000. The new museum is located where "Cafe Warsaw" used to be in an East Berlin-era building.
The exhibition called "Computer Games: Evolution of a Medium" chronicles the development of computer and video games since 1951, and includes the first ever arcade game called "Computer Space," released in 1971.
The museum is supported by German-born American Ralph Baer, who invented the Magnavox Odyssey console. Baer says that the exhibition is an important way of chronicling the history of games:
It looks like the German government is not happy with the violent content in Dead Space 2 and wants changes to the game before it is released in the region. The main cause of disagreement from the government: Friendly Fire in multiplayer. Naturally, these changes will make it so that gamers in Germany will not have to wait for the game on various platforms until sometime in February. EA announced the delay in a press release this week, saying that the game would be released on February 3.
The single player campaign from Dead Space 2 remains uncut and identical to the international version of the game, but multiplayer has been altered to appease the government. Germany is very touchy about games that let players kills "humans." Many shooters require alterations before they can be released in the region - like turning human enemies into zombies or robots, ot changing red blood to another color.
According to a roughly translated report in PCGames.De, Bavaria's Ministry of Social Affairs said that the PSP version of EA's Dead Space needs to be reexamined before it can be approved for release in the region (thanks Cheater87). The title must be tested for the sixth time by the USK, according to what EA told PC Games.
The objection seems to be with the multiplayer mode, which lets human players kill other human players. Germany is notorious for requiring developers and publishers to remove things like gameplay involving killing humans and blood before a game can be released in the region.
Sonderkommando Revolt, the Wolfenstein mod that reimagined an 1944 Jewish uprising against the camp guards at Auschwitz, has been shelved. One of the key developers on the homebrew project, Maxim Genis, said that online criticism about the subject matter, and an abusive response from the internet community have made working on the project too difficult.
"I did a lot of research for the game," said Genis. "I wanted to show the Jews really did fight back against the Nazis. I wanted to honour them. My intentions were pure and pro-Jewish in every way."
In a response to a Kotaku inquiry about the game last week, the Anti-Defamation League had urged Genis to cancel the launch in January, calling it "a crude effort to depict Jewish resistance during this painful period." As we pointed out last week the ADL praised the film Inglorious Basterds for doing basically the same thing.
1378 (km), the game based on the “death strip” separating East and West Berlin during the Cold War has seen its release delayed until December.
The game’s developer, a student at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design named Jens Stober, took to his blog to announce the postponement, which he said was partly due to criticism of the game. Comments about the title, such as the Director of the Berlin War Memorial stating “The seriousness of what once went on at the border can’t be portrayed in this way,” led Stober to claim that “an objective discussion of the game is presently impossible.”
Stober also offered a rather impassioned defense of games, specifically computer games, writing:
A large part of the criticism is a consequence of my chosen medium, the computer game. Computer games as a medium are often quick to be judged without being more closely examined, as was also the case with my art project. It was designed to enable a younger generation to access information on recent German history using a medium familiar to them.