The Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) announced that it supports the Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) in its opposition of US Senate Bill S. 978. The bill seeks to amend the criminal penalty provision for "criminal infringement of a copyright," and for other purposes. As the DCIA points out in its support statement, the bill is currently being fast-tracked through Congress without "adequate opportunities for critical review."
Here is an important part of the group's support of the ECA's efforts:
A movement to boycott Battlefield 3 has gained momentum on Reddit, as fans note their displeasure at some of the pre-order goodies EA is offering for those who buy the game early. While pre-order bonuses are nothing new to gamers, it often feels like some bonus items can cause an imbalance in the game and give some players advantages in online play. The boycott was started by Reddit user Ramphastid. Here is the opening salvo against EA:
"As most of you know, EA recently announced an exclusive DLC for pre-ordering BF3," organizer Ramphastid writes on the popular website. "If you don't purchase the pre-order or limited edition version of BF3, you will have to pay extra for the Karkand expansion pack."
One gay gamer has put together an online petition asking BioWare to fire Dragon Age 2 lead writer David Gaider. The same guy that vehemently defended BioWare's decision to include same sex encounters in its games has become the target of gamers who are upset with the portrayal of one gay character in the game. The unnamed complainant calls it a disrespectful stereotype of homosexuals.
An online petition, found here, lays out the case against Gaider:
Chuck Bittner is disabled, a gamer, and in need of your John Hancock for a good cause. Chuck, who is the star of the web site, AskACapper.com, has put up an online petition asking video game console makers and game developers to allow consumers to reconfigure button configurations. Companies he is making this appeal to include Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Zipper Interactive, Infinity Ward, and Treyarch - though in general he would like ALL game developers to support remapping controller functions in games.
The reason he wants to have the ability to remap keys in games and on consoles is to make setting up configurations for those with disabilities a lot easier. You can read the entire petition below, but I urge you to visit it online and sign it:
Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) President Hal Halpin was given the opportunity to make a post on Sony’s PlayStation blog in order to talk about why Schwarzenegger v EMA should matter to American gamers and to urge them to sign the ECA’s Gamer Petition.
Halpin began by stating, “At stake: gaming in America. Yes, you read that correctly.” He continued:
In the time since the Court’s announcement there has been a lot of media coverage, both from the enthusiast outlets and the national press. A disturbing theme that you’d find too often in the consumer comments is one of apathy. Perhaps it arose from winning in each of the violence in video game cases. Maybe because, from our perspective, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that we could lose — the logic seems pretty obvious.
EA.com Editor-in-Chief Jeff Green took to his corporate blog to write about why gamers should care about Schwarzenegger v. EMA.
Agreeing with EA CEO John Riccitiello, who said that a Supreme Court decision upholding the California law would “screw us up in a real way,” Green argued:
… it could have a chilling effect on the gaming industry as a whole--both the makers and sellers of the games, who will have to seriously think twice about the kind of product they can and want to sell, out of fear of ending up in jail. And therein lies the bigger question at hand. Because if you substitute books or movies or music in the previous couple sentences, you can see just how wrong this is.
After years of asking game consumers to get involved in the fight to speak up and care about the issue of videogame violence, gamers have heeded the call, and at a critically important time for the industry, just as it faces perhaps its single most important challenge to date in the U.S. Supreme Court this fall.
A pro R18+ petition sponsored by retailer GAME has garnered the signatures of over 72,000 Australians.
The company plans to present some of it findings to a Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting on May 7 reports GameSpot, though it’s unclear if the issue of R18+ will even be on the agenda of that gathering. GAME also plans to present the petition to Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendon O'Connor.
The petition, also sponsored by Everyone Plays, achieved the large number of supporters in only six weeks, and is on track to become the largest petition in Australian history, surpassing a 2005 petition for Work Choices that received 85,189 signatures.
A similar petition sponsored by EB Games and Grow Up Australia totaled over 46,000 signatures.
Residents of Brazil are faced with excessive taxes on videogames, a situation that a new online petition is attempting to call attention to.
The Campaign for Fair Tax Video Games (translated) notes that Brazilian videogame purchases contribute only 0.5 percent to the global industry, while the smaller country of Mexico contributes 2.0 percent, a direct result of higher taxes on videogames. The site claims the taxes cause games and consoles to cost up to three times more in Brazil than they do in the U.S.
The petition states that the higher taxes contribute to piracy, hurt retailers, discourage investment in advanced technologies needed to establish game development in Brazil and also put a damper on gaming companies investing in the South American country.
A story on Monday detailed the submission to the Australian government of an EB Games and Grow Up Australia sponsored petition advocating the addition of an R18+ rating category.
Well, it turns out that a larger number was missing from that story, as over 30,000 people hand-signed the petition in EB Games retail outlets reports Adelaide Now. Combined with the 16,000 plus who virtually signed the document online, the petition was submitted with over 46,000 citizens backing it, a rather significant figure that hopefully Australian politicians will have to think twice about before dismissing.
Steve Wilson, Managing Director of EB Games, stated:
This groundswell of support has proven in no uncertain terms and once and for all, that there is not just a minority calling for this change, but rather everyday Australians.
The partnering of advocacy group Grow Up Australia and retailer EB Games has resulted in strong backing for the addition of an R18+ rating category for videogames in Australia.
GameSpot reports that the pair’s initiative has resulted in 16,055 signatures on their pro R18+ petition, which will now be sent to the Attorney General’s department. EB Games had called attention to the movement via in-store signage and with links and images on its website.
South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson, often identified as the lone holdout against adding an R18+ category for games among Australian Attorney Generals, has said repeatedly that the R18+ issue is one that only gamers care about.
Public responses to the Discussion Paper are due by February 28. Following the submission period, responses will be compiled into a report for Minister of Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor and other state and territory Attorney Generals.
Thanks Ryan and Magic!
It’s been about five and a half years since Valve released Counter-Strike: Source and a growing gaggle of gamers think it’s about time for some news and action on Counter-Strike 2.
Organized by UK-resident Sam England, the group hopes to goad Valve into issuing an official response on the matter—and to eventually put CS2 into production—by drawing 25,000 members to its Facebook page. The group has already surpassed 2,300 members.
Why the does the group see a need for CS2?
….we want to bolster interest in CS so more people play it, and if we want to regain mainstream attention in the game it needs to be re released as Counterstrike 2. Even if it was just re released with some fixes/patches, additional official maps, a graphical upgrade and a new shiny box... Counterstrike would then survive as a franchise and become popular once again.
England added a few more thoughts:
The most popular multiplayer FPS games on the PC are either non-realistic, less mainstream games or simply very poorly executed ports of console FPS games like Modern Warfare 2. There is no longer a single iconic game on the PC which everyone can enjoy, and play together.
The Tim Langdell saga continues...
Develop reports that a petition to remove the controversial Langdell from the board of directors of the International Game Developers Association has garnered far beyond the 1,200 signatures required by the organization's by-laws. More than 2,000 IGDA members reportedly signed the petition against Langdell, who is regarded by many as a "trademark troll" - an abuser of the trademark process. The vote should trigger a special meeting at which members could vote to remove Langdell from the IGDA board.
IGDA member Corvus Elrod, who devised the petition, told Develop:
It's true, we've got the signatures we need. But now the hard work really begins, as we convince the board to take it seriously and the entire membership to take a stand and vote.
Meanwhile, The Escapist recounts an e-mail flap involving the ongoing Langdell situation. While new IGDA Executive Director Joshua Caulfield disavowed an e-mail circulated to members this week calling for Langdell's removal, Orbus Gameworks President Darius Kazemi believes the messages are legitimate:
[Kazemi] believes a group of people opposed to Langdell's presence on the Board of Directors simply divided the member list between them and used those contact forms to send the message.
"Nobody obtained email addresses through dubious means," he wrote. "It's like sending a message via Facebook messaging... These messages were not sent in an unethical or illegal way. If anything, the messages are a consequence of the rather poor state of the current IGDA website."
To view the e-mail, click here.
Who says online petitions are a waste of bandwidth?
Earlier this month, GamePolitics reported on a petition posted to the official internet forum of the Bundestag (the German Parliament) opposing a plan by Interior Ministers to ban video games "where the main part is to realistically play the killing of people or other cruel or un-human acts of violence against humans or manlike characters."
The petition passed 50,000 signatures about two weeks ago meaning the German government will be required to review and discuss its requests. Granted, this does not mean that the ban will ultimately be reversed, but it is a step in the right direction. The petition itself reads:
The German Bundestag should decide against the decision of the interior minister conference from the 5th of June, that aims for a ban of action computer games. As an adult citizen and a person eligible to vote, I beg you firmly;
To erase the irritating and discriminating term of 'killerspiele' [killer game] from political discussion.
To strengthen the trust of the public in existing national youth protection mechanics.
To improve and warrant the execution of existing laws, that ensure kids and the youth only get access to video games and computer games rating according the USK.
To support parents and educationally responsible persons in the advancement of media competence.
To promote the computer games and video games industry in Germany and especially the training of these promising professions.
Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen...
The recent controversy brewing around the aggressive trademark defense tactics of game developer Tim Langdell has sparked a petition to remove him from the executive board of the International Game Developers Association.
GamesLaw reports that game writer Corvus Elrod is the creator of the online petition. Elrod hopes to obtain signatures from at least 10% of the organization's members. If so, he will present the petition to the board "and force them to call a special meeting of the membership to vote on Tim Langdell’s removal."
Dan Rosenthal, editor of GamesLaw, comments on the increasingly unpleasant situation:
This is obviously a huge issue, especially for a very troubled IGDA. There have been recent questions in mainstream blogs and those of several high profile industry members questioning what exactly IGDA is providing to its members. The trademark issue further fans the flames of allegations that IGDA isn’t doing enough, and it’s being talked about by key industry figures...
Rosenthal mentions that he hopes to discuss the Langdell/IGDA situation at his Legal Issues in Gaming panel at the upcoming PAX 2009.