NCSoft Prepares to Issue Refunds for City of Heroes

September 19, 2012 -

NCsoft informed subscribers to its super hero themed MMO City of Heroes that it will begun issuing automatic refunds to paid subscribers and players with other outstanding account balances beginning on September 26. The company announced, much to the chagrin of current subscribers that it would be shutting down the game as part of a company-wide focus. Customers with recurring subscriptions plans as of September 1st or who purchased in-game currency after August 24th will also receive full refunds through their "original method of payment."

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SOE Lets Players Build and Sell Items with Player Studio

September 6, 2012 -

Sony Online Entertainment has announced Player Studio, a new program for its EverQuest MMO's that lets players create in-game items that can be sold in the marketplace of their favorite online game. The company also announced two new expansions: EverQuest: Rain of Fear and EverQuest II: Chains of Eternity.

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Guild Wars 2 Trading Post Launches

September 4, 2012 -

If you were wondering why ArenaNet seemed so heavy handed when it banned some 3,000 accounts for exploiting an in-game vendor, here's your answer: the Guild Wars 2 in-game Trading Post. Thousands of players being able to buy really, really, low and then sell really, really, high (whether it be the actual items or the components you get from breaking items down) probably mucks up the game's economy...

The Trading Post went live yesterday after a brand new update. Basically it allows you to auction off your little baubles in the game for in-game currency.

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Facebook: 235 Million Playing Games on Social Network

August 14, 2012 -

According to internal data released by Facebook, the number of Facebook subscribers who play games has increased by more than 15 percent over last year. According to the largest social network in the world, 235 million people play games on Facebook, up from 205 million. Facebook claims that this growth has mostly been driven by its new App Center feature, which has helped in driving install and return play rates upwards.

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Diablo III Player Claims $10K Profit from Real Money Auction House

August 7, 2012 -

According to this thread on Reddit (by way of CVG), one poster who remains anonymous claims that he (or she) has managed to make $10,000 from Diablo III virtual item trading using the game's Real Money Auction House.

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Report: This Fall Unlocking Those Xbox 360 Achievements will Earn You MS Points

June 19, 2012 -

According to a tweet from the official Twitter feed for Xbox Live Rewards, future achievement points earned by Xbox 360 players will reward players with MS Point rewards. According to the tweet, Microsoft will begin rewarding players for unlocking achievements with MS Points:

"We've hit 50,000 followers, which means it's time for an announcement! Coming Fall: a new way to earn Rewards based on your Achievements!"

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Valve Enlists Famed Economist Yanis Varoufakis

June 15, 2012 -

Valve Software has enlisted the expertise of famed economist Yanis Varoufakis, who will work in a variety of roles for Valve related to the virtual economies of its line-up of games that feature micro-transactions. Varoufakis will mostly serve as a consultant to Valve as it shores up its virtual economies. He will also use the various economies in Valve's games as test beds for various economic analysis that he claims are not possible in real world economies.

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Report: South Korea Plans Online In-Game Trade Ban

June 15, 2012 -

According to the Korea Times, South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) announced plans to ban the trade and sale of commercial in-game items in order to keep teens from wasting time. This ban will be across the board and will affect everything from free-to-play MMO titles to mobile games. Basically any game where you can buy virtual items will no longer be able to operate effectively in the region.

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Blizzard Beefs up Security to Prepare for Real Money Diablo III Auctions

June 11, 2012 -

Blizzard is beefing up security ahead of the launch for the real money auction for Diablo III. In a post on the official forums over at Battle.net, Blizzard detailed some of the security changes that have taken place to ensure that people's very real money associated with their accounts will remain safe and secure.

The short explanation is that users will now have to use an authenticator before adding any funds to their balance and when sending funds to their real money auction house accounts.

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CCP Analyzes Aftermath of EVE Player Event 'Burn Jita'

May 2, 2012 -

CCP Games said last week that it would not interfere in the player-created EVE Online in-game event "Jita Burning." The event that was planned for months by members of the Goonswarm alliance, and on Friday thousands of ships converged on the Jita trade hub for a massive and violent attack. The trading center of the EVE Online universe really was on fire.

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Blizzard Details Fees Related to Diablo III Auction House

May 1, 2012 -

Blizzard Entertainment released details on the "real world money" and in-game gold auction houses today for Diablo III. The in-game gold auction will open on May 15 when Diablo III officially launches, followed a week later by the in-game auction house that lets players buy and sell virtual items, consumables and game gold for cold, hard cash. Today via its official FAQ for the auction houses, Blizzard detailed what it will charge players for various types of transactions.

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Report: Forty Percent of Freemium Players Spend Money on In-Game Upgrades

April 23, 2012 -

According to the latest data from research firm NPD Group, an estimated 40 percent who have played a "freemium" game that offers an upgrade option in-game have spent the money to buy the "full game." The data comes from NPD Group's "Insights into the Freemium Games Market report." The report uses data from 6,000 individuals it surveyed including both children and adults. The report notes that women and girls are more likely to play freemium games than men, but are less likely to spend money on these types of games.

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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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EVE Online Council of Stellar Management Chairman Resigns over FanFest Fiasco

March 29, 2012 -

Alexander Gianturco, the EVE Online player who mocked a suicidal player during a live stream of a panel at the EVE Online FanFest last week, announced that he is resigning as the head of the player-run, in-game government (thanks to Andrew Eisen for the tip). Gianturco was the Chairman of the Council of Stellar Management (CSM).

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Gametek Sues EA and More over 'Virtual Currency' Patent Violation

March 1, 2012 -

A company called Gametek LLC has filed several lawsuits in the San Diego federal court alleging infringement on US Patent No. 7076445, which relates to virtual currency and purchasing virtual goods or content. The company has filed suit against several companies including Six Waves, Crowdstar, Rock You, Electronic Arts, and Funzio.

The lawsuit explains the patent as:

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CCP Rakes in $66 Million in 2011

February 22, 2012 -

You wouldn't know it at first glance, but EVE Online creator CCP Games is a money making machine. According to an Industry Gamers report, the company managed to rake in $66 million in 2011 - we assume - solely from its space-themed massively multiplayer online game EVE Online. The company, which is based in Iceland and is privately owned and operated, did not disclose details on its earnings.

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Developers Call Facebook Currency Transaction Fee a 'Net Tax'

February 9, 2012 -

Developers whose platform of choice for game deployment is Facebook say that the social network's mandatory payment system ends up being a "twenty percent net tax" and seriously hurts their margin of profit.

"We thought conversions would go up and be around 15 or 20 percent,” said Kevin Chou, Chief Executive for Kabam, “But it turned out to be around 5 to 10 percent, meaning that we’re taking a 20 percent net tax.”

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Global Internet Economy to hit $4.2 Trillion by 2016

January 27, 2012 -

According to new research by the Boston Consulting Group, the Internet economy among G-20 nations is expected to nearly double by 2016, reaching an estimated $4.2 trillion (up from $2.3 trillion in 2010). In addition to that astounding figure is the projection that nearly half of the planet's population will be connected to the Internet — with 3 billion users in 2016, up from 1.9 billion in 2010.

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Rumor: Microsoft to Drop MS Points for Real-World Currency

January 24, 2012 -

According to several outlets - most notably Inside Mobile Apps, Microsoft is rumored to be considering dumping its Microsoft Points currency that it uses on Xbox Live Marketplace for real world dollars. Transaction will allegedly be shifted over to real world dollars instead. Naturally transactions would use the currency of the region a given account is in.

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Live Gamer Gets $8.5 Million Investment

November 15, 2011 -

Live Gamer has managed to raise $8.5 million in funding, according to a TechCrunch report. The new injection of cash comes from Charles River Ventures and Kodiak venture Partners, and takes its total investment to date to $30 million. Live Gamer is an e-commerce company that gives its 48 million users access to its micro-transactions and virtual goods sales services for various online and social games.

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Newzoo: Chinese Gamers Spend More on Games Than Koreans

November 8, 2011 -

New research released by Newzoo digs a little deeper into the lucrative Chinese and Korean online gaming markets. The research focused on the 190 million Chinese (76 percent) and 26 million Korean (60 percent) consumers ages 15 to 50 - who make up the majority of those who play games in those countries. Newzoo found that both countries were passionate about MMO games, with 100 million MMO gamers in China and 8 million in Korea. While both countries enjoy games, players in each country have different preferences when it comes to social and mobile gaming.

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How Zynga's CEO Will Hold Onto All the Power

October 31, 2011 -

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Zynga's latest IPO filing reveals that company CEO Mark Pincus will have "super voting shares" so that he can maintain control of the company. Basically Pincus's shares will carry 70 votes per share, as opposed to regular shares which will give stockholders one vote per share. While Zynga's five venture capital investors will hold a larger combined economic stake than Pincus, he will hold a larger percentage of the company's votes.

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Do You Actually Own Your Virtual Property in Your Favorite Online Game?

October 25, 2011 -

Is virtual property found within games and often freely traded real legal property? One legal expert says absolutely not. Minneapolis lawyer Justin Kwong says those virtual baubles you spent real-world cash on are simply lines of code owned temporarily through a license. Or so he posits in the most recent issue of the William Mitchell Law Review (as highlighted in this article).

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Valve: $2 Million in Team Fortress 2 Micro-Transactions

October 14, 2011 -

Valve Software claims that more than $2 million has been generated from Team Fortress 2 micro-transactions. The popular free-to-play team online shooter allows players to create, buy and sell virtual items to wear during matches. Apparently fans are fond of the system and are willing to spend real-world cash on luxury in-game items. Valve also said that it plans to update the system with a new interface to make it even easier for customers to create and sell virtual goods.

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PayPal Freezes Account of X-Com Remake

October 10, 2011 -

PayPal can't seem to be able to differentiate between legal commerce and nefarious activity taking place in its service. For the third time in recent memory the leader in virtual currency has frozen the account of an indie developer over the money it has generated for making and selling a game. Game developer Goldhawk Interactive says that PayPal has locked down around $4,300 because its account has generated a lot of funds in a very short amount of time.

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'Digital Sales' Surpass Retail Sales in Q2

October 6, 2011 -

Sort of... For the first time in the history of the game industry digital sales have finally passed retail sales in the United States, according to new data released by NPD Group for the second quarter of 2011. Of course, the numbers they present are not all digital sales; NPD's category for “digital sales” is an amalgamation of digital sales, used game sales, and game rentals.

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PayPal Users Love Pay-To-Play Gaming

August 1, 2011 -

According to figures released by PayPal, 12 million of its customers use funds for various Facebook games every month on games like Farmville.

"In massively multiplayer online games, the number of paying gamers keeps going up," said PayPal's Carey Kolaja. "The perception about digital goods is that they lead to micro transactions, which are small. But the average purchase for a paying user is in the mid-20s (in dollars). It is on a positive trajectory."

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Research: Consumers Spend Big on Portable Digital Goods

July 25, 2011 -

The average purchase price of virtual goods in free-to-play games on mobile devices is $14, according to a new report. According to data collected by mobile analytics firm Flurry, consumers who make in-app purchases are willing to spend large amounts of money than they might have if they simply downloaded it for 99 cents. Flurry claims that 51 percent of in-app purchase transactions come from transactions that are $20 or more. The $20-or-more transactions account for only 13 percent of the total number of transactions.

“We were surprised the numbers were so high,” says Peter Farago, vice president of marketing at Flurry. “Clearly, the high end of the spending drives the average up.”

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Report: Video Games Help Reduce Violent Crime Rates

June 21, 2011 -

A BBC report (thanks Magic) tries to surmise why violent crime rates in the United States have dropped dramatically in the last twenty years. The report offers ten possible reasons for this including The Obama presidency, good police work, the fall in demand for crack cocaine, police department number crunching, aging baby boomers, a decline in children's exposure to lead in petrol, more criminals behind bars, and a controversial theory that the increased availability of legal abortion has had an impact on population in poorer neighborhoods.

But the most interesting reason comes in at number nine. That entry cites a recent study conducted by researchers in Texas working with the Centre for European Economic Research. From the article:

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China Uses Prisoners for Hard Labor, Gold-Farming

May 26, 2011 -

According to a report in UK-based paper The Guardian, China has been using its prison population as slave labor.. in MMORPG's. According to the report, prisoners were put to work breaking rocks and digging trenches in in the coalmines of Northern China. By night prisoners would be forced to play MMORPG's to earn virtual currency, which guards would trade for real-world money.

One prisoner, who served three years at the Jixi labor camp for pointing out corruption in his hometown, described the conditions at the camp in startling detail. Liu Dali told the paper that prisoners were forced to play online games to enrich the guards of the prison. The 54-year-old was a former prison guard who made the mistake of "illegally petitioning" the central government about corruption in his hometown in 2004. Dali says that the online slave labor is probably more lucrative than the physical labor that prisoners are forced to do.

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Andrew EisenSleaker - Uh, yeah. Obviously.09/01/2014 - 8:20pm
Sleaker@AE - exclusives do not a console business make.09/01/2014 - 8:03pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that, despite the presence of a snopes article and multiple articles countering it, people are still spreading a fake news story about a "SWATter" being sentenced to X (because the number seems to keep changing) years in prison.09/01/2014 - 5:08pm
Papa MidnightAnd resulting in PC gaming continuing to be held back by developer habits09/01/2014 - 5:07pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that the current gen of consoles is representative of 2009-2010 in PC gaming, and will be the bar by which games are released over the next 8 years - resulting in more years of poor PC ports (if they're ever ported)09/01/2014 - 5:06pm
Andrew EisenMeanwhile, 6 of Wii U's top 12 are exclusive: Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8, Wonderful 101, and ZombiU. (Wind Waker HD is on the list too but I didn't count it.)09/01/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenLikewise, only two of Xbox One's top 12 are exclusive: Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome (if you ignore a PC release later this year).09/01/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenNot to disrespect the current gen of consoles but I find it telling that of the "12 Best Games For The PS4" (per Kotaku), only two are exclusive to the system: Infamous: Second Son and Resogun.09/01/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/01/beyond-two-souls-ps4-trophies-emerge-directors-cut-reported/ MMM MMM, nothing quire like reheated last gen games to make you appreciate the 400 bucks you spent on a new console.09/01/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenThat's actually a super depressing thought, that a bunch of retweeters are taking that pic as an illustration of the actual issue instead of an example of a complete misunderstanding of it.09/01/2014 - 4:20pm
Andrew EisenObviously, the picture was created by someone who doesn't understand what the issue actually is (or, possibly, someone trying to satire said misunderstanding).09/01/2014 - 4:10pm
Papa MidnightPeople fear and attack what they do not understand.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
Papa MidnightWell, let's not forget. Someone held their hand in a peace sign a few weeks ago and people started claiming it was a gang sign. Or a police chief displayed the hand signal of their fraternity and was accused of the same.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
SleakerEither people don't understand that what the picture is saying is true, or the picture was created out of a misunderstanding of what sexism is.09/01/2014 - 3:52pm
Sleaker@AE ok yah that's where the kind of confusion I'm getting. Your tweet can be taken to mean two different things.09/01/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - No. No, not even remotely. The pic attached to my tweet was not made by me; it's not a statement I'm making. It's an illustration of the complete misunderstanding of the issue my tweet is referring to.09/01/2014 - 3:13pm
Papa MidnightIn other news, Netflix states why it paid Comcast: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/29/technology/netflix-comcast/index.html?hpt=hp_t209/01/2014 - 3:10pm
Papa MidnightAndrew Eisen: Sites like Tumblr make things seem much bigger than they are. A vocal extreme minority start complaining and things go as they do.09/01/2014 - 3:09pm
SleakerAre you trying saying that specific costumes are sexist simply by being included in the game?09/01/2014 - 3:03pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - Seems completely cut and dry to me (of course, I wrote it so that's not surprising). What about it do you find confusing?09/01/2014 - 2:25pm
 

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