XBL Spreading to New Markets

October 14, 2010 -

Microsoft has announced that, as of November 10, its Xbox Live service will be available in nine new markets—Russia, Poland, South Africa, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile.

Xbox Live users in those regions most likely have an account already, just set in a different region. MS will allow migrating users to keep their profile, gamerscore, achievements, points balance and subscription time, but warns that previously purchased or downloaded content “will not be downloadable again after migration at this point in time, so remember to save your purchased content to your hard drive or a USB flash drive.”

3 comments | Read more

A September to Remember for Three Indie Games

October 1, 2010 -

September proved to be a good month for three independent game developers: Zeboyd Games, Carpefulgur, and Mojang. Let us start with the elephant in the room that is Minecraft. It has been widely reported that the developer of Minecraft, Markus 'Notch' Persson, has made $3,787,748 off his game to date - and it is only in alpha! The game is DRM-free, and Persson does not care all that much about piracy. Obviously, that position has not hurt sales.

Persson has reportedly had job offers from Bungie and Valve (he declined) and is now focusing on opening up his own development studio. Here's what Persson told GI.biz:

14 comments | Read more

Netflix, NBC Expand Agreement

September 25, 2010 -

Netflix and NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution announced an expanded license agreement that will give the on-demand and by-mail movie and TV distribution service to offer more NBC TV shows. The multi-year deal kicks off next week and continues the relationship between Netflix and NBC Universal. The agreement adds more movies and TV episodes that can be streamed instantly from Netflix with a membership.

Netflix will soon offer episodes from every season of NBC's Saturday Night Live, including day-after broadcast of the upcoming 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons plus hundreds of episodes from the first 35 years of SNL.

Netflix will also offer every episode from the last season of 30 Rock, The Office, Law & Order: SVU, as well as earlier seasons of those shows. Other stuff coming includes Friday Night Lights, Psych, In Plain Sight, Monk, Battlestar Galactica, Destination Truth, Eureka, and more. More details here. No doubt, all of these shows will be available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii.


Sex Ed Game Gets Thumbs Down for XBLA

September 17, 2010 -

The explicit nature of a sex education game is apparently enough to keep it off Xbox Live Arcade.

Zombie Cow Studios, developer of the game Privates, has been told that the game probably would not be approved in a peer review of the game, according to company co-founder Dan Marshall.

“The guys at Xbox have been amazing. They’ve been really supportive and helpful throughout, but ultimately have advised that the game wouldn’t pass the Indie Games Peer Review process, purely due to its inherently sexual nature. As a result, if you want to play as a tiny little man blasting away inside someone’s innards, the only place to do it is privatesgame.com

According to the game description:

7 comments | Read more

Crackdown 2 Toy Box DLC Woes

September 3, 2010 -

If you were one of the many players who rushed out to buy the Crackdown 2 Toy Box DLC on Wednesday, you may have noticed some serious technical issues within the game that made it an unplayable mess. According to Kotaku, some who bought the paid part of the Toy Box DLC encountered freezes when the contents tried to load in the game. Luckily this is only related to the paid premium part of that package, and not the free stuff that was also released – though if you have both you may still encounter the problem.

Players have commented on Major Nelson's blog and elsewhere about these issues, so hopefully Microsoft and Ruffian Games are working on a fix.

According to Microsoft support, the only way to fix the game for now is to delete the Premium Toy Box Pack files from the Xbox 360 hard drive - though some have said that this doesn't seem to be working for them. Maybe they did it wrong? Maybe they didn't? We'll let you know when a fix is in for this stuff.

Source: Kotaku


Pachter predicts Xbox Live Platinum service in our future

September 3, 2010 -

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter predicts that the "Gold membership" level of Xbox Live will evolve into something a bit more expensive in the future. The recent $10 jump in gold memberships (from $49 to $59 in change) "translates to around $100 to 150 million per year in additional revenue for Microsoft," Pachter said to IndustryGamers. He believes that Microsoft will want to offer a premium or "Platinum service" that could help the company raise even more money. That Platinum service plan would cost somewhere around $100, according to Pachter.

The question is, how would Microsoft justify such a dramatic price jump? After all, $59 is a long way from $100. One of the ways would be to offer more digital content for free, much like Sony has done with its PlayStation Plus membership.

5 comments | Read more

MS Exec: Kinect Could Help 360 Get to Market in China

September 1, 2010 -

As Microsoft continues to try and get its Xbox 360 to market in China, an executive for the company outlined why Kinect may be a valuable asset in its push and how MS plans to combat piracy in the Asian country.

Simon Leung (pictured), Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Chairman and CEO for the Greater China region, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, first noted why China is such an attractive region, if it wasn’t already apparent, stating that China would soon be the world’s largest PC market, while it's already tops in the mobile phone and broadband categories.

Leung indicated that China is becoming a growing adopter of cloud computing, which could help protect Microsoft, as Leung stated, “… you cannot pirate a cloud application.”

Asked about selling consoles in China, Leung responded:

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Xbox Live Subscription Price Going Up in Nov.

August 30, 2010 -

The man known best as Major Nelson in the Xbox Live community was the bearer of bad news today: Xbox Live subscription costs will be going up in November of this year. The news was met with a mixture of disdain, anger and apathy. Starting November 1, 2010, a 1 year subscription will cost $59.99, a $10 increase over what a 1 year subscription currently cost consumers. Price changes will take place in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. In addition to that, he issued the following short statement to multiple web sites:

"When originally launched in 2002, a Gold subscription cost the same as an AAA video game," he wrote in an email. "When taking into account for inflation… and the additional services available to Gold subscribers in 2010, such as ESPN, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Last.fm and Video Kinect, a $10 price increase still represents an incredible value to consumers."

A full breakdown of the numbers can be found below, but Major Nelson emphasized that those who renew before November can extend that yearly subscription at its current price. Breakdown below:

7 comments | Read more

Florida Man Uses Xbox Live to Victimize California Youth

August 30, 2010 -

In what, unfortunately, seems to be an increasingly common occurrence, a 22-year old Florida man stands accused of using Xbox Live to manipulate a 10-year old boy into sending naked pictures of himself through the online videogame service.

Timothy Hammerstone of Polk City, Florida allegedly requested and received nude pictures from the boy and, in return, offered Xbox Live credits to his young victim, according to a story on CBS13.com. Hammerstone even went so far as to set up a new profile for his prey so that the boy’s parents wouldn’t notice anything when monitoring his activities.

Folsom Police Officer Jason Browning added, “Many parents try to protect their kids when they're online so it may be a shock just how much access gaming systems provide.”

Police warned parents to set up computers or game consoles in non-private areas of the home. Parental controls could also freeze online access from consoles. Ten years old is probably a little young to be online unmonitored, no?

22 comments

Unauthorized Halo: Reach Players Get Permabanned

August 24, 2010 -

Gamespot is reporting that Microsoft is mass-banning individuals who are playing illegal copies of Halo Reach on Xbox Live. This report is based on a Microsoft policy document obtained by website MaxConsole. The story began earlier this month when a group of modders managed to grab an early version of Bungie's last Halo game via Microsoft's virtual marketplace. While this group of modders did not intend to release the game (allegedly), it ultimately ended up on file-sharing sites.

Now Microsoft is cleaning the barn; anyone caught playing the unauthorized version of the game will be banned. The language in the policy document is bad news for anyone that gets banned, because apparently it is permanent - though whether that ban is specific to Gamertag or system is not known. The most important thing from the document is the following:

11 comments | Read more

Microsoft Wins in Multiplayer Gaming Patent Suit

August 3, 2010 -

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft has emerged as the winner in a patent infringement lawsuit involving the Xbox and multiplayer gaming. The court battle, which has dragged on for six years, has been dismissed by a Detroit judge. The case was dismissed on July 20 by U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman (Hochstein v. Microsoft, 04-73071) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Michigan (Detroit).

The lawsuit was filed in 2004 against Microsoft by inventors Peter Hochstein and Jeffrey Tennenbaum and patent holder Harold Milton Jr. It alleged that Microsoft's Xbox 360 device violated a patent filed in 1994 covering "two or more people play video games together without being in the same location." The judge ruled that the patent only covered "game systems that are electrically connected" and that such a connection doesn’t include the type of link among players used by the Xbox.

8 comments | Read more

Children’s Miracle Network to Benefit from Xbox Live Promo

June 3, 2010 -

Canadian Xbox Live users can now help support the Children’s Miracle Network non-profit by purchasing special items offered through Xbox Live.

The Mission 4 Miracles promotion serves up picture packs, themes, the ability to play games with celebrities—such as professional golfer Stephen Ames—and a game, Avatar Golf. All proceeds from the sales of these items will be converted from points to dollars and donated to the Children’s Miracle Network.

Another cool aspect of the drive, via Market News, will see donations routed by postal code, so a gamer in a specific location of the Great White North can be assured that he or she is helping out a local branch of the charity. The Children’s Miracle Network funds 14 hospitals in Canada.

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Privates Game May Test XBL Policies

May 24, 2010 -

An in-development game that has players exploring vaginas and other orifices of the human body may be a little too hot to handle for Xbox Live Arcade.

Zombie Cow is currently working on Privates for the Xbox and PC platforms and is creating the title with funds from the UK's Channel 4, which plans to market it as an educational title reports Seattle PI. Zombie Cow’s website describes the title as, “a funky little game about tiny little condom-hatted marines going right up peoples’ rude areas and shooting all the nasty chompy things that tend to live there…”

An Xbox spokesperson sent the website a note indicating that the title had not been submitted for review as of yet, but that XBL guidelines “prohibit the publication of strong sexual content.” Zombie Cow’s Dan Marshall indicated that the game is based on the British government’s Personal, Social and Health Education guidelines and is “… essentially aimed at teenage boys.”

7 comments | Read more

UK XBL Users Select Clegg as New PM

May 5, 2010 -

Results from a political poll of Xbox Live users indicate a preference for the Liberal Democrat party in the UK elections, which kick off across the pond in about 12 hours or so.

Liberal Dem leader Nick Clegg (pictured) garnered over 30.0 percent of the Xbox Live vote reports Edge, easily outdistancing David Cameron and the Conservative Party (20.7 percent) and Gordon Brown’s Labour Party (17.6 percent). 31.3 percent of the XBL users were undecided.

The poll, conducted from April 29 through May 4, ended up with over 416,000 participants.

Microsoft Director of Xbox & Entertainment for the UK Stephen McGill stated, “…we believe our results provide a telling barometer of political attitudes amongst 18–30 year olds nationwide.”

2 comments | Read more

Man Uses Xbox Live to Threaten Witness

April 14, 2010 -

Taking Xbox Live smack talk to another level, a Hamden, Connecticut man has been arrested for using the online service to threaten a witness.

23-year old Anthony Hayward was arrested in New Haven last year for allegedly having drugs and a stolen gun in his car, reports the Hartford Courant. Freed after posting $75,000 bail, Hayward logged into his Xbox Live account last December in order to type threats to someone that is apparently a witness in Hayward’s drug/gun case.

The witness received a message that said “Rats Die Slow,” and Hayward also referred to the person as a “dead man walking.”

For these threats, Hayward was charged with harassment, intimidating a witness and tampering with a witness. He was arraigned on Tuesday in Milford Superior Court and held on $50,000 bail.

5 comments

Pay for Play Female Gaming Service Set to Launch

March 23, 2010 -

Guys looking for a female to game with are in luck, as long as they have a few bucks.

A new service called GameCrush is launching today and boasts a roster of around 1,200 available ladies to game with reports IGN. Guys, called Players, can browse online profiles of the girls, dubbed PlayDates, who can set their moods to “flirty” or dirty.” $8.25 will by you 500 credits, or enough—with tip—for a 10-minute Xbox Live session.

The same fee will buy you six minutes of play in a Flash-based casual game for the PC, which is embedded in the GameCrush website. The price is higher for the PC service because the girls will video chat with a Player while the game goes on, versus the audio only Xbox Live service.

40 comments | Read more

Sexual Orientation Can Now be Included in Gamertag

March 5, 2010 -

Microsoft has updated its Xbox Live Code of Conduct with terminology that now allows gamers to include their sexual orientation in their Gamertag.

Gamers are now free to label themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender or Straight, in a move GayGamer called “fantastic.”

In a letter announcing the change, Microsoft’s Mark Whitten wrote:

Under our previous policy, some of these expressions of self-identification were not allowed in Gamertags or profiles to prevent the use of these terms as insults or slurs. However we have since heard feedback from our customers that while the spirit of this approach was genuine, it inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox LIVE community. This update also comes hand-in-hand with increased stringency and enforcement to prevent the misuse of these terms.

More from GayGamer on the change:

This is something we have been fighting for here on GayGamer for a long time and it's gives us a wonderful feeling to finally see it come to fruition.

Congratulations to Microsoft and Xbox Live for stepping up to the plate and listening to the concerns of an important and oft overlooked section of the gaming community. Bravo!


Thanks Andrew!

66 comments

Philly Attorney Sues MS Over Xbox Live Points

January 26, 2010 -

A class action suit filed against Microsoft alleges that the Xbox Live operator engages in point fraud in reference to incomplete or partial downloads from the service.

Plaintiff Samuel Lassoff filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on January 19, which also alleges breach of contract, negligence, unjust enrichment and unfair business practices. The complaint claims that Microsoft “received and retained money paid by the plaintiff in response to incomplete and or partial downloads of digital goods and services.”

Lassoff, upon reviewing invoices of his Microsoft Points purchases, found that he was a “victim of Microsoft Point fraud,” and attempted to contact Xbox Live customer support on the phone, with no response. He also spent time with his credit card company in an attempt to fix his account. In all, Lassoff estimated spending a total of “over 15 attorney hours over several days” to rectify his accounts.

The complaint warns that “unless restrained by this court,” Microsoft will “continue to engage in the unlawful, unfair, and/or fraudulent business acts or practices” alleged within the complaint.

The complaint seeks compensatory damages for plaintiff and other Class members, pre and post judgment interest, punitive and exemplary damages and a reimbursement of costs and expenses incurred by the action.


|Via InformationWeek|

29 comments

Microsoft’s Gates Subpoenaed in RROD Suit

November 30, 2009 -

The latest “celebrity” to be subpoenaed by Erik Estavillo? None other than Microsoft Chief Bill Gates.

Estavillo sent us a copy of the subpoena, dated November 30 and filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The subpoena is related to a lawsuit filed by Estavillo earlier this month, in which he targeted Microsoft over the “red ring of death” affecting his Xbox 360.

The subpoena instructs Gates to bring “documents pertaining to the true and relative number of actual Xbox 360 units that have been fixed by Microsoft over the past 3 years.” Estavillo is also seeking statistical data showing the true number of Xbox 360s that experienced the RROD (or other break-downs) and data on the actual number of people banned from Xbox Live for “piracy” over the period of 11/28/2008 through 11/28/2009.

GP queried Estavillo on what might be the basis of his next lawsuit. He responded that he doesn’t plan to sue anymore companies, and that we could “quote him on that.”

For his most recent lawsuit against World of Warcraft maker Activision Blizzard, Estavillo subpoenaed actress Winona Ryder and Depeche Mode member Martin Lee Gore.

32 comments

Console-based Emergency Alert System Testing Underway in NY

November 24, 2009 -

While it might not mean the end of the traditional air raid siren, New York State is currently testing a plan that uses networked videogame machines to send emergency alerts and warnings to the state’s population.

The alert system is just one component of New York State’s Empire 2.0 initiative, which is designed to make the state’s government more “transparent, participatory and collaborative,” reports Information Week.

New York State Deputy Chief Information Officer Rico Singleton thinks the plan to alert the populace via videogame consoles is a natural, “considering the amount of time our youth spend on video games.“

Other Empire 2.0 measures include monitoring Facebook in a bid to spot and stop potential suicidal behavior, using Second Life to train 700,000 Homeland Security first responders and publishing Senate bills online where members of the public can comment on and mark up proposed legislation.

10 comments

Law of the Game on Professional Plaintiffs and Class Action Suits

November 24, 2009 -

Joystiq’s latest Law of the Game column takes a look at the intertwinement of professional plaintiffs and class action suits.

The article was written in response to a pair of recent news stories: a possible class action suit against Microsoft over Xbox Live bannings and Erik Estavillo, the banned Resistance: Fall of Man player, whose latest lawsuit targets Microsoft and Nintendo.

Author Mark Methenitis denotes a professional plaintiff as someone whose livelihood depends on suing people. He adds that plaintiffs who are gamers are more prone to demonstrate similar standing, versus attaching their suit to a statute, making them a perfect entry point to class action litigation.

Of course, class action lawsuits “tend to be larger and thereby more profitable, especially to a law firm on a contingency fee basis.”

Methenitis thinks it “unlikely” that we will see fewer lawsuits as time progresses, but tells us not to worry too much about game industry companies that are targeted, as they “have substantial legal teams to deal with these kinds of suits.”

He finishes:

What should concern consumers would be a series of victories against gaming companies. If plaintiffs are successful, then there are two potentially larger problems facing the industry: are companies becoming more dishonest and predatory, and should we be concerned about the continued viability of those studios with substantial legal settlements against them?

5 comments

Datel Slaps MSFT with Lawsuit Over 360 Accessory Lock Out

November 24, 2009 -

Datel, who expressed disappointment over a recent Xbox 360 firmware upgrade that eliminated the ability to use its third-party memory cards with Microsoft’s console, has responded with a lawsuit.

The complaint, filed in the Northern District of California U.S. District Court, alleges that the October 2009 Xbox 360 update, and subsequent lock out of Datel products, was designed to “to exclude competition from the Xbox 360 aftermarket for controllers, and to force consumers to buy Microsoft's own controllers.”

Datel claims that Microsoft informed them that the lockout of Datel products was an “unintentional effect” of the software update, but notes that Microsoft told G4TV that, “Unauthorized MUs are not tested for compatibility or certified for safety and compliance standards and thus could damage -customer's Xbox 360 consoles.”

Datel also says that Microsoft has changed the 360’s authorization protocols and Security Integrated Circuit process to prevent all Datel accessories, even a currently unreleased 360 wireless controller, from working with the console, stating:

In fact, it is Microsoft's anticompetitive conduct, including tying and predatory design, such as the erection of technological barriers to third party accessories and the disabling of otherwise functional third party accessories, not consumer loyalty or esteem, that primarily drives Microsoft's accessories attach rate.

The lawsuit asks that Microsoft be adjudged to have violated federal anti-trust laws and that the Redmond, Washington company “be preliminarily and permanently enjoined and restrained from disabling or erecting technological barriers to Datel accessories and add-ons for the Xbox 360. Datel is also seeking damages and to have its attorney fees paid.

The full complaint can be viewed here (PDF).


|Via Seattle PI|

72 comments

MSFT Responds to Possible Xbox Live Suit

November 23, 2009 -

Last week we reported on the story that a U.S.  law firm was accepting submissions as part of a precursor to a possible class action lawsuit on behalf of users banned from Microsoft’s Xbox Live service.

AbingtonIP had put up a form on its website asking those affected by the ban for more information. The firm called the timing of Microsoft’s ban “convenient,” as it happened just before the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and may ultimately have resulted in an increase in subscriptions to Xbox Live.

A Microsoft Spokesperson is quoted in the Financial Post reiterating that the company is well within its rights in enacting the ban, “Piracy is illegal and modifying an Xbox 360 is a violation of the Xbox Live Terms of Use. Microsoft is well within its legal rights to ban these users from Xbox Live.”

Marc Whitten, General Manger of Xbox Live, told VentureBeat that the estimated number of Live members banned was way off and defended his company’s actions:

It’s a cat and mouse game. These were people that were pirating software. We try to keep sanctity of life from a safety and anti-cheating perspective and we protect our partners. We didn’t release the number. I cannot explain to you why people would think it was a million people. It wasn’t a million people. Check the veracity of that claim. It was one news source. I think we do a really good job understanding what people are doing on the system. That applies to intellectual property (piracy) and how we treat the community in terms of harassment.

39 comments

Law Firm Sniffing Around Xbox Live Class Action Suit

November 19, 2009 -

A law firm that specializes in consumer class action lawsuits is probing the recent purging of Xbox Live accounts in what may be a setup for future litigation.

Inc Gamers noticed that AbingtonIP currently has a form on its website asking those affected by the ban—and who were not refunded a prorated sum for their time remaining on Xbox Live—to send in pertinent information. The law firm writes, “Microsoft has chosen to use one of the most indiscriminate 'weapons' in its arsenal in an effort to combat piracy -- as a result, use of this 'weapon' has resulted in a great deal of collateral damage -- many people were affected who had nothing to do with piracy.”

AbingtonIP calls the timing of the widespread ban “convenient,” in light of the pending, post-ban release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and thinks the ban may have resulted in a boost to Xbox Live subscription revenues. If the ban had been enacted before the release of MW2 and Halo 3: ODST, the law firm supposes that sales of both games would likely have been “greatly diminished.”

49 comments

Police: Yes Kid, Parents Can Take Your Xbox

November 19, 2009 -

A Buffalo Grove, Illinois boy called 911 after his parents took away his Xbox console as punishment.

The boy hung up, reports The Chicago Tribune, but as a matter of routine, an officer was dispatched to the home just in case. The boy apparently admitted to making the call and asked a cop whether his parents were within their rights taking away his game system. A police officer assured him that they were.

A Police Commander told the paper that he did not know why the boy was being punished. Police further advised the boy to listen to his parents.

18 comments

Report: 600k Accounts Banned From Xbox Live

November 11, 2009 -

Microsoft has once again taken out its ban stick, this time in an effort to prevent modified Xbox 360s from accessing Xbox Live.

A story on GamesIndustry.biz estimates the total number of banned accounts at around 600,000. Total Xbox Live accounts number over 20 million. Modded console owners will still be able to use their 360s offline.

The BBC (thanks beemoh) has reaction from one of the banned gamers, a 25-year old gamer dubbed “Raz.” Raz had his 360 modded in the back of a shop for £75 (approximately $125.00 U.S.). He estimated that the ability to pirate and copy games “saved” him about £600 (approximately $993.00 U.S.) and that he copied 30 or 40 games in all.

Ironically, Raz then had the temerity to complain about the high price of games:

I still think they should lower the prices. There are 16-year-old kids out there, they don't earn money so they go screaming to their parents saying, 'Can you buy me this game?

So Raz, are you going to buy another Xbox?

To be honest, I've contemplated whether to move to PlayStation 3 or buy another Xbox. I wouldn't do it again [chip the 360] but I really don't know if I'm going to get the Xbox again now."

It's always fun reading the Xbox Forums after such a widespread ban.

43 comments

Datel Responds to 360 Lock Out

October 21, 2009 -

Following up on news earlier in the week regarding the next Xbox Live update locking out unauthorized storage devices, Datel, a manufacturer of such devices, has responded.

A Datel spokesperson told CVG that such a lockout would prevent “customers from exercising their freedom of choice.” It appears that Datel has no more information on the proceedings than anyone else who read Major Nelson’s blog, as they stated “If the Major Nelson blog is to be taken at face value then we're disappointed...”

The Datel mouthpiece added:

We are following this issue and awaiting the outcome like everyone else. Everyone is looking for ways to make their cash go further at the moment and we believe that Max Memory offers a good value, high capacity, alternative to the official Memory Unit.

17 comments

XBL Update to Cripple Unauthorized Storage Devices

October 19, 2009 -

As part of its next Xbox Live Update, Microsoft will cripple the use of any unauthorized, third-party 360 storage and memory devices.

The news was announced on Major Nelson’s blog and has more than a few 360 users upset, as third-party devices are less expensive than Microsoft’s first-party offerings and have worked fine with the 360 up until now. A 4GB Max Memory Card offered from Datel sells for about $49.99, while Microsoft’s official Xbox 360 Memory Unit has 512MB of storage and sells for $29.99.

Some comments on Major Nelson’s blog praise Sony for the open architecture of the PlayStation 3, as any hard drive or USB storage device can be utilized. Xbox Live user Southpaw asked if “Microsoft made cars we could only buy Microsoft gas and drive on Microsoft roads?”

Major Nelson weighed in this morning on the 15th page of comments, saying “It took some time, but I have read all the comments here. Some interesting points that I'll be sharing.”

While this could be a way to affect 360 modders and/or hackers, what are your thoughts? Buyer beware for using a third-party device or a bad move by Microsoft in alienating its fan base?

68 comments

War Game Imagines Obama on the Run

October 16, 2009 -

The year is 2011. President Obama has just outlawed the private ownership of firearms, announced that the Constitution has been dissolved and revealed that the United States is going to be replaced by the North American Union, an amalgamation of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Revolution breaks out. Your part in this is to help capture Obama and the renegade Cong (former Congressional leaders).

This is the premise of a new online community and game calling itself United States of Earth. The extensive site is almost overwhelming in the sheer amount of information it provides, but centers around a browser-based war game in which a player can train and amass troops with the intention of taking over counties in Virginia. Players can also challenge other United States of Earth users in real videogames on Xbox Live or the PlayStation 3 network in order to win points to be used on the site.

Once logged in, users have access to a series of stories and videos that revolve around the fantasy setting, Stories include: Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck Found Dead in Camp, Barack Obama Retreats to Virginia With Wife, Former V.P. Joe Biden Captured Outside Arlington and The Cong Loses Control, Pelosi Captured!

Obviously setup by a right-wing oriented person or organization, the United States of Earth website domain is registered under contactprivacy.com, a service designed to protect the name of whoever registered the domain. The terms/contact page of the website lists what they call a “virtual office” in Brooklyn, New York.

Also from the terms page:

We take the Constitution of the United States seriously here and apply many if not most of the freedoms contained within to our own United States of Earth. It is a shame that America itself no longer safeguards its citizens freedom as we enter this next glorious age of collectivism and decay promised daily by those in power, Republicans and Democrats. Will America survive? Only time will tell.

Via: Phillip and Fark

146 comments

Xbox 360 Owners to Pay $7 for L4D DLC that PC Gamers Get For Free

September 9, 2009 -

Usually, it's the PC crowd that gets dissed by game publishers. But in the case at hand Valve is doing right by computer gamers while Microsoft seems intent upon squeezing the last nickel out of Xbox 360 owners.

At issue is Crash Course,  a bit of DLC for the popular zombie shooter Left 4 Dead. Valve, which doesn't charge for DLC, plans to give Crash Course away to PC players. Meanwhile MS will be nicking 360 gamers $7 for the download.

Not that he has any explaining to do (although MS does), but Valve's Chet Faliszek told Eurogamer why it's happening this way:

We own our platform, Steam. Microsoft owns their platform. They wanted to make sure there's an economy of value there...

Via: The Consumerist

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Should 'Hatred' have been removed from Steam Greenlight?:

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Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.businessinsider.com/xbox-one-virtual-reality-headset-will-compete-with-oculus-rift-2014-12 can a xbo even handle doing vr?12/21/2014 - 10:48pm
PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
Adam802Leland Yee and Jackson get trial date: http://sfbay.ca/2014/12/18/leland-yee-keith-jackson-get-trial-date/12/19/2014 - 5:24pm
MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/19/7421953/bullshit-cards-against-humanity-donated-250k-sunlight-foundation I have to admit I like the choice o organization. congrats to CAH.12/19/2014 - 1:51pm
E. Zachary KnightIf you are downloading a copy in order to bypass the DRM, then you are legally in the wrong. Ethically, if you bought the game, it doesn't matter where you download it in the future.12/19/2014 - 12:06pm
InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
ZippyDSMleeAnd I still spent 200$ in the last month on steam/GOG stuff sales get me nearly every time ><12/19/2014 - 10:55am
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I buy what I can as long as I can get cracks for it...then again it I could have gotton Lords of the Fallen for 30 with DLC I would have ><12/19/2014 - 10:50am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/19/marvel-vs-capcom-origins-leaving-online-storefronts-soon/ Speaking of "last chance to buy", Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is getting delisted from all major storefronts. Behold the wonders of the all digital future.12/19/2014 - 9:59am
MaskedPixelanteSeriously, the so-called "Last Chance" sale was up to 80% off, while this one time only return sale goes for a flat 85% off with a 90% off upgrade if you buy the whole catalogue.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
E. Zachary KnightInfophile, Tha is why I buy only DRM-free games.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
MaskedPixelanteNordic is back on GOG for one weekend only. And at 85% off no less, which is kind of a slap in the face to people who paid more during the "NORDIC IS LEAVING FOREVER BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE" sale, but whatever...12/19/2014 - 9:28am
InfophileRe PHX's link: This is one of the reasons the digital revolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's also the flip side where Sony can block access to games you've bought if they ban your account for unrelated reasons. All power is theirs.12/19/2014 - 8:52am
MaskedPixelantehttp://uplay.ubi.com/#!/en-US/events/uplay-15-days You can win FREE GAMES FOR A YEAR! Unfortunately, they're Ubisoft games.12/18/2014 - 6:29pm
Papa MidnightAh, so it was downtime. I've been seeing post appear in my RSS feed, but I was unable to access GamePolitics today across several ISPs.12/18/2014 - 6:06pm
 

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