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Today's Roundup explores a few ways games reach the marketplace -- from free downloads, to piracy, to not being released at all. Between BioWare, the creator of Earthworm Jim, and even Google, everyone has their own way of placing games into the hungry mouths of gamers. Er, you know what I mean. Anyway, "Read More" and all that.
David Perry, for those who have never heard of him or are just really bad with names (i.e. me), founded Shiny Entertainment -- the force behind Earthworm Jim and, erm, the console Matrix games. Speaking in Belfast after receiving an honorary doctorate for his work in the gaming industry, Perry presented his view of the future. "The next big thing will be free games," he said, making note of their massive success in Asia. "They had so much piracy that they decided to stop charging for the games. Instead, there'll be a charge for things you might want to use in the game." As Next-Gen notes, EA's Battlefield Heroes will soon be putting this business model to the test, and it'll be interesting to see if it makes the grade as well as the games whose class notes it pilfered. But despite this trend being the natural outcome of the trials gaming has overcome so far, I'm still a little shocked that the Next Big Thing is essentially horse armor.
Meanwhile, BioWare has decided to take another route down piracy moutain's craggy cliffs -- and one that only they have a hope pulling off. If pressed, they'd probably say something like "That's ultimately the best, most successful path to prevent piracy - to have players that want your games, want to believe in them and think they're high-quality and realize they're going to get a lot of value out of them as platforms for long time afterwards." If I were pressed, though, I'd say their business plan is "be awesome," which they're quite good at. Even so, however, BioWare's plan also seems to focus on DLC, just like Battlefield Heroes."We're doing a lot of post-release downloadable content on all of our PC titles going forward," Bioware co-CEO Ray Muzyka emphasized.
And here I thought Google was too busy conquering the rest of the Internet to notice the furry minority. Seriously though, Google's new virtual world, Lively, probably saw Second Life in People and said "I must have that haircut." As with its role model, Lively is highly customizable, with rooms and avatars being the main focus. Beyond that, it's mostly a social tool. Oh, and there's totally a furry avatar template. Just saying.
"An RC rating by the Office of Film and Literature Classification effectively means the game is banned from sale in the region. Many publishers have fallen foul of the strict classification system in Australia which does not grant games a rating above 15+, but allows movies to receive 18+ ratings."
Now, Bethesda can censor their game and apply for re-rating, but I think there's a much larger issue here.
Tim Schafer, the man behind the curtain of games like Psychonauts and Grim Fandango, won't be displaying his latest chuckle-fest at E3. Fear not, however, as the game isn't in trouble. “As soon as the dust settles from this whole [Activision Blizzard] merger thing we should be able to talk about the game a lot more,” Schafer said.
Like any self-respecting games journalist, I make a policy of not feeding real life's biggest troll. But when he's on the receiving end of things, well, that's another story. Do the words "permanent disbarment" mean anything to you?