It would appear that EA’s latest Sims title has fallen prey to the piracy that they so desperately tried to prevent for Spore, and only a few weeks before the game’s official release.
Now, while we won’t officially report on the game leak’s status (because you can’t confirm news like this without engaging in illegal acts), reports have stated that the files are real and working fine. A note included with the torrent is said to read, “Support the software developers. If you like this game, BUY IT!” Seems a like a strange place for morality to come into play, but hey, why not?
Unfortunately for EA the game doesn’t require any type of online activation to play, due to its disc-based copy protection, so pirates will be almost impossible to stop. They have stated on their official site “We feel like this is a good, time-proven solution that makes it easy for you to play the game without DRM methods that feel overly invasive or leave you concerned about authorization server access in the distant future.”
What a refreshing change of pace to have a major videogame publisher step forward and not only refrain from ringing the death knell for PC gaming, but to annoint the PC as the platform for games moving forward. That's what Electronic Arts (EA) has done, almost in as many words.
"In terms of distribution, the way we look at a lot of what's happening in the future is, we've got probably a billion PCs out there in the world," said Eric Brown, CFO for EA. "Very rapidly the PC is becoming the largest gaming platform in the world, just not in a packaged-good product."
The comments came during a quarterly earnings call in which EA talked about the digital download market. According to Brown, the online portion of EA's business model is seeing growth by as much as 60 percent year over year.
In a time when it's become vogue to diss on the PC as a gaming platform, EA's comments to the contrary almost makes you forget about the whole SecuROM/Spore debacle. We said 'almost.'
Good news for Digital Rights Management fans, and particularly for those who take masochistic pleasure in filling their machines with SecuROM-protected titles. Electronic Arts, the company who caused an internet uproar over its custom SecuROM implementation on Spore, has released a SecuROM de-authorization tool.
"Certain EA PC games with SecuROM digital rights management technology allow users to concurrently 'authorize' up to five computers at the same time to play the games, EA states. "Users can then play the game on any authorized computer they choose. If your EA PC game was released after May 2008 and has a machine authorization limit, you can now manage your computer authorizations using EA De-Authorization Tools!"
The De-Authorization Management Tool scans your PC to automatically detect games released after May 2008 with machine authorization limits. You can then download the game-specific de-authorization tool(s) to de-authorize your PC and free up a slot. Alternately, you can skip the scanning and jump straight to the appropriate tool if you already know which games are eligible (see list here).
Thoughts on EA's new tool? Hit the jump and sound off.
Mirror's Edge may not be wall-running onto PCs until January, but at least it's sticking the landing. Today, DICE announced that -- if your machine has the cojones to run it -- Mirror's Edge will support PhysX's Newtonian prowess, giving Faith's PC adventure console-eclipXing effects.
"With the NVIDIA PhysX physics engine, the world of Mirror's Edge comes to life with real affects of wind, weapons impact, and in-game movements. Every-day objects within the game become part of the overall experience. Cloth, flags, and banners can now impact weapons and players; ground fog interacts with the player's footsteps; explosions fill the air with smoke and debris; and weapon impacts are enhanced with interactive particles," read the press release.
But how's it look? Well, GameTrailers has a new trailer if you'd like a tantalizing taste of the eye-candy.
So then, MPC readers, now that DICE is sliding a few pieces of realistically billowing cloth under the table, are you cool with the seemingly arbitrary delay? Or is your rage simply too fiery -- fueled by your 143rd run through Mirror's Edge 2D and the completion of our your stark white Mirror's Edge skyscraper case mod, complete with custom Faith action figure?
Slow and steady wins the race against piracy? That's probably the mantra that came of EA and DICE's recent mind-meld, in which the publisher-developer duo decided to keep lithe heroine Faith from tip-toeing across PC rooftops until 2009 -- at least two months after consolites get their fix.
Now, today, after an almost conspicuously lengthy session of nonchalant whistling and faux-confused shoulder-shrugging, EA has announced a release window for its totalitarian twist on the formula Mario laid forth.
"The PC version of Mirror’s Edge will ship in North America in January 2009," said the press release. But that's not all.
"To keep the action coming after launch, DICE is currently developing downloadable content that will be available at the beginning of the year. More details to be announced shortly."
A late release to keep pirates from affecting sales figures? A spot of DLC to make players think twice about dumping Mirror's Edge in GameStop's used games section? Sounds like EA's really playing things safe with this franchise. It's just a damn shame that we all have to suffer for it.
Actually, "damn" isn't quite potent enough to describe the shame stream that currently plagues this situation. Jump past the break to see a more fitting phrase.
And you thought only one person on the entire planet was well and truly pissed at EA for its repeated usage of DRM. However, that was only the beginning. Now, two more criminally dissatisfied customers have rallied their lawyers, hoping to pulverize the mega-publisher's pocketbook into penniless mush.
The first suit, filed by Pennsylvania resident Richard Eldridge, points the all-important blame finger at the Spore Creature Creator trial -- not the full game. According to the suit, the game "secretly" popped his machine's DRM cherry, a feature completely unmentioned in EA's End User License Agreement.
The other DRM-detractor, Dianna Cortez of Missouri, encountered SecuROM DRM in The Sims 2: Bon Voyage. Her computer was never the same after that day.
"After installing Bon Voyage, Ms. Cortez began having problems with her computer," reads the suit. "She had previously made backup Sims 2 game content on CDs, but her computer's disc drive would no longer recognize that content, reporting the CDs as empty. She could not access files that were saved on her USB flash drive or iPod, either."
She also calls EA's practices "immoral, unethical, oppressive [and] unscrupulous" -- a sentiment with which we're sure her fellow lawsuit-slingers would agree.
Now if the entire 0.2% hopped aboard the lawsuit express, we might be onto something. As is, however, EA's gold-encrusted big toe will be more than enough to squash these three valiant musketeers. If nothing else, we can only hope that EA will actually learn something from all this, but we're not counting on it.
How cool would it be if you could tidy up your long-to-the-point-of-swaying-in-the-breeze toe nails and save $50 million? Because that's essentially what EA did today in the process of announcing its quarterly earnings.
Everyone's favorite 37.5% of the industry laid-off 600 employees -- a mere 6% of its workforce. Apparently, that'll save the company a whopping $50 million.
"These are challenging economic times around the world, and it's impossible for any business leaders to predict the future," said spokesperson Mariam Sughayer. "However, EA has made good progress in improving product quality, building a holiday lineup of titles that is extremely strong, filling our new IP pipeline, and expanding our Direct-To-Consumer and online businesses. As well, our talent remains the best in the industry."
If nothing else, Spore was a major success -- serving 2 million marginally happy customers over the course of three weeks.
Check out the full press release on EA's investors' site, if you'd like to overwrite your childhood memories with numbers. So many numbers.
Well, kinda. Make no mistake, BioWare, EA, and LucasArts hope to four-legged race right past WoW's 11 million subscriber record, but even if WoW's legions commit to Blizzard's ludicrously popular MMO, marry the game, have adorable children, and then sell them to buy more WoW gold, the Old Republic team won't lose any sleep over the lost customers.
“Just look at the base of Star Wars fans, plus what BioWare can do," EA Games president Frank Gibeau told Videogaming247. "Trust me: we want to win. EA’s reputation is for wanting to win."
“This is going to be a powerful category and there’s lots of ways to compete in this category. [Blizzard] created a much larger opportunity for everybody else, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way.”
LucasArts online boss Tom Nichols elaborated, and also downplayed Blizzard's userbase as the be-all, end-all of the MMO market.
“When World of Warcraft came out, everybody thought, ‘No, the market is only this big, because that’s as big as EverQuest was.’ Blizzard showed that it could be much larger,” he said.
“Our goal is to show that by bringing storytelling to the genre that we can attract an even wider audience. Plus, we have the benefit of this huge brand, which has done very, very well for nearly 30 years.”
We think The Old Republic has a better chance of seizing WoW's spot on the winner's podium than any other MMO. How about you?
Much has been made in the media over Spore's DRM scheme, which now limits gamers to five activations (recently pushed up from three activations amid an intense internet backlash). By and large, Electronic Arts has caught most of the criticism for saddling Spore with a modified version of SecuROM, arguably the most hated form of DRM in the gaming community. But should some of the ire be directed at Will Wright as well?
"It was something I probably should have tuned into more," Wright told Jim Reilly from Kotaku.com. "It was a corporate decision to go with DRM on Spore. They had a plan and the parameters, but now we're allowing more authentications and working with players to de-authenticate, which makes it more in line with iTunes. I think one of the most valid concerns about it was you could only install it so many times. For most players it's not an issue, it's a pretty small percentage, but some people do like wiping their hard disk and installing it 20 times or they want to play it 10 years later."
Take from that what you will. While it sounds like Wright has been drinking some of John Riccitiello's Kool-Aid, who recently downplayed DRM with claims that it's only an issue for 0.2 percent of gamers, at least Wright acknowledges the other side of the coin, which is that gamers tend to be enthusiasts who frequently change around their system.
Does EA deserve all the blame on this one? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
(Yes, PC gaming news has been kind of WAR-heavy lately. For those who don't play WAR, and can only wonder what it's good for, skip to the bottom of this article for something fun.)
Warhammer Online may be on a collision course with Blizzard's 18-wheeler, WoW: Wrath of the Lich King, but Mythic doesn't plan to flinch out of this game of information super highway chicken.
"Let’s start with what we know is some truly exciting news. I’m happy to announce that in December, the Black Guard and the Knight of the Blazing Sun will officially be part of WAR," said Mythic CEO Mark Jacobs in his first Warhammer State of The Game.
"When they were cut from the game launch plans earlier this year, I said that the Black Guard and the Knight would be part of WAR only when they were great and deserved their place alongside all of WAR’s other compelling classes."
"I also said that we would not charge any additional fees for this new content or put it in a separate expansion pack; that’s not how we operate. We’ve kept to that plan and with the introduction of these two classes, Mythic shows that once again we are happy to keep giving players more value for their subscription dollars than any other MMORPG developer."
New classes? For free? Sure, the classes were set to be in the original game, but we're pretty ok with this.