If you're a game publisher, what do you do when one of your most anticipated titles sparks an internet backlash over its DRM scheme resulting in thousands of Amazon user 'reviews' contributing to an abysmal 1.5 star rating with mostly vile comments, a cracked copy being made available since day 1, and encouragement from some to pirate the game as a form of protest? If you're EA, you rub salt in the wound while it's still fresh.
During an Q&A session at the Dow Jones/Nielson Media and Money Conference, EA Games CEO John Riccitiello downplayed all of the above with claims that the majority of gamers aren't bothered by DRM.
"We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 percent of users wouldn't notice," Riccitiello said. "But for the other 0.2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it."
To be fair, EA didn't cast a completely deaf ear to the outcries and increased the number of allowable activations from three to five PCs. But that makes it all the more curious why Riccitiello would seemingly taunt gamers after throwing them bone.
Do you agree with Riccitiello in that the majority of gamers wouldn't have noticed the DRM scheme had a minority not protested so loudly, or do you view this as a slap in face? Hit the jump and sound off.
Nvidia this week has released new WHQL videocard drivers - version 178.24 - applicable for GeForce 6-, 7-, 8-, 9-, and 200-series owners. The 85MB download sports a number of improvements, including PhysX acceleration on all GeForce 8-, 9-, and 200 series GPUs with at least 256MB of graphics memory. Intel X5400XS motherboard owners can now run up to 3-way SLI with the new driver package.
Gaming looks to get a sizable boost with the new drivers as well. Nvidia claims both Call of Duty 4 and Bioshock (DX10) will see a 15 percent gain by running 178.24, while Assassin's Creed (DX10) will get an 11 percent bump on a single card setup. For those sporting 2-way SLI, World in Conflict (DX10), Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (DX10) are said to run at least 10 percent faster.
If there's one surefire way to piss off Maximum PC readers, its by mixing politics with technology news. But despite the ire that will inevitably ensue (don't worry, we're not telling you who we think you should vote for), sometimes the two sections overlap to where we must risk the torches and pitchforks in order to report what's going on.
In this case, the real subject matter is in-game advertising. Love it or hate it, in-game ads are here to stay and they might even help decide who our next president is. At the very least, it could become a growing trend. We're talking about political ads preceding an election, and helping to set what could become a precedent, Barack Obama's reaching out to Xbox 360 gamers through virtual billboards. The ads have been spotted in Burnout Paradise, which apparently have been purchased for an undisclosed sum.
"I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout," Holly Rockwood, directory of corporate communications at Electronic Arts, told Gigaom.com in an email. "Like most television, radio, and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates."
EA went on to clarify that the ads' subject matter "do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development team." But that might not matter if gamers feel that mixing politics with videogames is taking advertising too far.
Do you have a problem with political billboards appearing in games? Hit the jump and give us your take.
Stop us if you've heard this one before. According to the latest rumor, Microsoft plans to offer an external Blu-ray drive for its Xbox 360 console. Wait! On second thought, just hear us out.
We've heard this rumor time and time again, and in each instance, Microsoft has been quick to deny the speculation. So what makes this time any different? Possibly nothing, but it's worth noting that Microsoft hasn't publicly squashed the rumblings, at least not yet. Nor has Toshiba-Samsung Storage Technology Corp (let's just call them TSST), a joint venture that XbitLabs says has been contracted to produce the external drives. If the rumor pans out, the targeted price point will be in the vicinity of $100 to $150.
Hit the jump to learn why Microsoft should go through with this.
The era of quad-core mobile gaming draws closer as Asus gears up to release its G71 gaming notebook. Quad-core processors in notebooks are nothing new, but the G71 will use a true mobile quad-core CPU, specifically the Intel QX9300.
The 17-inch notebook uses a GeForce 9700M GT videocard with 512MB of GDDR3 RAM to push gaming pixels on the display's 1920x1200 resolution. Users can configure up to 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory, and on the non-volatile storage front, up to two 500GB hard drives for a total of 1TB. In other words, it will be a long time before you have to decide between installing a new game or storing porn.
Other features include a 2MP webcam, secondary keyboard display so you can keep an eye on your MSN Messenger IMs while gaming, optional Blu-ray drive, HDMI, eSATA, and everything else you'd expect to find on a modern high-end laptop.
Pricing and availability have not yet been announced, but did we mention it comes with a quad-core processor?
The writing has been on the wall since back in 2007, and now it's official - Google's AdSense for Games is ready to be rolled out. The in-game ads will focus on browser-based Adobe Flash games, giving web-based game developers and publishers the ability to integrate video ads, image ads, or text ads in a variety of placements, including in between level changes.
Today's launch will see Adsense for Games introduced in about two dozen games from publishers Konami, Playfish, Zynga, Demand Media, Mochi Media, and more. To be eligible, Google requires publishers have a minimum of 500,000 game plays with 80 percent of traffic originating from the U.S. or U.K. The application also stipulates that the content must be family safe and targeted at users age 13 and up.
How receptive online gamers will be to the new ads remains to be seen, but an earlier report on the topic suggests there probably won't be any angry mobs à la Spore/Amazon. In a survey of 400 gamers, Macrovision found that 83 percent would have no problem watching a 30-second ad in exchange for free game play, although they probably weren't thinking about Flash based games.
Thoughts on Adsense for Games? Hit the jump and let us know!
If you just unloaded your original DS on Ebay and replaced it with a DS Lite, you'll soon be outdated again. During their Fall Press Conference in Japan, Nintendo announced its new DSi, the "third platform" in the DS handheld gaming hardware series.
The new version comes a little thinner than the model it's replacing while offering 17 percent larger screens at 3.25 inches each. Certain "audio enhancements" have been made, but arguably the biggest addition is the inclusion of a .3 megapixel camera capable of 640x480 resolution.
Old school gamers won't have any place to put their Gameboy Advance cartridges, as the GBA slot has been removed. Instead the DSi comes with an SD memory card slot. The DSi also features a built-in browser, and gamers will be able to download games and other DSiWare from Nintendo's DSi Shop. As is sadly the trend, pricing is based on a points scale, and customers will start off with 1,000 free points that must be used by March 2010.
Japan will get first crack at the DSi this November for roughly $180 USD, with other markets to follow sometime next year.
My question regards backing up games using tools like ImgBurn and Daemon Tools. I use ImgBurn to create the ISO from a disk and Daemon Tools to mount the ISO. But for some reason, with half of my games I get the message “Please insert the original disk” when I try to run the game from the ISO. My method works with older games but not newer ones. I understand that some of these games might have some kind of protection on them preventing me from running them off an ISO, but I paid for these games and I should be able to create backups of them. Do you know how I can back up my games so they actually work?
—Sgt. Christopher Basquit
Gotta go forward to go back, Christopher - hit the jump for the answer.
The chipmaker claims that Fusion for Gaming can enhance a computer’s performance by up to 10%. Although it might actually prove to be handy, the chances of it being worth as much as AMD’s rhetoric suggests are slim to none. The beta is only meant for Windows Vista 32 and can be downloaded here.
It’s the final hour—the last stretch in your race to freedom. Paper footballs litter your desk and paper basketballs surround the trash can. Yet even after these sporting events have ended, the little hand continues to hold a grudge against the 5. It’s high time you find a more efficient—and less obvious—way to pass the time.
Consider this your go-to guide against workplace stagnation. We’ve spent dozens of hours scouring the Internet in search of the most enjoyable and alt-tabbable browser-based games. They require no installation and, best of all, are 100 percent free. When the boss man walks by, you can easily switch to that budget report for accounts payable—he can’t fault you for grinning like a fool at a spreadsheet!
Grin like a fool at totally work-related stuff after the jump.