Last week saw some pretty big news coming out, not all of which I had time to comment on.
So here’s a quick round-up of what went down.
Diablo III was released last week to largely positive reviews. Having no affiliation for the Diablo series, this isn’t the biggest piece of news. The thing that makes the release so news-worthy is the fact is was a broken mess at release. More specifically, Blizzard’s servers were a broken mess.
Diablo III requires you to have an internet connection even when you’re playing single player and ‘offline’. This meant that people were receiving all sorts of errors for the first 24 hours or so, making this a pretty poor first impression. As a result, Diablo III’s Metacritic took a bit of a bettering. Though who listens to Metacritic though?
There was also some great news for those that persevered. I present to you… WhimseyShire
Japan took a somewhat unprecedented step today in outlawing a specific game mechanic. The ‘Gacha Mechanic’ is all about people needing sets of something to be able to win something. Collect a full set of cards to get a bonus. The cards in question are sold ‘blind’, like you would get with a normal pack of collectible cards. In Japan young un’s have been spending what is deemed ‘too much’ on such games, so the government have stepped in and put forward ‘penalties’ for any company that uses such a mechanic.
Where this is interesting is the fact that a lot of Facebook and other ‘social’ games use this mechanic. A lot of ‘fremium’ games tend to use this also. This also leads us down a somewhat interesting road in regards to just what else can be outlawed? Do other governments start banning other mechanics that don’t quite fit in with their ideals?
Who knows. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I can’t help feeling that a precedent has been set.
38 Studios Payment
Whilst most people in the industry are quick to champion tax breaks and aid from government agencies, it’s important to realise that there’s a responsibility to borrowing money.
38 Studios are in the process of paying back their debts. It’s this paying back of debts that appears to be taking top priority with the studio at the moment, at the expense of their own employees.
38 Studios received money via the ‘Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation’ but are in a position where it looks like they may not be able to pay it back. This is a bad situation made worse by the fact that the tax-payers of Rhode Island could be footed with the bill is 38 Studios disappears. This would be damaging for games developers as it would sully the relationship with investors and you can bet that ‘helping out’ developers won’t be top of the political agenda for some time.
‘Project Icebreaker’ was the result of the nasty legal business between West/Zampella and Activision. Activision felt that West and Zampella were sneaking behind their back and planning on working with EA. Activision didn’t like the idea of this as West and Zampella were heading up Infintiy Ward, the studio behind their serious money spinner of a franchise, ‘Call of Duty : Modern Warfare’.
To get some footing in their legal case, Activision deployed ‘Project Icebreaker’, their scheme to ‘dig up dirt‘ on the two employees using all sorts of ridiculous ploys. This included, but wasn’t limited to, faking a fire alarm so Activision could sneak a copy the pair’s hard drives whilst they waited outside for the ‘fire’ to be put out.
Shares – Facebook and Zynga
Two companies this week have had very different rides on the share price rollercoaster this month.
Facebook went live with their IPO making the company worth $104 BILLION! So that’s good for them.
Zynga on the other hand, had a much tougher time. Their stock plummeted leading to trading of their shares being halted. This meant they lost 13.4% of their value in a day. Ouch.
The ONLY noteworthy game to come out this week was Max Payne 3. The summer drought is here and looks set to continue.
A pretty great piece I saw got me wondering why it has to be this way. I read it and I still don’t know the answer.
With that, I bid you farewell. Hear’s to next week!
Any news I missed? Drop a comment.