Australian Consumer Group Demands Lower Game Prices

May 30, 2011 -

Forget about the "rent is too damned high" party, gamers down under are getting robbed by retailers, according to a consumer group. Australian consumer rights publication CHOICE has submitted a document to the government's Productivity Commission last week demanding retailers lower the price of games.

The group called on "importers, distributors and retailers to pass some of the savings they are enjoying thanks to the strong Aussie dollar on to Australian consumers." As an example, CHOICE claims that Australian consumers can save about 90 percent on the price of Portal 2 if they purchase it abroad instead of at home.

The Australian dollar is worth about as much as the US dollar, CHOICE says, but the price of video games has not come down in the country.

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THQ Promises Homefront Title Update Soon

March 23, 2011 -

An update to fix a bug that causes the Xbox 360 version of THQ's Homefront to freeze is a day or two away from Microsoft certification, according to a Eurogamer report. The title update to the game addresses the Profile Corruption error, or "freeze bug" that some Xbox 360 users have experienced while playing Homefront. THQ says that this issue is its highest priority.

"We are also including a fix for multiplayer connectivity and ping time issues, where players are being sent to distant server locations at the expense of performance. We expect this update to be submitted to Microsoft really soon and we will be working with them very closely to get this approved and deployed as quickly as possible," said THQ on its Homefront blog.

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Congressman Markey Wants FTC to Probe App Transactions

February 9, 2011 -

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Ma.) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to take a closer look at the marketing practices of applications on Apple's App store and Google's Android Marketplace. Markey's concerns relate to programs geared towards children that may not adequately inform users of potential charges - particularly micro-transactions.

On Tuesday Markey sent a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Liebowtiz (and copied to Google and Apple), pointing to a story in The Washington Post about how in-app purchases on iPad, iPod and iPhone games such as Smurfs' Village and Tap Zoo have caught some parents off guard. The Children apparently used parents' passwords to buy in-game items instantly.

"I am concerned about how these applications are being promoted and delivered to consumers, particularly with respect to children, who are unlikely to understand the ramifications of in-app purchases," Markey wrote in the letter.

Magicka Moves 30K on Day One Despite Technical Problems and Bugs

January 28, 2011 -

Paradox Entertainment's action RPG adventure, Magicka, has managed to move 30,000 units in its first day of availability - in spite of some incredibly horrendous technical problems and bugs. While Paradox says that the single player campaign is solid, the company admits that the $10 game has a lot of problems in multiplayer. That is a real shame, because no one can deny its old school charm and new school cooperative multiplayer peril.

Here is what Paradox has said about the game's technical shortcomings: "[Singe-player] works fine for the most part, Multiplayer does not -- patch on the way for both! (as soon as [Steam] pushes the button). We'll patch the game as often as possible." According to a celebratory press release, Arrowhead Game Studios is "working around the sundial and is fully committed to ongoing support by zapping glitches and communicating with players."

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Gamers' Voice Calls for UK Govt. Investigation into Black Ops Problems

January 21, 2011 -

UK gamer advocacy group Gamers' Voice is taking the kid gloves off and reporting Activision to the Office of Fair Trading over Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer on PC and PS3. The move follows an open letter sent to Activision on December 22 informing the publisher that the group had been "inundated with complaints from people who have bought copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops."

The letter asked Activision if they planned to compensate consumers that bought the game in the UK and gave them one month to respond. This week the group took action by asking the government agency to look into the matter.

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Activision to PS3 Black Ops Player: Shutting Down PSN Servers an Option

January 18, 2011 -

If you have already read our story about Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward blaming Sony for the rash of hacks and exploits, then you get a good sense of how the PS3 Call of Duty community feels. They are pissed off, frustrated and feel like no one wants to help them. No doubt, Infinity Ward and Treyarch are equally frustrated with the problems they have encountered on the PS3 related to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops.

Riot Games Customer Service Rep Gets Fired For Abuse of Power

January 18, 2011 -

According to a VooDoo Extreme report, Riot Games, makers of the online strategy game League of Legends, has fired a customer service representative who live-streamed his misuse of administrative powers during a League of Legends bout. According to the report, the Riot Games employee "verbally abused a player and inappropriately banned him."

Riot Games' community relations director Steve Mescon announced that the employee has been fired. He added that the company will do a thorough review of its internal policy and training procedures to "prevent such incidents from happening in the future."

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Report: German Game Market NOT Bigger than UK, After All

August 17, 2009 -

It seems like just hours ago that we linked to a report claiming that Germany had surpassed the UK as Europe's number-one video game market.

Oh, wait. It was just hours ago. Well, put a big oops! on that one.

gamesindustry.biz, which was among several sites that also carried the original story, is now reporting that the source of the data, Gfk Chart-Track, has admitted to a screwup. Germany is not ahead of the UK in game sales:

Gfk Chart-Track in the UK has contacted GamesIndustry.biz to admit that the press release it issued earlier today had been written using incorrect data. The company is expected to release a correction shortly. It is understood that Germany is not a bigger games market than the UK.

This is the second time in as many weeks that GfK Chart-Track data has been publicly questioned. Last week, Nintendo contacted GamesIndustry.biz following confusion over UK sales figures for the first half of the year.

GP: Somebody at Gfk needs to get their act together...

3 comments

Electronic Frontier Foundation Calls on FTC to Protect Consumers From DRM

February 13, 2009 -

Digital activist group the Electronic Frontier Foundation has called upon the Federal Trade Commission to mitigate the harm caused to consumers by digital rights management (DRM).

An EFF press release quotes staff attorney Corynne McSherry (left) on the DRM issue:

DRM does not prevent piracy.

 

At this point, DRM seems intended to accomplish a very different purpose: giving some industry leaders unprecedented power to influence the pace and nature of innovation and upsetting the traditional balance between the interests of copyright owners and the interests of the public.

 

The best way to fix the problem is to get rid of DRM on consumer products and reform the [Digital Millenium Copyright Act], but the steps we're suggesting will help protect technology users and future technology innovation in the meantime.

The EFF press release adds:

Industry leaders argue that DRM is necessary to protect sales of digital media, but DRM systems are consistently and routinely broken almost immediately upon their introduction.

The group filed public comments with the FTC in advance of the government agency's Town Hall on DRM, which is scheduled for March 25th in Seattle.

16 comments

Could Federal Trade Commission Tackle the EULA?

January 31, 2009 -

Do you pay attention to the fine print when you install a game or other software on your PC?

Me neither.

But in many cases, End User License Agreements (EULAs) stack the deck against consumers.

In his Law of the Game on Joystiq column, attorney Mark Methenitis speculates that the Federal Trade Commission may decide to weigh in on the EULA debate in order to protect the interests of game buyers.

In Methenitis's view, the FTC has three possible courses of action:

  • requiring that EULAs be written in plain language, not indecipherable legalese
  • mandating that EULAs be dropped entirely in favor a consumer information checklist devised by the FTC
  • a hybrid of these two

Mark sees potential revenue opportunities for the FTC in EULA regulation as well (hit the jump for the update).

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Fix This: Wait Times Render Some WoW Servers Unplayable

November 17, 2008 -

Like millions of other WoW fans, I eagerly awaited last week's release of the Wrath of the Lich King WoW expansion. But this one should perhaps be named Wrath of the Server Queue, instead. Players attempting to log on at the most popular times may find themselves queued for up to two hours.

On the Mal'Ganis server, this has happened to me several times already, and Lich King has been out for less than a week. Judging from posts on the official WoW forum, many other players are frustrated by this turn of events as well. The queues are particularly annoying given that, in addition to the expansion's $39.99 price tag, gamers are paying a $15 per month subscription fee for their accounts.

Most Lich King buyers certainly expected to play, not wait in line, for their money.

The release of the much-anticipated WoW expansion has undoubtedly led to the reactivation of numerous dormant WoW accounts (like mine), but Blizzard needs to adapt to the influx and make adequate server provisions. Yes, they have offered some limited options to transfer one's character to a less populated server for free (normally this service costs $25), but it's not enough to deal with the crush of would-be adventurers.

Blizzard is raking in the greenbacks, as they deserve to for fine products like WoW and Lich King. But consumers deserve to play when they want.

Blizzard needs to fix this.

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E. Zachary KnightI understand what Wikileaks twitter was getting at, but I have no clue what that article was getting at.09/16/2014 - 8:45am
Michael Chandra"You know how game journalists are a corrupt bunch that do shady dealings? Well so are the politicians at the NATO!" #clickbait09/16/2014 - 8:22am
james_fudgeit's simply a case of an org trying to latch onto a hashtag without knowing what it is about.09/16/2014 - 8:07am
E. Zachary KnightOk. I admit it. I have absolutely no clue what that article was trying to say. Can you explain it to me?09/16/2014 - 8:04am
Michael ChandraWhy am I not surprised seeing that coming from a man who allegedly didn't respect women's wishes regarding condom use?09/16/2014 - 8:01am
Michael Chandrahttp://www.newstatesman.com/media-mole/2014/09/wikileaks-wades-gamergate-says-nato-corrupt-video-games-journalism09/16/2014 - 8:00am
E. Zachary KnightGot a link?09/16/2014 - 7:58am
quiknkoldas in, they gave a big shout out to Gamergate09/16/2014 - 7:43am
quiknkoldWikileaks just joined Gamergate09/16/2014 - 7:42am
james_fudgePortlandia is good and strange.09/16/2014 - 7:04am
E. Zachary KnightGot that same recommendation on Twitter. So I guess that is a good sign.09/15/2014 - 8:39pm
prh99Portlandia, though I don't watch a lot of sitcoms. Heard it was good though.09/15/2014 - 8:02pm
E. Zachary KnightSitcom recommendations for someone who like Parks and Rec but hates The Office: Go.09/15/2014 - 6:08pm
NeenekoEven if they do change their policy, they can only do it moving forward and I could see the mod/pack community simply branching.09/15/2014 - 12:50pm
Michael ChandraAs for take the money and run, the guy must have a networth of 8~9 digits already.09/15/2014 - 10:33am
Michael ChandraMe, I'm more betting on some form of mod API where servers must run donations/payments through them and they take a cut.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraEspecially since they want it for promoting their phones. Killing user interest is the dumbest move to make.09/15/2014 - 10:32am
Michael ChandraGiven how the EULA actively allows for LPs, I'm not sure Microsoft is ready for the backlash of disallowing that.09/15/2014 - 10:31am
Matthew Wilsonthey wont do that, the backlash would be too big.09/15/2014 - 10:25am
ConsterSleaker: how is that a flipside? Sounds to me like that's basically what Notch himself said, except rudely.09/15/2014 - 10:18am
 

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