Earlier this month some Muslims in the Call of Duty community complained that the Favela multiplayer map in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was offensive because a painting placed above a toilet had holy teachings written around its frame "Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty."
The Twitch community has managed to raise more than $1.5 million for the Extra Life 2012 charity, which is set to see thousands of gamers partake in day-long marathon gaming sessions to earn money put up by thousands of sponsors. The fund goes to hospitals that are part of the Children’s Miracle Network.
UK-based game-related charity GamesAid announced the organizations it will support for the remainder of 2012. Voting for which charities to support ended on September 23 with such UK-based organizations as Accuro, Action for Kids, CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association), Dreamflight, Family Holiday Association, Friends of Chelsea Children’s Hospital School, Jigsaw4u, Julia’s House, Lifelites, MAPS - Sutton Borough Volunteer Bureau, Scottish Huntington’s Association (Youth Service), Small Steps, SpecialEffect, and The Willow Foundation vying for some much needed cash.
While developers are often credited with doing their best to punish bad player behavior and cheating within their online gaming communities, it's rare that anyone gets rewarded or even acknowledged for engaging in good and often helpful behavior. Riot Games hopes to change that with a new "Honor System" for its popular MOBA game League of Legends. Below are the details from the League of Legend forums:
GaymerCon, the gaming and tech convention focusing on LGBTQ culture (set to take place early next year in San Francisco), announced that the convention has gained the support of Electronic Arts. EA is the first game publisher to announce participation in the event.
"EA believes that to be truly innovative, you must be inclusive. We are proud to be a part of this event," said Ginger Maseda, Global Diversity and Inclusion for EA.
NCsoft informed subscribers to its super hero themed MMO City of Heroes that it will begun issuing automatic refunds to paid subscribers and players with other outstanding account balances beginning on September 26. The company announced, much to the chagrin of current subscribers that it would be shutting down the game as part of a company-wide focus. Customers with recurring subscriptions plans as of September 1st or who purchased in-game currency after August 24th will also receive full refunds through their "original method of payment."
In an opinion piece on Politico, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA.) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA.) make the case for open internet policies. They open the opinion piece by noting that both political parties have some language paying homage to the concept of a "free and open Internet" and explain what it all means in terms of what is going on in Washington. You may remember that Congressman Issa was at the forefront of fighting against SOPA when it was in committee.
We have served a fair share of negative news about Guild Wars 2, so we are always eager to mention something good about the game (which by most accounts is a pretty awesome game experience - bannings and hacking schemes aside) when it happens. The good news is that a beta of the popular online RPG is coming to Mac OS X today. The Guild Wars 2 beta will be connected to the game's main live servers, which will allow Mac and Windows computers to play together, according to publisher NCSoft. Also the Mac Beta is free to anyone who bought the PC version of the game.
The Kickstarter for GaymerCon closed, raising $91,389 from 1,531 backers. When organizers launched the crowd funding appeal they were looking to raise right around $25,000. Thanks to the generous support of the gaming community, North America will see its first GLBT gaming event ever August 3 - 4, 2013 in San Francisco. Details on the venue will be revealed at a later date.
While it's not much of a shock, it is still a good sign that Madden as a franchise is strong at retail and as popular as ever with consumers. Electronic Arts claims that Madden NFL 13 has managed to sell-through 900,000 units in its first 24 hours of release. The company said that the number represented a 7 percent year-over-year increase on HD platforms. Madden NFL 13 also set a day one online usage record with a 28 percent increase in peak simultaneous users over last year’s first day.
Microsoft is looking to snap up some of OnLive's former employees, according to this report from GamesIndustry International. While the company was rumored to be interested in buying the cloud-based streaming game subscription service many moons ago, it looks like the Xbox 360 maker is picking the bones. The company is using EventBrite as its recruitment vehicle of choice, posting the following message:
From time to time we like to give EA "the business" about its policy on used games, online passes, the way it handles DRM, etc., but sometimes they do good things for consumers. For example, today DICE announced that it has increased the number of official Battlefield 3 servers for console systems. This is in response to complaints from some fans about having to use servers run by other gamers who are not always the most cordial hosts... From Dice:
CD Projekt RED's DRM-free role-playing game The Witcher 2 has swept the European Games Awards. The game won awards for Best European Art Direction, Best European Character Design, Best European Gameworld, Best European Game Design, Best European Game, and Best European Special Edition.
Battlefield 3 did pretty well too, scoring awards for Best European Action Game, Best European Multiplayer Game, Best European Console Game, and Best European Sound.
At Gamescom in Cologne, Germany today Sony announced a new initiative that will give PS3 players an incentive to buy: free games for the Vita. Dubbed the "Cross Buy initiative," players who buy a PS3 game in this program will get the PS Vita counterpart game for free.
For example, gamers who buy the PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale will get the PlayStation Vita version free. Sony also announced that Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault will be part of the initiative.
Epic Games has announced the official launch of Impossible Studios, a game development studio it claims is "comprised of highly skilled, senior-level game development talent." Based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, Impossible joins the likes of its corporate headquarters in Cary, North Carolina; ChAIR Entertainment in Salt Lake City, Utah; People Can Fly in Warsaw, Poland; Epic Games Korea in Seoul, Korea; and Epic Games Japan in Yokohama, Japan.
Here's a feel good story for the day - at least for developer Imangi Studios: it's ultra-popular iOS and Android game, Temple Run, is ... ultra-popular. According to a press release issued by the company today, Temple Run has been downloaded over 100 million times in the last year, with over 68 million downloads on iOS devices, and on 32 million Android devices.
An update on Battle.net confirms that Blizzard has squashed two exploits that gave players unlimited health and invulnerability while playing two character classes in Diablo III - even in online game sessions.
Last week it was reported that Square Enix had abandoned development on Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Final Fantasy fans put on sackcloth and ashes. Hands were wrung raw. Prayers were said. Incense were burned to dark gods and souls were offered up to creatures that slither in the underbelly of the universe. It is too bad that those reports weren't completely accurate.
Game publishers Zynga, Electronic Arts and Microsoft have signed an amicus brief ("friend of the court") asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to find parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. DOMA was signed into law on September 21, 1996 by President Bill Clinton after passing both houses of Congress by large majorities. The law was supported by both parties at the time. In 2011 President Barak Obama said that, while he would continue to enforce the law, his administration would no longer defend challenges to it in court.
Realizing that a number of its customers really care that the products they buy can inevitably be recycled, Apple has backpedaled on its recent decision to drop the EPEAT certification for various computers. On Friday, soon-to-be retiring SVP of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield wrote a letter on Apple’s official website calling the move "a mistake."
Gothic 4 developer Spellbound Entertainment has risen from the ashes of bankruptcy to become a brand new company called Black Forest Games. The development studio is being staffed by 40 of its 65 former employees and is still based in Germany. With its financial troubles in the rear-view mirror, the company hopes to get back to making the best strategy and role-playing games that it can make.
What a difference a few hours makes. The Kickstarter for OUYA, an Android-based home console system that promises a development kit for everyone and a strong open-source vibe, has already managed to raise an impressive $2,859,021 from 22,747 backers. This has to be a record, but the crowd funding campaign for the device still has 28 more days to go. The OUYA Kickstarter got off to a good start earlier in the week, generating close to $1 million in the first eight hours of its launch. The makers of OUYA were looking to hit a goal of $950,000.
InXile Entertainment announced that Wasteland 2 will include the original 1987 CRPG Wasteland for free. The original RPG is considered the godfather of post apocalyptic games and a sort-of spiritual successor to another game series made by Interplay: Fallout. This free offering would not have been possible without the kindness of EA towards InXile Entertainment because EA owns the rights to the title.
Nintendo is apparently tired of not having a uniform login solution across all of its handheld and home console devices and has decided to do something about it. According to this Polygon report (citing a report from Nintendo World Online), Nintendo customer service representative David Marshall has confirmed that the company will implement a unified eShop account system for Wii U and 3DS.
If you are one of those people dedicated (or crazy depending on your perspective) enough to pay $30 a month to rent a Battlefield 3 server from EA DICE, then today's announcement will make you feel like you are getting more bang for your buck. EA announced that an upcoming update will add new match features which give server owners and players the ability to coordinate and schedule matches.
THQ Australia confirmed that it will honor all Darksiders II pre-order DLC bonuses purchased through retailer GAME Australia. The retailer announced this morning that it would close its 15 remaining stores on July 8.
GAME Australia had offered Australian customers who pre-ordered THQ's upcoming game the Deadly Despair DLC pack, but then it went into liquidation. Obviously if the retailer is no longer in business it won't be able to fulfill those promised pre-order bonuses.