SOE: One Player Has Already Made $100K Creating Items in Player Studio

April 10, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Sony Online entertainment claims that one player has already made over $100,000 creating in-game items for Sony Online Entertainment titles. The revelation came from SOE boss John Smedley during an interview with Game Talk Live. SOE's John Smedley revealed the news during a preview of the upcoming survival horror MMO H1Z1.

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SOE: 'Landmark Player Studio' Support Launching in May

April 2, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Sony Online Entertainment announced that Player Studio support will begin for Landmark "on or before May 1." As part of the rollout, Player Studio creators in select regions outside of the United States will be able to submit in-game items across all Player Studio-supported games.

EVE Online Makes Debut in MOMA's Applied Design Exhibit

March 1, 2013 -

CCP Games passed along a note to proudly proclaim that its flagship title, the space-themed MMO EVE Online, is part of the Applied Design exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. EVE Online is one of the first fourteen video games to enter its MOMA's permanent collection.

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Rutgers–Camden Professor Studies the Effects of Copyright on User-Generated Content

September 20, 2012 -

Rutgers–Camden law professor Greg Lastowka is conducting research on the intersection of copyright law and user-generated content and the legal perils that might be involved. His research is being funded by the National Science Foundation. But as games like LittleBigPlanet and Minecraft expand the levels of creativity that players can partake of, an old problem arises: some users will create content that infringes on copyrights. While fans see this as homage to worlds, characters, and storylines they love, the companies that hold those copyrights see it only as infringement.

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DJ Hero De-Make Gets Cease and Desist Letter

December 7, 2010 -

Indie developer Eric Ruth's 8-bit de-make of DJ Hero, Pixel Force DJ Hero, has been taken down after he received a Cease and Desist letter from Universal Music Publishing Group, Joystiq reports.

A rundown of the entire ordeal between Eric and Jerrold Grannis (representing Universal Music Publishing) unfolds for your pleasure at PikiGeek, but here is the best exchange. First, here is Eric:

 

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Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other stuff) Will Disappear from Second Life

August 12, 2009 -

Recently, GamePolitics reported on the availability of Barack and Michelle Obama avatars for use in Second Life.

But it seems that those virtual depictions of the President and the First Lady are destined to have short careers.

New World Notes reports that, beginning next month, SL publisher Linden Lab will implement strict new rules on the sale of real-world products and brands - including depictions of actual celebrities. Barack Obama and Angelina Jolie avatars are specifically referenced as examples of prohibited content in the new Linden Lab guidelines.

Readers may recall that stun gun manufacturer TASER, Inc. brought a trademark lawsuit against Linden earlier this year over virtual copies of its weapon which were being sold by third-party content creators for use in Second Life. The suit was later dropped, but the new SL guidelines are almost certainly a response to such legal concerns.

As New World Notes mentions, enforcing the new policy may be problematic for Linden Lab:

While I'm not a lawyer, I would think avatar imitations of celebrities, especially political figures, would fall under the parody safe harbor of fair use. In the real world, you can still buy an unauthorized Barack Obama mask for Halloween. Not so in Second Life very soon...

 

The biggest challenge to this policy, in any case, is likely to be the SL content creation community itself, who often do reference the real world in their works, but are still proprietary about their products.

12 comments

Don't Sue Me, Bro... Taser Drops Suit Against Second Life

July 25, 2009 -

TASER International has - at least for now - dropped a trademark infringement suit against Linden Lab, which operates Second Life.

As GamePolitics reported in April, the maker of the controversial stun guns, filed suit after it discovered virtual TASER replica items being sold in Second Life as gear for SL avatars (see pic at left).TASER also alleged that its brand would be damaged via association with virtual sex and virtual drug use occuring within Second Life.

Virtual World News reports:

Taser filed a Notice of Voluntary Case Dismissal... and adds that because Linden never filed an answer to the original complaint, the dismissal is "without prejudice" -- meaning Taser could choose to refile at a later date.

4 comments

Simulating the Homeless with The Sims 3

July 13, 2009 -

In a remarkable game-based social experiment, Robin Burkinshaw is using The Sims 3 to model a two-person homeless family.

The U.K.-based game design student tracks the virtual lives of the father-daughter pair via his Alice and Kev blog:

I created two Sims, moved them in to a place made to look like an abandoned park, removed all of their remaining money, and then attempted to help them survive without taking any job promotions or easy cash routes. It’s based on the old ‘poverty challenge’ idea from The Sims 2, but it turned out to be a lot more interesting with The Sims 3’s living neighborhood features.

New American Media has more:

Kev is an insane, middle-aged man with a bad temper, who hates children. He often behaves inappropriately around others... His daughter, Alice, is a teenager who is constantly exhausted from school, the part-time job she holds, and the cold hard bench she sleeps on at night. And because she gets most of her meals at school, she becomes worried every time the weekend rolls around. You will usually find Alice desperately trying to find a bed to sleep in...

GP: It's fantastic to see someone addressing a real issue in a meaningful way via off-the-shelf game tech...

11 comments

Square Enix Gets Heavy-Handed With Its Homebrew Fans

May 21, 2009 -

Pirating games is one thing and those who engage in the practice assume all of the risks involved, legal and otherwise.

But The Guardian's Keith Stuart reports that, earlier this month, Square Enix sicced its lawyers on a small band of rabid Chrono Trigger fans, serving them with a menacing cease and desist order.

It seems that a group of homebrew types spent four years (!) modding a sequel which they dubbed Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes. Talk about a labor of love. As Stuart reports, the group use a ROM hack to mod the original source code:

If Square Enix had allowed the game to be released, the commercial impact would have been infinitesimal. It's being released as an IPS patch, not a complete Rom image; and if you're not sure what I'm talking about, that's the point – getting these things to run is for the homebrew community only.

As Stuart points out, some fan projects (Counter-Strike, for example) have turned into actual commercial games. And the video game industry is increasingly touting the idea of user-generated content to market certain games. But the message inherent in Square Enix's slap at its adoring, hardcore fans is of an entirely different nature. Stuart writes:

Think of the marketing benefits of embracing this passion, of inviting the creators to port the project over to the DS or on to WiiWare. It would be a radical departure from standard tactics but it would surely be more useful and forward-thinking than kicking the lawyers into action. How about a new mantra: embrace and assist?

Online Games Should Encourage Human Rights, Says Council of Europe

May 10, 2009 -

Should online games be required to encourage human rights?

The 47-member nation Council of Europe thinks so and has issued a position paper, Human Rights Guidelines for Online Game Providers. The CE's recommendations include taking into account the potential impact of gratuitous violence and sexual content in games targeting minors.

In addition the CE warns against content which advocates criminal behavior and urges providers away from conveying themes like aggressive nationalism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, racism and intolerance.

The CE documents alludes to the risk of online game addiction as well as the potential for children to encounter negative types such as griefers, bullies and stalkers in online gaming venues. Threats to privacy are addressed as well. The CE also encourages online game companies to follow rating guidelines and to develop parental control tools for their products.

Most interesting, however, is the CE's surprisingly forward-thinking position on user-created content. The organization encourages providers to be thoughtful in deciding whether or not to delete such content:

Before removing gamer-generated content from a game, you should take care to verify the illegality or harmfulness of the content... Acting without first checking and verifying may be considered as an interference with legal content and with the rights and freedoms of those gamers creating and communicating such content, in particular the right to freedom of expression and information.

This would constitute a sea change for most online game providers. As Cory Doctorow notes on boingboing, "many online games actually put up an 'agreement' every time you patch them in which you promise not to assert your right to either [freedom of expression or creativity]."

The CE also frets that content created by immature users today might come back to bite them in the future, and urges that providers create a system to prevent this:

Consider developing mechanisms for the automatic removal of gamer-generated content after a certain time of inactivity, in particular for games targeting children and young people. Creating a lasting or permanently accessible online record of the content created by gamers could challenge their dignity, security and privacy or otherwise render them vulnerable now or at a later stage in their lives.

More at: Terra Nova
42 comments

Obama Goes Questing in MMORPG

March 5, 2009 -

Clearly, there are some hardcore Barack Obama fans among the beta testers of NCsoft's upcoming MMORPG Aion: The Tower of Eternity.

Massively brought the video at left to our attention, in which some Aion players have employed the game's robust character creation utility to get the Prez into the action:

NCsoft really didn't have this in mind when creating the game's lore, but some rather inventive beta testers have created something which show off just how good Aion's character creation is. The end result is a player-created video that depicts Obama in ways his publicity people never anticipated, as an Elyos 'kicking ass' and saving trees on the road to ascension as a Daeva... Yes, this may piss off a few people -- namely the POTUS -- but it's all in good fun.

12 comments

Michelle Obama Inspires Second Life Fashion Designs

January 22, 2009 -

Newly-installed President Barack Obama may have captivated the public's imagination, but at least one designer of virtual fashions is thinking more about First Lady Michelle.

New World Notes reports that Second Life fashionista Iris Ophelia has assembled a line of haute couture garments with Mrs. Obama in mind:

Blazers and skirts are a bit of a First Lady staple... The Shades of Gray suit by Miko Omegamu of Icing is probably one of the outfits in SL that is most faithful to Michelle Obama's style...

 

Mrs. Obama definitely favors the silhouette of pencil/sheath dresses... She's also known for really chic use of color and texture in her outfits...

 

The Midas Evening gown by Shai Delacroix of Casa Del Shai is probably more risqué than Michelle's normal attire (cleavage is a bit of a faux-pas when you're the First Lady), but the soft color and the flowing fabric make for something closer to what I wish she'd been wearing to the Inaugural ball...

 

To quote Yves Saint Laurent, "Fashions fade, style is eternal."


IRS Should Look Into Taxing Virtual Goods, Says Tax Advocate

January 12, 2009 -

If you're running a virtual goods business in, say, Second Life, you may soon find yourself on the radar of the Internal Revenue Service.

The Washington Post reports that Nina Olson, who serves as the U.S. Taxpayer Advocate, has recommended to the IRS that it take a closer look at the exchange of virtual goods in online worlds, which she estimates at $1 billion annually. From the WaPo:

[Olson] told the agency that it should "proactively address emerging issues such as those arising from virtual worlds." Her report said that about $1 billion in real dollars changed hands in computer-based environments during 2005. Additionally, more than 16 million people are said to have active subscriptions in these worlds, "many of which have their own virtual economies and currencies."

But Olson said the IRS hasn't effectively been able to respond to taxpayer inquiries about how to report transactions associated with them. "Economic activities in virtual worlds may present an emerging area of tax noncompliance, in part because the IRS has not provided guidance about whether and how taxpayers should report such activities," said Olson's report. She suggests that to improve voluntary tax compliance, the IRS issue guidance addressing how taxpayers should report economic activities in virtual worlds.

GP: It's not entirely clear what Olson expects the IRS to gain from this line of inquiry. Anyone doing substantial business in a virtual world is already obligated by law to report their earnings, just like anyone running a real-world business. If a virtual goods vendor chooses to run his or her business "under the table," it would seem that they place themselves in legal peril.

UPDATE: New World Notes has a thoughtful analysis of how the IRS might look at the tax implications of Second Life transactions.

Via: Kotaku

13 comments

Copyright Lobby Group Adopts Dick Cheney Dialogue Model

November 19, 2008 -

If comments by the head of the Copyright Alliance are any indication of things to come, it's going to be difficult, indeed, for video game consumers to have an intelligent and productive dialogue on IP issues with the video game industry. The ESA, which represents U.S. video game publishers, is a member of the copyright lobbying group.

A portion of a recent blog entry by Copyright Alliance executive director Patrick Ross seeks to marginalize those who would question or criticize the current state of IP law. Ross displays a discouraging mentality reminiscent of the Bush administration's efforts to paint Iraq War critics as soft on national defense.

With elected officials, consumer interest groups and gamers asking legitimate questions about issues like SecuROM DRM, the DMCA, ACTA, PRO-IP, and ownership of user-created content, we were disheartened to read these words from Ross:

Copyright truly is a consensus issue, with people and policymakers of all stripes recognizing its value. A few vocal blogs and a few sympathetic media outlets tend to create this notion of a war between creative industries and, well, I suppose consumers, but such a war doesn’t really exist.

The Copyright Alliance head implies that if one does not get behind IP protection as the content industry sees it, then one is either on the fringe, supportive of piracy, or both. In other words, If you're not with us, you're against us.

That's nonsense.

Honest people don't support piracy. But neither do honest people wish - or deserve - to live in an IP police state where tech-challenged elected officials accept IP industry campaign donations and proceed to pass laws that are heavily, if not completely, slanted toward big business.

Get a clue, Mr. Ross.

McCain Wins! (...in Little Big Planet)

November 5, 2008 -

Things turn out better for Republican John McCain in this user-created level from PlayStation 3 smash Little Big Planet.

Of course, you could play this level so that Obama wins, too. 53% of American voters would probably play that way, based on yesterday's popular vote.

The level was designed by Richard Windsor of gaming site Aeropause.

Via: Destructoid

Political Machinima Lampoons Republicans

October 23, 2008 -

At The Click Heard Round the World , blogger Rik Panganiban surveys political machinima and comes up with more than a dozen examples of the genre.

One of the most recent is RePuffs, a satirical take on the Republican presidential ticket from Machinima.com

 

9 comments

Who Owns Your Little Big Planet Creations? (Hint: probably not you)

October 18, 2008 -

Let's say that, using Little Big Planet's marvelous in-game tools, you've created an awesome level, one so good that other users will want to own it.

I Have the Princess frets that Sony has awarded itself the right sell your design:

Sony have recently made changes to their PSN terms of use, notably adding terms and conditions for user generated content. No doubt, this is a legal precaution leading up to the release of Little Big Planet, obviously there needs to be guidelines to allow Sony to define and take action again inappropriate content.

But what really got my attention were some of the rights Sony have concerning your generated content…

    You also authorise us [Sony] and our affiliated companies, without payment to you, to license, sell and otherwise commercially exploit your User Material
 

IHTP notes that SCEE previously said that users could sell their LBP content.

GP sister-site GameCulture comments as well:

...in three weeks, we could all be working for Sony, crafting and sharing levels that Sony owns outright. Perhaps some of those levels will end up being packaged as downloadable content, much the same way that fruit of some of LittleBigPlanet's best beta players is being packaged with the official release.

 

Of course, there's nothing untoward about any of that. After all, the LittleBigPlanet model encourages users to share their levels for free. The revenue we generate for Sony by building their content for them is just part of the genius of their business model. Crowdsourcing for teh win.

 

But how does the equation change as user-generated content becomes less a matter of remixing existing intellectual property by 'modding' a game and starts to look more like the creation of original work? What happens when the systems game developers build for us are less games than platforms for the creation of new games?

 

Sarah Palin Bashed in Little Big Planet User Video

October 14, 2008 -

Someone in the Little Big Planet beta doesn't think much of Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin...

39 comments

Spore Users Create Political Animals

September 30, 2008 -

techPresident has uncovered some tinkering with Spore's Creature Creator utility by politically-minded gamers.

By way of example the site points to Spore-rendered versions of George W. Bush, John McCain (at left) and Sarah Palin.

To be fair, the Palin creature is bit of a stretch...

So, is the union of Spore and politics called Sporitics? Spolitics?

Spore + Porn = Sporn

July 31, 2008 -

Will Wright's Spore, due for a September 7th release, is one of most anticipated PC titles ever.

But, as CNN reports, some users of the Creature Creator utility, released last month, have built animals which are apparently intent on breeding. Or, at least coupling.

...Buried among the more wholesome attempts [at Spore creature creation] were two-legged dancing testicles, a "giant breast monster" and a four-legged, "phallic fornication machine," for starters...

 

For EA, the developer of "Spore," it's the downside to tapping into the booming user-generated content arena, which has made sites like YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook and Second Life so popular... Many of the popular user-generated content sites have faced similar challenges in trying to control obscene material...

 

The creatures are not just static. Users can create animated scenarios for the characters to engage in, some of which include sexually graphic acts.

When EA got word of the "Sporn" creations, it began working with YouTube to pull them down. Spore executive producer Lucy Bradshaw told CNN:

Whether it's modeling clay, dolls or crayons, a small number of people can be counted on to use it for something vulgar.

CNN also spoke to the "Spornmaster," a 37-year-old man who has created a number of reproductively equipped Sporn creatures:

I admit it is silly and juvenile, but I don't think there's anything perverted, vile or awful about it. If people find it offensive, they can simply not search for it online. No one is forcing anyone to see this content.

One Spore fan told CNN:

I consider this very similar to child pornography, at least to the extent of distributing the material to children.

GP: Buzzfeed has additional NSFW links...

71 comments

ESA Annual Report: Game Industry Policy to "Push Back" Against Fair Use

July 31, 2008 -

The ESA's 2008 Annual Report indicates that the video game industry hopes to uphold the controversial Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) against critics who claim that it restricts Fair Use of copyrighted material.

Based on the following passage from the report, the industry's position seems to be that gamers can create user-generated content only to the extent that in-game tools allow them to do so:

The interplay Between Fair Use and Digital Rights Management User generated content (UGC) is a high-profile policy issue in the copyright community, sparked by the phenomenal success of social networking sites like YouTube.

 

Influential policy papers from the U.K. IP Office and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) cite UGC as a tremendous social benefit of the Internet and call upon policymakers to tweak current legal regimes to better accommodate UGC. This issue has captured the imagination of critics of the current U.S. copyright system, who argue that Digital Rights Management restrictions confound legitimate fair use.

 

ESA IP Policy staff is bolstering its ability to push back against this assertion. In discussions with domestic and foreign IP officials and the OECD, ESA emphasized the rich and varied UGC-features currently incorporated into DRM-protected games.
 

 

 
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Matthew Wilsonbasically "we do not want to put these games on a system more then 10 people own" just joking07/27/2014 - 8:13pm
MaskedPixelanteSomething, something, the 3DS can't properly emulate GBA games and it was a massive struggle to get the ambassador games running properly.07/27/2014 - 8:06pm
Andrew EisenIdeally, you'd be able to play such games on either platform but until that time, I think Nintendo's using the exclusivity in an attempt to further drive Wii U sales.07/27/2014 - 7:21pm
Matthew WilsonI am kind of surprised games like battle network are not out on the 3ds.07/27/2014 - 7:01pm
Andrew EisenWell, Mega Man 1 - 4, X and X2 are already on there and the first Battle Network is due out July 31st.07/27/2014 - 6:16pm
MaskedPixelanteDid Capcom ever give us a timeline for when they planned on putting the Megaman stuff on Wii U?07/27/2014 - 2:23pm
MaskedPixelanteIf by "distance themselves from Google Plus" you mean "forcing Google Plus integration in everything", then yes, they are distancing themselves from Google Plus.07/26/2014 - 12:20pm
MechaTama31I wish they would distance G+ from the Play Store, so I could leave reviews and comments again.07/26/2014 - 11:03am
Matthew Wilson@pm I doubt it. Google seems to be distancing themselves from G+07/25/2014 - 9:31pm
Papa MidnightGoogle+ Integration is coming to Twitch!07/25/2014 - 8:41pm
MaskedPixelanteThis whole Twitch thing just reeks of Google saying "You thought you could get away from us and our policies. That's adorable."07/25/2014 - 2:52pm
Sleaker@james_fudge - hopefully that's the case, but I wont hold my breath for it to happen.07/25/2014 - 1:08pm
SleakerUpdate on crytek situation is a bit ambiguous, but I'm glad they finally said something: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-07-25-crytek-addresses-financial-situation07/25/2014 - 1:07pm
E. Zachary KnightMan Atlas, Why do you not want me to have any money? Why? http://www.atlus.com/tears2/07/25/2014 - 12:06pm
Matthew WilsonI agree with that07/25/2014 - 10:45am
james_fudgeI think Twitch will have more of an impact on how YouTube/Google Plus work than the other way around.07/25/2014 - 10:22am
IanCWelp, twitch is going to suck now. Thanks google.07/25/2014 - 6:30am
Sleaker@MP - Looked up hitbox, thanks.07/24/2014 - 9:40pm
Matthew WilsonI agree, but to me given other known alternatives google seems to the the best option.07/24/2014 - 6:30pm
Andrew EisenTo be clear, I have no problem with Google buying it, I'm just concerned it will make a slew of objectively, quantifiably bad changes to Twitch just as it's done with YouTube over the years.07/24/2014 - 6:28pm
 

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