Hive Mind Founders Resolve Disputes, Begin Bromance Anew

November 2, 2012 -

Hive Mind founders Will Wright and Jawad Ansari have resolved their disputes in an amicable fashion, though details on how their issues were resolved were not disclosed. Back in June it was revealed that Ansari had sued Wright to maintain his 30 percent equity stake in the company. Ansari filed his lawsuit after - he claims - the directors of the company - including Wright and Raj Parekh, a managing director of Redwood Venture Partners - removed Ansari from the company.

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Will Wright's HiveMind in Limbo over Litigation

June 4, 2012 -

GamesBeat is reporting that SimCity and The Sims creator Will Wright's young company HiveMind has been stalled by litigation between the founders of the company. Wright's gaming start-up hoped to realize the concept of "personal gaming" where the studio's designers would use demographic data to create personal gaming experiences for individuals rather than the masses.

4 comments | Read more

Will Wright Talks Bar Karma on April 26

April 22, 2011 -

A live chat with Will Wright (who you may know better as the founder of Maxis and the creator of such hits as SimCity, The Sims, and Spore) will be held on April 26 from 8:00 - 9:00 PM EST. Wright won't be there to talk about games; he's answering questions from attendees about his community-developed television series, which is inching towards the season finale.

This might be the last chance for viewers to ask Wright questions about the show this season, so if you want to participate log in here on the aforementioned date and time, and post your questions to the Bar Karma page.

1 comment | Read more

Harvard Scholar Sees Games as the Future of Education

September 8, 2009 -

School kids may not have to hide their PSPs under their desks for much longer.

Recently, noted game designer Will Wright (The Sims, Spore) interviewed Harvard Professor Edward O. Wilson (left) on NPR’s Open Mic segment and asked if he saw a role for video games in the educational process. Here's what Wilson had to say:

I'll go to an even more radical position. I think games are the future in education. We're going through a rapid transition now. We're about to leave print textbooks behind. For example, I envision visits to different ecosystems that the student could actually enter – taking this path, going to that hill – with an instructor. That could be a rain forest, a tundra, or a Jurassic forest...

 

When children went out in Paleolithic times, they went with adults – they learned everything they needed to learn by participating in the process.

Wilson sees the virtual experiences of video games as a way to help motivate kids to go out and learn by having real experiences. Check out the whole audio interview right here.

Via: GoNintendo

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Senior Correspondent Andrew Eisen

6 comments

Will Wright: Game Biz Needs to Appeal to More than 12-year-old Boys

July 16, 2009 -

In a recent conversation with the Chronicle of Higher Education, famed game designer Will Wright remarked that the video game industry has brought some of its mainstream acceptance problems upon itself by continuing to design games as if the players were all 12-year-old boys.

Among Wright's comments:

We've had this cultural bias against games for the last 20 years, and a lot of it I think is self-deserved, because if you look at what people are doing with [video game] technology it is for the most part directed toward 12-year-old boys. But that doesn't mean the format doesn't have the potential to do a whole lot more...

Games... have been with us for hundreds of thousands of years, with some of the earliest games like Go or Chess. People have looked at those as ways to sort of learn strategic thinking, to expand their minds in certain abstract, symbolic areas...

 

So I think adults that didn't grow up with games, don't play games, have gotten disconnected from the idea of play... We sort of think of play as disposable, useless, time-wasting activity when in fact play really is a fundamental educational technology. We've, as a culture, just kind of forgotten that.

Via: IndustryGamers / Kotaku

40 comments

Sims 3 To Be DRM-Free, Says EA

March 28, 2009 -

Having apparently taken a lesson from the Spore DRM fiasco, publisher Electronic Arts announced this week that The Sims 3 will be DRM-free when the game launches in June.

The Los Angeles Times reports that The Sims 3 will feature only serial number-based copy protection. EA exec Rod Humble said:

We feel like this is a good, time-proven solution that makes it easy for you to play the game without DRM methods that feel overly invasive or leave you concerned about authorization server access in the distant future.

25 comments

TIME Names Top 10 Video Games of 2008

December 8, 2008 -

TIME has cranked out a feature which serves up Top 10 lists for just about everything you can think of (breakups, foot trends, open mic moments), including video games.

Lev Grossman penned TIME's list, which starts with GTA IV and ends with Spore. Here's what Grossman had to say about R*'s controversial, runaway hit:

It's ironic that GTA became a football in the debate over sex and violence in video games, because where it belongs is in the debate over whether video games count as art... It's a grade-A shoot-'em-up that doubles as an interactive novel and triples as a sly critique of American consumer culture.

Grossman's entire Top 10 list follows:

  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Braid (video at left)
  • Little Big Planet
  • Rock Band 2
  • Gears of War 2
  • Dead Space
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
  • Hunted Forever (Flash)
  • Fieldrunners (iPhone app)
  • Spore
32 comments

New Class-Action Suits Target EA, SecuROM, The Sims & Spore Creature Creator

November 8, 2008 -

GamePolitics has learned that a pair of new class-action lawsuits were lodged against Electronic Arts in October. Both suits were filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and both target EA's use of the controversial SecuROM digital rights management (DRM) software on the company's PC games.

In the first case, a Pennsylvania man, Richard Eldridge, alleges that the Spore Creature Creator Free Trial Edition secretly installed SecuROM on his PC, a violation that Eldridge terms "deceptive and unlawful." From the suit:

The inclusion of undisclosed, secretly installed DRM protection measures with a program that was freely distributed constitutes a major violation of computer owners' absolute right to control what does and what does not get loaded onto their computers, and how their computers shall be used...

 

[SecuROM] cannot be completely uninstalled. Once installed it becomes a permanent part of the consumer's software portfolio...

 

EA's EULA for Spore Creature Creator Free Trial Edition makes utterly no mention of any Technical Protection Measures, DRM technology, or SecuROM whatsoever...

In the second case, Dianna Cortez of Missouri, described as "an avid Sims player," makes similar claims against EA over the publisher's alleged inclusion of SecuROM on The Sims 2: Bon Voyage, which she purchased in September, 2007. Cotrez claims that she immediately experienced problems with her PC :

After installing Bon Voyage, Ms. Cortez began having problems with her computer. She had previously made backup Sims 2 game content on CDs, but her computer's disc drive would no longer recognize that content, reporting the CDs as empty. She could not access files that were saved on her USB flash drive or iPod, either...

Cortez alleges that she was only able to get rid of SecuROM by reformatting her PC. She accuses EA of engaging in "unfair business practices" as well as conduct that is "immoral, unethical, oppressive [and] unscrupulous..."

The new suits are the second and third filed recently by consumers in regard to EA's use of SecuROM. A woman named Melissa Thomas filed a similar suit in relation to Spore in September. Thomas and new plaintiff Richard Eldridge are represented by the same law firm.

Docu-grab: Eldridge vs. Electronic Arts

Docu-grab: Cortez vs. Electronic Arts

Will Wright on Spore DRM: I Should Have Tuned In More

October 16, 2008 -

Kotaku caught up to Will Wright at the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards in the Big Apple, where the Spore designer offered his thoughts on the DRM controversy that has plagued his game:

It was something I probably should have tuned into more. It was a corporate decision to go with DRM on Spore. They had a plan and the parameters, but now we’re allowing more authentications and working with players to de-authenticate which makes it more in line like an iTunes. I think one of the most valid concerns about it was you could only install it so many times. For most players it’s not an issue, it’s a pretty small percentage, but some people do like wiping their hard disk and installing it 20 times or they want to play it 10 years later.

I think it’s an interim solution to an interim problem. You have games like Battlefield Heroes coming out where the idea is you give away the game and sell upgrades, which works more in the Asian markets where you need to monetize it over the Internet. I think we’re in this uncomfortable spot in going from what’s primarily a brick and mortar shrink-wrapped product to what eventually will become more of an online monetization model.

GP: It's reassuring to see that Will is giving some thought to how Spore's DRM situation could have been handled better. But I hope that his comments concerning the Battlefield Heroes business model don't portend the future of PC gaming in the United States. The Internet-based game model is used in Asian markets because of rampant piracy furthered by government apathy to IP issues. It would be tough sell to convince me that such measures are necessary here in the U.S., what with the DMCA and our new IP czar on the way.

14 comments

Spore Tops Sales Charts, Despite DRM Contoversy

September 24, 2008 -

While some game consumers are outraged over Spore's controversial DRM scheme, others - many others - are snapping the game up at retail.

As reported by gamesindustry.biz, variants of Will Wright's evolve-and-conquer game occupy three of the top four spots among PC titles for the week ended September 13th.

1. Spore
2. Spore Galactic Edition
3. The Sims 2 Apartment Life
4. Spore Creature Creator
5. World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest
6. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe
7. World Of Warcraft
8. World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade
9. Warcraft III Battle Chest
10. Crysis
 

18 comments

EA Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Spore DRM

September 24, 2008 -

Despite making a recent concession to consumers, the Spore DRM saga doesn't seem likely to stop vexing publisher Electronic Arts any time soon.

In the latest development, Courthouse News Service reports that a class action lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court. From the CNS story:

Electronic Arts, a leading maker of computer games, defrauds consumers through its "Spore" game, which "completely wipes their hard drive" and replaces it with an undisclosed program that prevents the computer from operating under some circumstances and disrupts hardware operations, a class action claims in Federal Court. 

 

The class claims that "Spore," a virtual reality simulation game, contains "a second, undisclosed program" called SecuROM, a "form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) for computer games."

 

Consumers are not warned about the program, which is installed without notice and cannot be uninstalled, even if the uninstall Spore, the complaint states. The secret SecuROM program is "secretly installed to the command and control center of the computer (Ring 0, or the Kernel), and surreptitiously operated, overseeing function and operation on the computer, preventing the computer from operating under certain circumstances and/or disrupting hardware operations," the complaint states.

Copy of the lawsuit here.

GP: Thanks to GP reader nighstalker160 for tipping us to this one via Shoutbox.

98 comments

CBS News Interview Will Wright About Spore

September 18, 2008 -

CBS News correspondent Daniel Sieberg interviews Will Wright about Spore. It's a DRM-free conversation and the second installment of this week's three-parter, The Games Our Children Play.

Catch part one, detailing the landmark Teens, Video Games & Civics report issued by the Pew Internet & American Life Project here.

4 comments

Spore Owners Turn Game's Own Content Creation Tools into DRM Protest

September 15, 2008 -

Frustrated by Spore's egregious DRM scheme? 

Evolve a protest creature.

GameCulture reports that Spore owners are using the game's extensive content creation tools to speak out against the DRM and offers a half-dozen screenshots to prove it.

93 comments

Negative Spore Reviews Disappear From Amazon & Then Re-appear

September 12, 2008 -

Conspiracy theorists and grassy knoll types had a field day this afternoon as a couple of thousand customer reviews of Spore, mostly of the negative variety, suddenly disappeared from Amazon.com.

Some were quick to see EA's heavy hand in the missing reviews, but that was apparently not the case.

Earlier this week it was widely reported that angry gamers were slamming Spore with 1-star reviews due to the game's draconian copy protection scheme. Ironically, the game was cracked and posted online several days before its official release, meaning that legit buyers were the ones who suffered from the game's frustrating DRM.

Ars Technica, however, reports Amazon's explanation that the reviews were lost to a glitch of some sort and would be coming back online. Indeed, as this is being written, they appear to be back in place.

47 comments

EA: Just One Spore Account Per Copy, Despite Game Manual's Claim Otherwise

September 12, 2008 -

Already plagued by consumer backlash over Spore's ridiculous copy protection scheme, Electronic Arts faces renewed criticism from buyers who have discovered that only one user account can be created per copy.

The Consumerist explains:

EA's DRM spyware on the long-awaited game Spore turns out to have an added side-effect: if you live in a household with multiple players, you all have to share the same account. The game's manual says otherwise, but after repeated queries on the EA forum, a company spokesperson confirmed this.

 

That's right—if you're in a household with several potential Spore players, and you want each of them to have their own account, you will have to buy multiple copies of the game.

As The Consumerist points out, page 52 of the Spore manual (see pic) says that buyers of the game may have multiple user accounts, a common practice. The DRM, however, apparently precludes that from happening. An EA rep on the Spore forums termed it a "misprint" in the manual.

GP: With good - but not great - reviews, will the game that was to have been designer Will Wright's masterpiece ultimately be better known for EA's ham-handed attempt to tighten the screws on game consumers?

65 comments

Creationist Site Targets Spore

September 10, 2008 -

Who knew that Spore would be so controversial?

First there was the DRM madness that has enraged so many gamers. Now an apparent creationist site refers to Will Wright's long-awaited game an "attack on Christian values."

Anti-Spore (there is some speculation that the site is a hoax) went live just a day after Spore's September 7th release. The site's opening post sums up its focus:

Yesterday I found out about a new game called Spore when my son asked me to buy it for him.  It looked innocent enough at first and has “E for Everyone” ESRB rating.  But don’t be mislead, apparently “everyone” means everyone they want to teach evolution to.

 

This entire game is propaganda aimed directly at our children to teach them evolution instead of creationism, or “intelligent design” ...

 

I decided that Electronic Arts needs to hear from concerned people such as myself that this sort of game is not acceptable, and created this blog to find support and share information and progress with anyone who feels the same as I do.

Indeed, the domain name, which is private, was registered on September 8th. The anonymous author claims to be a wife and mother and writes that she has received hate mail and death threats over her Spore views.

The site also tosses in this small bit of politics:

I got a message from the supposed mayor of McCamish, KS [a suburb of Kansas City]. Claiming that he will make sure the game is kept out of their store. I have no way to verify the info, though.

Via: bit-tech.net

134 comments

Will Wright: E3 is "the Walking Dead"

August 29, 2008 -

While E3 bashing has quieted with the passage of time, new comments by famed game designer Will Wright have driven another nail into the show's coffin.

In an interview with gamesindustry.biz, Wright likened E3 to a zombie - and not in a positive, Resident Evil fashion:

It almost feels like a zombie at this point; it's the walking dead. It's such an abrupt end to what was E3, which had been this huge escalating arms race.

 

I understand why they really pulled the plug on the big E3. Looking at the amount of money a company like EA would spend on it, it was ridiculous amounts of money just to be present and competitive with everyone else, so I think they were looking for a way to sign the arms treaty and de-escalate the whole thing.

 

Right now we're in this kind of dicey, do we have an event, what event is it, which one do we go to? I think we're in an uncomfortable transition zone when really the real E3 died a couple of years ago.

 

14 comments

 
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Andrew EisenAdam McKay directed cartoon about income inequality. https://screen.yahoo.com/we-the-economy/inequality-1-unbelievable-sweet-alpacas-175411663.html10/21/2014 - 8:54pm
prh99Bit.ly Maintainance here is the original http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/10/after-gamergate-tweet-adobe-distances-itself-from-gawker-bullying/10/21/2014 - 8:39pm
prh99Adobe calls out Gawker for GG bullying and backpedals...sort of. http://bit.ly/1pyM4Yg10/21/2014 - 8:35pm
Neo_DrKefkaThanks James. Means a lot.10/21/2014 - 7:24pm
prh99Nothing that hasn't been said.10/21/2014 - 6:52pm
Andrew EisenHaven't read it yet. I'm sharing this because I love the header image. http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/10/gamergate-should-stop-lying-to-itself.html10/21/2014 - 3:39pm
james_fudgeYou are one of us, you're a GPer, not a GGer :)10/21/2014 - 2:27pm
james_fudgeNeo_DrKefka: half of them don't know who that is, so no worries :)10/21/2014 - 2:27pm
Andrew EisenUpdate to the Paranautical Activity story. Dev leaves the studio. http://codeavarice.com/post/100592709238/mike-is-leaving-code-avarice10/21/2014 - 1:52pm
quiknkoldI'm sure you are, Andrew10/21/2014 - 1:44pm
Andrew EisenNintendo announced the Link amiibo is compatible with Hyrule Warriors. No idea how Nintendo expects anyone to give a toss if it don't tell us what it does. Then again, maybe I'm just being curmudgeonly.10/21/2014 - 1:25pm
Neo_DrKefkaSo Gamergate compared me to leftist Saul Alnsky....ME off all the people10/21/2014 - 1:16pm
IanCWell.... quite.10/21/2014 - 1:10pm
Andrew EisenWell of course. Girls don't buy figurines and guys don't buy figurines of girls. And no, the girls that buy figurines and the guys that buy figurines of girls don't count. The money belongs on the table, thank you very much!10/21/2014 - 12:43pm
IanCI have 3 of the Disney Infinity figures even though i don't have the game (Rapunzel from Tangled, and Anna & Elsa from Frozen, purely because its the only way to get figures from those two films)10/21/2014 - 12:23pm
Andrew EisenGlad you said "Pokemon." That's the first time I've seen anyone use that abbreviation.10/21/2014 - 12:14pm
MaskedPixelanteGot my demo key for ORAS, hope I get some awesome Pokemon to bring over.10/21/2014 - 12:08pm
E. Zachary KnightNot owning a WiiU helps too.10/21/2014 - 11:39am
E. Zachary KnightI have avoided Skylanders and Disney Infinity so far, so I don't see how Amiibos will get me in their grasp.10/21/2014 - 11:39am
Andrew EisenYes, GamerGate has a lot of fair-weather friends.10/21/2014 - 11:25am
 

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