Report: Declassified Documents Show American and British Spy Agencies Targeted Xbox Live, Second Life, and World of Warcraft

December 9, 2013 - James Fudge

According to a lengthy report co-published by Pro Publica and the New York Times, American and British spy agencies have infiltrated World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and collecting data in the games played by millions of people around the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents. Agents supposedly created characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, and collected data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden.

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World of Warcraft Lead System Designer Leaves Company

November 29, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

World of Warcraft Lead System Designer Greg Street has left Blizzard this week, according to this Polygon report. Street confirmed the news on his Facebook account, saying that he was moving on for a new and exciting opportunity elsewhere.

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Blizzard Teams Up With Make-A-Wish Foundation

November 22, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Blizzard Entertainment is teaming up with Make-A-Wish Foundation to help the charity make the dreams of sick children in the United States fulfill a wish. World of Warcraft players can purchase the Alterac Brew Pup pet ($10) today, with $5 going to Make-A-Wish.

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Gold Farmer Converts $75K Worth of Virtual Gold to Bars, Gets Robbed

August 13, 2013 -

Australian nurse Katrina Fincham had struck it big by playing World of Warcraft. After earning around $75,000 by farming and selling gold in the popular MMORPG from Blizzard, she decided to convert that cold hard cash into cold hard gold bullion. After doing that she put it in her wall safe at her Adelaide home. All was right with the world, but then something horrible happened: her house was robbed and her wall safe was emptied!

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World of Warcraft Loses More Subscribers

July 26, 2013 -

As part of its announcement this morning that it would break the iron grip of Vivendi's controlling interest, Activision Blizzard revealed that World of Warcraft subscriber numbers have fallen to 2007 levels. The number of paying World of Warcraft monthly subscribers has dropped to 7.7 million, according to Activision Blizzard. That's close to what the game had in 2007 before The Burning Crusade helped it break into the 8 million subscriber mark.

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World of Warcraft Microtransactions Confirmed

July 9, 2013 -

The World of Warcraft version 5.4 update is alive and kicking on the Public Test Realm today, according to Blizzard. According to the patch notes, the update adds a new siege, flexible raid difficulty, a redesigned arena system, and a few other odds and ends. More importantly, the update adds an in-game store where players can buy a variety of buffs and other items. No doubt the selection of offerings will be limited for the purposes of the test phase.

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Blizzard Considering Additional Microtransactions in World of Warcraft

July 5, 2013 -

After an in-game store was discovered on a World of Warcraft test server, Blizzard publicly acknowledged that it is looking into adding microtransactions to its long-running MMORPG. In response to questions about this from members of the community, Blizzard community representative Jonathan Brown made the following post on the Battle.net forums:

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World of Warcraft Accounts Hacked, Auction House Taken Offline

June 25, 2013 -

Blizzard seems to be having a hell of a time with its online auction houses lately.

Last month, a Diablo III patch introduced a gold-duplicating bug that forced the developer to take the game's auction house offline until it could fix the bug and audit players' accounts.

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Report: US-Based Sex Offenders Use Online Games to Target Children in Canada

April 2, 2013 -

An interesting story via the Huffington Post (based on this CBC report) details sexual predators in the United States using online games and consoles to talk to children in Canada. This particular report focuses on Winnipeg, but it's not far-fetched to imagine that if it's happening in one province, it's happening to some degree in other provinces as well.

IGDA's Daniel Greenberg Lays Into Republican Leaders over WoW Research Comments

March 8, 2013 -

Video game developer and Chair of the International Game Developers Association’s Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee Daniel Greenberg offers a scathing rebuke to Republicans in Congress for criticizing World of Warcraft and tax payer dollars given to use the virtual world for research over at Salon today.

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Former World of Warcraft Movie Director Claims Blizzard Mismanged Production

March 7, 2013 -

Director Sam Raimi claims that nine months worth of work on a World of Warcraft film was wasted because Blizzard Entertainment "mismanaged" production. Speaking to Vulture, he made his case for why the movie he was directing never happened:

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Republicans Inject 'Video Games' Into the Political Discourse on Sequestration

February 22, 2013 -

As Republicans and Democrats publically spar over sequestration, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has decided to throw "wasteful spending" into the mix by mentioning research on smoking machines, a free cell phone program, and even the use of video games for research on the elderly into the national conversation (here is a great explanation of what 'sequester' means, if you are interested).

Report: Police Looking Into Video Game Habits of Sandy Hook Elementary Shooter

February 21, 2013 -

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund points out a new two-part report produced by the Hartford Courant and PBS that reveals how video games continue to be part of the ongoing narrative of the police investigation into the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that occurred in Newtown Connecticut in December of last year.

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World of Warcraft Pet Sale Raises $2.3 Million for Hurricane Sandy Victims in December

January 11, 2013 -

Blizzard Entertainment announced via its official blog that it managed to raise $2.3 million for the American Red Cross’s ongoing Superstorm Sandy relief efforts in the month of December. World of Warcraft players were given the opportunity to purchase a new in-game pet during the month, and stepped up in droves to help raise the money.

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World of Warcraft Players Make Great Employees, Claims Researcher

January 3, 2013 -

In a video for knowledge forum "Big Think," researcher John Seely Brown explains why World of Warcraft players are the ideal employees for businesses. In his video he explains why playing an online game and being part of a team might be more important than getting an MBA at Harvard.

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Michael Pachter: Activision Should Charge a Fee for Call of Duty Multiplayer

December 7, 2012 -

This is sure to put analyst Michael Pachter on someone's naughty list: Recently he said that Activision needs to start charging a fee for the multiplayer portion of its Call of Duty games. Wedbush Securities industry analyst Michael Pachter made his comments during the Digital Game Monetization Summit in San Francisco, California (as reported by GamesIndustry International). During his presentation he said that Activision made a serious mistake when it didn't implement a subscription-based model for Call of Duty multiplayer.

Buy WOW Pet Cinder Kitten, Help Hurricane Sandy Victims

December 4, 2012 -

Blizzard will give 100 percent of sales of Cinder Kittens from the World of Warcraft Pet Store to the Red Cross and disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The previously announced pet the Cinder Kitten can be yours for $10 USD. This fiery little feline is warm, adorable and will light the steps of any adventurer kind enough to adopt it. The Cinder Kitten has Rare-quality stats and is a part of the Elemental family.

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Blizzard Faces Class Action Over Battle.net Security

November 9, 2012 -

Two gamers have filed a class action against Blizzard Entertainment last week on behalf of Battle.net account holders, accusing the company of failing to properly secure players' personal information and requiring them to purchase a Battle.net Authenticator "in order to have even minimal protection for their sensitive personal, private, and financial data."

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Cinder Kitten Fires Up Hurricane Sandy Donations in World of Warcraft

November 8, 2012 -

Blizzard's World of Warcraft web site introduces a new in-game pet called the Cinder Kitten that will give 100 percent of the proceeds to the Red Cross’s Superstorm Sandy Response relief efforts. Coming "later this year" the new pet will cost $10 and all of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross's effort in the North East in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

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Accused of Playing WoW, Colleen Lachowicz Wins Senate Seat Anyway

November 7, 2012 -

Despite being an avid World of Warcraft player and someone who likes to use slightly colorful language to talk about it on her blog, Colleen Lachowicz (D-ME) still handily trounced Republican Sen. Thomas Martin, earning her a shiny new Senate seat.

Last month, the Maine GOP ran a pretty silly smear campaign to an attempt to convince voters that Lachowicz's gaming habits and blog comments rendered her unfit for office.

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Maine State Senate Candidate Responds to WOW Attack

October 5, 2012 -

Following up on yesterday's story about the Maine GOP attacking Maine state Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz over leading a "double life" in World of Warcraft, Politico has another story featuring Lachowicz's response. Colleen Lachowicz told the publican Thursday night that that the attack shows that the Maine GOP is out-of-touch if they think being a gamer is shameful.

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Maine GOP Attacks State Senate Candidate for Playing World of Warcraft

October 4, 2012 -

In one of the more unusual attacks on an opponent in this election cycle, the Republican party of Maine has decided that it would be a good idea to take Maine state Senate Democratic candidate Colleen Lachowicz to task for playing World of Warcraft. Apparently they don't know that over 10 million people around the world are playing the game daily, with millions playing here in the United States. The law of averages would also suggest that a fair amount of Maine's population also plays the game, but let's put that aside for now..

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Mists of Pandaria Pushes World of Warcraft Subscriber Numbers Back Over 10 Million

October 4, 2012 -

While many have been keen to point out the continued decline of Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft subscriber numbers, there's some good news for the company today: the latest expansion has given the game a boost past the 10 million subscriber mark. Back in August Blizzard revealed that its paid subscriber numbers had fallen to 9.1 million.

"It’s been gratifying to see the results of all of the work we put into this expansion and to hear all of the positive feedback from players so far," Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said.

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Analyst: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Early Sales Well Below Expectations

September 28, 2012 -

An analyst at Lazard Capital is telling VentureBeat that early sales indicators on the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, are below expectations. The firm estimates 600-700k copies of the expansion sold at retail since its launch on Tuesday, down a whopping 60 percent from the previous expansion. VentureBeat notes that this estimate probably doesn't take into account digital downloads of the expansion.

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Report: Blizzard Can Track WOW Users Through In-Game Screenshots

September 11, 2012 -

This story on Slashdot Games reveals that screenshots taken in World of Warcraft have secret watermarks that can be used by Blizzard to track users - particularly when they are engaged in behavior considered to be illegal or that violates World of Warcraft's terms of service.

The story began a few days ago when a World of Warcraft players noticed that there was an odd mark on a screenshot he had taken in-game:

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World of Warcraft Access in Iran Cut Off Due to U.S. Trade Sanctions

August 28, 2012 -

Blizzard Entertainment has been forced to cut off access to its popular MMO World of Warcraft to subscribers in Iran, due to ongoing (in an earlier version of the story we used the term "new" to describe the trade sanctions, which was not accurate.) U.S. trade sanctions against the country. The company issued the following statement to a thread complaining about World of Warcraft not being available in the region:

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Fox News Play Connect-The-Dots in James Holmes Case

July 30, 2012 -

Reporting on James Holmes' day in court today, Fox News tries to make a connection to World of Warcraft. We assume this is to tie video games to the shootings in Aurora, Colorado earlier this month, but the connection is about as tenuous as lights over Roswell, New Mexico being definitive proof that extraterrestrials exists...

Holmes was formally charged with 24 counts of murder, 116 counts of attempted murder, one count of possession of explosives, and one count of a crime of violence.

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Man Stabbed During Heated World of Warcraft Argument

July 13, 2012 -

There's probably two lessons to be learned from the following story: don't take video games too seriously and don't engage your neighbor when they are agitated and engaged in an active argument (call the police instead).

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World of Warcraft Server Blades Auction Raises $300K for Charity

July 13, 2012 -

World of Warcraft players helped Blizzard raise $330,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The funds are the result of a charity auction that saw the sale of some retired WOW server hardware put up by Blizzard on eBay earlier this year.

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Diablo III Sells 3.5 Million Copies on First Day of Release

May 23, 2012 -

Blizzard Entertainment issued a press release this morning announcing that sales of Diablo III in the first 24 hours totaled 3.5 million copies. They claim, (we assume based on NPD Group numbers), that this makes Diablo III the fastest selling PC game in history. We will not even try to refute that claim. That number does not include the more than 1.2 million players who received Diablo III as part of signing up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass promotion. Combined that puts Diablo III's first day sales at 4.7 million.

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Should 'Hatred' have been removed from Steam Greenlight?:

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PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
Adam802Leland Yee and Jackson get trial date: http://sfbay.ca/2014/12/18/leland-yee-keith-jackson-get-trial-date/12/19/2014 - 5:24pm
MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/19/7421953/bullshit-cards-against-humanity-donated-250k-sunlight-foundation I have to admit I like the choice o organization. congrats to CAH.12/19/2014 - 1:51pm
E. Zachary KnightIf you are downloading a copy in order to bypass the DRM, then you are legally in the wrong. Ethically, if you bought the game, it doesn't matter where you download it in the future.12/19/2014 - 12:06pm
InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
ZippyDSMleeAnd I still spent 200$ in the last month on steam/GOG stuff sales get me nearly every time ><12/19/2014 - 10:55am
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I buy what I can as long as I can get cracks for it...then again it I could have gotton Lords of the Fallen for 30 with DLC I would have ><12/19/2014 - 10:50am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/19/marvel-vs-capcom-origins-leaving-online-storefronts-soon/ Speaking of "last chance to buy", Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is getting delisted from all major storefronts. Behold the wonders of the all digital future.12/19/2014 - 9:59am
MaskedPixelanteSeriously, the so-called "Last Chance" sale was up to 80% off, while this one time only return sale goes for a flat 85% off with a 90% off upgrade if you buy the whole catalogue.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
E. Zachary KnightInfophile, Tha is why I buy only DRM-free games.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
MaskedPixelanteNordic is back on GOG for one weekend only. And at 85% off no less, which is kind of a slap in the face to people who paid more during the "NORDIC IS LEAVING FOREVER BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE" sale, but whatever...12/19/2014 - 9:28am
InfophileRe PHX's link: This is one of the reasons the digital revolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's also the flip side where Sony can block access to games you've bought if they ban your account for unrelated reasons. All power is theirs.12/19/2014 - 8:52am
MaskedPixelantehttp://uplay.ubi.com/#!/en-US/events/uplay-15-days You can win FREE GAMES FOR A YEAR! Unfortunately, they're Ubisoft games.12/18/2014 - 6:29pm
Papa MidnightAh, so it was downtime. I've been seeing post appear in my RSS feed, but I was unable to access GamePolitics today across several ISPs.12/18/2014 - 6:06pm
james_fudgeSorry for the downtime today, folks.12/18/2014 - 5:54pm
 

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