Black Ops 3 director apologizes for Twitter marketing stunt

Late last month, Activision rebranded its Call of Duty Twitter page “Current Events Aggregate” and started live-tweeting an ostensible terrorist attack in Singapore.  The tweets started with a mysterious explosion and evolved into reports of a declared state of martial law, the presence of military drones and riot police, and a 30-mile quarantine zone.

Activision quickly dropped rebranding after several complaints from followers and highly critical opinion pieces in various games publications.

In a recent interview, IGN (who authored one of the aforementioned critical opinion pieces) asked developer Treyarch’s Jason Blundell for his thoughts on the kerfuffle.

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Connecticut man sentenced to a year in prison for his role in 2014 swatting attacks

Earlier this year we reported that twenty-two-year-old Connecticut resident Matthew Tollis had been arrested in September 2014 for his role in a series of swatting attacks earlier that year.  He, along with members of gaming group TCOD (TeAM CrucifiX or Die), helped coordinate a series of attacks against the University of Connecticut, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston University, and three high schools in New Jersey and Texas.

While he claims he made none of the actual calls, in June he pleaded guilty to conspiring to “engage in the malicious conveying of false information.”

Although Tollis faced up to five years, he was sentenced last week to only a year and a day in prison plus three years probation and 300 hours of community service.

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Researchers examine placebo effect in video games

Paul Cairns“Placebo” generally refers to a pill, shot, or other medical treatment a patient receives but is unaware that it contains no substance to affect their health.  For example, what a patient thinks is a pill designed to alleviate migraines, is actually a sugar pill that would have no effect on such a condition.  Placebos are often used in medical research to examine the efficacy of new drugs or treatments.

The “placebo effect” is when a patient has some type of response to a placebo such as the person in the above example finding that the sugar pill relieved his or her migraines.

Could such a phenomenon exist in video games as well?  As reported by New Scientist, Paul Cairns (pictured),  professor of human-computer interaction at the University of York, UK, designed an experiment to determine just that.

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Super Podcast Action Committee – Episode 162

On this week’s show (episode 161) hosts Andrew Eisen gives his first impressions of MidBoss Games’ Read Only Memories (1:45) and explains why he spent a significant amount of time staring at a woman’s chest (25:10).  Then he and co-host E. Zachary Knight discuss the latest GamePolitics poll (“Is Konami done with AAA game development?” – 28:24), the United Nations “Cyber Violence” report that was pulled pending a forthcoming revision (43:02), a book excerpt Polygon published recently that ruffled the feathers of a few readers (1:00:20), and the heart-warming story of a major AAA publisher telling a developer to spend more time on a game that isn’t ready yet (1:19:55).  If you missed Saturday’s live broadcast of Super Podcast Action Committee (Episode 162), you can also watch the video replay on YouTube.  You can also download the audio version from

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Popular FIFA YouTubers Hit By Cyber-Thieves

theftymcthiefIn a report coming from BBC, five popular FIFA Youtubers were targeted by cyber-thieves who stole millions of coins and deleted several popular players from the YouTubers’ accounts.

According to the report, the thieves used social engineering by calling Origin customer support and convincing them to transfer ownership of the accounts to email addresses controlled by the thieves.

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We’re giving away download codes for ‘Read Only Memories’ on Saturday’s podcast!

midboss_banner_romRead Only Memories, a cyberpunk-themed point-and-click adventure game, debuted on Steam earlier this week and developer MidBoss Games was kind enough to gift us a few download codes to pass on to our awesome community of readers.

We’ll be giving them away on tomorrow’s episode of Super Podcast Action Committee so if you’d like a shot at one, all you have to do is watch the show live.  We stream at 6p PST on Saturday night, right here on GamePolitics.  Throughout the show I’ll issue a challenge such as a trivia question and the first person in the chat to answer correctly, wins a Steam download code for Read Only Memories!

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No retail version of ‘Shovel Knight’ for Xbox One

shovel-knightShovel Knight maker Yacht Club Games announced that it has canceled the Xbox One retail release of the game. While details on why this has happened are pretty murky, Yacht Club Games described some difficulties in getting the game for Xbox One on physical disc and in retail. Here’s what the company wrote on its official site:

“With extremely heavy hearts, we’re sad to announce there will not be an Xbox One physical version this holiday. We really gave it our best effort, but unfortunately, because of publishing policies on that platform that are totally beyond our control, we couldn’t make it happen. We’re very sorry…we know there is a lot of interest – the pre-orders were really good and we thank everyone for their support!

We’ll keep fighting to get a retail version on Xbox One, but as of now, the boxed version is in indefinite limbo. The digital version of Shovel Knight on Xbox One is already available and will, of course, continue to receive new updates and our full support!”

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PS4 price drop hits North America tomorrow

ps4-system-imageblock-vs-us-19jun15Tomorrow, October 9, Sony will knock $50 of the MSRP of its Playstation 4 system in the U.S. and Canada.

Sony announced a price drop for Japan at the Tokyo Game Show last month so many figured other territories would soon follow suit.  Plus, a Target ad from last week let the cat out of the bag so this news, while welcome, likely doesn’t come as much of a surprise to many.

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