01 December 2008

Feeling the Wrath

Another unexcused absence on my part. Damn Blizzard and their digital heroin.

Some old news I wanted to comment on. First off, this tidy bit of news hit late this month. Now, I've been keeping a wayward eye on the development of Batman: Arkham Asylum and this development was rumored from the very moment details about the game started to hit. Batman: The Animated Series is still one of my favorite incarnations of the franchise and Mark Hamill is one of my favorite actors to portray the Joker. (Yes, just barely beating out Heath Ledger, rest his method-acting soul.) With so many people from the former show directly working on the new Batman game, I'm strongly of the opinion that, even if the gameplay is blasé, the story and acting alone will carry me through. High hopes riding on this game.

Earlier this month, I caught word that EA is reviving the long forgotten Dungeon Keeper series. I was overjoyed, until I discovered there were only plans for developing it for the Chinese market. As an MMO, no less. Really? Was Dungeon Keeper a breakout hit in Southeast Asia? Was I not aware? How would an MMO Dungeon Keeper even play? What would it be, an MMORTS? As crest-fallen as I was at this tease of a headline, this still gives me hope that we may yet see a proper sendup of the series on these shores.

Brutal Legend was picked up by EA after being unceremoniously thrown to an uncertain fate by Activision. With Ghostbusters also having found a home with Atari, all is well again for what will surely be two exceptional titles next year.

Kristena just brought this tidbit to my attention. Apparently, the PSP is a phone. I wonder if my carrier supports it. More than anything, this article just reminded me that I used to want a PSP. Mostly, because I wanted a portable Disgaea. But I couldn't meet the $200 price of entry. Then, Disgaea came to DS and all was right in the world again. But, a phone? I need to get me one of them.

Ubisoft made a big scene by releasing Prince of Persia for PC with NO DRM. After the Spore fiasco, I thought maybe Stardock's "laisséz-faire" attitude towards piracy was starting to spread to the rest of the industry. Then I read this and started to doubt their motives. If there's any truth to this and launching PoP DRM-free is indeed "a trap", then... well, I guess there's really no news at all. Pirates will be pirates. Large companies will continue to hate on pirates. Sun rise, sun set.

I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight, since every time this non-issue makes the headlines, my ears start to bleed. Pirates are not "thieves". They aren't shining beacons of morality, but they're not taking anything from the company either. Whenever someone downloads a cracked ISO of Painkiller, a hard copy of the game doesn't disappear from a Wal-mart shelf. The corporate fat cats would have you believe otherwise. Game companies report estimated losses to financial analysts based on illegal download activity for pirated versions of their games. But they do this on the assumption that each download of a pirated copy of a game is a lost sale. i.e. a person who would have bought the game had the illegal download not been available. This is nonsense. Anybody who has ever at any point downloaded illegal content, be it movies, music, OR games, will tell you to your face that there's only one reason they reach for those downloads: They're free to anyone with an internet connection. Maybe they're broke and couldn't afford the game in stores. Maybe they're bored and just sifting through game downloads at some torrent repository. The one thing they all have in common is they're after a free ride. If pirates started charging even $5 per download (1/10th of what they would pay in stores.), you'd see download rates for those games drop by half, if not more. If all pirated software disappeared from the world, all of those users wouldn't rush out to their local Best Buy to purchase the missing games. A minority of hardcore fans might make room for a must-have game in their budget, but most people would just do without. And that's why I can never support the games industry in their anti-piracy efforts. Their whole argument against the opposition is predicated on a fabrication. Piracy is much less morally ambiguous than outright lying.

And, that seems about as good as any place to stop. Back to the frozen wastes of Northrend for me. Wish me luck!

How does a phrase like "corporate fat cats" even exist? Are all hippie liberals watching Rescue Rangers between nude love-ins?

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