Electronic Arts has been known to try everything possible for the sake of combating pirates. They have included all kinds of much-hated DRM in their games. But now the CEO of EA has said that pirates are a new market that EA needs to make money from.
While this is great news for the anti-DRM activists, it might not be good news for gamers who actually buy their games. John Riccitiello, the CEO of Electronic Arts, wants to sell DLC – download content – to everyone who has the game, not just those who bought it. But this might turn into a very bad thing: DLC will contain most of the game, while the game itself will be more like a platform to add features onto. This would degrade the quality of games severely. And a lot of today’s games are already terrible enough.
It’s good that EA has recognized pirates as something they cannot defeat. It is impossible, just as it is impossible to stop all robbery and theft in the real world. Why waste money and resources fighting a war you cannot win? However, DLC is not the answer, at least for PC games. DLC can be illegally downloaded just like the game itself. And the biggest issue here is developers degrading the initial game on purpose so they can sell lots of DLC later on.
Download content for games is growing already, and I think developers are starting to see the profit in it. Personally I don’t like the whole DLC model because paying $50 for a game is too much in the first place. A lot more games would sell if they cost less, and in the end, the money made from the game would be the same, if not more. But pushing DLC on pirates will most likely produce no real results. Only inexperienced pirates might buy the DLC – people who know what they’re doing will just pirate the DLC.
Whether piracy affects the sale of media is still being debated, but one thing that’s been proven is that DRM only hurts legitimate gamers. DRM can only delay a game from being cracked, and that delay is typically only an hour or so. All games can be and will be cracked, shared, pirated. How game developers, movie producers, the music industry, and software companies will react to piracy depends on their success. I think it’s time for them to drop DRM, and find a way to profit off the games even if they’re pirated. DLC might not be the answer, but how about something like in-game advertising (only if done realistically and tastefully, like in Battlefield 2 or TrackMania Nations)?
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Microsoft recently banned over 1 million Xbox Live accounts for using modded Xbox hardware. Some reports say the number is now over 2 million. Now there is a lawsuit against Microsoft for the bans. This might seem like a bad idea – after all, modded hardware is against the Xbox Live Terms of Service. However, many people who had their consoles banned are now reporting that not only were they banned from Xbox Live, but they were also banned from their consoles.
How can Microsoft ban you from your console? People are saying that their access to their console’s hard drive was blocked. That means they can’t access a key part of their console, which makes it almost unusable. What gives Microsoft the right to brick consoles for hardware modifications?
Some are reporting that their console was banned because of a simple fan modification. They upgraded the fan on their console to help prevent the infamous Red Ring of Death – RRoD – and now Microsoft apparently bricked their console. How is this fair at all, yet alone legal?
When you buy something, you own it. That is obvious. People who bought an Xbox are the legal owners of that property. How can Microsoft legally make that property unusable? They have the right to ban modders from Xbox Live, which is an extra service to the console. But they should have no right to damage or make unusable the actual hardware that people purchased. This is in effect the same as a Microsoft employee coming to your home and stealing the hard drive out of your Xbox.
I really hope this class action lawsuit goes to court, Microsoft doesn’t settle, and Microsoft loses. This would set a great precedent that would prevent companies from touching the hardware which you paid for and have every right to modify. Think of automobile companies for a second. Wouldn’t they rather have you buy a high-end version of their car for $10,000 more to get an extra 50 horsepower, than have you modify your car by yourself for $2,000 to get the same extra power out of it? Imagine if car companies installed chips in new cars that would disable the wheels from spinning if they detected a custom engine modification? Isn’t this essentially the same thing as Microsoft disabling your hard drive because they detected that you upgraded the fan on your Xbox?
Disabling hardware, your private property which you purchased, should be completely illegal. If these reports of Microsoft bricking consoles for hardware modifications are true, Microsoft should lose the lawsuit. And by the way, the Terms of Service and the EULA rarely hold up in court, because this type of agreement cannot overwrite laws.
Note: I cannot confirm if the reports of consoles being bricked are true, but people all over internet forums are saying the same thing.
Sources: Engadget, multiple forums
XBOX 360 logo copyright Microsoft
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Not much to say except that it’s amazing that this is Sony who’s actually doing this. Sony Australia is catapulting a Sony PlayStation 3 into a Sony Bravia TV. That just makes it so much better. Video of the destruction below.
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Up against Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft has decided to release the Xbox 360 Elite. This new game console comes with a larger storage capacity and new looks, but that’s not all it’s about. It’s at the top of the latest game consoles.
The Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite is black with a matte finish. An HDMI interface is mounted to make full use of the 120GB HDD. This allows for the viewing of shaper pictures in high quality. The IBM PowerPC is at the heart of the 360 Elite. Three cores process 3.2 GHz. The ATI processor, which supports graphics, puts out 500-million triangles per second. The system and the video card of the game console share 500MB of memory. The whole system is powered by an internal power supply.
There is a 16-bit surround sound mode. Video is 256-bit with a graphic acceleration of 2D and 3D. The maximum picture resolution is 1920 x 1080p. The main source of input that is used with the 360 Elite is the external game pad; it has potential for wireless connectivity. The user interface ports are: 1 AV port, 1 USB port, 1 Ethernet jack and one HDMI interface; also present are 2 expansion slots for memory cards. Accessories include: an HD AV cable, Ethernet cable, a wireless controller, and Headset.
This brouhaha of goodness from Microsoft costs $479.99 (retail). Check out this other Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite System Game Console Review.
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As midnight approaches today, April 28th, I am wishing more and more that I had a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. So now I am wondering – what will all the PC gamers that don’t own current generation consoles be doing tomorrow (or in some parts of the world, today)? I’m sure not many people will go out and buy a console just for one game, but I do know some people that will. Grand Theft Auto IV is one of those games that will make some people buy a console just to play it.
I simply have no choice. I will have to wait it out for the PC version of GTA 4. Hopefully it will come this year, but that will be in anywhere from four to eight or more months of waiting. Why does Rockstar have to make the deals with the consoles first? It’s not fair for PC gamers, as they could have easily released GTA 4 for Windows at the same time as consoles.
So what do we PC gamers do now? Watching trailers, reading reviews, and playing on our friends’ consoles is the only choice left. Now sure the PC version is probably going to look a lot better than the console versions and will have a ton of unofficial mods, but is it worth the half year wait? I actually can’t decide that one, since mods have added so much more content and replay value to previous Grand Theft Auto games, such as San Andreas.
And now I am off to find some new mods for my PC version of GTA San Andreas. Meanwhile, for us PC gamers, the GTA 4 storyline will be spoiled in the next half year. We will see thousands of gameplay videos, screenshots, and reviews that will spoil the game. So I’ll just be hoping that the PC version will be much better, like the past PC versions of GTA. Until then, we can only wait.
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The DualShock 3 will replace the SixAxis Playstation 3 controller. Sony has realized that gamers wanted force feedback, which the SixAxis didn’t have. Dualshock 3 was released in November in Japan. The DualShock 3 controller will be available in the United States on April 15. The DualShock 3 will retail for $54.99, which is $5 more than the SixAxis controller.
The SixAxis will no longer be in production after it sells out through retail. Playstation 3 systems will now be shipping with DualShock 3 controllers.
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