Tag Archives: video game

DC Universe Online, Purchase at Your Own Risk?

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DC Universe OnlineThe President of the Entertainment Consumers Association, Hal Halpin, in a guest editorial on IGN takes on DC Universe Online which has made news for its licensing of the game, like PC games, rather than ownership, which is usually the case with console games (the game is available on the Playstation 3).

The game’s DRM limits the ability to rent, trade, or sell the video game after purchase.  With each disk comes an activation key, and you must use that key to load the game.  By doing so it connects the key with the Playstation account that the key was activated with.  This “locking” of the activation key prevents the game to be used with any other account other than the original account is was loaded with.

While this is common with PC games, it’s new for console games and the fact is this wasn’t disclosed on the packaging.  The PC game also retails for $10 less than the console game.  As a non-PC gamer and new to MMOs this fact and process was new to me, and even though I don’t sell back my used games the inability to do so makes me less inclined to pay for one in the future and the lack of transparency also makes me feel one has pulled over me.  Also, I contemplated switching to a new Playstation Network ID.  If I do so, I’d no longer be able to play the game I purchased.

As Halpin points out:

Console gamers were almost instantly up in arms about the perceived deception, as there was no disclosure about the required PSN key or license limitations on ownership and use. PC gamers on the other hand, were decidedly less offended and perhaps even feeling a little vindicated, thinking, “Welcome to the party!” The issue at first seemed like a non-issue from their perspective: MMOs have always been single use DRM locked games, so what’s the problem? The problem, of course, is that console games are sold and the ownership conveyed, along with rights. That’s one of the reasons that licensed products have a lower value proposition. In this case, the PC version of DC Universe Online sells for ten dollars less than the PS3 version.

Many were caught off guard by this.  No where on the outward facing packaging informs you it’s not a “traditional” console game.  In fact after reading through the entire terms of service there’s no mention the activation key is locked to one PSN account.  In fact there’s explicit language about the pre-order bonus and that you can only download it to one account.

The ECA is running a poll to see how this might affect people’s decisions about purchasing the game.  You can take the poll here.

Full disclosure: Brett Schenker consults for the Entertainment Consumers Association

Radical Interactive Releases iPhone Game: Shrapnel

Official Press Release

November 23, 2010: Today Radical Interactive launched its first mobile game for the Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Shrapnel is a non-stop action adventure game based on Radical Publishing’s award winning sci-fi comic book series created by Nick Sagan and Mark Long.

Gamers take on the role of Vijaya “Sam” Narayan, a former military hero, who is fighting to save the galaxy from the Solar Alliance. Gamers navigate Sam and the Alliance across multiple planetary terrains, battling enemies, all while unlocking secret missions and compiling money to purchase weapons and upgrades. During game play, players also accrue points to stay atop of the leader board in hopes of winning cash prizes.

Unlike other games, this dual stick shooter is based on an intelligent engine that modifies game difficulty based on the player’s ability – perfect for the novice or expert player.  The 3-D graphics and sound effects make game play realistic and engaging.

Once you start battling enemies, it is hard to stop playing … the game play is very addicting.” stated Barry Levine, President of Radical Studios. “Our partner, Moyo Studios, has created a fun and challenging game that immerses casual gamers inside Sam’s world”.

Specific Game Play Features Include:

  • 16 mission types + 5 secret missions
  • 9 weapons and upgrades to help Sam defeat her enemies
  • Unlock codes to increase points on the leader board

For a limited time, Shrapnel is available for $.99 at the Apple App Store.

Visit the link here:

About Moyo Studios

Founded in 2007, Moyo Studios are pioneers in the mobile game industry.  Moyo has created several award winning mobile apps and their titles have been featured in Apple’s Top 100 list, including; Project 72.  For more information, visit www.moyostudios.com.

About Radical Interactive

Radical Interactive is a division of Radical Studios, a leading transmedia company that develops high-concept stories intertwined with leading edge artwork created by the industry’s marquee talent.  The company has produced award winning properties, including; Hercules, Legends, Aladdin, Caliber, Hotwire, FVZA, Time Bomb, and The Last Days of American Crime.

For more information, visit www.radicalpublishing.com/shrapnelapp.

Baltimore Comic Con 2010: Todd McFarlane

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Todd McFarlaneI got a bit early to the Top Cow panel so caught the end of Todd McFarlane‘s.  I have to say, the man is very entertaining and could go on for hours telling stories.  Here’s some of the news that I picked up:

  • McFarlane is signed off to direct the Spawn movie and the script needs to be finished.
  • Spawn animation rights have reverted back to McFarlane.
  • He’s currently busy working on some video games with former baseball pitcher Curt Schilling including an online game.  He also has The Reckoning coming out soon.
  • McFarlane does care what fans say, and when it comes to toys, he pays attention to what long term collectors say.

But the part we liked the most was McFarlane talking about censorship.  Below is generally what he said:

Art should be like vegetables.  As consumers you can walk down a supermarket isle.  When you get to spinach, you recognize others like it, but it’s not for you.  You instead want to bring carrots home.  You don’t go to the stock boy at the store and demand to get spinach off the shelf.

He then went on to tell a story about his son playing some video games with mature content and the different reactions his parents had.

A New Frontier for The Settlers of Catan

Official Press Release

A New Frontier for The Settlers of Catan

Continuing to build its digital game empire, Vectorform re-imagines The Settlers of Catan for Microsoft Surface.

Seattle, WA and Detroit, MI, August 2, 2010—The Settlers of Catan is a classic multiplayer board game, combining economics, strategy and chance, as colonists compete to build settlements from raw commodities. Created in Germany in 1995, and now available in 30 languages, The Settlers of Catan has achieved icon status. Over 15 million copies have been sold worldwide, and an estimated 20 million people play regularly, through a diverse set of traditional and digital game forms.

In partnership with Microsoft, Catan LLC, and Mayfair Games, Vectorform has recreated The Settlers of Catan for Microsoft Surface. Microsoft Surface is an innovative computing platform that responds to touch, natural hand gestures and real-world objects placed on the display. With a large, 360-degree, horizontal user interface, Microsoft Surface offers a unique gathering place where multiple users can come together to interact with content and each other–making it an ideal platform for games like The Settlers of Catan.

Working to maintain an authentic, interpersonal experience of board game play, Vectorform leveraged the social nature of Microsoft Surface. This functionality, defined by Microsoft as “together computing,” provides a distinct advantage and authenticity over games played on traditional PCs or personal devices. “Where a computer game is a solo computing affair, board games are connected experiences. Together computing has its place now, and will be more prominent in the future.” Vectorform Game Studio Executive Director Joe Engalan says.

Vectorform used the artistry of Mayfair Games’ analog version of The Settlers of Catan to illustrate the game elements, including resources, land, and evolving civilization. The digital board is complimented with real-world elements, including an acrylic die set which is seen and recognized by Surface’s built-in cameras. Additionally, an x-ray visor, fabricated specifically for the game, reveals a player’s cards to the player, while shielding the cards from competing colonists. “I’ve never seen real die used in a digital game,” Mollie Harms, Game Producer for Vectorform Game Studios, says. “I think the visors could revolutionize digital card playing. This is a new way to maintain secrecy that doesn’t hinder game play.” The visors, the dice, and the game-play experience on Surface were wildly popular with fans of The Settlers of Catan, who were involved in the design and development process, loaning time and feedback to informal focus groups.

The Settlers of Catan was first shown on Surface at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio, in July of 2010. The extensive media coverage generated over 15,000 views of a promotional video for the game, within 72 hours of publishing it to YouTube. Vectorform will also show the game at Gen Con Indy, taking place August 5 through August 8, 2010, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Additionally, on September 3 through September 5, 2010, Vectorform will demonstrate Settlers of Catan at PAXWest, the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, Washington.

A new promotional video for The Settlers of Catan can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Gi-eIvXJsY while an extended video can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdUFT01vzyI

Vectorform will continue to promote Settlers of Catan at conferences and private events through the summer, and is offering customized, branded versions of the game to a network of clients and partners for use on Microsoft Surface. In the future, Settlers of Catan will be available for purchase through Vectorform’s App Store. Additionally, the Vectorform App Store will sell other titles, including titles for iPhone, iPad, and other platforms. “The future for The Settlers of Catan is very bright, and we are going to push that experience to new markets and communities. But we’ve got quite a few more titles in the queue, and they are all very exciting. Keep watching, because this is just the start of the empire,” Joe Engalan says.


Vectorform is a digital experience studio with over 100 employees in five global locations: New York, Detroit, Seattle, Hyderabad and Munich. Vectorform strives to create iconic experiences that generate results by captivating users. These natural user interfaces, and other experiences, can be seen on: the web, desktop, mobile devices, game consoles, next generation devices, and in-vehicle. Featured work can also be seen at Vectorform.com

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