Cuba Enraged By Black Ops
Slight spoiler warning. As you may already know, one of Black Ops' missions revolves around attempting to dispatch Cuban ex-president Fidel Castro. Despite the zombie mode turning the alleged despot into a latter day folk hero, the Cuban state-run newpaper has decried Treyarch's shooter- poking fun at failed assassination attempts and suggesting that it will prompt violent behaviour.
What the United States couldn’t accomplish in more than 50 years, they are now trying to do virtually. This new video game is doubly perverse. On the one hand, it glorifies the illegal assassination attempts the United States government planned against the Cuban leader … and on the other, it stimulates sociopathic attitudes in North American children and adolescents.
Bizarrely, several American outlets have actually felt the need to defend (and hence validate) this hilarious statement... but I trust you guys to rip into the "games cause sociopathy" statement all by yourself. The assassination jibe, on the other hand, is a bit of a zinger. Credit where credit's due, Cuba! [Associated Press via VG247]
In other Black Ops news, many veterans have called out the decision to release the title around Remembrance Day as being distasteful and disrespectful... and there might actually be an element of truth to that.
Retailers Rebel Against Steam; Threaten Ban
A new report from MCV suggests that Valve's Steam service is forcing high street stores to resort to desperate measures to sell PC games- and to protect themselves, UK retailers are considering banning sales on games that release digitally.
If we have a digital service, then I don’t want to start selling a rival in-store. Publishers are creating a monster – we are telling suppliers to stop using Steam in their games. - the digital boss of a major UK games retailer
At the moment the big digital distributors need to stock games with Steam. But the power resides with bricks and mortar retailers, they can refuse to stock these titles. Publishers are hesitant, but retail must put pressure on them.
There are two sides to every story- and while most PC gamers rightfully herald Steam as a distribution platform that genuinely treats consumers with respect, it would be a crying shame if PC sales were to go fully digital. There's nothing quite like actually buying a game, after all. Also, as we've seen from the likes of PSP Go titles, companies are able merrily jack their prices to enormous levels without competition from the used market.
Alright folks: it's time to get involved. Is Valve strangling the life out of the PC market? Or is this a last ditch effort by complacent retailers that should be moaning less and doing more to revitalise their sales? Have your say in the comments!
EVE Online "Noob Edition" Europe-Bound
EVE Online is one of the few last bastions for Space Sim fanatics to enjoy the dying genre- and has facilitated more unscripted galactic intrigue and assassinations than Babylon V, Stargate SG-1 and Deep Space 9 put together.
Unfortunately it's also monumentally counter-intuitive and unfriendly to new players who will have trouble finding traction with the established hardcore. Thankfully the Commissioned Officer Edition allows newcomers to level up extremely quickly over the first 30 days, and will hopefully revitalise the player base. It should hit British store shelves by the end of the year.
Viacom Plans To Sell Harmonix
Harmonix are the undisputed masters of the music game- and after being completely shafted by Activision, their Rock Band partnership with MTV has proven to be the dominant franchise in the market. However, the latest reports from Viacom indicate that they're planning to sell Harmonix for undisclosed reasons (probably linked to the sluggish sales encountered by the music game genre over the last few years). We reckon that EA, as Rock Band's publisher, will probably jump at the chance to add Harmonix to their stable. [Viacom Financial Announcements]