The OUYA desperately needs more exclusives, so what better way to secure some than promising to match Kickstarter pledges for OUYA exclusives that attracted $50,000? Right?
Wrong. Unfortunately the Free The Games Fund scheme is taking flack from all sides now that its fundamental flaws are exposed: namely that unscrupulous studios can just set up numerous alternate Kickstarter accounts for themselves, friends and families, back their near-complete game and let OUYA automatically double their funding. More to the point, numerous more deserving projects are still flying under the radar. The development community is not best pleased, to the point of removing their games from the marketplace.Click here to read more...
The gamer backlash following the Xbox One reveal, let alone the now-retracted DRM and online check-in fiasco, apparently gave Sony a masterclass in what not to do.Click here to read more...
Chatting to us recently about the difficulty in getting her erotic strategy title Seduce Me to market, No Reply Games' Miriam Bellard suggested that the only way negative and prudish perceptions of the erotic market will change in this industry is by more "brave souls" making controversial content, arguing that "too much sex is better than too much violence".Click here to read more...
Atlantic columnist and U.S. war veteran D.B. Grady has called out Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's marketing strategy - particularly that of 'The Vet and the N00b' - as one that " trivializes and sanitizes war to an extreme, setting a new low".Click here to read more...
Tom Watson probably deserves a trophy of some kind, or at least a cape. When he isn't bust busting the chops of Murdoch & Son, it would appear he finds time to champion video games, this time stepping up to defend Modern Warfare 3 against a broad complaint from the infamous Keith Vaz.Click here to read more...
Over the last few months, Team Meat has continually publicly attacked Microsoft's handling of the Super Meat Boy XBLA release, which they claim was under-exposed, poorly advertised and horribly supported. The Indie studio went as far as saying that Microsoft "f*cked" them as part of a "f*cking mindf*ck" (ouch), but in an interesting development, fellow independent outfit Zen Studios (the developers behind Zen Pinball) have spoken out to defend Microsoft's policies. On top of that, they've accused Team Meat of cynically milking the situation for extra PR rather than actually making a stand against a corporate juggernaut that's crushing the little guy.
As you'd expect, Team Meat haven't responded well - leading to a genuinely unpleasant and filthy war of words on Twitter, Gamasutra and social networks. We've got the full story below... and have a review of the recently-released Super Meat Boy Ultra Rare Edition in the pipeline.Click here to read more...
EVE Online, CCP's massively multiplayer space sim, has been wracked by controversy after leaked cynical emails and avatar items threatened to completely unbalance the entire game universe. Players held protests and cancelled their subscriptions in droves ,and CCP opted to hold a real-life summit of the player-elected Council Of Stellar Management in Reykjavik this weekend to discuss the future of the franchise.
To cut a long story short, vanity items will have no effect on gameplay and there will be no balance issues. We have a detailed video statement and abridged roundup below.Click here for the full story >>
Back in 1997, a small British-based developer named DMA Design created Grand Theft Auto, and in doing so kick-started a golden age in sandbox gaming. It also drew a hell of a lot of attention from tabloid newspapers at the time, thanks mostly to its controversial ability to let players mow down pedestrians in carjacked vehicles. It wasn't the first of its kind to do so, with the bloodthirsty Carmageddon pulling off a similar feat some months earlier.
By the time Grand Theft Auto 3 hit store shelves in 2001, DMA (now working under their new 'Rockstar' monicker) knew exactly what to expect from the world's journalists, and had included everything from drug deals to prostitution in an effort to ramp up the controversy factor. It was a watershed moment, not just in terms of gameplay, but also that of media reaction to violence in video games.
How did this ultraviolence and the reaction to it shape the future of video games?
EA know that any publicity is good publicity... and whilst their marketing campaigns undoubtedly cheapen us all and everything we stand for, they certainly know how to hype a game beyond all reason. However, EA Games Head Frank Gibeau has spoken out to say that the controversy over Mass Effect, Bulletstorm and Medal Of Honor is better than any advertising run - and that there's nothing wrong with "courting controversy."Click here to read more...
It is, without doubt, one of the most eagerly awaited titles of the year. Unless you're Fox "News" in which case it's the game that's going to turn us into rapists. No. Really.
I haven't felt any particular violent urges since - oh happy day - getting my hands on the game (which, for the record, is more than Fox did). All I know then is that it's undoubtedly the sweariest, goriest and most shamelessly enjoyable game for years but then I'm not a qualified psychiatrist so what do I know?
Yes, of course, we’re talking about Bulletstorm, EA’s latest spit and polish on the FPS. Last week, I got the chance to play the game to see whether it’s going to live up to the inevitable hype. And the verdict? You bet your sweet bippy it is.
For those who’ve not been to such a thing, games previews are a funny sort of event. You typically have a few hotel rooms or a function suite full of consoles, TVs and assorted reviewers and journalists all of whom are hammering away at controllers while enjoying the game’s sound effects and music through state-of-the-art headphones. That makes these events oddly busy and peculiarly quiet.
That was the picture for the Bulletstorm event but with one notable difference to the norm. Instead of the library-like calm that usually settles on these events, the air was punctuated with regular manic chuckles and “woohoo” noises as the journalist in question performed a particularly violent, utterly irresponsible and really rather funny takedown.
Psychologists (news readers and the purchasers of certain tabloids beloved of Middle England) will no doubt continue to argue that games like Bulletstorm are proof we’re going to hell in a handcart. They may have a point but dear God this is fun, a cartoon-like romp that breathes much needed life (and elaborate death) into an increasingly tired genre.
According to a new report from Kotaku, Epic Games' rumoured Kinect-enabled Gears title will be a rail shooter. A confidential source has reportedly confirmed to the site that movement will be dictated by the game rather than the player, with art assets and plot events recycled from Gears Of War 2. A leaked screenshot of the concept demo (above) also made it into the report, although its veracity has since been questioned by another "trusted source."
A trademark for Gears Of War: Exile crept onto the internet last month, sparking rumours about whether this might be the title in question. Epic have yet to comment on the situation, but have confirmed that Gears Of War 3 will not support Kinect functionality whatsoever.
More Dark Souls details have hit the internet thanks to a new interview with From Software director Hidetaka Miyazaki. During the proceedings, Miyazaki stated that a single playthrough will last in the region of 60 hours, providing substantially more content than Demon's Souls 30-40 hour run.
In a gratifying move that will please many gamers, Miyazaki also confirmed that there are no plans for DLC at launch, though a substantial content pack could become available at a later date if From Software could do "something intriguing" with the new engine. Unfortunately there also won't be a demo. [4gamer]
Dark Souls is set to release on PS3 and Xbox 360 by the end of the year, and we'll keep you up to date with the latest.
GAME, the UK high street games retailer, has rolled out a six-month trial scheme for buying XBLA games and DLC over the counter. Digital content will be sold in prepaid cards, with each code carrying its own Sterling price tag instead of a Microsoft Points figure.
This may sound like a step backwards from simply downloading the DLC... but the ability to pay in cash and offset the cost with trade-ins may well provide an attractive new way of netting XBLA content. Let us know if you're excited about the scheme- and if you've used it!
If you've scrolled through today's headline article, you'll already be aware that a psychologist has made some disturbing claims linking videogames to sexual violence. As "reported" by Fox "News" in an article slamming the anticipated FPS Bulletstorm (entitled Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?), US Psychologist Carol Lieberman suggests that sexually explicit scenes in games can cause players to emulate sexually violent behaviour in the real world. In no uncertain terms, she places an increase in rape figures firmly at our door...whilst failing to deliver any scientific evidence to support the controversial statement.
The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games.
If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm's explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant. Violent video games like Bulletstorm have the potential to send the message that violence and insults with sexual innuendos are the way to handle disputes and problems.
Sexual scenes in videogames? As far as I'm aware, most of these offending cutscenes involve a little cuddling in front of a camp fire followed by a black screen. I'm sure I don't need to point out everything that's factually incorrect and borderline insulting about this statement- so I'll leave it to you.
Rather, we're genuinely shocked that a major news network would trivialise such a disgusting and horrific crime by linking it to violent games for cheap publicity. [Fox "News"]
UPDATE: EA have responded to the comments.
The arguments about whether videogames can cause violent behaviour in minors has been raging on for many years, with sensationalist pundits and ropey researchers quick to cash in on many parents' fears. This has led to a Californian review of whether games should be legally withheld from younger people (which is still being fiercely debated in a Congress subcommittee as of January 2011)- and it's high time we took a look at the facts as both gamers and concerned citizens alike.
Today brings us headline news from the (utterly shameless) Fox Network... who assert that games don't just cause violence. They're responsible for rape as well.
The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games. If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm's explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant. - Dr Jerry Weichman on Fox News [via MCV]
Ugh. As Dealspwn's News Editor, I'm deeply saddened that biased news reporting of this calibre is allowed on mainstream outlets... but it's only the tip of an ignorant iceberg that has been bobbing around in our collective consciousness for many years. The fact remains that, since two thirds of young people now play videogames, it will always be possible to link our hobby to the tiny proportion of gamers who commit acts of violence. Tarantino films were criticized for doing the same. Hell, even the (frankly tame) Catcher In The Rye book was as well! At the end of the day, assertions of "damaging the youth of today" is a stumbling block that all forms high art must pass through in order to be accepted. God knows that Shakespeare probably had to.
But the biggest responsibility doesn't lie with games or gamers. Sorry, parents: but it lies with you.
Click here to read more...
This week's gaming headlines have been fairly dull, with the industry focused on quarterly financial reports and lost profits rather than doling out thick globs of controversy for critical vultures like me to pick at relentlessly. However, like a naive lamb ready for the slaughter, Price of Persia's director has stepped up to the plate with a juicy divisive comment. Speaking to CVG, Mike Newell proudly stated:
"Well, here we are, talking about the God damn games again. The answer is yes, of course they can become a threat to Hollywood. But [they can't] do so with drama in any real sense.
When people watch 24, they're watching for the surprise, you know - when is the great big bad surprise going to step out from behind the palm tree. When they watch The Wire, they're watching the human drama of it.
You can't do it without the human drama. And the video game cannot do that. The video game can do all sorts of face-pulling, all sorts of: 'I am a bad man, I have a mean jagged sword,', but it can't do any more than that."
Wonderful. Considering the massive outcry of hatred and bile that gamers levelled at Roger Ebert's similar comments, you might expect me to construct an angry and vitriolic defence for my favourite medium... but actually, I find myself agreeing with Mr. Newell on a very basic level. Much like the vast majority of games absolutely are not art (seriously, anyone championing the artistic merits of Chegger's Party Quiz deserves a frontal lobotomy via Wiimote), games simply don't "do" drama by themselves. Typically a game's story is just an excuse for the fun- and in the case of the likes of Heavy Rain (one of our favourite defences), the drama stems from the fact that the experience is basically a movie that makes you flail about from time to time. A damn fine movie to be sure, but it still proves Newell's point.
What games do provide, however, is the framework for players to create their own drama... which leads me on to the crux of my argument. Using the same broad brushstrokes as Mike Newell, I propose the following:
Games don't do drama. Gamers do drama.Read on to discover why gamers- not games- create drama that puts Hollywood to shame