Diablo III will require an Internet connection
Some action RPG fans were outraged to learn last week that the highly anticipated third entry in the popular Diablo franchise will require a constant Internet connection to play, even in single player mode.
Gamers lit up forums claiming that this is an unfair digital rights management (DRM) policy. However, Blizzard’s Alex MayBerry explained in an interview with MTV Multiplayer that the reason a connection is required is because characters are saved on the company’s servers, and that it will result in a much more stable playing experience.
Robert Bridenbecker, Blizzard’s VP of Online Technologies, added “I don't think [DRM]ever actually came up when we talked about how we want connections to operate. Things that came up were always around the feature-set, the sanctity of the actual game systems like your characters. You're guaranteeing that there are no hacks, no dupes. All of these things were points of discussion, but the whole copy protection, piracy thing, that's not really entering into why we want to do it.”
The motive may have been pure, but it will do little to appease sour fans who feel as though the need to maintain a Web connection will keep them from playing the game in the manner they choose.
Source: MTV Multiplayer
Gamers spending more on virtual items
Most gamers like to snicker that they’re above the nickel-and-diming tactics employed by crafty publishers who reap hefty profits via incremental sales strategies, but it seems a lot of us are taking the bait.
Among the findings of a new consumer spending study conducted by VGMarket and commissioned by Playspan (a monetization solutions provider for digital media) is this interesting tidbit of information: More than 47 per cent of the general gaming population has purchased in-game currency and/or maps and levels in the last 12 months. So even if you aren’t giving in to the temptation, chances are you know someone who is.
The study also suggests that women tend to drop more money on virtual items than men in massively multiplayer online games, with an average yearly spend of $86 as opposed to males’ $77. Make of that what you will.
Norwegian retailers pull violent games following gun massacre
Danish game blog Gamer’s Globe reports that some Norwegian game retailers have voluntarily stopped selling games in the wake of last month’s terror attack by lone gunman Anders Behring Breivik, who confessed to the shooting deaths of 77 people.
Retailer Coop Norway said that out of respect for the victims and their families it was halting the sale of Homefront, Sniper Ghost Warrior, World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike Source, and several Call of Duty titles, though it left open the possibility selling these games again sometime in the future.
According to a report from the United Kingdom’s Metro, Mr. Breivik mentioned some of these games in his now notorious manifesto, “A Declaration of European Independence.” He apparently even goes so far as to say Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was used “more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else. I’ve still learned to love it though and especially the multiplayer part is amazing. You can more or less completely simulate actual operations.”
EA offers sports game fans early access—for a price
File this under shameless, money-grubbing publisher tactics: EA announces that it will offer the public brief early access to a quintet of its popular sports games for an annual fee of $25.
The subscription will allow players who can’t wait to play the latest entries in franchises like Madden NFL and Tiger Woods PGA Tour to download copies of these game 72 hours prior to their release. These copies will expire once the game lands on shelves, forcing players to pony up the full $60 retail price if they want to continue playing.
EA has been clear that this promotion is geared toward “hardcore” fans. And if it turns out people are willing to spend more money on a product just to have early access for a few days, what sort of red-blooded capitalist could fault EA for taking advantage of it?
Still, it seems a patent attempt to—as the old Dire Straits song goes—get some money for nothing.
BioWare dev talks racial, sexual diversity in games
A compelling new interview with BioWare Montreal developer Manveer Heir posted on Gamasutra delves into the subject of diversity in games. The senior level designer, who is currently working on the Mass Effect series, shows a keen interest in how character traits including race, gender, sexual orientation, and even age can affect the structure of the game.
He clarifies in the Q&A that his interest in these topics isn't about affirmative action in games—though he does seem to like the idea of games being used as a means of social commentary. He's more interested in seeing how diverse character traits can alter the way stories are told and how games are played, ultimately resulting in more original narratives and more memorable protagonists.
"There are many ways to add to games,” said Mr. Heir in the interview. “This is just the one that I'm interested in. This is the one that I'm pursuing as best as I can while working in the industry. And I just hope that other people will think about it and hopefully join the cause.”