Rock Band iOS App Has An Expiration Date–May 31st

EA has some really bright ideas about marketing this wonderful commodity called a “video game” to potential buyers called “video gamers”, who have a fairly good idea about what this commodity should be. However EA does not, which has been repeatedly shown throughout its recent debacles. Not a month goes by without EA doing something wrong that is so basic that one wonders just how they did manage to become one of the biggest game publishing houses in the world.

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Players (“Rockers”) of Rock Band for the iOS – a $4.99 game on the iTunes – were recently accosted by a friendly popup that said:-

On May 31, ROCK BAND will no longer be playable on your device. Thanks for rocking out with us!

No apologies, no explanations. Just that rather verbose message. What gives?

Many are of the opinion that relicensing the music was too expensive for EA, now that they already had the players’ money, so they just let the game “expire”. See, when you ‘buy’ an app on the iTunes Store, you are just buying the license to use it, which can be revoked at any time by the licensing authority – in this case EA.

So what can you do about it? Nothing much, although you can try to get a refund from EA. You can also email Tim Cook of Apple and tell him how this sort of behavior from a licensing company is atrocious.

[Picture via Reddit]

UK Court Rules That ISPs Must Block The Pirate Bay

The world’s most resilient public torrent tracker has been demoted to the world [minus the UK]’s most resilient public torrent tracker. The British Phonographic (no, read that word again, I made the same mistake) Institute (BPI), one of the primary defendants in the case argued that Swedish torrent tracker The Pirate Bay was the most vile and evil thing in the world that took away money from poor and needy creators of music (such as Coldplay, Dido and Leona Lewis) and “lined their own pockets” with this stolen money. Interesting thought here. The spokesperson said:-

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Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists

Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them.

This is wrong – musicians, sound engineers and video editors deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else.

We sincerely wish we could knock some sense into them, but alas the court has already ruled in their favor. However the ISP ban will not affect those who can use VPNs and proxies. We suggest a VPN based in Sweden, just to be doubly safe.

This is distressing, but it is merely the beginning of a long and silent battle between the corporates who equate piracy to stealing and those who believe that copying is not theft.

Bioware Shows Cautious Signs of Caving–May Be Creating “New Ending” for Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 seems to be an all round good game (I haven’t played it yet, of course) except the fact that Bioware, the developers of the game, bundled important story related content as paid downloadable content, said that it was created after the game was made, proved to be liars and have come at the receiving end of vicious criticism against the ending of the video game. From what the Great Viewing Crystal of the World (aka the Internet) tells me, the end game does not take into account any of the choices one has made through the course of the three games and is a little more than “save the game here, choose one of three dialog options and proceed to see three different endings”. Sure, we have come to see that in many games (Jedi Academy and Oni come to mind) but none of them had promised us the greatness and sense of accomplishment that Bioware did via Mass Effect.

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In return, Dr. Ray Muzyka, GM Bioware, had this to say in a ‘sorry we did this, but deal with it’ blog post said that while the team was very happy with all the great critic ratings, they were quite disappointed with the fan feedback on the end game. He also promised some “game content initiatives” to provide “more clarity” and “bring about “full closure” to the game. To my ears they sound like they are making a different ending and, seeing as how this is Bioware, they might just charge a premium for it. Might. We will get to know in April if Mass Effect 3 will have a “proper ending”.

Mass Effect 3 Will Require Origin For Both Physical And Digital Copies; No Steam Version

Alright everybody, get ready for a massive s***storm. In a recent forum post on Bioware SocialNetwork, an employee announced that the upcoming final installment of the epic space role playing game Mass Effect will necessarily need EA’s much maligned digital distribution platform Origin, and that Mass Effect 3 will not be available on any other digital distribution service, most notably Valve’s Steam with which EA has had some friction with in the past year.

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Is Origin required for the retail versions of the game?
Origin is required for the PC versions of Mass Effect 3, both physical and digital.

Will ME3 be available on Steam?
During initial release Mass Effect 3 will be available on Origin and a number of other 3rd party digital retailers, but not on Steam at this time. Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to deliver patches and other downloadable content.  We are intent on providing Mass Effect to players with the best possible experience no matter where they purchase or play their game, and are happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with our consumers.

The post immediately received negative comments from several fans who were not ready to install an accessory software even though they were planning on buying the boxed edition just so they do not have to suffer from such software. Moreover, the lack of a Steam version also invited several negative comments as many people (including this author) prefer their games under one umbrella. The fact that Origin as a platform has not received many commendations in the community just added to the repercussions.

Tell us what you think of Bioware’s latest move.

Mount & Blade Mod Under Investigation for Showing Controversial Violence

I am a huge fan of Mount & Blade. By huge, I mean I have spent over a hundred hours of playing it in the few days of owning the game. By that I mean I have missed out on quite a few social callings just to seize a large town in a siege that lasted an hour or so of real life time. The game is most excellent. I have not even started on the plentiful mods that this game has mostly due to the developers making sure that the game has free modding access.

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So when I hear a news story that starts with A CULT game has been hacked…to show a historical event whose wounds have still not healed and that a police investigation is underway, you cannot imagine my indignation. Gangs of Glasgow is a faithless recreation (dare I use that phrase?) of 1980s Glasgow. The city is rife with football riots within the Old Firm and hoarse cries from beer-drenched throats. The purpose of the mod is entirely comedic as it says in its summarizing paragraph:-

Gangs of Glasgow is a continuing series of mods for Mount and Blade, which transplant the game to the modern-day city of Glasgow, Scotland, where medieval massed melee combat is still widely practised. The mods are mostly comedic in nature, but deal with serious real-life social issues such as knife-crime, drug abuse, and sectarianism, usually in a ridiculous and/or offensive way. These mods are recommended for Adults Only due to some of the content and language used.

It is definitely meant to be taken with a pinch of comedic salt, but the Hampden park riot of 1980 is still fresh in the minds of some folks in Glasgow. It seems both Celtics and Rangers have condemned the mod.

Quite sad.

Duke Nukem Forever Might Just Spark Off a Controversy.

Granted, the Duke does not really court the generally non-offensive part of gaming. His games are filled with goofy and pseudo-chauvinist ideologies that are misinterpreted by mothers and girlfriends worldwide as being generally anti-feminist. However, the Duke is basically a man who concerns himself with saving women worldwide (they do need saving in his world), smoking a few fags (cigarettes) and happily urinating on urinals and watching a vibrator with inconsequential grunts and getting rewardsfrom lesbian schoolgirls.

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Yes, the Duke does not court controversy, honest. But we’ve had this conversation before, haven’t we?

Thing is, duke4.net has unearthed the Official Xbox North America scans of Duke Nukem Forever’s multiplayer scans, and it appears that among the normal Deathmatch and King of the Hill modes (disguised as DukeMatch and Hail to the King), there appears to be a Capture the Babemode which is akin to Capture the Flag mode with babes instead of flags. Do I hear outrage? Wait for it.

Apparently, the babes sometimes freak outwhen you carry her to your home base. What better way to reassure her that everything is fine than to smack her bottom gently and coo her too sleep? Nothing at all, readers. The magazine, however, reassuringly states that a slap on the bum is more goofy than insensitive.

Duke Nukem Forever is slated for a May 3rd release and will probably spark off protests the day after.