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    by Published on July 4th, 2012 21:48
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    478 MEPS vote against tough anti-piracy treaty

    The controversial anti-piracy ACTA proposal has been rejected by the European Union amidst public pressure against the treaty.
    As reported by the BBC, several countries chose not to ratify the treaty, with 478 MEPS voting against the proposal whilst only 39 voted in favour.

    165 MEP abstained from the vote.
    The rejection by the EU is likely to mean the end for the treaty in its current form, although work on ways to prevent piracy will continue.
    "Today's rejection does not change the fact that the European Commission has committed itself to seeking answers to the questions raised by the European public," said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
    by Published on July 4th, 2012 12:29
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    If we've learned anything from the world of digitally distributed video games, its that virtually any American holiday is a good excuse for a sale. Not that we're complaining, mind you, we're as into the idea of a discount as we are blowing up a good chunk of our back yard once a year.

    Sega's contribution to the festivities comes in the form of discounted iOS, Android, XBLA and PSN titles, includingHouse of the Dead III and various mobile Monkey Balls. The full list of deals can be found after the break and, while some last longer than others, you should be fine so long as you make your purchase on the fourth itself.

    Platform - Title (Expires on:, Price)
    • iOS - Super Monkey Ball (7/8/2012, $0.99)
    • iOS - Super Monkey Ball 2 (7/8/2012, $0.99)
    • iOS and Android - Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition (7/8/2012, $0.99)
    • XBLA - Aliens vs Predator (7/5/2012, $14.99)
    • PSN - House of the Dead 3 (7/10/2012, $4.89)
    • PSN - Renegade Ops (8/7/2012, $10.49)
    • PSN - Renegade Ops Coldstrike Campaign (8/7/2012, $2.49)
    • PSN - Renegade Ops Vehicle Pack (8/7/2012, $1.49) ...
    by Published on July 4th, 2012 01:01
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    Publisher’s hopes of illegalising the sale of pre-owned software have been dashed after the European Court of Justice ruled that the practice is legitimate.
    It has also ruled that consumers have the right to re-sell their digital purchases,
    The ruling is not binding but is designed to be used for reference when such matters arrive in the courts of EU countries. It dictates the direction of European law.
    The Court’s decision was reached after it concluded that “the exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program covered by a licence [that prohibits the resale of software] is exhausted on its first sale”.
    “Under that directive, the first sale in the EU of a copy of a computer program by the copyright holder or with his consent exhausts the right of distribution of that copy in the EU,” it added.
    “A rightholder who has marketed a copy in the territory of a Member State of the EU thus loses the right to rely on his monopoly of exploitation in order to oppose the resale of that copy.”
    Perhaps more importantly for consumers, the decision also says consumers have the right to sell on software that they have downloaded, as well as those they have purchased on disc.
    “The principle of exhaustion of the distribution right applies not only where the copyright holder markets copies of his software on a material medium (CD-ROM or DVD) but also where he distributes them by means of downloads from his website,” the ruling continues.
    “Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right.
    “Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.”
    The ruling comes as part of a dispute between Oracle and UsedSoft in the German courts.
    by Published on July 4th, 2012 00:54
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    EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has questioned the relevancy of market research group NPD, which publishes sales data and analysis on the game industry, while proposing a future in which the publisher will see most of its revenue come from digital sales.
    NPD's monthly retail reports, much like weekly sales charts, still focus on physical sales data - a leaning Gibeau believes is outdated, especially as the reports tend to depict an ongoing decline in game sales.
    “It's an irrelevant measure on the industry," he "It's totally irrelevant. We don't even really look at it internally anymore."
    With digital distribution now such a large part of the industry, Gibeau's point is pertinent - sales reports and charts would be unrecognisable from their current state if the likes of Fez, Minecraftor even Jetpack Joyride were accounted for.
    It's rather more complicated than that, of course, especially given the wildly varying price points of today's games and, of course, the distorting effect of free-to-play. But Gibeau believes that EA will see most of its revenue coming from digital sales in "the near future."
    "I think one of the problems with this industry right now is that people tend to look at it like they're looking at an elephant through a straw," Gibeau continues. "They only see a little parts of it and they're not looking at the total picture, right?
    "Between Facebook, social, mobile, free-to-play on PC, Asia, consoles... it's a vibrant, growing, huge market. An occasional bad report from NPD, which measures a sliver of what's actually happening in gaming gives people an erroneous impression."
    EA's recent push into more digital territory paid off for the company, seeing it return to profit this year after a $276 million loss the year prior. Given that success, Gibeau's comments are hardly surprising, but they're also leant real weight.
    Even with the clear seismic shift that's taking place, however, retail remains an important part of any company's overall strategy and damaging relationships with the highstreet is something EA will have to be wary of - a point not lost on Gibeau.
    "Retail is a great channel for us," he qualifies. "We have great relationships with our partners there. At the same time, the ultimate relationship is the connection that we have with the gamer. If the gamer wants to get the game through a digital download and that's the best way for them to get it, that's what we're going to do."
    NPD president David McQuillan countered Gibeau's criticisms, playing down the relevancy of digital to today's market, citing group research which shows new physical software represented 56 per cent of consumer spending on games in the US during 2011 - that percentage rises to 70 in the fourth quarter of the year as the christmas release schedule hits.
    "While digital is a growing part of the industry and something that needs to be addressed for the future, the current games industry is still largely rooted in retail and any industry player involved with triple-A content simply can't take their eye away from the retail environment," he explained.
    “Successful companies are looking at how their products are performing within all channels, particularly retail. For that reason, we were surprised to read the comments by Mr. Gibeau that EA does not look at NPD data internally at all.
    “While we will not comment on the specifics on our long-standing relationship with EA, we can say with confidence that we have daily dealings with all of our major publisher clients. And we know for a fact they're using the data."
    Irrespective of whether EA, or any publisher for that matter, uses NPD's data, the continued absence of digital sales from mainstream reporting is becoming harder to ignore.
    by Published on July 4th, 2012 00:48
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    Research In Motion is in trouble. The BlackBerry maker has been suffering from an identity crisis for the last six months, which has resulted in mass layoffs, lots of job shuffling, dramatic drop-offs in market share and a quickly decaying portfolio for investors. But not according to Thorsten Heins! The newly-appointed CEO published an op-ed in the Toronto Globe and Mail on Tuesday, and also appeared on a radio program the same morning, to deliver one message: 'There's nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now.'"
    by Published on July 4th, 2012 00:43
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    'There used to be so many kinds of games, but now all I see is the same kind of game, it's a little sad'

    Too many games are the same and rely on violence, the creator of the Harvest Moon series has claimed.
    Speaking to Gamasutra, Yasuhiro Wada said he was saddened by the lack of variety in games, and used the number of violent games on the market as an influence to make something different.

    "Thinking differently from other people is one of the themes I have for my life,” he said.
    "I wouldn't deny the violent games out there, but rather, I actually get influenced by them to create something very different.
    "Because there are violent games with killing and war, that kind of shapes the identity for what I create. It's healthy to bring much variety to games. If the only things you see are violent games, then it won't be any fun," he says.
    by Published on July 4th, 2012 00:39
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    22Cans boss and former Lionhead man to speak at Unity user conference

    Peter Molyneux is to deliver a keynote speech at the Unite 2012 Unity user conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, this August.
    Molyneux, who currently heads up Unity-using start-up 22Cans, will discuss the design philosophy behind 22Cans, and share with the audience how fast iteration practices can help create new game experiences.

    "I am greatly looking forward to speaking at the Unite Conference. It's an excellent opportunity to address developers from all facets of the games development community including those that are, like ourselves, independent developers looking to create wildly new experiences,” said Molyneux.
    “Unity has allowed 22Cans to prototype and release in a remarkably short time. I'm excited to share these experiences and potentially inspire attendees to use the fast iteration enabled with Unity to be creative, take chances, and design games that will in turn inspire others."
    “At Unity we are lifelong fans of Peter Molyneux’s games, and I can't wait to hear his thoughts on the evolution of the game industry,” added David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies, who will deliver the opening address at Unite. “Peter is one of the coolest developers – and a great speaker – and we are extremely proud to count him amongst Unity users.”
    by Published on July 4th, 2012 00:22
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    European figures are equally impressive, totalling $959 million.
    US consumers $1.38 billion spent on digital game content in the first quarter of 2012.

    On top of the $1.5 billion spent on new physical video and PC game software, The NPD Group has found that US consumers spent a further $1.38billion on digital content.

    This includes full games and add-ons, subscriptions, mobile games and social network games.

    Anita Frazier (pictured), industry analyst at The NPD Group, said: “The declines in the physical market for new physical software are well documented…. While the growth in digital format sales does not yet offset the declines in physical format sales, clearly the changes occurring within the industry are reflected in the trends we are seeing in the research."

    Similar research in the UK, France and Germany shows that digital format sales in those three countries generated an additional $959 million in sales during Q1 2012. Outside of new physical retail, sales totalled $300m.

    Frazier said: “Relative to the spend in the US, we find that the consumer spend on mobile games is still developing in the three European countries we are covering, while the spend on full game and add-on content digital downloads and subscriptions is more highly developed.”
    by Published on July 3rd, 2012 12:39
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    Article Preview

    Newly released at Hong Kong Gadget site Chinavision:

    Featuring a sleek and sophisticated design and cutting edge LED technology, this LED multimedia projector is a perfect choice for both work and play.

    No more worry about replacing lamps: The LED light source consumes less energy than traditional lamp-based projectors and is mercury free. It offers up to 50,000 hours lamp life, which means it can last for more than 30 years (4 hours a day). Additionally, because LEDs stay cool, you can turn off the projector and pack it up without having to wait for the lamp to cool down first.

    Reduced Fan Noise for Less Distraction: compared to other projectors on the market, this product is ultra silent as it operates with a fan noise of only 25 db, which is the same as a high quality laptop. This translates into less distraction during presentations, or when viewing movies or playing games.

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    At a Glance...

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    buy from Chinavision ...
    by Published on July 2nd, 2012 19:42
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    The combined sales of the used, rental, digital and social games markets was worth £798m across the UK, France and Germany, says a new NPD report.
    The combined sales of used and rental games content totalled £191.5m. Meanwhile, digital sales, which included full games, add-on content, subscriptions, mobile and social network games generated an additional £612.3m in sales during Q1 2012.
    “Relative to the spend in the US, we find that the consumer spend on mobile games is still developing in the three European countries we are covering, while the spend on full game and add-on content digital downloads and subscriptions is more highly developed,” said NPD group industry analyst, Anita Fazier.
    The report also detailed that, compared to Q1 2011, US sales saw a five per cent decline in the physical used and rental market and a 10 per cent increase in digital sales.
    “While the growth in digital format sales does not yet offset the declines in physical format sales, clearly the changes occurring within the industry are reflected in the trends we are seeing in the research.”