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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Local servers for WoW and Xbox One

Posted by Erin Marcon On Friday 24 October 2014ADD COMMENTS

The local WoW servers really look the part.

As someone who has often been decimated by players on the other side of the world, local servers constitute something of a holy grail for me.

Earlier this year, I was reminded of the huge difference that this highly coveted feature can make when I found myself enjoying dozens of hours of lag-free Titanfall. This Xbox One exclusive from EA and Respawn added local servers post release, enabling me to compete on a blissfully level playing field. How could I possibly consider going back to the status quo after that? A couple of recent announcements suggest that I may not have to.

Blizzard Entertainment this week revealed that it will be rolling out local servers for its decade old MMO juggernaut World of Warcraft. As reported by Lifehacker and Kotaku, Microsoft confirmed just days earlier that it will be activating Azure servers in Melbourne and Sydney, a decision that stands to benefit all Xbox One games involving an online connection, but particularly those involving competitive multiplayer. The servers will reportedly come online next week. I’m crossing my fingers that this eventually becomes the standard for all major console and PC releases.

Indie developer apologises for threatening Gabe Newell

Posted by Erin Marcon On Thursday 23 October 2014ADD COMMENTS

Just the latest target of online abuse.

Surely there is no more depressing trend in gaming than the recent proliferation of death threats against prominent industry figures. As reported by PC Gamer, the latest chapter in this grim saga occurred this week when an indie developer threatened to kill Valve founder Gabe Newell.

Code Avarice co-owner Mike Maulbeck issued the threat after becoming frustrated by the listing of his game, Paranautical Activity, on Valve’s industry leading Steam platform. Maulbeck took to Twitter to express his anger the game continued to be listed as an ‘early access’ offering even after it had been approved for final release.

His diatribe culminated in a death threat against Newell, which he has since described as sarcastic in nature. Valve withdrew the game from Steam shortly thereafter. Maulbeck has since apologised, noting that that the threat was something “I obviously didn’t mean, but was regardless completely unacceptable”. Maulbeck now intends to sell his stake in Code Avarice and quit the company in an attempt to help the studio repair its relationship with Valve.

Earlier this year, a flight carrying Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley was the target of a bomb hoax. Just last week, an anonymous miscreant threatened to shoot up a university campus unless an appearance by feminist filmmaker Anita Sarkeesian was cancelled. Is this the new normal for the games industry?

Increasingly desperate misogynists target Sarkeesian… again

Posted by Erin Marcon On Wednesday 15 October 2014ADD COMMENTS

A still from an episode of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.

The creator of acclaimed web series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games has cancelled a public appearance following an anonymous threat.

Anita Sarkeesian was due to deliver a presentation at Utah State University, but elected to withdraw. According to the Standard Examiner and Kotaku, multiple university staff members received correspondence threatening “the deadliest school shooting in American History” if Sarkeesian’s appearance went ahead.

This is just the latest salvo in a seemingly relentless campaign of abuse and intimidation against Sarkeesian. While she is known to have shrugged off threats in the past, the prominent critic and feminist decided to withdraw from this engagement because local police declined to employ metal detectors or conduct pat downs. “To be clear,” she later wrote, “I didn’t cancel my USU talk because of terrorist threats, I canceled because I didn’t feel the security measures were adequate.”

Sarkeesian also revealed that one of the threats received claimed affiliation with Gamergate. This loose collective of largely anonymous industry observers claims to be lobbying for improved journalistic standards, but frequently devolves into misogynistic rhetoric.

The Black Panel commends Sarkeesian for her ongoing attempts to broaden the scope of the industry and make our hobby and art form more inclusive. We unequivocally condemn the ongoing threats and harassment that she and other prominent women in the industry are being forced to endure.

You can view the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series here.

Driveclub crashes on the starting grid

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Tuesday 14 October 2014ADD COMMENTS

Ideal conditions for driving.

In this week’s episode of “Which game totally stuffed its online launch?” we have Sony’s arcade racer Driveclub. In what seems to be almost the norm with new games Driveclub has hit some massive speed bumps during its launch window, which has resulted in no online connectivity and a lack of available features. It has even caused the delay of the free PlayStation Plus version, with developers unwilling to add a host of new players until the dents have been beaten out.

According to Kotaku, irate players have asked Sony for a refund but have yet to receive a response. It seems that this is just another in a long line of botched game launches. It seems to be that gamers are being forced to accept this as the norm as opposed to a rare occurrence and it is starting to leave a bad taste in many mouths. Here’s hoping that developers can come up with a way to properly test these online features prior to launch so we can all finally put these frustrating issues behind us.