All posts by lordsquash

contract obligation

a contract  is an agreement between two or more people or groups/parties. one party agrees to do something in return for a benefit from the other party . if one party outright breaks one of the agreements in a contract then this party can be taken to a court of law and sued. a contract must be looked at by a lawyer on both sides to see if all terms are not breaking any laws. parties will often Hire agents who have an understanding of the industry  to settle terms between each other.

contracts are used in many industries, the  video game industry being one of them. 3rd party game developers will often sign a contract with a publisher containing information about where the profits will be directed and how the profits will be shared as well as information on IP and asset ownership. this contract usually benefits the publisher more due to the majority of profits going to them but it also (if the game is successful) increases the reputation of the development team meaning they might get more publishers in the future or even become a 1st party to a publisher meaning definite work and more money.  a developer may also use a contract to protect a IP because they believe in it and believe it will be profitable in the future.

NDA
A Non-Disclosure Agreement (often abbreviated to NDA) is a contract signed by a party which stops the party from given away shared confidential information or code to them to another party or to the public. If the information is not kept confidential, the damages will have to be paid in a court party. this is put forth to help protect the unique code and engines that the company’s programmers have created. if the information got out it would not just allow people to hack their games, but also would allow the companies rivals copy their game codes or even improve upon them.

examples of  contract incidents of the past would be the “Team bondi vs Rockstar” controversy. Team bondi, according to old members, worked there employees to the bone, forcing them to work 12-hours a day. the way team bondi kept its workers from leaving was that they wouldn’t be credited at the end of the game if they decide to leave the company before hand (as legalised and agreed in the contract). By the time the game was made 100 people left or made redundant (possibly due to the work times being too much).  Rockstar was ultimately disgusted by this and refused to work with them again. Not long after Team Bondi was liquidated in 2011

I believe contracts are important in any industry for it keeps a company safe from espionage and helps keep the world of business in order. Contacts can create bonds between companies and help create friendships between game developers and publishers. It helps keep game develops safe from over abusement from publishers contracts we used in ancient history and will be used for years to come.

 

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Legal obligations

Legal obligations in the video game industry are the rules that Have to be followed by a company or else the law will get involved and their game wont be marketed and the company might be displayed. The famous legal obligation is “copyright law”  and “IP protection”. copyright is a assignable right which gives a company protection of their idea over a set amount of years meaning if someone tries to copy their design they can legally take them to court.

Regulations

regulations are used in the industry to help keep people safe whether in the workplace or at home. within the gaming industry the famous regulation is the PEGI system which was introduced in 2003. This means a company needs their game to be assessed to see what the game contains. if the game contains a lot of violence, nudity or graphic horror the assessor would give the game a PEGI rating of 18 meaning the game could only be sold to people who are 18 or older meaning children can’t buy it (though that doesn’t stop their parents ). while some people believe that these PEGI ratings are for our protection and for the protection of our children while other people believe that they are pointless since parents still buy their children the game anyway. I believe there’s a certain leniency when it comes to age rating. sure its alright for a 15-year-old to play a 18-year-old game but letting a 10-year-old play it is madness.  Children are very impressionable before 15 and so video games might have an effect on their psyche.

copyright

Copyright law began in England from the Statute of Anne 1709 common. The Copyright Act was then passed in 1911. The law gives artists  (literary, dramatic, musical, art or  sound recordings) of published editions, rights to control the ways in which their material may be used. The copyright law covers the public performance and broadcast, copying, renting issuing, adapting and lending copies to the public. In many cases, the Artists will also have the right to be identified as the author and to object to distortions or remixes of his work. This law is now international and protects the big name artists. i believe that the copyright law has benefited may people over the years but has become too strict. a lot of old generation musicians started their careers by doing covers on past artists (standing on the shoulders of giants so to speak) but now, if a some includes any part of an existing song without sorting out the legal issues it will likely be taken down.

Registered Design

A registered design is a legal document that protects the   IP’s (intellectual property)  visual design. The registered design document protects the creation of the shape as well as its configuration or composition of pattern or color.
If you do not apply for a registered design, you will receive limited protection through unregistered Design Right or copyright. A registered design document can only the three-dimensional shape whereas Two dimensional designs can be protected by copyright but this is more difficult to enforce than a Registered Design. Protection only lasts for a maximum of 15 years.

A good example of legal obligations in the industry is bungee copyrighting claiming right over the master chief character and model  which ultimately made them rich due to the popularity of the character. Back in 2000-2001, while writing up a contract, Microsoft Game studios decided to let Bungie keep the rights and copyright the character “Master chief” believing that character wouldn’t live past the game. To their amazement, Master chief went in a completely different direction to what they believed. He is now possibly one of the most recognisable characters in shooters so Microsoft needs to keep coming back to Bungie if they want to make a halo game. I see this is a incredibly intelligent move on Bungee’s part and it shows us that if we belive in our creations then maybe they’ll achieve greatness.

In my opinon these laws help keep the industry on their feet and stops companies from constantly leeching off other peoples ideas. It aslo helps a person protect his creations that they worked so hard for. without these laws in place the video game industry would of collapsed by now instead of being as strong as ever.

 

Ethical considerations

With video games becoming a new mass multimedia there is a lot of scrutiny over the ethics of gaming. Ethics is a set of moral principles that if followed ,not by law, but by what people think is right and wrong. game designers have to try and consider peoples moral principles and beliefs when designing video games because if there is any controversial content they will get berated by the media costing sales and money as well as their reputation.

the three biggest controversial ethical debates in video games to date are;

women portrayal in video games

since the beginning of the video game industry feminists believe that they have been objectified by video games. in early games women have been pictured as weaker which caused this controversy. so “are women being objectified by video games?”

once side of the argument is that women are being objectified in modern games. From being the helpless princesses in the castle to the heroin in Skimpy clothing feminist groups have been fighting a constant war against video games. An example of a  controversial female character in video games is Lara croft from “tomb raider”. She is often seen from two perspectives. one being “a smart but beautiful role model for women” and the other being ” eye candy for boys and objectifying women”. Some say that princesses are objectifying women making them as some sort of collectible. The whole aim of the Mario games is to “save” the defenseless princess peach. this game objective has become the most powerful ammo in the feminists artillery against women in video games.

the other opinion on this ethical debate is that women aren’t being objectified and its simply a overreaction  by over sensitive feminists looking for a popular topic to attack and get there opinions seen. women in modern games have become equal to men. an example of this is games like Dragon age or Fallout since women are seen as equals and not objectified as-well as the fact that you can play as a women. games have grown since the old “save the girl” side scrollers with branching relevant stories and deep character development.

violence in video games

When it comes to violence in video games people rather love it or loathe it.  some people see video game violence as just another addition to  gaming adding adrenaline and action to games while others s

violence in video games has become a massive argument of late due to the media constantly berating the industry, blaming violence in real life on violence in video games. the news has said that video games are the cause of mass shootings because the game was found the shooters home. this greatly damages the industry since one of the largest genre of games is action. Concerned parents are also attacking the industry about this claiming that video games have caused their children to become violent  and aggressive. personally I believe its the parents fault for buying the children 15-18+ games before they reach a age where  they’re not as impressionable.

micro-transactions

micro transactions are becoming common-place in the games (mainly appearing on mobile games) causing large debates over the introduction of the “mini-payments” into the gaming norm.  the ethical debate on this new marketing tactic is “Is it alright to spend hundreds of pounds of real world money for in-game money?”.

One side of this argument is that a person should be able to spend THEIR money on what they want because its THEIR money.  we have no right to dictate how a person should spend their hard earned finances. People will often buy in game items in currency  rather to speed up the games “time-based” mechanic to collect there items sooner or to get premium items such as weapons or clothing that hit harder, look cooler and to simply to show off to the gaming community. buying these micro transactions could also be seen as supporting the creators of the game since games with micro-transactions are often free meaning the only profit the company has coming in is from ad venue. i mean how much difference is there between purchasing  an online sword to donating to a company on kickstarter to get a unique item?

The other side to this is that people shouldn’t be able to spend purchase micro transactions and companies are making micro-transactions mandatory to beat the game (pay to win).  money is necessary to modern day life. Food, warmth, shelter all costs money so if a individual is spending all his money on video games its potentially life threatening  as it takes money away from the day to day essentials. some see micro transactions as being forced upon us by greedy video game companies so we can complete the game we have already paid for. in MMORPG’s its worse because of the competitive of it all. people will buy a better weapon to beat there friend who will then buy a better weapon to beat him and so on.

my personal opinion on this debate is that micro transactions are a growing part of the gaming business no matter what we do. Micro-transactions are good in the case of free games because its giving money to the creator and could almost be seen as a form of donation. The form of micro-transaction i don’t agree with is  big name games jumping on the band wagon.  games that you have already paid for should not contain more payments. As for my opinion on people spending massive amounts of money for online games I believe, even though its probably help ruin there lives, its still their money and we have no opinion in the matter.

I see ethics in video games a “lose-lose” battle since along as there is one person who believes in different things, there will be controversies and ethical arguments. As long as the industry tries its best to try and not offend it’ll grow to a point where no-one will care and move onto another industry to complain about.Image

Nintendo special

Recently Nintendo has been in the news a lot lately due to its massive loss in expected sales. Satoru Iwata has now outlined Nintendo’s plans to increase customer awareness by using smart phones. Iwata believes  that by switching to third-party development, Nintendo could not show “our strength as an integrated hardware-software business in this field, and therefore it would be difficult to continue the same scale of business in the medium-to-long term.” so, in short Iwata doesn’t want Nintendo to become fully 3rd party but instead offer their games to a wider range of consoles. Iwata will be using a small team of developers to design and release games for mobile devices so the rest of the company can focus more on their own hardware.

https://i0.wp.com/media.edge-online.com/wp-content/uploads/edgeonline/2013/02/Iwata.jpg

I see this as a smart, but slightly desperate move , for Nintendo. The company’s popularity has declined in the past years due to gamers yearn for photo-realistic graphics and high paced violence. consoles have become more for hardcore gamers whereas mobile devices have attracted a “laid back” audience which Nintendo might appeal to due to its recognisable brand characters and easy controls

(http://www.gamespot.com/articles/nintendo-outlines-its-plans-for-mobile-development/1100-6417426/)

due to the current Nintendo problem people have been calling for Iwata’s head but is Iwata to blame for Nintendo’s problems. Satoru Iwata could lose his job at any minute which you can tell by his remarks about “hanging on to it”. Not long ago, this situation would have been inconceivable. Iwata has been Nintendo’s president and CEO since 2002 and has gained a large fan base over the years. Iwata has managed to turn a dying flame into a raging fire after the amazing success of the DS and Wii consoles adding touch and motion controls to new markets, exploring new markets. even managing to beat rivals at Microsoft and Sony. and now Iwata has made one slip up with the WiiU and everyone wants him to step down. what we must remember is Nintendo isn’t so much a platform developer as it is a publisher and game developer and Nintendo has been sticking to its cards and using its trademark games to try to sell their product. this no longer works however and the company needs more fresh game ideas and that falls down to miyamoto.https://i2.wp.com/multiplayerblog.mtv.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/miyamoto.jpg

i personally believe they need to come up with some new characters to trademark if they wish to continue as a serious contender for the other consoles. Iwata has been doing a great job at his post and other Nintendo consoles have failed in the past so the WiiU’s lack of success isn’t too bad. they just need to come up with some new games to help drag in a fresh audience.

(http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-01-25-iwata-isnt-nintendos-problem-its-miyamoto)

on another note, there has been a recent update on the super rare game “Nintendo World Championships” turning out to be a complete hoax. the price went up to $99,902  due to a believed internet troll. the troll has a 100 percent positive feedback score of 775 which is weird for someone who fakes bids. Even if the whole auction was a scam the bidding war still managed to make the news ranging from tech websites to the BBC.

I believe this bidding war might have been someone just getting caught up in the excitement of the auction and ended up spending more than he can give. that’s why he has perfect ratings and positive feedback. he’s not a bad person, he’s just a guy who doesn’t know when to stop clicking the ” bid” button. let’s hope he never goes on storage wars.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f7/1990_Nintendo_World_Championships_Gold.jpg

(http://www.gamespot.com/articles/winning-bid-on-super-rare-nes-game-is-99-902-update/1100-6417342/)

trends that can be found within these news articles are the rise of mobiles and tablets because of Nintendos expansion into the industry and software and hardware expected sales because the failure of the WiiU has put jobs on the line. Casual vs hardcore gamers plays a strong part in the current problem because a lot of young gamers have moved over to the hardcore side of gaming which ,with their current mascots, Nintendo cant contend with. finally overseas stores and sales have played a large part in Nintendo’s current problem due to the lack of sales in america and the UK being the main reason Nintendo is in this problemImage

Oh no. Zynga’s growing!!

https://i1.wp.com/b-i.forbesimg.com/erikkain/files/2013/10/zynga-logo.jpg

Zynga, a company for its addicting, costly Facebook games and its thievery of other people’s ideas, took a dangerous move in the world of business recently by buying the British company “NaturalMotion” (developers of the Backbreaker series and various other IOS games). Zynga , being zynga, didn’t care for the companies achievements however. all they cared about was there impressive toolbox. Doing this cost 300 people at Zynga their jobs to make ends meet.

I am not a massive fan in Zynga due to their thievery of other peoples hard made games, take (nibble bit) for example, and when they design a game its quality is poor so the idea of them buying out a slightly successful app company worries me. with the company growing in popularity how long will it be till we get “The Ancestor books: Zyrim” and “Dutyfield:Modern Honour”

studio acquisition is one of the trend in this instance because its Zynga buying out a smaller company to increase their “industry growth”

Oculus rift is close at hand

All gamers fantasize about being an actually part of the game. for the feeling of putting yourself into   the game and ,essentially, putting yourself into another person’s perspective. Gaming as we know is constantly evolving at a unbelievable pace as the industry evolves and now game designers have now made a massive breakthrough with the “oculus rift”. This sort of console was the fantasy of many a few years back and many saw this piece of technology coming out when we have flying cars and space colonies. The games designed for the oculus rift are strong in story, brilliantly  visualised  amazing gameplay. The designers of the Oculus Rift are now planning towards virtual reality with the help of the 3D motion sensing goggles . originally the company didn’t have the funding but thanks to  The venture capital firm Andreesson Harowitz who provided the funding to help reach its $75 million funding goal.

I personally can’t wait for the oculus rift to become commercially available though I believe if they added bigger , more advanced versions of them (such as the walking and gun controls) into arcades they could bring the arcade industry back onto the market. The Oculus Rift won’t be released on consoles because consoles are too limited meaning upgrading your pc might be a good idea but you never know, Sony and Microsoft might get their hands on one and copy it to suit their needs.

the trend here is investment. I don’t know if Andreesson Harowitz did it out of the kindness of his own heart or if he plans to make a massive profit on the sales. he may even have a deeper interest but for now we can be happy that he did it.

see it in action

read more here:

http://www.gamesradar.com/millionaire-fast-forwards-oculus-rift-and-pc-gaming-future/

a new leader on freemium

Back in October NimbleBit (a 3-man indie game company) releases a mobile game known as pocket train which, at first glance, looked like your typical freemium iPhone game but it accturally has little tweaks making the whole freemium game system so much better.

When players collect crates they have to use “bux” (premium currency) to open them. some may see this as unfar on players ( having boxs you cant open becuse you dont have the funds) but infact its completely fair because this makes even paying players work for special train types and it also helps drain player’s premium currency which NimbleBit is  generous with because you get “bux” everytime you level up so they’re not being greedy about it.

after reading the post i decided to give “pocket Trains” and up to now ive had no reason to buy bux. the game gives you bux everytime you level up aswell as when you watch a train journey you can find bux floating in the air. To me purchasing bux is only for the impatiant  but only time will tell if im right.

for more read the artical:

http://www.gamesbrief.com/2013/10/pocket-trains-is-improving-freemium-design/

the trend found in this artical is freemium

 

 

Wii U: putting the “end” in “nintendo”?

Has the Wii U permanently crippled Nintendo?
Stocks in Nintendo’s took a huge dive today as the company released the drop in expected sales of their rather unsuccessful newest console the  “Wii U”. the sales dropped to 2.8 million which, compared to the original 9 million, was a considerable loss. Some might belive Nintendo is doomed but a lot of their old consoles such as the game cube began with poor sales so it might not be over for the Wii U. https://i0.wp.com/media.edge-online.com/wp-content/uploads/edgeonline/2013/01/WiiU.jpg

Nintendo has always been there in the game industry and i belive it will continue to live on for years to come. there’s 1 title that can save the Wii U. “Super Smash Bros” is a game loved by everyone. it contains:  well-known characters, a fast paced PvP for the competitive hardcore gamers and simple controls for the younger generation. this title will surely bring the Wii U back into the lime light. and if all else fails they can stick to handheld gaming. 

a trend that could be picked up from this article is “East Vs West” due to Nintendo’s newest console being overshadowed by the “Xbox One” and the “PS4”.

more infomation  can be found here:

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/is-the-wii-u-really-doomed-exploring-the-pros-and-cons-of-nintendo-s-next-move/1100-6417207/

Pre-order to win!!

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Watch out Wallets!! paying extra gets you a OUTFIT and a WEAPON

With the remake of Fable: the lost chapters coming out early February. Lionshead has decided to add pre-order bonuses  to the HD remake allowing players to acquire special clothing and a unique weapon which varies depending on which store you ordered it on. In modern day marketing pre-ordering bonuses are becoming more and more common to tempt people into buying the game new rather than going for the cheaper option of buying the game pre-owned. though personally I don’t like this marketing strategy I prefer it over EA’s “online code” as a way of persuading people to buy early. I see pre-order bonuses as just another way of saying release DLC which was met with horrible views (I’m looking at you prothean). lionhead even confined that  “The three packs will also be available to buy later in the year” meaning you could just buy the pre-owned and wait for the DLC to take its mask off and buy it for cheaper. though pre-order bonuses are met with mixed views I have a feeling that ,with time, they’ll become more common.

for the article: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/fable-anniversary-gets-retailer-specific-preorder-bonuses/1100-6417092/

achievement Unlocked: 100,000GP

The AbleGamers Charity raises money for people with disabilities to help improve their quality of life through the mass media known as gaming. In 2013 they reached an impressive milestone in the charities history when it  was able to raise over $100,000(£61,222 to you and me) for people with disabilities .this is the first time it’s been able to do this in the history of the charity. Mark Barlet, president and director of  the charity, tells us that “it’s all thanks to the generosity of our donors”.

The Able gamers charity is doing a great thing for the disabled and the industry. Video games offer a world without limitations and gives people a place to escape to when life gets too much to handle as well as helps improve  abilities such as hand-eye co-ordination as well as boosts confidence and verbal skills. Gaming charities are needed for the industries due to the amount of damage done by  irresponsible people and the over-reacting media.

I believe these charities will be on the rise in the coming days because of the growth of the industry as well as the need for a shield to hide behind when the media jumps to conclusions

if you would like to read more:

http://gamepolitics.com/2014/01/10/ablegamers-charity-raises-100k-2013#.UtPUdvRdWJc

if you would like to more about the charity or donate:

http://www.ablegamers.com