Spintires Removed From Steam

Ever felt like going off-road and bringing that large truck of yours into the wilderness to enjoy the outdoors? Spintires looked to do just that giving you the ability to enjoy an off-road driving experience based in Russia. The game may be no more though as it has now been pulled from Steam, with issues between the creator and the publisher, causing more than a few little bumps in its development.

The creator, Pavel Zagrebelnyj, came out last week and stated that he was still owed money by the publisher, the UK-based publisher company Oovee. Oovee state that while they are late their accounts are still filed, meaning that Zagrebelnyj would soon receive his money.

That may not be enough though as the game has experienced a recent slew of bugs and malfunctions. These have in fact been due to timebombs, certain pieces of code that go off after certain amounts of time or set dates. The time bombs were supposedly created by Zagrebelnyj, but have since been patched by a user with unofficial fixes.

Oovees are keen to deny any speculation that it may have been due to international sabotage, claiming to have been working with Pavel since the bugs were discovered.

With no option to buy the game on Steam, users may be disappointed as the signs point to development ending on this game and a sour relationship between the creator and publisher for what could have been an interesting game.

Activision Will Not be Hosting an E3 Press Event

Activision is one of the leading attractions during press events due to the Call of Duty series which continues to sell an impressive number of units every year. You might expect given the yearly release cycle and similar gameplay mechanics, consumers to become less enthusiastic. Although, the series certainly receives some criticism for its iterative updates, and ability to make so much money! As always, each year’s unveiling of the latest entry gains a lot of media attention and publicity on social media. Whether it’s mocking the franchise, or discussing its merits, there’s a great deal of social media engagement.

However, Activision has decided to forgo their usual plans, and will not be hosting a press conference during E3 this year. The reasoning behind this is to save money, and raises questions about the importance of E3 in the gaming industry. This move follows EA’s plans to also have a small presence during E3. It’s important to remember that both companies will be in attendance, but they won’t be showcasing their games in a dedicated press conference. EA is launching their own event, which probably has much smaller fees compared to a booth on the E3 show floor. However, Activision doesn’t seem to be adopting a similar strategy and just scaling back their efforts.

So what does this mean? Perhaps, big publishers no longer see a return of investment from events like E3 and feel it’s not financially prudent. In an era where there’s a huge array of media events including Gamescom, Pax and others, they might not perceive E3 as that important. This decision clearly revolves around money and I’m sure their research suggests that any presence at E3 isn’t making a substantial difference with sales.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts regarding E3 and if you feel it’s still relevant in the modern gaming industry?

Is This The Most Obnoxious Game Trailer Ever Made?

The marketing strategy of major publishers has been quite distasteful due to pre-order bonuses, microtransactions and retailer exclusives. In recent years, these anti-consumer measures became more acceptable and helped to transgress the medium into a way of exploiting people’s passion for a particular franchise. Deus Ex is a highly-revered tense stealth series with an extremely loyal following. The original game and Human Revolution featured superb covert takedowns and an engrossing narrative. Unfortunately, the successor to Human Revolution has embarked on an appalling pre-order incentive scheme which is embarrassing and quite insulting to fans of the series.

During the official trailer, a computerized voice implores you to pre-order to access a Tier I bonus. Instead of receiving all of the Tier 1 bonuses, you are forced to choose between the Classic, Enforcer or Intruder Pack. There are also benefits in Tier II, III and IV which include in-game bonus missions, a digital comic, artbook, OST sampler and more. Unbelievably, each tier is only unlocked after a certain percentage of pre-orders is met. As a result, you could pre-order and simply end up with a Tier 1 bonus. Additionally, to access every item, you have to purchase the game 3 times. Even more egregious, Tier V grants access to the game 4 days before its official release. In the social media age, this will just make users post early streams and spoilers online. Also, punishing people for not engaging in pre-order nonsense is absolutely abhorrent.

The video’s reception so far is rightfully negative and currently features 770 dislikes. Honestly, I’m astounded by this trailer and how aggressive its marketing policy is. If you are sick of being treated in this manner, do not pre-order under any circumstances. Companies are overstepping the mark and as a consumer, the only way to make them understand is through a lack of sales.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJkzcQDqbpE

Google Wins against German Publishers

Google has won a victory in Germany where a handful of publishers tried to force Google to take down access to their articles. A regulator handed Google Inc. a victory on Friday as it said it would not pursue a complaint brought against the search provider by Axel Springer SE and Burda in their newly formed group called VG Media. They demanded Google pay them for making their online articles available to the public.

“Sufficient suspicion is always necessary to initiate an abuse procedure. The complaint from VG Media did not establish this,” Andreas Mundt, president of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, said in a statement on Friday

Under a German legislation that came into effect just over a year ago, publishers can prohibit search engines and similar services from using their news articles beyond very short excerpts. The cartel office said, though, that the scope of that legislation was not yet entirely clear. It said it would nonetheless monitor Google’s reaction to publishers’ demands and launch anti-trust proceedings if warranted.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Google.

Oscar-Shortlisted Documentary Heads To BitTorrent For Promotion

When people here the words “BitTorrent” they typically think of piracy, and for a big proportion of all the news that surrounds the software, most people would be right in their assumptions. However, there are millions of perfectly legal files that get shared on BitTorrent networks, and (some) publishers see it as an open way to reach a very wide audience relatively quickly.

Now Drafthouse Films and the co-directors of the documentary The Act Of Killing will join forces with BitTorrent as part of a BitTorrent Bundle to promote the iTunes release of the director’s cut as they want their film to reach a wide audience without the fear of censorship.

The Act of Killing bundle will include:

  • VICE Presents: Werner Herzog and Errol Morris on The Act of Killing[Video]
  • Democracy Now! Joshua Oppenheimer Interview [Video]
  • Essay: Errol Morris on The Act of Killing [PDF]
  • Essay: Indonesia on the impact of The Act of Killing, TEMPO Magazine [PDF]
  • The Act of Killing Stills [Photographs]
  • The Act of Killing Trailer [Video]

“The Act of Killing has an important message,” said Drafthouse Films Creative Director Evan Husney in an email. “Our goal is to reach as many people as possible — to preserve this film as a documentary, and as a testament to what happened in Indonesia. BitTorrent Bundle allows us to address a global audience of more than 170 million: to ensure that awareness of the film’s message reaches beyond the Internet’s censors and firewalls.”

It’s the first time that BitTorrent have worked with Drafthouse, and it is certainly the first time BitTorrent bundles have been used to promote an Oscar shortlisted film. It’s just another step towards the company loosing its piracy image, it worked for Napster (sort of), perhaps the future of BitTorrent really could be a proper content distribution platform.

Thank you Tech Crunch for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tech Crunch.