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News Around the Watercooler

February 4, 2009

News Around the Watercooler, keeping you informed about all things gaming.

Epic Games, known for the Unreal series, has found itself in an awkward position as the PC Version of their Gears of War title has become unplayable as of the end of last month. Bewildered players flooded the developer’s forums suddenly finding they weren’t the only ones with the problem, apparently caused by the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) Security Certificate assigned to the game which had expired.
This evidently adding to the long list of game problems caused by DRM, brought into the limelight by a class action lawsuit against Electronic Arts over the Spore DRM last September.
Epic Games VP Mark Rein has stated that they are working with Gears of War publisher, Microsoft, in order to fix the embarrassing problem.

Quote:
“We know how much this situation sucks, and we apologize for the inconvenience”

The only positive out of all this is that players who still want to play the game can set their system clocks back to before the expiry but who wants to have to do any OS changes to play a game.
Also hearing a VP officially say something “Sucks” on behalf of a major publisher is also quite amusing.

Bethesda has released the first Downloadable Content (DLC) for Fallout 3. Named Operation : Anchorage the new content features new quests, items, a new perk and 4 more achievements, and is supposed to be able to be accessed via a gameplay add-on. Available on both Xbox Live for the Xbox 360, and Games for Windows (GFW) for the PC; it seems that the PC version has a bonus feature of not working properly. If GFW is on one drive, and Fallout 3 on another, the result is the new DLC doesn’t work as a result of connection errors. It seems Microsoft hasn’t quite mastered more than one harddrive at a time; and though they have commented that they are aware of the problem, they neglected to mention a solution.

After a rocky road to release, F.E.A.R 2 will make it to Australian PS3, Xbox 360 and PC shelves next Wednesday. Developed by Monolith Productions and Published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the game had originally been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board.
“Strong Violence, blood and gore, [and] moderate coarse language” was enough to cause the ACB to deny the game a MA15+ rating. However after an appeal by publisher Warner Bros, the verdict was overturned. The ACB has been under criticism with them refusing classification for 4 other games, including Fallout 3 and Silent Hill:Homecoming. F.E.A.R 2 however, being the only one having its ban overruled without having to resubmit the game.

MMO games like World of Warcraft are apparently Illegal in Australia, according to NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos, as they do not carry a classification in this country; as The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday.
It all surrounds the NSW Classification Enforcement Act that prohibits publishers and retailers from selling unclassified computer games; and the interpretation of the term “computer game”.
A Spokesperson for Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland has also stated:

Quote:
“The National Classification Scheme does not distinguish between games based on whether or not they contain a single player component.”

Although no reports of pulling games off the shelves have surfaced, a spokesperson for NSW Police Minister Tony Kelly has urged members of the community to contact local police if they see retailers selling computer games illegally.
Sounds like another attempt to restrict freedom of games; after all the last time a Attorney-General had a say over game related red-tape it was Michael Atkinson stating his disposition for an R18+ rating back in 2008, and he’s still behind the tardiness of the R18+ discussion paper, supposed to be released last year but as of yet, nothing.