New submitter person46 writes "Bethesda's lawsuit against Mojang, developers of Minecraft, is going to court. As you may recall, Bethesda is claiming copyright infringement over the title of Mojang's upcoming CCG/board game Scrolls. Bethesda claims that the name and game concept are too similar to their well-known RPG franchise The Elder Scrolls. '[C]ourt documents show that Bethesda lawyers plan to use comments on Scrolls articles and videos from around the web to show how people will confuse Scrolls with The Elder Scrolls. He also added that they've captured screenshots of Scrolls' trailer as a way of showing how Mojang has copied Bethesda because both Skyrim and Scrolls contain mountains.' Mojang founder Notch had offered to settle the dispute with a friendly game of Quake 3, but apparently Bethesda wasn't up for that."
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_xeno_ writes "It's taken a year since Final Fantasy XIV launched to what can at best be called unfavorable reviews, but Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada is finally willing to admit that the (still subscription-free) MMO 'greatly damaged' the entire Final Fantasy brand. Despite this damage, Wada said Square Enix will continue to work on 'reviving' the game, with an upcoming patch promising to finally introduce such series staples as chocobos and airships. Even so, there's still no word on the PS3 release, which was delayed until the game was 'fixed,' nor is there any sign that Square Enix feels the game will be worth a subscription fee any time soon."
dotarray writes "In what's believed to be an industry first, a developer has begun talks with the American Food and Drug Administration to get its game recognized as a therapeutic drug. 'Brain Plasticity has been fine-tuning a game to help people with schizophrenia improve the deficits in attention and memory that are often associated with the disorder. Early next year, they will conduct a study with 150 participants at 15 sites across the country. Participants will play the game for one hour, five times a week over a period of six months. If participants' quality of life improves at that "dosage," Brain Plasticity will push ahead with the FDA approval process.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Steam has decided to build a community effort to get its Steam platform and game files translated by the community, but here is the catch: Translators do not get paid. Millions could be saved by Steam by making the community work for free. The article describes basic estimates on how much is saved by Steam in translation costs."
BioWare announced today that their upcoming MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, will launch on December 20 in North America, and December 22 in Europe. They've released a new trailer for the game, and reiterated that they'll be throttling logins early on to prevent server instability. Gamasutra recently spoke with SW:TOR project lead James Ohlen about finishing up the game and preparing it for launch. He said, "We're also focused on game balance for combat, for itemization, for the social systems. We've been running a lot of tests, we're getting a lot of feedback on the game. And when we get that feedback, we use it to make tweaks and changes. We're not making major changes now, we're just making changes that we can."
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet: "Electronic Arts has updated its Terms of Service Agreement for the Origin platform. Following Sony's steps, and taking it even further, EA has added a new clause that prevents users from suing them in both class action and jury trial forms."
New submitter rescendent writes "In an interview with Massively, Illyriad Games developers Ben Adams and James Niesewand predict the death of Flash, the rise of HTML5, and a long-term shift away from installed games. Quoting: 'The major advantages that boxed set or download games have had over browser-based games are local storage and direct access to the graphics and audio engines. Those barriers are being smashed apart by HTML5. ... Especially for MMO game developers, I personally don't believe that developers have any real long-term choice about embarking on this path or not. Ultimately, I believe it's either browser-based or obsolescence. If you don't do it, your competitors will, and they'll be making games that work identically on more device platforms, on more browsers, on more operating systems. It's going to take a very long time to get there, though, but this change has begun now, and we firmly believe that HTML5 is the future.' With Microsoft joining the ranks of Apple and not supporting Flash in Windows 8, there's definitely a risk to Flash. But will browser-based games really replace installed games?"
phaedrus5001 writes "Ars has a story about a first person shooter under development that involves no shooting on the part of the player; at least, no shooting bullets. The game, Warco, has the player in the role of a war correspondent. The object is to immerse yourself in missions and firefights in order to document what happens. From the article: 'Players will experience the process of filming conflicts, going into dangerous situations armed with nothing but a camera. They will then edit the footage into a compelling news story.' While it's an interesting and different concept, it should be even more interesting to see if the developers can actually convince a publisher to release the project."
The third installment of Gears of War was released yesterday, ending the story arc that began almost five years ago. Early response to the game has been favorable, and most reviews agree that it's the best of the series. The Guardian's write-up says the story and the voice-acting got some needed attention this time around. Eurogamer praised the improvements to multiplayer and highlighted the intensity of the action sequences, but also mentioned the "annoyance" of being rather rigidly limited when it came to exploring and deviating from scripted events. The Digital Foundry blog examined the tech underpinning Gears of War 3, finding all the advances you'd expect out of a big-budget title, and a few spots where it bumps up against the hardware limitations of the aging Xbox 360.
dotarray writes "Diablo III really can't be that far off now. Blizzard has just announced that the closed beta test for the game has kicked off – meaning you can start checking your inboxes for an invitation now." The expanded Friends&Family test had been underway for a week or so, but now gaming sites are getting invitations. Of course, given the popularity of Diablo III, phishers are out in force with fake beta invites. For those who opted-in, the best way to check is to simply log in to your battle.net account. The beta is limited in terms of content — it only includes the first couple hours worth of play in Act 1 — but all five classes are available for play. There's no NDA, so plenty of commentary has sprung up already. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has early impressions of the Demon Hunter. Blizzard has also created a skill calculator for anyone who wants to play around with character builds ahead of time. The beta will be expanding in waves as they ramp up stability tests.
An anonymous reader writes "In an interview with Forbes Magazine, Neal Stephenson says the 'Metaverse' he created in his seminal novel Snow Crash missed the point — and that video games like World of Warcraft are the true future of cyberspace." Forbes writer David Ewalt seems taken with Stephenson's new book, REAMDE, which I'm looking forward to getting my hands on.
mlauzon writes "It seems a lot of companies are seeing the light and turning their subscription based games into the F2P model, or 'freemium,' as it's now being called. Quoting Massively: "For those of us who lack Batman's financial resources, maintaining several monthly MMO subscriptions can be a challenge. Sony Online Entertainment recognizes this, and as a result, the company has just announced that DC Universe Online will be officially joining the freemium revolution toward the end of October."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has confirmed plans to launch its TV service over Xbox Live by this holiday season. Negotiations with content partners are still underway, but options for live TV will include both news and sports. 'Microsoft believes the key differentiator between Xbox as a TV platform and the sea of failed competitors will be its voice and motion search tool. Utilizing the Kinect attachment, users will be able to navigate through content with voice commands. The search function will be powered by Bing.' The company also wants to tie Xbox Live's social experience into viewing video content. Steve Ballmer said, 'You should have any entertainment you want with all the people you care about, really simply and on any screen.'"
Meshach writes "Recently Canada's telecommunications regulator revealed that net neutrality was failing and that throttling was taking place. Apparently several months later things have not improved and Canada's telecommunications regulator on Friday gave Rogers Communications Inc., 'mere days' to stop throttling online games."