Sony’s Return and Retreat
Twenty-three days have passed since the initial attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network, and their vague promises of “by May 31st” did nothing to ease the anxieties of gamers everywhere, waiting all too patiently for online play. Finally, in the past twenty-four hours, Sony brought PSN back online, starting in Europe, then to the northeastern United States, creeping west towards California. And what happened once it reached the West Coast? It exploded! Well, that is not exactly true, but after only a few hours online, the PSN was voluntarily taken offline once more. Like dangling a steak in front of a dog before eating it yourself, gamers have lashed out, rabid and ready to maul Sony’s executives for their sloppy, unprofessional handling of the situation. PSN Store operations manager Steve Reynolds tweeted that they were aware of the problems and were fixing them, but curiously, his Twitter account appears to have disappeared shortly after news broke. Sony’s official European Twitter offers updates that PSN services are slowly being restored once more in Australia, the Middle East, the United Kingdom, and South and Central Americas, adding that their servers are being overwhelmed with password change requests and to continue being patient. As the PSN Outage nears a full month offline, it is no surprise that patience is running thin throughout the gaming community, with retailers getting more PS3 trade-ins than ever. Many congrats to Microsoft on their new online gaming users! Nintendo, you would get congratulations as well if your system had online functionality.
Privacy Is Not Just For Adults
Playdom, a social gaming studio owned by Disney, recently settled out of court to the tune of $3 million US for violating the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Like Neopets, Playdom’s Ponystars had players choose their My Little Pony-styled characters and play games with them. While this is all simple, innocuous fun, the problem arises with their collection of data from their players. COPPA requires that any users under the age of thirteen get their parents’ consent in order to give out personal information, but it is not as simple as just asking Mommy and Daddy. Complying with COPPA law requires a significant amount of paperwork, and many sites will avoid this by not allowing underage users to join at all. The now-defunct Ponystars was around before the internet’s cult uprising of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic fans led by Jake ‘RootBeerKing’ Norwood, so at the time, Playdom knew their target age range was limited to players under thirteen, but did not follow through with obtaining the necessary permissions of parents. In light of the huge payout, Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz warned that video game companies owed it to their players and players’ parents to follow the law, or else.
Modern Warfare 3 Revealed…TOO Revealed
It should come as no surprise to anyone, even the bro-hating nerd here at Lusipurr.com, that Activision’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare series has gotten another sequel. Given the departure of Infinity Ward, the contractual obligations of the game are filled with questions, but that is not what the gaming community wants to ask about. Right? Wrong. Any and all questions you could have about the MW3 story mode were blatantly spoiled this week in what Kotaku’s editor-in-chief Brian Crecente called a ‘leak,’ though a story of such proportions could not possibly be anything but an official release from Activision. The reported release date for the game is this coming November and will take place in half a dozen different locations, ranging from New York City and Washington D.C. set aflame, to Mogadishu and Moscow, as well as a long list of multi-players map names. However, what caught everyone off guard was the reveal of the entire plot. It would be one thing to tempt readers and get them drooling, telling them that MW3 picks up where the second game’s cliffhanger ending left off, but to tell excited fans every detail. Who lives, who dies, when and how for each. While they do say there are some secrets they are keeping to themselves, it is a wonder that Activision has yet to intervene and request the spoilerific story be taken down before it ruins anyone else’s perception of the game.
Pay for Pleasantries?
Valve never fails to impress…well, except for punctuality, but you cannot rush greatness. As the team works on their newest project, Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2), Gabe Newell has some very intriguing ideas to implement in terms of rewards for the players. Specifically, these are not award for achievement or special items, those are in-game traits. No, Gabe wants to reward you for being a good gamer. In an interview with gaming site Develop, Newell describes what he feels is a “broken” payment method, one that should be modified and tweaked to fit “our philosophy of how we create entertainment products.” As an example, say Julian ‘SiliconNooB’ Taylor was playing DotA 2 with ‘Darth Lane’ Haygood. We know that Lane is calm and composed and intellectual, while Julian makes fart noises into his didgeridoo to communicate. If Gabe’s new idea were to come to fruition, Lane would be rewarded for his civility and cooperativeness with free gameplay, while Julian would be required to pay higher-than-usual monthly fees for his douchery in addition to a premium fee to be able to use his mic to torment people with more didgeri-farts. To read the interview in its entirety, click here to go to Develop’s site.