The Reset Button 1/21/2013 - The Baskin Robbins of News

Posted on January 21, 2013 - 10:00am by Cyrax

TLDR;

Lot's of news stories happened in the past week. This week's Reset Button is a lot longer than usual. You've been warned. Enjoy!

It's times like these where it's a great time to be involved in reporting news on this intriguing industry. Unfortunately for me, I didn't get a really good opportunity to so that this week due to catching up with my final semester at Minot State University.

However, I should be back into the swing of things coming either later today or on Tuesday. Regardless, I'm certainly more than thrilled to get my feet wet once again in writing the news. I feel I might have some slight rust, but not too much because of this every week.

This past week has made me feel like a customer walking into a Baskin Robbins, looking very befuddled, yet excited to see which flavor(s) they can have. Much like ice cream, indulging in too much news can leave one strained and quite possibly mentally numb temporarily. There was no shortage of happenings ongoing in the industry for sure, so narrowing this week down to just five stories is just criminal.

With that said, we'll hit "pause" and take a look at the best of the rest very briefly:

Mo. Rep. Franklin proposes 'violent game tax' bill

The bill proposed by Representative Diane Franklin, R-Mo. (Candenton), would have a tax on violent games, which would go towards mental health services. The heart is in the right place here, but the brain is not.

This is an insult to people who play games, an insult to the people who make these games, and an insult to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled things like these highly unconstitutional already, so just move on. I get the motive here, but there's other ways.

House introduces bill to make ESRB legally binding

Representative Jim Matheson, D-Utah, proposed a bill to the House to make the Entertainment and Software Ratings Board legally binding, which entails a $5,000 USD fine to any retailer who sells a "Mature-rated" or "Adults Only-rated" title to a minor, in this case someone under the age of 17.

See above rant. But to be honest, this isn't purely motivated by the Newtown, Conn., shooting exactly. This would make the ratings board lawful much like the United Kingdom's system. Unfortunately, for Rep. Matheson, it's unconstitutional to do this, so it'll be done for even if the bill passes via the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association.

Halo 2 servers to be shut down on Games for Windows

343 Industries will be pulling the plug on the PC version of Halo 2, stating that the most players playing on a consistent basis has been 20. The servers will be shut down on February 15. The Xbox servers of the game were shut down in April 2010.

That being said, the Xbox version is still played online by a few people, albeit illegally. So it won't come to any surprise to anyone if the PC version has the same occurrence. Or at least it shouldn't, anyway. I mean, this is the Internet and all. Sad to see it go, but it's likely overdue in a way.

Sony, Lambert settle lawsuit over Bridgestone ad

Jerry Lambert, known to gamers for his role as Sony VP Kevin Butler, has settled on terms over a lawsuit Sony had filed against him. One of the terms is to not appear in any video game related advertising for two years, where he must notify Sony afterwards to see if it "violates Sony's rights in the Kevin Butler characters."

I'm just going to day that this lawsuit was frivolous and over-the-top on Sony's part, assuming Lambert wasn't under contract with Sony. If he were, then it's his fault for not realizing he was playing a competitor's console for advertising. Either way, that's just the way he looks, and he really can't help it I say. Shame for Butler, but it could have been worse.

There's a lot more, but this would be a very, very long feature this week, so I'm unfortunately cutting it short there. For now, let's get into the top five stories from this past week.

Dead Island: Riptide features limbless torso, Deep Silver apologizes

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I'm glad I'm no PR, as this would be a really tough sell.

Game Informer reports that Deep Silver, the developers of Dead Island: Riptide, included a limbless, bloodied torso in the collector's edition known as the "Zombie Bait edition" that made a lot of people uncomfortable. In that regard, they apologized to those who were offended or disturbed by the statue is a press release.

We deeply apologize for any offense caused by the Dead Island Riptide “Zombie Bait Edition”, the collector’s edition announced for Europe and Australia. Like many gaming companies, Deep Silver has many offices in different countries, which is why sometimes different versions of Collector’s Editions come into being for North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. 
We sincerely regret this choice. We are collecting feedback continuously from the Dead Island community, as well as the international gaming community at large, for ongoing internal meetings with Deep Silver's entire international team today. For now, we want to reiterate to the community, fans and industry how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again.

The edition in question was to be made available in the European region only.

Me personally, that wasn't the most disturbing thing Dead Island, or any other game for that matter, although I can see why it's exactly that to some people. The most disturbing thing to me about Dead Island is that the logo features a person hanging from a tree. Anyone else not notice this?

But really, I just wonder how they thought they could have slipped by this without anyone noticing that something may be off-putting to some people and/or cultures. Sure, you can claim the case of over-sensitivity, but an uproar this large can't be morally wrong, can it? Sometimes it can, but in this case I feel as if it isn't.

However, if you did own this torso, I'd bet you'd have a real challenge explaining as to why you have it anyway if anyone catches it as your possession. Take that in whatever context you'd like.

DayZ creator Hall 'very angry' about War Z controversy

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The long-awaited opinion from DayZ is just and to the point.

In an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session on Reddit, DayZ creator Dean Hall, was asked about War Z and how he felt about the situation. The response was less-than-pleasant. He said that he was "Angry. I'm very angry," over the controversy that War Z had burdened onto his project, DayZ.

I'm quite hurt personally because anyone can see how similar the words are, and while the average gamer knows the difference individual people don't. I've had family members/close friends mistake the difference and confront me about what they believed was unethical behavior they thought I was making. I really don't think anyone can understand just quite how exasperated that can make you feel when you've gambled everything on something, put your whole self and reputation on the line. So it hasn't made my life very pleasant and I disagree entirely with the conduct and how consumers have been treated.

When asked if he felt if War Z was a "scam," he said that he wouldn't describe it as such because it was "such a loaded word" and was up to the perception of the individuals who might have saw it as such.

If you ask me, I can't blame Hall one bit for being upset about the whole thing because it seemed as if he's still trying to get through the trauma that went with the confusion of customers that mistook DayZ and War Z. I can definitely see why the two can be confusing in a sense, but looking at the two games side-by-side there is no confusion as to which game is much better.

I hope Hall gets though this awful mess very soon, as I think he's got a lot of talent creating DayZ.

President Obama asks Congress to fund study on game violence

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Again, the intention is from the heart, and for good reason.

Gamasutra reports that President Barack Obama has called for a study on the effects on video game violence. This coming off of the heels of Joe Biden meeting with representatives of the video game industry.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is likely to be asked to use $10 million in Congress money to study the root causes of gun violence, including whether violent video games and other media have an effect. The research project will be a part of a $500 million project in an effort to try and stop, reduce, and/or eliminate gun violence in the United States.

I really hate to say this, but there have been countless of other studies done on this exact type of thing, and others very similar to it. How will this study be any different from all of the other studies done in the past? That's the main point I fail to see.

While, yes, a study will no doubt help see how the progression/regression can be made from past studies, but I fear that this will be just another drop in the bucket that seems already full of sources. I've been known to be wrong before, and I most certainly hope I am wrong in this instance, as it has the potential to make a major breakthrough in the psychology and sociology in the gaming mind frame, possibly even the media mind frame of an individual.

But, I might be asking for too much so I'll just hope for something new.

Skype may replace Xbox Live's Party Chat system

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I'm...not entirely sure what to exactly make of this just yet.

According to Computer and Video Games (CVG), an anonymous source that is "familiar with the matter" claims that Microsoft is planning on replacing Xbox Live chat with Skype.

Skype, which was acquired in 2011 for $8.5 billion, is reported to replace the outdated and obsolete MSN instant messenger service along with various other Microsoft chat features. The anonymous source also said the move will be across Xbox, PC, tablets, and everything Microsoft is involved in.

You might jump to the conclusion that we'll see asynchronous voice and video messages in next-gen Xbox Live.

Indeed we have, anonymous. Who can blame us? MSN has become the MySpace of the Internet, becoming a common butt-end of jokes in regards to email, content, and instant messaging. With Skype in Microsoft's hands, this'll no longer be the case and I hope we can finally let MSN rest in piece.

Or pieces, depending on whom you ask. But at the same time, eliminating Xbox Live's Party Chat system is very much a question I am concerned with. For example, will the system still be host-dependent? If that's the case, the quality will tend to drop if the host does not have the greatest of services, which is certainly for better or for worse in the case of parties consistently dropping in and out.

Is this a move needed on the part of MSN? Very much so. Is this a move needed on the part of Xbox Live? That remains to be seen, but I'll reserve most of my judgements until I can get a clear understanding as to what this exactly means for Xbox Live.

Rumor: PlayStation to abandon DualShock controller

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? ...Right? Guys?

In a story by Gameplanet, Sony is in the works of a new PlayStation controller that will likely abandon the DualShock design used for all of their consoles.

The rumor that spread like wildfire states that the controller will have a touchscreen in that they are trying to "emulate the same user interface philosophies" as the PlayStation Vita. If this is the case, that means the DualShock model will not be compatible with the alleged upcoming console.

Right now this is just a rumor, so let's try not to jump to any major conclusions until something is definitive and official, straight from the horse's mouth, if you will. I wouldn't like to see a new controller from Sony as the DualShock has been very successful as a replacement to the horrible abomination that is pictured above.

Only time, and Sony, can tell if this is exactly true on what we're hearing.

Wow! That was quite a lot to get in. I hope I didn't overindulge your eyeballs with all of this text in one, large post. If I did, I recommend a similar treatment used in brain freeze: Slow down and stop for a few seconds, then continue. All joking aside, don't expect massive features like this one again in the near future.

That is, unless the gaming industry suddenly blows up. Then expect it.

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