Here’s a roundup of today’s news found elsewhere on the internet:
ESA estimates 10 million pirate games downloaded in December (gamesindustry.biz) - Research conducted by trade groups including the Entertainment Software Association has shown that over 9.78 million games were successfully downloaded illegally during the month of December.
However, the actual number of illegally downloaded games is expected to be much higher, with the ESA admitting that its survey only focused on 200 games accessed on the most popular peer-to-peer platforms such as BitTorrent, eDonkey, Gnutella and Ares.
"These figures under-represent the true magnitude of online game piracy," said the ESA. "They address only downloads of a small selection of ESA member titles.
"And while they account for illegal downloads that occur over select P2P platforms, they do not account for downloads that occur from 'cyberlockers' or 'one-click' hosting sites, which continue to account for high volumes of infringing downloads."
The countries with the heaviest number of unauthorised games downloads by volume were Italy (20.3%), Spain (12.5%), France (7.5%), Brazil (6%) and China (5.7%).
"ESA’s reporting demonstrates a strong correlation between countries that lack sufficient protections for technological protection measures and countries where online piracy levels for entertainment software are high," said the body.
The research was conducted with the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), which has filed its findings with the United States Trade Representative (UTSR).
The report recommends that 35 countries be placed on a 'priority watch list', including Canada, Brazil and Mexico, due in large part to inadequate response to regional piracy problems. The UTSR could impose sanctions on some of the countries named.
Spain is another country which the ESA and IIPA recommended is placed under "close scrutiny" due to the recent decriminalisation of infringements via peer-to-peer networks.
Bobby Kotick, Warm and Fuzzy, Defends Notorious No-Fun Statements (Kotaku) - Bobby Kotick, head of Activision, thought he was Luke, not Vader. And he didn't mean that thing about wanting to make game-making no fun.
"I don't know how this happened, but all my life I was the rebel flying the Millennium Falcon or the X-Wing fighter and suddenly I wake up and I'm on board the Death Star."
Mistakes, Kotick has made a few and he was ready to admit them today.
Most notorious was a late 2009 comment he made that seemed to cement his position as more Vader thank Luke. No, he said today, he didn't mean to sound like, his words, "a dick."
In September he had told a group of investors: "The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games."
Today, he said, after describing Activision as a company striving for greatness, "Sometimes that commitment to excellence, well, you can come across as being like a dick. And when I say things like 'taking the fun out of making video games,' it was a line that has been often-quoted lately, but it was a line I used for investors. It was mainly because i wanted to somehow come across in a humorous way that we were responsible, in the way we made our games in that it wasn't some wild west, lack of process exercise and that we really did give some thought to the capital being used to provide a return of investment to shareholders."
For a CEO who has been vilified as a business-first enemy of video game creativity, Kotick wanted to reveal that he has made mistakes staying too distant from passionate game creators.
Kotick went from gamer to game maker to businessman. Kotick said he's not playing many games anymore. He's a single dad with three daughters and is wary of the kind of developer he would become, knowing his addictive personality (He confessed he is "addicted to food"). Did he used to be an avid gamer? "I still have calluses from Defender. I still wake up in the middle of the night and see the words 'Use key to open door.'"
Kotick made no mention of the deep cuts Activision announced earlier this week nor of the couple of hundred developers who were let go. He focused on projecting a game developer-friendly image and announced the start of a $500,000 independent games development contest.
Remedy on making Alan Wake (GameSpot) - Has Remedy Entertainment really not shipped a game since October 2003? "Some of your parents may remember our last game, Max Payne 2," joked Matias Myllyrinne, president of the Finnish studio at his DICE Summit session this afternoon. However, with Alan Wake now set for a May 18 release, the designer took the stage to explain why the psychological horror game has taken so long to make. "We'll discuss the method behind our madness," he declared.
First off, Myllyrinne said Alan Wake's long development cycle would not have been possible without the support of Microsoft. The company's backing is "letting us punch above our own weight," said an effusively thankful Myllyrinne. He did not mention that as part of that support, the PC version of the now Xbox 360-exclusive game was put on indefinite hold last year.
Another key principle is "people" at Remedy, which uses a smaller team than most AAA developers. They focus on multi-talented people from all over the world: One Danish game designer has a background in drama, and a Brazilian level designer has a degree in psychology, which came in handy on Alan Wake.
Finally, Remedy has a focus on branding and is very involved with the game's marketing. Myllyrinne said he wants every add to make viewers feel like they're in a thriller.