Posts Tagged ‘codemasters’

Playcast Media taps JWT to beef up cloud gaming portal

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

While OnLive and Gaikai have received their own fair amount of attention, it seems as though another player is making a go and the hearts and minds of eager gamers. Announced yesterday, Israel/UK/Los Angeles based cloud gaming service Playcast Media has recently appointed JWT London to develop its new social gaming portal.

A marketing communications brand, JWT’s client list reads like a who’s who, including Bayer, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Nokia, Rolex, and Shell, to name a few. JWT’s new Innovation Lab, a part of the Experience unit will be leading the development of said portal.

The newly formed Innovation Lab is headed by Miguel Andres Clavera, and is tasked with developing a new social gaming platform that will enhance the experience of playing casual games on Playcast’s platform. Playcast is striving to set themselves apart from the competition, starting out with a revolutionary 3D user interface. This 3D interface allows gamers to play multiplayer games as well as connect to their favorite social networks on any PC or TV without the need of a console.

“We provide a media experience which combines the qualities of video games and TV with online streaming and social media. JWT is one of only a handful of creative teams who are able to blend these qualities into an organic user experience with a global application for our European and Asian partners,” comments Playcast CEO Guy de Beer.

Already live in Europe, Playcast’s cloud gaming service isn’t just a game or two here and there, but rather, they’ve struck a number of strategic deals with top level companies including Activision, THQ, Capcom, Atari, Codemasters, and a host of others.

Guy Hayward, Chief Executive at JWT UK Group, said: “It’s an honor to be working with the leading cloud gaming company. This proves that JWT’s focus on technology and its role in people’s lives is transforming the type of work we do. JWT has a history of building brands for the long term; we look forward to doing the same with Playcast.”

The upgraded and enhanced Playcast experience is slated for a launch later this year, and will offer a radically different experience than gamers are used to from traditional PC or gaming consoles.


Europe rejoice: DDO Eberron Unlimited going F2P Aug 20th

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Being on the other side of the pond does have a number of advantages, however, in the realm of online gaming, some of these advantages might be harder to find than our North American cousins. 9 times out of 10 the US market gets their hands on the newest, be that good or bad, while those of us in Europe have to bide their time until publishers and licensees can sort out the EU market. Thankfully, Dungeons and Dragons Online creators Turbine announced last week that said title is now coming to Europe under the same free-to-play model.

EU FlagSpeaking to (appropriately), Turbine made the announcement official, “We are very excited to announce that Turbine will be expanding its operations and will assume full control of Dungeons & Dragons Online in Europe,” says Turbine

“Beginning 20th August, all European players can visit the official site to download and play the English version of DDO Unlimited with no monthly subscription required. Turbine’s new German and French service will enter beta before the end of the year.”

Eurogamer also confirms what I personally have been doing for months now, which is simply connecting to the US servers from here in Austria. Sure, lag is a bit of an issue, but nothing that ruins the overall experience. On a bit of a cultural sidenote, it always amuses me that companies usually fret over German, French, and sometimes Spanish versions of their game, while I’m met plenty of Germans, Austrians, Italians, Poles, and Russians in WoW, and most of the time there’s never any language issues. And then there’s all the Scandinavian countries, i.e. those that don’t overdub their TV programs, and 9 out of 10 of them speak English, perhaps even better than I do. /soapbox.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming….

With the DDO goes EU announcement, Turbine also announced that they’ll be assuming full control of the game, meaning that the current DDO EU operator, Codemasters, is on the outs. Turbine says that they’re working with Codemasters to “facilitate a smooth transition,” but something tells me that Codemasters can’t be too happy with this deal. And remember, Turbine’s officially announced that their flagship title, Lord of the Rings Online will also be going free-to-play, at least in the US, come this fall. If the recently acquired by Warner Bros. Turbine is “assuming the bridge” for it’s DDO EU operations, one can only think that this is a first step in establishing global operations. I.e. we’re likely to see the same methods applied for Lotro’s EU debut in F2P format. Looking down the road, Turbine’s operations could very well be a testing ground for all future Warner Bros. games related activities, if not solely for Europe, the entire globe.

In regards to payment methods, it seems as though Turbine will model the North American release, offering current and former DDO subscribers 5000 Turbine points (approximate retail value: €50/£42) upon character transfer to the new global DDO service.


Atari and Codemasters launch legal assault on gamers

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

In a moment of true WTF?, Atari and Codemasters have launched an unprecedented assault on illegal downloads, requiring thousands of users to cough up £300 to settle out of court.

The suit comes from a consortium including Atari, Codemasters, Topware Interactive, Reality Pump and Techland.  These firms have appointed Davenport Lyons to serve papers to approximately 25,000 UK residents.

Perhaps the taste of fresh blood in Topware’s mouth spurred the action?  Isabella Barwinska was recently ordered by the London Patents County Court to fork over £16,000 to Topware for illegally sharing a copy of Dream Pinball 3D.

A quick Google of Davenport Lyons reveals that this type of legal bullying seems to be their specialty.  The companies’ history is peppered with threats against private individuals.  Obviously, their muscle has worked in the past, and we’ve got another strong example on our hands of Lyon’s ‘Send a bunch of letters out, scare the heck outta people, get them to cough up the cash, sign a letter of guilt, and walk away wealthy’ tactics.  Clearly, they’re not spending a lot of time in the courtroom.

A bit more digging reveals that Davenport Lyons seems to be sourcing it’s data from Logistep – an anti piracy tracking company based in Switzerland.  Logistep uses a number of methods to distill their data from peer-to-peer file sharing services, and claims that they can pinpoint which user has been sharing what with other users.

Logistep’s methods have been raising more than a few eyebrows in Europe for a while now.  They’ve stood accused of violating the law in their pursuit of pirates by initiating meaningless criminal cases against sharers and then consequently dropping said cases once ISPs have released personal data about their customers.

Logistep isn’t just making bad blood in the land of chocolate and watches.  A French lawyer working with Logistep was recently banned from the practice of law for 6 months due to the exact same behavior as the Atari/Codemasters suit.  These letters demanded 400 euro from supposed sharers.  Sadly, it didn’t end at that, as the letters also included a few sentences implicating that the failure to pay this fee and the subsequent court appearance (and costs) would number in the hundreds of thousands of Euros.  It didn’t take a French judge long to smell ‘extortion’ in the courtroom.

On a side note, and just some food for thought – How many times have you personally used an open wi-fi connection?  If Logistep can ‘supposedly’ pinpoint a user based on IP address, how can they ensure that that user has their wi-fi password protected?

If all seems quiet on the Western front, you’re not alone.  All top tier publishers are staying as far away from this as possible.  Interesting to note that the best games are certainly those that have a higher probability of being pirated.  Neither Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo have given these actions a thumbs up.  In fact, EA’s Peter Moore stated, “I’m not a huge fan of trying to punish your consumer.  Albeit these people have clearly stolen intellectual property, I think there are better ways of resolving this within our power as developers and publishers.”

Illegal file sharing and piracy has, and will continue to be a hot debate.  The music industry has already been down this road and failed.  Not only did they fail, they created their own stew to simmer in (read: PR nightmare).  Instead of promoting the non-piracy of music, the lawsuits and threats had the exact opposite effect, with record industry executives looking like dinosaurs that clearly didn’t understand their consumer.  In fact, this bullying technique backfired so strongly, that the main instigator, the RIAA, had their own website hacked back in January.

Did these threats and lawsuits recoup lost money?  Did it stop piracy?  Of course not.  The only method currently chipping away at music piracy is the emergence of convenience-based outlets, Apple’s iTunes being the flagship example.  By utilizing this microtransaction model, iTunes is beating pirates at their own game by giving willing, paying customers access to what they want, when they want it at a reasonable price.

What makes this entire scenario rather odd is that both Codemasters and Atari are embracing the ultimate anti-piracy: free-to-play.  Codemaster’s works with Lord of the Rings Online, Archlord and others demonstrate that they have their finger on the right pulse, and aren’t afraid to step outside the box when it comes to free-to-play, microtransaction based models.

Atari’s new management have made it very clear that they are focusing a majority of their efforts on online opportunities.

Sadly, it’s actions like this that set the entire gaming industry back a few years when it comes to mainstream acceptance and proliferation.  One would think that taking a look at the recent history books alone would be enough proof for these publishers to say ‘Hmm…do we really want to open this can of worms…and in this manner?’

On the other side of the coin, stories like this only make David Perry’s drum beat all the louder.

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