The Week in Review

| 6 Mar 2010 02:00

In this weeks' edition, 'gay' stops being a dirty word on Xbox Live, Ubisoft tweaks its DRM, Valve teases Portal 2, a mountain of weirdness goes down at Infinity Ward, and gaming is compared to smoking.

Microsoft Lifts ban on Sexuality


The long-standing ban on mentioning sexuality in your Xbox Live gamertag has been lifted, allowing gamers to describe their orientation for the first time on the service. The choices are currently limited to 'straight', 'gay', 'lesbian', 'bi' and 'transgender', which is probably the safest way to start the ball rolling. "I truly believe that our diversity is what makes us strong," wrote Xbox Live General Manager Marc Whitten. "Diversity in gaming and entertainment options, and diversity in the people that make up this amazing community." Well said Mr Whitten, well said. (link)

Ubisoft Tweaks its DRM


Patches for games aren't uncommon, but patches for games that aren't out? That's a little bit more unusual, but Ubisoft has done just that with the PC version of Assassin's Creed 2. With the patch, should you lose your net connection it will let you resume the game from where you left off, rather than dumping you than back at the closest checkpoint. This is the first sign of Ubisoft actually modifying its DRM based on gamer feedback, although it seems unlikely that the company is going to back down from the idea anytime soon. (link)

Portal 2 Teased, Then Announced


Valve updated Portal this week with a new achievement and a new challenge involving radios and morse code messages. It was quickly discovered that the game had a new ending as well, all of which seemed to suggest that a sequel was in the works. Well guess what? A sequel IS in the works, but the ARG that Valve set up around the news doesn't appear to be over yet. What's coming next? We'll just have to wait and find out... (link)

The Terrible Tales of Infinity Ward


It's been a tumultuous week for Call of Duty creators Infinity Ward. First Activision apparently visited the building with security forces, then the two studio heads Jason West and Vince Zampella got fired, then Zampella and West sued Activision for unpaid royalties and the Modern Warfare brand, which Activison replied to, saying it was 'disappointed'. On top of all that, it was announced that the newly-formed Sledgehammer Games would be working on the series as well as Treyarch, but that Infinity Ward would still making Call of Duty games too. So yeah, it's been quite a week. If West and Zampella turn out to be Bobby Kotick's long-lost brothers, I wouldn't be all that surprised. (So very, very, many links)

Videogames Are as bad as Smoking, Says Australian Psychologists


Put down that game! Don't you know it'll turn you into a violent criminal? What's that, you didn't know that? How strange, because according to a gang of Australian psychologists, it's a proven scientific fact that violent videogames make you violent, and that violent games are worse for you than cigarettes. This is just another salvo in the anti-R18+ movenment, and for all it's "conclusive" proof, there aren't a lot of people willing to put their names to it. As a long-term gamer who is yet to commit a violent crime, I'm going to take this one with a couple fistfuls of salt. (link)

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