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Bethesda versus freemium multiplayer sequels photo
Bethesda versus freemium multiplayer sequels
by Jim Sterling

The game industry tells us many things in order to justify its various activities. Multiplayer is added to so many games because solo experiences are dying. Online passes are needed because used games are killing creativity. Creativity is dead because new intellectual property is too difficult to establish. 

Despite these claims, there is much evidence of success to the contrary. Single-player games that sell well, releases that survive without scads of launch day downloadable content, and companies that are doing just fine without having to wage war on the used game market. 

In my opinion, Bethesda has been one company that really goes against the grain. As a publisher of what's called "AAA" games, the company has had success with such games as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 3, and Dishonored -- each game bucking "AAA" trends in some way or other. 

Why, exactly, is Bethesda able to get away with it?

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11:30 PM on 02.27.2013

Assassin's Creed pirates and the safety of used games

In this latest installment of Office Chat, I'm joined by Jim Sterling and Jordan Devore to discuss rumors that Assassin's Creed IV will center around piracy on the high seas and express hope for the continued existence of a used games market. Plus, we have a lovely discussion on variable pricing models for games, which pretty much boils down thinking there probably ought to be some of that.

Conrad Zimmerman

2:15 PM on 02.26.2013

Sony will 'do the right thing' with PS4 and used games

Sony's stance on the used game issue seemed fairly straightforward when Shuhei Yoshida said the PlayStation 4 would not block them. However, his exact wording seemed to unnerve some pundits, and the latest from Worldwide Stud...

Jim Sterling



Eidos co-founder says next Xbox won't play used games photo
Eidos co-founder says next Xbox won't play used games
by Allistair Pinsof

Eidos co-founder Ian Livingston doesn't see a digital-only system this generation, but he suggests the next Xbox will require an always-on internet connection and will feature marked discs that prevent sharing games across systems.

"Broadband speed globally isn’t at a level that justifies digital-only.” Livingstone told MCV India. “So they’ve gone halfway [...] With the next Xbox, you supposedly have to have an internet connection, and the discs are watermarked, whereby once played on one console it won’t play on another. So I think the generation after that will be digital-only.”

We already occupy this reality with Steam, but it's still unsettling to see it come to consoles. Now we can all complain about DRM in unison. Livingston is only offering speculation, not facts, so let's hope Microsoft doesn't adopt such an anti-used games position, especially after Sony said they would not be pursuing such tech in the PS4, even though patents suggest otherwise.

Ian Livingstone talks next-gen [MCV India]

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8:00 AM on 02.21.2013

Sony: PS4 won't block used games

Sony has gone on record as saying the PlayStation 4 will not block used games, becoming the first of itself and Microsoft to dismiss rumors of console-locked discs. Shuhei Yoshida spilled the beans in a Eurogamer intervi...

Jim Sterling

9:30 AM on 02.13.2013

EA wants used games gone, but admits their benefits

Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen has admitted that his company would be quite happy to see the back of the used game market. While that's a hardly a surprising sentiment, the executive did raise an eyebrow with an hon...

Jim Sterling

10:15 AM on 02.08.2013

GameStop: Next Xbox will hurt if it blocks used games

GameStop, North America's most powerful games retailer, has addressed rumors of the "Next Xbox" shutting out the used game market. The seller of secondhand games believes Microsoft's next system will hurt if it introduces cod...

Jim Sterling

8:30 AM on 02.06.2013

Next Xbox always online? Blocks used games? Not buying it

More rumors are surfacing surrounding Microsoft's next generation Xbox system, fittingly nicknamed Next Xbox. Once again, the new gossip spells gloom and doom for fans of used games, suggesting Next Xbox will demand an always...

Jim Sterling

1:00 PM on 02.03.2013

Valve sued over Steam's inability to sell pre-owned games

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZVB) doesn't entertain the long-standing idea of digital games remaining bound to the customer. The consumer group is taking a stand and suing Valve over Steam's refusal to le...

Jim Sterling

8:30 PM on 01.04.2013

The DTOID Show: The Walking Dead, Bioshock & Evil Patents

Happy New Year! We're back, and boy did we miss you! We have a lot of news today, starting with that semi-legit fan-trailer of The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct that probably made it look a lot worse that it'll actually be....

Max Scoville



Pre-owned Wii U systems can download last user's games photo
Pre-owned Wii U systems can download last user's games
by Jim Sterling

Nintendo's obsession with tying game purchases to hardware may have bitten it in the keister, with word that secondhand Wii U systems are able to redownload software purchased by the previous owner. Oh Nintendo, you so Nintendo!

A NeoGAF user by the name of DSN2K made the discovery after buying a wiped Wii U system, setting up a fresh Nintendo Network account, and nabbing a load of free stuff. 

"Whoever owned the console before me purchased multiple games, meaning all the games he purchased are available to re-download for free," he said. "This is with a new account I set up as well. Games are clearly linked to console itself.

"Advice to those buying a second hand Wii U ... check all the games on the Store ... you might be in for some 'free' games!"

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Sony patents method of blocking used games from working photo
Sony patents method of blocking used games from working
by Jim Sterling

We're only a few days into 2013, but Sony's already vying for the Asshole of the Year award in a competitive fashion. It's been discovered that the company has patented a method of "tagging" games played on multiple systems, with the purpose of trying to control secondhand sales.

"According to the present embodiment, realized is the electronic content processing system that reliably restricts the use of electronic content dealt in the second-hand markets," reads the patent. "As a result, the dealing of electronic content in the second-hand markets is suppressed, which in turn supports the redistribution of part of proceeds from sales of the electronic content to the developers."

The next PlayStation was rumored to be looking into ways of blocking used sales, though boss-man Jack Tretton has said he'd be against the idea. A patent, of course, is no proof that anything like this would actually happen -- it's just Sony sitting on an idea in case it or anybody else does want to do it eventually. 

Even so, the very idea of this, along with the thought that people want to implement it, disgusts me entirely. It speaks of the cowardice that dominates this industry -- the desperation to control consumers at every level, rather than face the scary prospect of actually having to work to gain their loyalty and money.

I don't think even Sony is suicidal enough to use this idea at the moment, but I'm no less disgusted with it for dreaming it up in the first place. 

[Via NeoGAF]

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10:00 AM on 11.19.2012

Online passes scrapped for Hitman: Absolution

Square Enix has decided that an online pass will no longer be required to play Hitman: Absolution's Contracts multiplayer mode. Even though there will exist copies of the game containing a code, it will not be required to acc...

Jim Sterling

3:30 PM on 08.06.2012

GameStop says 70% of used games income goes to new games

GameStop gets a lot of heat from game publishers for selling used games, but it seems that the money the company makes for selling used games goes right back into purchasing new games. GameStop boss Paul Raines revealed ...

Dale North

10:30 AM on 07.27.2012

GameStop 'interested' in creating a digital used market

Whether you think it's immoral or justified, GameStop makes its money from used games. Publishers don't like it, which is why they love digital distribution. However, following a recent European Court ruling, and emerging tec...

Jim Sterling



EU court rejects EULAs, says digital games can be resold photo
EU court rejects EULAs, says digital games can be resold
by Jim Sterling

The Court of Justice of the European Union has struck a blow to the ego of publishers who believe they're entitled to retain ownership of the games they sell, ruling that consumers have a right to resell digitally distributed games. The ruling states that companies dissolve their claim in a product as soon as they've taken money for it. 

"An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licences allowing the use of his programs downloaded from the internet," said the court. "...  Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the licence prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy."

The ruling applies to all software, not just games. 

This overrules a publisher's EULA, meaning that no matter what the small print says, if a consumer wishes to sell his or her games, they have every entitlement. This effectively dissolves the idea that gamers pay only for licenses, and asserts that they have paid for an actual product that now belongs to them. 

Of course, with services like Steam and Origin, this ruling is more a moral victory than a tangible one, since there's no effective way to resell most digital games. However, it's still a nice middle-finger to serve any uppity executive who acts like you're paying for a glorified rental rather than the game itself. 

EU rules publishers cannot stop you reselling your downloaded games [Eurogamer]

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