Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bad/Dumb News Dump

There've been a lot of little bits of news here and there that fit the exact formula for a News Dump post - not enough of a thing that I can go on and on for a full post about it, but significant enough that I have to say -something- about it.  As luck(?) would have it, they also all have a fairly negative connotation to them, whether it's due to being unfortunate in the worst degree, or due to including a massive amount of what is colloquially referred to as 'dumb'.  While I'm admittedly a bit remiss to include the two together, it fits a theme and I like themes.  Everybody likes themes, actually.  So everyone should be fine with me condensing as I'm doing.

The first bit of news is the one that hits me the hardest.  While I'm not directly affected by it, it still hurts because it's a shitty, unfortunate situation and one that doesn't need to exist.  Rune Factory 4, which we've enjoyed in the states for a while now, was slated for a late release in Europe (like most 3DS games) and it was recently announced that it's actually not going to happen.  Without really listing a reason, Marvelous AQL Europe announced that their plans to bring the game to PAL-land have been canceled and they hope you look forward to more announcements on new titles (that may or may not actually see a release and if they do, you probably don't want them).  On just about any platform but the 3DS, this would be regrettable, but not -completely- irredeemable.  However, since the Region Lock thing persists on the 3DS (I'm not sure if it's something that can just be disabled, of course, probably not) it means that Europeans really have no means of playing Rune Factory 4 unless they also import a North American 3DS.

One has to wonder if this has anything to do with the shuttering of Neverland and the shaky future that the Rune Factory series seemed to have because of it.  This is certainly not a welcome follow-up to that case if it's connected (it would almost have to be, I think) and I can't help but just wonder about the future of Rune Factory all over again.  It's basically my favorite version of Harvest Moon now with the absolute abundance of things to do, and I really just want it to continue, since I know there'll apparently -always- be Harvest Moon games regardless.  I want to have both, basically.  Though, I'm sure Europe wants the same as well, and it just remains to be seen how things are going to go in the near future here.

If you've paid attention to the Mobile Games scene for the last few months, or hell, even just watched TV, there's a good chance you've heard of Candy Crush Saga.  It's sort of risen up as the second coming of Angry Birds in that sort of "Why do people actually like this game?" way.  It's essentially a Bejeweled clone with some different mechanics from what I've seen, and from that base, they've branched out into other games genres to spawn other games that make liberal use of the word "saga" (Bubble Witch Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, etc.) which is kind of the problem here.  Or, rather, half of the problem.  You see King, the developer of the Saga games, has decided to file a trademark for the words "Candy" for use on pretty much everything (games, clothing, etc.) and "Saga" for games primarily.  Even stranger is the fact that the application for "Candy" was approved.

Now, a trademark is not a patent, which is the thing people make money off of.  This is a point of contention that seems to be going around the internet, because people seem to think that King did this so they can extort royalties from everything else that dares use "Candy" in its title.  That's most certainly not the case, and even if it were, I'm sure Hasbro would have a very stern something to say to them about that  But it's okay!  King went on record saying that they 'will not enforce against all uses', just the ones that are clearly infringing on their branding and/or game.  Which is fine and all until you realize that they're not allowed to do that.  Trademark law requires that you -fight- to keep your trademark since it's clearly an important part of your business strategy in that case and allowing it to be infringed upon cheapens it and weakens your claim.  So....basically don't expect them to hold it for very long.

Now, about them 'not enforcing against all uses' where "Candy" is concerned, apparently nobody got that memo for "Saga", because they've requested legal action against Stoic for The Banner Saga.  The Banner Saga is a game that was Kickstarted for the PC and Mac, with other platforms in the works potentially (hopefully) including the Playstation Vita.  The Banner Saga is also not a game that has anything to do with King's works in anyway - there's no overlap because King works in the mobile space - and their complaint -solely- rests on the fact that their games entirely end with "Saga" and so does "The Banner Saga".  This is a -classic- Trademark infringement case, harkening back to the Scrolls debacle between Bethesda and Mojang where Bethesda had the absolute gall to actually request recompense as well.  As the 'Saga' trademark has not been approved, it's hard to say what the hell King is thinking at this point, but I can't foresee them getting away with this one.

Finishing up tonight's festivities is another heaping scoop of 'dumb' involving Alienware and the phenomenon known as a "Steam Machine".  Steam Machines are something that are still mostly nebulous in concept for me, in that I'm still hazy on how it proves to be a stand-alone box when a majority of its games (at the start at least) will have to be streamed through your Machine by your PC, thus only really granting the 'Living Room Experience' (take a shot) which can already be achieved with a normal PC and Big Picture mode.  But even I know that the main strength of the Steam Machine is its ability to meld the set specs and development consideration of a Console with the ability to be upgraded and customized as a PC.  I'm pretty sure -everyone- knows that, that that's pretty much the entire point of the machine.

Everyone except Alienware, apparently.  I'm, uh...I'm just going to quote this here.
"Lifecycle wise, consoles update every five, six, seven years. We will be updating our Steam Machines every year," Azor said.

There will be no customization options in Alienware's Steam Machines, Azor continued: "You can't really update it." Customers will have small range of configurations to choose from, such as more memory or a faster CPU, he said. Those who want to beef up their machines on their own are better off with a standard PC, Azor noted – after all, anyone can turn a PC into a Steam Machine by buying a Steam Controller and downloading SteamOS.

"If you actually want to customize your Alienware Steam Machine, maybe change your graphics card out or put in a new CPU, you would be better off with the standard Alienware X51. This particular product is restricted in its upgrade options."
This is honestly a little impressive because this is a scenario I never would have imagined possible.  It's something that shouldn't exist in nature.  You see, there's missing a point entirely, and then there is this, which grossly misinterprets every ideal that a product is supposed to espouse and it manages to appear as the sacrificial lamb to encourage you to simply buy their other products instead.  It's astounding.  It has astounded me.  I am properly astounded.

Yearly refreshes, non-customizable and spoken of as an inferior product by reference.  (Because seriously, 'if you want to mess around with it, just buy a PC' is not saying anything positive for this thing)  That's the triple play right there.  The Triple Play of "Who in the fuck taught you PR?"  I just....don't even know what else to say about that one.

this post was brought to you by the letter 'duuuurrrrrrrrrr'

1 comment:

  1. I was so sad for the Europeans upon hearing about the Rune Factory 4 cancellation. I've just recently really gotten into the games, and hearing that Neverland closed down was heartbreaking. I'm really worried for the future of Rune Factory now.

    And I don't even know what to say about The whole Candy Crush Saga thing. That's just bizarre.

    The Girly Gamer