Contracts in the Gaming Industry

Contracts are agreements between 2 or more parties which are based around and enforced by the law, if you were to break this contract you would most likely be breaking the law and end up in court. Contracts are almost always written down as proof of it ever existing.

They’re many different kinds of contracts:

Employment Contract:  The contract you would sign when getting a job some where. This contract would have you agree to all the regulations set in place by the employer so if you break them you could be fired.

NDA (None Disclosure Agreement): This is a contract you would sign when working on a project that isn’t public, it would either limit or completely stop you from being to speak about it openly. You also sign these when testing early build games.

Development Contract: This is a contract between a developer and a publisher, it will cover who gets what out of the profits, production on sequels, what would happen if either party is dissatisfied.

Distribution Contracts: These would be between the Publisher and Distributor, it would cover the release date, special editions, collectibles and exclusive content.

Advertising Contracts: This would be between the developer and the publisher, they would use the contract to agree on things such as the style. how much they will spend on the advertising, what kind of content the advertising will have and who will be doing it.

An example of a contract being broken and being taken to court would be the Fallout MMO case between Interplay and Bethesda , where they were fighting over who had rights to its IP. They were also claiming that releasing the Fallout Trilogy pack would have caused confusion since it included Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics instead of Fallout 1, 2 and 3. In the end Bethesda payed $2 million for Interplay to end their claims against it.

I believe contracts are a very good thing as they assure that all the parties will do as they promised and if they don’t they will be able to do something about it.

Legal Issues in the Gaming Industry

When making a game you have to make sure that you are not breaking the law by copying a product that already exists whether you intended to or not, but you also want to make sure that no one out there can copy or steal your product idea.

You do this through claiming the following:                                                           Copyrights                                                                                                                                 Trademarks                                                                                                                               Patents                                                                                                                                           Design rights

Copyrights are when you claim the rights to  a certain product.             Trademarks are when you claim the rights to a franchise or title that represents the product.                                                                                                   Patents help protect the way your product works so no one can copy it can claim that it is different through slight things like a different name or color.                                                                                                               Design Rights let you claim legally that you were the one to come up with the design of the product.

A case of copy right infringement in the gaming industry that happened a few years ago was EA who sued Zynga for making a game that was “a complete clone of Sims Social,” which was named The Ville, they also claimed that they strategically hired 3 of their executives for the sole purpose of making the “clone,”

zynga01

As you can see they’re almost identical so you can see why EA filed this suet.

A recent new trademark that has been brought up was King (The Developer and Publisher of Candy Crush) who claimed the trademark of the word “Candy,”  which he claims is too try and stop outright copycat games that are trying to ride on the success of Candy Crush, however it is also obvious that some innocent games will end up getting in trouble because of this, and they may not have the resources to be able to defend themselves.

An example of a Patent infringement would be the counter sue that Microsoft pulled off on Datel. Datel where trying to sue Microsoft for “deliberately harming competition,” so Microsoft tried suing them for copying the designs of the Xbox controller. In the end they settled their lawsuits and both parties were satisfied with the outcome although the outcome has not been made public.

(Need a design infringement)

I personally believe that these things come with good reason, as you don’t want someone to take something you own. How ever as with all good things they can be exploited for profit and all these probably are, well they aren’t exploited but are taken out of hand, like King claiming the word Candy shouldn’t have been accepted as it is a very common word in the world and in the gaming industry as well.

Ethical Issues in The Gaming Industry

Ethics are a thing that every industry have to keep in mind when producing a product. Ethics are basically topics which are controversial and based mostly on an opinion or belief on what is right or what is wrong.

This means that when you are producing a game you  will have to keep in mind things that would offend or insult people. However they are some people who produce games for the sake of being controversial and they hope for a massive reaction from people and the media.

The main Ethical topics of the gaming industry are:                                            Violence                                                                                                                                          Sexual Content                                                                                                                          Racism                                                                                                                                                The Sexualisation of Women                                                                                            Game Addiction                                                                                                                          Freedom of Speech (Can you really do what you want?)

Violence in video games is often told to make the people who play the games more violent, this debate will probably never be proven either way but it will still continue for the life time of games. Because of this game developers have to keep in mind how violent they want  there games to be and just how much gore they want in it.

Call of Duty and GTA are the games which the pin is usually placed on for blaming real life crimes on video games as they’re the most popular games on the market, and since they’re shooters it’s easy to blame any violent acts on them. But it is true that most popular games out there are violent and this may have a link with what our society is interested in.

An Example of the violence in video games effecting the industry would be the case of a shooting in Russia which led to the government looking at their laws on the distribution and the censorship of their games, they came close to banning video games with any violent content. This was because the shooter was seen to have loved the game ManHunt.                                                                                       (Full article here http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/mcvuk/stream/~3/wrPkudz7IxA/0106212)

Total Biscuit who is a popular YouTube content creator has made a video about this making quite a few points about the topic of violence  in video games and violence in reality. He shows statistics such as the crime rate related to the release of the most controversial games.

Total Biscuit is a gaming critique so he will definitely be biased to this side of the argument  however that does not make everything he say false, he did a lot of research before making the video and got facts before adding his own opinion to the topic, his opinion is the same as mine, in the way that Violence in video games is not going to turn someone violent, however someone who already is violent may be influenced by it.

Trends Blog No.3

Game Financing & Crowd Funding                                                                             Article : http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/and-the-crackdown-3-announcement-is-an-indie-publishing-deal-between-ruffian-and-square-enix/0127255

This article talks about how a new deal between Ruffian and Square Enix to help make a new indie game called Game of Glens. It also mentions that they are not obligated to sign with Square Enix and can leave after they get there projects funded. They can do this through the platform called Indiegogo that is crowd funding based website like KickStarter that allows people who would like to see the product made give the project money. The article shows how indie developers are getting a lot more support then what they used to get, and how publishers are willing to invest in indie companies now, instead of just asking for them to work on AAA Titles.

I think that supporting Indie Developers not only gives the company a positive reputation but also keeps the gaming industry healthier as there will be more games and a lot more variety.

Early Access and Beta Access                                                                           Article: http://www.polygon.com/2014/1/27/5351296/the-mighty-quest-for-epic-loot-enters-open-beta-feb-25

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot announced They are going into a public Beta next month (February 25th) , they have been in closed Beta for quite some time now. Early Access and Beta Access games have become increasingly popular over the last year with games like MineCraft, Don’t Starve and Loadout being quite popular ones, and are still successful games with MineCraft and Don’t Starve selling millions. This can be seen as a good thing as you have an overwhelming amount of QA Testers and you are gaining money from your project which can go towards speeding up the final release and improving the game before its final release. How ever a lot of people will see them as being lazy or greedy for releasing an unfinished project.

I think that Early Access is a good thing so long as they actually finish the project and it isn’t left in a never-ending beta like what almost happened to MineCraft.

 

 

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Digital V Physical                                                                                                             Article: http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/ea-expects-console-full-game-digital-download-growth/0127355

EA has said how they believe that by next year most people will be downloading all of there games instead of  purchasing them in stores, they believe that people will be purchasing full games and downloading them  through the Xbox Store as it is more convenient, they say this but say it is too early to be sure and they will wait for next fall to find out for sure.

I believe that Digital will grow but with the size of the games being over 30GBs in most cases people will probably like to just purchase them in store where it will be faster.

 

Trends Blog No.2

Hardware Predicted & Actual Sales                                                                     Article: http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/nintendo-slashes-wii-u-sales-forecast-from-9m-to-2-8m/0126872

The Wii Us expected sales went from 9 million to just 2.8 million which is less than a 3rd of what they expected initially. This would have put Nintendo in a really bad position to the public and in a business point of view. This is still just there expected sales and if they don’t reach this target Nintendo will have even more problems. How ever the Wii U isn’t the only thing that has had its expected sales cut as the 3DS has also gone down from 18 million to 13.5 million in hardware. The software estimates have gone down from 80 million to just 66 million. As said earlier, these are all predictions, they may not even reach these.

I think that this can show just how badly you can mess up with predictions, if you have them to high than you will have warehouses full of useless products and if its too low then theirs not going to be enough for everyone. I believe that the Wii U will still not reach it’s estimate, but 3DS has a chance to reach their targets.

Online Stores and Sales                                                                                                 Article: http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/dev-warns-that-steam-sales-screw-your-fans/0126803

The article is talking about how sales, particularly Steam can screw their fans; it speaks about how if someone had paid full price on the game then a week or two later see it on a sale for 50% off can be an irritant for the fans who purchased the game on release. This happens especially in the fall of the year, where more games are released but you also have Steams Autumn sales and Steams Christmas Sales and chances are a lot of games that just came out will end up on there. The article shows how much of a trend Sales are, they’re becoming extremely common and most developers submit to them.

I believe Sales are a good thing, being a game lover I prefer not to spend a lot on the games I play. I can see that it could be seen as problematic for some people but it’s entirely their choice so it’s not like they’re being scammed or ripped off. I think Sales will continue to go on, and it might even get to the point that a game goes on sale a day or two after release.

Season Pass & Episodic                                                                                                       Article: http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/double-fine-repackages-broken-age-as-season-pass-offering/0126733

Double Fines “Broken Age,” was originally planned to be included as an early access title, this is where they release the game stating that it is an unfinished product and still needs development. But they decided to go with an episodic release, this makes more sense  since the game is not exactly in Beta or Alpha but only has half the game so releasing the over half as another episode seems a bit more logical. They will be releasing 2 Acts, Act 1 which will be released to the public on the 28th of January 2013, and Act 2 with no confirmed release date. When you purchase the game you will get the Season Pass with it, which gives you access to the second Act for free when it is released. The Article also mentions how they will be bringing the game to iOS, Android, and Ouya at some point. This also shows that developers want to get into the Mobile market as it is a very large and popular market. 

I believe that the Episodic release of this game is the better choice as the game is not broken or full of bugs, it is well polished and plays well, where as most other games that are early access are buggy or broken. Early Access games although popular are always given negative connotations such as game breaking bugs, but Episodic games are just seen as normal games that are released over time.

A Trailer for “Broken Age,”

Trends Blog No.1

Game Industry Growth Article: http://www.gamesbrief.com/2011/12/how-large-is-the-online-and-mobile-games-market/

This article shows the growth of the industry of games; it has them in categories starting with the general market then spreading to the mobile and social sides of them. The article says that in the US alone it is earning around $21.6 billion, this is very good news for the gaming industry as it shows just how alive the industry is especially with the recent release of the new generation consoles. You can see other trends in this article, such as Mobile and tabloids uprising where is proclaims that around 70% of the markets total revenue comes from App stores. Virtual Goods are also mentioned, it predicts that by 2015 the market of Virtual Games will be worth $22 Billion. Social V Hardcore gaming is mentioned, they predict that by 2015 the social market alone will be $9 billion and will be the most dominant type of gaming on the market. Overall the Article shows  the expected growth of the gaming general, and it looks extremely positive so far.

(Taken from the article)

With this article I will predict that the gaming industries profits will slowly rise over the next year, and during this festive season it will probably shoot up.

Crowdfunding: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/208595/The_game_that_Kickstarted_the_industry_goes_out_to_crowdfunders.php

This article talks about the extremely successful Kickstarter project “A Double Fine Adventure,” the project raised over $3 million, and was a huge milestone for Kickstarter and crowd funding in general. The project shown the gaming industry that crowd funding is a very good source of funding if you can pull it off properly; many developers followed this one of them being Ronimo Games, who used this format as a source to fund there Awesomenauts downloadable content.

Double fines Kickstarter Pitch Video

I think from this article that crowdfunding will still be a source of funding used mostly by indie companies, I think it will slowly become more popular with developers over the next few years.

Digital V Physicalhttp://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/gamestop-stock-drops-in-wake-of-playstation-now-reveal/0126475

Here we are told that the launch of PS Now is supposedly the reason that GameStops’ stock, apparently dropping by 9%, the article then starts to talk about how Sony say that they do not believe this to be the case. The article speaks about how Sony believe that this will not affect the store by so much, they believe the number will be much lower if anything.

I believe that Sony’s PS Now will affect Gamestop a little as it stops them from gaining money from pre-owned games and older games as it is much more convenient to stream/download the older games and play them through this. I believe the decrease of sales will be below 10%

Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag Review

Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag is the most recent game for the Assassins creed series. It takes place in the colonised Caribbean and you play as Edward Kenway, a man who wants to make enough money to provide for his wife back in England. The game starts off pretty slow but picks up its pace after an hour or so. The game really starts once you gain the ability to board and steal from other Ships it’s fun and a little challenging, unless your picking on little gunboats and schooners, taking down 3 Man of Wars at once feels extremely rewarding but is extremely difficult.  The story line itself is great you get to see the transformation of Kenway from an pirate to a true assassin.