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News: NCsoft net profit down 43% on write-off

News: NCsoft net profit down 43% on write-off - NCsoft has released Q1 financial results, reporting a drop in net profit of 43% related to a write-off of development costs [GamesIndustry.biz news]

Wow, I wonder if that's going to be the standard practice -- start up a niche game, then cancel it to blame their losses on. They're 2 for 2, so far...

- Snipehunter

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Columnist: GTA IV “Stimulates Dark Impulses”

Columnist: GTA IV “Stimulates Dark Impulses” -

In the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune, columnist Katherine Kersten has a lengthy whine about Grand Theft Auto IV:

Games like GTA IV stimulate and glamorize our dark impulses. They create a taste for the psychological thrill that can come from dominating and degrading others. They encourage us to strip our fellow human beings of their dignity, and view them merely as objects of violence or sexual desire.


The hazards of violent games will only increase as new, more advanced technologies like the Wii system take hold… you can act out a game physically.

The average 32-year-old man who plays violent video games — and spends his free hours fantasizing about murdering passersby and roughing up strippers — is likely to be someone’s husband and father. What qualities of character will his wife find when she looks to him for love, steadiness and fidelity?


And when his young son looks to Dad as a role model — well, that’s the problem, isn’t it?

[Game Politics]

So... I happen to be 32, at least for a few more weeks... I also happen to be fairly average, at least in terms of a game consumer...

So, is it a surprise to any of you that I don't think of the GTA game world in that way, at all? I certainly don't fantasize about murdering passersby or roughing up strippers in my free hours... even when I'm playing GTA IV. So, who is she talking about, again?

I don't think someone with such dark thoughts is average, at all. Nor do I think that GTAIV generates those dark thoughts -- I think mental disorder causes those dark thoughts. At best - and I use that word with a wince on my face - GTA IV is a catalyst, and to that I can only say, "If it's true the same must also be said of books, television and movies -- violence is pervasive and part of the culture. You can't fix the problem by pointing at one specific form of media."

We need to grow up, we need to look at this stuff seriously and stop painting with such broad strokes. Games are not the issue; if an issue exists at all, we need to recognize that it's much, much larger than that and we need to act accordingly.

For my own part, I don't really think there is a problem. I think it's a clever device used by people who would like us to remain scared and paranoid because it makes things easier for them. No tin-foil hat stuff here, just some pragmatic politics. Complacent people don't want things to change, but scared people will allow any change that seems to assuage their fears. A LOT has changed in America in the last 8 years, and it's hard to deny that fear is the primary reason.

I think the way to deal with the "problem" of violent media is to admit that we're a violent people. The statistics on violent crime are sort of interesting in that regard. Generally speaking, we grow less violent every year. Who's to say that isn't because we're expressing our violence in non-harmful ways, such as through entertainment media? I won't and can't say either way, but I'm sure someone could make that argument.

Unlike our ancestors, we live in an age where we can be violent and no one has to be hurt as a result, surely that's better for the species than the alternative, right? I mean, the fact that we still fight wars at all suggests we're not done being violent beings, but we're further along the path away from violence than we were 32 years ago, when I was born. Aren't we?

I haven't seen a race riot once, in my life. They still happen - but none have happened in my vicinity the entire time I've been alive... can the generations that weathered 1969 say the same? Maybe video games had a part in that remarkable difference.

Realistically, probably not, but can you honestly say they've made us worse people? The numbers don't back up the claim, so why do people still insist on making it?

I guess, as a species, we still have a long, long way to go.

- Snipehunter Read more»

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Do's and Don'ts for Cinematics -- how about "don't do traditional cinematics," instead?

I saw this on Jake Simpson's Blog this morning:
Do's and Don'ts for Cinematics - Thinking more about what Bruce Evriss touched on the other day regarding cinematics, I put together a list of do's and don'ts for their implementation...

I won't reprint the whole thing - instead, I encourage you to read Jake's point on the matter. While Jake's points are golden, they aren't specifically what I wanted to discuss. Instead, I wanted to ask a more fundamental question:

What's the point? Read more»

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Racist by accident

Have you all read N'Gai Croal's recent interview with the MTV crew?

Oof. I feel sorry for Capcom. Let me be clear about that though - I don't think Capcom is in the right here. Far from it, in fact. I think that whether they meant to be racist or not they were obviously insensitive. That being said, I don't hate them -- I feel pity.

It seems unlikely to me that they deliberately set out to be asshats, but by simply not paying any attention, they created something that is highly offensive. It's not the first time for our industry, either... Read more»

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Some thoughts from an anarchist and demagogue

As an aside, I'll mention that a fellow designer once called me an anarchist. It was mostly unrelated to work in that it was a conversation about censorship and personal responsibility. My stance was that, while people should be accountable for what they do and say, they shouldn't be penalized for the way other people react to what they've said. The example at the time was of someone saying, "I hate you, you really ought to go off yourself" and then watching in horror as the person being spoken to acted on the suggestion. The stance I took was that it was the suicide's responsibility to not kill himself - after all, how can the speaker be held responsible for what goes on in the mind of another person?

I think that the moment we begin to regulate speech, we risk shutting down the exchange of ideas - and that society as a whole suffers for the sake of the thin-skinned or those lacking the self control to police their own reactions. My colleague couldn't disagree more, stating that it was irresponsible to speak when you know it might offend someone and shame on me for saying otherwise. To tell you the truth - I didn't mind the label. I don't believe for a moment that I'm an anarchist, but gods know this world could use a little revolution in thought, so maybe this designer wasn't so far from the mark, in labeling me.

Fast forward a year or so and here I am, the latest in a long line of people whose opinions have inspired a wave of invective from the thin-skinned and those lacking the self control to police their own reactions. I find myself still feeling as I did before... and yet, simultaneously an instigator of what amounts to internet anarchy, at the same time. I guess my colleague and I were both right... You know, in this industry that happens more often than not.... Read more»

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