Category Archives: digital distribution

DuckTales: Remastered – Woo-oo!

It seems to me that DuckTales Remastered doesn’t even need a full review. If you have a PS3, Wii-U (which sounds appropriate, given the property) or Steam, you should have this game. If you have a 360, you should get this game when it’s released in a month. It’s one of the best short platforming games out there. Read the rest of this entry

X-Men: The Arcade Game – theme vs mechanics

X-Men is one of the most popular beat-em-up games to have ever existed in the arcade. It helps that the game featured one of the most well known comic book teams and was often housed in arcade cabinets allowing 6-player simultaneous gameplay, but a bad game wouldn’t have managed to muster the staying power this game had. Actually, I should say has, as the game continued on in the minds of players who encountered it in the early 90’s. When perfect translations of arcade games starting finding their way onto home consoles, X-Men was one of the ones people were most eager to see.

In revisiting it on the Playstation 3, I found myself transported back to a more simple time in video game history. While each of the six characters – Cyclops, Wolverine, Dazzler, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler – were individuated by design, animation and the effect of his or her power, every character played almost exactly the same way. The point of the game, for the most part, was to clear the screen of enemies and move to the right. There was a story to follow, sure, but it’s not one that needed to be followed. Save Kitty Pryde and Charles Xavier from Magneto and other characters were comically made blatantly evil. Sometimes it seems like the game lampshades just how evil it made the characters, although this is made worse by the horrible translation. Magneto spouts some very infamous lines, but none more than, “X-Men, welcome to die!”

In retrospect, that’s pretty polite. Read the rest of this entry

Hulu model in flux

It appears that there is talk of changing Hulu’s current model. Instead of free-for-all streaming of content, they may be moving toward having viewers use their cable subscription credentials for authentication. In other words, Hulu will still be free if you have a cable subscription.

This is an obvious swipe at cord cutters, who immediately reference Hulu and Netflix when discussing how they get occasional television content. The idea is that by withholding Hulu from those who are not paying for cable, it will discourage future cord cutters and possibly persuade previous cord cutters to return to the fold. It’s not a bad plan in the long run. Without Hulu, how else are cord cutters going to watch Community? That’s what NBC Universal, owned by Comcast, is expecting. Read the rest of this entry

Louis CK takes matters into his own hands

What Louis CK knows that most media companies don’t — Tech News and Analysis.

This is the opening salvo for which I’ve been waiting. The war on traditional media distribution has begun, and content creators finally have someone to prop up as an example of success. By the time this post is released, Louis CK has made over $500,000 on his stand up act. It must be noted that he offered it to consumers for $5 in a DRM-free digital format. He has claimed over $200,000 of that for himself. The rest goes to the website, production, etc. The whole venture was a gamble that paid off. Read the rest of this entry

The Public Domain

It is not uncommon these days to be curious about copyright laws and how they became the creature they are today. Not a month goes by without the mention of another lawsuit about someone breaking copyright law, either by copious downloading of material on the internet or by direct reference in something recorded and published. Copyright appears to be this limiting force that somehow costs people thousands of dollars. Honestly, that is all I really knew of copyrights – aside from the obvious “I own the rights to the work, so profits for original sales should go to me.”

Then I discovered James Boyle’s The Public Domain, which he has fittingly offered up for free download. The book is not the complete history of copyright law that I sought. Instead it was an overall easy read about the idea of copyright as well as its evolution to what it is today. It is also a commentary on what it should be. Read the rest of this entry

Is Netflix the future, or will we suffer the wrath of cable companies?

This blog, I assure you, presents absolutely no bias

Netflix has certainly proven itself to be quite the versatile and progressive business in its mere decade of existence. Not only has it all but completely shut down the brick and mortar video rental chains Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video, but it has firmly entrenched itself among the most popular streaming video content providers online. It seems the company has recently become a threat to cable television and television networks because of its offering easy access to video content. Read the rest of this entry

re: This is NOT a reason NOT to pirate DVDs

There was an amusing post about DVD content on BSPCN that prompted an informative and also amusing discussion of sorts on The Consumerist today. Basically, consumers spend hard-earned money on DVDs that often force many, many unskippable ads to be viewed before reaching the featured content. At $15+ (or $20+ for blu-ray discs) per unit, some people find this frustrating. They own the content, so they feel they should be allowed to skip right to it.

The Consumerist discussion, as far as was posted at the time of my writing (50 comments), seems to consist mostly of people discussing their illegal workarounds. Yes, there are people proudly promoting bittorrent, and then there are others discussing the benefits of ripping the content to their hard drives sans ads and FBI warnings. And yes, both activities are illegal. A small minority simply say they stream their rentals via Netflix and all is well. This does not really mean anything in a discussion of items to own. It does seem to be the future, however.

I cannot say I care much for the ads, but DVDs with unskippable ads  afford me the time to fix a snack and find a drink before it confronts me with what is usually a gaudy menu screen with confusing items. What is the difference between a bonus and an extra? And, technically speaking, anything that does not alter the feature itself should be considered an extra/bonus, right? Anyway, like the menu is for me, the ads are just a minor inconvenience.

I once convinced myself that buying DVDs would support and protect things I like. My successes: Veronica Mars, Dollhouse, Wonder Showzen, UC Gundam series, and The Boondocks to name a few. Turns out my money was used to help create new undesirable content on the CW, FOX, and Cartoon Network.The concern for me is the featured content on each disc. At $15 per disc or a godawful markup for a TV series (which costs roughly the same price to make as a movie DVD), I am finding myself less interested in purchasing DVDs. The accessibility that came from ownership used to be the goal, and bonuses were an amazing perk. I’m finding that those aren’t enough because the DVDs coming out aren’t necessarily items I find myself watching enough to make up for the $15+ that the studios and stores don’t deserve.

Really makes video-on-demand services that much more appealing.

Valve compares used games to piracy, says to focus on quality

Doug Lombardi, in a poorly edited article on 1up, implies that used game sales and the lack of numbers supplied by stores like GameStop is similar to piracy because the game is getting out there without any capitol returning to the game’s manufacturer. The best way to counter this is to make quality games. People will buy quality games in effort to support the people who make those games possible. Makes sense to me, since I say it all the time. I’ve known a number of video game pirates over the years, and each one has a damned large collection of legal games because they know what they like. People who are passionate about their habits respond appropriately to the value presented to them. The best thing a game company can do to improve its sales is to imbue it with as much quality as possible.

The future of the internet excludes free content

At least according to some corporate moguls, internet content will cease to be completely free soon. Rather than having users pay for internet access and then browsing freely, sites will likely require subscription fees for access. I’m sure that some people might have problems with this, but that’s fine. These are business, and providing ad space is not enough. It was not enough to make magazine and newspaper subscriptions free, so why should we look at the internet the same way?

In my perfect world’s internet, local newspapers would come back stronger thanks to ad space and paid subscriptions. Residents would have the instantaneous news they’ve come to love over the past few years but with an emphasis on their city and their favorite locales. A low monthly subscription of $3-5 wouldn’t be a bother. Meanwhile, world news still remains free because it gets more than enough hits to compensate with ads alone. Specialty magazines will become specialty sites require a similarly low subscription. If you liked Wired enough to hold a subscription or pay the newsstand price every month, then you can pay $3 a month for access to such great content.

The rest of the internet can remain free. Blogs will always remain free. Who the hell would pay me to access my thoughts? I’m sure people would pay to access Kotaku, but they really shouldn’t. Web comics receive compensation by offering additional services, like anthologies and t-shirts/memorabilia. And if Wikipedia switches over to pay service, it will die.

[Link c/o /.]

RIAA wins $675,000 from user

In a way, Joel Tenanbaum was a file sharer who had it coming. The RIAA didn’t file a suit after simply catching him sharing music. He received his first complaint in 2005 and lied about subsequent complaints until 2008. Tenanbaum was sued by the RIAA for 30 songs, and he was found guilty after admitting that he willingly shared the songs and lied to the company about not knowing what he was doing. It was the dumbest defense he could have, unless he was cocky and sure that they would let him off the hook.

They didn’t, and now each song will cost him $22,500. That’s a lot of money, and it’s not fair. Most people don’t have that kind of money, so what is the point in trying to yank it out of people? I understand that they hope that these trials are reported heavily in the media in an attempt to curb further use of file sharing programs. At the same time, this sort of thing makes people quite resentful of the corporations and very, very likely to find more discrete ways to obtain files. There are various places one can go to have access to a virtual private network, but those vary in their levels of success. That’s not even touching on dark nets, about which I could still stand to learn more. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

It’s mostly disgusting to me that the RIAA is suing so grandly for damages and not a dime goes to the music artists they are supposed to represent. What damages are really being incurred here? Music is getting out for free, but that’s been happening ever since recording devices caught on. It’s the accessibility that’s driving the record industry crazy now.

I just don’t get how a song, which considering current online pricing can only be a maximum of $1.29, can be worth over $20,000. To reach that penalty, it should be necessary to prove that the user uploaded every song to over 17,400 people. I could see a penalty of a few hundred dollars per song, but thousands? That’s absurd and just shows why I don’t exactly support the record industry anymore. What’s the point in supporting an industry that ultimately wants to bankrupt its supporters? But there’s no good way to stand up against them if you like music and want to support your favorite artists – not unless the artists involve themselves in the fight as well. Things like this court case are going to go on for a while until enough artists, popular ones at that, get disenchanted with the record business.