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Controversy Over GTA V Modding Shutdown

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You want to know what’s not smart? Pissing off your fans, and the people who buy your games. What is a way to easily piss off everyone? Don’t let them make free modifications to something. We’ll use cars as an example. Enthusiasts will often start customizing a car, and that can void the original warranty. But that doesn’t mean you take away somebody’s car for modding it. Or outright banning custom parts to said car. That, effectively, is what is happening with GTA V. Take-Two Interactive, the parent company behind Grand Theft Auto V shutdown the popular modding tool Open IV. And boy has that backfired.

What followed was an absolute hailstorm of bad press. Over the past 30 days, 88% of the 43,000 reviews on Steam for GTA V, have been negative. After sending cease-and-desist letters, and threatening legal action, Take-Two forced Open IV to close their doors and shut down the mods. OpenIV, a popular modding tool for the Grand Theft Auto series for nearly a decade had to shut down or get their pants sued off by the developers. Before I get on my soapbox, let’s look at each side on the issue.

Take-Two’s Stance on GTA V ModdingTake-Two_Interactive

Let’s make one thing clear. Technically speaking, Take-Two does have the authority to do this. Mostly. Most video games, especially on Steam, go through what’s called DRM, or Digital Rights Management. This gives Publishers a lot of copyright protection and a lot of power when it comes to ownership of the game. In fact, players don’t really own these games so to speak. It’s more like a lease. So while such harsh actions may be less than tasteful, they every right to do it. And for their part, Rockstar, the actual developers under Take Two Interactive have released an official statement.

“Take-Two’s actions were not specifically targeting single player mods. Unfortunately, OpenIV enables recent malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody. We are working to figure out how we can continue to support the creative community without negatively impacting our players.”

Some may see such swift and decisive action as irresponsible. However Grand Theft Auto V has had serious issues with hackers, cheaters, harassers and the like. And action does need to be taken. This obviously isn’t a perfect answer, but it is an answer. And again, we’ll go back to the car metaphor. Yes, car enthusiasts do in fact modify their cars to their exact taste. But if you look at the average consumer, they just need something to get from point A to point B.

The only time they make any kind of changes or fixes they usually go to a professional. And the majority of people who played GTA V don’t use mods. Anytime a bug or other issue arises players will often wait for a patch or talk to Rockstar customer support. Or just sit and complain. So this doesn’t affect the majority of players, while it tries to fix an issue that can affect all of them. That being said, look at the other side. Because frankly, I’m tired of playing devil’s advocate

The Case for Modding in GTA V

Ratings for the game are... FREE FALLING!

Ratings for the game are… FREE FALLING!

It is true, that cheaters and hackers need to be taken down. They run the risk of ruining everybody’s time with the game. It can also lead to harassment, possible identity theft, or worse. But that does NOT mean you need to stop people from freely expressing their ideas for no monetary gain. These people are not charging for the mods. (Mostly.) Many of them are just trying to make the game even more enjoyable. And instead, it’s being perceived as a threat to the profitability of the game. This would be like saying we need to clamp down on the freedom of speech because of hate speech by neo-nazis, white supremacists, or religious extremists.

Additionally, modifications can be used as an impromptu patch of sorts. Again, we’ll use the car metaphor. Sure, you could go to a professional to get your muffler checked out. Or, you can go to your friend, who’s a mechanic anyways and ask him for some help. Just because somebody isn’t a professional, doesn’t mean they aren’t skilled and able to help. Besides, modifications are an important part of gaming culture. A lot of huge games today came from modifications. To name a few would include: The Stanley Parable, Team Fortress, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike.

And finally, we need to look at possibly the most important perspective. The player perspective on GTA V. People love playing this game. But that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect game, and players deserve to get what they’re paying for. And let’s not pretend like take-two Interactive are saints. The in-game currency for GTA V has microtransactions up to $100! So you’re telling me, players need to pay $60 for the game and then an extra $100 to get past a lot of boring grinding for money? The players, not strippers. And these players have made their voices heard.

I’ve already mentioned the 30,000+ negative reviews in less than 30 days. Some of the comments in the reviews give some honest, biting criticism.

Rondo “Hackers ruined online and Rockstar let them”

Domino’s Pizza “The singleplayer was fantastic. But between the lack of content released for single player, and the fact that Take Two took down OpenIV, the framework for the single player modding community, it’s rather obvious that the publishers are using this game as a cash grab, forcing multiplayer content updates and pushing in game currency that costs more than the game did at launch.

In short, great game, terrible (and shady) business practices, especially from an AAA dev and publisher.”

The list goes on and on. A comment in this aside from the obvious criticism towards modding practices was a petition. This petition is meant to give support for Open IV. Currently it has over 57,000 supporters. And the number continues to grow and grow. So what is your opinion? Should take to be able to protect their game as they see fit? Or should players be able to change the game to provide for the most enjoyable experience for themselves? Your opinion matters, and we would love to hear from you in the comments.

I've always been a gamer. Way back when I was sitting on the basement floor with my sister playing Spyro and Madden '99 I knew what my future was. Gaming. Now I try to squeeze as much gaming in as possible when I'm not in class at Bellarmine University.

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Star Wars Outlaws has Ubisoft’s biggest marketing budget ever, and the company expects it to have a strong launch

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Ubisoft is putting everything they have into Star Wars Outlaws, which comes out next month on August 30th for PS5. The fact that the name includes “Star Wars” shouldn’t come as a surprise when you learn that the company is putting a lot of money into marketing the project and thinks it will do very well.

The CEO of Ubisoft, Yves Guillemot, made the bold claim during the company’s recent earnings call Q&A (thanks, MP1st), though some investors thought it was even more daring than they thought. Based on Ubisoft’s guidance, Nick Dempsey of Barclays came up with a rough estimate of five million units sold and asked if the company was being too cautious. This is what Guillemot said:

“What we expect is for Star Wars Outlaws to have a strong launch.” One reason is that it’s one of the most anticipated games of the year, which shows how positively the community feels about it. Another is that we’re launching the biggest marketing campaign Ubisoft has ever done for a game.

We’d like to know how much Ubisoft spent to market this and what the company expects to get back from it. We had some small worries when we played the game in person at Summer Game Fest, but we’ll keep an eye on things before and after launch.

Are you excited about how soon Star Wars Outlaws will be out? Do you think the game’s supposedly huge marketing budget has an impact on your life? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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Amazon’s great Fallout TV show is nominated for 16 Emmys

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Critics and fans alike went crazy for Amazon’s take on the famous role-playing game series Fallout. There were a lot of nominations for 16 Emmy awards, including Best Actor and Outstanding Drama Series. The show was able to reach audiences outside of gamers and got a lot of attention from the industry.

Eurogamer has been keeping track, and now that all the votes are in, Fallout is tied for fifth place with 23 nominations for the 76th Emmy Awards, which are put on by the US Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. With 25, The Bear has the most nominations, followed by True Detective: Night Country with 23, and Shogun with 19.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Walton Goggins is up for Best Actor for his performance as The Ghoul. Although games will always be our first choice, it’s great that adaptations of games don’t have to be awful, and we can’t wait for the next season of the shows.

Are you surprised by how well Amazon’s version of Fallout has done in the mainstream? Is the curse of movies based on video games finally over? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 Sets Dates for the Next Multiplayer Beta

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 is getting closer and closer, and Activision has announced when players will be able to get their hands on the next game. This means that there will be several chances to try it out before it comes out. If you paid a lot, you might be able to play for more than a week at the end of August and beginning of September.

Call of Duty Early Access will run from Friday, August 30th, to Wednesday, September 4th, as announced on its blog. This is two days after the Call of Duty Next showcase, which is set for August 28th. To play, you must have already bought Black Ops 6.

The open beta is the following weekend, and anyone who wants to can join. The fun will start on Friday, September 6th, and end on Monday, September 9th. The full release is set for October 25th of next month on PS5 and PS4.

How excited are you for the next Call of Duty game? Are you going to play Black Ops 6 in either the Early Access or Open Beta versions? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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