The latest weeks have probably been among the most turbulent ones in the brief history of Good Old Games: the retrogaming store has caused controversy, released “new” classic titles of the PC gaming past and has preannounced an important novelty for the product type that will soon be available on its virtual shelves. The digital delivery service created by the Polish publisher CD Projekt is in a sense victim of its own success, and of the ample trust granted by its users as an alternative channel for on-line videogame purchases.
The PC video gaming market is dying, states a certain common thought expressed by publishers and embraced by users unaware of the real facts. The numbers are actually talking about a view that is completely opposed to the one about the perpetual falling of personal computer as a gaming platform worth of the name, an always-evolving platform that continues to grow in revenue and represents a non-secondary part of the entertainment market overall value - estimated in 57 billion dollars in 2009 according to research firm DFC Intelligence.
A few days ago, while summing up the many efforts made by Italian politicians to censor Internet and demolish netizens’ civil rights, I also took the occasion to foresee what could have been happened in the future after the final approval of the infamous three strike law by the French Parliament. What happened in the past days simply confirms the legitimacy of those anticipations and opens the doors, in Italy too, to the ultimate surrender of law and common good to the partisan interests of copyright parasites.
Surely 2009 is the most sensitive year for peer-to-peer and the industry crusade against free on-line contents sharing. In Italy we have the previously discussed issues with the incompetence and obscene servility of our representatives, and moving the attention toward Europe things get even worse if possible. Two in particular are the noticeable questions of these weeks in Europe, the conviction of The Pirate Bay crew and the approval in France of the Sarkozy doctrine also known as three strike law or HADOPI law.
The past weeks have marked an unparalleled escalation of the well known inadequacy and inability of the Italian institutions to deal with the Internet, to live their relation with digital technologies by following logic and rationality rather then emotionalism and violence. Conversely our “dear” rulers and members of Parliament have recently shot out a series of amendments, law drafts and opinions to make you goggle if you believe in the importance of Internet as a democratic tool.
Links & Suggestions # 7: videogame birthdays, pirates, industry assholes, nanometers and super-consoles
If technology is inclined to constantly project itself onward leaving very few room for remembering products that were so popular just some time before, Jake Gyllenhaal acting as the Prince of Persia is convincing as a cactus in a melodrama. If Doom is an historic videogame that deserves to be remembered for its birthday, pirates once again prove to be the only ones capable of saving the media world from the current DRM madness. And if the reading of this paragraph has a meaning for you then I would suggest to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, but a good one. Or the reading of a good grammar book. I am dispensed from the second, at least
No, SIAE has nothing to do with the draft of the bill released by Altroconsumo in the past days. Replying to the clamour provoked by the document floating on-line, a supposed anticipation of the final work of an anti-piracy committee that has just been established, the organization now denies any authorship on it. The denial, anyway, does not explain anything about who wrote that document nor why it is so ostentatiously unbalanced in favour of the interests of SIAE itself.
Congratulations, congratulations, the Technical committee against digital and multimedia piracy is born in the Italian ruling rooms, seriously determined to defeat the file sharing phenomenon and above all to have a special care for the industry associations’ desires, whose only purpose has always been to pull out money from any single bit moved on-line. SIAE (the Italian RIAA) is already giving rigorous orders on what to do, so much for the good intentions on the will to listen to representatives of all the parts interested to the matter.
RIAA and the recording majors have said it pretty clearly, that they plan to abandon the path of the legal persecution of single file sharing users to focus on the direct cooperation of ISPs. Waiting to see what such strategy shift will actually mean, for now the USA labels association is engaged on more fronts including those courts which have served for its crusade against P2P.
The Conficker worm, also known as Downup, Downadup or Kido, is floating around since October 2008. Security firms know it pretty well, and in the past days the malware has become known as much well to users too having infected a significant amount of machines all over the world. We have returned to the “good” old times of Sasser, Blaster and Mydoom outbreaks, and the already worrisome proliferation of the worm threatens to get even worse because of some conditions that increasingly support its spreading.
The holidays between the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 haven’t been particularly pleasant for RIAA and the music majors: the America most hated organization (at least as of Internet) is (supposedly) about to change its legal strategy against file sharing by directly engaging providers, but meanwhile one of these ISP raises a monetary issue that does not promise an easy start for the bizarre joint venture between copyright owners and connectivity providers.
In what sounds as an unexpected and dangerous development of the lasting industry’s war against the P2P users, last Friday the Wall Street Journal has reported that RIAA, after years of intimidations, mistakes, twistings and abuses of the USA judiciary system now wants to change strategy, dismissing its mass lawsuits campaign to focus on the “next level” of the prearranged plan with which the majors would like to survive to the technological progress while keeping forever the privileges from a past (anyone should have this clearly in mind) that will never come back.
This new round up of sparse suggestions has heterogeneity as its distinctive mark. I mean, here we’re trying to keep together a zombiecon with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Google fiascos with the possible future ones by Microsoft, the usual crap on P2P and even the ostracism by Western Digital for the SSD technology! I need a 36 hours-long day, definitely
He is a long-time supporter of the utter uselessness of intrusive protection technologies against videogaming piracy, and now Brad Wardell, Stardock’s CEO, takes up the challenge turned to him by the industry by working on a minimal security system that could be good for the labels and at the same time would satisfy the users’ need to not to be pointed out as pirates dangerous for society and business.
Roberto Maroni’s occupation is Minister of the Interior for the Italian government, but in his spare time he enjoys to listen to music and, above all, to download it on the P2P. He has never hided it, and he has confirmed this attitude in the last days too, during a meeting with the press at Varese, where he has attended before his participation to Il Festival del Racconto. Accidentally but not too much, the Minister statements come after the establishment of the well known committee against digital piracy under the Prime Minister’s Office, which would like just to fight the file sharing that Maroni periodically advocates.
As widely reported in the news, the preventive seizure (call it “censorship”, “block”, or whatever) of the access to The Pirate Bay from the Italian territory has finally been revoked by a decree of Bergamo Court. Called upon by the Bay admins’ lawyers, the Reexamination Judges have reconsidered the legitimacy of the previous ruling of the Court, deciding that the seizure was essentially illegal. Many, almost anyone have rushed to crow for TPB and the P2P in general, clearly having no clues on the fact that a new storm is about to appear on the horizon, a storm even more dangerous of the simple block of a single website, potentially capable of making, if possible, more tightening and unfair the yet absurd law against file sharing effective in Italy.
Electronic Arts, the videogames multinational dedicated to the production of endless sequels and to the havoc of creative energies within the small and talented software houses, has once again been able to break up a potential masterpiece and to change it into a chance for controversy, criticism and furious debate about the usual copy protections useful only for losing customers.
Even if it’s technologically way ahead of any state of the art console, PC videogaming is often viewed as an industry in an identity crisis, on the edge of failure and suffering of ancient and purulent evils like piracy and selling of counterfeit media. In response of this unfavorable view - what is more contradicted by facts - the software house Stardock has brought a “Bill” of fundamental “Rights” for who plays on PC, a desirable behavioral handbook for videogames producers.
The recurring theme of this new round of scattered suggestions is the lie. The lie of politicians, that in the United States have turned the citizens rights in waste paper and then have provided legal safe-conducts for the involved telcos, the lie of tobacco companies used to kill their customers with radiations and the lie of majors which continue to talk about “theft” every time a digital copy of an audio track is shared on P2P.