- NCsoft lays off customer support staff in outsourcing transition
Newsbrief: NCsoft has laid off 16 customer support staff at its Austin, Texas location, Polygon reports.
- Get a job: iRacing is hiring a QA Engineer
The Gamasutra Job Board is the most diverse, active and established board of its kind for the video game industry!
Here is just one of the many, many positions being advertised right now.
Location: Bedford, MA
iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations, headquartered in Bedford, MA, was founded in September of 2004 by David Kaemmer, co-founder of Papyrus Racing Games, and John Henry, principal owner of the Boston Red Sox.
iRacing.com’s mission is to create the world’s leading and most authentic PC-based racing simulation and grow a new branch of motorsport through real-time, online competition – otherwise known as simracing.
- Now Warner Bros. has its own spin on Skylanders: LEGO Dimensions
Nintendo and Disney aren't the only game companies taking cues from Skylanders' success: Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment confirmed plans this week to launch its own "toys to life" game, LEGO Dimensions, with its own line of physical LEGO toys that will unlock additional in-game content.
This is notable because until relatively recently, the "toys to life" genre of games didn't really exist on any significant commercial scale; the term was coined by Activision for its remarkably popular Skylanders franchise, which (thanks to toy sales) drummed up more revenue than Call of Duty in the first half of 2014.
Such figures likely account for WBIE's decision to set long-standing LEGO game maker TT Group to developing Dimensions for home consoles, with the goal of shipping it in September as part of a $100 "Starter Pack" that includes three minifigures, a LEGO Batmobile and enough LEGO bricks to build a "Gateway" platform (seen below) to house a sensor pad that can unlock in-game content when LEGO toys (like the included minifigures) are placed upon it.
Following initial release, LEGO and WBIE intend to continue releasing new toys through at least 2016 that will unlock additional characters, items and "mission-based levels" for use in Dimensions. Due to the broad swathe of IP within reach of LEGO and WBIE, this additional content encompasses a wide range of films -- from Back to the Future to The LEGO Movie and The Wizard of Oz.
- EFF and ESA butt heads over DMCA exemption for abandoned online games
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Entertainment Software Association are butting heads over an important issue: should it be legal for owners of online-enabled games abandoned by the manufacturer to modify them, in order to continue playing them?
The EFF thinks so, which is why they filed legal paperwork with the U.S. Copyright Office late last year seeking (among other things) an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for games "that are no longer supported by the developer, and that require communication with a server."
The ESA disagrees, and has filed a lengthy complaint [PDF] spelling out its issues with the proposed exemption, chief among them that it "would jeopardize the availability of these copyrighted works by enabling—and indeed encouraging—the play of pirated games and the unlawful reproduction and distribution of infringing content."
This is an important issue for both game developers and the industry at large: the EFF is effectively aiming to make room for people to modify games and game consoles they own in order to support "continued play, study, and to preserve [games] in a usable state for future generations", with explicit references to circumventing authentication systems that require remote servers and modifying games to connect to third-party servers in the event that their original server infrastructure gets shut down.
But the ESA takes umbrage by (among other things) claiming this exemption could make it okay, in the eyes of the government, for game owners to tinker with game console firmware in order to circumvent authentication systems -- and that's not okay by the ESA, which counts Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft among its members.
"The hacking at issue here—that is, the modification and reproduction of the video game console’s firmware, with all of its attendant consequences—is not a fair use," reads an excerpt of the ESA's complaint.