Telegraphed Gazette. 2/3 March 2013
Ladies and gentlemen welcome back to another edition of the Telegraphed Gazette: my name is Vince, bringing you the latest round-up of news and comments from the games industry, and from Quebec, as well as a few select stories. Coming up in today’s edition: Mythics’ free-to-play game is closing down, two parents are refused a refund by apple after their son spends a little too much on a free iPad game, a Montreal coffee shop is punished by the OQLF for having an extra ‘F’ in their name, and Bishops University faces steep budget cutbacks.
The free-to-play game Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes is closing down due to financial issues. The article on Gamasutra.com reports that the producer, James Casey, states that the game will close down as the experiment of the free to play title was a success, but was unable to present financially sustainable goals in the long run. Casey also states that the game was a way for the developers to test their server technology, and that overall there was a huge amount of lessons learned from this experiment that he and his studio undertook. Now this situation is of no surprise to me for a few reasons: the game itself was lackluster in that it was unable to provide any meaningful game play aside from Arena-style matches that centered only on a handful of maps, the character design was static and offered no options of customization, and finally there was already a Warhammer Online game out on the market for those who were part of the diehard fan base. What Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes did was it essentially extracted the arena matches from Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, and just turned it into its’ own game. Now I am aware that there is a market out there for those wishing to play just arena-style matches, but at least those games offer customization options as well as unique encounters along the way. Wrath of Heroes simply did not have the means to become an interesting free-to-play game, and with the free-to-play market swarming with top quality games, Wrath of Heroes should – in all respects – go to an early grave so the company Mythic can focus on their actual MMORPG – Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning – rather than try to monetize from a lackluster title. The link to the full article is in the address below.
A young boy and his parents are refused a full refund from Apple after the boy racks up a £1700 bill while playing a free to play game on his parents’ iPad. Now an update was placed on the article from Eurogamer.net in which Apple had finally agreed to refund the parents the full amount that their son spent. Now the story is one I have heard of before; kid plays a free-to-play game, and racks up a large bill because he or she wants to get a few weapons or power upgrades. Now what upsets me is parents STILL do not understand how these devices work, and THEY are the ones using it for professional duties! Yes a game is free-to-play, but parents should – if the device is capable of making transactions – monitor the game and just read up on it through the internet. Come on people, computers can make financial transactions, and when a child goes onto these devices, they are unaware of some of the items in-game that can only be acquired via real world money, rather than in-game currency. The boy in the article looked to be no more than six to eight years of age: children on devices that can conduct financial transactions need to be monitored. Yes the kid stated that the item was “free,” but if YOUR son or daughter runs up to you with a diamond necklace and says it was free, would you believe them? Honestly people, you do not have to become a fascist dictator to keep an eye on your kids once in a while to ensure that they are not making financial transactions without knowing what it is in reality. No, this does not mean you have to restrict them from the use of technology period – as it will handicap them in the future – rather just do what a responsible parent would do and actually watch what they are doing. When they get older – say 13 to 14 years of age – then it is time to start considering that they are in a position to understand right from wrong. I am tempted to say that some people should not be parents, but this world is not perfect, and neither is the parents themselves: even those who try their best may end up doing more harm than good in the end. Parenting and the complexities of modern-day life ladies and gentlemen, the link to the article is below this paragraph.
Things could not get any crazier in the city of Montreal as the language laws enforcement department, the Office Quebecois de la langue francaise, has decided to punish a coffee shop in the Mile End of Montreal for having an extra “f” in cafe. The owner of the shop was previously fined for signage infractions, but now the OQLF has decided that the extra ‘F’ in the word cafe is unacceptable and has moved in to place strikes on the owner of the establishment. Now “Caffe” is spelt with two letter “F”s as the owner wanted to show off the coffee shop’s Italian roots, but apparently the OQLF finds this offensive and only wants French signage to be on display all over Montreal. The situation is rather fascinating as only a week ago the OQLF has attacked an Italian restaurant for having the word “pasta” on its’ menu. It would appear that the OQLF has started to go beyond its’ purpose and is going about striking at businesses for the smallest of details; all of which paints a very negative picture of the OQLF. Originally the OQLF was established to ensure that Quebecers could get services in French when they asked for it, but over the years it seems that the department has begun to take more draconian steps towards exterminating other languages from Quebec. There is not much else to day, apart from how disgusted I am regarding how the OQLF conduct themselves. Certainly they have other more important matters to attend to than simply poking at little cultural signage: perhaps a reduction in their office would be in order? It would seem that the 3.4 million dollar – and I am working off my memory so bear with me – increase in their budget was misallocated as they seem to have run out of things to do over there. Heavy-handed tactics is not the answer, and will only result in businesses leaving Quebec, further reducing its’ economic growth down to nothing. Now I will stop short of asking for the disbandment of the OQLF, as I fully understand the reasoning behind their inception; but overall I wish they would stop going about poking at very minor details like a single letter, or a word used in another language. Anyways, the links to the story as well as related articles are located in the addresses below.
The English-language University in Sherbrooke, Eastern Townships known as Bishops University is facing some tough times ahead according to the newspaper the Sherbrooke Record. The university – along with the other Quebec universities – faces 250 million dollars in cuts over the next two years: a situation that can be best summed up as more of: “a curse than a blessing” (Sherbrooke Record, 2013). The rest of the story you can pretty much guess: obvious signs of the cuts, the negotiations continue, and people are running about performing damage control duties. This song and dance is really nothing new, given the Parti Quebecois and their little agenda, along with a complete mismanagement of financial assets up over there in the National Assembly. What causes me the most pain is seeing these quality schools struggle to get by; a move that is not to be praised as students who are talented and who possess the drive to learn are denied this opportunity all due to either a lack of space with budget cuts, or simply the fact that their program has been axed from the list of programs available in order to cut costs. Remember that professors are not cheap to hire, and a university with all its assets and functions is not easily maintained on just a few bucks: this price tag is even higher for research institutions who also need money to conduct their research both at the graduate level as well as for individual professors wishing to add another project to their portfolio. There is just nothing else to say that most of you have not already heard from my previous editions: it is very sad to see this happen and I truly wish them all the best as they fight to survive through these dark days. The link to the story is located in the address below.
That concludes this week’s edition of the Telegraphed Gazette. Apologies for this rather late edition: proofreading was not complete, and I am a sticker for quality, so I had to hold it back until every inch was at least presentable. Tune in next week for another round up of news and comments. My name has been Vince, and I will see you next time.