[Not Massive] Radical Heights’ Unique Concept: Persistent Money

Following the commercial failure of its take on the Overwatch-style hero shooter, Boss Key Productions is coming back swinging by taking on the Battle Royale genre with Radical Heights. In production for the past five months, Radical Heights is set to go live on Steam Early Access very soon. Tomorrow even, as in April 10. And why not take a look at the game when it does release? It’s free, after all. Radical deadlines.

Radical Heights is aping on 80’s aesthetic and radical, tubular dialogue to cosmetically set itself apart from the competition, but one aspect that is rather new to the genre is the idea that player-held cash is persistent between matches, allowing players to hoard cash to hopefully make the next match easier.

Can Boss Key pull out a hit? We’ll find out when the game goes live tomorrow.

(Source: Steam)

[Column] PUBG’s Ridiculous Ownership Claim on the Frying Pan

PUBG Corp has finally decided to pull up its britches and sue NetEase for copying Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, a move that will certainly make for some monumental court precedent. While I do have coverage coming for this 155 page complaint once I get done reading it, one bit that caught my eye was on PUBG Corp’s list of concepts it claims copyright ownership of, the frying pan as a weapon.

Especially the part where PUBG Corp claims that ‘previous shooter games did not include the use of a frying pan.’

“One very beloved aspect of creative expression in BATTLEGROUNDS is the game’s iconic frying pan. Previous shooter games did not include the use of a frying pan… When
so equipped, as a purely artistic and creative expression injecting humor into the game, the frying pan is the only indestructible armor in the game (i.e., armor that can absorb infinite hit points without deteriorating), providing complete protection against projectiles aimed at a character’s posterior. “

Right, except the frying pan has been a comedic weapon in literature popular media for decades, if not longer, likely longer than many of the PUBG Corp employees have been alive. If you want to keep the conversation strictly limited to video games, the frying pan as a humorous weapon has become iconic as far back as 1996 with Princess Peach and the release of Super Mario RPG but can be found in games like Earthbound (1994), Fable (2004), and Conker’s Bad Fur Day (2001). Dead Rising had a frying pan weapon and Dead Rising 2 even utilized the mechanic of having said frying pan block bullets.

Left 4 Dead 2 (2009) had a frying pan as arguably its most powerful melee weapon, which was then transplanted to Team Fortress 2 in 2010 with the sound effect of a successful hit meant to be both humiliating for the player on the receiving end and humorous for the game as a whole.

Full coverage of the lawsuit is on its way, but this is just one of a large number of concepts that PUBG Corp is claiming copyright ownership of that it had veritably no hand in creating, including the phrase “winner winner chicken dinner,” and the concept of starting with nothing and building up an arsenal, or virtually every RPG since the 80’s as well as the Unreal Tournament games, to name two examples.

Forget Civil Court, Tencent Is Sending PUBG Cheaters To Prison

We’ve seen a lot of discussion about the morality of Epic Games suing people, including minors, for advertising their cheats in Fortnite, but while court-enforced injunctions may prevent some cheat makers from re-offending, Tencent over in China is taking a different approach; they’re getting law enforcement involved.

According to a report out of Bloomberg, Tencent has assisted Chinese police in taking down more than 120 people in 30 cases involving the creation and distribution of cheats for PUBG and is branching out into its other titles. The individuals under arrest are being charged with violating China’s criminal laws on disrupting computer networks, and unlike Epic Games’ simple injunctions, can and have faced jail times of up to five years as well as massive fines.

“PUBG is going through a puberty of sorts and cheaters threaten to stunt its growth,” said Kim Hak-joon, who analyzes gaming stocks for South Korea’s Kiwoom Securities Co. “Cheaters mostly drive away new users, and without retaining new users, PUBG won’t be able to consolidate its early success and become a long-lasting hit.”

This is not the first case of authorities cracking down on video game crimes. Last year, Jiangsu police arrested a Counter Strike: Global Offensive cheat developer who now faces up to 15 years in prison. In South Korea, a 17 year old was arrested for developing and selling cheats for Overwatch. Over in Japan, police have made use of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law in order to prosecute people creating and selling cheats for video games like Alliance of Valiant Arms and Sudden Attack. In 2014, two men were sentenced to prison in China after scamming people of digital items and selling them for cash.

In some cases, developers are assisting the police in cracking down on criminal offenses, however the police are the entities pressing the actual criminal charges.

Yanked PUBG Ad Is Basically Plagiarized From Community Artwork

The above photo is an Xbox One ad concept created by Reddit user Macsterr and posted on PUBG’s subreddit about a month ago. This image may look familiar if you follow Xbox on Twitter because someone from the company saw the concept and apparently loved it enough to create official advertising that you might refer to as an…aggressive homage. The following appeared on the Xbox Twitter account yesterday, December 26.

The original tweet has been deleted, but the internet doesn’t forget things so easily and the archived version can be found here. The tweet on the Xbox account as deleted with no additional statement by Microsoft.

(Source: Reddit)

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Not Socialist Enough For China, Faces Ban

The Chinese government envisions a perfect world where ammunition is distributed equally among the masses and everyone is equal, except those that are more equal. Since Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is more of a meritocracy of sorts, one where skill, intuition, and a bit of luck will net you the famed chicken dinner, naturally the game must be banned.

A statement released by the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association this week has compared PUBG’s gameplay to Roman gladiatorial combat, noting that “the concept of survival set off a serious deviation from our socialist core values ??and the traditional Chinese culture and ethical norms” that is “not Conducive to the physical and mental health of young consumers.” As a result, the game has been recommended to be rejected for a distribution license, meaning that Chinese players will have to download and play from slow, foreign servers.

While PUBG may not be officially banned, as in the government makes it illegal to own, for now players will have to rely on VPNs in order to play, which are regularly blocked, effectively reducing access to the title. As a large portion of PUBG’s player base comes from China, losing that market would put a huge dent in what would still be a top selling title.

(Source: PC Gamer)

PUBG Is Dominating PC, But Fortnite Is Gaining Speed

The effects of Fortnite Battle Royale on Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds appears to be nil, at least in the sense that the former has seen a great deal of success and yet the latter continues to rise in popularity. Launched as a free addition to Fortnite, Epic’s Battle Royale clocked in an impressive 525,000 peak concurrent user count with 3.7 million daily active users. If Battle Royale was a Steam title, that would put it somewhere in fourth place below PUBG, Dota 2, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Meanwhile, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds continues to shatter records on Steam, setting a new peak of 1.98 million players on Saturday October 9.

Both titles are currently dealing with a swarm of cheaters, an inevitable outcome given the overall active user base. Fortnite announced that it has banned thousands of cheaters and will continue working on features that reward legitimate players while punishing people who cycle through throwaway accounts. In spite of these efforts, Epic also announced that Fortnite is experiencing an issue with false positive bans.

Bluehole meanwhile continues to work against cheating with some success. Despite their efforts, blatant cheaters are dominating the PUBG leaderboards. According to multiple sources, you can identify what are effectively advertising accounts for cheat creators situated in China, as the number strings are QQ (think Chinese Skype) contact details to buy said cheats. How Bluehole plans on taking down cheaters effectively using their platform to advertise their business has not been detailed.

Regardless, it looks like there is plenty of room on the internet for both games to thrive, and continue growing.

Bluehole Interview: Epic Should License Battle Royale, Fears Leaking Secrets

Last night I put out a piece regarding Bluehole Studio and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds regarding the implied threat of legal action from Bluehole against Epic over similarities between the latter’s Battle Royale mode in Fortnite, and the former’s aforementioned PUBG title. I recommend reading it, it’s a short piece, but the crux of the matter is that neither Bluehole or Brendan Greene own the concept of Battle Royale, nor did either create the genre, and that Bluehole doesn’t have a moral leg to stand on when its own employees were actually criminally convicted of stealing from another developer just eight years ago.

Today, PC Gamer released an interview with Bluehole VP Changhan Kim, in which Kim claims that the press release wasn’t clear and that the issue is about Epic and not the game mode itself. You can read the interview here and make your own conclusion, but many of the questions seem to be avoided or outright contradicted in the same interview. For instance, Kim states that Bluehole isn’t claiming ownership.

So, battle royale is just about last man standing, it’s a simple game mode, and we’re not claiming any kind of ownership over the game mode or genre itself, it’s not for us to even comment.

Despite claiming no ownership over the game mode, Kim makes it pretty clear by using H1Z1 and itself as an example, their belief that Epic Games had an obligation to pay a license to use the concept.

You know that Daybreak Games actually licensed this idea and worked with him to develop their game mode and [Bluehole] did license his idea as well. Not only [did we bring] him to Korea to hire him as the creative director, we licensed his idea to develop PUBG.

Kim never explicitly says that Epic should have licensed the game mode, but does state that they should have had to come to Bluehole before developing Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode.

What I think is, they should have at least came to us before making it and had a discussion with us.

He also goes on convey concerns over Epic’s ownership of the Unreal engine, that if Bluehole modifies the engine to create new features, that they could be leaked or “other things.”

We could be afraid when we make new features in the engine by modifying it internally, that is not already available and public, that feature could be leaked, or other things could happen.

Despite all of this, Bluehole admits that it has not actually been in contact with Epic regarding its concerns over Fortnite, however the stated reason for concern does change at the end of the interview to include confusion by the community as to whether or not PUBG was involved in any official capacity with the development of Fortnite Battle Royale. You can check out the entirety of the interview at the link below.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is currently the most popular game on Steam, nearly doubling the number 2 spot held by Dota 2.

(Source: PC Gamer)

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