NCsoft Appeal Denied In $32 Million Contract Ruling

A tribunal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a $32 million judgment against NCSoft from Richard Garriott. The suit detailed revolved around NCsoft stock options, which would basically be better if Garriott was dismissed (as he argued) or whether he left on his own (as NCsoft has unsuccessfully tried to argue).

“NCSoft schemed to avoid its obligations to [Garriott] at the trial court and on appeal, and neither the jury nor the 5th Circuit bought any of it,” said Stephen E. Fox, Garriott’s lead counsel in the suit. “Contracts have consequences, and as the Court of Appeals explained, the trial court is not a trial run.”

Source: Gamasutra

Akira Movie Greenlit, Filming In 2012

According to sources, the Warner Bros. live-action remake of Akira has been greenlit and will start filming late February/early March. Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, House of Wax) has been tapped to direct the film, and it is believed to have to a budget of $90 million.

The two leads of Kaneda and Tetsuo are the choice roles, and Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund is being considered for one of them. Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran will produce Akira with Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar.

WB acquired the rights to Akira for seven figures from Japanese manga publisher Kodansha in 2008. The cyberpunk classic deals with biker gangs, destructive psychokinetic abilities and government conspiracies; Katsuhiro Otomo, writer and director of the 1988 Japanese anime, will executive produce the film.

Source: Variety

Blizzard Open To Free-to-Play, Nothing To Announce

When World of Warcraft allowed players to make a free account to play until level 20, it was a tacit counter to the number of free-to-play MMORPG options there are out there. They say they’re happy about the reception to that move and that they’re open to the so-called “freemium” game model.

“It’s a very interesting business model and approach,” said Blizzard COO Paul Sams. “Whether or not we will end up doing that at some point or not, I don’t really have the information to share. But certainly it’s possible that could happen with an existing product that we have.”

“I think what you tend to see is that happening when games are on a decline or they don’t have a user base that can support itself through subscriptions,” said Sams. “So then they’ll introduce the new model in hopes of being able to generate a different type of revenue to support that community and ongoing content. So it certainly is possible, if we find ourselves in that circumstance, or if we come up with a game where we think that’s the right business model, the most appropriate for players to experience it. We don’t have any opposition to the concept, it’s just that at this point we haven’t decided to make a game where that is the model. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t.”

Source: VentureBeat

Minecraft Designer Talks Problems With Free-To-Play

Markus “Notch” Persson indicates that his new game will have free-to-play elements in it. However, he says they won’t call it that because it’s not free, and he indicated that he dislikes free-to-play games.

“The reason some people are moving to this area is that free to play showed up in the ‘social gaming’ segment (Facebook) and made a few people (Zynga) very rich,” wrote Persson. “It’s been tried in other genres in other markets with decent success. By ‘success’, I mean ‘it’s profitable’. The reason anyone switches to ‘free-to-play’ is to make more money. You get your players hooked on your game, and then you try to monetize them. The idea is to find a model where there basically is no cap on how much the player can spend, then try to encourage players to spend more and more money. Various psychological traps like abusing the sense of sunk costs get exploited, and eventually you end up with a game that’s designed more like a slot machine than Half-Life 2.”

“So instead of calling it ‘free to play’, we should call it ‘as expensive as you want it to be’ or something,” he added. “I do not mind paying for games after the purchase. I like customizing my character, or getting a few extra levels (Deus Ex Human Revolution: Missing Link, woo!), or even paying a subscription cost for something with running costs. But let’s get one thing clear: people who think ‘free to play’ is a great future are mostly game developers, not game players.”

Notch’s thoughts can be best summed up like this: “While I am skeptical of the free to play trend, what I hate is the wording ‘free to play’,” he said before saying about some free-to-play games, “I’ll go play some Team Fortress 2 now until Dota 2 is released. I can’t wait!!”


Assassin’s Creed Movie Domains Registered By Sony Pictures

A recent report stated that Sony Pictures was close to acquiring the rights to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. While no official announcement has been made, there is an indication that a deal may be signed imminently, if it hasn’t been already.

Sony Pictures has registered over a dozen domains relating to a Assassin’s Creed movie on October 20. These websites include,, and

Source: Fusible

Diablo III Free With World Of Warcraft ‘Annual Pass’

As an incentive for players to sign up for a year’s worth of World of Warcraft, Blizzard is promising access to Diablo III. Also available with the “Annual Pass” will be beta access to the upcoming expansion World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria and a new mount called Tyriel’s Charger.

“This is the full digital version [Diablo III] — not a trial or limited edition,” said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime.

Source: Game Informer


Android Devices Not From Sony May Get PlayStation-Certification

SCE Chairman Kaz Hirai has indicated that PlayStation-Certification may come to third-party devices. Right now, it is only available on Sony’s Xperia Play, Tablet S, Tablet P, and PlayStation Vita.

“This isn’t an ecosystem where we want to keep everything within the Sony family, that’s the beauty of Android,” said Hirai. “We’re in discussions with non-Sony companies to bring them on-board. We’ll make those announcements when it’s time to go public with it. This is not just for Sony devices.”

Source: Engadget