Medal Of Honor Producer Talks Sleepless Nights Over Taliban Controversy

One of the largest gaming controversies of 2010 was the fact that the Taliban were initially a playable faction in Medal of Honor‘s multiplayer. While the game eventually changed the faction name to Opposing Force, the pressure from the Tier 1 operators consulting on the game and the desires of EA to refrain from controversy caused Medal of Honor executive producer Greg Goodrich to write up a resignation letter twice.

“Having to deal with the secrecy of these communities, keeping their reputations intact and holding their livelihoods in the palm of my hand – not even having earned the right to yet… then having that break out!” said Goodrich. “There were a lot of things going on. There were two specific incidents when I decided I just couldn’t do it… Everything that these guys have built and lived for over the last 15-20 years of their careers is now in my hands. I took that very seriously and had a lot of sleepless nights and did a lot of staring at my ceiling thinking ‘what have I gotten myself into ‘”

Source: Games Master {link no longer active}

AT&T Plans Charges For App Developers

According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, AT&T exec John Donovan says the company is looking at an option to charge developers for the data consumers use during app usage. This means that an app developer, say Netflix, might tell customers that they would not be charged by AT&T for any data they consumed while using the Netflix app; instead, Netflix would be paying for that data. Sounds good for the consumer, perhaps, unless it means that the Netflix app or Netflix sub suddenly costs more money. Somebody’s got to pay for that data, somewhere. AT&T is just trying to shift the cost onto the app developer so the consumer doesn’t get mad at AT&T when the bill comes due.

“What they’re saying is, why don’t we go create new revenue streams that don’t exist today and find a way to split them,” Mr. Donovan said. “A customer nearing his data limit for the month could be more likely to download a movie if the content provider covered the price of the data transmission.”

It’s a sneaky end run around piling on extra charges for more bandwidth, which AT&T is loath to do unless other telcos grab some of their customers looking for a better deal. So why not hide the cost by offloading it to app developers? Hmm, well, maybe because app developers wouldn’t be all that keen on putting up an additional barrier to customers. This might not impact game companies as much, but anyone that streams a lot of data (like video services, or game -streaming companies like OnLive or Gaikai) would be deeply affected.

It’s possible this plan runs afoul of the net neutrality concept, except that doesn’t really apply in wireless networks unless a carrier is trying to block a a competitive service. AT&T is certainly going to see if they can move this forward, unless something stops them. They would dearly love to get all the companies that use their network to pay for the privilege, along with the consumers using their network. Getting paid all around probably sounds like a great idea to AT&T, but consumers and app developers probably won’t be as thrilled at the thought.

Thanks to Gigaom.

Share And Ride

For the first time ever, hit the SSX slopes as a pro rider. On the official Facebook page {page no longer active} for SSX, just share the “EA Sports SSX: Travis Rice – The Evolution of Tricks” trailer with your friends.  Once the app has hit 100k shares, EA will start releasing codes to unlock Travis in game. Check back frequently and don’t miss out!

D&D Online Finds Forgotten Realms

The popular Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG is six years old today, and it’s been a wild ride for them. The biggest jump came when they took the leap into free-to-play, and the game has reached a large new audience with that move.

Game update 13: Web of Chaos launches today, leading up to the expansion’s June 25 debut.

Not only does Menace of the Underdark introduce players to the popular Forgotten Realms setting, it introduces a new class — the Druid — and sees players delving into one of the greatest pen-and-paper RPG dungeons of all-time, the spider-infested Underdark.

The expansion features three new adventure packs, taking players into the Realms, leading them to the Underdark, and then plunging them into the Demonweb, where the Drow spider goddess Lolth likes to hang out. Hopefully their new Druid friends and the five-level cap increase (ding, 25!) will help them survive.

Thanks to Kotaku.

Facebook Not The Only Game In Town, Says BigPoint

Facebook has recently created a dedicated gaming support team for the European region, but browser-game publisher BigPoint wants others to realize there are other platforms available.

“We would counsel the industry to not become blinkered by this move by Facebook, and decide that Facebook is the only platform to develop for. Although Facebook is a fantastic platform, at BigPoint we believe that it should only be considered as one route to market,” BigPoint CEO Heiko Hubertz told “As Facebook themselves say, as a gaming platform they are only getting started, and so we would advise all European games developers to investigate multiple routes and platforms to give their game the best chance of success.”

Android Tops 300 Million Devices

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, Google SVP Andy Rubin announced some impressive numbers for Android devices. The Android platform has hit 300 million total devices, of which 12 million are tablets. Those numbers don’t include the Kindle Fire and other devices that don’t use Google services. Over 850,000 Android devices are activated every day.

The number of Android apps has hit more than 450,000, with over 1 billion apps downloaded every month. “These numbers are a testament to the break-neck speed of innovation that defines the Android ecosystem, “ said Rubin on the Google Mobile blog.