Ultimate Gaming Newsletter: December 13th, 2021

Ultimate Gaming Newsletter: December 13th, 2021

This week is like the calm before the storm as far as gaming is concerned as the holiday shopping season is right around the corner for many of us.

In the meantime, it looks like Square’s current MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV, shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon while Nintendo has certainly been busy in the court systems of both the United States and the European Union.

Speaking of Nintendo, we mourn the loss of the creator of the NES and SNES while simultaneously questioning the wisdom behind Ubisoft’s decision to introduce NFTs into one of its more popular franchises.

We’ve also got some Dr. Dre and GTA Online news as well as word on a government inquiry into none other than Tesla in this week’s video game news headlines for December 13th.

Explosion in Popularity of Final Fantasy XIV Leads to Huge Server Queues - And Free Game Time for Players

Is the era of the MMORPG over? If you look at Square’s blockbuster Final Fantasy XIV, the second massively multiplayer role-playing game in the series no less, and you would think otherwise. While competitor World of Warcraft languishes under uncertainty and the general cloud of dismay hovering over Blizzard these days, the once-beleaguered FFXIV thrives. So much so that it is really hard to get into a game…and that’s just not acceptable - especially if you are paying for a subscription. Luckily for fans that missed out, some free game time is on its way as Square seeks to make right with its older fan base as well as recent newcomers. A little customer service never hurt anyone and, in this case, it looks like it is part of a general strategy that underpins Final Fantasy XIV’s status as the current darling of the MMORPG genre.

Nintendo Told to Chill Out with Harsh Preorder Cancellation Policies in Germany

There’s nothing worse than buying something then deciding that you don’t want it. But when it comes to preorders, you’d think that you had way more time to make a final decision before your dollars are actually committed to either the full price or even attempting to buy it in the first place. After all, the notion that preorders are like “first dibs” on products is a pretty longstanding tradition in video games. So what do you do when one company takes the notion of preorders and transforms it into a pre-purchase? If you’re a video game consumer in Germany, you take the company to court hence why the Big N is facing scrutiny from regulators. At question is the company’s policy of pre-downloading digital purchases in full to a user’s device. In the European Union, gamers have 14 days to decide whether or not to return something they’ve purchased, and, as far as Nintendo’s concerned, this doesn’t apply to digital purchases. German consumers disagree and it looks like officials over in the EU are siding with the latter. Just because you pre-downloaded something you can’t play isn’t the same as purchasing it directly.

Bowser Ordered to Pay Nintendo $10 Million in Lawsuit Judgment

That’s a lot of gold coins! Too bad this isn’t the Bowser of the King Koopa variety, but rather a Team Xecuter member of the same name. You’ll probably recall that they’re the outfit behind the now-infamous Switch modchip that lets users play pirated games on the system. You know, just the kind of thing that Nintendo likes to get up in the morning and tackle first thing alongside fan projects. Nintendo argued that this modchip undercut their product and the courts largely agreed, as is their wont. In addition to being a huge amount of money, Nintendo also wants Bowser to promise never to do that, or anything else really, ever again for as long as he might live.

“This permanent injunction is binding against Defendant worldwide, without regard to the territorial scope of the specific intellectual property rights asserted in the Complaint of the above-captioned case, and may be enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction wherever Defendant or his assets may be found.”

Don’t know about you, but we certainly don’t want to make enemies out of Nintendo.

Amazon Web Services Brings Down the Worlds of Social Media and Video Games

It seems like Jeff Bezos is everywhere. At your doorstep, in space, and online, Amazon and its founder are two of the most ubiquitous phenomena of our times. But one hidden aspect of the massive Amazon.com that controls so much of what we do on apps and otherwise is the eponymous Amazon Web Services, a massive network of servers that powers much of the Internet. This is the money printer that keeps the lights on over at Amazon, regularly posting massive profits for the company. It also happens to provide the infrastructure for more than a few of the most popular games out there. So when this kind of thing goes down, it goes down hard and everyone starts to notice. If you were online at all last week, you probably noticed this (particularly on the east coast of the United States) as the outage struck games like Dead by Deadlight, PlayerUknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), Valorant, Destiny 2, and League of Legends, among others. While Amazon isn’t the only player in this space, it is by far the largest, again drawing attention to how vulnerable systems can be when they depend on such a major player.

NFTs Invade Video Games

It is getting really hard to escape the NFT trend, and now it looks like they’re making their way to video games. No matter where you stand on the NFT debate, there’s little question that make a small set of people money and, in some cases, a lot of it. That notion is probably what is prompting Ubisoft to add this kind of thing to their latest Tom Clancy game. Let’s face it: In a world of loot boxes and pseudo-gambling mechanics everywhere, something like NFTs was bound to make an appearance in gaming. The company is introducing the concept of digits which can be used to purchase “customized” in-game items, giving players the opportunity to deck out their avatar in unique kit or sell those items to another player in exchange for digits. The NFT aspect of all of this is that the players will have “actual ownership” over digital items thus opening the door for very exclusive or rare items that can be traded in game. Or something along those lines. To these ears, it sounds like the same story with a different cast of characters except for this time it is NFTs. Hasn’t CS:GO had a similar system, except for tied to real money? Maybe that just shows our age, but we’d rather “buy and sell” customized unique in-game in exchange for a currency we can at least understand.

Dr. Dre Joins GTA Online

Easily the world’s most profitable multimedia property incarnation on its own, Grand Theft Auto V’s GTA Online portion hasn’t really received a lot of love in the campaign department for a while. Rockstar is changing all of that and with none other than an appearance by Dr. Dre alongside one of the game’s protagonists, Franklin. And it’s not just an update to GTA Online, but one of the biggest expansions and collaborations in that game’s now-long history. It couldn’t come at a better time, either, as some people are still smarting from the release that was the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy: The Definitive Edition and its many issues on launch. Whether this is pointing the way towards renewed interest on Rockstar’s part in GTA V now that the new consoles are officially in everyone’s hands or part of a swan song dance to see the game on its way in anticipation of part six is something we’ll have to wait to find out but there’s no doubt that fans are thrilled to get this much.

Why Can You Play Video Games While Driving a Tesla? The US Government Wants to Know

Driving and playing video games probably isn’t the best idea, but it’s something that Tesla owners have touted for a while along with the company’s famous autopilot system. Now the government wants to know who thought this was a good idea and why, likely putting the permanent kibosh on good times for gamers flush enough to own a Tesla. To be fair, though, it is an honest question and a feature that, say, GM would probably never get away with if it ever tried to do it.

NES and SNES Creator Dies

Masayuki Uemura, the creator of the legendary NES and SNES, passed away this past week, leaving behind a legacy of excellence that few would challenge. Doing nothing less than putting Nintendo on the map for many consumers, the company’s legacy was later cemented with the Super Nintendo that established the brand as the new force in gaming then and even now.

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