Gaming

The Weekly Gaming Roundup: Diablo 3’s Problematic Release, Update On Activision-Infinity Ward-EA Lawsuit, More Games Delayed

– By Ben L.

Waited for more than an hour before you could log in? Blizzard apologises.

The long-awaited release of Diablo 3 was unfortunately met with technical problems worldwide as players experienced difficulties and error messages while logging into the servers in the initial hours after the game’s launch, the most common being the dreaded Error 37. In response, developer Blizzard issued an apology:

Diablo Players:

We’d like to extend a very sincere thank you to everyone who joined the global Diablo III launch celebrations this week, as well as to everyone who was ready to jump into Sanctuary the moment the game went live.

To that end, we’d also like to say that we’ve been humbled by your enthusiasm — and we sincerely regret that your crusade to bring down the Lord of Terror was thwarted not by mobs of demons, but by mortal infrastructure. As many of you are aware, technical issues occurring within hours after the game’s launch led to players experiencing error messages and difficulty logging in. These issues cropped up again last night for the Americas and Europe servers. Despite very aggressive projections, our preparations for the launch of the game did not go far enough.

We’ve been monitoring the game 24/7 and have applied several optimizations to help our systems better weather the global rush. As of late last night, specifically 11:50 PM PDT on May 15, all systems have been online and running relatively smoothly. We’re continuing to monitor performance globally and will be taking further measures as needed to ensure a positive experience for everyone. This includes some maintenance to implement additional improvements for each region.

In order to make sure everything is continuing to run as it should, we’ve decided to move out our target launch for the real-money auction house beyond our original estimated date of May 22. We’ll post further updates on that in the near future.

Aside from the tremendous number of players simultaneously logging in to the game, one of the launch-day service issues was linked to the achievement system. Some players began to notice early on that achievements were either not being earned properly, or not being saved between multiple logins. We’re investigating this issue and will provide a specific update as soon as possible.

We greatly appreciate everyone’s support, and we want to sincerely apologize for the difficulties many of you encountered on day one. Please visit the Battle.net Support site or Support forums for the latest service-related updates or for help in troubleshooting any technical issues you may be having downloading, installing, or while playing the game.

Thank you again for your patience while we reinforce the gates of Sanctuary and further strengthen it for your onslaught.

Respectfully,

Blizzard Entertainment

Now that’s PR 101 for any company. And fortunately it seems that Blizzard has managed to iron out most of the kinks and the game has been running smoothly so far.

Walking away from one legal battle – a smart move by Activision?

If you would remember, two years ago former Infinity Ward employees Jason West and Vince Zampella sued Activision for unpaid royalties for the blockbuster-selling Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The publisher then counter-sued the duo as well as rival EA for breach of contract and aiding the duo’s departure from Activision respectively. With the next court hearing set on May 29 and Activision’s request to delay the trial denied, the company has settled its lawsuit with EA out of court, which means EA will now be removed from the lawsuit. The out-of-court settlement comes after Activision paid out $42 million to the Infinity Ward Employee Group earlier this week, however legal battles with the group and West and Zampella are still ongoing.

Activision is also now entangled with another lawsuit, this time with game studio Novalogic over the alleged trademark infringement for the Delta Force name and logo used in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Delta Force is actually an unofficial name for the US Special Forces unit 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, whose existence has also not been officially acknowledged by the US government. Hence Novalogic was able to trademark its name in 1998 for its series of shooter games of the same name. It must be noted that the company has not released a game since 2009 and its own Delta Force series has not been well-received either, so Novalogic’s intentions can be suspected of being opportunistic.

Uncanny resemblance: Novalogic’s Delta Force logo on the left and Modern Warfare 3’s on the right.

In related news, Respawn Games, the new studio formed by West and Zampella, will not be showing off their project at the upcoming E3 expo. Considering that they only started the company two years ago, this announcement does not come as a surprise.

Following the delay of Bioshock: Infinite last week, publisher Square Enix has announced that its new Tomb Raider game, originally slated for a fall release, will now be out in the first quarter of next year. Studio head at developer Crystal Dynamics Darrell Gallagher cited the additional time needed to ‘put the finishing touches into the game and polish it to a level that players deserve’ as the fundamental reason for the delay. He also confirmed that the game will still be shown at E3. As an apology for the delay, the developer released a new screenshot (below) which could be a sneak peak at the game’s showcase next month.

Tomb Raider is a reboot of the franchise and puts players in control of a much younger Lara Croft who has to endure physical and emotional torture after being washed ashore an island off the coast of Japan during a storm.

Hopping on the 2013 bandwagon is THQ who announced that their South Park game has been pushed back from a fiscal fourth quarter to a first quarter of 2013 release. No reason for the delay was given however. South Park: The Game, whose title is rumoured to be South Park: The Stick of Truth, is being developed by Obsidian Entertainment, a veteran of the RPG genre with past titles such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2 and Fallout: New Vegas.

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