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Atomic Heart...

Ukraine calls for the ban of a video game due to Russian business connections

Link Here25th February 2023
Ukraine s Ministry of Digital Transformation said that it will send a letter to gaming platforms Valve, Sony, and Microsoft to ban the sale of the new game Atomic Heart in Ukraine. The game is set in the Soviet era, where there is a robot uprising. A KGB officer rises to the occasion to save the country.

The recently released game by Mundfish studio is reportedly sponsored by Russian publisher Gaijin and Anatoliy Paliy, the top manager of Russian energy company Gazprom, according to Ukrainian blogger OLDboi.

Digital Transformation Deputy Minister Oleksandr Borniakov encouraged other countries to ban the game.

We also call for limiting the distribution of this game in other countries due to its toxicity, potential collection of user data and the possibility of transferring it to third parties in Russia , as well as the potential use of money raised from game purchases to wage war against Ukraine.



A Far Cry from free speech...

Ubisoft invites the police to help it sanitise gamers' in-game communications

Link Here20th February 2023
Ubisoft, video game makers of major franchises like Assassin's Creed and Rainbow Six , has signed a first-of-its-kind deal with police to try and sanitise the speech of players.

Damien Glorieux a senior director of the Newcastle-based Ubisoft Customer Relationship Centre said:

We want to be on the right side of history. It's here, and at four other locations around the world, that staff monitor how players of Ubisoft games are getting on - responding to requests for help and actively getting involved with the communities that have evolved around their titles. They deal with everything from purchasing issues to online toxicity.

Other companies have similar set-ups, but what's unique here is the involvement of local law enforcement.

The deal between the company and Northumbria Police works in two parts. Behind the scenes at Ubisoft Customer relations centre.

Firstly, it sees specialist officers share their knowledge and expertise on harmful online interactions with the 200-strong team working at the centre in Newcastle, who then apply that training to their daily work.

Secondly, an agreement is in place so that in extreme cases, where there is a threat to life or potential serious harm spotted, staff can fast track the information to police.

They will then decide whether or not to act.

It is daunting, but at the same time it is very important, which is why we wanted to sign this deal and try to make things right .

We wanted to focus on the most extreme cases, make sure we do the right thing there because it gives us a solid foundation to build the rest of our work around.

Less than 0.01% of cases that the centre deals with end up requiring police intervention.

That works out as roughly a handful of cases a month. Most of the time, accounts will be temporarily banned or permanently closed if players have breached a code of conduct.

Staff in Newcastle can also recommend the company start legal proceedings in some instances.

Of course all censorship schemes start with the promise of using the tools for extreme cases. But once in place, the mechanism will soon be used against even the most minor of sleights or insults, especially if they are targeted at 'protected' identity groups.


Offsite Comment: Now the speech police are coming for gamers

20th February 2023. See article from by Laurie Wastell

Games developer Ubisoft is partnering with the police to try to sanitise the world of online gaming.



Influence spell fails...

Trans protestors call for a boycott of the video game Hogwarts Legacy, but this fails to make any discernable difference

Link Here5th February 2023
Hogwarts Legacy is a 2023 action RPG game
Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world action RPG set in the world introduced in the Harry Potter books. Explore and discover magical beasts, customize your character and craft potions, master spell casting, upgrade talents and become the wizard you want to be. Experience Hogwarts in the 1800s. Make allies, battle Dark wizards, and ultimately decide the fate of the wizarding world. Your legacy is what you make of it. Live the Unwritten.

Trans activists around the world are urging people to boycott Hogwarts Legacy , the upcoming Harry Potter videogame, in protest against Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Rowling's steadfast defence of women's rights has made her a bogeyman of the trans movement in recent years. It should be noted that JK Rowling has had no direct involvement in the development of the game. Eg gaming streamer Will Overgard said:

By supporting this title you are essentially aligning yourself with some really heinous transphobic values. Please do not stream it; don't make YouTube videos about it; don't buy it and don't bloody pre-order it.

The current indications are that the boycott call has had little effect. Based on pre-orders alone, the game already sits at the top of the charts on Steam.

It's the same story on YouTube, where a search for Hogwarts Legacy returns hundreds of videos of streamers poring over newly released gameplay footage, and relatively few about the boycott.

Hogwarts Legacy is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC, it will be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch later in the year.

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