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Blog: Fears of Apple’s paid search plans

“A recent report from Bloomberg claims that Apple is investigating adding paid search to the App Store. Upon reading the article, I must admit that my immediate reaction was one of concern.” …

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Konami Outlines Details On Paid Metal Gear Online DLC

Late last month, Konami revealed that some new DLC would be making its way to Metal Gear Online in March. Today, the publisher has providing additional information on the Cloaked in Silence pack, which includes three maps and Quiet as a playable character. You'll also be able to add some additional personality to the game – but it'll cost you.

The Cloaked in Silence DLC will set you back $ 3.99, and it includes the following maps (with descriptions from Konami):


  • Coral Complex: A dedicated Motherbase environment, allowing players to access tall towers, use storage containers and other internal areas as cover for tactical advantage. Coral Complex mixes open areas and a myriad of hiding opportunities.
  • Rust Palace: Set within Afghanistan, the Rust Palace is a large multi-level building. The skeletal nature of the decrepit ruin means that cover is scarce, and the internal areas are rich in dusty rooms and high-up sniping positions.
  • Azure Mountain: An outdoor plain under Africa’s baking sky. A small cluster of buildings offers scant cover, with only derelict walls and occasional scrubland surrounding the massive rock known locally as the Cradle of Spirits. 


Players can also use Quiet in the game, taking advantage of her movement speed and ability to jump up to areas that would otherwise require the use of a ladder.

Players who want to use in-game emotes will be able to do so in several new downloads, which Konami is calling Appeal Actions. Characters can equip up to five of these emotes. Each of these downloads – the Basic Appeal, Battle Appeal, Dance Appeal, and Hero Appeal packs – costs $ 1.99.

There will be a free update to the game in March, too, timed with the release of the paid DLC. It adds a new competitive mission type called Sabotage, where players have to either destroy or Fulton the opposing side's missile before the timer ends. Attackers have to first hack into computers to deactivate an electromagnetic barrier, at which point defenders can either focus on rearming the barrier or protecting the missile. – The Feed

22cans switches Godus Wars DLC from paid to free after fan outcry

The Godus development debacle continues. Is it possible to finish the game and repair the company’s reputation with fans? …

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Devs at Electronic Arts now have a bit more paid parental leave

Developer and publisher Electronic Arts has opened the new year by expanding its paid parental leave programĀ forĀ U.S.-based employees who have been with the company over a year to a full ten weeks. …

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The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing Out Today With Significant Paid DLC

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is out today on Xbox One, more than a year after its announcement and more than two since the PC debut. The game is part of December’s Xbox Live Games with Gold, but if you want the full experience, it isn’t entirely free.

The game is listed for $ 14.99 for those that don’t have Games with Gold. Alongside the core game are two $ 3.99 DLC packs. Each includes an entirely new character class, different weapons, a new skill tree, different perks, three class-specific quests, and two additional maps for the single-player campaign.

The core game includes a single class that can be customized in different ways, but not to the extent that the Thaumaturge and Arcane Mechanic DLC allows. Xbox Live Gold members can grab The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing now as part of the Games with Gold program. For more on this month’s offerings, check out our previous coverage.



Our Take
Games with Gold and PlayStation Plus are great ways for publishers to reinvigorate communities, energize franchises, and revitalize monetization for add-on content. However, with only class in the core Van Helsing game and two years since PC release, this doesn’t feel great. 

While not a universal rule, late ports typically bundle in some or all of the content released as paid add-ons for other platforms. Two years later, it would have been nice to see the full experience delivered without day one DLC that amounts to more than 50 percent of list price. – The Feed

Destiny Microtransactions Dominate PSN Paid Add-Ons

A glance at the PlayStation Store’s current top paid Add-Ons rankings reveal that Destiny’s new Silver system is off to a strong start. To put it another way, that means that silver purchases are among the most popular paid add-ons being downloaded across all games available on Sony’s consoles. We asked Sony, and representatives told us that this listing includes add-on purchases in the last seven days. The three different tiers of silver purchases are all in the top five for recent sales, as you can see in the picture below.

Players are opting for the mid-tier purchase of 1100 silver ($ 10), followed up by the more expensive 2300 Silver option ($ 20). 500 Silver ($ 5) is the least popular option of the three, coming in at slot five.

It’s also worth noting that the only thing that is selling better than these microtransactions is The Taken King expansion itself. 

[Source: PlayStation Store, via Destiny Reddit]


Our Take
I am firmly in the camp that cosmetic microtransactions can be an appropriate way to help fund an ongoing game’s development and money making. Right now, Destiny’s microtransactions exclusively fuel new emotes and cosmetic event items. If Destiny begins to have Silver affect in-game functionality or progress, I’ll be a lot more negative about it. Until then, it’s hard to take issue with the system, or the enthusiasm that players have for finding new ways to express themselves with their in-game characters. Based on what PSN is reporting here, the Destiny community seems to agree. – The Feed

Valve: Skyrim was the wrong place to try and debut paid mods

Some Valve staffers believe the company’s short-lived paid mod initiative was a good idea launched in the wrong place at the wrong time, & they seem open to trying again — with a different game. …

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Dungeon Defenders II Comes To PS4 This Month In Paid Pre-Alpha

Both Sony and Microsoft are now experimenting with versions of early access. This morning, Trendy announced that eventual free-to-play Dungeon Defenders II will be arriving on PlayStation 4 this month in paid pre-alpha.  

Dungeon Defenders II, an action-oriented tower defense game, has been in early access on PC since the end of 2014. This marks Sony’s first major push into pre-release payments, as those that want in on Trendy’s pre-alpha phase will need to purchase currency bundles.

Trendy isn’t maintaining parity with the PC version. Some features will arrive first on console, including controller support and split-screen. Others will hit PC early access before making their way to PS4.

Dungeon Defenders II will eventually be free-to-play. If you feel the need to play early, you can buy in starting on September 29.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]


Our Take
I have strong feelings about paid early access games on console. I expressed concern when Microsoft rolled it out, and I echo those sentiments here. The average consumer won’t know what they are getting into unless these games are cordoned off in a separate area of the store with a pop-up or other informative screen prior to purchase. – The Feed

Machinima Under Fire From FTC For Failing To Disclose Paid Endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against video content creator network Machinima over failure to disclose endorsements. The company accepted money from Microsoft to help promote the Xbox One hardware launch and related titles prior to public launch. Machinima is accused of inducing YouTube video creators to portray the goods in a positive light without disclosing the non-neutral stance.

The FTC says that Machinima told creators that the videos must reflect positively on Microsoft. The Xbox publisher had the right to request videos be taken down if they weren’t satisfactory and owned the content as work-for-hire (as opposed to the YouTube personalities retaining control).

In short, these were paid advertisements with Microsoft the client and the five Machinima-partnered YouTubers as the advertising firm. One content creator, Tom Cassell of TheSyndicateProject, received $ 30,000 for two videos. Another, Adam Dahlberg of SkyVSGaming was paid $ 15,000 for his two submissions.

A second phase of the program opened the door to all influencers. As we reported in January 2014, Machinima required that those selected keep all aspects of the arrangement confidential. This, in turn, created a scenario in which every participant was induced to violate the disclosure rules set forward by the FTC.

Given that the appearance of neutrality was presented by Machinima partners in these videos, the FTC is pursuing action against the company. The Commission accuses the content network of deceptive advertising practices, failure to disclose compensation for endorsements, and false and misleading representation of seemingly impartial statements.

According to the FTC website, Machinima could be fined up to $ 11,000 for each violation. This would include the ten phase one videos created by the five content creators. It would also include the more than 300 videos uploaded during phase two. If the full weight of the penalty is levied, Machinima could owe more than $ 3 million.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment on the matter, given that it is that company’s campaign at the heart of this complaint. We’ll update should we receive a response.

[Source: FTC via Kotaku]


Our Take
When I covered this story 20 months ago, I said that YouTube creators (and Twitch streamers) need to develop their own best practices. However, that is different than violating FTC rules for disclosure. Machinima knew what it was doing by keeping its arrangement confidential. Viewers (and readers) have every right to know whether they are hearing untainted views of enthusiast press and video personalities. 

I’m glad to see the FTC taking a stand. I’m also aware that there are YouTubers doing it right, and they should not all be painted with Machinima’s brush. – The Feed

Where is your mod, now?: How Valve’s paid mod program imploded in four days

Valve Software wanted to see amateur modders get paid for their work. But diving headfirst into the tight-knit modding community meant more than ironing out legal and financial issues. …

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