Category Archives: Gaming

Hasbro Talking Merger

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Hasbro is in merger talks with DreamWorks Animation, according to Deadline.   If it happens, the combined company would be run by DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.  Hasbro is the much larger company of the two, however, at least measured by market cap.  Hasbro is worth $7.22 billion, vs. DreamWorks’ $1.91 billion.

Katzenberg has shown a desire to diversify into areas where Hasbro is strong, such as television and consumer products; and for Hasbro, DreamWorks Animation could provide a stronger Hollywood presence and a source of fresh IP for its toys.   

Talks have gotten as far as site visits, according to the report, with Hasbro management and board visiting DreamWorks on separate occasions over the last few weeks.

Valuation may be a problem in completing a deal, as DreamWorks is reportedly seeking a valuation based on its value in January; the company’s stock has been buffeted this year after a weak set of releases including Return of the Guardians, Turbo, and Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

DreamWorks has also been in talks with Softbank and Alibaba about strategic relationships as well, so the Hasbro deal may just be part of DreamWorks’ option-exploring; but if the  goes forward, it would create a new kind of company, with a strong presence in both consumer products, including toys and games (including Wizards of the Coast), and entertainment. 

Cryptozoic’s Response to WotC

30007HexLogo_LG[1]Cryptozoic Entertainment and Hex Entertainment have responded to the lawsuit Wizards of the Coast filed in federal court in May and amended in August, charging that WotC is “Fearing competition in the trading card game industry” and “frantic about the loss of its monopoly position due to the expiration of its patent on Magic: The Gathering two months ago.”

The Wizards of the Coast lawsuit alleged that Hex: Shards of Fate, an online game that raised over $2 million, infringed onMagic: The Gathering.

Cryptozoic ties much of its response to WotC’s expiring patent, arguing that the lawsuit is attempting to extend the patent “by asserting copyright protection over functional concepts.”   
With regard to the patent claim, the response notes that “even if Wizards’ patent were to be held valid,… damages would be much less than the cost of this litigation to Wizards in view of the brief patent term involved,” arguing that WotC is trying to “litigate a smaller competitor out of business, rather than compete fairly in the marketplace.”

Cryptozoic also argues that there are no documented examples of individuals that were confused by the alleged infringement.
 
WotC’s expanded complaint from August adds a cause of action, “Trade Dress Dilution” as a form of unfair competition under the Lanham act, and enumerates a larger number of alleged copyright infringements in a 107-page appendix to the complaint listing Hex cards and copyrighted Wizards of the Coast cards in tandem.

WotC’s amended complaint also displays a remarkable depth of knowledge about the players of Magic Online, noting the user IDs of players playing from an IP address registered to Cryptozoic, the number of times they accessed the site, and the number of trades and tournaments in which they participated.  The complaint argues that that use of the Magic Online site demonstrates that Cryptozoic employees had access to the cards and other features which they are alleged to have infringed.
 
It doesn’t look like this will be resolved any time soon, unless it is by settlement.  According to a discovery schedule signed by both parties, discovery will be completed in November of 2015, with a trial date suggested for “Spring 2016.”

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GamersCircle Comics Closed October 25th for Charity Event

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I’m on a mission to save kids and I need your help. My local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital [UC Davis Children’s Hospital] treats thousands of children each year, regardless of their family’s ability to pay. These kids are facing scary stuff like cancer, cystic fibrosis, and injuries from accidents to name just a few. On October 25, 2014, I’ll be participating in this huge worldwide celebration of social impact of gamers of all kinds from video games to board games and tabletop RPG’s! It’s my sincere hope that you’ll find it in your heart to support my efforts with a monthly pledge or one-time gift that will go directly to my hospital.

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As a member of the Google Plus Extra-Life team,  we are joining the Extra Life gaming campaign where thousands of donors [like you] donate to gamers [like us] for their crazy, quirky, and down-right goofy gaming exploits during a 24 hour gaming marathon designed to raise funds and promote awareness for children across the country suffering from diseases like: Cancer, cystic fibrosis, or leukemia.  Last year, this team saddled up as super heroes, adventurers, and hobgoblins to fight evil, save princesses, and help kids in need.  We were a part of a $4,000,000 fundraising effort that saw involvement from gaming tycoons like Blizzard and Electronic Arts.

This year, we hope to do it bigger: More castles, more knee seeking arrows, and more Mountain Dew fueled insanity!  But we need your help.  Whether you’re dragon-born or not – you can help by pledging with us against the ills suffered by children throughout the world.  Every dollar goes towards a hospital that serves children in need, and every donation is tax deductible.

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Thanks, Andy 

Game Play Pile: Alien Isolation

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I was able to satisfy the internal pact that I made with myself.  “I cannot play a new game until I finish a couple of games that I got from the last Steam Sale.  Those two games were: Dawn of War II [and the expansions] along with and Fallout 3 Modded [and all the dlcs]

To the best of my recollection; I do not remember if I have ever played a horror survival type of game before.  Then comes along Alien Isolation, a survival game that takes place within the Alien atmosphere?  Yeah!  Okay… spank me twice, take my money and bring me pizza.

The story is utterly compelling, the game play [mechanics] are pretty good.  This scary first person shooter is not only scaring the piss out of me, but they also added in a crafting engine.  Just when you think, you might be close to finishing… “they pull me back in”.. no really.. that frapping alien.  It will do that if you don’t really play this game smart.  As of this post, I haven’t finished the game, yet.  There are times that I just want it to end, but on the other hand, the story that is being told, could have been a pretty good direct to DVD movie.

Star Trek Online Expands

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Arc Games website offers release notes for a new Delta Rising expansion that’s now live in the Star Trek Online, the MMORPG that boldly goes and all that. The update is free, but it is accompanied by a premium Delta Rising – Operations Pack, and since the game has had a much lower profile since transitioning to a free-to-play model, our surprise at the $124.99 price tag for this may be misplaced (we see they also started selling a Legacy of Romulus Legacy Pack for $159.99 at some point as well). Word is the expansion raises the level cap to 60, adds new Captain specializations, ship upgrades, and more.

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