Ask Me Stuff

Ask Me Stuff

This is the place where you ask me stuff, and I do my best to answer the question in a timely accurate fashion. So, if you have a burning question about the games industry – or anything else for that matter, drop it in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them in the afternoon!


  • “Tagged:
    ask me stuff
    i’m wearing pants today just so you know”

    Could your tags possibly ever get better than this?

    I think not…

  • What do you think of the Portal 2 cross platform ability? Do you think it’ll pave the way for Valve re-releasing some of their other games with this kind of support (i.e. L4D2)?

    • The fact i can get the copy i wanted on PS3 for splitscreen and to support valve on their new foray into properly developing for PS3 now comes with a PC version too makes me want to hug that lovable gabe newell

    • The Portal 2 cross-platform is a step in the right direction (cross-platform would make things so much simpler for multiplayer coordination). However, the fact that it’s PS3/PC specific makes me wonder why there is no Xbox 360 cross-over, particularly because Valve were very much *not* a PS3 developer until recently. I also wonder how much Sony paid for this…

      • I doubt they paid much, if anything. They just relaxed the PSN rules a bit for Valve to allow them to do what they want. That’s an area that MS have been notoriously inflexible about with XBL. It’ll be interesting to see if developments like this on the PS3 will force MS to start being more flexible with the XBL rules in the future.

        Although I suspect the amount of money they rake in from XBL means they’d probably rather lose Valve completely than compromise their control of the service.

      • Sony might not have paid alot for it, Valve no doubt like the 360 because it was easy to make games for. They have also been against the fact that it’s harder to make PS3 games.

        However, MS pissed them off somewhat with their rules for Live, it’s been stated in the past that Valve wanted to update Team Fortress 2 alot more than they actually did on the 360 with free title updates, etc… but supposedly MS have rules in place that games can have only a certain number of free updates, anymore they have to be paid updates.

        Sony obviously aren’t as strict with restrictions of title updates, seeing as they are allowing Steam integration onto the PS3, something that would never happen with the 360.

        Remember, Steam is competitor to Games For Windows, so MS wouldn’t want a direct competitor being able to pinch customers away from their very own device, Sony don’t have a similar service, so there is no issue for them.

        • But MS are consistant.

          One set of rules… for everyone.
          And there are ways around it.
          SMB has Teh Internetz and Monday Night Combat has an autobalancing executable.

          • Never said that being consistent isn’t a bad thing, but perhaps the rules from the beginning were fine when the console launched but over time they should be evolving.

            Similar to the size of XBLA games whose cap started increasing, perhaps pressure from Sony allowing games of all shapes and sizes, MS didn’t want to be left behind.

            Guess the main point I personally draw from it is that Microsoft can/have been denying developers and publishers the opportunity to update their own games how they see fit and at times, force them to set a price.

            Hopefully all this means is that MS will be forced to look at their rules and open up abit more.

          • But as a player, I shouldn’t have to buy the game and then install 4 or 5 gigs of patches… that isn’t what consoles are about.

          • Completely agree also, but that’s one thing in this generation that has changed on the console front, we do get patches…

            I also subscribe to the idea that ideally DLC shouldn’t exist either, when I buy a game I don’t like the idea that there is likely to be a section of the game left out to be sold later at a price.

            These are the times we live in, and while MS have pushed certain areas forward, they are still behind the 8 Ball in others.

  • OH!

    This months edition of game informer arrived yesterday, and appart from some killer cover art and lots of tasty Skyrim stuff inside, they reviewed Ghost Trick…

    They gave it a 6/10.


    How does this make you feel, as you felt the game to be the DS’s swan song?

  • Firstly, I’m glad you’ve got pants on, always felt weird talking to you without them; I never knew where to look…

    So… er… how’s your day been so far? Actually, how does this Kotaku gig rate compared to your previous employment (without indicting anyone :P)?

    ’cause it does seem pretty sweet

  • Mark now that Nintendo has confirmed officially the 3DS is region locked i pose to you a question to ask Nintendo Australia

    Now that region locking is in place for the 3DS system, do you realise that should an R4 style cart exist for the 3DS which breaks region protection it will be legal in Australia and you won’t be able to do a single thing about it as the ACCC will step in and say its legal because it allows people to import software.

    Just like they did for the gamecube, xbox and ps2 mod chips…..

    They didn’t step in on the PS3 jailbreak because PS3 isn’t regioned

    It’s an interesting question I think that Nintendo will completely deny and won’t realise its the truth until its to late and they are being laughed out of the Federal Court

    As well as this it would be interesting to get the ACCCs take on this as it is clearly designed to restrict markets and enforce pricing. This is not competitive and generally not allowed in Australia

    It was allowed for the PS2 etc (except mod chips were legal) because of the supposed difference in TV spec (NTSC vs PAL). As this does not apply to a handheld, this can not be the case.

    Nintendo are purely doing this to enforce pricing and market restrictions.

    Some of the quotes from them in Europe are laughable

    you should tear them a new one in an article 😀

    ‘Additionally we want to ensure the best possible gaming experience for our users and there is the possibility that Nintendo 3DS software sold in one region will not function properly when running on Nintendo 3DS hardware sold in another.”

    What a load of crap, its the same frigging hardware underneath the OS lock…

    • Wow Choc, well written.
      I was unaware of these loopholes or oversights if you will.

      Look forward to seeing if Nintendo Aus have somthing to say (unlikely).

      Hopefully Mark can totaly tear em a new one, pants on or off. (depending on the mood…I hear he has a few crotchless ones. For visitors)

    • I would like to say that you can do your own article on thsi and submit to Mark for “Let off some steam”.
      You seem to have done your research.

    • This sounds very interesting. Has there been any articles up on Kotaku about this? If not there should be, not just about the region lock, but the probable consequences as you have mentioned.

    • Your research is sound but has its fault. If you read the Explanatory Memorandum, it clearly states that region coding is not a TPM although with a technicality where it states:

      “Where access to a work or other subject-matter is controlled in more than one way, each form of access control would be a separate access control TPM, provided that each type of control could be circumvented independently. Where an access control has different functions but each function cannot be circumvented independently, that access control would be considered to be ONLY ONE ACCESS CONTROL” (Explanatory Memorandum to the Copyright Amendment Bill 2006, para 12.1)

      This suggests that if the region protection is accompanied or intertwined with a piracy protection measure, and one cannot be independently circumvented without affecting the other, then the region coding and protection measure will be regarded as one TPM, to the extent that it controls access to infringing copies.

      As such, if the 3DS region protection can not be circumvented independently without affecting the piracy protection meausures, then you are infringing s. 10 of the Copyright Act 2006.

      And I clearly doubt that any r4 or flashcart manufacturer would simply make a device that only removes the region encoding without capitalising on the questionable “back-up” features.

      • Domino i’d love to agree with you but unfortunately i can not. Go read up the court cases of Sony versus some distributor of PS2 mod chips

        then read the bit where the ACCC got involved.

        A ps2 mod chip disables piracy protection BUT also disables region protection. The ACCC basically said the fact that it allows imports and better competition completely overhauls the fact that it stops piracy.

        This is why gamecube, xbox and ps2 modchips are legal in this nation, nothing more nothing less.

        I was a video game journalist at the time that this all broke and did TONS of research into it which is why i know the ACCC attitude, the court attitude and how the system works.

        Unfortunately I can not write this article (and have implored mark to and take it on if he wants (what you really think i’d give mark free ideas if i could do it myself 😉 ) ) as i am part of the video game industry on the other side now and its not in my best interests to do this.

        but its a load of crap anyway 🙂

        • ACCC defends the rights of
          Playstation owners
          The ACCC has intervened in a case currently before the
          Federal Court in a bid to open up the games market for
          consumers with Sony Playstations. Sony has instituted a
          copyright case to limit the installation of chips that allow
          games with regional coding to be played on consoles bought
          in Australia.
          The ACCC fears that if Sony is successful in the court
          action, consumers stand to lose money on games bought
          overseas much more cheaply by being denied the right to use
          them in Australia. If the ACCC’s argument is accepted in
          the Federal Court it will mean Playstation users can continue
          to rightly enjoy unrestricted use of the goods they own.
          Chairman of the ACCC, Professor Allan Fels said:
          ‘Consumers’ interests are best served by ensuring access to
          the widest possible range of goods at the most competitive
          prices. Sony has overridden this basic consumer right by
          creating and maintaining artificial barriers to trade that the
          ACCC claims are not warranted by the law.’
          Sony Computer Entertainment Australia and related
          companies are seeking to have new provisions of the
          Copyright Act 1968 applied to prevent consumers from
          having the region coding in their Playstation consoles
          modified. The device, which modifies region coding, is
          called a ‘mod chip’ and once installed, permits the use of
          imported Playstation games and legitimate backup copies

          • another one

            The ACCC intervened earlier this year in a Federal Court case to prevent Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCEA) have anti-circumvention provisions of the Copyright Act interpreted to include mod chips used to bypass copyright protection measures built in to PlayStation2 consoles. Judge Sackville came down on the side of the ACCC.

            and because of this there is now precedent and case law which a judge would have to refer to and would be referred to by the ACCC when looking at future cases.

            Nintendo is in a situation.

          • Choc:

            That article you linked is dated 2002. There has been significant amendments in the Copyright Act in 2006 in order to align the Oz IP laws with the US according to the AUSFTA. Attitudes have changed and courts are now more willing to deem devices like the r4 illegal because it is a gaping gateway to piracy.

            The Sony v Stevens case is not an effective precedent considering many things that Kirby J argued to be for the mod chip is essentially amended out of the Copyright Act 2006.

            Also see the recent R4 case in Australia.

          • You seem to know what you are talking about so i take it on board but this is ripe for a research project for someone

            however as i stated before. R4 and PS3 are NOT good examples

            why? The ACCC didn’t stick its nose in at all as those systems do not have region restrictions.

            Once the ACCC starts making noises, problems occur for companies.

            The FTA did change things around the copyright laws yes but we have NOTHING like the DCMA here and hopefully never will.

            It’s not as clean cut as you think, and possibly not as clean cut on the side i am thinking either but the R4 and PS3 cases are not good examples of case law in this case as the discussion did not involve restrictions created on consumers because of the hardware.

            I guarantee within the next 12-24 months we see this come up in Australia as Nintendo vs someone who cracked the 3DS for importing and Nintendo lose.

            and yes its from 2002 but case law can be pretty powerful when in the hands of the right lawyer….

            Nintendo never challenged mod chips on gamecube in Australia and Microsoft never challenged on 360 mod chips, because i believe they know they would lose due to the region restrictions of their systems.

            Agree to disagree? 🙂

            Mark, clearly there is interest 😉

          • I’m just having a blast reading you guys go back and forth to be honest. It’s a great topic, and I think I might just have to get involved!

          • Good 😀

            Domino, are you aware due to an Australian ruling by the ACCC it is illegal to sell a DVD player that can not be unregionalised within Australia? Thats right every single DVD player sold at harvey norman et al has to be able to be unlocked some how. Even if the person has to go to google and find some magic code for the controller, it has to be there.

            They can be sold regioned, but they must have some software option or code to be unlocked.

            Consoles were given an exemption for some reason, can’t remember why probably because the primary use of the system is not to watch movies.

            Unfortunately the ACCC is yet to rule in this way for Blu Ray players. Don’t think its come up again to be honest.

          • A joking aside: Nintendo didn’t care so much about GC modding and piracy because of the brute amount of effort required to get burnt media inside the console, and also because they tricked half the gaming community into thinking the discs span backwards.

          • I know what I’m talking about because I am a published PhD student who is doing his disseration on this very topic.

            Regardless of what you think the r4 really does, the fact is that the r4 is undeniably only used to pirate games. The ACCC has no bearing on these arguments because most of these cases are instigated by the party that is harmed. The ACCC will only raise noise if the decisions would clearly harm the consumers. However, the law is clear in stating that if a device is commercially produced to have no other purpose than to circumvent an effective access control TPM, then it is illegal.

            Now you can also open up homebrew applications as a defence, and that is a valid defence as s. 116AN allows circumvention to do an act relating to a lawfully-acquired, non-infringing copy of a computer program , provided that: The act is done for the sole purpose of achieving interoperability of an independently created program with that program or another program. However this defense is weak because in the balance of probabilities, how many gamers who use the r4 do you think only used it for the homebrew apps?

            Also the reason why Nintendo and Microsoft did not challenge the mod chip here in Australia isbecause of the cost factor. Sony had the balls to do it but lost in the end. Nowadays Nintendo are in a warpath to stamp out the mod chip, and Sony is coming close behind because of the recent hacks. And with the recent r4 case, the pirate being fined $1.6 million and the injunction against the PS3 jailbreak in Victoria, the courts are on the side of the industry right now.

            And yes I would hope that if a court case should arise against a 3ds flashcart that Nintendo should lose. However, if you have read my analysis, it all comes down to the wording of the of the law and I will bet that Nintendo will win this time.

            Also, the COpyright Act 2006 is a near mirror image of the DMCA. Read up on it in IP law literature.

          • Also, while it is all well and good to know that DVD’s can be region unlocked, did you also know you are not allowed to back them up? Did you also know this applies to video games as well?

            Crazy huh?

          • much kudos to you then my friend, you clearly do know what you are talking about. I clearly chose the wrong person not to pick a friendly fight with!

            quite clearly when or if this case eventuates it could have massive ramifications yet again (like the PS2 one did).

            yep i know you’re not allowed to back them up. It would be interesting to know if the ACCC stance of going into bat for consumers in these situations still applies like it did back then, my strong guess is that it would.

            maybe mark should ring them :p

          • Hang on wasn’t there a ruling recently that backups are allowed as long as format shifts did not occur? Just asking 🙂

            which you know, makes it illegal in Australia to tur n CDs into MP3s but that is probably the most unenforceable law around

          • CD to iPod (and vice-versa) is called shape shifting, and that’s allowed.

            Section 109A(1)(c)allows ‘format shifting’ of books, periodicals, photographs and videotapes to be copied into certain other forms for private or domestic use “instead of the original item”

            At this point in time, format shifting of DVD’s are not allowed as stated in the recent review by the copyright council. But what is this decision though? Could you give me a link perhaps?

          • My apologies if I came across as too harsh in my replies. I get over-excited about this issue as I’ve spent two years working on this 🙂

            However, it is nice to finally see a gamer who knows the law. I was impressed that you knew the Sony v Stevens case, the DMCA and cited ACCC decisions. Many gamers I know are ignorant of the law or don’t care about it, and this can be a nuisance because once you get to read up on the legal side of gaming, you realise they introduce DRMs because IP laws are weak and will never really stamp out piracy.

            I believe the mod chip and other similar devices or services should be legal because I think the current ‘gatekeeping’ attitudes instigated by console manufacturers and publishers just fuel piracy. The mod chip has other significnat uses other than piracy, such as allowing one to play games from another region and to promote the development of indie apps. These are the uses that should be recognised by courts and the industry, but alas they only focus on the bad side.

            I sure do hope that one day, devices and services like the mod chip will reach the VHS status. Australia came close, but the amendments may have destroyed that notion. The only developed nations that I can recall which legalised the mod chip are Italy and France. Maybe I should move to those places…

        • choc i hope im wrong but one thing

          A ps2 mod chip disables piracy protection BUT also disables region protection. The ACCC basically said the fact that it allows imports and better competition completely overhauls the fact that it stops piracy.

          An R4 card doesn’t do this.

          As an R4 card can only play copied games it could only be argued it’s use for homebrew

          seeing as having an R4 technically doesn’t help with importing games as you would still have to backup/download a copy of it

          however if they released something along the line of the old cheat cartridges used in the nes so that you plugged the R4 in and then plugged said imported cartridge in then they would have seperated the piracy and region locking.

          where as in the playstation case the piracy could be seen as an unwanted side effect of removing the region locking on the device

          • That was exactly my point. The R4 is not for disabling regions due to the fact the DS is not regioned

            this is why i was arguing the R4 case is null and moot. But domino who clearly is a lot more educated then me on this topic 🙂 has said things have changed.

  • What’s the deal with Marvel vs Capcom 3.
    Is the Aus ver. not getting the Tin Comic esque cover for a speciali ed.

    Also heard that all copies (not just the Special Ed.) will have Jill and Shuma Gorath DLC code included in package. Is this true ?

    1 month to go !!

    • Furthermore – whats the deal with the sudden stop on character announcements?
      I was really hoping for another epic roster 🙁

      will there be more they’ll keep secret until release?

      • They announced Akuma and ……… I forget a couple of days ago didn’t they. Were obvious inclusions but i think they will have something big in the final lead up…..
        Also ozgameshop $59.95 ( i think, phone internet only today so can’t get page to load right)

        • Yeah Akuma and Taskmaster were just announced the otherday.

          There’s rumours that there are still a further 2 to be announced in the lead up.
          The forums seem to speculate that Sentinel and Hsien-Ko are the remaining two.

  • Any idea when Hunted: Demon’s Forge releases? I can’t seem to find anything that makes sense, given that all the supposed dates (video game stores, etc) are conflicting.

    • @ The Cracks

      (reply won’t work. stupid work filters)

      Hunted: The Demon’s Forge has a release date of 10 May 2011 according to But like all good release dates, you can’t count that as definite. It’s on my radar of games for this year.

  • If someone said you have 3 minutes to live, it would feel like the shortest time imaginable.

    If you stand and watch a microwave cooking your lunch for 3 minutes, it feels like a lifetime.

    My question is:

    Why are microwave minutes so long?

  • Mark,
    How owns the rights to the game Shadowman that was originally made by Acclaim?

    I frickin frickin love that game and would love to see a HD makeover for XBLA and PSN or even a 3DS remake.

    Can you do some investagationing and muscle flexing to make this happen?

    While i wait i’ll just sit here and think about shooting dobermans.

  • Force Unleashed 2 sold well, reviewed poorly. Given half of Lucasarts are now out of work, what do you rate the chances of a third game to resolve the *singger* cliffhanger?

    • While I’d like them to resolve the story (to see how it’s going to fit in with the rest of the Star Wars EU stuff), I’d rather they made a new console Battlefront game (not portable, gorram it!), or better yet, a new Jedi Knight game.

          • You guys sure seem determined to have all your pleasant nostalgic Star Wars memories r*ped by Lucas ala-prequel-trilogy-or-crystal-skull.

            Leave the old franchises in nostalgic bliss, I say.

          • The prequel trilogy, while not as good as the original trilogy, wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be. The romance stuff was a bit sappy, and Jar Jar was nerve-grating, but I enjoyed it overall.

            Crystal Skull was a travesty. Harrison Ford looked ready to have a heart-attack at any moment, Shia LeBouf was yet again completely lacking in depth, and the story jumped the shark so hard that it nuked the fridge.

            While there are plenty of example of bad use of the Star Wars licence, I believe that they could easily turn around and create some good Star Wars games again, if they went back and discovered what made the originals so good. A friend of mine said today that the good Star Wars games have one major thing in common – you could remove the Star Wars from them, and they would still be good games. We need more of these types of game.

  • This is probably a good question for TadMod, though I’ll ask anyway. I’m looking to buy a PS3 for LBP2’s release, do you know anywhere that is having a good deal?
    I don’t think I need a massive hard drive, just a basic model.

    • That’s one of the PS3’s biggest faults: its price. But I think it’s still worth it. Anyway, if I were in your shoes, I would probably try EB, get a pre owned console there. I think they have a fairly good warranty deal with that. Then you can chuck in a hard drive of however big you want in there, buy Uncharted 2 and you’re golden 😀

    • Harvey Norman seem to have decent PS3 deals every now and then. They were selling 160gb ones for $398 (I think that offer might have ended now, but you can always ring your local store to check).

      If you don’t like to buy from them, you can always price-match at JB or something. 😛

      • Dear lord, don’t start price-matching. You’ll upset Gerry Harvey and he’ll petition the industry again!

      • Also bear in mind that you can usually haggle 10% or so off the marked price of stuff at Harvey Norman very easily if you’re paying cash. Or at least I did when I bought my PS3 there, but it was a lot more expensive back then (they were selling for $769 on the day, I got mine for $700 just by asking “how much for cash?”) Not sure if you’d still get that kind of cash discount now it’s probably too cheap to qualify for the interest free deals, but doesn’t hurt to ask.

  • Do you ever have enough time to get back to all the questions asked to you these days? including this one.. definately this one

  • He Mark!

    Posted this in TAY but I figured I’d post here too.

    What would you say to some sort of LBP2 community project? Whether it be a way to share levels, build levels or play the game. Yay? Nay? Maybe some other peeps have some ideas?

      • You DID also say. And I did. And it was very good. Well done. 🙂

        I’d like to play more online games with LBP2. Most of my gamer friends are still back in scotland and it was a bit of a logistical nightmare trying to get everyone together.

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