Giants lose first series in more than a month, face post-deadline pitching challenge

first_imgPHILADELPHIA —  Instead of opting to rip up the foundation and spend the rest of the year rebuilding, the Giants’ front office kept the team’s core intact at Wednesday’s trade deadline.Three veteran relievers were shipped out and replaced with younger arms, but the Giants held onto ace Madison Bumgarner, closer Will Smith and several more of their most valuable assets.The result of the Giants’ deadline deals are team that still believes it has enough talent to compete for a playoff berth and …last_img read more

Will SimCity Launch Disaster Stop Online-Only DRM?

first_img9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App nick statt If you went to Amazon on Thursday and tried to buy the new SimCity, the first major release of the classic urban planning PC series in 10 years, you wouldn’t have been able to. Amazon wouldn’t sell it to you.Why? Because the servers of the game’s publisher, Electronic Arts, were in such a disastrous state that very few people could actually access the game. And those who could were seeing server issues disrupt their save files. So Amazon decided to pull it.Server problems wouldn’t normally hamper a video game’s launch, unless that game is developed by EA. In an effort to combat piracy – or something, it’s not quite clear – EA deployed an online-only Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology through its Origin servicefor SimCity, which came out on March 5. That means in order to play the game, you need to be online at all times and connected to EA’s servers, even when playing the single-player mode. When player demand starting causing the servers to fall, it also brought down nearly every player’s ability to play any aspect of the game. EA moved fast to address the problem but not fast enough. A string of press releases addressed the issue with mounting seriousness, culminating with EA’s decision late Thursday to actually begin removing key features of the game to help keep the servers online. For example, the company eliminated the mode that lets players speed up time to accelerate their city’s growth. A blog post by Kip Katsarelis, SimCity’s senior producer, details the company’s plans to address the problems, but did not offer concrete information on when the changes would happen.And in an email sent out on Friday to EA’s marketing affiliates, the game publisher announced that it has “deactivated all SimCity text links and creative and we ask you to please remove any copy promoting SimCity from your website for the time-being.” Wow.The AftermathGaming site Polygon addressed the issue, docking SimCity 1.5 points from its original stellar score of 9.5 for the ongoing server problems. Then it updated it again, dropping the score to 4.0. Kotaku told fans, under a heading titled “Should You Buy This Game?” a big, bold “NOT YET.” Even The New York Times decided to address the topic, apparently taking a philosophical approach by asking A Game That Can’t Be Played: Is It Still A Game?As of now you can at least buy the game from Amazon again, if you really want to. Both the physical and downloadable versions are back up for sale, with a special note warning, “Many customers are having issues connecting to the ‘SimCity’ servers. EA is actively working to resolve these issues, but at this time we do not know when the issue will be fixed.”These issues aren’t going away: Take one look at the physical version of SimCity‘s limited edition on Amazon and you’ll get a good idea of the breadth of the backlash. The product is on its way to becoming the worst rated item in the Amazon marketplace, with an astounding 2,796 1-star reviews compared to just 70 5-star reviews, at the time of publication. If EA can’t fix this fast enough, SimCity may garner as much Amazon hatred as 2008’s Spore, another EA title (ironically from Maxis and Will Wright, the same team that created SimCity) plagued by the company’s self-imposed DRM measures. (Ironically, Maxis is earning the sympathy of some players who prefer to blame EA.) Even more telling is the review marked “Most Helpful,” happens to be a facetious take on the game, including satirical gems like, “Thankfully, the game never actually loads. I was looking for a program where I could zone out, and stare at my computer screen in a meditative state for hours on end with no interruptions.” The Biggest DRM FailureThe point isn’t just that SimCity is a great game plagued by a bad launch. The real question is how big an impact these kinds of DRM debacles have on game sales – and on DRM technologies.EA’s online-only DRM is not alone in the gaming industry. Blizzard, makers of the Warcraft and StarCraft series, tried similar tactics with the release of Diablo 3 last year, angering thousands upon thousands of players locked out of the overburdened severs. But as Wired’s Chris Kohler noted, Blizzard fixed the issue in a matter of days, and the game went on to sell millions and lead the PC market in 2012.If companies solve these issues fast enough, the backlash bubbles for about a week before everything goes back to normal. And nothing substantive changes. Publishers like EA get to keep pushing the limits – revising the terms of digital ownership through brute force. We can only hope things will be different this time. SimCity proves once and for all that online-only DRM is an utter failure. It doesn’t even do much to combat piracy – making legitimate customers feel more pain than the pirates.There’s a big difference between protecting content reasonably – perhaps with activation codes or secure disc-based DRM – and asserting authoritarian control over the people who actively want to pay for your product. The first priority should be treating paying customers with respect. If You Don’t Like The Terms, Ignore The ProductThose hosed by EA don’t have much recourse. EA is not offering refunds for digital copies, and fuming in online communities doesn’t seem to have much effect on the giant company. Going forward, the only real solution may come from the most helpful 1-star review on Amazon, from a user named Malor who earned more than 7,700 recommendations. He noted that SimCity is not a typical game with a beginning, middle and end. It’s a toy, and you used to be able to buy that toy and play with it. But now, Malor wrote, “You don’t even get to buy your toy. Rather, you rent a toy from EA, who lets you play with it only in very limited, circumscribed ways, only on their servers.”Malor’s final recommendation offers perhaps the best approach: “You would be wiser to take three twenties out of your wallet, and light them on fire.” In other words, don’t waste your time or money on products with draconian DRM, no matter how intriguing they might be otherwise. Only when DRM affects sales will EA and other publishers take this situation seriously. Image courtesy of Electronic Arts. Tags:#DRM#gaming#piracy center_img 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Related Posts 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

OutBound Conference – Atlanta 2017

first_imgA few years ago, while I was sitting in a sales kickoff meeting and waiting to speak, I was struck with an idea. I looked around the room, and saw 500 people enjoying great speakers and excellent content. That is a lot of salespeople, but I couldn’t help but think about all the salespeople who had never been to a sales kickoff meeting.At that point, I went to the web and bought virtualsaleskickoff.com. I called the people in my mastermind group, and we scheduled the first VSK. Over 2,500 people attended that first VSK in 2015. In 2016, 5,400 people attended, and over 10,000 watched that year’s kickoff. This year, 7,400 people signed up, and I have no idea how many attended.Around the middle of last year, I had another idea. There are all kinds of conferences, but there isn’t one on outbound prospecting, which is still the fastest way to create new opportunities. I called Jeb Blount and pitched him. He was difficult to restrain, calling it “genius.” I called Mike Weinberg and Mark Hunter, both of whom agreed that it was not only a good idea, but “necessary.”All of us agree that too little attention is being paid to prospecting and pipelines. There is too much waiting, and salespeople need more help creating opportunities. So, OutBound was born.The very first OutBound Conference is being held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia on April 13th, 2017. The all-day event starts at 8:30 AM and ends at 4:45 PM.The morning will consist of four keynote speeches, all centered around the themes of Prospecting, Pipeline, and Productivity. These are the speeches that we give to the private companies that hire us to speak. The afternoon sessions will include five workshops, including one by our special guest, Laura Madison.I want you to join us at OutBound Atlanta. Go to www.outboundconference.com to register you and your team.OutBound Atlanta is sponsored by Cirrus Insight. Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Nowlast_img read more

Rape case filed against Congress MLA

first_imgA case was registered on the court’s order against Congress MLA Johari Lal Meena, representing Rajgarh-Laxmangarh constituency of Rajasthan’s Alwar district, on charges of raping a 38-year-old widow several times during the last two years and threatening to release the video of the alleged act. The FIR was registered at Raini police station over the weekend.The woman, who filed a complaint in the Judicial Magistrate’s court for registration of FIR, alleged that Mr. Meena, 68, whom she had met two years ago, took her to a hotel in the temple town of Mehandipur Balaji on the pretext of taking her to a doctor when she was ill. At the hotel, the MLA allegedly gave her some medicines and raped her when she fell unconscious, according to the complaint.Mr. Meena denied the charge on Saturday and said the complaint against him was a “political conspiracy” hatched to prevent him from campaigning for his party in the Lok Sabha election. “The objective is to damage the prospects of Congress. This is also a ploy to reduce my popularity in the public,” said Mr. Meena, who had defeated his BJP rival with a margin of 30,298 votes in the 2018 Assembly election.The complainant alleged that Mr. Meena had made a video of the act and started blackmailing her with the threat to release it. She also alleged that the MLA had forced her to establish a physical relationship with him several times.The FIR was registered under Sections 376 (rape), 384 (extortion) and 328 (causing hurt by means of poison) of Indian Penal Code and investigation handed over to CB-CID in view of the accused being a legislator.last_img read more