In today’s computer gaming-news, learn more about a strange standoff between players of the game, moderators of the game, and the least sympathetic individual who has ever created a video game. Meanwhile, the immensely popular life simulator created by Maxis and EA ‘The Sims 4’ will become free to play next month, eight years after the game’s first launch. Also, Activision Blizzard has released the system requirements for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s open beta. One odd requirement is that PC players “must” link their phone number to their Battle.net or Steam account. Lastly, Square Enix’s role-playing game, which debuted a few months ago on Nintendo Switch, is now coming to PC via Steam.
The Least-liked Steam Developer May Have Reached Its Moderation Limit
Original Source: The least likable developer on Steam may have hit the limit of its permissive moderation
Dolphin Barn’s gladiator management sim Domina lost any attraction it may have had when its developer began putting screeds against “soft” males and LGBTQ persons in patch notes and forum conversations in May. The game’s official Twitter account was removed after the user likened advocacy for trans youngsters to pedophilia.
Now the developer says he’s been temporarily barred from his own game’s Steam forums, but he can still issue patch notes, the newest of which accuses Valve and Steam Support of being “cowards.” Meanwhile, Domina’s “Mostly Negative” recent reviews are full of references to the developer’s views, the game’s forums are a battleground, and Dolphin Barn’s recent banning indicates Steam’s usually laissez-faire moderation paying its attention to the game.
Dolphin Barn tweeted a screenshot of the ban’s explanation “This is your second post that insults or flames another user. Abusive messages made while banning players from your hub are also on the rise.”
Following a request that the user follow community guidelines, the message discusses the developer’s measures against bad Steam reviews and a potential avenue for Valve/Steam to escalate: “We want to make it obvious that you shouldn’t reverse Steam moderator decisions or encourage rule infractions. A future violation of our rules and guidelines could harm our business.” At this moment, Valve has not confirmed their communication with Dolphin Barn.
A brief study of the game’s recent reviews hits on one of the developer’s sticking points with Steam moderation: “fraudulent reviewers” and moderators thwarting his efforts to flag them. Most of those reviews criticize the developer’s anti-trans screeds, but some seem to be criticizing the game for classes and features available in Domina’s beta branch being paid DLC in the live version—a potential wrinkle to the review moderating dilemma.
Valve’s storefront moderation policy is to not regulate unlawful or “straight-up trolling” content.
This position is unusual in tech, where Twitter and Facebook have implemented more heavy-handed moderation practices to combat online harassment and disinformation.
Previously, Valve removed school shooting FPS Active Shooter for trolling and abuse. Domina poses a different obstacle for delisting based on that precedent, as the game itself is less at issue—though the developer’s use of patch notes as a vehicle for invective creates a gray area.
This is an intriguing story of a peculiar guy pushing the limits of a permissive society and just seeing grassroots resistance now. We’ve contacted Valve for comment and will update if we hear back. Time will tell if the company takes further action or if Domina’s developer will continue reaping diminishing returns from a years-old indie game and the outrage cycles surrounding his psychosexual patch notes ruminating on gay and trans peoples’ genitalia and sex lives.
The game’s recent update is defeatist: “At this moment, it seems unclear that Domina will receive future updates on Steam,” but Dolphin Barn’s activity in the past year and a half makes me suspicious.
In contrast to the moderation quagmire surrounding Domina, Nexus mods’ takedown of a homophobic Spider-Man mod with the message “We won’t argue with you” is a refreshing difference, with institutional moderation refusing to give a bad-faith player the benefit of the doubt.
The Sims 4 Will Be Free Next Month
Original Source: The Sims 4 Is Going Totally Free Everywhere Next Month
EA announced today that starting next month, the base Sims 4 game on all platforms will be free to download and play. It also promised a forthcoming webcast in which Maxis will discuss future improvements.
The Sims 4 is the latest in the long-running and popular life simulation franchise. Like prior games in the series, it lets players design their own characters and homes, then watch these digital individuals live out their lives and help them gain jobs, find friendship, or even drown in pools to slowly die. Fun thing. The Sims 4 might be the “newest” game in the series, but it’s not young. It was first released eight years ago in September 2014. Since then, EA has published over 50 pieces of paid DLC for the game, including huge expansions and smaller stuff like kit packs.
The most recent addition, High School Years, premiered in July. It was well received once EA removed all the flaws producing incestuous couplings. None of this DLC or expansion content is suddenly free for everyone. The original base Sims 4 game, launched over a decade ago, will be free to download and play starting October 18, 2022. And that’s not just on PC. EA said Sims 4 will be free on EA’s Origin store on PC, Steam, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Mac.
“Our community has continued to excite us with the billions of unique Sims they’ve created, the many stories they’ve told, and the spectacular builds they’ve designed,” stated EA. “We’re eager to continue welcoming more people than ever to create new stories and explore without limitations. The Sims has always been about promoting new ways to play and gives so many opportunities.
EA stated that current Sims 4 owners will get the Desert Luxe kit for free if they log in before October 17.
As for The Sims 4, Maxis said it will continue to update and add new content for the “foreseeable future.” EA also announced today that it will host a special livestream—the Behind The Sims Summit—on October 18.
Modern Warfare 2 for PC Requires a Phone Number
Original Source: Modern Warfare 2 wants your phone number before you can play on PC
Activision Blizzard has announced the system requirements for Modern Warfare 2’s open beta. PC users “must” have their phone number linked to their Battle.net or Steam account. Why does a PC game need your mobile number? I doubt Bobby Kotick will use it for booty calls.
Beta access is always based on pre-orders, therefore these conditions apply to the final game. Modern Warfare 2 can operate on a GTX 960, a card that released in January 2015.
Modern Warfare 2 specs (1080p, 60fps, low settings)
64-bit Windows 10
i5-3570 or Ryzen 5 1600X
NVIDIA GTX 960 or AMD RX 470
Sound: DirectX card
The suggested needs aren’t much worse, but you’ll need RAM. Activision Blizzard has a category for sound cards but doesn’t list any.
Modern Warfare 2 specs (1080p, 60fps, high settings)
64-bit Windows 10
i7-4770K or Ryzen 7 1800X
NVIDIA GTX 1060 or AMD RX 580
DirectX-compatible sound card
GTX 1060 being suggested illustrates Call of Duty’s broad appeal. The publisher wants as many individuals as possible to play this’venerable’ card. Still, 1080p and 60fps in a 2022 AAA tentpole release is decent.
There isn’t a big difference between the minimum and recommended settings, so anticipate Modern Warfare 2 to have plenty of options for visual fans.
PC pre-orders can access the open beta September 22-26. Pre-orders get early access to Modern Warfare 2’s campaign on October 20, a week before the game’s launch. Yes, it makes you yearn for games with one release date.
Tomorrow’s Call of Duty: Next showcase will reveal Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer and Warzone.
Former Switch RPG Coming to Steam
Original Source: Steam Getting Former Nintendo Switch Exclusive RPG
Square Enix’s Switch RPG is coming to PC via Steam. That game is Triangle Strategy, a tactical RPG published last spring. Triangle Strategy is popular on Switch and will be on PC in under a month.
Square Enix announced Triangle Strategy for PC via Steam on October 13 to coincide with this week’s Nintendo Direct. This is Triangle Strategy’s first platform except Switch, hence its PC launch is important. Triangle Strategy can be pre-ordered on Steam for 10% off the standard price. A Deluxe Edition of the game is also available with a 10% pre-order discount.
Triangle Strategy’s arrival on Steam isn’t too shocking given Square Enix’s past releases. Square launched Octopath Traveler on Nintendo Switch in 2018 and on Steam in 2019. In 2021, Square ported Octopath Traveler on Xbox. Triangle Strategy may come to Xbox (or other platforms), as history shows.
“Triangle Strategy is set in Norzelia, where players decide the fate of Glenbrook, Aesfrost, and Hyzante. Set 30 years after the ‘Saltiron War,’ players guide protagonist Serenoa Wolffort and his trusty allies, boyhood buddy Prince Roland, fiancée Princess Frederica Aesfrost, and House Wolffort steward Benedict, through this new struggle.”
Summary of Today’s Computer Gaming News
To put it simply, The least popular developer on Steam may have reached the limit of how much they can get away with. Dolphin Barn’s gladiator management sim Domina lost any attraction it had when it’s developer began injecting screeds against “soft” males and LGBTQ people into patch notes and forum conversations. The game’s official Twitter account was removed after the user compared advocacy for trans youngsters with pedophilia.
Also, starting next month, EA will make the original Sims 4 game available for free on all platforms. Maxis promises to update and add features to the game throughout the “foreseeable future.” EA also announced today that it will host a Behind The Sims Summit livestream on October 18.
Meanwhile, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s open beta system requirements have been announced, and they include the rather unusual stipulation that PC users “must” have their phone number linked to their Battle.net or Steam account. Beta access is always based on pre-orders, and it’s more like early access to a finished product than a beta, so these rules can be applied to the final game.
Finally, Square Enix’s Switch RPG is coming to Steam for PC. That game in question happens to be Triangle Strategy. It was confirmed that Triangle Strategy will be coming to PC through Steam next month on October 13th.