Sorry, old chap, but no. The games Project Manager, Senior Designer, Legal & Music Co-ordinator, Audio QA Lead, Lead Character Artist and a Consultant are the offending reviewers - and those are just the ones who were easily identified.
Regardless of whatever virtues the company may possess, that's too much to be passed off as rogue employees or the result of either poorly-formulated or poorly-communicated policies.
If I'm pushed to make a judgment-call, I can only judge this to be an intentional astroturfing effort, as an active policy choice of the company, however subsequently concealed.
I've no way of knowing how many other reviews were faked by employees who were smarter and used sockpuppets, or how many more of their games they've done this for, or how many of those unidentified fake reviews remain untouched.
All I do know for certain is that there are no circumstances under which I will trust a good review of a Harmonix game in future.
I think Irell & Manella have been very, very shrewd here, targeting what is probably the single weakest point in the RIAAs construction as a legal entity.
The RIAA is trying to have it's cake and eat it, when it comes to the copyright status of remastered works - and that's something that could easily backfire in spectacular fashion in the courts. The down-in-the-weeds nature of the various arguments they're making - as well as the fact that they're making mutually contradictory arguments in different cases - seems very likely to lead in turn to a great deal of secondary litigation, from a great many interested third-parties.
The very last thing they want at this relatively early stage is for any court, anywhere, to start looking at what they've done in toto and start applying duck tests calrifying the issues - whether they win or lose, it will cost them a fortune later on, either in derived settlements or verdicts.
If they've any sense at all, I think avoiding as much judicial scrutiny as they can get away with is now probably the RIAAs number one priority in this case.
"If people are coming to this from the side of being gamers, then everything in the article is a very valid and a just concern. We're already being nickel and dimed or forced to buy premium content that 10 years ago would have been included in the standard game. We certainly don't want this kind of model to become standard."
I am responding here as a gamer. Players here aren't being nickel & dimed or forced to buy anything to make the main game playable: this is a library of proper DLC for specialist fans that the developer's been building up over the last six years. It doesn't seem to be horse-armour at all.
Casual players aren't supposed to buy any of it and no-one is expected to buy all of it.
We could argue that they could have included earlier DLC as free content in later games, but that's not the business model - and if some or all of this has been licensed from third parties, they may not have the rights to do that anyway.
This is the standard way to release new content for this game and has been for over half a decade. The developers and the market all seem happy enough to continue. Any complaints on this front seem untimely and unreasonable.
This article is linked to Kotakus article of a week ago, but it could also have linked to Kotakus similar article of 2013, when Kotaku bitched about exactly the same thing with the earlier version of the same game.
Back in 2013, Train Simulator developer RailSimulator.com (Dovetail Games, under its previous name) had this to say:
"We are very proud of the breadth and depth of DLC we offer to customers, but we don’t expect people to buy everything we make. We give players the opportunity to customise their digital collection in a way that best suits their interests.
"For example, we know that some of our players will only collect ultra-modern high speed trains from around the world, others will want to specialise in American diesel locomotives, while some specialise in heritage steam engines. And so on.
"Our comprehensive range allows players to pick and choose the locomotives and routes they are most passionate about. We make it very clear that buying all our DLC is not essential to enjoy the game and that players do not receive a competitive advantage from owning it all."
I don't own the game (I'm not a train fan), but some commenters on Kotaku have indicated that the DLC are more substantial than just a minor reskin, but are properly modelled to each trains characteristics and control requirements and have their own specialised missions.
The DLC library has apparently been building up over successive releases for years, which is why there's so much of it. Judging by the games Steam discussions, the DLC apparently carries over from the previous versions - if a player bought some for the 2013 game, it can be used with this years release.
I think the DLC could probably be cheaper, but it is extremely niche DLC for a very niche game - and the playerbase seems to have voted positively with their wallets, or the developer presumably wouldn't still be releasing it this way.
If the business model works for them and it works for their customers, then I don't see a problem. Both Techdirt and Kotaku seem to me to be engaging in what I can only describe as nothing more than nerd-shaming, which is frankly cheap, lazy and unjust.
Techdirt and Tim Geigner, it might be a slow news day, but surely you can do better than this.
I used to use Amazon's streaming service. They recently stopped supporting my smart TV, despite the frankly-negligible cost of doing so, but "helpfully" offered me a discount on one of their worthless and unwanted FireTV sticks.
It doesn't take a genius to realise they're just trying to sell me crap I don't want, so I cancelled my subscription. I know when I'm being sold shite and Amazon can fuck right off.
This appears to be more of the same. All it does is prove beyond a doubt that FireTV is unmarketable bollocks that nobody wants.
"For all that it shares the same name, what came into being as a result of the Licensing of the Press Act 1662 bares little resemblance to modern copyright."
"For all that they share similar names and terms, what came into being as a result of Mary's Stationers Monopoly and the subsequent Licensing of the Press Act 1662, bare little resemblance to modern copyright."
Techdirt and the edit button. When will they ever meet?
It's the same move repeated over and over again by the industry: rather than figure out how to make use of the technology that fans like in order to do more, they attack the technology and then don't understand why people get pissed off and no longer want to give them any money any more.
This interpretation is far too kind. The RIAA - as with all the big media associations - has a single, unified strategy which has been very clear to all for a very long time now:
• target and accuse anything or anyone that might have a competitive impact in the same medium, but isn't affiliated to the RIAA; • pay for lots of basically-fake evidence to "prove" massive damages against their affiliates; • take vast amounts of money off the victims in ratcheting license agreements until they can't pay any more; • when they can't or won't pay, sue them; • make sure the lawsuits last as close to forever as makes no odds - the victim will always run out of cash first; • generously allow the victim to fold, in return for everything they possess; • if they can induce a law-enforcement agency into shutting the victim down for them, it's a cheap and easy victory.
The RIAA aren't confused, they're fraudsters - and obvious fraudsters, at that. The only reason the RIAA and MPAA's senior management aren't in prison cells is because the DoJ is directly accountable to the politicians - who are all on the fraudsters payroll, often quite openly.
The big lawsuits aren't designed to stop piracy, they're designed to stop competition. They attack fair use and the public domain at every turn, despite being perfectly lawful, by definition. They wrecked Megaupload not because of piracy, but to stop Kim Dotcom from continuing the legal music creation and distribution side of his business. Now it seems they're getting ready to hit BitTorrent, Inc in the exact same way - and once again, it's the authorised, legal distribution of music they're really aiming for.
As I understand it, in earlier times, it allowed legitimate publishers - the ones who had proper legal agreements and paid royalties to authors - to prevent the commercial book pirates of the day from completely hammering the market with unlicensed copies.
Back then, this meant the difference between authors benefiting financially from their work and authors - in some cases - dying in poverty.
It's debatable - and I doubt anyone can honestly put figures to it - but I'm reasonably certain it incentivised the creation and publication of new work, provided a legal framework for the creators to be identified as such and provided creators with the chance to make a living from doing so, just as it was supposed to do.
These days, of course, the same middleman companies are now aggressive multinational corporations, synonymous with rampant abuse of copyright, with actual content creators and the general public being screwed over at every turn.
But that abuse doesn't take away from copyrights ancient past, where it served as a positive force for the public good - and it's a damn shame that corporate greed has so thoroughly destroyed both copyrights credibility and it's ability to serve for the good of us all.
Okay, It's Donald Trump, nobody outside the US cares, I wasn't going to comment at all, I really was going to just pass this one by, but...
Jesus H Christ, where in God's name did Trump find this man? Couldn't he have hired someone less horrifying, like a war-criminal or a freshly-released serial-killer?
I can't help but feel sorry for Cohen's wife and family. From this time forward, every single person they know is going to look at Mrs Cohen like she's being raped on a daily basis. Surely she can do better than this appalling, mindless thug.
Lawyers are the very definition of people who need to think before they open their mouths, regardless of the provocation.
It speaks directly to Mr Cohen's credibility - on every possible level - that he could not do so, before causing such damage to himself, his business and his family in this manner.
I don't imagine Mr Cohen has much of a future anywhere - and I don't imagine anyone who knows him now will miss him very much.
For anyone confused, this article is related to the previous ruling, on whether the government had basically done all its legally-required paperwork before changing the law. The government hadn't, so the judge invalidated those changes, as the law requires.
At this point, it's safe to assume that the right to private copying was deliberately implemented in a way that breaks other law precisely so that the labels could shoot it down in court.
The promised right can now safely be forgotten as the meaningless pre-election public relations nonsense it always was.
When the right to private copying was originally announced, I wondered why the government were suddenly so intent on fighting a recording industry that gives them so much money, especially on something so trivial. Most out of character, I thought.
Well, now we know: the entire law change and subsequent debate was meaningless - if immensely expensive - PR fluff, fully intended to ultimately fail, but in the meantime convince the more gullible voters that the Conservatives and Lib-Dems are our friends.
If you voted for either party, you have now reaped exactly what you deserve. If only the rest of us didn't have to pay such a steep price as well, this would almost be a victory. :/