|Hotline Miami 2 Censored – So Pirate It, Devs Say|
Posted: 16 Jan 2015 01:09 AM PST
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is a 2D top-down video game developed by Dennaton Games and published by Devolver Digital. It’s the follow-up to the original Hotline Miami which developed into a fan favorite shifting hundreds of thousands of units in its first weeks on sale.
While HM2 is set to ride on its predecessor’s successes, its nature means that the some gamers will not be seeing the game on shelves, virtual or otherwise. The problem lies with HM2’s depiction of sex and violence, often in the same scenes.
Kotaku, for example, has a report on one particular scene which involves lots of killing rounded off with what appears to be rape. While this scene isn’t the only culprit, it’s all been too much for the Australian Classification Board, the body tasked with ensuring titles are suitable for a local audience.
According to government guidelines, publications that “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified” will not be classified.
As a result the Australian Classification Board has now effectively banned Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number in Australia meaning that Aussies won’t be able to get their hands on the title. Well not by official means of course.
Normally this kind of situation would see gamers disappearing off to torrent sites hoping to obtain the title without being caught. However, thanks to HM2’s developers they can not only still do the former but can do so without any fear of the latter.
The move was uncovered by Reddit user Max Cartwright who wrote to Jonatan Söderström, co-creator of Hotline Miami, expressing disappointment at the game being banned.
“As you obviously are aware, Hotline Miami 2 has been refused classification in Australia. This killed me, knowing that there is no legitimate way to purchase one of my most anticipated games,” Cartwright began.
“My question to you is, how would you, as the developer, most prefer me to obtain your game? I was thinking maybe I could torrent it and donate to you directly, but I’m not a fan of torrenting games and I don’t want to get in legal trouble.”
Söderström responded, and it was everything Cartwright could’ve hoped for.
“If it ends up not being released in Australia, just pirate it after release,” Söderström said. “No need to send us any money, just enjoy the game!”
With the email confirmed as genuine it now seems that Australians will not only be able to bypass the censors but do so with permission – a somewhat unique situation for commercially available title.
For their part, Devolver Digital have expressed disappointment at the decision not to classify but say they have no plans to censor the title.
“We are concerned and disappointed that a board of professionals tasked with evaluating and judging games fairly and honestly would stretch the facts to such a degree and issue a report that describes specific thrusting actions that are not simply present in the sequence in question and incorrectly portrays what was presented to them for review,” the company said.
This isn’t the first time that the creators of Hotline Miami have rubbed shoulders with pirates. In 2012 the developer took the decision to give customer support and a special patch to users of The Pirate Bay who had downloaded the game without paying for it.
Playing nice with pirates worked out well two years ago. Let’s see how that pans out second time around.
|EZTV Ditches .IT Domain After Italian Intervention|
Posted: 15 Jan 2015 07:19 AM PST
Founded in 2005, the TV-torrent site EZTV has served torrents for nearly a decade.
Over the past several years it has maintained a steady user-base and with millions of users it’s undoubtedly the most used TV-torrent site on the Internet today.
This popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by copyright holders. The site has already been blocked in the UK via court order and there are efforts underway elsewhere to frustrate the site’s operations.
Most recently EZTV ran into trouble with the Italian domain name registry NIC.it over some paperwork. Facing a possible confiscation of the EZTV.it domain name, they saw no other option than to switch to a new home.
Without going into detail, EZTV’s NovaKing tells TF that a complaint from copyright holders is likely to be the driving force behind the recent issues.
“NIC.it hasn’t been very cooperative in trying to find a solution. While they haven’t admitted it on the record, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were pressured by copyright holders,” NovaKing says.
EZTV’s domain registrar EuroDNS suggested several options to resolve the problems but all these paths were fruitless.
With the Italian registry not willing to cooperate, EZTV decided not to wait any longer and has now ditched the .it domain. EZTV swiftly relocated to a new home using the Swiss TLD EZTV.ch.
The Swiss domain name wasn’t chosen for any reason in particular, it was just the most convenient option for now.
“We have a stockpile of domain names in reserve. The Swiss domain was the easiest option as that was already partially setup, but we can easily relocate again if needed,” NovaKing says.
And so the Whack-A-Mole can continue for a while.
For EZTV the domain intervention is a relatively minor inconvenience. The site has faced bigger problems in the past. Just last month it was down for nearly two weeks after its servers were taken offline in the Pirate Bay raid.
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