Saturday, August 30, 2014
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Nashua;72.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-08-30 20:15:36

Ex-Red Sox star Curt Schilling isn't shy about a tussle in his job as computer-game CEO

Curt Schilling, former Red Sox pitched renowned for the "bloody sock" incident, got a lot of attention when he helped found a computer-game company called 38 Studios. I assumed his role was largely to be a publicity-gathering figurehead, but maybe I'm wrong. He certainly has not been shy about leaping into a fight about content-management involved with a new game called Kingdom of Amular.

The game (distributed by computer-game giant Electronic Arts), has a portion locked away on the CD. After you buy the CD, you have to "activate" that portion online, which is an annoyance although it doesn't cost any more. Games have used "content locks" before, but this one is a step up because even the original buyer, with the CD in their hand, had to jump through the hoop.

The company did this because a second owner, who buys the CD used after the first owner is done with it, can't activate that portion without paying a fee - giving 38 Studios a chunk of the used-game market. This is part of the video-game world's version of the fight being wages by music, film and books over how to make money when its so easy to copy digital content.

Many gamers are outraged and angry by the move - and Schilling, rather than hiding behind a bland PR statement or a "company spokesman" (the usual CEO method), posted a long response that only occasionally slopped into ALL CAPS shouting. He admits that the move is made to give people a reason to buy the new, full-price copy, instead of waiting for cheaper ones to hit the online versiom of remainder bins.

Here's a detailed story from a site called Hot Hardware, with a link to Schilling's post. It argues that a big problem is that the online used-game market is dominated by a single player, GameSpot, that takes excessive profit for reselling game CDs.

(spotted via Slashdot, which doesn't know how to spell Schilling)