Thursday, 8 November 2012

Another Official Magazine Closing, Halo 4 Smack Talk Ban Update

Neither piece of news is particularly good today.

Well, although it isn't as big of an impact as with the closure of Nintendo Power, you can mark that yet another official magazine is shutting down come the new year. Playstation: the Official Magazine is closing down after the holiday issue this year. The magazine started life as an independent under the Playstation Magazine or PSM title, and remained that way for fourteen years from 1997 to 2007, before being acquired by Sony and turned into the new official publication for the Playstation.

PSM was actually one of the last magazines that I bought on a semi-regular basis, although I stopped well before the official acquisition by Sony. I remember them as having decent coverage and fair reviews, although I'm not sure how either changed after the acquisition. Still, this means that out of the official trio of magazines that only the Official Xbox Magazine remains.

Now, I know that there's not really going to be many tears shed or waxing nostalgic for the loss of this magazine. After all Nintendo Power was one of the forerunners and also one of the magazines that people grew up with. Even if you count the time that the magazine spent as PSM in there it still comes up about a decade short of NP's high water mark.

I'm not going to argue about whether or not the reviews got more pandering, mostly because as I mentioned before I'm not actually familiar with how the magazine has been handling itself. People have come down hard on the official ones, and not without good reason. Still, as with any publication I think that it's a shame to be losing a source of information and something that I did grow up a little with, even if it was for less time than some other gaming magazines.

I guess that there are probably multiple factors. The aforementioned distrust of official sources as reliable and unbiased places to get reviews and news from comes across as one of the major sources of consternation in my eyes. It's also hard to ignore that these days print media has to offer some other kind of incentive over digital publication in order to even hold a candle to the day by day and sometimes even hour by hour coverage that the latter can offer vs. the once a month traditional standard.

Still, I guess time will tell if Official Xbox Magazine will complete this grim trifecta.

Oh, and speaking of Xbox related issues.

It was on Monday that I related the story of how talking too much shit in the Halo 4 multiplayer could net you a ban for life from it. Turns out, not so much, unfortunately.

Basically, the talk made it seem like Halo 4 might be receiving more or different monitoring and that the penalties for being caught spewing racist/sexist/general shit-talking might be more severe, but it turns out that's not the case and Halo 4 is just covered under the same universal blanket policies as any other game that has Xbox Live access.

While a small part of me is glad that people won't be unfairly judged due to others trolling the system and claiming they were harassed, a larger part of me is sad that it's just business as usual. This seemed like as good of an opportunity as ever to maybe change some of the more abysmal behaviour that some people exhibit online when you slap a controller and voicechat in front of their face.

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