I may have solved the mystery of the copyright claim in Europe against Atlus’s Attack On Titan: Humanity In Chains

I may have solved the mystery of the copyright claim in Europe against Atlus’s Attack On Titan: Humanity In Chains

AttackOnTitan-Copyright

On 1 May, Atlus issued a statement detailing their plans for the Western release of Attack on Titan: Humanity In Chains, a localisation of the previous Japan-only entry, Attack on Titan: Last Wings of Mankind, which released in December 2013.

While North American fans of the blockbuster anime series were delighted to learn that the game would release stateside on 12 May, European fans were left disappointed by the announcement of a delay due to a copyright claim.

Baffled fans said things like

Attack on titan copyright

and

Attack on titan copyright2

and

Attack on titan copyright3

And they had a point. A quick search on Google Play reveals dozens of entries with with “Titan” as an integral part of the name. Atlus didn’t release any details or hints about who issued a copyright claim against them for Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains. But I’ve done some internet sleuthing and discovered who might be the real culprit behind it.

The official European Union trademark database (OHIM/CTM) contains details of the copyright filing and the subsequent opposition for Attack on Titan (CTM013347331).

Timeline of events:

10 Oct 2014 – Trademark application by Kondansha Ltd for “Attack on Titan” wordmark under classes 9 and 28 (covering computer games and electronic games)

25 Nov 2014 – Application published for opposition with a deadline of 25 Feb 2015 for any trademark opposition to be filed.

25 Feb 2015 – Opposition filed by PT Entertainment Limited against “Attack on Titan” under grounds of “Likelihood of confusion”.

26 Feb 2015 – OHIM begins investigations into the validity of the opposition claim and informs Kodansha Ltd about it.

6 March 2015 – OHIM declares the opposition claim is admissible as it is based on an earlier right for “Titan”.

11 May 2015 – Expiry of ‘cooling-off’ period

12 May 2015 – Beginning of adversarial part of opposition proceedings

11 July 2015 – Deadline for submission of further material to substantiate earlier rights.

Who are PT Entertainment Limited and what do they do?

From my investigations, they are an “interactive gaming” company based in Antigua and operates Titanbet and Winner, both online gambling sites. It’s also a subsidiary of Playtech, “the world’s largest online gaming software supplier”.

Now, back to the copyright claim in question. According to the trademark filing information, PT Entertainment Limited filed opposition against Attack on Titan for the following trademarks on 25 Feb 2014:

  • Titan Poker
  • Titan Bet
  • Titan Casino
  • Titan

What did the opposition possibly mean for Atlus?

This is speculation but I believe Atlus held off as long as they could for PT Entertainment to withdraw their opposition claim but ultimately felt a decision needed to be made.

To the casual observer, there is no chance of anyone getting confused and mistaking Attack on Titan as a gambling game but this is a legal issue and it’s one for the lawyers to deal with.

In the meantime, I invite casual observer to be confused by Attack on Titan’s similarity to Titan.

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

And here’s the Nintendo eShop trailer:

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The next #SteamWorld Ambassador challenge wants you to put your design hats on

The next #SteamWorld Ambassador challenge wants you to put your design hats on

The next SteamWorld Ambassador challenge (for those of you good at math, we’re on to the second challenge) is now live on the Image & Form blog.

The challenge this time is for the visually creative types out there, with those possessing steady hands being in an advantageous position – or if steady hands aren’t available, then the ability to scribble in the shape of a hat will do just nicely. Essentially, you’ll need to “design a hat that will appear in SteamWorld Heist”.

SteamWorld-Heist-Hat-sketch

From Image & Form

What’s the payoff for this? As with the first challenge, the winner will be “among the first in the world to play SteamWorld Heist before release” and will get codes for every platform it releases on plus a few spares to give to people you want/need/desire to be indebted to you. SteamWorld Heist is slated to release on the 3DS, Steam, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Wii U and mobile.

Intrigued? Watch this video and quickly mosey over to the Image & Form blog page for the competition and make your submission (or just forget the video and just get over there and make a submission quickly). And please please please make sure you complete your submission by Friday May 8th at 23:59 CEST (EU) / 5:59 PM EDT (NA).

Good luck!

I’m one of the first SteamWorld Ambassadors!

I’m one of the first SteamWorld Ambassadors!

A week ago, while putting my baby to bed, I noticed that Image & Form were running a competition to find their first SteamWorld Ambassador. It was right up my alley too considering it involved giving a funky and creative name to something, in this case, an in-game weapon.

I came up with a few suggestions but felt I wanted to revisit them since I was quite tired already when I came up with them (laid out in order of submission):

  • The Water Cooler
  • The People Splasher
  • Rust In Piece (which apart from the pun could also handily be shortened to R.I.P.)
  • Rust In Pieces

Rather in keeping with my idea generation style (which involves going through rubbish before the good stuff comes), the very last idea came up trumps.

Excerpt from the announcement:

The first SteamWorld Ambassadors are…

TheGamingWolf for providing our weapon with the name “Cranky’s Delight”!

James Jackson for suggesting the name “The Bolt .45″ which will be given to another weapon.

jsty3105 for the incredibly creative pun “Rust in pieces!”. We’ll not use it as a weapon name, but it will appear in SteamWorld Heist as a bark (epic one liner).

So, whoopee! I didn’t name the weapon in the end, but my submission will be added as in-game text! Wee! Another mark to add to my copywriting portfolio.

Today, I received the formal announcement email from Image & Form:

Howdy!
My name is Brjánn and I’m the CEO at Image & Form Games. With this e-mail I’d like to congratulate you on winning last week’s challenge and officially welcome you to the SteamWorld Ambassadors Club!
As a SteamWorld Ambassador you’ll be among the first in the world to play SteamWorld Heist before release. The game will launch on one or two platforms at a time starting this fall, and prior to every platform release we’llsend you a download code free of charge. We’ll even add a few spares you can give to your friends.
You and the other ambassadors also get access to exclusive information about the SteamWorld games as they progress. We’ll send you the first secret some time next week 🙂
We don’t expect anything in return from you for this, but of course we hope you share our videos and blog updates or just tweet or comment about the SteamWorld games once in a while. Sharing a link on NeoGAF, Reddit or your favorite gaming forum would also be of tremendous help to us.
We’ll continue the SteamWorld Ambassador challenges every other Tuesday. In the weeks between the challenges you’ll find blog posts with exciting new info, pictures and videos about SteamWorld Heist directly from our dev team. We’ll keep you updated via email 🙂
We have major stuff coming up, so I hope you’re ready!
PS. Are you on Twitter? If so, let’s connect! Our handle is @imageform 🙂
Best regards,
Brjann Sigurgeirsson
CEO, Image & Form
Soooo looks like I’ll grab this opportunity to start sharing new stuff about SteamWorld Heist. I got a lot of joy from playing through SteamWorld Dig on my 3DS and I’m really looking forward to experiencing this next entry in the SteamWorld universe on my Wii U and 3DS.
Happy days! Check out the couple of official screenshots and the gameplay trailer below.

Ten games I think would be perfect on the Wii U

The official Wii U logo Español: Logo oficial ...
With any impending release of a new console there’s naturally going to be speculation about what games can and should appear on it. Remember when the Wii was originally announced and how you immediately thought to yourselves, “Lightsabres!” Yeah, we’re still hoping for a Star Wars game with 1:1 lightsabre zwanging action though, judging by GameRadar’s article on 5 reasons a Wii lightsabre game would suck, we might not like the end results.

Here are my picks for ten games and forgotten franchises that would be just peachy on the Wii U.

10. MechCommander series

Remember that MechCommander intro sequence when a path was plotted with a stylus of sorts and a Raven was guided away from a MadCat deathtrap? If you don’t there’s a handy trailer above that’s accessible with just a simple click of your mouse (or a tap of your finger depending on how you’re viewing this article). Yeah, that would be pretty sweet on the WiiU. Granted – it’s a really old game now but it’s been crying out for a revival for several years now – especially after the entire MechCommander series was released as freeware in 2006.

9. Sim City series

Imagine this classic city building sim series with the new community features that the Wii U offers. And then imagine the precision you’d have with the stylus when playing this on the Wii U. Then put two and two together and realise that SimCity on the Wii U would be a marriage made in Nintendo silicon heaven.

8. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Transformers: War for Cybertron was already the best Transformer game ever made (it didn’t have much competition though apart from the well-crafted Transformers Armada) and having the sequel on the Wii U would make a lot of sense. The Wii U GamePad will allow you a much greater level of immersion in the game world and could even be integrated into the gameplay like how it was done in Batman Arkham City: Armoured Edition. It may be unusual for Batman to have a controller strapped to his arm but it’s oh-so-natural for a Transformer to have it integrated with it’s circuitry.

7. Deus Ex series

See the argument made for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron above. The same applies naturally for Adam Dent and his world of augmentations. Imagine a variation of the Wii U GamePad integrated into his arm with nanotechnology. Having such thumb-easy access to augmentations would make going through the game that much more intuitive and immersive.

Also, Wii U’s community features can make this game truly shine – imagine going through a section and seeing a message pop-up saying teasers like, “try sneaking past this section to get awesome stuff” or “look up. There’s more than one way out of here”. You can even explain this in-game as a nanotechnology feature. Eidos, please make this happen.

6. Injustic – Gods Among Us

I’ve played Street Fighter IV 3DS and Bleach: Blade of Fate DS so there’s no doubt in my mind that playing fighting games with the aid of a touchscreen is joy incarnate. Edit: While writing this I found out that Injustice is also slated for release on the Wii U – clearly I’m on the same lines with the developers.

5. Bioshock Infinite

This is a long-shot considering the close relationship Irrational Games has with Sony. Already, the PS3 version looks like the definitive one to own as it’s the only version with support for 3D. It’ll certainly give you another reason to enjoy that spanking new 3D TV you’ve got in your living room.

When I imagined Bioshock Infinite for the Wii U, I was thinking along the same lines at my ideas for Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron as well as Injustice: Gods Among Us. I’d love being able to arrange my plasmids on the Wii U GamePad and having them at my fingertips. The additional screen would also be perfect for the hacking mini-game (a clone of Pipe Mania, a classic arcade game) introduced in the first BioShock.

4. Wing Commander IV

This suggestion might seem a little out there since it’s a well-known fact that the best way to experience this game is with a flightstick like the Thrustmaster T Flight Stick. It’s just not the same playing with a mouse/keyboard combo or a regular gamepad. Where this might differ on the Wii U is the potential ability to replicate the HUD on the Wii U GamePad and just keep the priority information on your TV screen.

That’ll release valuable screen real-estate for stuff all we gamers enjoy, more of the actual game.

3. Minecraft

The Minecraft phenomenon has helped to transform the indie gaming scene since it’s launch in 2010. Tens of thousands of gamers have revelled in their new-found outlet for their creativity and promptly worked to create lavish and immensely creative maps. Check out the following video:

Here’s another title where the Wii U’s community features can really shine – map recommendations, in-game hints, tool sharing, the sky’s the limit.

2. R.U.S.E

Just watch that trailer and tell me you don’t want to be able to do something similar with another mate on the Wii U GamePad?

1. Starcraft series

The best home for RTS games have always been on the PC. No question about it. All other RTS releases on consoles have made concessions to the control scheme to make it somewhat playable.

What the Wii U now offers is the potential for proper RTS gaming on a console. The DS already has a couple of examples for how this can work, most notably with Final Fantasy Revenant Wings and Robocalypse, so it would be a special day indeed if Blizzard were to release a Starcraft 2 on the Wii U.

Add your own idea into the mix

Have a game in mind you think would also be perfect on the Wii U? Sound out in the comments area below. The more outlandish the idea, the better. Think big. Think bizzare. Think maybe Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle or Football Manager 2012.

London International Technology Show – First day impressions

London International Technology Show

Was well excited to get myself over to the Excel Centre today after months of drummed up expectation seeing adverts and promotions in the PC mags I subscribe to (Custom PC, PC Pro and Computer Shopper). I bounded over there in the early morn with a slight delay due to some office work that needed doing – despite me being on annual leave (I’ve got too much Malaysian working style in me methinks…)  but finally managed to make it there a little over the official start time.

An inauspicious low-tech beginning
Walking towards the exhibition hall, I expected a throng of people to already be there since Malaysia’s annual PC Fair is always jam packed with humans who are all after great tech bargains that you just don’t get instore. Upon reaching the ticketing booth, I had a little mixup with the lady at the counter. The booth said Press & Invitations and Groupon Tickets – so, having already bought my tickets via Groupon a few days back and because there was no one heading for that counter, I made a beeline for it and waved my phone in front of the counter girl only to get waved off by her and told to get in line. Confused, I went into the very short line and waited. Shortly, I saw a guy saunter straight up to that same girl with a printout of his Groupon voucher and got his wristband pass in no time at all.  At this point, I was sure that the lady misunderstood me so I make eye contact and walk straight to her counter and promptly display my Groupon on my smartphone.

What happened next was rather unexpected given the event that I was there for – she looked confused and said that they don’t have the facilities to scan my Groupon voucher from my phone and needed me to bring a printed copy. My first thought was, “Hang on. Aren’t I at the London International Technology Show? How come they don’t have QR code scanners for Groupon vouchers?” Fortunately, after a few moments of me standing there looking rather awkward with my Groupon voucher displayed on my screen at the Groupon ticketing counter, she said she’ll let me in anyway and asked whether I wanted just the one ticket. “Now we’re getting somewhere”, I think  to myself and said I’ll take the single ticket.

Now that I was properly registered, I walked through the entrance and started checking out the various exhibition booths.

Low-tech gear in high-tech show?
The strangest exhibit in the whole show hands down was this decidedly low-tech offering…

“This really doesn't count as tech ... #LITS. ”

“This really doesn't count as tech ... #LITS. ” - Image by Cecilia Liao (www.twitter.com/cecilialiao)

If I wanted decorative wind spinners in the UK, I would hop, skip, and jump (well, I’d prob take the tube instead… less conspicuous) over to Camden Market (or one of the other many markets around London) to check out their range of offerings – not go to an ‘international technology show’…

Cool tech at last
That aside, there was some cool tech around though it was focused on stuff that’s too expensive for mainstream consumers (like the £100 keyboards I saw) or on stuff for enthusiast PC overclockers (like the audacious cooling products on offer). Here are a couple of the cool stuff I saw:

Serious air cooling for this video monster

Serious air cooling for this video monster

And, a look at the video monster from another, possibly less scary, angle

Serious water cooling for this monster processor

Serious water cooling for this monster processor

For serious cooling you need liquid nitrogen

For serious cooling you need liquid nitrogen

And now, some retro tech that’s gotten on in years but is still cool…

Pac-Man

Pac-Man gobbled one too many yellow pellets...

Frogger

Never played the arcade version until today... Jump froggy, jump!

Galaga

Galaga - the first arcade cabinet I made a beeline for...

Space Invaders

A true arcade classic

Virtua Fighter 3

Virtua Fighter 3

Scramble

Scramble - the next arcade cabinet I made a beeline for

Street Fighter 2

Round 1 - Fight!

Table top arcade cabinet

Remember when these were all over the arcades?

Shattered pinball dreams

3D Pinball Space Cadet

This is a murderously difficult pinball game

Apart from having a blast at the retro arcade games (especially Galaga – which was the subject of many hours of fun during my childhood), I tried my hand at Micro Mart’s gaming shed where they offered an opportunity to win a nice gaming chair. The competition in question to win it was a free-to-play pinball game that was a staple in Windows 95 – 3D Pinball: Space Cadet. The catch? You only had 1 chance to get the highest score possible and anyone who’s played it will know that it’s difficult to score anything more than a few hundred thousand (my own personal best was about 1.5 million – a far cry from my 48M scores in Pinball Dreams back in the day…). Cracking my knuckles I quickly configured the controls to what I was used to and gave it a go – but failed when I reached 160,000 points because I overused the tilt button. What a sad way to go.

At the same hut, I also had a go at id Software’s RAGE on a lovely Eyefinity setup. The previous player seemed to have left it at a point where there wasn’t much to do, shoot, or kill though so I gave up on the game after a while of aimlessly running and driving about. Doubt I’ll purchase it for the PC. It was also lagging a bit on the PC though I’m not sure whether it’s a hardware or software-related issue.

Dearth of genuinely must-buy gear and gadgets
I’d say, one of the biggest disappointments of the day was a lack of any really well-priced items. I grew up in Malaysia and regularly experienced the annual PC fair where it was THE place and time to get the best deals in the whole year and people knew it. It runs across a 3 day period in Kuala Lumpur and is constantly packed (and it takes up a larger space than LITS). Over here, it rarely felt like anyone was genuinely interested in the deals or that the vendors were interested in actually pushing their deals. All I saw around was a few price lists (generally a 20% discount) and some items that some shops had placed price tags to (Scan did it for some of their products – but knowing the extent of their normal catalogue, it was distinctly underwhelming).

The seminar area didn’t look or sound very exciting either…

Seminar schedule for today

Seminar schedule for today

So in the end, I left at around 1pm – having already seen the whole place several times round and played a couple of games. The good thing was – since my Groupon didn’t register at the counter, I effectively went in for free (well, as long as my Groupon cancellation request goes through for the tickets I had already bought…). London International Technology Show 2011 – a poor excuse for a tech exhibition.

There’s not much else that was really exciting so I’ll leave you with several other photos I took at the show.

I Yoyotech overclocking attempt

Yoyotech goes for the overclocking record with the new AMD Bulldozer chip - 8Mhz and counting!

LITS seminar

The first seminar for the London International Technology Show gets underway

Eyefinity setup

Eyefinity setup at Micro Mart's shed - that keyboard wrist pad is actually less comfortable than it looks

Eyefinity setup v2

This is why I need an Eyefinity setup at home...

Top Gear simulator

£5 per go apparently - and not worth the cash at all

Another Eyefinity setup

Another Eyefinity setup - this time for driving games

A killer setup needs a killer cooler

A killer setup needs a killer cooler

Mixing deck at the SCAN booth

Mixing deck at the SCAN booth

Electric guitar programme demonstration

Electric guitar programme demonstration

One view of the Friday crowd

The show floor certainly wasn't bustling with people, even around midday.

E3 2011 impressions – A Nintendo fan’s viewpoint

Microsoft fails to Kinect with the core gamers

Having seen the announcements made during Microsoft’s and Sony’s 2011 E3 press conferences, I felt the time was ripe for Nintendo to blow them away with a megaton bomb announcement. After all, Microsoft seemed keen to repeat Nintendo’s own 2008 E3 mistake by focusing most of their press conference on kid-friendly titles for the Kinect as well as Kinectivised (I’m coining that phrase) Xbox360 games like Mass Effect 3.  The elite were left out to feed on the first entry in a new Halo trilogy (yawn – and it didn’t attract that much excitement from Xbox fanboys either…), Minecraft a Kinectivised Fable 3, a Kincetivised Gears of War, a Kinectivised Star Wars (complete with voice activated lightsaber action – “Light saber on!”), a Kinectivised… well you get the picture.

Gamesradar actually wrote a very well thought article on  – Why Microsoft’s press conference showed that it may have much bigger problems than Kinect. Do yourself a favour an read it (as soon as you finish mine of course…).

This vid sums up the Kinect madness that surrounded Microsoft at E3:

Sony brings new Life to E3

Sony’s presser was far more interesting – focusing on the launch of the PlayStation Vita (the official name of the NGP) at a very very attractive price point of USD$249. The USD$249 Nintendo 3DS has some real competition now aside from their lack of genuinely interesting and playable titles that are available now. Perhaps crucially, the PlayStation Vita is said to be region free, something every gamer in the world wants in their handheld console. Based on the similar price points, there’s every chance that Nintendo’s previous pricing and differentiation strategy wouldn’t work in this current environment but that’s a story for another post.

Aside from the well-covered launch of the PS Vita (which some are already dubbing PSV Eindhoven or the PSV), Sony flogged the 3D horse some more with the announcement of a USD499 3D bundle that would include a copy of Resistance 3, a HDMI cable, a pair of 3D glasses, and a PlayStation branded 24″ TV. The TV itself is quite attractive with tech that “allows two separate pairs of 3D eyewear to see two completely different pictures on the same screen, allowing local co-op minus the splitscreen”.

Also of great interest was Ruin, a hack n’ slash action RPG with a nifty innovation that allows you to play it on the PlayStation Vita while you travel and continue on your PS3 when you’re at home. One particular Sony announcement managed to draw groans from the crowd – the 3G version of the Vita was exclusive to AT&T (in the US anyway). We’ll have to wait and see whether the reportedly poor iPhone experience on AT&T will lead to buyers staying away from this particular SKU.

The PlayStation Vita – oooohhh, shiny….

PlayStation Vita

Nintendo blows (minds)

The Nintendo presser played a 25th Legend of Zelda video complete with orchestral backing to the great delight of the Zelda fans in the crowd. They really know how to push the right nostalgia buttons…

Shigeru Miyamoto finally confirmed Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword for a 2011 holiday season release complete with a special gold wii remote pack-in and threw a nice hunk of meat for 3DS owning Zelda fans by also announcing a free download of Zelda Four Swords.

I’m slightly curious about Ocarina of Time 3DS, mostly because I’ve not played it yet and every games magazine I’ve ever seen has constantly raved about it. The 3DS showreel of upcoming titles definitely fuelled my appetite for the 3DS – Mario Kart 3DS (with customisable karts as well as gliders and underwater terrain!), Luigi’s Mansion 2 (which strangely got a lot of applause since the first game for the GameCube was panned), Starfox 64 3DS, Super Mario Bros 3DS (looked sweet), and finally, what I think will be the star game – Kid Icarus Uprising. Kid Icarus looks like it’ll be an amazing action-packed experience.

Nintendo 3DS 1st party games sizzle reel

Nintendo 3DS 3rd party games sizzle reel

And on to….
Wii U

Nintendo’s latest console – The Wii U. I honestly thought Nintendo would have gone with a good old simple name like ‘Nintendo’ but looking at the name again, it makes sense. Keeping the name continuity means that the average parent still recognises it and as much as gamers may bash names, I don’t think a single console (or tech product for that matter) in history has failed because it had a stupid name (see the iPad for a prime example).

This is the first Nintendo console since the SNES that has come out with such great 3rd party support. Looking at the list of planned games, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online, Darksiders II, Batman Arkham City, Dirt, Aliens Colonial Marines, Metro Last Light, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Assassin’s Creed, a new Madden, and for the first time ever on a Nintendo home console, Tekken, the future looks bright for Nintendo. Apart for the aberration of a 10% drop in stock since the announcement of the console, I expect business to pick up once more solid titles are announced and more info is released for the Wii U – which likely won’t happen until the Tokyo Game Show in September.

The tech demo for the Wii U had me sold as soon as they showed the shuriken clip. The level of interactivity with the surrounding environment with zero lag between the controller and the screen was mind blowing. With the new controller, the Wii U can offer a truly 360 degree view of the gaming world you’re in. Also, the new controller flies against the current trend towards peripherals. With one fell swoop, this controller eliminates the need for more gizmos to fill our room spaces because it has a gyroscope, a microphone, an accelerometer, dual analog controls, two shoulder buttons and two triggers, a front-facing camera, and a gigantic 6.2″ resistive touchscreen. It’s quite likely that the design will be tweaked further prior to it’s official launch, but much of what you see now is what you’ll get in 2012. IGN is already kickstarting a campaign to get Nintendo to use analog sticks and analog triggers in their controller.

I’m liking this new look Nintendo that has come back to embrace the core gamer once again after seemingly leaving us for games that toddlers and their grandparents could play. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the fact that Nintendo expanded the gaming market to such an extent that my mother could partner me at Wii Sports tennis and beat my friends, but I don’t feel that I had enough gaming choices for my Wii. My PC was left to fill the void with Quake 4, Mass Effect, and Trine – none of which would ever come to the Wii in it’s current form.

I’ll close with this trailer for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online – a great example of how Wii U can enhance shooters.

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