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July 15, 2011

Ubisoft finds a new way to kill the used game market

Look, I understand guys. Gamestop is eating your lunch. And your dinner. And picking at your breakfast plates too. You make all these great(ish) new games and then America's largest games retailer basically trains all their customers to sell those games back the second the customer gets bored. Gamestop is a pawn shop peddling used games--your new games are just there to grease the wheels of their industry. It must suck for you. But still. This UPlay pass thing? I don't like it. I really enjoy my Doctrine Of First Sale rights. I consider the resell value of all the games and books I buy. Maybe that makes me pathological, I don't know. I know that for years I finances my video game habit (it's a drug reference, see?) by buying games new, playing them for a few weeks, and then selling them used on Amazon for only a few bucks less than I paid. Essentially I'd only pay $5 for a new game, once the math worked out. Maybe that sucks for you, too. But that's how it works in America. We are allowed to sell our stuff to each other. Deal with it. This new UPlay thing--only the first buyer gets multiplayer functionality--is stupid. Understandable, but stupid. And I hope it bites your ass. Used Copies of Some of Ubisoft's Upcoming Games Will Require a $10 "Passport" To Play Online
Ubisoft today confirmed rumors that they will begin locking out free online multiplayer modes to anyone who buys some of their newer games used. The new Uplay Passport program will begin in the "coming months and will be included in many of Ubisoft's popular core games," according to today's official release. This backs up rumors that hit earlier this week of the upcoming "service." The service means that those "popular core games" will come with a registration code that, when redeemed, provides access to bonus content, exclusive offers and, most importantly, online multiplayer. If a person gets the game used, from a friend or through a purchase, they will need to pay $10 to buy a new Uplay Passport to access that content and play online.

On the Great Railroad Strike of 1877

This Day in Labor History: July 14, 1877 : Lawyers, Guns & Money
On July 14, 1877, the Great Railroad Strike began in Martinsburg, West Virginia. After the Civil War, industrialists engaged in an enormous rail building program. Much of this was funded through shaky and corrupt means, leading to the Panic of 1873. When the bubble burst in 1873, many railroads went bankrupt and those who survived forced workers to bear the brunt of cutbacks. Throughout the nation, rail workers became increasingly angry. Feeling like they had no power to lead dignified lives and betrayed by the new capitalist system of the age, desperation set in. The Pennsylvania Railroad led the charge in oppressing workers. It forced workers to accept pay cut after pay cut and then doubled the length of runs with no increase in crew size. Other railroads quickly followed suit in a race to the bottom. In Martinsburg, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad forced its workers to accept their second pay cut in a year. This broke the camel’s back and workers walked out. Rail workers on big lines had a lot of potential power because if they refused to allow trains to roll on a given line, it would disrupt traffic across the country. They knew this and used this tactic. The strike quickly spread across the nation. Within days, 100,000 workers were on strike, with many more unemployed on the picket lines in support. In Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois especially, workers halted the nation’s rail traffic, bringing the country to a screeching halt. The strike didn’t last too long (45 days) and the workers didn’t succeed. Nonetheless, it is one of the most important events in labor history for two reasons. It was the first mass action of industrial workers in American history, which scared the hell out of the capitalists. It now seemed America was susceptible to what were considered foreign ideologies from Europe. Second, the capitalists set the tone for dealing with striking labor throughout the Gilded Age–crush it with violence. Wrote an anonymous Baltimore merchant, sympathetic to the strike: “The strike is not a revolution of fanatics willing to fight for an idea. It is a revolt of working men against low prices of labor, which have not been accomplished with corresponding low prices of food, clothing and house rent.”

July 14, 2011

Damn; I gotta go find that Borders gift card with the $3 left on it ASAP

Borders Group faces weekend of waiting for auction to decide...