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FIFA scripting lawsuit withdrawn after EA provides "detailed technical information and access to speak with our engineers"

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 16:07

The plaintiffs behind a class action lawsuit that alleged EA was secretly adjusting the difficulty of FIFA Ultimate Team to get players to spend more money on packs have withdrawn their case.

On November 2020, three Californians said EA was secretly manipulating them in a lawsuit that revolved around a patented AI technology known as dynamic difficulty adjustment.

Dynamic difficulty adjustment, known more commonly by FIFA players as scripting or momentum, is a technology that unfairly affects the results of matches in a bid to encourage more spending on packs.

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Categories: Video Games

Amazon Quietly Changed its App Icon After Some Unfavorable Comparisons

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 16:01
Amazon has quietly changed the design of its new app icon, replacing the blue ribbon on top that drew some unfavorable comparisons. From a report: Users of the Amazon Shopping app will now see a brown box that resembles a parcel with a blue strip that looks like packaging tape above the company's signature arrow in the shape of a smile. Amazon introduced the initial new icon in a handful of international markets in late January, but has now changed the design of the blue tape after some said it resembled a toothbrush-style mustache, similar to the one worn by Adolf Hitler. "I completely missed that amazon quietly tweaked its new icon to make it look... less like hitler," wrote Alex Hern, a technology editor for the Guardian, on Twitter. The new icon, the first design change in more than five years, replaces the shopping cart and ditches the word "Amazon," but displays the company's smiling arrow logo more prominently. The blue tape looks like it's being torn off, as if opening the package.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Torchlight 3 developer bought by Zynga

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 15:52

FarmVille publisher Zynga has acquired Torchlight 3 developer Echtra Games for an undisclosed sum.

Echtra Games will now join Zynga's portfolio of studios and work with CSR Racing developer NaturalMotion on "a new, yet to be announced RPG for cross-platform play".

In a statement on the purchase, reported by GamesIndustry.biz, Zynga boss Frank Gibeau said Echtra would help grow Zynga's many mobile franchises to PC and console audiences.

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Categories: Video Games

The Sims 4 gets mini DLC packs, one of which makes your house dirty

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 15:21

The Sims 4 already has a vast amount of DLC packs, ranging from bundles to large Expansion Packs, medium-sized Game Packs and smaller Stuff Packs, but now EA is introducing an even tinier type of DLC called Kits. And one of them will deliberately make your Sim's house dirtier.

Described as "mini collections of content", EA has launched three Kits - a Throwback Fit Kit full of retro gym clothing, a Country Kitchen Kit adding vintage kitchen furniture, and the weirdest one of all... the Bust The Dust Kit. This one adds dust to your Sim's home, and it's alive: if you don't sort out the dust piles, they'll spawn "friendly bunnies and dastardly filth fiends". Frankly, anything spreading mess in my house is no friend of mine.

Successfully cleaning up will get you some buffs and rewards, and the Kit also provides two new aspirations for your Sims: Filthy and Fabulous Sims will enjoy living in disgusting hovels, while Perfectly Pristine Sims will require regular cleaning. Thankfully you'll have a new collection of full-size and handheld hoovers to help with this task.

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Categories: Video Games

Hackers Exploit Websites To Give Them Excellent SEO Before Deploying Malware

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 15:00
schwit1 shares a report from ZDNet: Cyberattackers have turned to search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to deploy malware payloads to as many victims as possible. According to Sophos, the so-called search engine "deoptimization" method includes both SEO tricks and the abuse of human psychology to push websites that have been compromised up Google's rankings. SEO optimization is used by webmasters to legitimately increase their website's exposure on search engines such as Google or Bing. However, Sophos says that threat actors are now tampering with the content management systems (CMS) of websites to serve financial malware, exploit tools, and ransomware. In a blog post on Monday, the cybersecurity team said the technique, dubbed "Gootloader," involves deployment of the infection framework for the Gootkit Remote Access Trojan (RAT) which also delivers a variety of other malware payloads. The use of SEO as a technique to deploy Gootkit RAT is not a small operation. The researchers estimate that a network of servers -- 400, if not more -- must be maintained at any given time for success. While it isn't known if a particular exploit is used to compromise these domains in the first place, the researchers say that CMSs running the backend of websites could have been hijacked via malware, stolen credentials, or brute-force attacks.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

EA issues lifetime ban to FIFA player who racially abused Ian Wright after losing a match using Wright's virtual character

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 13:48

EA has issued a lifetime ban to a FIFA player who racially abused Ian Wright after he lost a match while playing with the Arsenal legend's in-game version.

This week, Wright slammed a judge's lenient sentence for a teenager who hurled racial abuse at the Arsenal legend on social media last year.

18-year-old Patrick O'Brien lost a game of FIFA after playing with the Ian Wright icon card in the Ultimate Team mode.

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Categories: Video Games

Pokémon Go details bonus event following Kanto Tour ticket snafu

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 13:37

Pokémon Go developer Niantic has apologised for the issue in the game's recent paid Kanto Tour event which let some players in for free, and detailed its bonus event for those who did purchase a ticket.

"We apologise for this issue, and to help Trainers who purchased a ticket feel like they are receiving its value, paid ticket holders will be able to participate in a bonus event," Niantic wrote in a blog post.

A new timed questline will become available in the game this Friday, 5th March at 10am local time. Completing it will reward you with a variety of premium items, including a pair of Elite TMs which are usually sold at particularly high prices, alongside a smattering of other bits and pieces.

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Categories: Video Games

Fresh footage of Tencents' Pokémon Unite surfaces as closed beta gets underway

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:45

Pokémon Unite - the new free-to-play MOBA from Tencent's TiMi Studios, which was also responsible for Activision's Call of Duty Mobile - has just launched its closed beta in Canada, and a heap of new details and footage have emerged as a result.

Originally announced last summer, Pokémon Unite pits two squads of five players against one another, battling it out in an arena threaded with control points to secure. As a match plays out, Pokémon are able to level up, unlocking new moves as they do so.

Following the launch of Pokémon Unite's closed beta, GoNintendo has been rounding up the various bits of footage to make it online so far. Unfortunately, videos are starting to disappear one by one, but there's still a decent selection of gameplay featuring a range of characters - including Cinderace, Greninja, and Garchomp - to be found.

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Categories: Video Games

Microsoft shows Pokémon Go HoloLens demo

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:30

Microsoft has shown a Pokémon Go tech demo in which the mobile pocket monster phenomenon is playable via the company's Hololens headset.

A video of the demonstration, labelled as "proof of concept" and "not for consumer use", was part of a presentation detailing Microsoft Mesh, the company's new mixed reality platform (thanks, The Verge).

Introduced by Niantic boss John Hanke - the company's own Professor Willow - the demo shows how players can interact with creatures in mixed-reality, rather than AR, and use virtual controls which float around the user's wrist.

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Categories: Video Games

Someone should make a game about: Frasier

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:00

For years I've been dreaming of a Left 4 Dead mod that features the cast of Frasier. Trapped between safe houses in an abandoned hospital, Niles caves someone's head in with a hardback copy of the ICD-9 codes, as Marty jams a door shut with his walking stick. Daphne - who's a little bit psychic - correctly predicts the arrival of a Jockey through a broken window while Frasier is lost in a panic, circling wildly and raging about his next trip to La Cigare Volant.

It would work, I think. A set-piece at the KACL studios, where zombie-Roz traps them all in the sound booth as Gil Chesterton - possibly not zombie-Gil-Chesterton - lights the place on fire. A frantic last-minute rescue mission back to the apartment to save Marty's armchair. Niles is wiping his new machine gun with a handkerchief because who knows who had it before him? Eddie sniffs out a cache of grenades. "Need a med-kit!" yells Daphne. I'm listening.

But is this the only way to take the greatness of Frasier and spin it into a video game? Is it even the best way? Let's go to a new caller.

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Categories: Video Games

NASA's Perseverance Rover Sends Stunning Images of Mars

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:00
Since landing on Mars on February 18, NASA's Perseverance rover has sent back some amazing images from around its landing site, Jezero Crater, a 30-mile wide impact depression just north of the Red Planet's equator. BBC shares a selection of the pictures sent from the mission, "as Perseverance hunts for signs of past microbial life, seeks to characterize the planet's geology and past climate, and collects Martian rock." You can view the images here.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

GPD Win Max review: the world's best tiny gaming laptop

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 11:00

I've been lucky enough to test out a bunch of weird and wonderful tech, but I don't always get a chance to share my discoveries in a full review or roundup. That's why this column exists, to highlight bits of tech that might not fit elsewhere but nonetheless deserve a mention. Enjoy!

2020 was a year of dashed plans and weird events, but it was also one that was full of cool, novel and genuinely exciting pieces of technology. We've covered some of it here on Eurogamer and on the Digital Foundry YouTube channel, but there were also a fair few items that fell through the cracks, especially as the Digital Foundry Deals project took off and next-gen consoles arrived. This week, we're redressing some of these omissions with three of the coolest tech projects I tested in 2020 - from a miniaturised gaming laptop to a retro-future power bank and one of my biggest tech disappointments of the year. Let's get started.

The GPD Win Max is the whole reason that kicked off this column in the first place - I wanted to share the twisted genius that is an eight-inch laptop with an integrated gamepad built-in just above the keyboard. There's even a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor and a full Windows 10 install here; this is a legitimate machine with specs that outperform most office laptops. Of course, you're probably not going to be editing spreadsheets on this thing; as the legendary Chad Warden said, we ain't doin' geometry, we're trying to play some games.

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Categories: Video Games

Maquette review - ingenious but unfocused recursive puzzling

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 10:00

There's an acute kind of horror to being very, very small. A lot of it's in the timing, I think: the time it takes just to get anywhere is so long, so monotonous and lonely, that you feel oddly trapped. All that infinite expanse around you and at the same time, nowhere you can really go. Shudder. Maquette, a debut effort from San Francisco-based studio Graceful Decay, gets this - in fact it's built on it, playing with size and space and infinite regress, and the dense atmosphere that comes with it. A game of teeny tiny footsteps and giant, clanging objects all at once, plus a touch of tilting nausea if you start to think a little too hard.

Maquette is a recursive puzzler, primarily - another stylish, concept-heavy indie from arthouse publisher Annapurna Interactive - and the core is excellent. Each level, as such, occurs under a large, domed-roof structure, several stories high. Beneath this giant dome are four gated puzzle areas arranged opposite each other, crossroads-like, and in the middle is another dome, this time only about two stories high. Beneath that middle dome is a waist-high replica of the dome you're in: four puzzle areas, an even smaller dome in the middle. Inside that middle dome? An even more miniature replica. Back outside that first big outer dome I mentioned? An even bigger replica - and presumably on and on from there.

The puzzling comes, mostly, from the specific handful of objects that can be carried between these different replicas, and that appear in all of these worlds at once. This is also where things become very difficult to put into words, so, one attempt at an example before I just give up and quickly move on: there's a giant red cube blocking your path in the medium-sized (normal-sized?) world, so giant it's too big to move. However, turn towards the little replica in the middle, and the cube is also in there, to scale, and therefore only about knee-height - small enough to be picked up. So pick up the little cube and drop it somewhere else, and - tada! - now the path where the big cube was is clear too.

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Categories: Video Games

Japan Billionaire Seeks 'Crew' For Moon Trip

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 09:00
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on Wednesday launched a search for eight people to join him as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon with Elon Musk's SpaceX. He had originally planned to invite artists for the weeklong voyage slated for 2023. Reuters reports: The rejigged project will "give more people from around the globe the chance to join this journey. If you see yourself as an artist, then you are an artist," Maezawa said. The first stage of the application process runs to March 14. The entrepreneur, who sold his online fashion business Zozo Inc to SoftBank in 2019, is paying the entire cost of the voyage on SpaceX's next-generation reusable launch vehicle, dubbed the Starship.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Rookie Coding Mistake Prior To Gab Hack Came From Site's CTO

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Over the weekend, word emerged that a hacker breached far-right social media website Gab and downloaded 70 gigabytes of data by exploiting a garden-variety security flaw known as an SQL injection. A quick review of Gab's open source code shows that the critical vulnerability -- or at least one very much like it -- was introduced by the company's chief technology officer. The change, which in the parlance of software development is known as a "git commit," was made sometime in February from the account of Fosco Marotto, a former Facebook software engineer who in November became Gab's CTO. On Monday, Gab removed the git commit from its website. Below is an image showing the February software change, as shown from a site that provides saved commit snapshots. The commit shows a software developer using the name Fosco Marotto introducing precisely the type of rookie mistake that could lead to the kind of breach reported this weekend. Specifically, line 23 strips the code of "reject" and "filter," which are API functions that implement a programming idiom that protects against SQL injection attacks. This idiom allows programmers to compose an SQL query in a safe way that "sanitizes" the inputs that website visitors enter into search boxes and other web fields to ensure that any malicious commands are stripped out before the text is passed to backend servers. In their place, the developer added a call to the Rails function that contains the "find_by_sql" method, which accepts unsanitized inputs directly in a query string. Rails is a widely used website development toolkit. "Sadly Rails documentation doesn't warn you about this pitfall, but if you know anything at all about using SQL databases in web applications, you'd have heard of SQL injection, and it's not hard to come across warnings that find_by_sql method is not safe," Dmitry Borodaenko, a former production engineer at Facebook who brought the commit to my attention wrote in an email. "It is not 100% confirmed that this is the vulnerability that was used in the Gab data breach, but it definitely could have been, and this code change is reverted in the most recent commit that was present in their GitLab repository before they took it offline." Ironically, Fosco in 2012 warned fellow programmers to use parameterized queries to prevent SQL injection vulnerabilities.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

CVS, Walgreens Look For Big Data Reward From Covid-19 Vaccinations

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 04:02
Thelasko shares a report from The Wall Street Journal: Administering Covid-19 vaccines comes with a valuable perk for retail pharmacies: access to troves of consumer data. Chains such as CVS Health Corp., Walmart Inc. and Walgreens-Boots Alliance, Inc. are collecting data from millions of customers as they sign up for shots, enrolling them in patient systems and having recipients register customer profiles. The retailers say they are using the information to promote their stores and services, tailor marketing and keep in touch with consumers. The companies also say the information is critical in streamlining vaccinations and improving record-keeping, while ensuring only qualified people are receiving shots.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Hackers Release a New Jailbreak Tool For Almost Every iPhone

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 03:25
An iPhone hacking team has released a new jailbreak tool for almost every iPhone, including the most recent models, by using the same vulnerability that Apple last month said was under active attack by hackers. TechCrunch reports: The Unc0ver team released its latest jailbreak this weekend, and says it works on iOS 11 (iPhone 5s and later) to iOS 14.3, which Apple released in December. In a tweet, the jailbreak group said it used its âoeown exploitâ for CVE-2021-1782, a kernel vulnerability that Apple said was one of three flaws that "may have been actively exploited" by hackers. By targeting the kernel, the hackers are able to get deep hooks into the underlying operating system. Apple fixed the vulnerability in iOS 14.4, released last month, which also prevents the jailbreak from working on later versions. It was a rare admission that the iPhone was under active attack by hackers, but the company declined to say who the hackers were and who they were targeting. Apple also granted anonymity to the researcher who submitted the bug.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Beyond Meat Signs Global Supply Deals With McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 02:45
U.S. plant-based protein company Beyond Meat has signed global supply deals with fast food firms McDonald's and Yum! Brands, which includes KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and others. AgFunderNews reports: The three-year strategic agreement with McDonald's will see Beyond Meat become the 'preferred supplier' of patties for the fast food chain's new McPlant plant-based burger. Under their separate strategic partnership, Beyond Meat and Yum! Brands will co-develop a range of exclusive plant-based protein menu items for the latter's KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell chains. Bruce Friedrich, executive director of the Good Food Institute, said in comments sent to AFN that the two deals represent "the clearest sign yet that the future of meat will be plant-based." "The world's largest restaurant chains are placing plant-based meat directly on the plates of millions of customers around the world," he said. "With more restaurants and revenue than any other food chains on the planet, McDonald's and Yum! Brands will bring plant-based meat onto the mainstream menus of millions of people. When these restaurant chains move, the entire food industry takes notice."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Volvo To Go All Electric By 2030

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 02:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Volvo's entire car lineup will be fully electric by 2030, the Chinese-owned company said on Tuesday, joining a growing number of automakers planning to phase out fossil-fuel engines by the end of this decade. "I am totally convinced there will be no customers who really want to stay with a petrol engine," Volvo Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson told reporters when asked about future demand for electric vehicles. "We are convinced that an electric car is more attractive for customers." The Swedish-based carmaker said 50% of its global sales should be fully-electric cars by 2025 and the other half hybrid models. Owned by Hangzhou-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Volvo will launch a new family of electric cars in the next few years, all of which will be sold online only. On Tuesday it unveiled the first of those models, the C40, a fully electric SUV, which will have an initial battery range of around 420 kilometers (261 miles). Volvo will include wireless upgrades and fixes for its new electric models -- an approach originally pioneered by electric carmaker Tesla Inc. This means the C40's range will be extended over time with software upgrades, Chief Technology Officer Henrik Green said. Volvo said it will "radically reduce" the complexity of its model line-up and provide customers with transparent pricing. The carmaker's global network of 2,400 traditional bricks-and-mortar dealers will remain open to service vehicles and to help customers make online orders.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft Launches Power Fx, a New Open Source Low-Code Language

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 01:20
Microsoft today announced Power Fx, a new low-code language that "will become the standard for writing logic customization across Microsoft's own low-code Power Platform," reports TechCrunch. "[S]ince the company is open-sourcing the language, Microsoft also hopes others will implement it as well and that it will become the de facto standard for these kinds of use cases." From the report: Microsoft says the language was developed by a team led by Vijay Mital, Robin Abraham, Shon Katzenberger and Darryl Rubin. Beyond Excel, the team also took inspiration from tools and languages like Pascal, Mathematica and Miranda, a functional programming language developed in the 1980s. Microsoft plans to bring Power Fx to all of its low-code platforms, but given the focus on community, it'll start making appearances in Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents and elsewhere soon. But the team clearly hopes that others will adopt it as well. Low-code developers will see it pop up in the formula bars of products like Power Apps Studio, but more sophisticated users will also be able to use it to go to Visual Studio Code and build more complex applications with it. As the team noted, it focused on not just making the language Excel-like but also having it behave like Excel -- or like a REPL, for you high-code programmers out there. That means formulas are declarative and instantly recalculate as developers update their code.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff
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