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Nintendo

In China, Fears That Pokemon Go May Aid Locating Military Bases (reuters.com) 173

The sleeper hit success title Pokemon Go is preventing many people in China from sleeping properly. Although the game isn't officially available in the world's largest smartphone market, some people fear it could become a Trojan horse for "offensive action by the United States and Japan," according to a report by Reuters. "Don't play Pokemon GO!!!" said user Pitaorenzhe on Chinese microblogging site Weibo. "It's so the U.S. and Japan can explore China's secret bases!" From the article: The conspiracy theory is that Japan's Nintendo, which part owns the Pokemon franchise, and America's Google can work out where Chinese military bases are by seeing where users can't go to capture Pokemon characters. The game relies on Google services such as Maps. The theory is that if Nintendo places rare Pokemon in areas where they see players aren't going, and nobody attempts to capture the creature, it can be deduced that the location has restricted access and could be a military zone. "Then, when war breaks out, Japan and the U.S. can easily target their guided missiles, and China will have been destroyed by the invasion of a Japanese-American game," said a social media post circulated on Weibo. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was unaware of reports that the game could be a security risk and that he didn't have time to play with such things. He gave no further details.
Graphics

NVIDIA's Releases Its First VR Game, Along With An Interactive Screenshot Tool 'Ansel' (techgage.com) 20

Deathspawner writes: NVIDIA has today released a Game Ready GeForce driver that introduces its interactive screenshot tool 'Ansel.' Named after famed photographer Ansel Adams, this new tool requires a developer to integrate up to a couple hundred lines of code to give players the ability to pause their game, move around the environment, and then capture a more "artistic" image. To further that artistic value, users will have the ability to apply filters as well as capture an image in high-res 360 mode so that they can be viewed properly with a virtual-reality (VR) headset. Currently, Ansel supports only a single game -- Mirror's Edge Catalyst -- but NVIDIA promises that many more supported titles are on the way. In addition, NVIDIA has released its first ever video game via Steam that just so happens to be a VR game. The game is called VR Funhouse and is available for free via Steam but is only playable on the HTC Vive. The game consists of a virtual-reality carnival and employs many NVIDIA graphics technologies, like collision-based haptic feedback and advanced physics simulation.
The Courts

Valve Denounces Third-Party Gambling Sites, But Won't Block Them (arstechnica.com) 32

Valve is finally addressing the last week's Counter-Strike gambling scandal. The game maker and Steam operator says that it does not directly profit from these gambling sites' actions. In a statement, Valve's Erik Johnson said the following: We have no business relationships with any of these sites. We have never received any revenue from them. And Steam does not have a system for turning in-game items into real world currency. Johnson added that gambling sites work by creating and maintaining their own Steam accounts, which are used to conduct virtual item trading. He adds:Using the OpenID API and making the same web calls as Steam users to run a gambling business is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements.Steam's user agreement includes a passage that forbids "exploiting the Content and Services or any of its parts for any commercial purpose, except as expressly permitted elsewhere in this Agreement." The company won't block these websites, but says it will begin cracking down on them -- by sending them cease and desist notices.
Nintendo

Nintendo Is Launching a New, Tiny NES For $60 With 30 Games (engadget.com) 195

Nintendo, which has been in the news a lot lately thanks to Pokemon Go, has announced a new console. It's called the Nintendo Classic Mini, and it will ship pre-loaded with 30 games. The upcoming Nintendo Classic Mini will be priced at $60, and an extra NES controller will set you back by $10. The controller can be attached to a Wii remote for use and the Virtual Console on the Wii or Wii U. The console, which comes with an HDMI and USB cable (for power) will ship on November 11. Engadget reports about the titles: The full list includes Balloon Fight, Bubble Bobble, Castlevania, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Double Dragon II: The Revenge, Dr. Mario, Excitebike, Final Fantasy, Galaga, Ghosts' N Ghoblins, Gradius, Ice Climber, Kid Icarus, Kirby's Adventure, Mario Bros., Mega Man 2, Metroid, Ninja Gaiden, Pac-Man, Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream, StarTropics, SUPER C, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Tecmo Bowl, The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.HotHardware has more details.
Graphics

Ask Slashdot: Why Don't Graphics Cards For VR Use Real-Time Motion Compensation? 159

dryriver writes: Graphics cards manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD have gone to great pains recently to point out that in order to experience virtual reality with a VR headset properly, you need a GPU capable of pushing at least a steady 90 FPS per eye, or a total of at least 180 FPS for both eyes, and at high resolutions to boot. This of course requires the purchase of the latest, greatest high-end GPUs made by these manufacturers, alongside the money you are already plonking down for your new VR headset, and a good, fast gaming-class PC. This raises an interesting question: virtually every LCD/LED TV manufactured in the last 5 or 6 years has a 'Real-Time Motion Compensation' feature built in. This is the not-so-new-at-all technique of taking, say, a football match broadcast live at 30 FPS or Hz, and algorithmically generating extra in-between frames in real time, thus giving you a hyper-smooth 200-400 FPS/Hz image on the TV set with no visible stutter or strobing whatsoever. This technology is not new. It is cheap enough to include in virtually every TV set at every price level (thus the hardware that performs the real-time motion compensating cannot cost more than a few dollars total). And the technique should, in theory, work just fine with the output of a GPU trying to drive a VR headset. Now suppose you have an entry level or mid-range GPU capable of pushing only 40-60 FPS in a VR application (or a measly 20-30 FPS per eye, making for a truly terrible VR experience). You could, in theory, add some cheap motion compensation circuitry to that GPU and get 100-200 FPS or more per eye. Heck, you might even be able to program a few GPU cores to run the motion compensation as a real-time GPU shader as the rest of the GPU is rendering a game or VR experience.

So my question: Why don't GPUs for VR use real-time motion compensation techniques to increase the FPS pushed into the VR headset? Would this not make far more financial sense for the average VR user than having to buy a monstrously powerful GPU to experience VR at all?
Software

Pokemon Go Becomes Biggest Mobile Game In US History (techcrunch.com) 174

An anonymous reader writes: Pokemon Go is now the biggest mobile game of all time in the U.S. Not only has it surpassed Twitter's daily users, but it is seeing people spend more time in its app than in Facebook. An earlier report from SimilarWeb says Pokemon Go has surpassed Tinder in terms of installations -- the app surpassed Tinder on July 7th. Today, the tracking firm says Pokemon Go has managed to surpass Twitter in terms of daily active users on Monday. It says almost 6% of the entire U.S. Android population is engaging with the app on a daily basis. A new report from SurveyMonkey intelligence indicated that Pokemon Go has claimed the title "biggest mobile game in U.S. history." The game saw just under 21 million daily active users in the U.S. on Monday. It's reportedly closing in on Snapchat on Android, and could surpass Google Maps on Android as well. According to app store intelligence firm SensorTower, the average iPhone user on iOS spent 33 minutes catching Pokemon, which is more than any other apps it analyzed, including Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Slither.io. The app with the second-most average usage at 22 minutes, 8 seconds, was Facebook. SurveyMonkey did note that Pokemon Go still falls short of other games when it comes to time spent in games. Game of War sees nearly 2 hours of total daily usage for the average user, while Candy Crush Saga sees daily usage of about 43 minutes. In just two days, Pokemon Go brought Nintendo's market value to $7.5 billion. It's worth noting that it remains to be seen whether or not the game will continue to break records or turn into a ghost town like Nintendo's first mobile game, Miitomo.
XBox (Games)

Streamers Get Best Of Both Worlds With Xbox Live Support For PC Twitch Streaming (neowin.net) 12

An anonymous reader shares a Neowin article: Microsoft is making life easier for Twitch streamers who rely on capture cards to stream Xbox One games, by adding support for capture cards on Xbox Live. Up until now if you wanted to stream an Xbox One game, you had a couple of choices: either rely on the Twitch app and benefit from Xbox Live integration, but make do with lower-quality graphics; or rely on a capture card and stream from your PC, but lose the Xbox Live features. Now Microsoft is giving its users the best of both worlds, by working together with Twitch to support streaming from PCs via capture cards , like an Elgato, but also using Xbox Live features. All streamers need to do to take advantage of this is connect their Twitch account with Xbox Live.
DRM

Sega Saturn's DRM Cracked Almost 23 Years After Launch (gamasutra.com) 96

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Gamasutra: The Sega Saturn's DRM has finally been cracked after it hit store shelves nearly 23 years ago in November 1994. Engineer James Laird-Wah first set forth to break through the console's copy protection in an attempt to harness its chiptune capabilities. Laird-Wah has, however, developed a way to run games and other software from a USB stick in the process. Since disc drive failure is a common fault with the game console, his method circumvents the disc drive altogether, instead reworking the Video CD Slot so it can take games stored on a USB stick and run them directly through the Saturn's CD Block. "This is now at the point where, not only can it boot and run games, I've finished just recently putting in audio support, so it can play audio tracks," explained Laird-Wah, speaking to YouTuber debuglive. "For the time being, I possess the only Saturn in the world that's capable of writing files to a USB stick. There's actually, for developers of home-brew, the ability to read and write files on the USB stick that's attached to the device.
Nintendo

Cops Warn Pokemon Go Players: Please Don't Trespass To Catch 'em All (arstechnica.com) 141

An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report:Law enforcement agencies around the globe are reminding citizens to obey trespassing laws and follow common sense when playing Pokemon Go. The new crazy-popular mobile game has led to some frightening results in recent days, such as the location of a dead body and robberies of players in Missouri. Now, San Francisco Police Department Captain Raj Vaswani warned in one online posting for players to "obey traffic laws, please. Do not run into trees, meters, and things that are attached to the sidewalk; they hurt," he said. "Do not drive or ride your bike / skateboard / hipster techie device while interacting with the app. Know where your kids are going when playing with the app, set limits on where they can go, so they don't keep going trying to get that Pokemon."
Android

Pokemon Go Was Never Able To Read Your Email (gizmodo.com) 109

Last week a security researcher noted that Pokemon Go's iOS app -- for whatever reason -- was gleaning complete hold of one's Google account. But is that really the case? Gizmodo contacted Adam Reeve, the security researcher in question (who also happens to be a former senior engineering manager at Tumblr) to get more details on his claims, upon which Reeve, now Principal Architect at Red Owl Analytics, said he wasn't "100 percent sure" his blog was true. From the report: Cybersecurity expert and CEO of Trail of Bits Dan Guido has also cast serious doubt on Reeve's claim, saying Google tech support told him "full account access" does not mean a third party can read or send or send email, access your files or anything else Reeve claimed. It means Niantic can only read biographical information like email address and phone number.In a statement, Google tech support said:In this case, we checked that the Full account access permission refers to most of the My account settings. Specific actions such as sending emails, modifying folders, etc, require explicit permissions to that service (the permission will say "Has access to Gmail")Niantic, the company behind Pokemon Go app also assures that its app doesn't access anyone's email. Moreover, it is working with Google to ensure that only a user's profile data is accessed by the app. In a statement to Gizmodo, the company said:We recently discovered that the Pokemon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user's Google account. However, Pokemon GO only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected. Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokemon GO or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokemon GO's permission to only the basic profile data that Pokemon GO needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.Perhaps people should be more careful about the accusations they make.
Government

Warner Bros. Settles FTC Charge For Not Disclosing Payments To YouTubers For Positive Reviews (theverge.com) 81

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Warner Bros. over claims that the publisher failed to disclose that it had paid prominent YouTubers for positive coverage of one of its video games. The FTC charge stated that Warner Bros. deceived customers by paying thousands of dollars to social media "influencers," including YouTube megastar PewDiePie, to cover Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor without announcing that money had changed hands. Under the terms of the agreement, Warner Bros. is banned from failing to disclose similar deals in the future, and cannot pretend that sponsored videos and articles are actually the work of independent producers. Warner Bros.' deal with the influencers involved stated that they had to make at least one tweet or Facebook post about the game, as well as produce videos with a string of caveats to avoid showing it in a negative light. Those videos could not express negative opinions about the game or Warner Bros. itself, could not show any glitches or bugs, and must include "a strong verbal call-to-action to click the link in the description box for the viewer to go to the [game's] website to learn more about the [game], to learn how they can register, and to learn how to play the game," according to Ars Technica. Influencers were advised to disclose the video's sponsored status under YouTube's "Show More" section, but some did not, and the FTC says this would not have been enough to skirt the rules anyway, as the disclaimer would not have been visible on videos watched through Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sources.
Iphone

PSA: Pokemon Go Has Full Access To Your Google Account Data (techcrunch.com) 104

An anonymous reader writes: If you're an iPhone user and have installed Pokemon GO, you may have noticed that the app grants itself full access to your Google account. It can read your email, location history, documents and pretty much every else associated with your Google account. (You can check to see for yourself here.) Given the nature of the game, it's understandable for it to request a lot of permissions, as it needs your precise location, ability to access the camera and motion sensors, read and write the SD card, and charge you money when you run out of Pokeballs or eggs. But full access to your Google account is pushing it, even if Niantic or Nintendo has no malicious intentions. If you're concerned about these permissions, you can always sign-up using a Pokemon Trainer account, assuming the servers are permitting. Google describes full account access as such: "When you grant full account access, the application can see and modify nearly all information in your Google Account (but it canâ(TM)t change your password, delete your account, or pay with Google Wallet on your behalf). This 'Full account access' privilege should only be granted to applications you fully trust, and which are installed on your personal computer, phone, or tablet."
Games

PC Gaming Is Still Way Too Hard (vice.com) 729

Motherboard has an article in which it argues that PC gaming is still way too hard. The author of the article claims that for one to build a gaming PC, they need an "unreasonable" amount of disposable income, and also have an unreasonable amount of time to "research, shop around, and assemble parts" for their computer. The author adds that a person looking into making one such gear also needs to always have to keep investing time and money in as long as they want to stay at the cutting edge or recommended specifications range for new PC games. The author has shared the experience he had building his own gaming PC. An excerpt from it: The process of physically building a PC is filled with little frustrations, and mistakes can be costly and time consuming. I have big, dumb, sausage fingers, so mounting the motherboard into the case, and screwing in nine (!) tiny screws to keep it in place in a cramped space, in weird angles, where dropping the screwdriver can easily break something expensive -- it's just not what I'd call "consumer-friendly." This is why people buy from Apple. It designs everything from the trackpad to the box the computer comes in, which unfolds neatly to reveal everything you need. Apple reduces friction to the point where even my mom could upgrade the RAM on her iMac, and it can do this because it controls everything that goes in that box.That's accurate. But it also means -- at least as of today -- that the current Apple computer -- MacBook Air, MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini you purchase packs in at least three-year-old components.
Security

Infected Pokemon GO APK Carries Dangerous Android Backdoor 110

An anonymous reader writes: Users eager to get their hands on the new Nintendo mobile gaming app Pokemon GO, downloading unofficial copies of the game are opening themselves up to hackers who are circulating malicious versions of the Android APK. A remote access tool (RAT), known as DroidJack (or SandroRAT), has been added to some APK files, allowing third parties to gain full control over the users' mobile devices. Permissions granted to the dodgy app include; directly calling phone numbers, reading phone status' and identities, editing and reading text messages, sending SMS messages and recording audio.The problem is that Pokemon Go is not officially available in every region, and the Google PlayStore doesn't let people in an unsupported region download the app. Also, millions of smartphones and tablets don't support many Google Mobile Services (GMS). While we do not condone downloading installation files of Android apps and games from unofficial stores, APKMirror is one of the few places that we would suggest our readers to check as it has a very commendable track record.
Android

Pokemon Game Adds $7.5 Billion To Nintendo Market Value In Two Days (reuters.com) 168

Who would have thought that Nintendo will ever make a strong return to the market... especially with an app that is not designed for company's signature hardware. But that is exactly what has happened. Shares in Nintendo soared again on Monday, according to a report on Reuters, bringing market-value gains to $7.5 billion in just two days as investors cheered the runaway success of Pokemon Go, the company's first long-awaited title in mobile gaming. From the report: The game, which marries a classic 20-year old franchise with augmented reality, allows players to walk around real-life neighbourhoods while seeking virtual Pokemon game characters on their smartphone screens - a scavenger hunt that has earned enthusiastic early reviews. In the United States, by July 8 -- two days after its release -- it was installed on more than 5 percent of Android devices in the country, according to web analytics firm SimilarWeb. It is now on more Android phones than dating app Tinder and its rate of daily active users was neck and neck with social network Twitter, the analytics firm said. The game is also being played an average of 43 minutes a day, more time spent than on WhatsApp or Instagram, it added. Update: 07/11 11:03 GMT by M :A report on Quartz states that Pokemon Go has added nearly 11 billion USD to the value of Nintendo since its release.

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