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Ash Parrish

Ash Parrish

3 months ago

Sonic Prime and indie games on Netflix

Netflix will stream Spiritfarer, Raji: An Ancient Epic, and Lucky Luna.

Netflix's Geeked Week brought a slew of announcements. The flurry of reveals for The Sandman, The Umbrella Academy season 3, One Piece, and more also included game and game-adjacent announcements.

Netflix released a teaser for Cuphead season 2 ahead of its August premiere, featuring more of Grey DeLisle's Ms. Chalice. DOTA: Dragon's Blood season 3 hits Netflix in August. Tekken, the fighting game that throws kids off cliffs, gets an anime, Tekken: Bloodline.

Netflix debuted a clip of Sonic Prime before Sonic Origins in June and Sonic Frontiers in 2022.

Castlevania: Nocturne will follow Richter Belmont.

Netflix is reviving licensed games with titles based on its shows. There's a Queen's Gambit chess game, a Shadow and Bone RPG, a La Casa de Papel heist adventure, and a Too Hot to Handle game where a pregnant woman must choose between stabbing her cheating ex or forgiving him.

Riot's rhythm platformer Hextech Mayhem debuted on Netflix last year, and now Netflix is adding games from Devolver Digital. Reigns: Three Kingdoms is a card game that lets players choose the fate of Three Kingdoms-era China by swiping left or right on cards. Spiritfarer, the "cozy game about death" from 2020, and Raji: An Ancient Epic are coming to Netflix. Poinpy, a vertical climber from the creator of Downwell, is now on Netflix.

Desta: The Memories Between is a turn-based strategy game set in dreams and memories.

Snowman's Lucky Luna will also be added soon.

With these games, Netflix is expanding beyond dinky mobile games — it plans to have 50 by the end of the year — and could be a serious platform for indies that want to expand into mobile. It takes gaming seriously.

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Luke Plunkett

Luke Plunkett

5 months ago

Gran Turismo 7 Update Eases Up On The Grind After Fan Outrage

Polyphony Digital has changed the game after apologizing in March.

To make amends for some disastrous downtime, Gran Turismo 7 director Kazunori Yamauchi announced a credits handout and promised to “dramatically change GT7's car economy to help make amends” last month. The first of these has arrived.

The game's 1.11 update includes the following concessions to players frustrated by the economy and its subsequent grind:

  • The last half of the World Circuits events have increased in-game credit rewards.

  • Modified Arcade and Custom Race rewards

  • Clearing all circuit layouts with Gold or Bronze now rewards In-game Credits. Exiting the Sector selection screen with the Exit button will award Credits if an event has already been cleared.

  • Increased Credits Rewards in Lobby and Daily Races

  • Increased the free in-game Credits cap from 20,000,000 to 100,000,000.

Additionally, “The Human Comedy” missions are one-hour endurance races that award “up to 1,200,000” credits per event.

This isn't everything Yamauchi promised last month; he said it would take several patches and updates to fully implement the changes. Here's a list of everything he said would happen, some of which have already happened (like the World Cup rewards and credit cap):

  • Increase rewards in the latter half of the World Circuits by roughly 100%.
  • Added high rewards for all Gold/Bronze results clearing the Circuit Experience.
  • Online Races rewards increase.
  • Add 8 new 1-hour Endurance Race events to Missions. So expect higher rewards.
  • Increase the non-paid credit limit in player wallets from 20M to 100M.
  • Expand the number of Used and Legend cars available at any time.
  • With time, we will increase the payout value of limited time rewards.
  • New World Circuit events.
  • Missions now include 24-hour endurance races.
  • Online Time Trials added, with rewards based on the player's time difference from the leader.
  • Make cars sellable.

The full list of updates and changes can be found here.

Read the original post.

Chris Moyse

Chris Moyse

5 months ago

Sony and LEGO raise $2 billion for Epic Games' metaverse

‘Kid-friendly’ project holds $32 billion valuation

Epic Games announced today that it has raised $2 billion USD from Sony Group Corporation and KIRKBI (holding company of The LEGO Group). Both companies contributed $1 billion to Epic Games' upcoming ‘metaverse' project.

“We need partners who share our vision as we reimagine entertainment and play. Our partnership with Sony and KIRKBI has found this,” said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. A new metaverse will be built where players can have fun with friends and brands create creative and immersive experiences, as well as creators thrive.

Last week, LEGO and Epic Games announced their plans to create a family-friendly metaverse where kids can play, interact, and create in digital environments. The service's users' safety and security will be prioritized.

With this new round of funding, Epic Games' project is now valued at $32 billion.

“Epic Games is known for empowering creators large and small,” said KIRKBI CEO Sren Thorup Srensen. “We invest in trends that we believe will impact the world we and our children will live in. We are pleased to invest in Epic Games to support their continued growth journey, with a long-term focus on the future metaverse.”

Epic Games is expected to unveil its metaverse plans later this year, including its name, details, services, and release date.

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Robert Kim

Robert Kim

8 months ago

Crypto Legislation Might Progress Beyond Talk in 2022

Financial regulators have for years attempted to apply existing laws to the multitude of issues created by digital assets. In 2021, leading federal regulators and members of Congress have begun to call for legislation to address these issues. As a result, 2022 may be the year when federal legislation finally addresses digital asset issues that have been growing since the mining of the first Bitcoin block in 2009.

Digital Asset Regulation in the Absence of Legislation

So far, Congress has left the task of addressing issues created by digital assets to regulatory agencies. Although a Congressional Blockchain Caucus formed in 2016, House and Senate members introduced few bills addressing digital assets until 2018. As of October 2021, Congress has not amended federal laws on financial regulation, which were last significantly revised by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, to address digital asset issues.

In the absence of legislation, issues that do not fit well into existing statutes have created problems. An example is the legal status of digital assets, which can be considered to be either securities or commodities, and can even shift from one to the other over time. Years after the SEC’s 2017 report applying the definition of a security to digital tokens, the SEC and the CFTC have yet to clarify the distinction between securities and commodities for the thousands of digital assets in existence.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has called for Congress to act, stating in August, “We need additional Congressional authorities to prevent transactions, products, and platforms from falling between regulatory cracks.” Gensler has reached out to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.), who has expressed her own concerns about the need for legislation.

Legislation on Digital Assets in 2021

While regulators and members of Congress talked about the need for legislation, and the debate over cryptocurrency tax reporting in the 2021 infrastructure bill generated headlines, House and Senate bills proposing specific solutions to various issues quietly started to emerge.

Digital Token Sales

Several House bills attempt to address securities law barriers to digital token sales—some of them by building on ideas proposed by regulators in past years.

Exclusion from the definition of a security. Congressional Blockchain Caucus members have been introducing bills to exclude digital tokens from the definition of a security since 2018, and they have revived those bills in 2021. They include the Token Taxonomy Act of 2021 (H.R. 1628), successor to identically named bills in 2018 and 2019, and the Securities Clarity Act (H.R. 4451), successor to a 2020 namesake.

Safe harbor. SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce proposed a regulatory safe harbor for token sales in 2020, and two 2021 bills have proposed statutory safe harbors. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Republican leader of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced a Clarity for Digital Tokens Act of 2021 (H.R. 5496) that would amend the Securities Act to create a safe harbor providing a grace period of exemption from Securities Act registration requirements. The Digital Asset Market Structure and Investor Protection Act (H.R. 4741) from Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) would amend the Securities Exchange Act to define a new type of security—a “digital asset security”—and add issuers of digital asset securities to an existing provision for delayed registration of securities.

Stablecoins

Stablecoins—digital currencies linked to the value of the U.S. dollar or other fiat currencies—have not yet been the subject of regulatory action, although Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell have each underscored the need to create a regulatory framework for them. The Beyer bill proposes to create a regulatory regime for stablecoins by amending Title 31 of the U.S. Code. Treasury Department approval would be required for any “digital asset fiat-based stablecoin” to be issued or used, under an application process to be established by Treasury in consultation with the Federal Reserve, the SEC, and the CFTC.

Serious consideration for any of these proposals in the current session of Congress may be unlikely. A spate of autumn bills on crypto ransom payments (S. 2666, S. 2923, S. 2926, H.R. 5501) shows that Congress is more inclined to pay attention first to issues that are more spectacular and less arcane. Moreover, the arcaneness of digital asset regulatory issues is likely only to increase further, now that major industry players such as Coinbase and Andreessen Horowitz are starting to roll out their own regulatory proposals.

Digital Dollar vs. Digital Yuan

Impetus to pass legislation on another type of digital asset, a central bank digital currency (CBDC), may come from a different source: rivalry with China.
China established itself as a world leader in developing a CBDC with a pilot project launched in 2020, and in 2021, the People’s Bank of China announced that its CBDC will be used at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022. Republican Senators responded by calling for the U.S. Olympic Committee to forbid use of China’s CBDC by U.S. athletes in Beijing and introducing a bill (S. 2543) to require a study of its national security implications.

The Beijing Olympics could motivate a legislative mandate to accelerate implementation of a U.S. digital dollar, which the Federal Reserve has been in the process of considering in 2021. Antecedents to such legislation already exist. A House bill sponsored by 46 Republicans (H.R. 4792) has a provision that would require the Treasury Department to assess China’s CBDC project and report on the status of Federal Reserve work on a CBDC, and the Beyer bill includes a provision amending the Federal Reserve Act to authorize issuing a digital dollar.

Both parties are likely to support creating a digital dollar. The Covid-19 pandemic made a digital dollar for delivery of relief payments a popular idea in 2020, and House Democrats introduced bills with provisions for creating one in 2020 and 2021. Bipartisan support for a bill on a digital dollar, based on concerns both foreign and domestic in nature, could result.

International rivalry and bipartisan support may make the digital dollar a gateway issue for digital asset legislation in 2022. Legislative work on a digital dollar may open the door for considering further digital asset issues—including the regulatory issues that have been emerging for years—in 2022 and beyond.

ANDREW SINGER

ANDREW SINGER

5 months ago

Crypto seen as the ‘future of money’ in inflation-mired countries

Crypto as the ‘future of money' in inflation-stricken nations

Citizens of devalued currencies “need” crypto. “Nice to have” in the developed world.

According to Gemini's 2022 Global State of Crypto report, cryptocurrencies “evolved from what many considered a niche investment into an established asset class” last year.

More than half of crypto owners in Brazil (51%), Hong Kong (51%), and India (54%), according to the report, bought cryptocurrency for the first time in 2021.

The study found that inflation and currency devaluation are powerful drivers of crypto adoption, especially in emerging market (EM) countries:

“Respondents in countries that have seen a 50% or greater devaluation of their currency against the USD over the last decade were more than 5 times as likely to plan to purchase crypto in the coming year.”

Between 2011 and 2021, the real lost 218 percent of its value against the dollar, and 45 percent of Brazilians surveyed by Gemini said they planned to buy crypto in 2019.

The rand (South Africa's currency) has fallen 103 percent in value over the last decade, second only to the Brazilian real, and 32 percent of South Africans expect to own crypto in the coming year. Mexico and India, the third and fourth highest devaluation countries, followed suit.

Compared to the US dollar, Hong Kong and the UK currencies have not devalued in the last decade. Meanwhile, only 5% and 8% of those surveyed in those countries expressed interest in buying crypto.

What can be concluded? Noah Perlman, COO of Gemini, sees various crypto use cases depending on one's location. 

‘Need to have' investment in countries where the local currency has devalued against the dollar, whereas in the developed world it is still seen as a ‘nice to have'.

Crypto as money substitute

As an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, Winston Ma distinguishes between an asset used as an inflation hedge and one used as a currency replacement.

Unlike gold, he believes Bitcoin (BTC) is not a “inflation hedge”. They acted more like growth stocks in 2022. “Bitcoin correlated more closely with the S&P 500 index — and Ether with the NASDAQ — than gold,” he told Cointelegraph. But in the developing world, things are different:

“Inflation may be a primary driver of cryptocurrency adoption in emerging markets like Brazil, India, and Mexico.”

According to Justin d'Anethan, institutional sales director at the Amber Group, a Singapore-based digital asset firm, early adoption was driven by countries where currency stability and/or access to proper banking services were issues. Simply put, he said, developing countries want alternatives to easily debased fiat currencies.

“The larger flows may still come from institutions and developed countries, but the actual users may come from places like Lebanon, Turkey, Venezuela, and Indonesia.”

“Inflation is one of the factors that has and continues to drive adoption of Bitcoin and other crypto assets globally,” said Sean Stein Smith, assistant professor of economics and business at Lehman College.

But it's only one factor, and different regions have different factors, says Stein Smith. As a “instantaneously accessible, traceable, and cost-effective transaction option,” investors and entrepreneurs increasingly recognize the benefits of crypto assets. Other places promote crypto adoption due to “potential capital gains and returns”.

According to the report, “legal uncertainty around cryptocurrency,” tax questions, and a general education deficit could hinder adoption in Asia Pacific and Latin America. In Africa, 56% of respondents said more educational resources were needed to explain cryptocurrencies.

Not only inflation, but empowering our youth to live better than their parents without fear of failure or allegiance to legacy financial markets or products, said Monica Singer, ConsenSys South Africa lead. Also, “the issue of cash and remittances is huge in Africa, as is the issue of social grants.”

Money's future?

The survey found that Brazil and Indonesia had the most cryptocurrency ownership. In each country, 41% of those polled said they owned crypto. Only 20% of Americans surveyed said they owned cryptocurrency.

These markets are more likely to see cryptocurrencies as the future of money. The survey found:

“The majority of respondents in Latin America (59%) and Africa (58%) say crypto is the future of money.”
Brazil (66%), Nigeria (63%), Indonesia (61%), and South Africa (57%). Europe and Australia had the fewest believers, with Denmark at 12%, Norway at 15%, and Australia at 17%.

Will the Ukraine conflict impact adoption?

The poll was taken before the war. Will the devastating conflict slow global crypto adoption growth?

With over $100 million in crypto donations directly requested by the Ukrainian government since the war began, Stein Smith says the war has certainly brought crypto into the mainstream conversation.

“This real-world demonstration of decentralized money's power could spur wider adoption, policy debate, and increased use of crypto as a medium of exchange.”
But the war may not affect all developing nations. “The Ukraine war has no impact on African demand for crypto,” Others loom larger. “Yes, inflation, but also a lack of trust in government in many African countries, and a young demographic very familiar with mobile phones and the internet.”

A major success story like Mpesa in Kenya has influenced the continent and may help accelerate crypto adoption. Creating a plan when everyone you trust fails you is directly related to the African spirit, she said.

On the other hand, Ma views the Ukraine conflict as a sort of crisis check for cryptocurrencies. For those in emerging markets, the Ukraine-Russia war has served as a “stress test” for the cryptocurrency payment rail, he told Cointelegraph.

“These emerging markets may see the greatest future gains in crypto adoption.”
Inflation and currency devaluation are persistent global concerns. In such places, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are now seen as the “future of money.” Not in the developed world, but that could change with better regulation and education. Inflation and its impact on cash holdings are waking up even Western nations.

Read original post here.

Shawn Mordecai

Shawn Mordecai

7 days ago

The Apple iPhone 14 Pill is Easier to Swallow

Is iPhone's Dynamic Island invention or a marketing ploy?

First of all, why the notch?

When Apple debuted the iPhone X with the notch, some were surprised, confused, and amused by the goof. Let the Brits keep the new meaning of top-notch.

Apple removed the bottom home button to enhance screen space. The tides couldn't overtake part of the top. This section contained sensors, a speaker, a microphone, and cameras for facial recognition. A town resisted Apple's new iPhone design.

iPhone X with a notch cutout housing cameras, sensors, speaker, and a microphone / Photo from Apple

From iPhone X to 13, the notch has gotten smaller. We expected this as technology and engineering progressed, but we hated the notch. Apple approved. They attached it to their other gadgets.

Apple accepted, owned, and ran with the iPhone notch, it has become iconic (or infamous); and that’s intentional.

The Island Where Apple Is

Apple needs to separate itself, but they know how to do it well. The iPhone 14 Pro finally has us oohing and aahing. Life-changing, not just higher pixel density or longer battery.

Dynamic Island turned a visual differentiation into great usefulness, which may not be life-changing. Apple always welcomes the controversy, whether it's $700 for iMac wheels, no charging block with a new phone, or removing the headphone jack.

Apple knows its customers will be loyal, even if they're irritated. Their odd design choices often cause controversy. It's calculated that people blog, review, and criticize Apple's products. We accept what works for them.

While the competition zigs, Apple zags. Sometimes they zag too hard and smash into a wall, but we talk about it anyways, and that’s great publicity for them.

Getting Dependent on the drug

The notch became a crop. Dynamic Island's design is helpful, intuitive, elegant, and useful. It increases iPhone usability, productivity (slightly), and joy. No longer unsightly.

The medication helps with multitasking. It's a compact version of the iPhone's Live Activities lock screen function. Dynamic Island enhances apps and activities with visual effects and animations whether you engage with it or not. As you use the pill, its usefulness lessens. It lowers user notifications and consolidates them with live and permanent feeds, delivering quick app statuses. It uses the black pixels on the iPhone 14's display, which looked like a poor haircut.

iPhone 14 Pro’s ‘Dynamic Island’ animations and effects / GIF from Tenor

The pill may be a gimmick to entice customers to use more Apple products and services. Apps may promote to their users like a live billboard.

Be prepared to get a huge dose of Dynamic Island’s “pill” like you never had before with the notch. It might become so satisfying and addicting to use, that every interaction with it will become habit-forming, and you’re going to forget that it ever existed.

WARNING: A Few Potential Side Effects

Vision blurred Dynamic Island's proximity to the front-facing camera may leave behind grease that blurs photos. Before taking a selfie, wipe the camera clean.

Strained thumb To fully use Dynamic Island, extend your thumb's reach 6.7 inches beyond your typical, comfortable range.

Happiness, contentment The Dynamic Island may enhance Endorphins and Dopamine. Multitasking, interactions, animations, and haptic feedback make you want to use this function again and again.

Motion-sickness Dynamic Island's motions and effects may make some people dizzy. If you can disable animations, you can avoid motion sickness.

I'm not a doctor, therefore they aren't established adverse effects.

Does Dynamic Island Include Multiple Tasks?

Dynamic Islands is a placebo for multitasking. Apple might have compromised on iPhone multitasking. It won't make you super productive, but it's a step up.

iPad’s Split View Multitasking / Photo from WinBuzzer

iPhone is primarily for personal use, like watching videos, messaging friends, sending money to friends, calling friends about the money you were supposed to send them, taking 50 photos of the same leaf, investing in crypto, driving for Uber because you lost all your money investing in crypto, listening to music and hailing an Uber from a deserted crop field because while you were driving for Uber your passenger stole your car and left you stranded, so you used Apple’s new SOS satellite feature to message your friend, who still didn’t receive their money, to hail you an Uber; now you owe them more money… karma?

We won't be watching videos on iPhones while perusing 10,000-row spreadsheets anytime soon. True multitasking and productivity aren't priorities for Apple's iPhone. Apple doesn't to preserve the iPhone's experience. Like why there's no iPad calculator. Apple doesn't want iPad users to do math, but isn't essential for productivity?

Digressing.

Apple will block certain functions so you must buy and use their gadgets and services, immersing yourself in their ecosystem and dictating how to use their goods.

Dynamic Island is a poor man’s multi-task for iPhone, and that’s fine it works for most iPhone users. For substantial productivity Apple prefers you to get an iPad or a MacBook. That’s part of the reason for restrictive features on certain Apple devices, but sometimes it’s based on principles to preserve the integrity of the product, according to Apple’s definition.

Is Apple using deception?

Dynamic Island may be distracting you from a design decision. The answer is kind of. Elegant distraction

When you pull down a smartphone webpage to refresh it or minimize an app, you get seamless animations. It's not simply because it appears better; it's due to iPhone and smartphone processing speeds. Such limits reduce the system's response to your activity, slowing the experience. Designers and developers use animations and effects to distract us from the time lag (most of the time) and sometimes because it looks cooler and smoother.

Dynamic Island makes apps more useable and interactive. It shows system states visually. Turn signal audio and visual cues, voice assistance, physical and digital haptic feedbacks, heads-up displays, fuel and battery level gauges, and gear shift indicators helped us overcome vehicle design problems.

Dynamic Island is a wonderfully delightful (and temporary) solution to a design “problem” until Apple or other companies can figure out a way to sink the cameras under the smartphone screen.

Tim Cook at an Apple Event in 2014 / Photo from The Verge

Apple Has Returned to Being an Innovative & Exciting Company

Now Apple's products are exciting. Next, bring back real Apple events, not pre-recorded demos.

Dynamic Island integrates hardware and software. What will this new tech do? How would this affect device use? Or is it just hype?

Dynamic Island may be an insignificant improvement to the iPhone, but it sure is promising for the future of bridging the human and computer interaction gap.