Amazon Doubles Down on Dash

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azon last week announced that it had increased to more than 100 the number of Dash buttons Prime users can install in their homes to replenish supplies of common household goods.

Dash buttons — which are available only to Amazon Prime members, for whom they’re essentially free — are connected devices that link to a customer’s Amazon account. With the press of a button, consumers can order shipments of whatever product is associated with a given Dash module.

Users can, for example, stick a Gerber Dash near a supply of baby food, a Brawny Dash near paper towels, or a Smartwater Dash near gym equipment. Then they can press a button to replenish baby food, paper towels or water whenever they notice they’re getting low.

Joining the Race

Amazon Dash got its start a year ago, but it wasn’t until last fall that the company fleshed out and beefed up the service with buttons from major players. Early Dash participants included CleverPet, General Electric, Gmate, Oster, Petnet and Samsung.

New members of Dash more than triple the number of available brands. They include Brawny, Charmin, Clorox, Depend, Doritos, Energizer, Gain, Gatorade, Gerber, Glad, Hefty, Huggies, L’Oreal Paris Revitalift, Lysol, Olay, Purina, Red Bull, Slim Jim, Starbucks, Tide, Trojan and Wellness pet food.

“Prime members are using Dash Buttons at an increasing rate. Over the last three months, Dash Button orders have grown by more than 75 percent. Customers are using Dash Buttons more than once a minute,” said Daniel Rausch, director of Amazon Dash.

Dash seems ideal for the most devout Prime customers, brand evangelists and those with loyalties to particular product lines, noted Karma Martell, CEO ofKarmaCom.

“Obviously, Amazon thought there were enough of these customers out there to make this worthwhile,” she told the E-Commerce Times. “I can see where it serves a twofold purpose of almost forcing major brands to join the program and sell through Amazon.”

If you sell detergent and haven’t joined your competitors in Dash, for example, you face a loss, Martell said.

Conversely, brands looking to cross-sell and upsell may find that Amazon’s Dash buttons don’t fit their plans, according to Justin Hamel, CEO ofMastaMinds.

“There is a going to be a specific type of brand that will benefit from these Dash buttons,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “A lot of the brands that are early adopters of the Dash buttons are perfect for these — like Clorox, Tide, Orbitz gum, etc.”

The Price of Convenience

Dash users put a lot of trust in Amazon’s prices, Hamel noted.

“In the long run, I think that consumers will be paying for this convenience,” he said, “but time is money, and saving an hour at the grocery store would be priceless for me.”

Amazon has taken care to avoid prank and paw presses of Dash buttons, requiring account holders to confirm orders on their mobile devices and refilling only the previously purchased amount of product.

Still, there seems to be a good deal of customer confusion about what’s available when they press the button, noted Martell.

“Judging from the user comments, it seems like there are a number of kinks to work out. After all, it’s just a button. It can place one and only one repeat order,” she said. “That’s about as smart as it gets.”

Despite its shortcomings, Amazon Dash changes the game, according to Hamel, who said he loves the concept.

“I’m really digging the idea of less trips to the dreaded supermarket and less time spent making stupid shopping lists,” he said, “not to mention the convenience and wow factor of having a button to reup goods on demand.”

 

 

[Source:- Technewsworld]

Gears of War 4 Almost Makes Me Regret Buying a PlayStation 4

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With excitement for The Coalition’s Gears of War 4 heating up, one Game Rant writer takes a forlorn look at his PS4 and ponders over making another platform purchase.

Microsoft has been pushing exclusive and limited platform releases as huge incentives for the Xbox One in 2016, and it’s hard to disagree. Just this month saw the launch of Quantum Break, and although there have been some issues with the title, particularly when it comes to its PC version, overall the response to the game has been positive. In fact, Microsoft has suggested that the game isthe biggest-selling new Microsoft IP of this generation.

However, there is one Xbox One exclusive that potentially has even more hype surrounding it thanQuantum Break. That title is Gears of War 4, the upcoming sequel to the acclaimed third-person shooter franchise. With the original trilogy in particular taking a place in Xbox gaming history, a lot is expected of this new installment in the series.

The gaming community recently got a fresh look at the title, in the form of a stunning new trailer. Shown during the season two debut of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, this new Gears of War 4 trailer continued the franchise’s trend for fantastic trailers in advance of a game’s release. Giving a look at new protagonist JD, along with cameos of Marcus and Anya, fans of the franchise were left wowed by this brief glimpse at the game world.

gears of war 4 gameplay

As such, plenty of gamers were even more excited for the game’s release, counting down the daysuntil October 11. However, there is one fairly large demographic of console gamers who may be feeling a little left out by the anticipation surrounding Gears of War 4: PS4 owners. After all, the series has always been exclusive to Xbox (with the exception of the original game’s PC port), and PlayStation users have never had the chance to play the games on their platform of choice.

Unfortunately, for the first time in Gears of War history, that group of gamers includes me. In the previous console generation, I was firmly in the Xbox 360 camp, and thoroughly enjoyed the Gears of War series, alongside other standouts like Halo 3 and Forza Motorsport 3. However, when it came to this generation of consoles, I made the jump back over to PlayStation.

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It has to be said that, overall, I am incredibly happy with the PS4. I’ve been able to enjoy the giddy high of the LittleBigPlanet series for the first time of my own accord, while Sony’s dedication to high-quality remastered versions of games from the previous generation has been much appreciated through the likes of The Last Of Us and the Uncharted franchise. There’s a reason why the console is proving to be incredibly popular with gamers.

However, the release of the new Gears of War 4 trailer has definitely left me pining for an Xbox One. Even though the PS4 has proved to be an outstanding platform, the idea of missing out on aGears of War game is a very disappointing thought. Although Gears of War: Judgment was a bit of a misstep, the series has routinely provided fantastic entertainment.

In fact, the Gears of War franchise holds a special place in my heart. Without getting overly sentimental over a series that primarily involves killing hulking subterranean beasts with a chainsaw machine gun, the original trilogy brings back great memories of playing co-op campaigns with my old housemates, sneaking games between university assignments, and generally enjoying the last great hurrah of split-screen gaming.

Gears of War 4: New Enemies and Weapons - Pouncer attacking JD Fenix

It’s not just this feeling of nostalgia that keeps me longing for Gears of War 4, however. The title looks like it’s going to make a strong return to the franchise’s roots, with developer The Coalition suggesting since the game’s inception that those horror themes that fit the game’s atmosphere so well in the first installment would be making a strong return to the fore. Meanwhile, even though split-screen gameplay and couch co-op in general seems to be dropping off the list of needed features on new games, Gears of War 4 will get back to the series staple of 2-player cooperative play.

It’s development choices like this that truly make Gears of War 4 stand out from some of the other Xbox One games that have seen release. The loss of split-screen from Halo 5 was extremely disappointing, particularly for proponents of split-screen as an additional gameplay option. It seems as though The Coalition has eschewed some mainstream design choices in favor of creating a game that truly speaks to Gears of War fans – after all, it’s rare to see a series return to horror themes after taking steps towards set-piece action, as fans of Resident Evil and Dead Space have no doubt found out.

Although having a respect for the previous games in the franchise is undoubtedly a big bonus, some of the additions to Gears of War 4 also seem hugely impressive. New characters such as Oscar and Reyna look set to add a new dimension to the series, while the new trio of JD, Del, and Kait will hopefully prove to be just as strong a set of main characters as Dom and Marcus and the rest of Delta squad from the original games.

Gears of War 4 Has Split-Screen Co-Op - Kait Diaz and JD Fenix

In fact, there’s very little about Gears of War 4 that looks concerning as of yet. Although a number of details surrounding the game have yet to be announced, there has been more than enough for gamers to get a general idea of what to expect. Already, The Coalition has taken a proactive approach to sharing details of the game’s new enemies and weapons, which will hopefully stop the gameplay from feeling a little stale. Even the idea of gore and profanity filters of the title could prove useful for those looking for additional ways to control their content in-game, although exactly how successful a gore filter on a game as violent as Gears of War can be remains to be seen.

All in all, then, Gears of War 4 is nearly enough to make me doubt my PS4 purchase. The franchise has a huge place of importance in my personal gaming history, as well as in the realm of video game shooters as a whole, and it will be a genuine shame to miss it – particularly if The Coalition includes a much-wanted Carmine appearance. Until then, I will be keeping my fingers crossed thatrumors of a possible PC release prove to be true.

 

[Source:- Gamerant]

Microsoft’s growth mindset is changing the way its products are sold

Microsoft fans all across the world very much well know Microsoft’s mission statement: to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” Very much so, it appears now that this mission statement and growth mindset has also left an impact on the Redmond giant’s products and sales strategies.

Judson Altoff, President of Microsoft North America, was one of the speakers atEnvision 2016’s conference, and at the event, he remarked to Envision Attendees on a change at the sales force at Microsoft. As per remarks published on ZDnet, Altoff mentioned that Microsoft has been learning to eliminate the separation between how they are traditionally market sold, and serviced. He also detailed that Microsoft is selling more and more of its products as subscription services and that the sales team needs to go beyond just selling a customer on something one time.  In addition, he also remarked that Microsoft is moving the focus off of the technology alone, and more towards how customers can and should use the technology.

“Your focus needs to be on who’s actually figured out how to attach more Xbox controllers and games to every console sale? Who’s actually figured out how to sell their customers machine learning and data science projects running on Azure? Who’s actually figured out how to get customers to see value out of the increase utilization of Skype for Business and greater connectedness and collaboration on your environments,” Altoff said.

Additional comments from Altoff published in ZDnet also appear to suggest that Microsoft has been empowering its fans, via “fan creation.” Altoff is quoted as saying,

“Happy product advocates trump indifferent users. Sales needs to make sure that customers aren’t just using their products, but they’re actually happy about doing so because they’re getting value out of it.”

The comments from Altoff are together very interesting and seem to show that Microsoft has been taking steps to making overall changes to better live up to its goal of empowering the planet. We would love to hear your thoughts on these comments, so please drop us a comment below and sound off on the situation!

 

 

[Source:- Winbeta]

New Features Boost Sharing via Facebook Live

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Facebook on Wednesday announced enhanced Facebook Live video capabilities with additional features to allow members to share live video with friends and family by broadcasting events or sharing video in groups.

Users can go live in Facebook groups so that a group of users or friends or family members can be sent specific video feeds.

The live events capability allows users to feed video from an event such as a birthday party or let a performer give a sneak peek backstage at an event. Users also can use events to schedule a live question-and-answer session, for example.

The Facebook Live feature has an interactive quality, with the ability to post live reactions from viewers, where emojis express instant feedback to a live event and then disappear.

Live Video Activity Explodes

Data collected since the company began live video feeds shows that users get 10 times more comments on live video feeds than regular video postings, Facebook said. It plans to repost comments from live video feeds when they are replayed later.

Facebook also is introducing five live filters as a way to let users personalize their live video feeds. The company plans to introduce the ability to draw or doodle on top of videos.

As a way to share the experience, Facebook will let users invite friends to watch live video along with them, so tapping on the invite icon will alert the friend to accept the invitation after a push notification.

It will alert the masses about the most trending video feeds at any given time, so the mobile app will let users search for live video that is the most talked about at any given time.

A Facebook Live Map for the desktop application allows users in more than 60 countries to search for the hottest trending live videos.

To make it easier to measure the response to videos, Facebook launched metrics to get a feel for the demand for any particular post. Total live viewers for a broadcast and the total number of concurrent live viewers will be available through Page Insights and your Video Library. The figures soon will be available for the API and export.

Enhance the Live Event

Facebook’s expanded live video capabilities is part of an effort to formalize it as a proper media type for individual users and businesses, according to Brian Blau, research vice president at Gartner.

“The unique nature of a live event, one that is personal or one from a brand that is global and well- known, is that it’s live and in the moment,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Connecting with friends or fans using that live moment as a focal point can enhance the impact of that event, or provide a deeper and more personal experience.”

Facebook also is working to counter the impact of live video sites likePeriscope, which is owned by Twitter, and YouTube, which is reportedly planning to come out with a live interactive video feature, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“That’s sensible from a competitive standpoint and also speaks to Facebook’s belief in the increasingly critical role video will play across its business interests,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Facebook ventured into the live video arena last year when it launched Live for Facebook Mentions, which allowed verifiable public figures to post videos to their fan base, with Q&A sessions, backstage sneak peeks, announcements and other events.

The move comes weeks after a report in VentureBeat that Google has been working on a Periscope competitor called “YouTube Connect.”

 

[Source:- Technewsworld]

Ratchet and Clank Dev Insominac Announces Release Dates for 2 Upcoming Games

Insomniac Games reveals the release dates for both the Oculus Rift exclusive Lovecraftian horror game Edge of Nowhere and the Metroid-inspired Song of the Deep.

Between releasing a brand new Ratchet & Clank game for PS4 and announcing a few new projects, Insomniac Games has been keeping busy this year. The company will stay busy leading up to the summer months, as the developer has revealed plans to launch two new games this summer season, in the form of Edge of Nowhere and Song of the Deep.

Edge of Nowhere will release first, launching June 6th as an Oculus Rift exclusive. One of the first Oculus Rift exclusive games revealed, Edge of Nowhere‘s E3 2015 trailer impressed many with its third person horror approach.

Whether or not Edge of Nowhere will be able to deliver a quality horror gaming experience remains to be seen, but many early previews have been positive. Furthermore, Insomniac must feel confident about Edge of Nowhere‘s use of virtual reality, as it announced two new VR projects today, including a Zelda-inspired action game called Feral Rites. While it’s too early to say if Edge of Nowhere will be a strong Oculus Rift exclusive or not, things are looking good for the game leading up to its June 6th release date.

Song Of The Deep Exploration

The other game Insomniac gave a release date to today is the aforementioned Song of the Deep, which will be available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One beginning July 12th. For the uninitiated, Song of the Deep is a Metroidvania-style game about a young girl exploring the ocean in a submarine while searching for her lost father.

Song of the Deep is unique in that it is one of the first games published by GameStop. GameStop’s publishing program, which has expanded to include partnerships with Ready at Dawn along with Insomniac and other developers, could be a positive for the industry. Song of the Deep being one of the first games in this initiative puts a lot of weight on its shoulders to succeed, but from the looks of things, it has potential to be a sleeper hit.

With Edge of Nowhere and Song of the Deep both nearing the end of their respective development cycles, Insomniac Games will be busy these next couple of months. Hopefully the company can build off the momentum of the critically-acclaimed Ratchet & Clank PS4 reboot with Edge of Nowhere,Song of the Deep, and the new games that were announced earlier today.

Edge of Nowhere will release on June 6th, exclusively for Oculus Rift. Song of the Deep will be available on July 12th for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

 

[Source:- Gamerant]

 

Vivaldi Flaunts Its Plus-Size Browser Attributes

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on Wednesday launched the first release of its eponymously named browser. Vivaldi is the brainchild of CEO Jon von Tetzchner, a cofounder ofOpera Software.

Aimed at the power user, Vivaldi 1.0 packs in features that were stripped out of Opera 12.

However, “Vivaldi is not about a single feature,” von Tetzchner said. “Vivaldi is more about a philosophy.”

While other mainstream browsers are stripping down their feature sets and focusing on simplicity at the expense of flexibility, “we go in the other direction and add features and options,” he told TechNewsWorld.

The browser is available now in 32-bit versions for Windows, OS X 7+ and Linux. It’s also offered in 64-bit versions for Linux, and an experimental 64-bit version is available for Windows.

Under the Hood

The browser’s features are divided into six categories: Faster Navigation, Smarter Browsing, Tab Management, Bookmarks, Shortcuts and Visual.

Faster Navigation features include Speed Dial, which offers quick links to users’ favorite sites in every new tab; Quick Commands, which are simple text commands that let users control everything in the browser; and Fast Forward, which lets users jump to the next page in a sequence.

Smarter Browsing features include the ability to take notes while browsing and link them to a specific site; the ability to view any site in a side panel; fast access to bookmarks, downloads and notes; and a Custom Search Engine.

Tab Management features include Sessions, which lets users save a set of open tabs and open them at any time, and visual previews of open tabs. Other features include the ability to save tabs as a stack, which is “great for those with large, high-resolution screens,” von Tetzchner said, and Tab Stack Tiling.

For Bookmarks, there’s a bookmarks bar and the ability to assign a nickname to a bookmark for faster access. Shortcuts include mouse gestures and keyboard shortcuts. Visual features include Web page zoom and user interface scaling.

The Vivaldi browser is based on the Chromium code, which offers updates roughly every six weeks, and “we will do the same,” von Tetzchner said.

Mobility and Security

Only a desktop version of the browser is being offered now.

“Mobile is in the plans,” von Tetzchner said. “Android is a target, but we will evaluate iOS as we move forward.”

Security “is a basic part of the browser,” he added. Many of its security aspects come from the Chromium engine it’s based on.

Do Not Track also is part of the browser “in many ways as well,” he said.

Still, the browser “is a 1.0 product suitable for folks who are willing to take some risk,” observed Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

“I expect the 2.0 version will be far more mature and acceptable to more users,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Built for Power Users

“This is a browser that simplifies the experience and increases the speed for those willing to take the time to customize it,” Enderle said.

Its organizational tools for users who move between a lot of sites regularly, its speed and the mouse gestures make it “a tool developed for power users on the Web,” he noted.

The browser lacks ad blocking, but “I don’t think ad blockers are critical to adoption,” Enderle said.

On the other hand, power users “absolutely need strong capabilities, superfast performance and ways to deal with ads,” said Al Hilwa, a research director atIDC Seattle.

Vivaldi will leave it up to third parties to provide extensions that block ads, von Tetzchner said.

Why Another Browser?

“It’s challenging to launch a browser because they’re all free,” Hilwa told TechNewsWorld.

Granted, Vivaldi has had a million downloads, but “if you sell a browser separately from a platform like Windows or Mac OS, you have to have a specific business model and value proposition,” he said.

“Is this for the enterprise?” Hilwa asked. “For the consumer?”

 

[Source:- Technewsworld]

Sonos says no to a Windows 10 Universal app

Inquisitive Windows users got an answer today from Sonos that put a bit of a damper on the future of a dedicated Windows apps for the multi-room speaker system.According to a forum post on the Sonos Community blog, a representative confirmed that the company has no plans to build a Windows Phone 8 app or entertain the idea of a Universal Windows 10 app.

Some of you have been asking about a native Windows Phone controller app for Sonos, and we’ve been slow to provide a clear answer. We’re sorry about that. The truth of the matter is that up until now we’ve been unclear internally on this very question. In fact, it’s been the source of many passionate debates because we recognize that some Sonos owners are also Windows Phone users. In the end, however, we’ve made a decision that Sonos is not going to build a Windows Phone 8 app nor are we planning to build a Windows 10 “universal” app. We’ll, of course, continue to support the Windows desktop controller. We’re big fans of the work Microsoft is doing across many areas, including mobile, voice control, AI, VR and of course the Groove music service, available on Sonos. We know this is super frustrating for Windows Phone owners anxious for more native apps on the platform, but like other companies we’ve had to place our bets. Our focus right now is on Voice and Paid Streaming Services, and we’re exploring quite a few innovative ways to experience and control your music – on your device and off. We’ll be sure to keep this group informed of our progress. Thanks, Kenneth.”

The seemingly harsh confirmation finally puts to rest a three-year-old request from Windows users for Sonos to support Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone 8 with a dedicated app, while also muting any further fantasies of Windows 10 app in the process.

Understandably, a Windows 8, RT and Windows Phone 8 app don’t make a whole lot of sense for the company in light of Windows 10 adoption. However, from the outside, it seems rather odd to not support the 270 million people who have upgraded to Windows 10.

 

 
[Source:- Winbeta]

What Makes A Difficult Game Worth Playing?

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With gamers all over spellbound by the punishing magic that isDark Souls 3, one writer sets out to identify which qualities make these kinds of difficult games enjoyable.

It will come as a surprise to roughly no one that my background as a RPG enthusiast has left me ill-equipped to battle through games like the recently released Dark Souls 3. Some gamers spent their childhoods platforming through Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie while some spent hours running around in circles on an island populated by strange cactus-men in order to make the numbers beside their characters names slightly higher than they were the day before. I fell into the latter camp, and thus I’ve never been particularly attached to any of the more popular skill-testing action titles.

That is, of course, unless those titles go out of their way to punish me for every single mistake I make. For reasons I’ve never been able to adequately put into words, games like Bloodborneand Super Meat Boy have managed to keep me coming back for more despite my obvious lack of affinity for their gameplay mechanics. Although I’ve only scratched the surface of the game myself, every video I’ve watched regarding Dark Souls 3 makes me believe the same will hold true for From Software’s latest iteration of the beloved series as well. That has me wondering, though – just what is it about these kinds of games that makes them so fun to play despite the fact they can be immensely frustrating at any given moment?

At first, it seemed there was a simple answer. All of these games, I reasoned, have a fascinating and unique gameplay system at their core. While many of them borrow elements from other successful games within their respective genres, games like BloodborneSuper Meat Boy, or even the old school Ninja Gaiden titles all fall back on small gameplay decisions that make them a little bit different and a lot more challenging. Yet, upon further inspection, this line of thinking doesn’t necessarily hold up. I’ve played lots of games that did something differently that made the gameplay harder that simply didn’t click with me – some to the point that I swore off every other installment ever made (here’s looking at you, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006).

As it turns out, it isn’t the nuanced gameplay and punishing repercussions for failure that made these games great – that element is the baseline, something that should be expected from IPs that want to set themselves apart for their lack of hand-holding and relatively higher levels of difficulty. The trick is to package that gameplay into something that is aesthetically appealing as well.

dark souls 3 greirat the thief character

Take, for instance, the poster child of the hard-to-beat-harder-to-put-down genre of video games in the modern era. The Dark Souls series, as well as weird step-sibling Bloodborne, both pit gamers against hordes of unforgiving monsters in a setting ripped straight out of the Victorian Gothic era. Dungeons are creepy, light comes at a premium, and the drip of water in a cave is as unsettling as the grim knowledge that noise was likely implemented to distract you from an unseen, lurking enemy ready to end your playthrough prematurely. The world of From Software’s extremely popular franchise is a perfect setting for the brutal gameplay that follows the character creation screen in each game.

Even in a game like Super Meat Boy, where the graphics are largely two-dimensional and cartoony, the setting simply works. Often times, the challenges in truly difficult games feels like going through the meat grinder, and whenever my poor Meat Boy would find himself splatted against a wall or impaled in a pit of spikes, I’d feel like it was the perfect representation of my own emotions being beaten down by the game’s truly beautiful and nefarious level design.

Super Meat Boy captures the essence of how these games push the boundaries of frustration and fun in the industry, and does it while providing gamers with ample physical comedy and sparse dialogue. Evidently, not all games need to have several novels worth of dialogue in order to make their narratives compelling, and, to be quite honest, an entire novel written about Meat Boy would probably read like a mash-up of bad science fiction and a Hamburger Helper recipe. That’s the sublime appeal of it, though – successful and meaningfully challenging games like these don’t try to be anything more than what they are, framed by a story and visuals that provide a little extra variety and appeal to the already exact science that is their gameplay mechanics.

super meat boy animation

Even the old NES version of Ninja Gaiden has the aesthetic appeal to push gamers through its notoriously punishing level schemes. Although the graphics are so dated they look like they were created on an old Nokia cellphone, there’s something to be said for playing the role of the silent, skilled assassin fighting his way through hordes of enemies in pursuit of justice (and, later, romance as well). It’s the kind of game that is synonymous with the kind of nostalgia that has pushed the gaming industry towards making a large quantity of remakes and remasters despite its aged plot and relatively straightforward gameplay.

Ultimately, all of these games also possess the holy grail of game design: detailed and interesting levels that feel different enough from other locations in the same game that there is a real sense of progression, even if that sense stems from a different color background or slightly different looking enemies. After all, there’s nothing like playing through a few hours of Dark Souls, beating a boss after, in my case, several hundred tries, and finding the nearest bonfire before shutting a console down for the night. There’s a tangible level of satisfaction and progression within the best examples of difficult games that makes slowly grinding away at their increasingly maddening boss fights worthwhile in the end.

While that sense of achievement might have been given a visual representation in the age of trophy hunting in video gaming, the pursuit of it has existed long before then. At the heart of each well-loved and difficult video game is the sense that they were well-designed, featured appealing aesthetics to compliment the gameplay, and were fair. Developers aren’t presenting players with insurmountable challenges in these titles, but rather the invitation to develop a skillset that takes time and rewards patience. In an era where the correct length of a video game is always hotly debated, it seems like titles like Dark Souls 3 and Super Meat Boy never really enter that discussion – and there’s a good reason for that.

 

[Source:- Gamerant]

Brussels steel summit fails to find answer to oversupply problem

No breakthrough at gathering of 34 nations as Chinese state news agency says it is ‘lame and lazy’ to blame crisis on China

Workers check steel products at a factory in Dalian, China
Workers check steel products at a factory in Dalian, China. The UK business secretary, Sajid Javid, said China had recognised its problem of overcapacity. Photograph: China Daily/Reuters

The world’s largest steel-producing nations failed to make a breakthrough on the oversupply problem that has thrown the industry into crisis, at a meeting in Brussels.

Ministers from 34 countries, representing 93% of global steel production, attended Monday’s talks, on the day the Chinese state news agency said it was “lame and lazy” to blame China for the problem.

UK Steel, the industry lobby group, criticised the failure to take detailed action, as the future of Britain’s largest steelworks, Port Talbot, hangs in the balance.

The US deputy trade representative, Robert Holleyman, said the talks were not an academic issue “but an exercise dealing with real pain, with real people”.

“We are encouraged by the start of the discussions but we fully believe more most be done and more must be done urgently,” he said.

Overproduction of steel is driving plants around the world out of business and has brought the UK industry to the brink of collapse.

US and European steel producers have accused China of flooding world markets with heavily subsidised steel that makes it impossible for rivals to compete.

But China rejected this argument on Monday, saying the US and European Unionwere “also plagued by overcapacity to differing degrees”. China’s assistant trade minister, Zhang Ji, told ministers that the economic downturn since 2008 and falling demand was “the fundamental reason” behind excess capacity. He also highlighted “geopolitical conflicts, extremism and terrorism” as factors contributing to the problem.

Asked about this part of the Chinese speech, the EU trade representative, Cecilia Malmström, said: “I don’t really see the link to be honest.”

Meanwhile, China’s official state news agency Xinhua said blaming China for global problems in the steel industry was “a lame and lazy excuse for protectionism”.

“Blaming other countries is always an easy, sure-fire way for politicians to whip up a storm over domestic economic woes, but finger-pointing and protectionism are counterproductive,” the agency wrote in an English language commentary.

Although the remarks are not official policy, they are seen as an indication of the mood among China’s ruling class.

But in a tacit acknowledgement that China is producing too much steel, as economic growth rate falters, Beijing promised in February to cut production by 100m-150m tonnes and lay off half a million steelworkers over the next five years.

But no further measures were agreed at the one-day talks in Brussels, which included representatives from China, the US, European Union, Germany and the UK.

The UK business secretary, Sajid Javid, who was at the meeting, said China had “absolutely recognised the problem of overcapacity in their country”. He added: “They’re committing to do something about it and I think that’s a very positive step forward.”

Javid, who has been criticised for not doing enough to protect British steel, said the government had “started to be approached by interested parties” about buying the loss-making Tata plant at Port Talbot in south Wales, but that it was too early to say much more. “The important thing is, as we said all along, we will do everything we can to help with that sales process,” he said.

Tata Steel, the owners of the loss-making plant, and the British government are searching for a buyer, but chances of a rescue for the entire business are seen as remote, putting at risk 40,000 jobs connected to the plant.

Gareth Stace, the director of UK Steel, urged governments to “take rapid and decisive action” or “risk seeing their steel sectors wither on the vine and die”.

He said: “What we needed to see at today’s meeting was an agreement by national governments to take short-term, detailed actions to help address the steel sector crisis. However, having agreed what the problems are we appear to be no closer to finding international action to put in place solutions.”

[Source:- Gurdian]

Publishers Put Brave Ad-Blocking Browser on Notice

brave-ad-blocking-browser

A group of newspaper publishers last week sent what amounted to a cease-and-desist letter to Brave Software, which offers the HTTPS Brave browser with built-in ad blocking and tracking protection.

Brave has offered to let publishers make money off blocked ads by partnering with them “for a lower fee than they pay their third-party data-tracking partners,” CEO Brendan Eich said. The publishers “can use our private analytics and anonymous confirmations instead.”

The publishers can get up to 70 percent of the revenue from ads published jointly with Brave, as opposed to the 45 percent they normally would get.

They would get 55 percent straight off, and customers, who get 15 percent, can decide to donate that to the publishers, Brave said. Another 15 percent would go to Brave’s supply-side platform partner, and Brave would get the remaining 15 percent.

Legal Rights

“Your plan to use our content to sell your advertising is indistinguishable from a plan to steal our content to publish on your own website.” The publishers refused to accept “any compensation or consideration Brave plans to offer,” the letter said.

“You are hereby notified that Brave’s plan to replace our clients’ paid advertising content with its own advertising violates the law, and the undersigned publishers intend to fully enforce their rights.”

Advance Local, Digital First Media, Dow Jones, BH Media Group, Gannett, Gatehouse Media and McClatchy were among the 17 publishers that sent the letter.

Protecting the User

“We’re seeing more and more users express their frustration at the level of privacy invasion and the tracking that the sites are now subjecting them to,” Eich told the E-Commerce Times. Users “are tired of being monetized and treated like products, or even targeted by malvertisements, and are looking for a new approach to content consumption on the Web.”

An AdReaction study conducted last year found that between 40 and 48 percent of digital audiences ages 16 to 45 have a negative view of targeting, Joline McGoldrick, VP of insights at Millward Brown Digital, told the E-Commerce Times earlier this year.

“I think that ad blocking is getting to be a bigger and bigger problem for publishers, particularly when it comes to Web browsers,” commented Mike Goodman, a research director at Strategy Analytics.

However, “saying, ‘We’re going to strip out your ads so you get nothing and then we’ll insert our own ads and give you a share of the revenue’ is called blackmail,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “If you try to get their permission to do so and craft a business model that makes publishers want to sign up, that’s another thing.”

Why Attack Now?

“What Brave intends to do is technically theft, but the laws, as they currently exist, don’t clearly make that same determination, and Google has clearly been getting away with very similar behavior,” observed Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

“However, Brave is nowhere near Google’s class of company, and the end result could be case law that would be used against Google,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Google might actually move against Brave to prevent that from happening.”

The publishers have the deep pockets and “should be easily able to show harm,” Enderle said, “but their best bet long term is to get the laws surrounding copyright infringement to specifically call behavior like this illegal.”

On the other hand, if Brave wins, “I would expect the publishing industry to pivot sharply to paywalls as a survival tactic, but that will likely speed the demise of the marginal players,” he added.

Brave has “publicized the revenue-share model from the get-go,” Eich said, but the NAA “never reached out to us; we found out about their letter the same morning they sent it to all the publications. We would be happy to sit down with them to discuss the Brave solution.”

 
[Source:- Cloudtimes]