It’s a bumper edition of the news round up this week, covering the top games and tech stories from the past fortnight!
Make sure to check out Alex’s previous Top 5 Games and Tech News Stories of the Week to catch up on all things Games and Tech.
1) Peter Molyneux announces he will no longer talk to the press
Peter Molyneux, founder of Lionhead studios and producer of the Fable and Black & White franchises, has announced he will no longer give interviews to the press after being criticised for his latest title, Godus.
It was funded via Kickstarter after Molyneux left Lionhead in order to work on independent titles. However, the game came under heavy criticism when many of the promises Molyneux had made failed to come to fruition.
With fans and backers dealing a heavy backlash over his broken promises, the veteran designer has stated that he is no longer in charge of making the game and that, for the time being, he won’t be talking to the press after he and his family received threats from angered fans.
2) Swatter prankster arrested in the US
A man has been arrested in the US for wasting police time after he pranked online gaming personality Joshua Peters using a method known as swatting (police are tricked into sending a swat team to the target’s home).
Brandon Wilson was arrested under suspicion for his involvement in the incident last July, where Joshua Peters was arrested while live-streaming in his home after an anonymous caller (believed to be Wilson) called the police, claiming a man had been killed at Peter’s property.
Swatting is a common tactic used by online trolls and cybercriminals against various targets; however, the arrest of Wilson is a sign that the law may be coming close to effectively capturing and punishing its perpetrators.
3) Apple bans ‘bonded labour’ for its factory workers
Apple has banned the practice of ‘bonded labour’ in its Chinese factories after a labour rights group questioned the wages and practices of Apple factories.
The practice of bonded labour requires the worker to pay a fee to the “supplier”, usually a company that manages to get the worker the job. Apple has now stated that the worker should not pay the fee and that from now on the company or the supplier will pay any fee.
The audit comes after Apple faced heavy criticism over the treatment of its workers in its Chinese factories, including new employees having their passports confiscated.
4) Cyber thieves steal $1 billion worldwide
Up to 100 banks and financial institutions across the world have been hit by cyber robbers who managed to steal up to $1 billion, according to computer security giant Kaspersky Lab.
The thieves, who have members from Russia, Ukraine and China, used viruses to infect computers at banks in 30 countries, either transferring money directly to their accounts or releasing money from ATMs at a certain time of day.
The attacks took place over a period of several months and were described as “very slick and professional” and “unprecedented” in the history of cyber robbery.
5) Rock Band to potentially get a next gen release
Five years after the release of Rock Band 3, the franchise may be seeing a comeback on the Xbox One and Playstation 4.
Harmonix claimed in an interview with Bloomberg that it was in the middle of developing a new title for the series, having recently released new songs for Rock Band 3 for the first time in two years. The news was well received by fans and critics alike, and may herald the successful return of the franchise after its apparent decline following the release of Rock Band 3.
There has been no news as to whether Rock Band’s main rival franchise, Guitar Hero, has any plans for a new release.
6) US and UK accused of hacking SIM card firm to steal codes to facilitate mobile eavesdropping
Edward Snowden claims that US and UK intelligence agencies hacked into Gemalto, a Dutch SIM company that has clients with numerous phone companies across the world, in order to steal encryption keys that help intelligence agents listen in on phone conversations and intercept text messages.
The announcement came via a US news website, where Snowden claimed that secret documents in his possession provide details of a hack attack known as “the great SIM heist”, organised by Britain’s GCHQ and the US National Security Agency.
The attack began in 2010 and it’s unclear how many codes were stolen, but GCHQ has claimed that all its activities were “carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework.”
7) Predator to star in Mortal Kombat X DLC?
Ed Boon, co-creator of the Mortal Kombat series, has been hinting at the possibility of the Predator joining the roster of fighting characters in the franchise, despite not making an official announcement.
However, the cat seems to be out of the bag after an unnamed source confirmed the character’s appearance in Mortal Kombat X.
According to the source, Predator will be a playable character in a DLC for the new Mortal Kombat X, and will also be joined by the character of Al Dillon from the original film.
8) Google faces legal probe in Russia after protests from rivals
Google is to be the target of a competition investigation after its main Russian rival, Yandex, lodged an official complaint with Russian authorities.
Yandex has alleged that electronics and phone companies that wish to pre-install Google Play, considered to be the most well stocked and safest Appstore for Android devices, are being forced to install all other Google services (such as Chrome, G-Mail and YouTube) if they want to use the Play system.
This gives Google a significant advantage over its rivals, ensuring that manufacturing companies cannot pre-install the services of other companies, like Yandex, onto their phones if they wish to use Google Play.
The complaint has been lodged with the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service, however Google has yet to respond to the allegations.
9) Police close online fake luxury goods stores
Up to two thousand websites that sell fake luxury goods have been taken down by police, according to a recent report.
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has been working with Brand-protection groups and internet registries to close down websites selling counterfeit brand goods at cheap prices. The websites often offer deals on seemingly legitimate products that may seem “too good to be true”, according to Detective Cheap Inspector Danny Medlycott.
In reality, these goods are cheap fakes and the sites themselves may also harbour malicious software and viruses that could take online payment information from unsuspecting customers.
The police operation has had a serious impact on the fake goods trade with experts seeing a “significant decline” in the number of websites selling counterfeits.
10) US regulator green lights mail order DNA testing kit
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed Californian based company 23andMe to sell mail order DNA kits to allow people to test themselves for potential genetic mutations that cause Bloom Syndrome.
The ruling states that the company may sell the kit and will provide “the least burdensome regulatory path” for any future products. This is a turnaround from previous FDA rulings that had discontinued similar kits, because the company in question (also 23andMe) had failed to provide information to back its marketing claims.
The FDA has warned that no test is perfect and should only be used by those likely to carry the relevant gene.
Games and Tech Columnist
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