In the news this week, Irrational Games making a potential comeback and harassment on Twitter – Alex Roberts gives us the rundown of the top five Games and Tech stories.
1. Syrian hacking group compromises multiple websites
A hacking group, calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), has been hacking numerous websites recently, including The Telegraph Online, betting site William Hill and CNBC, as well as numerous other websites. The attacks seem to have come through targeting third party widgets on the sites, thereby targeting the domain name servers of the websites. While website owners have stressed that sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords, remain safe, the attacks have been disconcerting for some users who found themselves faced with webpages displaying the symbol of the SEA and telling them they had “been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army”. The group has also used these attacks to post messages critical of ISIS, and bragging about upcoming attacks. This is not the first time the SEA have launched an attack of this calibre; in 2013 they carried out attacks against the New York Times and Huffington Post.
2. Irrational Games show signs of comeback after announcing plans to hire new staff
Irrational Games, developer of the acclaimed Bioshock series, looks to be making a comeback after posting job positions on its official website. The company shutdown when its director, Ken Levine, left the company, taking most of the senior staff with him to focus on different projects. Now, it seems, the company might be returning to life. The website lists two positions; an IT manager and a Senior Programmer specialising in AI development and Gameplay. The latter position has got pundits wondering whether the company is planning to return to making games, and whether another development of the Bioshock series may soon be upon us. Irrational Games’ parent company, 2K Entertainment, has not yet released any statement on the issue.
3. House of Commons calls on Social Media Websites to simplify their terms and conditions
A report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee has condemned the length and complexity of the terms and conditions of many social media websites and apps, urging the companies behind them to simplify their paperwork. The report, which at one point likened engaging with terms and conditions as being like “engaging with Shakespeare”, says that in many cases the terms and conditions were overly complex and designed to protect the company in court rather than convey information, while also noting that the conditions were mostly designed to deal with the US legal system rather than the UKs. The report comes shortly after Facebook updated its terms and conditions to apparently be simpler and easier to read; Twitter has also followed suit, putting their use of data in a blogpost. Whether the report will create any more changes within these companies is yet to be seen.
4. StarCraft 2 Tournament boots player for making rape jokes
A professional StarCraft 2 player was booted from the Fragbit Masters StarCraft tournament, after he made a ‘joke’ on Twitter about how he would rape his female opponent. Mihaylo “Kas” Hayda sent a tweet shortly before his match against Madeleine “Maddelisk” Leander, saying he was “going to rape some girl soon”, referring to his match against Leander. Leander, the only woman invited to participate in the tournament, responded after the match stating that “joking about rape is never ok”, and when the tournament officials became aware of what had happened, Hayda was subsequently disqualified. Since then, Hayda has deleted his tweet and apologised on Twitter and in person; however, some male twitter uses responded by calling Leander a “crybaby” and criticised her participation in the tournament. This is not the first time an eSport has been involved in such a controversy; earlier this year the International eSports Federation came under fire when it excluded women from a Hearthstone tournament.
5. Vinyl record sales hit eighteen year high
For the first time since 1996, over one million vinyl records have been sold so far this year. The new high numbers for vinyl records is due to a surge in popularity in vinyl production, a surprise for the music industry that has become almost entirely digitalised. Pink Floyd’s Endless River became the fastest selling vinyl since 1997, and the Official Chart Company is set to capitalise on this new trend by releasing a weekly vinyl chart. The change in direction has seen a boom in business, with the net-worth of the trade more than tripling since five years ago. However, while vinyl records are growing, they still remain dwarfed by the sale and distribution of digital records by a factor of several million. It is interesting, however, that the most popular vinyl in 1996, Oasis’ What’s the Story Morning Glory, still remains the most popular vinyl today.
Games and Tech Columnist
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