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‘Stranger Things 3: The Game’ arrives on iOS and Android

The mobile port costs $5, which is cheaper than on other platforms. It follows the previous mobile title Stranger Things: The Game, which debuted alongside the second season and was a freebie. It seems you can get together with your friends for local co-op this time around, and you might be able to hook up a controller to play Stranger Things 3 instead of using touchscreen controls.

If you're still as hungry as a demodog for more Stranger Things games, Netflix is far from done on that front. It's planning to release a mobile RPG next year.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/30/stranger-things-3-the-game-ios-android/

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Volocopter proves its air taxi can work with air traffic control

Volocopter is one of the first flying taxi companies to integrate into air traffic control systems, but others aren't too far behind. As Engadget's Andrew Tarantola wrote, more than 70 companies are currently developing their own personal flying vehicles. Uber, in particular, has invested heavily. And the demonstration at Helsinki Airport isn't just good news for Volocopter. It also speaks to the fact that multiple air traffic systems are ready to safely manage air taxis and their interactions with traditional aircraft.

Earlier this month, Volocopter revealed the designs for its first commercial autonomous flying taxi. The company previously said it hopes to have air taxis in the sky by 2023, but it will have to build take-off and landing infrastructure and integrate with air traffic management systems. Yesterday's successful test flights demonstrated that Volocopter is at least ready to do the latter.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/30/volocopter-flying-taxi-helsinki-airport-demonstration/

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Emerging from the shadow of GamerGate

After reading Lawhead's post on the 26th, Developer Zoë Quinn published a note on Twitter describing past emotional, physical and sexual abuse by Alec Holowka, a prominent independent developer and co-creator of Night in the Woods. Holowka's studio, Infinite Fall, cut ties with him days later, saying they believed Quinn.

On August 28th, developer Olivia Wood published a Twitter thread accusing Failbetter Games founder Alexis Kennedy of emotional abuse and professional misconduct, saying he threatened her career once they were no longer romantically involved. Other people, including narrative designer Meg Jayanth, came forward with similar stories about Kennedy, warning women to stay away from him. Kennedy denied the allegations and said he's filing a police complaint against his accusers.

That's just the beginning. Since Lawhead's blog post, women and nonbinary people in video games have been sharing their own stories of sexual assault and harassment, calling out industry legends by name. This movement has been a long time coming, following similar call-out campaigns in other industries.

Games Twitter has been flooded with retweets and declarations of support for the people sharing their experiences of rape, abuse and misguided power. Accounts of violence and sexual assault in the video game industry are being met with sympathy and trust. In short, people believe these stories. They believe these women, non-binary folks and their allies.

This is a fantastic thing. However, considering the state of the industry in recent years, it's also a huge surprise.

Five years earlier

It's only been five years since the beginning of GamerGate, but everything is different now.

GamerGate should have been a flashing, neon sign warning the world about today's tide of bold neo-Nazism and white supremacy. GamerGate was where online bigots probed society's acceptance of thinly disguised sexism and racism, and found fertile ground. Throughout 2014 and for years after, a swarm of irrationally angry forum trolls harassed every easy target in video game development and journalism -- meaning, anyone who wasn't an obviously straight, cis, white man.

Numerous women, minorities and their allies in the industry were doxxed, swatted and forced to leave their homes for their own safety. Breitbart published false hit pieces about journalists and developers it dubbed "social justice warriors." The conversation became so vicious that 4chan shut down its GamerGate boards, sending a flood of users to 8chan, which has since grown into a hub of violent extremism, pedophilia and really shitty jokes. Feminist Frequency host Anita Sarkeesian was invited to discuss the harassment campaign on The Colbert Report, including the multiple threats of death, rape, bombings and torture she received every day in response to her academic video series about common sexist tropes in games.

I started reporting for Joystiq in 2011. In 2015, Breitbart wrote a hit piece about my managing editor, who happened to be one of the few women holding a leadership role in gaming media. GamerGate, when it appeared, consumed the industry in a noxious cloud of hate and fear. It made the entire team afraid to speak up, to do our jobs, to breathe. Proponents hid their attacks under the mantra, "Actually, it's about ethics in games journalism," a phrase that has, years later, transformed into a metaphor for dishonest moral pandering.

And that's the difference today: time. Over time, the cracks in the GamerGate narrative widened into gulfs, and the truth of the campaign -- to target and harass women -- was no longer ignorable or excusable. 8chan became synonymous with mass-shooting manifestos and incels. Brietbart spun itself into an alt-right frenzy thanks to the quiet leadership of Steve Bannon, eventually solidifying itself not as a news source, but as a tool of the neo-Nazi movement. The arguments for GamerGate as an ethics campaign sounded more and more ridiculous, until they fizzled out entirely in mainstream conversations.

Meanwhile, the world continued to turn. Donald Trump won the presidency amid a handful of sexual assault allegations, some by his own admission. Bannon joined his administration. Proud white supremacists grabbed tiki torches and took to the streets. Bannon left the Trump administration. And just as Trump could be viewed as a direct response to the nation's first black, liberal, president, the backlash to an overwhelmingly conservative, male leadership pool began to boil.

Women began speaking up about the harassment and sexism they experienced every day, and in specific, horrific moments. The Me Too movement swept the entertainment industry in 2017 as dozens of women went on the record to accuse powerful men of sexual assault -- and, most importantly, they found strong support from their peers. The Time's Up organization was founded with the goal of helping women tell their stories. In 2018, a record number of women ran for, and won seats, in Congress. The phrase "believe women" took root in our collective consciousness.

While politics and entertainment industries were flooded with women speaking their truths, the video game industry remained silent. There was no Me Too-style campaign to call out problematic developers, though just as many existed in this medium as in film or politics. Under a lingering shadow of violent hate and anger, women and marginalized people in games kept their stories to themselves.

Until this week.

The video game floodgates have burst. Women and non-binary people are telling their truths. Their stories are being corroborated and disseminated across Games Twitter, and they're being met with open minds and sympathy. The fear of retaliation from extreme corners of the internet remains, but the industry's response this week has been a fucking relief, to put it lightly. It feels like GamerGate's toxic cloud is finally dissipating. It feels like, maybe, we can breathe.

Now, amid chilling stories of abuse, the people at the heart of this week's movement are expressing their gratitude, shock and relief on Twitter. Quinn thanked everyone for sharing their experiences; Sarkeesian called it "a #metoo moment"; Jayanth said she's in awe of the solidarity she's felt; Lawhead said the response to her post has been the opposite of what she expected. She said she's "deeply touched by the support and the courage of others to speak up."

Everything is different now.

GamerGate could have been an opportunity for the video game industry to lead the conversation about sexism in everyday culture, but instead it was a setback. The beginning of Me Too and the Woke Era could have been an entry point for game developers to reckon with their system's own ingrained bigotry, but instead it served as a blueprint. That's how far back GamerGate set the video game industry; that's how ingrained and unmovable the inequality was.

Was. Huh.

This week's reckoning doesn't rid the video game ecosystem of every predatory, power-hungry person, but it's a start. The industry has the blueprint, and it's building a new foundation. One tweet at a time.

Images: Infinite Fall (Night in the Woods); Associated Press (women in Congress)

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/30/gamergate-sexual-abuse-twitter-developers-zoe-quinn/

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account has been compromised, again

Securing accounts online can be difficult, especially when you've got a lot of legacy access points laying around. Today's example is Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, whose Twitter account has suddenly been hijacked to send random messages and racial slurs. A quick look at the messages (which are quickly being deleted) identifies their source as Cloudhopper, an SMS service Twitter acquired back in 2010.

While newer users may not remember this period, but there was a time when SMS was the main way to use Twitter, and some have noted that Dorsey was still posting using text messages as recently as this year. Twitter announced that it is aware the account has been compromised and is investigating. I confirmed on my own account that texting 40404 from my registered number still works, and identifies the tweet's source app as Cloudfront. With no option for other protections, tweeting from Dorsey's account (or anyone else's) is just as easy as pulling off the increasingly common SIM hijack to steal their phone number.

This isn't the first time someone's used a backdoor to send messages from Dorsey's account, however. In 2016, the group calling itself "OurMine" hijacked a number of high-profile accounts, including @Jack, and alleged that Vine stored passwords insecurely.

Update: Twitter has confirmed that Dorsey's account is again secure, and without explaining how the exploit worked, said "there is no indication that Twitter's systems have been compromised." That would be consistent with someone swapping the CEO's SIM or somehow spoofing the number, neither of which would require actually compromising Twitter or accessing his account directly.

Update 2 (8:27 PM ET): Twitter explained what happened and it was as I suspected, "The phone number associated with the account was compromised due to a security oversight by the mobile provider. This allowed an unauthorized person to compose and send tweets via text message from the phone number." Journalist Brian Krebs recommended using a Google Voice phone number to register online accounts, since that can be secured with 2FA and hardware keys, which mobile carriers don't support.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/30/jack-dorsey-twitter-hack-sms/

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‘Untitled Goose Game’ will unleash avian chaos on September 20th

You play a goose whose aim is only to annoy the unsuspecting residents of a village by any means necessary. That includes stealing items, pranking hapless residents and honking -- lots and lots of honking. While it's too soon how to say how well the concept holds up in sustained play, UGG oozes a folksy (if incredibly mischievous) charm that helps it stand out from a sea of gritty, self-serious games. Besides, many of us are all too familiar with less-than-friendly geese -- it's nice to be on the other side of the beak for a change.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/30/untitled-goose-game-september-20/

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Google to settle YouTube child privacy violations for up to $200 million

The FTC approved the fine last month, but this is the first time the dollar amount has been reported. At the moment, details on the other terms of the settlement are unavailable. Just last week, we learned that YouTube is allegedly planning to ban targeted ads on videos aimed at children. It's unclear if YouTube's decision to do so was related to the FTC settlement.

The FTC launched the investigation after advocacy groups charged that YouTube violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting data for children under the age of 13. Those complaints allegedly date back as far as 2015. This isn't the first time the FTC has come down on big tech companies for privacy violations. Earlier this summer, Facebook agreed to a $5 billion settlement. Until now, the FTC's largest fine for COPPA violations was the $5.7 million settlement it reached with TikTok in February.

Some have suggested that YouTube disable ads on all videos aimed at kids, and others have called for YouTube to move all of its children's content to a designated app. As companies like TikTok have found, it can be difficult to enforce age checks. It's still unclear how Google plans to remedy the issue.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/30/google-ftc-200-million-youtube-child-privacy-violations/

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Miami’s gathering electric scooters before Dorian sends them airborne

As a precaution, some of those same six companies have also started collecting their fleets in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando, cities that are on the expected path of Dorian. According to Bloomberg, Miami is home to the most electric scooters in the US. In the case of Lime alone, the company maintains a fleet of some 1,500 scooters (and 500 bicycles) across Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. Earlier today, Hurricane Dorian was upgraded to a Category 3 storm. When it makes landfall, it could become a Category 4 storm, at which point it could produce winds that travel at more than 130 mph.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/30/miami-electric-scooters-hurricane-dorian/

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‘Cyberpunk’ developer will keep making ‘Witcher’ games

Before the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, studio head Adam Badowski gave conflicting accounts as to whether CD Projekt Red planned to develop a proper sequel. In the four years since The Witcher 3 came out, the company has been similarly coy about whether fans will get to play Geralt of Rivia in another adventure. Now, however, it appears the financial realities of depending on a single big release to maintain the financial health of the studio have forced CD Projekt to change tack.

Moving forward, the company says it plans to work on both The Witcher and Cyberpunk franchises concurrently, so as to smoothen out its financials between big releases. Bottom line: once Cyberpunk 2077 comes out next year, fans won't have to wait another four to five years to play a new game from the studio.

The move makes a lot of sense for CD Projekt. Four years after it came out, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt remains by far the company's most important source of revenue (see the chart above). The game has helped keep the company's revenue steady despite disappointing launch sales of Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales.

The studio's newest game, Cyberpunk 2077, will launch on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on April 16th, 2020. It'll likely be another few years before fans get to return to the world of The Witcher in a new adventure. Until then, the excellent Wild Hunt is making its way to the Nintendo Switch this fall.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/30/cyberpunk-developer-will-keep-making-witcher-games/

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UVI’s Toy Suite virtualizes the musical instruments of your childhood

UVI has chosen a wide array of toys to sample. Along with the expected instruments like tiny pianos and xylophones, some less traditional toys like moo boxes and keychain harmonicas will trigger forgotten memories. The library also comes with an 8-bit emulator to generate the bleep-bloop sounds of the Game Boy and Commodore 64.

While the real-life equivalents of these toys are adorably crummy-sounding, UTI sampled them using the same hardware and workflow as their more prestigious instrument libraries. "We utilized the same professional studio, class-A microphones, outboard processors, multi-sampling techniques and expert editing to produce the sounds of Toy Suite that we've used on countless classical instruments," says UTI.

Toy Suite will work as a standalone program or will integrate into DAWs as an AU, VST or AAX plugin via UVI Falcon or UVI Workstation. If you're interested, you're probably going to want to have a specific project in mind beyond just mindless noodling, though -- these samples aren't cheap. UVI is offering the library at an introductory rate of $279, but will increase the price to $399 after September 10th.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/30/uvi-toy-suite-sample-library/

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Apple will replace some cracked Watch Series 2 and 3 screens for free

You can check Apple's support document for more details on eligible devices, but to summarize, the company will repair these models for free: Watch Series 2 sold between September 2016 and September 2017, Watch Nike+ Series 2 sold from October 2016 to October 2017, Watch Series 3 GPS and GPS+Cellular sold from September 2017 to September 2019, and Watch Nike+ Series 3 GPS and GPS+Cellular sold between October 2017 and September 2019.

You can either arrange to mail in your device by contacting Apple Support or walk into an Apple Authorized Service Provider or retail store. Take note that your device will be sent to an Apple Repair Center whichever method you choose, because the company has to verify that it's eligible for the program.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/30/apple-screen-replacement-watch-series-2-3/

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