Tencent has Invested in Grinding Gear Games

Grinding Gear Games, creator of Path of Exile, announced in a forum post that Tencent has acquired a majority stake in Grinding Gear Games. The forum post was written by Grinding Gear Games Chief Chris Wilson.

Our Chinese publisher, Tencent, has acquired a majority stake in Grinding Gear Games. We will remain an independent company and there won’t be any big changes to how we operate. We want to reassure the community that this will not affect the development and operations of Path of Exile, so we have prepared some answers to some questions you may have about this investment.

Tencent is a Chinese company that describes itself as “a leading provider of Internet value added services in China.” Tencent Games is the largest online games community in China, and a leading world-class online game developer and operator. Tencent owns Riot Games, the creator of League of Legends.

In the forum post, Grinding Gear Games states that they will not make any changes to the monetization of Path of Exile on their international servers. In other words, they are not planning on making the game “pay to win”.

Grinding Gear Games is still an independently-run company. “All of its developers still work for Grinding Gear Games and have not become Tencent employees.” The forum post says the founders (Chris Wilson, Jonathan Rogers, and Erik Oloffson) are still running the company.

Current players will not need to have a Tencent account in order to log in to Path of Exile. Grinding Gear Games says nothing is changing with the way players access Path of Exile on international servers.

26 Seasons of Doctor Who Coming to Twitch

Twitch announced that they will stream 26 Seasons of Doctor Who starting on May 29, 2018. That’s over 500 episodes for Doctor Who fans to binge watch.

Join us and tons of other fans in Twitch chat for over seven weeks of classic Doctor Who, starting with the 1963 episode “An Unearthly Child.” Together we’ll make our way through the first seven Doctors spanning 26 seasons. Come relive (or experience for the first time ever) the origins of the iconic Daleks, the Cybermen, and the trusty Sonic Screwdriver.

Twitch will stream new episodes every day for eight hours starting at 11AM PDT, followed immediately by two eight-hour repeat blocks. There will be exclusive Doctor Who emotes for everyone who subscribes to /twitchpresents and a shiny new Tardis Cheermote.

Twitch is partnering with Yogscast to bring you seven new episodes featuring a cast of Doctor Who screenwriters, experts, and fans who will introduce each new Doctor and highlight some of the best upcoming story arcs.

There will also be prizes. Twitch will be giving away Doctor Who fan packs (which include a Tardis money box, a themed Monopoly set, and Doctor Who doormat) and a grand prize trip to London Comic Con. For more details about how to enter this sweepstakes, and to read the Official Rules, please visit the Twitch blog.

Alexa Spying #1285

Back in the saddle and I get you all caught up on what is happening and has happened over the past week. Truly amazing story tonight on what happened to a family in Portland and their Amazon Alexa device that was spying / recording what they had to say and sending it to someone in their contact list.

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Epic Games will Provide $100 Million for Fortnite Esports Tournaments

Epic Games is the creator of the Unreal series of games, the Unreal Engine, the Gears of War franchise, the Infinity Blade series, and FortniteEpic Games announced that it will provide $100,000,000 for Fortnite eSports tournament prize pools in the first year of competitive play.

The Fortnite Team posted a blog on the Fortnite website with more details.

Fortnite Competitors!

Grab your gear, drop in and start training. Since the launch of Fortnite Battle Royale we’ve watched the passion for community competition grow and can’t wait to empower you to battle with the best.

In the 2018-2019 season, Epic Games will provide $100,000,000 to fund prize pools for Fortnite competitions. We’re getting behind competitive play in a big way, but our approach will be different – we plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game.

The post ends by telling players to stay tuned for more details about competitive structures and eligible platforms. It appears that information will be released in the weeks ahead. Fortnite is playable on PC, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation, and iOS.

Kraken Dice Iconic Mythical Collection on Kickstarter

Kraken Dice makes polyhedral dice sets for RPGs. They have a Kickstarter for their new Iconic Mythical dice collection. At the time I am writing this, the Kickstarter has five days to go and has reached (and exceeded) its funding goal.

Kraken makes layered polyhedral dice for board games and RPG campaigns (like Dungeons & Dragons). The Kickstarter series of dice features their new Iconic Mythical collection of dice sets.

Each set is beautifully colored and named after a mythical creature: Unicorn, Mermaid, Phoenix, Nymph, Dragon, and Fairy. When the Kickstarter hit their $20,000 funding goal, the Unicorn, Mermaid, and Phoenix sets of dice became available to all backers. This includes the 11 piece set, d10 sets, d6 sets, and the expanded spellbook.

At the time I am writing this, the Kraken Dice Kickstarter has $439,816. This has enabled them to unlock additional sets of dice, including the Nymph, Fairy, and Dragon sets along with several other sets, stickers, d2 coin, and a Silver Glitter Iconic d20. Those who are interested still have a few days to back the Kickstarter.

For full details, check out the Kraken Dice Kickstarter which has lovely photos of the dice and a video that showcases a few of the dice sets. Or, visit the Kraken Dice website to see all of their dice sets.

Activinsights Measures Health at Wearable Technology Show

Activity trackers with built-in heart rate monitors are incredible pieces of technology. Sophisticated electronics crammed into a tiny space at relatively inexpensive cost and generating vast swathes of data. Fantastic as these devices are, they’re aimed squarely at consumers. There’s no guarantee that a thousand steps is a thousand steps.

For medical applications, a validated wearable is required and these devices have gone through rigorous research programmes to ensure that they work within a confirmed margin of error. British firm Activinsights manufacture their own wrist wearables for medical and healthcare professionals to use with with patients and clients.  In the interview, Stephanie from Activinsights tells me how their wearables differ from the consumer market. For starters, some of them have a year-long battery life.

With a range of devices for different scenarios, detailed information is collected and subsequently downloaded for analysis. Activinsights’ analytic tools can assess the data to provide lifestyle recommendations for long-term prevention but can also identify when the wearer’s condition is deteriorating. Many physical manifestations can be indicators of serious medical conditions, so it’s worth keeping track of activity over extended periods to help make a diagnosis.

The devices are available now with prices from around GB£260.

Pay By Swatch with G+D Mobile Security at Wearable Technology Show

Continuing GNC’s coverage of the Wearable Technology Show, I’m with Kenneth from G+D Mobile Security which specialise in “user and device identities”. In particular, they’re behind some of the technologies that enable wearables and mobile devices to act as ID for, say, transit or ski lift passes.

The team at G+D Mobile Security work to put additional value into an existing wearable device, so a watch becomes a lift pass, an activity tracker becomes a payment device or a wristband becomes ID for a music festival. G+D were behind Swatch Pay launching in China with China UnionPay in 2017 using Swatch Bellamy models, and a European launch is expected later this year.

In the interview, Kenneth takes me through the process by which a wearable or other smart device can be programmed to securely mimic a credit card, and talks around the current capabilities plus some interesting future developments that give greater control over where and when payments can be made.

Payments are only one aspect of G+D’s wearable portfolio, and they’re currently working with various universities to develop IDs which can be used for access control, tracking class attendance and membership of sports teams.

G+D Mobile Security have a couple of interesting papers on current technology trends including smart homes, app security and the “digital doctor“. Worth a read.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Coming to Blizzard Battle.net

Blizzard announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for PC will be available exclusively on Blizzard Battle.net this fall. By “exclusively”, Blizzard means that the game will not be accessible on Mac through Battle.Net. Some of Blizzard’s other games are accessible by both Mac and PC. The Call of Duty Black Ops 4 website says the game will be available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One In the announcement, Blizzard says:

Players on Battle.Net will get all the same benefits as other games on the platform, including cross-game chat, social features via the mobile app, groups, and more. You’ll always be connected to your friends, whether they’re playing Blizzard games or Black Ops 4.

The announcement on the Call of Duty: Black Ops website said:

For the first time, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is coming to Blizzard Battle.net in a fully-optimized for PC experience and fully integrated into Battle.net social features. Developed in partnership between Treyarch and Beenox, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will be the most robust, refined, and customizable PC shooter experience we’ve ever created. Features include uncapped framerate, 4K resolution, HDR, support for ultrawide monitors and additional features built for the PC community.

Players can preorder Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 now from either PlayStation Store or the Blizzard Store. The game will be released on October 12, 2018, on all platforms, including Blizzard Battle.net. Blizzard has pointed out in an FAQ that players can use their Blizzard Balance to purchase Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 from the Blizzard Store. Players who preorder the game from the Call of Duty Black Ops 4 website can get access to the Private Beta.

Leaks, leaks and more leaks! #1284

Hi there everyone, this would be my last day filling in for Todd while he is heading back home from meeting with his team down in Columbus Ohio. Well last week, websites were hacked and GPS locations exposed. In the news today…customers information exposed via leaks.

Hasbro Trademarked the Scent of Play-Doh

Hasbro has announced that it has trademarked the scent of Play-Doh. The nostalgia-inducing smell of Play-Doh has become one of the few active scent trademarks in the United States. A news release was posted on the Hasbro website on May 18, 2018.

Today, Hasbro announces that the iconic Play-Doh scent, known and loved by fans around the world, is officially recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a registered trademark of the brand. The trademarked scent, which Hasbro formally describes as a unique scent formed through the combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough, makes the Play-Doh brand one of the few active and certainly most famous scent trademarks in the country.

The news release points out that the Play-Doh brand started in 1956, and that the brand and the Play-Doh scent have become increasingly recognizable among children, parents, and grandparents. The “recipe” for the Play-Doh compound has remained largely unchanged, ensuring that when a container is opened, it has the same scent that many people grew up with.

Hasbro is asking fans of Play-Doh to celebrate its newly registered scent by sharing which favorite childhood memories the smell of Play-Doh evokes for them. Hasbro would like people to use #PLAYDOHSCENT and to be part of the conversation on their Instagram and Facebook.