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Signing out One Last Time

Today is the last day that I'll be doing the news on Hardocp and I just wanted to tell everyone that it was an honor to be allowed into your workplaces and homes through a few humbly written articles. I hope that my writings brought a little joy and happiness to my friends here; yes, I consider us all friends. I was taught by my parents to show love to others by sharing and I hope my articles entertained the Hardocp audience. The questions, answers, and lively debate that they generated certainly entertained me. Thank you @Kyle_Bennett and the [H]ardocp family for giving me a chance. Thank you, KG Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 22, 2019 6:32 PM (CDT)

Micron Cuts DRAM and NAND Flash Output as ASP Falters

Micron has revealed plans to cut production of its DRAM and NAND flash products by 5% to combat its average selling price (ASP) falling by 20% in the quarter ended February 28, 2019. Oversupply in both sectors led to the sharp fall in pricing and was "worse-than-expected DRAM and NAND pricing." Micron DRAM revenues experienced a "decrease 30% sequentially and 28% from a year earlier to account for 64% of its total revenues in the second quarter of its fiscal 2019." Micron's NAND revenue slid "18% sequentially and 2% on year to account for 30% of company revenues in the fiscal second-quarter 2019. ASPs went down about 25% from the first quarter." Micron expects revenues to drop another 17% in fiscal Q3 2019. Micron bought back 21 million shares of its common stock. Thanks @workshop35 !

Looking into the fiscal third-quarter 2019, Micron expects revenues to register another sequential drop of about 17% to US$4.6-5 billion, with gross margin sliding to 37-40% from 50% in the prior quarter. "Micron continues to execute well across a range of product, operational and financial initiatives against the backdrop of a challenging market environment," said Micron president and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra. "These initiatives and our focus on high-value solutions, cost competitiveness and innovation will enable us to emerge even stronger as the market environment improves."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 22, 2019 5:16 PM (CDT)

Valve Doesn't Sound Too Happy about the Epic Store Copying Steam Data

Could a lawsuit be brewing? A spokesperson with Valve has told Bleeping Computer the company is "looking into what information the Epic launcher collects from Steam" following allegations the software was stealing users’ information without their express permission. Engineers with Epic have admitted some of the scrapped data could be sent to the company's servers.

In other words, Valve doesn't think the Epic Store client should be touching localconfig.vdf at all, and presumably would prefer it if Epic used the Steam API to gather friends lists. For Epic's part, it has not said that the entire file is uploaded, only that it parses out user IDs and uploads hashes of them, should users import Steam friends. In the future, Valve could potentially encrypt local user data to prevent the Epic client and other software from copying it.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 1:40 PM (CDT)

A "Server Misconfiguration" Was Behind the Facebook Outage

Facebook and Instagram were down for about 14 hours earlier this week, and earlier reports suggested that the underlying cause was a BGP routing issue. As time went on without an official explanation, many started to suspect that the outage was related to an attack on the platform. But yesterday, Facebook tweeted that the trouble was a "result of a server configuration change." There's still no mention of the incident in Facebook's official newsroom, and some news outlets are starting to criticize the timeliness of Facebook's response and explanation. One security analyst told the BBC that "Facebook's motto always used to be 'move fast and break things'. That's fine when you're an innovative start-up, but when billions of people are using your site every month it's not a good way to run the business."

Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services. We've now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We're very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone's patience.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 15, 2019 9:00 AM (CDT)

Facebook Outage Caused by BGP Routing Error

NETSCOUT has released a statement to BleepingComputer that the Facebook and Instagram outages were caused by a BGP routing error.

"'At approximately 12:52PM EST on March 13th, 2019, it appears that an accidental BGP routing leak from a European ISP to a major transit ISP, which was then propagated onwards to some peers and/or downstreams of the transit ISP in question, resulted in perceptible disruption of access to some well-known Internet properties for a short interval. While not malicious in nature, such events can prove disruptive on a widespread basis. It is very important that all network operators implement BGP peering best current practices (BCPs), including prefix-lists, max-prefixes, 'peer-locking' via AS-PATH filters, RPKI Origin Validation (RFC6811), and other techniques incorporated into the industry Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) detailed at .' -Roland Dobbins, NETSCOUT Principal Engineer"

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 5:30 PM (CDT)

Update 5.0 for Hunt Showdown is Out

Hunt Showdown's 5.0 Update is out, and among other things, it seems to make make the already visually stunning game look even better. The developers have added times of day to the Lawson Delta and Stillwater Bayou Maps, meaning you can now hunt in "Daylight, Nighttime, Golden, and Foggy" conditions. The developers also made a number of performance optimizations, added the Immolator AI, introduced a new pistol, and re-balanced shotguns. You can read the lengthy patch notes on the Steam announcement page. As we noted yesterday, the developers announced that Hunt: Showdown is coming to the Xbox One "this spring," but as far as I can tell, no-one knows if the game will support crossplay with PC. Some company representatives allegedly gave ambiguous answers to the question on the forums and the official Discord, and one staff member said "We will announce more information in the near future!"

With 5.0 we are finally able to take another look at how shotguns work in Hunt. We've never really been happy with the RNG gameplay their current implementation caused, spreading the individual shot pellets randomly within the spread cone defined by the crosshair. The changes we have done allow us to do two things: Make sure a certain number of pellets are more likely to hit closer to the center of the crosshair to help normalize damage between shots. And on the other hand, allow us to push shotgun gameplay closer to how real shotguns work. In video games, shotguns are often seen as room sweepers that pepper large areas, while in reality, the choke is actually quite narrow, requiring some aiming to be effective and being lethal at quite impressive distances still. Shotguns in HUNT will feel a bit different now, allowing players to reach out further with them, but also require more precise aiming to score hits. We also tried to make shotguns feel different now, with the Romero and its Handcannon variant having more range and a tighter spread pattern than the other shotguns to give them a meaningful place in the arsenal. Please spend some time playing with shotguns and also play AGAINST shotguns using other weapons to get a feeling for these changes and let us know how you feel about them. We plan on doing additional tweaks based on your feedback over the next weeks!

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 12, 2019 9:59 AM (CDT)

Progress on an Iron Man Suit is Being Made

Back in 2017, Red Bull posted a video of the "Daedulus" kerosene-powered jetpack created by Richard M. Browning, and its creators set a Guinness world record later that year. But since then, Mr. Browning has gone on to become the CEO of a company built around the jetpack called "Gravity Industries," and it looks like he's made some significant progress with the device's development. The company uploads new testing footage almost every week, including a shot of a jetpack pilot landing on a moving truck, but the company is so confident that they're starting to give the press members access to the suits. In the Hacksmith's latest video, the YouTuber seemingly picked up the basics of the flight suit relatively quickly, and Gravity mentioned that they already have a cheaper, 3D printed jet suit in testing. Thanks to CaptNumbNutz for the tip.

FLYING LIKE IRON MAN RETURNS! Gravity Industries & Richard Browning have successfully flown like Iron Man with their custom jet suit that uses kerosene jet engines! I flew (punny!) down to California to meet them and try out the jet suit for myself! Stay tuned for the next video where we turn his system into a true Iron Man suit, complete with a metal iron man helmet!

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 11, 2019 10:11 AM (CDT)

Controversial Game Pulled by Steam after Outcry

Valve announced it would not be shipping one of its most controversial titles to date Wednesday, proving its "lax" policies still have limits. An official statement on the Steam blog suggests games may be assessed on a case-by-case basis, the fate of which could be directly proportional to how much negative media attention they generate. UK politicians have called for a government review of Steam.

While the game hadn’t officially launched yet, its product page was offensive enough to catch attention and widespread condemnation. A Change.org petition gathered nearly 8,000 signatures calling for the game’s removal from Steam. Valve, the company that owns Steam, delisted the title on Wednesday saying, "After significant fact-finding and discussion, we think ‘Rape Day’ poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won’t be on Steam."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 5:55 PM (CDT)

YouTube Adds Feature to Fact-Check Viral Conspiracy Videos and Fake News

Continuing its effort to combat misinformation, YouTube has announced that future searches involving sensitive topics will be accompanied by "information panels" with debunks from fact-checking partners to alert users of potentially incorrect content. The videos themselves will not be fact checked, however; they will still appear in the search results.

Videos containing misinformation can still appear in the search results, but YouTube will generate these disclaimers when a query involves sensitive topics, with the intent to inform viewers as the company deals with the spread of misinformation on the platform. The feature is currently available to a limited number of users in India, one of YouTube’s largest markets with nearly 250 million users, for search queries in English and Hindi. The company said it will eventually expand it to users across the world, but declined to say when.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 11:30 AM (CDT)

Sony Censors the Butt Out of Devil May Cry 5 for Western Audiences

No butts about it: Devil May Cry 5 players have discovered Sony has censored the PlayStation 4 version of the game for Western audiences. There’s a cutscene where Dante carries a naked Trish off his bike, but her butt has been covered up by a lens flare. In another scene, Lady drops her towel and reveals her backside, but again, it’s covered by light. These butts are on full display on the Japanese PS4 and worldwide Xbox and PC versions.

So, what's going on? Current speculation points to a recent Sony policy that appears to be about toning down sexual content on PS4. This is something that's cropped up a few times over the past year or so. Back in October 2018, for example, Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal's PS4 release was delayed after Sony told its publisher to remove the controversial Intimacy Mode (the Steam version, by the way, included the Intimacy Mode). At the time, the game's localisation producer said this was the result of "a brand new policy" at Sony. Was Devil May Cry 5 on PS4 changed under the same policy?

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 10:35 AM (CDT)

The Growth of Video Game Influencers on YouTube and Twitch

Fancensus has researched the growth of video game influencers on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. The amount of views that the top 10 influencer channels on YouTube receive are growing by 40% on average. The top 100 influencers saw growth of 2.5 billion views. To ignite this growth, influencers have narrowed the list of games presented to their audience. In 2016, influencers covered 383 games on average a year. In 2018, they only cover 28 games on average with half being AAA titles. This narrowing of the scope of these channels is because of the meteoric rise of games such as Fortnite and exclusive deals with major publishers. Influencers have learned to stick to the bread and butter games instead of creating variety content. "GhostNinja is one that has reaped massive view growth in 2018 when comparing to 2017 - however, when delving into his game preference, out of 497 videos in 2018, 493 were indeed on Fortnite." Twitch is a different beast as it is just starting to grow. Over a four week period, the average peak views for a channel in the top 100 on Twitch is only 27,000 people. But those Twitch channels are experiencing follower growth as an average of 36,000 people chose to follow those channels during that time. Right now Twitch isn't a threat to YouTube but that could change in the future as it has Amazon backing it. For example, Apex Legends focused on influencers at its launch and it has seen excellent coverage on YouTube and Twitch.

In general, influencers are posting the same number of videos over the last three years -- on average, just over one video a day -- but their staying power as a Top 10 influencer is being constantly challenged. Only half of the Top 100 influencers of 2018 are still holding their position when compared to 2017, and 20% are channels news to our monitoring system. In summary, these analytics suggest it's getting tougher to find beneficial influencers that drive views for your product with so many focusing on a small subset of games. I believe influencers have over the last five years facilitated growth for our industry. In addition, they may have also assisted in increasing the 'shelf life' of top physical and digital games. Even if many seem to live the life of luxury, we should and will ultimately embrace them for many years to come.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 07, 2019 4:00 PM (CST)

YouTuber Discovers Unreleased NES WCW Wrestling Game

YouTuber "Archon 1981" claims he just bought an unreleased, unannounced NES wrestling game from 1989. The cartridge was supposedly given to a former Nintendo employee simply because he was a wrestling fan, but "UWC" never saw the light of day again. Archon says he's going to release the ROM to the public, but in the meantime, he uploaded some footage of the game, which you can see below:
Thanks to cageymaru for the tip. Garrett Martin, who's apparently a big pro wrestling and retro gaming fan, went to the trouble of trying to identify all the wrestlers in the game:

A handful of them should be immediately recognizable to any wrestling fan. In the top row you can see the Road Warriors-the tag team of Animal and Hawk-as well as Sting, who was quickly becoming the promotion's top face the year this game was copyrighted. The bottom row is a little harder to figure out, as three of them are just a bunch of grimacing or grinning blond guys, but that's unmistakably Ric Flair second from right. Reese's footage helps identify some of the other wrestlers. The bottom left corner is none other than Beautiful Bobby Eaton, one-half of the Midnight Express, perhaps the greatest tag team of all time. The top right slot looks a lot like Jimmy Garvin, and that's because it is, as we see in the very first in-game footage from Reese's video. Garvin's wrestling Barry Windham in that footage, so we can scratch another one of those bottom row guys off.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 07, 2019 10:30 AM (CST)