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All Digital Xbox One S Could Launch May 7

Following up on previous reports claiming that Microsoft could unveil a disc-less Xbox One in April, Windows Central allegedly got their hands on some photographs of the upcoming console, and recreated them in Photoshop to protect their source. "Additional documents" they obtained suggest that the new Xbone could launch on May 7 in a "global simultaneous release," but as we've noted with some of our own predictions, exact launch dates can be fuzzy this far ahead of time. The publication thinks that Microsoft is positioning this as a replacement to the original Xbox One, rather than a replacement to the newer disc-based consoles.

The design of the Xbox One S All-Digital appears to be virtually identical to the current Xbox One S, without the disc drive and eject button. The product shots we received seem to indicate that it will come with a 1TB HDD and with Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves, and Minecraft digital codes bundled into the box. It doesn't look as though it will be bundled with Microsoft's Netflix-like subscription service for games, Xbox Game Pass. Our information suggests that the Xbox One S All-Digital edition will have the lowest recommended retail price (RRP) of all current Xbox One consoles, aimed at newcomers to the ecosystem, although the exact pricing is unknown at this time.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 11:04 AM (CDT)

JPMorgan Chase Uses AI Powered Video Game as a Recruitment Tool

Recent reports claim that JPMorgan Chase are trialing "neuroscience-based video games" from pymetrics as a intern recruiting tool. The games supposedly assess applicants' "social, cognitive and behavioral features, such as attention, memory and altruism," and attempt to identify what job the applicant might be best suited for. But, unlike Amazon's "biased" AI recruiting tool, pymetrics says their "Netflix-like recommendation algorithm" is fair and accurate. As the report mentions, it appears that companies are getting more comfortable with the use of machine learning powered recruitment tools, in spite of the potential pitfalls associated with their use.

Large firms have been increasingly turning to technology to make recruitment and other human resources processes more fair. Systems also include applications that scan performance reviews for unconscious bias or that monitor job ads for phrases that might dissuade a certain demographic from applying ."Our re-imagining of how we hire is part of a broader objective at the firm where we are asking ourselves: 'Can we better meet our diversity goals by broadening the pool of candidates we are considering?'," Mitro said. JPMorgan's pilot will continue with applicants for 2020 internships in the United States, he added, noting that this technology would only be one step of the selection process.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 10:00 AM (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)

Gearbox Teases a March Borderlands Announcement

Gearbox have been torturing fans with hints about a new Borderlands game for years, but it looks like an official announcement could be about two weeks away. Gearbox's official Twitter account recently posted a cell shaded sigh with the words "March 28 Boston MA," which lines up with the company's scheduled event at PAX East. We still don't know much about what is presumably Borderlands 3, but Gearbox's marketing team have been constantly posting Borderlands-related material throughout 2019.

Ranndy Pitchford (Gearbox CEO): I am excite

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 13, 2019 8:52 AM (CDT)

Hunt: Showdown Is Coming to Xbox Game Preview

Crytek has announced that Hunt: Showdown is coming to Xbox Game Preview this Spring. Game Preview allows Xbox users to support and play games that are still in development. Follow the game's development on social media to find out when the game is released.

It is official: Hunt: Showdown will be coming to Xbox Game Preview this Spring! Game Preview gives Xbox players the chance to support and play games--like Hunt: Showdown--that are still in development. Here's our sweet new teaser to celebrate the announcement--and a clip from a new song written exclusively for the game. Check it out, and tell all your Xbox-loving friends! We'll be announcing the exact date on all of our social media channels, so follow us on Discord, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 6:22 PM (CDT)

Microsoft to Announce Xbox One S "All Digital Edition" in April [Rumor]

Last year, Brad Sams of Thurrott leaked information detailing how Microsoft is expected to announce a Xbox One S without the disc drive. Now Jez Corden of Windows Central has heard that the console is coming and it will be called the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. Preorders for the console are expected to begin in April 2019 with a May 7th release date. Hints of a Fortnite Edition console are gaining traction also. PC gamers shouldn't be sad as Brad Sams talks about Halo: The Master Chief Collection coming to PC possibly at E3 this year in the video below.

The disc-less Xbox One S would be a first for the company, offering fans the ability to ditch discs altogether and go all-in on digital game licenses. As Microsoft pushes for greater access to its game library via things like the Xbox Game Pass digital subscription and the incoming streaming service Project xCloud, dropping the disc drive from the "All-Digital Edition" should make it the cheapest Xbox console yet, although we have no word on pricing just yet or whether the console will see any design refinements beyond simply dropping the disc drive.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 05, 2019 9:51 PM (CST)

NSA Releases Free "GHIDRA" Reverse Engineering Tool

Today, the NSA released its free "GHIDRA" software reverse engineering tool. It can be used to analyze malicious code and malware like viruses. Cybersecurity professionals can use it to better understand potential vulnerabilities in their networks and systems. NSA will be making Ghidra available to the public as an open source release in time for its first public demonstration at the 2019 RSA Conference this March. For more NSA releases, check out CODE.NSA.GOV for open source, and NSA's Technology Transfer Program for other technology.

Key features of Ghidra: Includes a suite of software analysis tools for analyzing compiled code on a variety of platforms including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Capabilities include disassembly, assembly, decompilation, graphing and scripting, and hundreds of other features. Supports a wide variety of processor instruction sets and executable formats and can be run in both user-interactive and automated modes. Users may develop their own Ghidra plug-in components and/or scripts using the exposed API.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 05, 2019 8:17 PM (CST)

Suicide Instructions Found Spliced into Kids' Cartoons on YouTube, YouTube Kids

YouTube continues its downward spiral: a contributing author for pedimom.com, a pediatrician-run parenting blog, recently discovered that tips for committing suicide were appearing in children’s cartoons on YouTube and the YouTube Kids app. In one video, a man who "resembles Internet personality Joji (formerly Filthy Frank)" shows up on screen and simulates cutting his wrist. "’Remember, kids, sideways for attention, longways for results,’ he says and then walks off screen. The video then quickly flips back to the cartoon."

"I am disturbed, I am saddened, I am disgusted," the physician wrote. "But I am also relieved that I was there to see this video with my own eyes, so that I could take the appropriate actions to protect my family." Those actions included deleting the YouTube Kids app and forever banning it from the house. That particular video was later taken down from YouTube Kids after the doctor reported it to YouTube. However, parents have since discovered that several other cartoons contain information about how to commit suicide, including the same spliced-in video clip.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 03, 2019 1:55 PM (CST)

Microsoft Has State of Decay Running on PC Using Xbox Assets

Microsoft is getting serious about bridging the gap between the PC and Xbox ecosystems. According to a report from Brad Sams at Thurrott, Windows Insider build 18334 introduced "new technology to Windows 10" and offered "State of Decay for free." Nazmus S Khandaker offered this tweet where he disclosed that the packages used the .xvc format which is native to the Xbox. Not only that, the download servers for the game are using the Xbox servers instead of the Microsoft Store server. This will certainly make creating games between the Xbox and PC ecosystems much easier and cost effective. Remember 66% of developers are developing on the PC while only 28% said they are working on a Xbox One title.

On the surface, what it looks like Microsoft is doing is collapsing any differences between PC and Xbox gaming to make it the same experience on both devices. The company is in the process of making the delivery mechanisms based on the Xbox infrastructure, appears to be making it possible to run Xbox games on the PC, and replacing the existing Store PC games infrastructure on that of what Xbox has built. And this isn't some half baked port to the Windows ecosystem either. Much like the Xbox does, this updated mechanism supports delivery optimization too.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru February 25, 2019 3:35 PM (CST)

Microsoft Is Reportedly Bringing Xbox Game Pass to Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch owners who are contemplating the purchase of an Xbox One may want to hold off on that decision, as multiple reports are suggesting Microsoft is bringing its game-subscription service to the portable console. The idea of Crackdown 3, Forza Horizon 4, and Sea of Thieves "running" on a Switch will evidently no longer be a fantasy, but a reality made possible by Microsoft’s xCloud game-streaming technology.

Direct Feed’s report also reveals that Microsoft is working on making some of its published games available on Switch. Ori and the Blind Forest is specifically mentioned as a game that would be a good fit for Switch. This isn’t the first time a Microsoft-published game has made its way onto other platforms, as Minecraft is available on plenty of platforms not run by the company, including Switch.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 24, 2019 3:25 PM (CST)

Rumor: Next-Gen Xbox to Be Revealed at E3, Releasing 2020 alongside Halo Infinite

Microsoft’s E3 conference should be pretty eventful this year, according to new rumors from gaming website JeuxVideo: the Xbox team is reportedly unveiling its two next-generation consoles, the "Lockhart" (low-cost streaming machine sans disc tray) and "Anaconda" (powerful Scorpio successor), which will allegedly release in 2020 with 8-core Zen processors, custom Navi GPUs, and 1TB NVMe drives. Halo Infinite is also rumored to be a launch title.

It looks like the Lockhart will offer native 1080p gaming, while the Anaconda will offer native 4K with its much more powerful GPU. The Lockhart specs seem suspiciously low, but obviously these are all subject to change anyway, being early leaks. Apparently the Anaconda will be similarly priced to the Xbox One X at launch, costing around $500. According to JeuxVideo’s sources, Halo Infinite will be a launch title when the machines release at the end of 2020, though the game will also be available on the Xbox One family of consoles.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 23, 2019 9:40 AM (CST)

FTC to Host Public Workshop on Loot Boxes in Video Games

According to Variety, the FCC is planning to host a public workshop on the topic of loot boxes in video games later this year. In the letter obtained by Variety, that was sent from commission chairman Joseph Simons to Senator Maggie Hassan, there is no timeline set for a FTC investigation or an indication that there is one. The FTC investigation, parties involved, or findings is not considered public information at this time. The letter discusses a consumer alert and non-law enforcement options. Senator Maggie Hassan had inquired with the agency about launching an investigation into loot boxes and toxic forms of microtransactions. This letter was the response to that inquiry.

"I share your concerns about loot boxes," Simons writes, "but I cannot address your specific questions about any nonpublic law enforcement efforts." He went on to say that the FTC has other tools available to address concerns raised. "For example," he wrote, "we are currently planning a public workshop on loot boxes for later this year as one non-law enforcement option. A workshop could provide a forum for stakeholders representing wide-ranging perspectives, including consumer advocacy organizations, parent groups, and industry members. It also could help elicit information to guide subsequent consumer outreach, which could include a consumer alert."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru February 22, 2019 4:31 PM (CST)