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CD Projekt Red Reiterates Plan to Release 2 Games by 2021

In post by an official CD PROJEKT Moderator on their forums, the company re-iterated its promise to "release a second AAA game by 2021." The Polish company started teasing Cyberpunk 2077 way back in 2012, and the game still doesn't have a release window, but just what else the company is working on remains a mystery. Its not clear if the studio has been secretly chipping away at this second project for some time, if its somehow derived from Cyberpunk 2077 or The Witcher (which could reduce development time), or if it's simply smaller-scope AAA release, but the developer hasn't divulged any details about it so far.

"As far as the strategy of the CD PROJEKT Capital Group for 2016-2021 is concerned, its plans to release the second AAA game by 2021 remain unchanged. We are currently focusing on the production and promotion of Cyberpunk, so we do not want to comment on further projects. Donata Poplawska"

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 11:26 AM (CDT)

Goodbye HardOCP - Hello Intel

We have some big changes happening here at HardOCP. Kyle Bennett will be taking on new challenges very soon with Intel working as its Director of Enthusiast Engagement.
Posted by Kyle March 19, 2019 6:30 AM (CDT)

Atari VCS Is Powered by 14nm AMD Ryzen APU with Radeon Vega Graphics

Atari has announced that the upcoming Atari VCS will now be powered by a 14nm AMD processor featuring high-performance Radeon Vega graphics architecture and two "Zen" CPU cores. The hardware team at Atari has replaced the AMD "Bristol Ridge" processor with the new AMD Ryzen APU. The new AMD Ryzen platform will bring welcomed upgrades such as greater efficiency, faster speeds, and cooler temps; allowing the VCS to benefit from a simpler and more effective power architecture and thermal solution. The new processor includes built-in Ethernet, Native 4K video with modern HDCP, and a secure frame buffer that fully-supports DRM video (Netflix, HBO, etc.). The North American schedule is now targeting end of 2019 for delivery of the Atari VCS system for Indiegogo backers. Thanks @MixManSC !

This upgrade will translate to better overall performance in a cooler and quieter box--all with minimal impact to our manufacturing processes. While additional specifications about the new AMD processor will be announced closer to launch, be assured that the new AMD Ryzen processor is a much better fit for this project in multiple ways and will further enable the Atari VCS to deliver on its promise to be a unique and highly flexible platform for creators. Atari cannot thank our great partners at AMD enough for bringing forward this exciting new--and thus-far unannounce -- product for us to utilize in the VCS.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 18, 2019 5:26 PM (CDT)

A Reminder from AMD: Our Processors Aren't Affected by New "SPOILER" Vulnerability

AMD has published a support article confirming its chips should be immune to "SPOILER," a new CPU vulnerability outlined by computer scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Lubeck. As explained in their paper, SPOILER takes advantage of "a weakness in the address speculation of Intel’s proprietary implementation of the memory subsystem." This makes it easier for memory attacks such as "Rowhammer" to be carried out, but evidently, only Intel users need worry.

We are aware of the report of a new security exploit called SPOILER which can gain access to partial address information during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because of our unique processor architecture. The SPOILER exploit can gain access to partial address information above address bit 11 during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because AMD processors do not use partial address matches above address bit 11 when resolving load conflicts.

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Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 4:40 PM (CDT)

Valve Addresses Review Bombing on Steam by Removing Them from Review Scores

To mitigate the effects of review bombing, Valve announced Friday it has a built a tool that would identify and alert the moderation team of any game with "anomalous review activity." After a case of review bombing is confirmed, the reviews submitted under this time period would then be removed from the review score calculation. Gamers can opt out of this change, however, and "off-topic review bombs" will remain on the site for anyone curious enough to read them.

Once our team has identified that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we'll mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer. The reviews within that time period will then be removed from the Review Score calculation. As before, the reviews themselves are left untouched - if you want to dig into them to see if they're relevant to you, you'll still be able to do so. To help you do that, we've made it clear when you're looking at a store page where we've removed some reviews by default, and we've further improved the UI around anomalous review periods.

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Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 9:30 AM (CDT)

Twitch Streamer Ninja Was Paid $1 Million by EA to Stream 'Apex Legends'

According to Reuters, Twitch streamer Ninja was paid $1 million to stream the battle royale game 'Apex Legends' to his 13 million followers on February 5, 2019. He also tweeted about the event to his fans. $1 million "is more than twice media reports of Ninja's monthly earnings from streaming his regular appearances on Fortnite." EA greatly benefited from the promotion as its "stock price and market value rose 16 percent, or $4 billion, in the three days after Apex Legends launched and a month later the game has 50 million users, a quarter of Fortnite's 200 million." Other popular Twitch and YouTube stars such as Shroud were compensated to play the game. Shroud recently fell off his scooter at 55 mph and severely injured his "keyboard" arm. He wasn't wearing safety equipment. His friend Just9n explains what happened in this NSFW video due to language. Shroud documented his injuries on his Twitter account.

"They did a fairly comprehensive job at pulling together all of the relevant game influencers in this genre," said Kevin Knocke, a vice president at esports infrastructure firm ReKTGlobal. "This was a really well coordinated poaching of the top influencers the likes of which has not been seen so far in esports," he said, suggesting that EA had also roped in streamers better-known for playing other blockbusters like "Call of Duty" or "PUBG". "We really wanted to create a day where you couldn't escape Apex if you cared about games and we wanted it to feel like an event was happening everywhere around the globe on that day," Drew McCoy, lead producer at the EA studio that created Apex Legends, said in an interview. "We had streamers from all over Europe, LatAm, North America, Korea, Japan so that we could get our message out there and people would see the game," he said.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 11:20 PM (CDT)

Gigabyte Factory Tour Shows Motherboard Manufacturing from Start-To-Finish

Gamers Nexus recently took a tour of the Gigabyte factory located on Nanping Road in Taiwan. At this location, Gigabyte manufacturers both video cards and motherboards. Although most of the SMT factory is automated, some of the components and wires must be installed by hand. It takes 40 - 50 minutes for a motherboard to be created and Gigabyte processes 600 - 800 motherboards per hour or about 5,000 per 8 hour workday. Make sure that you compare the Gigabyte tour to the MSI factory tour that Hardocp documented in 2007. I thought it was fascinating that the Gigabyte "museum" featured test equipment similar to what Hardocp observed over a decade ago. My, how things have changed!

Motherboard manufacturing is a refined process, but each board still takes upwards of an hour to finalize on the assembly line. About half of the assembly is now done by automated SMT lines, with the rest being manual quality checks and large component installation (like PCIe slots). As for how to make a video card, it follows exactly the same process -- the difference is just which board is being fed through the machines on each day.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 8:59 PM (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"

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

Citrix Hacked by a Cyberespionage Group

Cloud service, VoIP and remote management software provider Citrix has reportedly been hit by an Irianian-linked hacker group. A little less than a week ago, Citrix posted a notice on their website saying the FBI believed "international cyber criminals gained access to the internal Citrix network." The press release wasn't particularly alarming, as it says that "there is no indication that the security of any Citrix product or service was compromised" even though hackers "may have accessed and downloaded business documents." However, a separate report from the cyber security firm Resecurity claims that the Iranian hacker group IRIDIUM was behind the attack, and that they had access to "6 terabytes of sensitive data stored in the Citrix enterprise network, including e-mail correspondence, files in network shares and other services used for project management and procurement." Even more worryingly, the security firm says they warned Citrix on December 28, 2018, but as far as I can tell, the company hasn't posted a public response until today. Citrix was reportedly the victim of a password spraying attack, where a small pool of commonly used passwords are used to brute force a large number of accounts, and Resecurity seems to think that this attack is a small component of a larger campaign.

The Iranian-linked group known as IRIDIUM has hit more than 200 government agencies, oil and gas companies and technology companies including Citrix Systems, Inc... Friday, December 28, 2018 at 10:25 AM - Resecurity reached out to Citrix and shared an early warning notification about a targeted attack and data breach. Based on the timing and further dynamics, the attack was planned and organized specifically during Christmas period. The incident has been identified as a part of a sophisticated cyberespionage campaign supported by nation-state due to strong targeting against government, military-industrial complex, energy companies, financial institutions and large enterprises involved in critical areas of economy... We forecast a continued growth of targeted cyber-attacks on supply chains of government and large enterprises organized by state-actors and sophisticated cyberespionage groups.

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Posted by alphaatlas March 13, 2019 9:41 AM (CDT)

911 Calls Raise Concerns Over Amazon Working Conditions

Amazon's warehouses don't have the best reputation as is, but according to a recent article from The Daily Beast, working conditions inside the facilities could be worse than previously thought. The report alleges that, between October 2013 and October 2018, emergency workers were summoned to Amazon warehouses for "suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts, and other mental-health episodes" at least 189 times. The reports only covered a quarter of Amazon's sorting and fulfillment centers across the U.S, and The Daily Beast is quick to point out that the records are "not evidence that Amazon staffers experience suicidal episodes more often than other American workers, in or out of a warehouse," but they clearly imply that harsh conditions are exacerbating existing mental health issues on a large scale. Check out some of the calls below:

The Daily Beast spoke to six current or former Amazon employees who had mental-health crises that required emergency assistance at the warehouse. They said much of their at-work stress stemmed from the performance quota. A former employee in Etna, Ohio, said that it was sometimes physically impossible to stay on pace. "Even if it isn't your fault, they ignore any explanation that you could give." He was constantly fearful that he would receive citations for falling short. "Once you have enough write-ups, you're out the door," he said. "There goes your livelihood... There was a constant sense of, 'did I screw that up, did I screw that up, did I screw that up?'" he said. "[It] stays with you and almost becomes a permanent anxiety."

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Posted by alphaatlas March 11, 2019 11:17 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."

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

US Military Changing "Killing Machine" Robo-Tank Program after Controversy

The US Army is clarifying its "ATLAS" (Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System) program after initial reporting of its ground combat vehicles sparked fears of autonomous machines that would kill without human interaction. Back in 2007, the agency toyed with small, machine-gun tank robots called SWORDS but was forced to end the program after the robot "began to behave unpredictably, moving its gun chaotically."

The response seems to have spooked the Army, which is now changing its request for information to better emphasize that the program will follow Defense Department policy on human control of lethal robots. They are also drafting talking points to further the new emphasis. The robot’s ability to identify, target, and engage doesn’t mean "we’re putting the machine in a position to kill anybody," one Army official told Defense One.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 3:30 PM (CDT)