Forza Horizon developer Playground Games has confirmed it is working on an open-world action role-playing game (ARPG) with staffers previously involved in titles including Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Grand Theft Auto V, and Helblade: Senua's Sacrifice.Having previously specialised in racing games through the successful Forza franchise, PlayGround Games has confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that it is expanding into a second 200-person studio - doubling its overall headcount - which will be working on the company's first non-racing title, an as-yet unnamed action role-playing game (ARPG) set in an open world.That the company is serious about the project is revealed from the list of high-profile employees it has poached for the new studio: GamesIndustry.biz's research has tipped up Sean Eyestone, formerly senior producer of ill-fated Star Wars-themed casino-cum-shooter Battlefront II and prior to that a Kojima Productions staffer working on Metal Gear Solid titles including well-received Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain; designer Will Kennedy from Rockstar North where he worked as a level and game designer on Grand Theft Auto V; and Juan Fernandez di Simon, formerly a senior designer for Ninja Theory's Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.Although the company confirmed the opening of the new studio to the industry outlet, it has so far proven tight-lipped on the precise nature of its upcoming ARPG.For Playground Games, though, it's potentially a make-or-break project which if successful could launch it beyond racing titles or otherwise relegate it to the status of 'the studio that makes Forza games'.
Black Friday is one of the most important days for retail, with 0ne third of annual sales occurring in the fourth quarter.Many retail stocks are trading higher on Friday.It's Black Friday in the US, and shoppers across the country are waking up early to take advantage of the shopping holiday.Retail stocks are mostly higher on Friday, as some companies could post their best sales days of the year.Goldman Sachs estimates that as much as a third of annual retail sales come in the fourth quarter, making holiday shopping incredibly important for many stores.Goldman also thinks that retail stocks will be more heavily traded on Friday, leading to more price volatility and opportunity for traders, even though the trading day is shorter than normal.
Alexa, the helpful assistant best known as the voice of Amazon Echo and Echo Dot devices, offers a range of "skills" right out of the box.It can perform a variety of tasks such as looking up information, setting a timer, playing music, activating smart home devices and more.You can do what Sharon Machlis did and code your own.Machlis, IDG's director of editorial analytics and data, explained to Computerworld Executive Editor Ken Mingis why you might want to develop your own skill and detailed some of the things to keep in mind if you decide to do so.[ Further reading: Alexa skill tutorial: How to write your first voice-assistant app ]While Amazon already offers a number of skills templates, it's useful to know how to modify those in ways that personalize the tasks Alexa can tackle.
Investment bankers have gotten used to being asked by worried retail-industry chief executives to pitch takeover ideas aimed at fending off Amazon.com Inc.Now the fear has spread to media, health care and many other sectors, where CEOs dread the breathtaking competitive advancements made by not just Amazon but also Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Netflix Inc.So far this month, about $200 billion of deals have been announced in the U.S., according to Dealogic.AT Inc.’s planned purchase of Time Warner Inc. for about $85 billion would combine a huge but slowing mobile-phone business and the DirecTV satellite-television operation with a content machine that includes Time Warner, the owner of CNN and HBO.In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, he added: “Tech companies are spending billions creating content and distributing it directly to consumers.” AT’s planned purchase “gives Time Warner the opportunity to do the same, across multiple platforms and with ad-supported models that cost consumers less.”Walt Disney Co.’s expression of interest in a big chunk of 21st Century Fox Inc.’s assets was prompted in part by the success of Netflix, the fast-growing streaming video company, according to people familiar with the situation.
Nutrition and the health of the human body is an ever-changing mine field that at times can prove really tricky to navigate as we try our best to live the healthiest lifestyle possible.In the simplest terms, our gut is made up of ‘good bacteria’; our gut flora.It’s no wonder that the moment our babies emerge mewling from the womb, health professionals encourage breast feeding in order to preserve and develop this magic bacteria from the word go - nor is it a surprise that the health world seem to have changed their view on antibiotics as research has now shown it may take up to 12 months to replenish the good bacteria following just one course.Pretty counter-productive when you consider the role the gut plays in warding off infection, don’t you think?Experts say that before you can start to repair, rebuild and maintain a healthy gut, we must first rule out any common ‘offenders’ in our diets that many people have trouble digesting: gluten, eggs, yeast, dairy, corn, peanuts and even grains.We are all different and the foods that affect us can change from person to person.
Earlier this year, remotely piloted robots transmitted what officials believe was a direct view of melted radioactive fuel inside Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s destroyed reactors—a major discovery, but one that took a long and painful six years to achieve.In the meantime, the programme to clean up the destroyed reactors has seen numerous setbacks and concerns, including delays on Japanese electrical utility Tepco’s timetable to begin removing the highly radioactive fuel and continued leakage of small amounts of radioactive substances.Japanese officials are now hoping that they can convince a sceptical public that the worst of the disaster is over, the New York Times reported, but it’s not clear whether it’s too late despite the deployment of 7,000 workers and massive resources to return the region to something approaching normal.Per the Times, officials admit the recovery plan—involving the complete destruction of the plant, rather than simply building a concrete sarcophagus around it as the Russians did in Chernobyl—will take decades and tens of billions of dollars.Currently, Tepco plans to begin removing waste from one of the three contaminated reactors at the plant by 2021, “though they have yet to choose which one.”“Until now, we didn’t know exactly where the fuel was, or what it looked like,” Tepco manager Takahiro Kimoto told the Times.
Sometimes the hatred on Twitter is justified: Here’s a tweeted takedown of… the Cheesecake Factory.A peek into the life of one of Hollywood’s most prolific actors, although you’ve probably never heard of him.Empaths feel your pain — probably a little too much.And thanks to MIT Media Lab, you can debate gender bias with a computer.Photo: A Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Walnut Creek in 2010.(Dan Rosenstrauch/Bay Area News Group)
There is no winning for brands in today's hyper-polarized and divisive environment, where the social media outrage cycle runs on a constant loop.But the pace, scale and extent of that outrage is now unprecedented, with marketers swiftly getting swept up in a swirl of discontent.The coffee company was one of the first brands to announce that it was pulling its ads on Fox News host Sean Hannity's show last weekend, following the host's interview on Friday with Roy Moore, in which critics argued that he was too easy on Moore.Soon enough, many on the right were calling for Hannity's supporters to boycott Keurig, with some people going as far as to post videos of themselves smashing their Keurig coffee machines.Or don't, and get roasted by the progressives.Markerters — already wary of entering the political fray — now find themselves are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Apple has reportedly delayed the release of its HomePod smart speaker until 2018.In a statement to The Verge, Apple says that it needs more time to work on the device."We can't wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple's breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it's ready for our customers," an Apple spokesperson said."We'll start shipping in the U.S., UK and Australia in early 2018."From the report: The speaker was originally set to be released in December.Priced at $349, the HomePod is slated to take on higher-end sound systems like Sonos, as well as smart assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
If want to completely revamp your computer to play the latest PC games, it’s smart to start with the processor and work outwards.But the processor is the heart of your machine, computing all the instructions required to create and maintain a believable, virtual environment.They’re the best you can presently buy from each, so expect to drain the bank account, take out a loan, or do whatever needs to be done to purchase the absolute fastest gaming CPUs on the planet.If you don’t want to spend over $900 and on up into a four-digit price tag, then this duo isn’t for you.This set is mostly dominated by Intel’s X-Series processors.You really can’t go wrong with any chip listed in this batch — it’s just a matter of how much you are willing to spend.
Move over contactless – international B2B blockchain payments are now possible through American Express, Santander, and cryptocurrency firm Ripple.It is thought the technology will reduce transaction times, combining the burgeoning cryptocurrency market with global B2B payment networks.Initially, Ripple will connect American Express customers to Santander in the UK, providing immediate, trackable, cross-border payments.RippleNet says it is helping remittances from American Express customers in the US to reach UK bank accounts in reduced time through Santander.However, there could be scope to extend the payment network to other countries, say the technology developers.José Luis Calderón, Head of Santander Global Transaction Banking, said, “This blockchain solution opens up a new channel between the US and the UK and presents significant opportunity for payments globally”.
In most role-playing games, side quests appear out of nowhere on town boards that act like fantasy versions of Craigslist.The Quest Giver puts you behind the scenes as you head up your own guild and hire adventurers.The guild simulator is the second game from German indie studio Restless Games, and it’s raising funds on Kickstarter with an estimated release date in 2018 for PC, Mac, Linux, and iOS and Android devices.“The inspiration for the game came to us by simply playing RPG games,” said Restless’s cofounder and game designer Daniel Szodruch in an email to GamesBeat.“It got to our attention how much [non-playable characters] that give you quests know about the world and its inhabitants.That’s when we first realized how hard it must be to actually be a quest giver, and that there was no game that covers this part of fantasy worlds.”
With the help of a recent round of funding, Reddit is increasing its investment in human content checkers, investigating whether Russian entities used its platform to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election and preparing a redesign that will, among other benefits, give more tools to its thousands of moderators to make their job of policing the site easier.In an interview at the Web Summit trade show in Lisbon, Reddit co-founder and Chief Executive Steve Huffman said the violent clashes between white nationalists and protesters in Charlottesville, Va., in August were a wake-up call.A rallygoer plowed his car into a crowd of people demonstrating against the white nationalists, killing one woman and injuring 19 people.Get your daily dose of media and advertising news with WSJ’s CMO Today newsletter.A few months later, Reddit updated its content policy to ban content that glorifies, incites or calls for violence against an individual, groups of people or animals, after noting that the previous rules had been too vague.Reddit employs an “anti-evil team,” whose job it is to help fight abuse on its platform.
The best way for third-party developers to use Twitter’s data is through the microblogging site’s APIs.Previously, they’ve had a choice between the standard free API, and the enterprise-oriented Gnip service.The two products differed significantly not just in cost, but also in the type of queries that could be performed, and there was no middle ground.Today, the company is rolling out premium APIs, which should bridge the gap.The first of these is the Search Tweets API, which offers an easy avenue to the past 30 days of Twitter data.Queries will return more tweets per request, and developers will be able to make more requests, as overall limits are raised.
Draksurfaren John Zilles var ute på äventyr när hydrofoil-brädan som hans drake var fäst vid kraschade i ett område känt för sina hajtäta vatten.Trots upprepade försök fick han inte fart på ekipaget igen, rapporterar Daily Mail.Zilles bestämde sig för att ringa sina barn och berätta att han skulle bli sen. Hans son skickade då numret till sjöräddningen, och att efter att Zilles trott han sett en haj ringde han efter hjälp.Därefter kunde han plockas upp i säkerhet.Enheten Zilles ringde från var inte Iphone – utan Apple Watch Series 3.Telefonen hade han lämnat hemma, då han inte ville att den skulle bli vattenskadad.
People trying to buy more booze in Cardiff might find themselves being asked to blow into something unusual before they're served, with a handful of shops in the worst alcohol-apocalypse-hit parts of the town centre using breathalysers to check their shoppers' drunkenness levels first.The scheme is being organised by local police, who have handed out the breathalysers to a few off-licences and shops in the central part of the city, as part of a clean-up initiative known as Operation Purple Ash.A couple of Spar shops in Cardiff were first to use the devices as part of a trial, with owner Rohat Hamed telling The Times: "We've used it hundreds of times -- we just grab it and if anybody who tries to buy alcohol looks drunk we tell them to blow into it.Some people have given us abuse when we use it because they must think that they’re above the law."Which they aren't, as so far 18 people have been arrested and 40 alcoholic drinks confiscated.
Although HTC still offers the best PC-tethered virtual reality headset (as far as we’re concerned), it seems the company is keen to compete everywhere.Following Oculus’ reveal of its Go standalone headset, HTC unveiled its Vive Focus headset, offering tracking capabilities similar to its high-end namesake, without the need for a smartphone or PC to power it.At the end of 2017, the state of the virtual reality industry is becoming interesting.Although there is more content than ever before, many users still lament the lack of AAA titles and experiences and there are still far more mobile VR users than those wearing high-end, PC-based headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.With that in mind, it makes sense that HTC is looking to release something that will occupy the middle ground.The long-teased HTC Vive Focus, much like the Oculus Go, appears to target that untapped market segment.
A new method for screening for Down's syndrome, Reflex DNA Screening, was announced to the press last week by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), with not merely the 'potential to transform' antenatal screening, an attribute that Non-Invasive Prenatal testing (NIPT) was considered to have ... but it will be 'transformational'.Going by the efforts of the scientific community, it's as if there were some sort of race or goal set in medical schools and Universities to find the Holy Grail of antenatal screening.According to Icelandic geneticist Dr Kari Stefansson that's exactly what did happen '40 some years ago, it was considered one of the goals of Obstetrics and Gynaecology to figure out how to screen for Down syndrome in such a way that Down syndrome could be eradicated'.Down's syndrome is one of the most common forms of chromosomal mutations known to man and is fairly easily detected.The Reflex DNA press release was rather disingenuous about the significance of the announcement, the University of East Anglia's Professor Tom Shakespeare even went so far as to Tweet that the media had been 'gamed' by the Reflex DNA announcement.Women whose blood samples show a 1 in 150 chance or greater of Down's syndrome being present will be called back to discuss the offer of NIPT which is claimed to have greater accuracy than the triple test alone.
Samsung has revealed firm figures for its production Graphics Double Data Rate 6 (GDDR6) video memory, claiming to have achieved double GDDR5's 8Gb/s throughput at a lower power draw - and putting the pressure on rival VRAM standard High Bandwidth Memory 2 (HBM2).Designed to replace the GDDR family of VRAM, High Bandwidth Memory offers a range of enhancements: By locating stacked memory dies on an interposer board alongside the CPU or GPU the overall footprint is reduced and the performance-per-watt improved.Production of HBM, however, is more complex and expensive than that of traditional off-package VRAM - which is why it's entirely unsurprising to find Samsung working on both GDDR6 and HBM2/3 products.Announced as part of a self-congratulatory puff-piece on the company's success at the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 Innovation Awards, Samsung's specifications for its production GDDR6 memory modules promise much.Described as 'the fastest and lowest-power DRAM for next generation, graphics-intensive applications', Samsung claims its production parts offer 16Gb/s throughput with 64GB/s data input/output (IO) bandwidth - equivalent to 12 full-HD DVDs per second, Samsung boasts in a slightly outdated example - at 1.35V, down from 1.5V and up from 8Gb/s in GDDR5 implementations.These parts are, the company further claimed, to be available in densities of up to 16Gb (2GB) per chip, meaning that 8GB graphics cards would require just four chips and 16GB cards just eight chips.
Google recently began rolling out version 5.3 of its Google Play Games app introducing an all-new UI and some new pre-loaded games.The difference is clear immediately, with the landing page now featuring a rotating list of titles rather than the up-and-down list seen previously (version 5.2 can be seen above left, with 5.3 on the right).Each title in the new carousel view has the game icon, when you last played it, your current trophies (and out of how many) and a play button to jump straight into it.Below this, you’ll also see a “games library” button which brings you to a smaller itemized list of all your current games.So it’s a lighter interface, with less information displayed until you start tapping some buttons, and it has also gotten rid of the “discover new games” area of the previous Play Games iterations.There’s no replacement for this — instead, you’ll have to move to the Play Store to see the recommendations there (via a button at the top of the page).