The ASA, the UK’s advertising watchdog, has cracked down in a ruling against online games Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils. They’re not happy about the ways in which they pressure children to spend money.
The Advertising Standards Authority said both “directly pressured” youngsters to pay subscriptions, and that, in the case of Moshi Monsters, children were told that they’d be “super popular” if they coughed up money. Meanwhile, Bin Weevils’ options to pay subscriptions were put to children as if they were orders, rather than requests.
“Although it was possible to play the games without spending real money or sharing the game, certain activities required participation in a paid-membership system, which entitled members to additional benefits,” the ASA said.
“Both games contained language and prominent calls to action that put pressure on young players to purchase a subscription to take part in additional gameplay. We considered that text, including “Become a Member”, “JOIN NOW”, directly exhorted children to purchase membership subscriptions as well as in-game ‘currency’.”
The ASA added that Moshi Monsters used phrases like “The Super Moshis need YOU” which pressurise children. Of course, putting direct pressure on children is prohibited by the advertising code. It must be a nightmare for the ASA at Christmas eh?
The watchdog said that they’re reminding publishers to take more care with in-game purchase mechanisms aimed at kids.
Mind Candy, who publish Moshi Monsters, said it took its “responsibilities very seriously with regards to how we communicate with all of our fans, especially children”. In a statement, they said: “We have been working with the ASA to ensure that we adhere to best practice and have made changes to the Moshi Monsters game accordingly. We will continue to work with the ASA in any way possible.”
The Bin Weevils publisher, 55pixels, said: “As soon as [we] were made aware of the complaint made to the ASA about a potential breach, and once we had understood the area for concern, we changed all our membership pages to comply with their recommendations. They subsequently upheld the complaint about the original wording but referenced that we now complied, in the text of the ruling.”
If anyone is jumpy about the hacked Twitch, bought by Amazon, there’s going to be a rival to it, set up by YouTube.
Of course, YouTube is owned by Google and they’re trying to take over the entire world. With that, this dedicated gaming service will be called YouTube Gaming, enabling you to live stream your button bashings. You may recall that Google tried to buy Twitch, but failed, so consider this a retaliation.
YouTube Gaming will become available globally soon, and will have the obligatory iOS and Android apps available for download. If it is anything like YouTube’s music offerings, the take-up may not be very prompt or overwhelming.
Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of gaming, said: “Gaming is so big now. We’re doing billions of hours of watch-time a month, with hundreds of millions of users. It’s astonishing.”
As well as walkthroughs, tips and whatnot from notable gamers, you can expect YouTube Gaming to broadcast gaming tournaments, not to mention gaming talk-shows. Wyatt added: “Maybe some YouTube creators who aren’t currently streaming anywhere else will start. You’ll start to see some of your favourite creators start to do live shows.”
It is a growth area. Twitch has more than doubled monthly viewers, now with 100 million at the end of 2014. That shows you just how much YouTube need to do to compete.
We have been blorting on about the rejigged Spectrum – called the ZX Spectrum Vega – for a while now.
Well, it is out next week on Monday 24th August, if you’re in the mood to buy one.
Naturally, there’s loads of emulators you can use online, but this is for the die-hard and dedicated. The console has been developed by Sir Clive Sinclair, and since it appeared on IndieGoGo, it raised over £150k.
It’ll be built in Britain too, which is obviously something that Clive Sinclair is very keen on.
So, in case you missed the chat about this, the Vega will fit the processing power of the original ZX Spectrum and over 1,000 games inside it. Not bad at all. If you want more games, then there’s a MicroSD card slot so you can get more on there.
One wonderful thing for Speccy nerds, is that this new console will allow you to program and create your own games, just like in the olden days, which revolutionised gaming for everyone.
How much to go back in time and play all these? Well, it’ll set you back £99.99. Find out more here.
We’ve had some great prices and deals on PS4 consoles on our Deals of the Day (check back daily, for those), and it looks like now is a good time to get one of the Sony devices if you’re interested in one.
That’s because Sony have announced that they’re putting the prices up (just in time for Christmas, of course). They haven’t said that, naturally – the reason for all this is to ‘provide the best PlayStation Plus experience to their subscribers’, which means charging you more.
So, while the console itself won’t be more expensive, PlayStation Plus which allows you to play multiplayer online as well as giving access to free downloadable PlayStation games, will be.
They haven’t said just how much the price increase will be, but it will be going up.
The company says: “We are dedicated to bringing PlayStation Plus members the best possible service with the most compelling content. From 1st September 2015 we will be increasing the price of monthly and three month PlayStation Plus subscriptions in line with market conditions. We will continue to invest in PS Plus to ensure an unparalleled experience, featuring the best quality games and features.”
At the moment, it costs you £5.49 a month, or a three month subscription will set you back £11.99. Rumour has it that the annual subscription of £39.99 will be staying the same.
Well, Sony have unveiled a new service called Vote to Play, where you can vote for the games you’d like to be able to get for free. The game with the most votes will be free on PlayStation Plus, and two other games will be discounted in the process.
If you are thinking that you don’t want to read this any more and get straight at Vote To Play, and get a good look at it, switch your console on and have a look at the ‘What’s New’ section, okay?
John Koller VP of Platforms Marketing at SCEA, said: “I’m thrilled to announce a new PlayStation Plus promotion that literally puts the choice in your hands – Vote to Play.”
Granted, that isn’t a fascinating insight from Koller, but it is proof that it is happening and that we’re not making things up. Whether or not the games will be any good, is another matter entirely.
This feature will be available to both PS4 and PS3 owners, and according to Sony, it will “take place at regular intervals throughout the year.” So it isn’t likely to be a monthly occurrence.
Nothing has been said about when the first votes will take place, and if you’re thinking that this is just the thing to entice you into buying a PS+ account, remember this – you stop getting access to the games if you stop paying for PlayStation Plus, so often, it is worth looking to buy the game on the cheap elsewhere.
Have you done a system update on your PS4, and found that you’re struggling to load games? Or have the discs started to get stuck in your console? Well, there’s a bunch of things you can try out before you send it in for a fix. There’s nothing (literally nothing, obviously) that having nothing to play video games on, so these fixes will be quicker than sending it away.
Is Your Disc Clean?
This is stating the obvious to some, but make sure the disc you’re using is free from fingerprints or scratches. If it is scratched to buggery, there’s nothing you can do about that, but if your disc is mucky, then give it a clean. It is up to you whether you go for the ‘Just Wipe It On Your T-Shirt’ move, or whether you get down the shops and buy a microfibre cloth and some rubbing alcohol.
Switch It Off and On Again
‘Have you tried switching it off and on again?’ This is a cliche, but it sometimes works. Switch your console off for 30 seconds and unplug all the leads out of it. Leave it a bit (go and stick the kettle on or whatever) and then turn it on again. If that doesn’t work, make sure you’re not booting it up in Rest Mode. Shut your PS4 down fully with no disc in, and then turn it on, pop the game in, and see how that suits you.
Have You Rebuilt The Database?
Okay, this sounds frightening, but it really isn’t. To rebuild the database, turn-off the PS4 and unplug the power cable. Wait 10 seconds, and then plug the cord back in. Then, hold down the power button (keep holding it down) until you hear a second beep – this starts your console in Safe Mode. Option 5 will allow you to rebuild the database. Basically, all you’re doing is building a new database for all your content. You must NOT switch your PS4 off in the middle of this and it could take a while to do, so be patient.
The screen looks like this
Is Your Game Data Corrupted?
Sometimes, the data you’ve saved is corrupted. This is an easy fix. Basically, go through your menus and delete the game, including your saved data, then pop the disc back in and reinstall it. Naturally, you’ll lose your saved game, but that isn’t the end of the world.
Is Your PS4 Disc Stuck?
Okay. This hear is a little bit trickier, as you’ll need to take your PS4 to pieces. It isn’t a hard job to do, but it might give you the fear. Get in touch with Sony PS4 Customer Service Helpline at 0203 538 2665 if you’d rather not open up your console. Read all these instructions first before diving in, to see if this looks doable to you. You’ll need a slender Phillips-head screwdriver and a torch.
If you fancy a crack at it, then here’s what you do. Fully turn off your PS4, unplug all the cables and then, on a clean, flat surface (a table is better than doing it on the carpet) place your console in front of you so the front of the system is on the left and the PS logo is on the top of the PS4, on the right – like so.
Put the palms of your hands on the glossy panel at the top and, with your fingers resting on the bit of the console furthest away from you, apply a small amount of pressure near the seam, and slide the glossy panel away from you. Be gentle. Don’t go mad, or you’ll break it and we’re not being held responsible for that.
You’ll hear a click and the panel will move about 1/4″. You can now lift the panel off, from the left side. Now, you’ll have to find the manual eject screw.
You should be able to see two sets of vents along the outer left edge. You’ll see one slot that is set apart from the rest. Use the torch off your phone (or an actual torch) and look down it. You’ll see the manual eject screw here.
Grab a slender Phillips-head screwdriver (a jeweller’s screwdriver is your best bet) and pop it into the slot, turning the screw anti-clockwise until you can see the disc peek out of the disc slot. The screw turns very easily and after 4 or 5 rotations, your disc should be peering out enough for you to pull it out by hand.
Now, you have to put it back together. So, replace the glossy panel by sliding it back into place until you hear the click. Then, connect all your relevant cables and turn it back on, and you should be away!
“Our community assigns an item a value that is at least partially determined by that item’s scarcity. If more copies of the item are added to the economy through inventory rollbacks, the value of every other instance of that item would be reduced,” say Steam’s policy.
“We sympathize with people who fall victim to scams, but we provide enough information on our website and within our trading system to help users make good trading decisions.”
Valve concludes that “all trade scams can be avoided”.
So basically, they’re saying ‘it really is your own stupid fault if you get scammed, soz like’. Seems a bit odd to put the onus on the user, but there you go.
If you’re going to trade, then you might want to do some reading up on scams first, so you don’t get burned, because they’re not going to help you out one bit
PSN has been experiencing issues that resulted in the service going offline for some time, and as of today, after some routine maintenance, everything should be back to normal, and you’ll be back to getting thrashed by 11 year olds at a variety of games.
It started off with gamers noticing that download speeds were reducing and the waiting time to complete online content transfers was far, far too long too. Gamers were also struggling to sign-in to play online, which is fine if you always play solo, but no cop if you bought a PS4 especially to take on people from around the world.
Sony said: ”You may be experiencing issues related to launching certain games or game functionality. This is due to factors external to PSN. We are tracking the progress of the resolution of the issue.”
So, today, the service was down for an hour and a half: ”Routine maintenance and improvements for PlayStation Network will be performed for approximately 1.5 hours on Monday, June 29, 9:30 p.m. PDT (June 30, 4:30 a.m. GMT) to June 29, 11:00 p.m. PDT (June 30, 6:00 a.m. GMT). Anyone who already has a PlayStation Network account can still sign in to their PlayStation Network profile, play games, and use most applications while this maintenance is carried out,” announced the PlayStation Network’s status page.”
“However, PSN account holders will not be able to access certain PSN features, such as PlayStation Video and Account Management. Users will also not be able to make purchases from the PlayStation Store or complete a transaction during this time window.”
“Sony apologizes for the inconvenience and also advises that users activate their PS4 console as the primary console prior to the start of the routine maintenance on June 29.”
This week, gaming nerds are all getting stuck into the E3 conference, to find out what is happening in the world of video games. The big news at the moment, is that Phil Spencer – he’s the head of Xbox, not Kirsty Allsopp’s mate – has announced that you’ll be able to play Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One.
So what’s the craic? Well, Xbox 360 games will start showing up automatically in your library once backwards compatibility goes live. If you own a load of 360 games and they’re gathering dust, don’t throw them out – you’ll be able to pop them in your Xbox One console, and you’ll get a free download of the game.
And, in a neat touch, thanks to the advanced technology, you’ll be able to take screenshots and do broadcasting and all that, just like it was a new release.
There’ll be around 100 titles to play from the off, and as soon as the games developers give the nod to have their games appear on the system, more will be added.
There’s news of a load of new games for the Xbox One too.
There’ll be a game called ReCore which sees a female hero and her robot dog fighting their way through a desert full of baddies. There’s also a pirate game called Sea of Thieves, which is an open world affair. The game that seems to be getting most excitement is something called Rare Replay, which is a 30 game compilation which includes Banjo-Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and more.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was also previewed, for all the Lara Croft fans out there. There were also looks at Halo 5: Guardians and Gears 4. Sadly, there’s nothing about sorting out gamers’ vitamin D deficiencies.
We’ve spoken about PlayStation’s digital refund policy in the past, which isn’t up to much at all. Tonight (Thursday May 28th, 8pm), BBC’s Watchdog are going to be looking into it after receiving a number of complaints about the service.
They’ll be looking at the case of a PS4 owner who was refused a refund after a fraudulent purchase was made on his PSN account.
Of course, this isn’t a new complaint, but one that persists.
One of Sony’s loopholes is that they refuse reimbursement unless you can prove that the game you bought was defective in some way.
PlayStation looked into it and told the BBC: “Our investigation concluded that the serial number of the console on which these transactions were made does not match the serial number of the console you provided to us on your original call. Regrettably, as stated in the PlayStation Network Terms of Service, we are unable to offer a refund for purchases made on PlayStation Store unless the content is found to be defective.”
PlayStation have a dedicated page, which looks at refunds which you can see here. They look at purchases that your child might have done without your knowledge, automatically renewing subscriptions and people being charged of PlayStation products without actually owning a console.
The line seems to be that, regardless of your complaint, they’ll ‘investigate further’, but don’t clearly state that refunds are available. Will Sony provide a solution with pressure from a big-gun like the BBC? We’ll have to wait and see.
There’s a spate of cases where Android users are finding that ransomware has been posing as a warning from the FBI, to frighten you off from looking at dirty stuff online. These come via spam emails, and there’s been 15,000 cases thus far, which are very convincing.
If you end up activating one of them, the ransomware demands $500 from you to restore access, which is a kick in the gusset. Of course, UK Android users should be wary of anything that comes from the FBI, because why would they be bothering with Steve from Cleethorpes or whatever.
It gets worse – if you try to independently unlock your devices, the amount goes up to $1,500.
This particular malware pretends to be an update from Adobe Flash Player and when you press ‘OK’ to continue, you see an FBI warning which you can’t navigate away from. It tells you that you’ve been breaking the law by visiting pornographic websites and, in a clever (but nasty) move, the scammers include screenshots of what they claim to be your browsing history. Then, it claims to have screenshots of your face and says that they know your location.
Basically, the malware doesn’t actually encrypt the contents of your phone, but instead, makes your device’s home screen button and back buttons completely inoperable. Turning your phone on and off won’t help either. It really is a nasty piece of work, but you can attempt a reboot in safe mode.
How to start your Android device in Safe Mode
- Ensure that your device’s screen is on and then press and hold the power button.
- In the dialogue box that opens, touch and hold ‘power off’.
- Touch ‘OK’ when you see ‘Reboot to safe mode’ box.
- Your device will start up in safe mode.
Also, to be safe, it is worth having your antivirus software on the go. If you don’t have antivirus software installed on your Android device, here are the best apps to download.
According to research, there’s around 2.8 million of you out there who have downloaded Minecraft applications on their Android smartphones and tablets, which are malicious.
There’s been a host of dodgy apps doing the rounds in the last year, and 33 of them have been spotted in the Google Play store. These apps tend to offer cheats and tips to players, but of course, they’re doing something else that is no good for you at all. Once you download these apps, you end up getting a warning which says your device has been infected with a “dangerous virus”.
These are some of the malicious apps.
If the apps fool you, you’re then asked to sign-up with a premium-rate SMS subscription which tells you that it’ll rid your gadgets of nasties.
It won’t, of course. What it will do is charge you for texts, coming in at £3.40 per week, which is around £177 per year if you don’t sort it out. The bogus virus warning page looks like this.
One of the things that gives away these apps are the myriad of negative reviews and comments they’ve received. If you’re ever downloading any app, it is always worth looking at the score they’ve been given and checking out the reviews on Google Play, right before you hit the download button.
A number of the apps have been removed from Google Play, but that’s not to say they got them all. Obviously, snide developers are probably making more and tying them in the with hugely popular Minecraft game.
Like we said, to stop this happening, always look at the ratings and reviews on any app and get some security software for your Android phone. You can see some of the best anti-virus Android software here.
There’s a myriad of emulators on the internet, that allows you to play old video games consoles. If you have an Android mobile, you’ll know that you can get Mega Drive and NES emulators on your phone, so you can relive the glory years by playing Alex Kidd or Super Hang-On or whatever.
That said, nothing quite matches up to the thrill of playing these things on your television set. Of course, there’s official recreations of these things, be it through bundled games on disc, or indeed, through retro-joypads that you plug-in, and go.
However, here’s a thing that knocks them all into a cocked-hat.
The Cyber Gadget Retro Freak is a great little thing that houses 11 different games consoles in one unit!
So, if you get one, you can play games from the Mega Drive, Famicom, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Colour, Game Boy Advance, PC Engine, TurboGrafx-16 and PC Engine SuperGrafx and more. If you like, you can use the original controllers through an adapter and you can even install games onto the console itself, so you don’t have to muck about with cartridges.
If you can read Japanese, find out more here.
Through Twitter, Sony said that this new deal will enable you to get the next-gen console complete with a copy of the new Witcher 3 game for a paltry £279. The deal is only available through Tesco, and you’ll need to get yourself a code to get the bundle for this price.
Apparently, this will only be available until 18th May, so don’t hang about. Click here to see if they’ve any stock left.
The battle for hearts and minds in the console wars continues apace, which means, if you’ve missed out on this particular deal, there could well be another one just around the corner.
Microsoft and Sony are really going toe-to-toe on this. Keep an eye on our Deals of the Day for more console and gaming bargains.
A matter of weeks after Microsoft announced that they’d be slashing the price of the Xbox One, Sony have followed suit.
Sony have dropped the price of a PlayStation 4 in the UK, to £289.99. While that’s good, this is for a limited time only, with the deal finishing tomorrow (April 28th). So if you want to get on that, you’d better hurry yourself up.
There’s a number of high street and online shops that are on board, such as Tesco, GAME, Amazon, Argos, and Very. Some of them have shaved 99p off the price to make it a nice round figure.
The traditional console bundles are not part of this promotional offer as there are no offers on the high street that match the promotion offer.
It looks like Sony are offering standard packages, rather than those nice bundles where you get some games thrown in and the like. We can only hope that in the not-too-distant future, Sony start offering something a little more exciting.
If you miss out because this is the wrong side of payday or whatever, don’t worry as we get all the best prices for a PS4 in our Deals of the Day.