All the tech firms are looking giddily toward a world of virtual reality, and Apple are no different. There’s rumours that they’ve got a secret team working on VR and augmented reality headsets, in a big to take on HTC Vive, Sony’s efforts, and the Microsoft Hololens.
Of course, there’s also Facebook’s Oculus, so this is not a bunch of small-fry hobbyists making their way into this field. However, any involvement from Apple means that there’s going to be increased interest in new technologies.
This follows Apple honcho Tim Cook, praising VR, saying that it is ‘not niche’ and does have ‘some really interesting applications’. Like their other forays into wearable technology, such as the Apple Watch, it looks like the company are going to let everyone else go first to see what the take-up is like, and then, if there’s interest, they’ll swoop in with their own product.
There’s a lot of money to be made in this field – Sony’s PlayStation headset is going to cost around £300, which is more expensive than the console you’ll be using it with. If people go crazy for VR and augmented reality, then the companies that get it right, or have a loyal fanbase, stand to coin it in!
This is the year when things are really going to hot up, and get pushed in this area, so don’t be surprised if Apple start making a lot of noise about it soon.
There’s a lot of chatter about a new handheld console being released by Nintendo this year. The main noise is coming from IHS senior principal analyst Hiroshi Hayase, who reckons it’ll be the first of two next-gen gadgets that will be part of the NX project.
“We expect a small recovery in shipments of flat-panel displays for game devices because of Nintendo’s new game hardware expected to be released in 2016,” said Hayase.
Now, there’s no talk about the size of the display or anything like that, but it seems like this will be a standalone gadget, so it won’t be like the Wii U GamePad, which needs a Wii U to work. Will it be a bigger thing, that resembles a tablet? Is it going to be like a new, fancier 3DS or something?
We just don’t know.
Of course, Nintendo are staying quiet about the whole thing, so we’ll have to wait until later in the year to find out more about the NX. Our guess is that we’ll see something concrete at E3, which takes place in June.
If this is all about the portable gaming device, and this is a two-part release, what’s the other thing then? Well, again it is just rumours, but there’s rumours of a home console getting released in 2017, which will have augmented reality functions, which is reasonably exciting. Either way, Nintendo are playing catch-up with Xbox One and PS4, so they’ve got to move reasonably quickly, and not balls it up.
Skype are introducing a new security feature that, by default, will hide your IP address, so you don’t get trolled and whatnot. It seems the company have brought this into being, mainly to protect gamers who get ragged by people they’ve played online.
They said that they are going to start hiding users’ IP addresses by default in the latest update, in a bid to keep users that little bit safer.
If you’re not a gamer, you won’t know about the DDoS attacks that some do on others, just because they’re angry about the result of a game. While you make think these people are massive softarses, Skype are right to look into this, because gaming is big, big business.
Without someone’s IP address, launching a DDoS attack is just that bit harder.
If you want to hide your IP address on Skype, here’s how you do it: Make sure you’ve updated to the latest version of the app, by going on the desktop version, then go to ‘Help’, then ‘Check for Updates’. On mobile, you’ll update it through the app store like you would normally.
Once that’s done, your IP address will be hidden by default, which is just dandy.
In a lot of video games now, be they console games, or games that come in app form on your mobile phone/tablet – there’s in-app or in-game purchases. That means, there’s things you can spend real-world money on, while you play.
Now, a lot of people know this, but clearly there’s parents who don’t, because we keep seeing stories where kids have spent ludicrous amounts of money while playing games – because their parents either haven’t told them not to, or haven’t threatened them with all manner of punishments if they go wild with mum and dad’s credit card.
And so, to Lance Perkins from Canada, who has now banned his son from playing on his console, after he spent £5,255.03 while playing FIFA.
“It floored me. Literally floored me, when I’d seen what I was being charged,” he told CBC News. “He thought it was a one-time fee for the game. He’s just as sick as I am, he never believed he was being charged for every transaction, or every time he went onto the game.”
“There will never be another Xbox system—or any gaming system—in my home,” he added.
In this instance, the parent and the child didn’t know the score – but this is 2016 and you really should. If a game has a thing where it says ‘purchase’ in it, you’d be wise to assume that it means ‘spend your actual money from your actual bank account’. Sure, Lance’s son might have an Ultimate Team that is the envy of everyone he knows, but it isn’t much use if he can’t actually play with them because he’s had his Xbox taken off him.
If you’re still unsure, here’s the official low-down on what in-app/in-game purchases entail. In short, if you think it might cost you money, it probably will.
They’re annoying, but they don’t appear to be going anywhere. Don’t register your card with your console, if you’ve got a reckless child in the house.
The PlayStation Network has been down, which left parents with the horrifying prospect of having to talk to their children. Students were staring down the barrel of having to do something that involved standing up.
It was all very touch-and-go, as the PSN was offline all over the world.
So, if you were trying to play online last night, and couldn’t, it wasn’t just your console, and in fact, it was an issue that was facing pretty much everyone.
If you tried to log-in, you will have seen a message which told you that the network was undergoing maintenance. Now, Sony hadn’t announced that they’d be doing some routine maintenance work or whatever, and Sony hadn’t updated their official status page to say that they were doing it.
Sony eventually acknowledged the outage, with a message that said: “Our engineers are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, and we thank you for your patience.”
The good news is that, for the most part, the issue has been resolved and that the PlayStation Network is back up and running, and all services seem to be AOK. If you were planning on sitting in your underpants all day, playing against people on your PS4, you can! Might be worth stocking up on adult nappies and Frazzles first though.
The games seller said that their half-year adjusted earnings will be around £30m, which is down from the £43m last year, and £51.3m the year before that. The problem, according to the company, is thanks to trends in the video game market – gamers have upgraded to nextgen consoles quicker than expected, and aren’t buying as many games in the process. Or indeed, they’re downloading them from their console’s online stores, rather than going down the shops.
Chief executive Martin Gibbs said that all this had “only become apparent in December which has been compounded by lower year on year high street and shopping centre footfall”, and that “the pre-Christmas period and the winter sale are very important to our customers and with market leading offers we remain well prepared in our stores and online for the remaining peak trading period.”
Tom Gadsby at Liberum said: “While a decline in old format sales was expected, the scale has surprised the company while the importance of Christmas trading has hugely magnified the issue.”
We can only hope we don’t end up with another round of closures and job-losses, like we saw a couple of years ago when it looked like Game was going to evaporate. One to keep an eye on.
A consumer group from That France has hit Valve with a lawsuit, saying that Steam (and its required terms of service) actually infringe on numerous European legal rights. The one you’ll be most interested in, dear gamer, is the right to legally resell software you’ve purchased.
The UFC-Que Choisir (or ‘federal union of consumers’ if you prefer) say that Valve must provide the capability for Steam users to resell the games they’ve bought. If they have bought them legally, then by law, they should be able to sell them on.
The group notes that many online stores have similar resale restrictions, but that’s not good enough. They say that the difference between being able to resell a physical disc with a game on it, and not being able to resell a digital one, is “incomprehensible… no court decision prohibits the resale on the second-hand market games bought online, and the European Court has even explicitly stated that it’s possible to resell software which, let’s remember, is an integral part of a video game.”
UFC-Que Choisir are referring to a decision from the European Court of Justice a couple of years ago, which looked at the resale of downloadable software licensed from Oracle. The court ruled at the time: “It makes no difference whether the copy of the computer program was made available by means of a download from the rightholder’s website or by means of a material medium such as a CD-ROM or DVD.”
“From an economic point of view, the sale of a computer program on CD-ROM or DVD and the sale of a program by downloading from the Internet are similar,” added the court. “The on-line transmission method is the functional equivalent of the supply of a material medium.”
Someone tried a similar case in Germany, but the Regional Court of Berlin ruled in favour of Valve. However, software publishers have previously argued ( and successfully, too) that software is licensed, not purchased, so normally sale rules don’t apply here.
UFC-Que Choisir would also like to see a change in the way Valve refund remaining monies to customers when they close their accounts, and they’d also like to see Valve look at their claim to the right to reuse any user-created content on Steam “at will.” This clause “denies… respect for the users’/creators’ rights of intellectual property,” the group says.
The group also want to see some liability, in the event of personal data being hacked or breached.
Remember when the networks for PS4 and Xbox One got tampered with by bored hackers over Christmas? Well, looks like it’ll be happening again this year, which is irritating.
The Lizard Squad were responsible for the last outage, but this time, the people threatening to do it are called Phantom Squad. They’ve said that they’re going to stick a fork in Xbox Live and PSN services for a full week over Christmas.
We should point out that this isn’t strictly a hack, but rather, a DDoS attack, but no-one would read a story with a headline that says DDoS in it. No matter – arrests were made the last time this happened, so it is serious enough.
On Twitter, Phantom Squad said: “We are going to shut down Xbox Live and PSN this year on Christmas. And we are going to keep them down for one week straight.”
And why are they doing it? Shits and giggles you assume. They’ve said that it because “cyber security does not exist”. At least they’ve given Microsoft and Sony some time to get themselves together to try and thwart it, eh?
Sky and Microsoft are now tag-teaming, meaning that you can now watch Sky on your Xbox One, starting from today. If you’re a Sky customer, you can download Sky’s app on your console, and boom, you’re away. That includes live TV and on-demand stuff.
If you’re not Sky customer and want to try it all out, through your Xbox One, you can upgrade to Sky Go Extra, where you’ll get a free two-month trial. Go to the Xbox Store and we’re sure you’re clever enough to work out the rest on your own.
“Sky Player on Xbox 360 remains one of the most popular apps with our fans, so we’re delighted to bring TV from Sky to Xbox One owners in the UK,” says Harvey Eagle, the UK Marketing Director for Xbox.
Continuing the love-in, Luke Bradley Jones from Sky added: “We’re really excited to add Xbox One to our line-up of supported devices. Xbox One customers can now watch the latest from Sky TV with our big winter line-up including The Last Panthers, Fungus The Bogeyman and Scandal – there’s something for everyone to enjoy.”
Of course, Sky TV is already available on the PS4, and has been around for roughly a year now.
To some, it all sounds great, however, cancelling your subscription seems to be a massive pain in the rear. Twitter is filled with people complaining about this matter (as you can see here), and over at HUKD, there’s more complaints, with people saying they’d cancelled their subscription, but were still getting charged, and money coming out of their account for something they no longer want.
So, how to do cancel your subscription? Well, according to Zavvi, you have the right to cancel ”within 14 days without giving reason.” The company’s terms and conditions say: “To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (e.g. by selecting the appropriate option in your account or a letter sent by post). You may use the example model cancellation form below, but it is not obligatory.”
“Please ensure that the items you are returning are unopened and in any original packaging. Unwanted goods need to be in pristine condition with any retail seals unbroken.”
Zavvi promises to “reimburse to you all payments received from you, including the cost of delivery”. The ‘model cancellation form’ is as follows:
To: The Hut.com Limited, Meridian House, Gadbrook Park, Rudheath, Cheshire, CW9 7RA.
I hereby give notice that I cancel my contract of sale of the following goods:
Name of customer:
Address of customer:
Signature of customer (only if sent by paper):
Now, if you’ve done all that, and they’re still being berks, you can try and get a refund by making a complaint to this e-mail address: email@example.com. The company also say: “If you are not satisfied with the way in which we have handled the return or replacement of any item, we want to hear about this. Our aim is to resolve the matter for you and ask that you please contact our customer service representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at Customer Service Department, Zavvi, Meridian House, Gadbrook Way, Gadbrook Park, Rudheath, Northwich, Cheshire, UK, CW9 7RA.
If you’re paying by direct debit, cancel that with your bank and that should put an end to it. The company also seem to have an auto-enrol thing in place, so be careful of that too.
It seems people are getting stung because of this, again, from the company’s t&cs: “You are entitled to cancel your subscription at any time, however unless you cancel your subscription with us within 14 days from the day on which you acquire physical possession of your first “ZBox”, you will not be entitled to a refund.” They add: “If you wish to cancel your subscription before the term has expired, you must give us four weeks prior notice, otherwise you may receive the subsequent months’ “ZBox”.
If you’ve done all this, get your bank to investigate the issue and put a block on the company taking money from your account.
We’ve all suffered from a phantom delivery – when we’ve waited in for a parcel and it either didn’t come, or the delivery person couldn’t be arsed and just posted a ‘sorry you were out’ card through the door.
Well, one fella called Paul Kerswill bought an Xbox One on Black Friday, and they got the dreaded card from the courier, saying that the package had been left behind a wheelie bin.
One problem – there’s was no parcel behind the bin. Was it nicked by passing scallies? Well, Paul Kerswill has CCTV, so he decided to check.
As you can see on the video above, the driver makes his way to the front door, empty-handed, and then, blammo! He’s gone. The delivery slip wasn’t signed, but it did include a barcode and the Hermes logo.
“When I saw it was gone, I was just thinking, ‘Surely it hasn’t been taken’,” Paul told the Hull Daily Mail. “We have two cameras in the house, so I looked at the CCTV and saw the guy sitting in his van before walking up to the house. He doesn’t carry the parcel to the house and he didn’t even go anywhere near the bin.”
“He just got out of his van, walked to the front door to post the note and went away. This guy just turned up in an unmarked transit van with nothing on it. He had not identified himself and, at the end of the day, he’s got my parcel.”
“I’m just disappointed we didn’t catch his registration number on the video. It should be easy enough for them to track him down, because if you go on their website the details saying the package has been delivered comes up, so they must be able to find out who was delivering it at the time. I was fuming. I just hope action is properly taken against him now.”
There’s been some murmurs of discontent among the gaming community, concerning the source of Green Man Gaming’s game keys. They’ve been selling discounts on Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, which have seen some people believing that they’re not getting their keys directly from Activision.
A number of people have said on Reddit and social media, that they’ve had issues with Black Ops 3 keys that they purchased from GMG. On Reddit, some mods were told by Activision and Ubisoft, that Green Man Gaming aren’t in fact an authorised seller of theirs.
So what’s the craic? Well, Green Man Gaming chief executive Paul Sulyok told Gamespot: ”Let’s be clear here; there is a difference between being an authorised retailer for some titles, and being a retailer selling keys that have been sourced responsibly through authorised third parties with revenue going back to the publisher.”
“Where possible, we work directly with publishers and distributors to make sure customers have the very best experience with us… Whenever things outside of our control have happened, we have instantly and fairly tried to make it right.”
It is worth pointing out that EA, ArenaNET, Bethesda and Devolver Digital have all said that Green Man Gaming are an authorised seller, so it doesn’t look like there’s anything fishy going on.
So there you go gamers – you can take off your tinfoil hats for the day.
People who aren’t into video games won’t understand the feverish excitement that comes with the release of a new game. Of course, not all games get the hype, but one that has had gamers salivating is Fall Out 4 Pip Boy.
And the reason people are excited, is because this special edition comes with a wearable Pip-Boy. That looks like this.
You can wear it, and team it up with the special smartphone app and it is all very exciting and fancy.
GAME got the exclusivity rights for this much sought after thing, which is all well and good until you look at GAME’s Twitter feed today. Seems they’ve ballsed up EVERYONE’S orders.
Not only with their social media managers be crying into their laps today, but the customer service phonelines will be jammed with angry gamers (and cross gamers at your peril).
Then, of course, there’s mystifying advice from GAME where they ask gamers to put another order in, like that doesn’t completely negate the reason for pre-ordering in the first place.
What a mess.