Amazon buys WiFi doorbell maker Ring for 1B

Ring was acquired by Amazon for about 1B.

Amazon has purchased WiFi doorbell maker Ring.

Ring is a startup that makes WiFi doorbells in terms of security. It lets owners view whoever is at the door on your phone. It can also be connected to other lighting systems to turn them on when a stranger is knocking and walking. Currently, Ring is valued at over 1B according to Reuters.

Ring first made headlines when it was featured on Shark Tank back in 2013. The CEO, Jamie Siminoff, had no bites other than Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O’ Leary), but of course, he didn’t take the (often greedy) offer. Siminoff has then expanded the business into a huge success- enough for Amazon to purchase it.

Siminoff got the idea for WiFi because he would work in his garage being the inventor that he is and couldn’t get the door. So he made Ring, which would send a notification to his phone when someone rang the doorbell. Soon, it was developed into a whole security system where it could detect whoever was on the premises.

Ring could work well with Amazon Key (their in-home dropoff delivery). Both could work together to create a safer delivery ecosystem and perhaps help ease consumers into trying this new way of deveining packages. Amazon getting into security devices that synch with their existing products is only a way forward in the world of fast-moving tech.

Check out Ring’s homepage.

Image via Ring.

ESRB adds an “In-Game Purchases” label to its rating system

ESRB adds a new label to games.

With all the craze about loot crates going around, the ESRB has decided to add a new “In-Game Purchases” label to any physical game that requires it.

Some countries have outright banned the use of random crates whereas other approaches require developers to list the exact percentages of getting a particular loot. Even the Danish government has concluded that items in crates are considered a form of gambling if such items can be traded.

It’s no wonder the ESRB has stepped in being one of the largest regulators in the US.

In a recent Tweet, they stated that the new label will warn any new buyers of potential microtransaction in the game. This includes any “bonus levels, skins, surprise items (such as item packs, loot boxes and mystery rewards), music, virtual coins and other forms of in-game currency, subscriptions, upgrades and more.” This applies to digital purchases as well if they have any of the above portions included in the game.

The ERSB has also set up a resource to help parents who are worried about their children and the cash they’re spending on virtual goods. The page provides links to guides to set up parental controls for nearly every console, platform, and media distribution platform in existence.

This is just the start. They’ve also stated that they’ll make adjustments as the need arises. With the world of media transactions becoming easier and easier to access and use, it’s only necessary that the ESRB steps in. I mean, that’s what they’re all about- regulation and helping parents.

Loot crates- pain or not?

Image via esrb.org.

 

Ubisoft censors all nude statues in ACO’s Discover Mode

ACO has been censored.

Ubisoft’s Assissn’s Creed Origins newly updated Discovery Mode has been censored!

If you want to explore ancient Egypt, there’s probably no other better (digital) way than using none other than ACO’s Discovery Mode. It’s like a virtual tour of the city, environment, and landmarks. It was launched on February 20th and lets you just explore the world where hours of work went into recreating. It took over 4 years of research just to create the world you breeze through and is as historically accurate as possible to a virtual representation of Giza.

Sadly, Ubisoft has gone in and censored a fine detail that I honestly thought videogames have pushed through- nude representation. They’ve gone ahead and censored all the nude states in the game with seashells so that now they’re pretty much PG-13. In the world of art, this is blasphemy. Even in ancient times, this was acceptable. But now, it’s not, even though many other games leave nudity in the game.

The change wasn’t forced or the result of an action. It’s probably just Ubisoft trying to prevent any issues down the line by people who may complain. This is going too far. Look at the world we live in. Who’s to blame? It’s art, people.

Rhode Island could be charging a 10% tax on violent videogames

RI game tax for violet videogames.

All games that are rated “M” or above may now soon get a 10% “violence tax” for all gamers in Rhode Island.

What do you think about that? What’s this world coming to?

A Rhode Island legislator announced that he plans to introduce legislation that taxes violent videogames. An additional 10% tax would be placed on games that are rated “M” or higher by the ESRB.

Of course, the publisher doesn’t pay for this- the consumer in RI does.

State Representative Robert Nardolillo III (R-Dist.28, Coventry) plans to use the generated tax revenue to improve school counseling programs.

He states:

“Our goal is to make every school in Rhode Island a safe and calm place for students to learn. By offering children resources to manage their aggression today, we can ensure a more peaceful tomorrow,” said Rep. Nardolillo’s press release.

He also states that states can’t ban violent games to minors. The state of California has already enacted a law that allows the state to ban sales of M-rated games to minors and additional labels beyond the traditional ESRB ratings.

But then the Supreme Court later repealed that law stating that videogames are protected by the First Amendment, so the ban was lifted. So instead of banning them, he wants to tax them- probably the next best thing.

There is currently no text for the proposal and is still be drafted by legal counsel at this time.

There will a lot of opposition not just from gamers, but probably also the Entertainment Merchant’s Association, game developers, publishers, and even the court. You can tell this is just another internet meme in the making.

What do you think? Is this justified or ridiculous?

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Cities: Skylines for Xbox One finally gets mod support

Cities: Skylines for Xbox One is getting mod support.

Cities: Skylines is getting some mod support for Xbox One.

It’s always been a game that’s mod-friendly for the PC crowd, but not so much for the console crowd (as with most games that can be modded). Cities: Skylines allows players to create mods that can pretty much change any aspect of the game.

The modding community behind it isn’t just some dozen modders with a small playerbase of people. It’s actually quite robust and even profitable for modders.

According to a post on the Xbox Wire, console players will be able to get in on the modding chaos.

Modded content will also come in a Content Creator Pack which will include some buildings created by the best modders to add to your city. There will also be a free content update coming on March 6 that’ll add some feature to host your own sports team as well.

Neudinger of Paradox Interactive states that mods are something that Paradox fans expect from games:

“We’ve been working together with Tantalus to see if there was a way to bring mods to our console players that was as enjoyable as it has been on other platforms, and with help from the Xbox team, we’re ready to let our fans give mods a try in Cities: Skylines.

The game has always had mod support for PC, but now Xbox players will be able to play with mods on Cities: Skylines Xbox One Edition with the ability to easily integrate user-created mods in the Xbox edition. Not all of the mods will be available, but a few select ones will.

The mods that have been chosen to be available for Xbox have been handpicked by the game’s devs. They’bve been tested for compatibility and should work right in the mod browser which just rolled out in an update a few days ago. Colossal Order will also expand mod offerings to console players if this becomes a success.

The game is already available on the Microsoft Store. If you’ve been waiting to get in on this AAA title, you can grab it for just $40 for Xbox or $30 for PC via Steam.

Image via Steam.

DayZ coming to Xbox One and PS4 in 2018

DayZ is coming to consoles in 2018.

DayZ is coming to Xbox One and PS4 in 2018.

The dev team behind DayZ, Bohemia Interactive, has confirmed it on a Twitter post. They stated:

“Yes! Coming to Xbox Game Preview at some point this year, we’re not sure about PS4 yet, but we’ll release there too, eventually – just don’t know when yet.”

It’ll be coming to both PS4 and Xbox One, but the ETA is unknown other than that it’ll be some time this year in 2018. So for those who are fans of the popular zombie survival shooter, get your weapons locked and loaded for some zombie-blasting gameplay!

The release for Xbox One isn’t anything new. It’s already been hinted at way back in 2014 with the game’s creator Dean Hall stating that wanted to get the game on consoles.

In 2017, lead producer Eugen Harton stated that it’ll finally be out of early access in 2018 and it’ll also be on consoles as well.

Although the game has been in early access since the launch back in 2013, the game still has a player base- though it may not be increasing. Perhaps with a console launch, it’ll bring some players back into the game. The game is currently rated as “mixed” on Steam overall with “mostly negative” reviews recently. It looks like the devs have a lot of work of to do if they want to bring this game back.

Image via Steam.

Does Toad wear a hat? Mario Odyssey producer answers the question.

Toad isn't wearing a hat.

Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi has finally answered the long-debated question- does Toad from Mario wear a hat? Or is the giant mushroom part of his head?

In a video recently released by Nintendo, Koizumi answers a bunch of questions about SMO. Some of them address whether or not Mario has a bellybutton, Mario’s personal relationships, and whether or not Toad’s wearing a hat.

Check out the video here on Twitter.

In the video, he states the following:

“So that, as it turns out… is actually Toad’s head. I’m going to have to leave it to all of you to figure out exactly how that works out. Maybe there’s something inside.”

And there it is. it’s not a hat. Case closed. Hands down. Sessions adjourned.

Image via MarioWiki.

Surviving Mars set to release on March 15, 2018

Surviving Mars is set to release on Steam on 3/15.

Surviving Mars, the planetary colony builder developed by Haemimont Games is coming out on March 15, 2018.

If you’ve never heard about this game, it’s a pretty awesome concept. You’re in command of a new colony on Mars and your goal is to expand civilization. It’s a combination of not just humans, but some robotics as well. I’d assume the game takes place sometime in the near future as we’re building the space colony on Mars in real life eventually.

You start the game with a small group of explorers who need to establish basic necessities in order to propagate life on this newfound planet. It’s a game that’ll progress into some very futuristic and awesome tech. You’ll be able to build some giant domes, buildings, automatic structures, and pretty much everything else. It’s like a modern version of SimCity-excepti it takes places on Mars. And it’s in the future. So somethign like SimCity 3000.

the game is similar to other city builders, except that each colonist is an independent AI computer-ccontrolled unit. It has the abilty to affect other units as well. For example, if one uni goes crazy and rebeles, this may affect your expansion rate, research, and even your entire colony’s structure as well- espciaily if that unit aws important.

The game also has an element of surpise as well judiging from the game’s trailer. This adds some random element to the plot I assume.

Surviving Mars seems like a pretty awesome game so far. It’ll be avaialble on 3/15/18 with a price tag of $39.99 on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One as well. You can check it out on Steam. It’ll be publishedby Paradox Interactive.

Image via Steam page.

Fortnite resolution bug punishing players on PS4 and Xbox One

Fornite's new patch comes with a slew of issues.

With the new Fornite update brings new improvements- and some new bugs.

While the accompanying server downtime wasn’t as bad as last week’s update, this update brought some new bugs with it. It seems like many players of the console versions (PS4/Xbox One) are getting some resolutions problems that make the game unplayable.

Specifically, the game will render itself at a resolution way too “wide” in terms of aspect ratio. It’s like playing the game on an ultrawide screen when you’re using a normal widescreen. The edges of the game fall way outside of the viewable bounds of the screen.

Epic Games confirmed the issue shortly after the patch was uploaded and live. In a Reddit post, they made a statement:

“We are aware that some console players are having issues with resolution. Fixing this is a priority for us and we will let you know when we are ready to deploy a fix.”

There’s no statement about when exactly it’ll be fixed though other than the vague statement. The only problem is that some players get the issue while others don’t. This offers a huge advantage to those players, so it’s a totally unfair game.

After you’ve downloaded the update, you’ll immediately know if you’ve been affected by it. If everything’s normal, you’re good. if not, you’ll have to wait for the update.

Another issue that showed up with the patch is the addition of a quest that asks players to join in on a limited-time mode called Blitz. That’s good and all only if it were actually available for joining.

Epic has also commented on this issue and says it’s not available and that it’s “working to remove this from available quests.”

There’s also another bug where some chests come up empty with no loot, not being able to equip the first weapon you loot, and not being able to access the pause menu when you’re downed in Build mode. There are also some issues for Save the World mode as well that you can read about the other issues here.

On the plus side, this update adds the minigun and a few other updates like Expedition types for Save the World and the Cozy Campfire item. You can check out the new updates here.

Also, be sure to log in to get your freebies for the downtime that was last week’s patch. It’s Epic Games’ way of apologizing for the trigger-happy.

Image via Epic Games.