Posts with «author_name|sean buckley» label

PlayStation's 'Deep Earth Collection' will outfit your PS5 in metalic red, blue and silver

The easiest way to gussy up your PlayStation 5 is to buy a customizable console cover — which PlayStation helpfully sells for $55 each. Now the company is getting ready to launch a premium option: a set of three metallic colors it's calling the "Deep Earth Collection."

PlayStation is calling the three new colors Volcanic Red, Cobalt Blue and Sterling Silver, and says all three draw "inspiration from the beautiful and powerful hues found in the depths of planet Earth." A metallic finish sets the new colors apart from the other console covers available from PlayStation Direct. It may also be why they cost more: each of the new covers will sell for $59.99, a $5 premium over the regular price. DualSense controllers will also be available in the new colorway, selling for $74.99.

Pre-orders for the new colors begin on October 4, with the hues themselves launching in waves: Volcanic Red and Cobalt Blue colorways will be available on November 3, with the Sterling Silver accessories arriving on January 26.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

PlayStation is hosting a surprise State of Play on September 14

Wondering what you'll be playing on your PlayStation 5 this fall? Sony has some ideas. The company announced that its next State of Play stream will take place at 5PM ET on September 14, hosted on PlayStation's YouTube, Twitch and TikTok accounts. While the stream's announcement promises to have "something for everyone," including updates on major releases and PS VR2, don't expect a lot of big reveals: Sony says that the showcase will have a strong focus on indie and third party titles, and will primarily feature updates to previously announced games.

If you can't bear to wait until Thursday evening, however, you may be able to get some clues from the Nintendo Direct stream happening earlier that same day. While the Switch-focused stream won't give you any clues about PlayStation's flagship updates, there's a good chance some of the third party announcements featured on the Nintendo Direct will be at Sony's showcase, too. If nothing else, the State of Play should give us a good idea of what fans might be playing on the upcoming PlayStation Portal streaming device when it launches this fall.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Steam is green again on its 20th anniversary

In the world of console video games, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo stand as titans. For PC gamers, however, Valve reigns supreme. Its distribution platform, Steam, may not be the only place to buy and play games on the PC, but it's easily among the largest, oldest and most iconic. Today marks Steam's 20th anniversary.

Valve is celebrating by slashing prices on its self-published games, offering most of its catalog for 90 percent off, except Half-Life: Alyx. The sale's landing page doubles as a cheery retrospective of Steam's last two decades. It's a fun read that offers users the chance to buy the "Top Games" from key years in the platform's history, punctuating footnotes about the very first Steam Sale with a chance to buy the original Portal for just $0.99.

Again, it's fun, but the nostalgic look back leaves out a few key details. Folks who were around when Steam first launched might remember its early days as a time of frustration. Valve built the platform as a way to easily deliver updates to its games and combat cheating in online multiplayer — but many saw it as an antagonistic force and an early attempt to impose restrictive DRM on players.

Digital distribution was in its infancy in 2003, and most PC gamers bought their games at the store, installing them manually from a CD or DVD. That didn't change, but when Valve released Half-Life 2, players were surprised to find that the game required Steam — and an internet connection — to launch the single player experience. It was unheard of at the time, and people hated it.

As history shows, however, we got used to it. Other publishers started selling games on Valve's platform. Users were drawn in by the convenient distribution model and the allure of the aforementioned Steam Sales. Steam added cloud save backups, a hub for player-created content, social features and more. Soon, Valve started toying with making its own hardware, first with the somewhat lackluster Steam Machines initiative, and later, the much more successful Steam Deck.

Today, Steam is a household name in the gaming community, and with good reason. Go ahead, celebrate. Valve even brought back the platform's original dark green color to give the anniversary a nice, retro feel.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

NYPD will use drones to monitor private parties over Labor Day weekend

The New York Police department has been using drones in a limited capacity for years — deploying unmanned aircraft systems for search and rescue missions, to document crime scenes, or to monitor large public events like New Years Eve in Times Square. Soon, you might see one in your backyard as well: NYPD officials have announced plans to use drones to follow up on noise complaints during the long Labor Day weekend.

"If a caller states there is a large crowd, a large party in a backyard, we're going to be utilizing our assets to go up and check on the party," Assistant NYPD Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said during a press conference Thursday. Privacy advocates have been quick to respond, with a representative from the New York Civil Liberties Union telling the Associated Press that the announcement "flies in the face of the POST Act" that requires police to publish its use policies for surveillance technology.

And indeed, the plan could represent a stark departure from those policies. When the Department first announced its new drone program, it promised that the technology wouldn't be used for "warrantless surveillance." That pledge is reflected in the NYPD's POST Act Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Impact and Use Policy, which specifically states that (absent exigent circumstances), drones are not to be used "in areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy without NYPD personnel first obtaining a search warrant that explicitly authorizes the use of UAS."

It's unclear if the department plans to obtain a warrant for noise complaints at private events over Labor Day weekend, or if such a complaint falls under "exigent circumstances." Even so, the NYPD has been increasing drone use in recent years, and has deployed unmanned aerial systems 124 times in 2023.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Disney+ is raising prices and cracking down on account sharing

Back in May, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the company's streaming service would be getting a price hike later in the year. Now, we know when: during Disney's quarterly earnings call, Iger announced that the ad-free Disney+ premium tier would be raised to $13.99 on October 12. It's the streaming service's second $3 price increase in the last year — the current $10.99 subscription price was set in December. Hulu's ad-free plan is also getting the $3 bump, raising it to $17.99/month for a standalone subscription.

It's a big price increase, but Disney is offering some relief for customers who are willing to bundle the services. A new Duo Premium subscription that bundles both ad-free tiers of Disney+ and Hulu will be available for $19.99. Disney also announced that starting in November, the $8 ad-supported tier it launched in the US last year will be made available in Europe and Canada.

Iger also warned that Disney would be pushing back against account sharing soon, stating that the company is "actively exploring ways to address account sharing and the best options for paying subscribers to share their accounts with friends and family." The company expects to start implementing these new policies sometime in 2024. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

China reportedly had ‘deep, persistent access’ to Japanese networks for months

Late last year, Nikkei Asia reported that Japan was planning to add thousands of personnel to its military cyber defense unit. Now, we might know why — according to a report from the Washington Post, hackers in China had "deep, persistent access" to Japanese defense networks. When the National Security Agency is said to have first discovered the breach in late 2020, NSA Chief and Commander of US Cyber Command General Paul Nakasone flew to Japan with White House deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger to report the breach to officials.

Despite briefings that reached as high as Japan's prime minister, the Washington Post reports that hacking from China remained an issue for several months, persisting through the end of the Trump administration and well into early 2021.

US Cyber Command initially offered Japan assistance in purging its systems of malware but were reportedly rebuffed because the country was not comfortable with another nation's military accessing their systems. Instead, Japan elected to use domestic commercial security firms to find vulnerabilities, relying on the US only for guidance on what those firms found. Japan would eventually adopt a more active national security strategy, which is said to include a new cyber command to monitor networks around the clock, and as many as 4,000 active cybersecurity personnel.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The 'Spider-Man 2' story trailer teases more Venom, more villains and more drama

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 will be available on PlayStation 5 in just three months, but you won't have to wait that long to learn more about the game's plot. In a new story trailer revealed at San Diego Comic Con, Sony and Insomniac give us our first look at how Peter Parker might find himself joined with the Venom symbiote.

The trailer is laden with dramatic tension. Peter's best friend Harry Osborne wants to enlist his help to "heal the world." Meanwhile, Spider-man has his hands full with Kraven the Hunter — and as the trailer presses on, a voice over emerges to describe a distressed Peter Parker presumably losing himself to the Venom symbiote and in desperate need of the help of his co-Spider-Man, Miles Morales. The story teaser leaves us with an image of a bulked-up Venom terrorizing the city and the open question of who the symbiote has merged with.

In addition to the intense story trailer, Sony has announced a special edition Spider-Man 2 PlayStation 5 and DualSense controller combo — both featuring the dark tendrils of the Venom symbiote crawling over the red colors of Spider-Man's costume. Already have a PS5? Sony says the controller and PS5 console covers in the special edition will also be available to purchase on PlayStation Direct on September 1st.

Marvel's Spider-Man will be available on October 20, 2023.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Striking actors say rejected 'AI proposal' would let studios use their likeness without fair pay

On Thursday, leaders at the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced that the group was going on strike after negotiations with Hollywood studios fell apart. According to the Alliance of Motion Picture of Television Producers, the rejected deal included a "groundbreaking AI proposal" that would "protect performers' digital likenesses." The AMPTP said the AI deal would require a performers consent for the "creation and use of digital replicas or for digital alterations of a performance." SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland suggested during a press conference that the proposal was just the opposite.

Crabtree-Ireland described the would-be AI proposal as a backdoor means for studios to gain perpetual rights to an actor's likeness. "In that 'groundbreaking AI proposal,' they propose that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get paid for one day's pay, and the company should own that scan, their image, their likeness, and be able to use it for the rest of eternity in any project they want with no consent and no compensation," the National Executive Director claimed in response to a question about the negotiations. "So, if you think that's a groundbreaking proposal, I suggest you think again."

Although the studios AI proposal isn't the sole reason that the union voted to strike, its a good example of the kind of industry changes SAG-AFTRA hope to address with the strike. In recent years, studios have used technology to de-age, resurrect and at times fully replace actors. How the industry handles the rights to a performer's likeness could very well develop into a key issue in the near future.

"Actors deserve a contract that reflects the changes that have taken place in the industry," Crabtree-Ireland said at the press conference announcing the strike. "The current model devalues our members and affects their ability to make ends meet."

Either way, the strike itself is making history. SAG-AFTRA members will be joining the Writers Guild of America in striking. The two groups have not held a strike at the same time since the 1960s.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Twitter launches 'new' Tweetdeck as the old version breaks down

If you've been having trouble using Twitter recently, you aren't alone — the service has been having issues ever since it started limiting the number of posts users could view each day. Although many of the platform's issues stabilized over the weekend, Tweetdeck remains broken unless users switch to the beta version of the list aggregator. Now, Twitter is gearing up to solve the issue by making that beta version of Tweetdeck the main version, announcing on Monday that it has "launched a new, improved version of Tweetdeck."

We have just launched a new, improved version of TweetDeck. All users can continue to access their saved searches & workflows via by selecting “Try the new TweetDeck” in the bottom left menu.

Some notes on getting started and the future of the product…

— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 3, 2023

Despite officially launching, this "new" Tweetdeck still calls itself the "Tweetdeck Preview" while in app, and users still need to opt-in to using it in the menu of the original Tweetdeck interface. Even so, switching to the new interface does indeed restore basic Tweetdeck functionality for users that rely on its list aggregation features. Twitter says the process should be fairly straightforward as well, promising that saved searches, lists and columns should carry over instantly. Although Twitter says that the updated preview build should now support Twitter Spaces, polls and other features that were previously missing, it notes that Teams functionality is currently unavailable.

Twitter hasn't officially announced that it's retiring the old version of Tweetdeck, but in a thread discussing the issues a Twitter employee suggested the change would be permanent, stating that they were "migrating everyone to the preview version." 

Hey folks, looks like the recent changes have broken the legacy TweetDeck, so we're working on migrating everyone to the preview version

— Ben  (@ayroblu) July 3, 2023

Although switching to the new version of Tweetdeck potentially resolves the issue, many legacy users may still find themselves without access to the power-user tool in the near future. According to Twitter Support, the feature will become exclusive to Twitter Blue subscribers in the near future, noting that "in 30 days, users must be Verified to access Tweetdeck." It's unclear if that change will be applied to all users in early August, or if all users will have a 30-day trial of the new Tweetdeck before being prompted to subscribe.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

E3 2024 and 2025 aren't canceled (yet)

The Electronic Entertainment Expo hasn't been held in person since 2019. Now, it may not be returning for 2024 or 2025 — at least not at the Los Angeles Convention Center. According to an LA City Tourism Commission planning document shared on ResetEra, the video game trade show has canceled its live event for the next two years. The document's Convention Sales data specifically notes that its data “includes E3 cancellations for 2024 & 2025."

Although the city document suggests that E3 2024 won't be hosted at the LA Convention Center, the Electronic Software Association itself seems hesitant to confirm the entire event is canceled. "ESA is currently in conversation with ESA members and other stakeholders about E3 2024 (and beyond)," the group told Engadget. "No final decisions about the events have been made at this time." 

It's unclear what this means for E3 itself. Although the Electronic Software Association hasn't hosted a live trade since the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of E3 2020, the group did put together a digital only event in 2021. Neither the in-person or digital versions of the show returned in 2022.

When the show was canceled again in 2023, ESA President and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis told GamesIndustry that the trade show may need to change to survive. "E3 will iterate to ensure it's meeting the needs of companies that want to market on this global platform." Pierre-Louis said. "That means it will iterate in how people engage with E3. We want to meet the needs of players who view this as an important platform and that's going to evolve over time."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at