Over the years, online games have become more and more a personal experience. Another way to express oneself with armor, choice of weapons, and choice of many male or female avatars. In a nutshell, you can control your appearance in the game and that makes the whole game more fun. Now, a computer software company called Modulate, co-founded by Mike Pappas and Carter Huffman is introducing voice skins, which will basically change the way you sound in the game.
Modulate uses neural networks and machine learning in order to allow a user to customize their voice. You could choose a voice sounding like the opposite gender, or maybe your favorite celebrity. So, if the skin you happen to be wearing is of something menacing or makes your avatar look intimidating you might change your voice skin to Darth Vader.
On the other hand, for those players that are somewhat self-conscious about the sound of their natural voice, Modulate’s voice skin could let them have a better game experience.
Of course, all of this is still in Modulate’s pilot program where they are testing with certain chat platforms and new games. Other features they want to add would be such things as changing your accent. This feature could give a British accent to an American player or a Texas drawl to a British player.
We’ve written so many articles about how wonderful Fortnite is and about it’s overwhelming popularity, that’s it’s refreshing to write that Fortnite is no longer winning the battle of being the top First Person Shooter, (FPS) game online.
Apex Legends, which is a battle royale-style game from Electronic Arts has smashed all of Fortnite records for downloads and viewership since its release three weeks ago. Many of the FPS streaming games stars have helped to powered that fast rise of Apex. Meanwhile, the esports teams are in a big rush to sign up as many talented players as possible, but some in the industry are warning not to over commit because what goes up, must come down.
Apex Legends is developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. Apex Legends has taken all the main popular aspects of Fortnite and added their own few twists. Fortnite Royale, of course, is a game where a player is dropped onto a battle ground with 100 other players and the battle ground shrinks as the game progesses. The object is to gather food, water, weapons, etc. etc, and kill everyone else. The last man standing wins.
Just like Fortnite and most other FPS games, Apex is free to download and to play.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) raided a complex in Makati, Philippines on February 19, 2019 and arrested 276 foreigners that appeared to be employees of an online gambling establishment; first reported on local news outlet ABS-CBN. The Intelligence Division Chief for the BI, Fortunato Manahan Jr., stated the raid was “for verification of their travel documents and immigration status.”.
Reportedly, BI had received an anonymous tip that many of the casino’s employees were illegal foreigners. It is not clear how anyone would have known that, unless maybe the tip was from the ‘inside’ of the company. As it turns out, most were undocumented and they were not able to present any proof of their immigration status. BI Chief Mananan said that it is possible that these individuals simply did not bring their passports to work with them, or that their passports have been lost.
BI Chief Mananan also stated that identification and immigration status verification is ongoing and that in the meantime, the foreigners are being held at the BI’s Warden Facility in Taguig City. The scale of this arrest signals that 2019 could be a recored year in this crime catagory. The number of foreigners that were arrested in 2018 was just 533 for the entire year.
World of Tanks is a PvP (player versus player) and MMO (massively multiplayer online game) developed by Wargaming. The title gives away the game play, but the historical accuracy in the game is amazing. It’s all about the armoured combat vehicles of WW2 and you will see tanks from various countries, such as:
- and the Soviet Union
You will not only see them, you will test them yourself by driving them and operating their heavy guns in the game’s combat sessions. Although World of Tanks is PvP, you will belong to a squad of tanks or other armoured combat vehicles and you will need to work as a team in other to have any advantage in the vicious tank battles.
As of December 2013, the game has 75 million registered players worldwide and a 1.1 million peak concurrent players!
World of Tanks is so much fun that it’s been spun off to several variations including:
- the Xbox 360 named: World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition,
- there is also a PlayStation 4 version,
- Mobile users have World of Tanks Blitz,
- a board game titled World of Tanks Rush,
- a collectable card game titled World of Tanks: Generals.
UK lawmakers have tightened up the age verification process that online gambling providers must follow in order to better identify
- underage gamblers,
- detect criminal activity,
- and identify ‘self-excluded’ customers.
The new rule, in part reads:
“Licensees must obtain and verify information in order to establish the identity of a customer before that customer is permitted to gamble. Information must include, but is not restricted to, the customer’s name, address and date of birth. A request made by a customer to withdraw funds from their account must not result in a requirement for additional information to be supplied as a condition of withdrawal if the licensee could have reasonably requested that information earlier. This requirement does not prevent a licensee from seeking information on the customer which they must obtain at that time due to any other legal obligation.”
The main difference to the new players is that currently they can deposit funds and place bets during the age verification process which can take up to 72 hours; under the new rule this changes. The gambling provider will now have to verify the age before accepting a deposit and even before allowing the new player to have access to “free-to-play versions of gambling games” on their websites.
The changes apply to all remote betting and gaming operators, as well as lotteries. They will take effect from 7 May, 2019
Europeans are getting a big break: up to 70% off on selected multiplayer games!
Here’s a partial list:
- Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker,
- Diablo III,
- Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection,
- Pocket Rumble,
- Super Meat Boy, Windjammers,
- FIFA 19
The discounts will run until February 21, 2019.
Nintendo Switch, aka: the Switch, is a video game console developed by Nintendo and was released on March 3, 2017. Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. Nintendo is said to be one of the world’s largest video game companies and has created some of the best-known and top-selling video game franchises, such as
- The Legend of Zelda,
- and Pokémon.
Nintendo Co. Ltd. was founded on 23 September 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it originally produced handmade playing cards. By 1963, the company had started several small businesses, such as:
- a TV network,
- a food company,
- cab services
- and love hotels,
but those never really took off. In the 1970s Nintendo hit the jackpot: video games! This market and Nintendos ingenuity led the company to become one of the biggest in the industry with earnings of over $85 billion in 2007.
It’s official: Fortnite was the overwhelmingly dominate online game of 2018.
It’s full name is ‘Fortnite Battle Royale’ and it is a free-to-play battle royale video game developed and published by Epic Games. The name ‘battle royale’ actually comes from a 2000 Japanese dystopian thriller film directed by Kinji Fukasaku and written by Kenta Fukasaku. Basically, ‘battle royale’ means that a group of people will be isolated in a bordered area, usually an island, where they have to scrounge around for survival items such as food, water, shelter, and weapons. The concept is that the last man standing is the winner!
As of January 2019, the game has seen over 200 million players, and has been estimated to have earned $2.4 billion from in-game micro-transactions. Just as an example, in August 2018, Epic Games says that nearly 80 million people played Fortnite. Most players, about 60% are under the age of 24 and over 70% are male. Actually, those are the age groups that are registered members, during the game, it is more likely to be over 90% male.
Just two months after Rush Street Interactive (RSI) launched it’s PlaySugarHouse.com site in New Jersey back in November of 2016, thirteen underage individuals were allowed to sign up and place bets. They somehow bypassed or otherwise were not detected by the sites age detection system.
Oddly, RSI did not notice this problem for almost two years. That’s when the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), ordered RSI to pay $30,000 as a civil penalty on RSI for “permitting individuals under the age of twenty-one to wager online.” This all came about because Rush Street Gamings Date of Birth software allowed for a three-year variation for some reason. The $30,000 penalty might sound stiff, be no one knows how many other underage players placed bets or how much money they lost.
As soon as RSI noticed this flaw, they issued a statement claiming that responsible gaming is one of their top priorities and that they take this incident ‘very seriously’. They also said that they self-reported the ‘misconfiguration’ of the software to the DGE, then took corrective action immediately.
We interviewed several computer system administrators and they all said that they found it totally inept that age detection software meant to disallow those under age 21 was configured to allow for a three year variation.
Facebook is being accused of duping young kids into buying more and more in-game ‘extras’ by letting them think that they are only spending virtual dollars, but the charges are going straight onto the parents credit card. When the child or the parent realizes what has happen and requests a refund, the refund is denied.
As an example of taking advantage of the young players, when Facebook analyzed the Angry Birds game, they found that the average player age was just five years old.
The current law suit regarding all this was filed a few years ago, but a judge has recently decided to release some relevant Facebook documents to the public. Some of those documents show that it all started when a child referred to as I.B. made a one time payment with mom’s credit card to play Ninja Saga, not realizing that the credit card information had been saved and actually racked up a bill of hundreds of dollars. When that parent request a refund, she was denied, and thus, she filed a lawsuit.
In the documents that the judge has released, one Facebook employee openly admits that children could easily be confused by in-app purchases because it ‘doesn’t necessarily look like real money to a minor’.
As if Facebook didn’t already have enough legal problems, one of the worse possible reputations is that of taking advantage of unwitting children.
The online criminals are resourceful. They are always looking for new ways of ‘cleaning’ their dirty money, quite often the dirty money comes in the form of stolen credit cards. Anything they buy online or off-line might be traced back to their address or contact number. One of their techniques is gambling at casinos since their stolen money can buy chips that they can then cash in later with a different teller, but that takes time and effort.
Recently, it has been noticed that the criminals are taking advantage of the online game industry’s method of letting players join and play for free while charging for extras such as wearable armor, weapons, and vehicles that will help them win in the game. Once a player has joined a game, they can deposit some money into their account and spend it in the game with the game’s in-game currency. There are many online games that utilize this profit model. One of the most popular online games using in-game currency is the Fortnite series. The Fortnite series has over 200m players around the world, generating annual profit of $3 billion for its maker, Epic Games.
This technique works for the money launderers because they join the game using the name on the credit card, deposit money in the game, buy a bunch of extras, then, and this is the trick, they sell those extras and the deposited money, or the whole account on the dark web using bit coins which are very difficult for law enforcement to trace.