Make It Harder For Hackers

In another attack {link no longer available} directed at social media sites, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr have been affected by a security breach at their customer service software provider Zendesk.  Zendesk said the attackers went directly after these three clients to access information such as email addresses and subject lines of messages sent by users, but reported no passwords stolen.

Zendesk, along with Twitter and Tumblr, have sent out warning emails to potentially affected users, but no further information on the severity of the hacking has yet surfaced. The sudden surfeit of security breaches has prompted Google and Twitter to speak up and remind users about safe practices.

Twitter gave everyone what it called a “friendly reminder,” its first advice being, “Use a strong password.” It also urged users not to stick to the same password across their social media accounts.

Google spelled it out in their blog: “While we do our best to keep spammers at bay, you can help protect your account by making sure you’re using a strong, unique password for your Google Account, upgrading your account to use 2-step verification, and updating the recovery options on your account such as your secondary email address and your phone number. Following these three steps can help prevent your account from being hijacked – this means less spam for your friends and contacts, and improved security and privacy for you.”

Google has also released an update to its “war against hijacking” report. The report tries to give insight into how hackers work and what internet users can do to protect themselves.

Do you have a hacking story, whether it was you getting hacked or doing the hacking?  Share in the comments below! Keep in mind it’s coming from your Facebook account.

Source: Venture Beat and Google

Exclusive: Joe Paulding Of E! Entertainment

As much of the gaming world is now aware, G4TV is making its slow transition to a network branded under Esquire magazine. The transformation began with G4 axing two of its longest-running shows, Attack of the Show and X-Play.  Now comes the curious part, whether the new network plans to try and keep any of the audience G4 built.

At last year’s [a]list summit Seattle, we spoke to Joe Paulding, director of audience development at E! Entertainment. Before joining E!, Paulding spent many years at G4 in the same capacity, overseeing audience acquisition and community development on social media. Then he jumped a crevice in audience terms, from gaming to celebrity news.

In the interview, Paulding looks at how game and entertainment audiences are similar in some ways, very different in others. He also touches on how games could help TV with the growing fragmentation of both audiences and their attention as second screens infiltrate the living room.


SOE Opens Applications To 2013 G.I.R.L. Game Design Competition

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) announced that it is now accepting applications and submissions for its 2013 Gamers in Real Life (G.I.R.L.) Game Design Competition. SOE will award one winner of the 2013 G.I.R.L. Game Design Competition with a $10,000 academic scholarship along with an opportunity for a paid internship of up to 10 weeks at SOE’s headquarters in San Diego for hands-on experience working on games at SOE.

“At SOE, we believe that diversity is one of our keys to success and it is truly woven into the fabric of who we are as a company,” said Laura Naviaux, Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing, SOE. “We want to help make the games industry even that much more approachable and our goal with the G.I.R.L. Scholarship is to provide an easy way to usher even more women into the industry.”

Submissions for the 2013 G.I.R.L. Game Design Competition will close on March 29, 2013. To apply, applicants must register with Scholarship America, SOE’s scholarship administrator, and submit their application for evaluation at

Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida Talks Retail’s Continued Importance

Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida spoke during a roundtable, saying that “digital is the fastest growing business for us and for industry as well.” He noted that digital sales are higher on Vita than PS3 because all the content is available digitally on PS Vita, something he thinks will be reflected on PS4 as more business is done digitally on the system.

All that said, he was quick to acknowledge that there is still a segment of consumers who enjoys buying the physical disc, while retail stores help spread awareness and educate consumers on products as well. “We believe retail will still play a key role to get games in front of people,” Yoshida commented.

Yoshida added that retailers like GameStop are starting to put digital sales out front more often. Yoshida thinks that retail will conform to meet consumer demands.


Mass Effect Themed Risk Game Coming

Electronic Arts took to Facebook to confirm that they are going the route of Metal Gear Solid 4 and launching a Risk version of one of their games. In this case, it’s Mass Effectand it’s based around the scenario of the galaxy being at war from Mass Effect 3.

“Oh yes, it’s real, and it’s coming this Fall!” posted the company on Facebook.

PlayStation 4: Analysts React

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter has come out and said that he believes that the PS4 console will release at a price between $399 or $449. He also thinks that the smaller jump in hardware power from the last generation means that developer budgets will only increase modestly.

“We remain confident that the new console will have a lower initial MSRP than the PS3, which had a lofty starting price of $599 that we believe negatively impacted its longterm popularity,” wrote Pachter.

“The smaller jump in graphics this cycle, coupled with a PC-based architecture, should result in a smaller incremental increase in game development spending by the publishers than in prior console cycles,” Pachter added. “Although the PS4 will likely be able to play games at higher frame rates than its predecessors, we believe publishers will be reluctant to significantly increase their development budgets to maximize game frame rates, as the improvement will be largely unnoticed by many gamers.”

Meanwhile, EEDAR vice president Jesse Divnich thinks that Sony was right to take the wraps off their next console months before E3 at their own private event. “It was wise of Sony to announce the hardware and key features early in the year,” he said. “By announcing early and at an isolated event, it allows Sony to capture 100 percent of the attention of gamers, technology enthusiasts, and industry insiders; whereas historical hardware announcements would occur at E3, which often created a mind-share battle between others announcing new technology. Sony’s announcement now gives publishers plenty of time to prepare for E3 and it shifts the focus of the show to the software, which ultimately is what gamers look forward to the most.”

“There are pros and cons to both announcing early and potentially being the first market, but what it comes down to is the current sentiment in the market,” added Divnich. “If the market is vibrant, thriving, and innovation is still occurring, you generally want to abstain from being first to market with a new technology. In our current climate, console sales have stagnated. We’ve squeezed nearly every bit of innovation out of the current platforms and consumer interest in high-definition gaming is waning. Sony’s timing was perfect.”

While many details were revealed, there was no form factor for the PS4 and no precise launch date or price was given. Still, the console is coming this year, and there’s plenty of time and opportunities (like E3) to reveal things like the look and price of the console.

“Sony’s best chance at changing momentum is being first to market,” said Divnich, before adding, “For competitive reasons, I am not surprised that pricing was not discussed. I think Sony learned a valuable lesson with the launch of the PlayStation 3 and I wouldn’t expect the same mistakes to be made next generation. We wouldn’t expect pricing announcements until closer to launch.”

Source: GamesIndustry International

PS4 Will Play Used Games

There were many rumors and concerns that the PS4 would be a device that would both block used games and require users to always be online. However, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida shot down both of those rumors in a post-press conference interview.

“That’s the general expectation by consumers,” said Yoshida. “They purchase physical form, they want to use it everywhere, right So that’s my expectation.”

“Yes, you can go offline totally,” added Yoshida. “Social is big for us, but we understand there are some people who are anti-social! So if you don’t want to connect to anyone else, you can do that. You can play offline, but you may want to keep it connected. The system has the low-power mode – I don’t know the official term – that the main system is shut down but the subsystem is awake. Downloading or updating or you can wake it up using either the tablet, smartphone or PS Vita.”

Source: Eurogamer

Diablo III Coming To PS3, PS4

Blizzard senior vice president of story and franchise development Chris Metzen took the stage during Sony’s PS4 press conference to reveal that Diablo III will come to the PS4. He also confirmed that the game is coming to the PS3.

Diablo III on consoles will include a four-player co-op mode for online and offline multiplayer, something Metzen said was crucial to the design. The new interface and game itself will be shown off at PAX East.