A Way Out: Mandatory co-op fuels cool storytelling possibilities

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LOS ANGELES—Maybe it was the lingering excitement from the EA press conference a few hours earlier. It could have been the long day, the jet lag from his home in Sweden, or the cup of beer on the meeting-room table which kept on getting refilled.

Whatever the reason, film and video game director Josef Fares was amped up. After being asked a softball question—”when did you team up with EA to release your upcoming game A Way Out“—Fares somehow locks eyes with all four writers in the room simultaneously.

“Let me tell you this: working with EA is great. They never tell me what to do. Super supportive. The shit people say about EA? I’ve never seen anything like that.” Fares took a drink. “If someone comes to me and says, ‘if you do this, you’ll sell one million copies more,’ my answer would be, ‘go fuck yourself.'”

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Source: Ars Technica

Microsoft's Project Scorpio could cost $499

There's no doubt that Microsoft's Project Scorpio will be expensive given its 4K-ready hardware. But just how expensive? Apparently, Geoff Keighley knows. The well-connected gaming persona now has "confidence" that Project Scorpio will sell for $499…
Source: Engadget

Real Estate Firm Identifies America's 'Top 25 Tech Cities'

Cushman & Wakefield, one of the world’s largest real estate firms, launched a new report identifying America’s top tech cities. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Washington, DC has emerged as the promising tech city center after San Jose (Silicon Valley) and San Francisco… A dominating hub for life sciences and government, Washington, DC also serves as a significant outpost for tech companies seeking proximity to policymakers as well as for burgeoning cyber-security investment. The top 25 tech cities were determined by analyzing the concentration of factors such as talent, capital, and growth opportunity — the key ingredients that comprise a tech stew. The heartiest of these tech epicenters are: 1. San Jose, CA (Silicon Valley); 2. San Francisco, CA; 3. Washington, DC; 4. Boston/Cambridge, MA; and 5. Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, NC…
Report co-author and Regional Director, Northwest U.S. Research at Cushman & Wakefield, in San Francisco, Robert Sammons, said that while it was not surprising to see San Jose (Silicon Valley) and San Francisco continue to dominate, that mass-transit issues and escalating housing costs in those areas have fanned a tech spillover into secondary markets such as Austin (no. 7), Denver (no. 8), San Diego (no. 9), and Salt Lake City (no. 24)… Mr. Sammons cited cost-of-living in Seattle (no. 6) as a lingering issue, somewhat mitigated by a recent uptick in residential development that’s outpacing San Francisco’s, as well as mass transit challenges.
There’s also several cities in the Midwest among the top tech cities, including Madison, Wisconsin (no. 10), Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota (no. 11), Indianapolis, Indiana (no. 23), and Nashville, Tennessee (no. 25).

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: SlashDot

Why Ethereum is outpacing Bitcoin

While Bitcoin is currently trading at close to its all-time high, its dominance in terms of proportion of total cryptocurrency market cap is rapidly decreasing — ground largely given up to Ethereum.

This shift is probably being driven by a few factors. Despite its recent appreciation in value, as a technology, Bitcoin has stagnated over the last three years. Two rival factions have emerged with violently opposing views on what should be done to allow the Bitcoin network to handle more transactions than it can right now. While Bitcoin has been paralysed by indecision, Ethereum has raced ahead with technology that not only does everything Bitcoin can do faster, in higher volume, and at lower cost — it does a lot more besides.

As a “hard fork” looms, which looks set to split Bitcoin into two separate currencies that will have to fight for custody of the Bitcoin moniker, anxious Bitcoin holders are increasingly divesting themselves of Bitcoin to acquire Ether — the cryptocurrency that fuels the Ethereum network.

The other side of it is that Bitcoin is really only useful as a store of value. Even then, its usefulness for actually transacting value is limited. In a world where people are used to online payments being confirmed instantly, Bitcoin transactions can take anywhere from tens of minutes to several hours, depending on how busy the network is. It’s also expensive — especially if you’re only sending small amounts. The average transaction currently costs about $1.50.

Ethereum, on the other hand, was never intended as a Bitcoin competitor. Ethereum is actually a platform for new kinds of decentralized (often financial) applications (dApps) that run on a peer-to-peer network of computers. These dApps are designed to disintermediate the kinds of relationships and transactions for which we have traditionally required things like banks, public registries, and the legal system.

For technologists, this is exciting stuff, and a vibrant community of software developers has enthusiastically embraced it. Hundreds of projects, startups, and companies at every scale — including the likes of Intel, Microsoft, and Samsung — are building software using Ethereum. And everyone who wants to use any of these dApps on the public Ethereum blockchain will need to pay a small fee in Ether each time they do so.

The utility of many of these dApps are based on network effects, so Ethereum as the underlying protocol is a network upon which other networks are being built. It is therefore a group-forming network — a much faster growing and more resilient kind of network effect than Bitcoin enjoys. In group-forming networks, even if the utility of individual groups is low, the network effect of all being part of the same underlying network can dominate the overall economics of the system. In other words, the value of the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. That’s particularly interesting in the case of Ethereum as that value is captured within the Ether price.

Platforms requiring network effects are however, famously hard to bootstrap — but here Ethereum has an ace up its sleeve. Token sales, or Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), allow Ethereum projects to sell their own native token to the crowd. A token is a cryptocurrency that has special purpose within the dApp to which it corresponds. The purpose and value of these tokens varies, but what they all share in common is that their sale not only provides funding for the dApp’s development, it also catalyses the creation of a community around the dApp that is financially incentivized to see it succeed. The more successful a dApp becomes, the greater the demand for, and therefore value of, the token required to use it.

TL;DR: Bitcoin’s dominance is slipping because its utility is limited and weakening versus other more recently developed, less politicized cryptocurrencies. Financial markets don’t like uncertainty, and Bitcoin is gearing up for a messy divorce. Ethereum was never intended as a competitor to Bitcoin, it’s something very different. But the value of Ether is underpinned by utility within the kind of group-forming network that tends to grow rapidly when it picks up steam. That’s why its value is increasing faster than Bitcoin, and why many pundits are predicting it will continue to do so long after Bitcoin’s market cap has been exceeded.

Jack du Rose is a cofounder of Colony, an Ethereum-based operating system for open organizations.

Source: Venture Beat

Tim Cook takes a jab at Windows during MIT commencement speech

Mac Vs Windows Tim Cook

The intensity of of the Mac vs PC war today is a far cry from what it used to be back in the 90s. Even in the early 2000s, the debate between Mac fans and Windows enthusiasts was operating at full throttle, in large part due to Apple’s wildly successful Get a Mac ad campaign which featured Justin Long as an endearing embodiment of a Mac and John Hodgman as a stodgy, and yet likable, PC. In recent years, the Mac vs PC debate has simmered down and has largely been supplanted by the iPhone vs Android debate. Still, every once in a long while we’ll see an Apple executive or well-known Apple personality throw out what can arguably be categorized as a nostalgia-fueled jab at Windows.

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'Star Wars Battlefront II' is a friendlier 'Battlefield'

It's hard to talk about EA's multiplayer Star Wars shooter without accidentally stumbling over your words and mentioning the company's other large-scale war series: Battlefield. It's only natural. Long before Disney gave Electronic Arts the exclusive…
Source: Engadget

E3 2017 PC Gaming Show: Liveblog begins 6pm Monday

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As part of this year’s E3 festivities, PC Gamer is once again hosting a bevy of press announcements devoted solely to PC gaming. Ars will be on hand to liveblog the event starting at 10am PDT (1pm EDT, 5pm UK time) on Monday, June 13.

Last year’s PC Gaming Show was a veritable laundry list of games large and small coming to the PC, complete with a lot of awkward banter with developers up on stage. This year’s show should include a few big announcements amid the live gameplay footage from the likes of 2K, Nexon, Sega, Oculus, Microsoft.

After the PC discussion is done, don’t forget to prepare for Sony’s own press announcements, which we’ll be liveblogging starting at 6pm Pacific Time.

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Source: Ars Technica

The passion behind the prison break in 'A Way Out'

There's one scene in A Way Out that operates as a continuous tracking shot, seamlessly following two convicts as they tear through the interior of a large hospital, leaping over gurneys and slinking through air vents with a cadre of police officers h…
Source: Engadget