Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out his next steps for his vision of the metaverse that has so far cost his company its name and a whole lot of stock value.
Zuckerberg’s Tuesday appearance was part of Meta Connect, a streaming event watched by a mere 13,000 people at its peak. The main draw of the event was the announcement of the Meta Quest Pro, a new VR headset that is meant to be a leap forward in technology, but at an extremely high cost.
The main draw of the event was the announcement of the Meta Quest Pro, a new VR headset that is meant to be a leap forward for the technology, but at an extremely high cost. The Meta Quest Pro will retail for $1,500, more than three times the cost of a $500 Meta Quest 2 with a 256 GB hard drive, and closer to 4x the cost of a $400 128 GB one. And both of those recently had their prices increased by $100 each, citing world economic factors.
The new, premium headset which is lighter, features thinner lenses and more AR capabilities is meant to be for enterprise use and for “prosumers,” ie. those people who don’t mind being early adopters to test out cutting edge tech.
Much of the presentation was just for continued investment in a bunch of fields that Meta’s metaverse has already been banking on. More games, albeit two of its highest profile offerings didn’t show a single second of actual footage, including an upcoming Iron Man game. Some fitness stuff, and of course, a ton of work-based initiatives, including elaborate integration with Microsoft products from Office to Teams, and a testimonial from Accenture that showed off the metaverse space they’ve built for the Quest.
An entire segment was dedicated to pending avatar improvements coming at some unspecified date in the future, which include Snapchat-like abilities that link your facial movements with your character, and the long-awaited rival of character that actually have legs in the VR space, rather than simply floating virtual torsos. Later, they showed off photorealistic motion captured “codec” avatars using an entirely different type of tech, albeit with no guarantees that would ever fully make it to the public in a timely fashion.
In terms of the march toward metaverse mass adoption, I’m not sure what here is meant to significantly further that goal. Yes, it seems like the Meta Quest Pro will be used to test out tech that will eventually be made cheaper and more accessible when the Meta Quest 3 comes out. But for now, most consumers, even avid VR users, are not going to be able to afford a new headset that costs three or four times as much as the one they currently have. Expensive VR tech is nothing new. The most impressive VR experience in existence is probably Half Life Alyx, a game made for Valve’s pricey Index headset. But that did little to further the overall goals of VR.
There was also an entire segment on AR through high tech glasses, and while it was mentioned that Meta’s Horizon will be coming to desktops, it remains extremely clear that Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse is heavily VR/AR dependent, while rivals, namely immersive video games, do not need that as a requirement. At the time of this writing we did not get an update on Quest 2 sales (15 million by last count) or Horizon players (300,000 monthly by last count), which seem dwarfed by everything in the video game space both in terms of hardware, software and monthly players. It’s not that Meta hasn’t carved out a solid niche, it’s just that a trillion dollar company pivoting to the metaverse badly needs it to become much more than just a niche.
The vast majority of Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision is meeting up in virtual space with friends, playing minigames and going to work meetings. Even as the tech improves, the use cases remain somewhat uncompelling. A recent NYT deep dive into the Metaverse emerged with a report that concluded it felt like an AOL chatroom most of the time, and according to The Verge, Meta employees need to be ordered to spend more time in the metaverse because they’re simply not doing it on their own.
This technology was always going to improve over time in increments, but it’s unclear how much patience Meta’s investors have here. Debuting a high priced headset and offering some undated improvements to avatars and AR glasses does not seem like something that’s about to kick the metaverse into a higher gear. We’ll see what the next year brings until the next Meta Connect tries to reassure us about the metaverse once again.
LastPass Suffers Second Major Data Breach in Four Months | – Spiceworks News and Insights
On Wednesday, LastPass confirmed it was breached, a fallout of the August 2022 incident wherein portions of source code and some proprietary LastPass technical information were compromised. The recent breach came to light after the company noticed unusual activity in a third-party cloud storage service it shares with GoTo, its parent company.
In a blog post, LastPass CEO Karim Toubba said the still unknown threat actors accessed “certain elements” of the password manager’s customer information. Toubba didn’t talk about the type of information that was compromised but assured that the passwords of more than 33 million company users and more than 100,000 business accounts remain unaffected.
The August 2022 breach, wherein the hackers had access to LastPass accounts for four days, compromised the source code and some proprietary technical information. What the threat actors obtained in the previously compromised data to breach LastPass again is unknown.
“Since the company claims that the current hack is based on data compromised in the previous hack, this raises the question: Why did they not learn from the earlier hack and correct the root cause?” Mike Walters, VP of vulnerability and threat research at Action1, told Spiceworks. “The trend of repeated hacks, where the company fails to eliminate the consequences of the breach for months, is frustrating.”
In both LastPass breaches this year, the threat actors failed to access customer passwords thanks to the Zero Knowledge security model it has implemented that no one except the customer has access to the password or any other data stored in the company’s digital vault.
The password manager solutions vendor is working with Mandiant to ascertain the precise reason behind the hack. “We are working diligently to understand the scope of the incident and identify what specific information has been accessed,” Toubba said. LastPass’s previous August 2022 breach came through a compromised developer account that had access to the company’s developer environment.
Walters added, “To avoid this mistake, you should take decisive steps to investigate the security incident, as well as to find and fix any and all security vulnerabilities. Namely, carefully examine the investigation report and conduct an in-depth analysis of all architectural issues. Implement robust network segmentation and complete visibility into network traffic and user behavior. Ensure you receive alerts about any abnormal events.”
“Also, validate that your IDS/IPS, Endpoint Protection, EDR, NGFW, Sandbox, Honeypot, and RMM systems are in place and fine-tuned according to your business needs. Finally, you need to have a SOC center for incident response.”
Image source: Shutterstock
MORE ON DATA BREACHES
‘The Callisto Protocol’ Reviews Are In, And They Are Concerning – Forbes
We have reached the last few high profile releases of the year, and The Callisto Protocol was a game that many were looking forward to, a survival horror outing that seemed like it would be a spiritual successor to Dead Space.
But now that reviews are coming in, it seems to be falling short of that series, and while reviews are…okay, a few major critics and outlets have given it unusually low scores. The Callisto Protocol is currently sitting at a 76 Metascore, a ways off from the 86 of Dead Space, the 90 of Dead Space 2, and closer to the 78 of Dead Space 3, which was viewed as a series low point, before Visceral was eventually dismantled.
My friend Skillup, whose tastes I trust pretty explicitly at this point, positively roasted the game in his review:
Elsewhere, we’re seeing a number of high profile outlets in gaming give The Callisto Protocol some of its lowest scores:
IGN – 7/10 – “The Callisto Protocol is a satisfyingly gory spiritual successor to the Dead Space series, but it’s ultimately more of a striking modern mimic than a scary new mutation.”
Game Informer – 6/10 – “These various problems aside, though, The Callisto Protocol is still doing a lot of what Dead Space did, for better and worse. And to that end, there are moments of fun, even if, in contrast, they’re light on genuine terror. I’m okay with The Callisto Protocol being another version of its spiritual predecessor, but it struggles to nail even the basics. As a result, I’m underwhelmed, annoyed, and disappointed. If you wanted anything more out of this second crack at making a new sci-fi IP in survival horror, or something markedly different that acknowledges just how far gaming has come since 2008, The Callisto Protocol is not your answer.”
VGC – 6/10 – “The Callisto Protocol delivers the violence, intensity and horror that lives up to its Dead Space predecessor, but with deeper strategic combat. However, a cliché story and lack of original ideas means that it has one tentacle stuck in the past.”
That isn’t to say there isn’t any praise. Here’s a somewhat shocking perfect 10/10 score from Dextero:
“A wonderfully exhausting exercise in futility is probably the best way of describing The Callisto Protocol as no matter the strength of my own resolve, I was constantly on edge and reveling in those fleeting moments where the game allowed me to breathe following yet another life-threatening fight. The constant fear and dread incited by the phenomenal visual and sound design are only complemented by the compelling story. The Callisto Protocol is, hopefully, the start of an exciting new franchise, and is another sign that survival horror is anything but dead.”
The Callisto Protocol is being released about two months ahead of the Dead Space remake from EA, but so far, it does seem like you may be better sticking off with the original than the “spiritual successor” here. It may find its fans, but this is not shaping up to be a last minute industry megahit, if most of these reviews are to be believed. We’ll see what fans make of it as it heads to the wild.
Pokémon Scarlet And Violet Patch Divides Players Over Whether Anything's Fixed – Kotaku
Others are reporting greater render distances, improved shadows, fading light changes, and fade-in rather than pop-in for NPCs.
However, Nintendúo World’s side-by-side framerate test seems to show each version out-performing the other in different places. Although I’d argue there’s definitely some improvement when entering towns in 1.1.0:
One more for luck? This side-by-side comparison by Reyvanlatino (which unfortunately plays the music from both simultaneously, but just out of time) makes them look absolutely identical to me:
So yeah, it’s pretty difficult to know exactly what’s happening here, and why different people are recording such different experiences.
In my own very unscientific comparison, I played the same area on my son’s original Switch with the 1.1.0 patch and on my OLED without the patch, and to my eyes the patched version seemed noticeably smoother. But, my eyes are notorious idiots, and either way, it was far from a revelatory experience.
It’s so hard to know what’s your imagination versus what’s a genuine improvement, but Pokémon still popped in, and it was still freezing up for half a second at random points. (Still, at least I caught a bunch of the Violet paradox monsters to trade to myself later.) If things are improved, they’re absolutely definitely not improved enough.
We asked Nintendo yesterday if they could be more specific about what had been patched, and didn’t even receive a response. So we’ve asked again today, not least because it seems like they could have something to boast about here. We’ll obviously update should they find time to reply. Although perhaps they’re relying on people’s hopeful imaginations to fill in where they did not?
Meanwhile, come on Digital Foundry, pull your fingers out and give us the definitive answers.
LastPass Suffers Second Major Data Breach in Four Months | – Spiceworks News and Insights
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