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PlayStation Showcase 2023: Spider-Man 2 impresses, Project Q confuses

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Sony’s given fans a glimpse of some big upcoming games at its first PlayStation Showcase in well over a year.

The livestream is usually reserved for the console-maker’s most important, crowd-pleasing releases.

Hype going into the event was huge. Big predictions were made – a Bloodborne remake, The Last of Us: Part 3 and a Twisted Metal update among them.

Spoiler: None of these turned out to be true. And the general reaction seemed to be “underwhelmed”.

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There was a lack of genuine first-party exclusives, and many of the PlayStation 5 games on display were already known about.

But there were some highlights, as well as the odd “huh” moment.

Spider-Man 2

 

Peter Parker and Miles Morales in gameplay footage from Spider-Man 2. Miles wears his usual costume with a red webbing pattern and red spider logo on a dark blue background. Peter Parker wears the Dark Venom suit - it is black, with a shiny, wet appearance. His eye coverings are white and a large white spider logo extends to the back of the suit. A Marvel Spider-Man 2 logo is visible in the bottom right of the image

Marvel

Save the best until last? Sony seemed to think so – it capped the presentation with 12 minutes of gameplay footage from its sequel to the 2018 PS4 hit.

We saw control switch between Peter Parker in a dark Venom suit – boasting new symbiote powers – and Miles Morales, who got his own PS5 launch game.

The pair were seen swinging through New York in pursuit of Dr Curt Connors, aka the Lizard, while trying to avoid supervillain Kraven’s henchmen.

Fans generally seemed impressed, excited by the ability to play as both characters and the promise of a darker story turn thanks to the new black suit.

But the game’s existence was already confirmed, and fans had been hoping for news of something new from a Sony studio.

Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater

 

Metal Gear Solid hero Solid Snake in a jungle setting. He's shrouded in darkness, and pulling a menacing scowl, looking into the distance. His face is camouflaged with dirt as he focuses on something out of shot

Konami

Probably the worst-kept secret of the night – rumours had been swirling that a remake of PlayStation 2 classic Metal Gear Solid 3 was on the cards.

And when the brief trailer ended with a glimpse of hero Solid Snake it was finally confirmed.

The game, which will also be on Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S consoles, doesn’t have a release date yet.

Sony also announced that the first three Metal Gear Solid games will be released as the Master Collection: Volume 1, later this year.

There was no mention of a Metal Gear Solid 4 re-master – long-wished for by fans, but some suggested it might feature in a volume two.

Some were concerned that series creator Hideo Kojima, who left developer Konami on bad terms, won’t be involved in the re-releases.

Project Q

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Another confirmed rumour – and the source of most memes – was Sony’s new handheld device.

Imagine a DualSense controller cut in half with an 8in LCD screen sandwiched between, and you’ve got Project Q.

Sony promised more details in future, but said it would be capable of streaming PS5 games from your console.

You can already do this via a phone or tablet and third-party controller attachment, so lots were left wondering what’s special about it.

And because of its resemblance to Nintendo’s Switch and its less-successful Wii U, the “PS U” and “Playstation Switch” jokes came thick and fast.

Having said that, some people said they might be interested in picking one up if the price – yet to be confirmed – was right.

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Alan Wake, the title character, seen in footage from the sequel to the first game. He's mostly in darkness, but bathed in a faint, red light. It creates a sinister feeling, and Alan himself looks dishevelled, his long hair covers much of his face and he appears to be covered in mud, blood or a mixture of both.

Sony

Alan Wake 2, Phantom Blade Zero, and another Final Fantasy 16 trailer got people excited. Although the longed-for FF16 demo didn’t appear as hoped.

And the first look at Dragon’s Dogma 2 was a welcome surprise, as it showed work on the sequel to the 2013 sleeper hit was well under way.

Fans of indie games were well-served, with follow-ups to Journey and Night in the Woods on show, as well as Devolver Digital’s The Plucky Squire.

Resident Evil 4 Remake and Synapse on PSVR2 – as well as a free Beat Saber upgrade that launched as the showcase went out – were also well-received.

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One of the biggest complaints was the lack of true exclusive titles on display.

Halo developer Bungie, recently bought by Sony, announced it was reviving its 1994 franchise Marathon. But the game will appear on other platforms.

And the phrase “Not actual gameplay footage” earned its money on the night.

Many of the titles featured in the showcase – FairGame$, from Haven Studio, and Firewalk Studios’ Concord – showed “cinematic” trailers but no gameplay.

And taking up a chunk of the stream with a clip from the upcoming Gran Turismo movie didn’t go down especially well.

Press Pause

The summer is usually the time for big gaming announcements, and there are still chances for companies to reveal big new projects.

US journalist Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest kicks off on 8 June, and has promised “three or four” big reveals.

Microsoft will have its own Xbox showcase on 11 June, and Nintendo usually lays on one of its Direct streams before autumn.

So don’t expect those rumours to go away just yet.

 

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New Security Warning Issued For Google's 1.8 Billion Gmail Users – Forbes

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06/05 Update below. This post was originally published on June 3

The security of Gmail has always been one of its biggest selling points, but now one of its most important new security features is actively being used by hackers to scam users

Introduced last month, the Gmail checkmark system highlights verified companies and organizations to users with a blue checkmark. The idea is to help users discern which emails are legitimate and which may have been sent by impersonators running scams. Unfortunately, scammers have tricked the system.

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Spotted by cybersecurity engineer Chris Plummer, scammers have found a way to convince Gmail that their fake brands are legitimate. Thereby using the confidence the checkmark system is supposed to instill against Gmail users.

“The sender found a way to dupe @gmail ’s authoritative stamp of approval, which end users are going to trust,” explains Plummer. “This message went from a Facebook account, to a UK netblock, to O365, to me. Nothing about this is legit.”

Plummer reports that Google initially dismissed his discovery as “intended behaviour” before his tweets about it went viral, and the company acknowledged the error. In a statement to Plummer, Google wrote:

“After taking a closer look we realized that this indeed doesn’t seem like a generic SPF vulnerability. Thus we are reopening this and the appropriate team is taking a closer look at what is going on.

We apologize again for the confusion and we understand our initial response might have been frustrating, thank you so much for pressing on for us to take a closer look at this!

We’ll keep you posted with our assessment and the direction that this issue takes.

Regards, Google Security Team”

Plummer highlights that Google has now listed the flaw as a ‘P1’ (top priority) fix, which is currently “in progress.”

Immense credit goes to Plummer, not just for his discovery, but for the lengths he went to to make Google acknowledge the problem. That said, until Google has a fix, the Gmail checkmark verification system remains broken and is being used by hackers and spammers to trick you with the exact thing it was meant to combat. Stay vigilant.

06/05 Update: security researchers are beginning to understand how Gmail’s checkmark verification system is being tricked and how it applies to other email services. In a blog post, debugger Jonathan Rudenberg revealed he was able to replicate the hack on Gmail, explaining:

“Gmail’s BIMI implementation only requires SPF to match, the DKIM signature can be from any domain. This means that any shared or misconfigured mail server in a BIMI-enabled domain’s SPF records can be a vector for sending spoofed messages with the full BIMI ✅ treatment in Gmail…

BIMI is worse than the status quo, as it enables super-powered phishing based on a single misconfiguration in the extremely complicated and fragile stack that is email.”

Rudenberg also published results for BIMI implementations on other major email services, stating:

  • iCloud: properly checks that DKIM matches the From domain
  • Yahoo: only attaches BIMI treatment to bulk sends with high reputation
  • Fastmail: vulnerable but also supports Gravatar and uses the same treatment for both so the impact is minimal
  • Apple Mail + Fastmail: vulnerable with a dangerous treatment

Yes, this means Apple Mail and Fastmail users must also be vigilant, though they don’t run the same verified checkmark system as Gmail. There has been a highly critical response to this vulnerability from the security community, with questions raised about how this was allowed to happen and how poorly implemented the Gmail verification method is. Google needs a fix ASAP.

___

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What's Trending Today: Apple WWDC Event, Hollywood Deal, Unruly Delta Air Passenger, Zhang Wins LPGA – Financial Post

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Article content

(Bloomberg) — Welcome to Social Buzz, a daily column looking at what’s trending on social media platforms. I’m Caitlin Fichtel, an editor on Bloomberg’s Breaking News team, which monitors everything from company statements to tweets from some of the most prominent people in the financial world. Here’s your daily look at what the internet is talking about.

Article content

Apple Inc.’s next big thing is finally here, with the company set to announce its mixed-reality headset at its Worldwide Developers Conference, better known as WWDC, on Monday. The headset has the potential to usher in a new era: It could kick off the shift to a different interface that upends how people work, play games and entertain themselves. Investors will be keen to see how it all plays out with shares of the tech behemoth trading higher this morning, putting them on pace to close at a record high ahead of this product launch.

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Hollywood’s Deal

The Directors Guild of America reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents Hollywood studios, a victory for one of several entertainment industry unions seeking adjusted contracts this summer. The tentative agreement reached Saturday will allocate a 5% wage increase in the first year of contract, 4% in the second year and 3.5% in the third year, according to a statement from the union, DGA. The deal also says that generative AI cannot replace duties performed by members as the technology isn’t considered a person. 

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Unruly Passenger

A passenger on a Delta Air Lines Inc. flight from Paris, France, to Detroit, Michigan, is facing criminal charges after his disruptive behavior caused the plane to be diverted to Canada, CNN reported, citing police. The 34-year-old man was acting in an “unruly manner” and was believed to be under the influence of alcohol according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He was arrested by the RCMP and is facing charges of endangering an aircraft. 

Dame Jacinda Ardern

Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern was awarded the title of dame for her service to the country, The New York Times reported. The accolade — Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit — was given to Ardern for her work during the coronavirus pandemic and the terrorist attacks in Christchurch. 

LPGA Winner

Rose Zhang won the LPGA Tour, becoming the first player to win in a pro debut in 72 years. Her stunning win drew congratulatory tweets from other professional sports players including Tiger Woods: “Incredible few weeks for Rose Zhang, defends her NCAA title and then wins in her Pro debut.”

Terminal users can sign up to receive this daily piece in their inbox by clicking here.

—With assistance from Mark Gurman, Ryan Vlastelica and Alicia Diaz.

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Apple expected to reveal mixed-reality headset at developer conference – The Globe and Mail

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The Apple logo on March 1. The company is expected to unveil a mixed-reality headset at its annual software developer conference on Monday.DADO RUVIC/Reuters

Apple Inc AAPL-Q is expected to unveil a mixed-reality headset at its annual software developer conference on Monday, its first big move into a new product category since the introduction of the Apple Watch nine years ago.

The launch will see Apple test a market crowded with devices that have yet to gain traction with consumers and put it in direct competition with Facebook-owner Meta Platforms META-Q.

Like Meta’s Quest Pro from last year and Quest 3 announced last week, Apple’s device is likely to blend a video feed from the outside world with a virtual world displayed on screens inside the headset.

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Analysts expect Apple’s headset to come with premium features including a high-quality display and hand-tracking so it can be controlled without an external controller. It’s also likely to cost much more than the planned $500 Quest 3.

Investors and tech fans alike will be focusing on how much Apple’s view of the virtual reality market overlaps with Meta’s. Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has outlined his vision for using headsets to dip in and out of a “metaverse” where people can meet virtually to work, play and spend.

In addition to Meta, Sony Group Corp and ByteDance-owned Pico both recently released virtual reality devices.

Research firm IDC said companies sold a total of 8.8 million headsets last year, down 20.9 per cent from 2021. In the first quarter of 2023, sales more than halved.

Apple’s presentation on Monday is mostly aimed at sparking the imaginations of the thousands of software developers who will stream into Apple Park for a keynote address at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (1700 GMT).

Apple will also deliver updates on its operating systems for iPhones, iPads and Mac computers.

Investors will also look for updates on CarPlay, Apple’s software for vehicles, which the company said last year would start to power more dashboard functions.

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