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Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip price might’ve just leaked – and it’s surprisingly good news – BGR

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Samsung’s next Unpacked press conference will bring us two new Galaxy families worth paying attention to, including the S20 series and the Z Flip foldable. The latter won’t be the Galaxy Fold 2 you might be expecting, as Samsung will introduce a brand new foldable form factor — the Z Flip will feature a clamshell design similar to the foldable Motorola Razr that was unveiled a couple of months ago. However, the Galaxy Fold might be the first foldable phone that you can afford and a much better alternative to Motorola’s clamshell handset than the original Fold.

The Galaxy Z Flip is supposed to feature a Note 10-like hole-punch design when unfolded, and a dual-lens camera on the back. The handset will also pack the Snapdragon 855 chip, which is the same processor that powered all of Samsung’s 2019 flagships, and a much better chipset than the Razr’s Snapdragon 710. More interestingly, the phone will reportedly feature a folding glass screen instead of just plastic, which could prevent screen damage and creases.

All of that might sell for around $1,000, according to a rumor that popped up not too long ago. That would make the Galaxy Z Flip a lot more affordable than the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, which had sky-high prices last year — that’s $2,000 and $2,500, respectively.

Now, a second report out of Korea mentions the same price range for the new foldable. According to iNews24, the Z Flip will cost anywhere between 1 million won ($862) and 1.5 million won ($1,293).

An insider said to be familiar with the matter said the price hasn’t been finalized, according to this new report. But even so, paying around $1,000 for a foldable phone rocking 2019 specs wouldn’t be such a bad deal. At $1,300, the Galaxy Z Flip would be more affordable than some flagship iPhones and even the Motorola Razr, which will cost you $1,500. If the Z Flip specs leaks are accurate, and the phone will indeed rock a Snapdragon 855 chip, then there’s no reason to even consider the Razr, no matter how fond you might be of that particular brand.

Samsung’s first Unpacked event of the year is scheduled for February 11th, which is when we’ll learn everything there is to know about the Galaxy Z Flip.

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Ransomware attacks soar, hackers set to become more aggressive – Canada spy agency

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Global ransomware attacks increased by 151% in the first half of 2021 compared with 2020 and hackers are set to become increasingly aggressive, Canada‘s signals intelligence agency said on Monday.

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE), citing attacks on North American health facilities and a U.S. pipeline, said the scale and scope of ransomware operators represented both security and economic risks to Canada and its allies.

“Ransomware operators will likely become increasingly aggressive in their targeting, including against critical infrastructure,” said a report issued by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security https://cyber.gc.ca/sites/default/files/2021-12/Cyber-ransomware-update-threat-bulletin_e.pdf, a unit of CSE.

The agency said it knew of 235 ransomware incidents against Canadian victims from Jan. 1 to Nov. 16 this year. More than

half of these victims were critical infrastructure providers.

In 2021, the global average total cost of recovery from a ransomware incident has more than doubled to C$2.3 million ($1.8 million).

“Ransom payments are likely reaching a market equilibrium, where cybercriminals are becoming better at tailoring their demands to what their victims are most likely to pay,” CSE said.

The agency reiterated previous statements that actors in Russia, China and Iran posed a major threat.

“Russian intelligence services and law enforcement almost certainly maintain relationships with cybercriminals, either through association or recruitment, and allow them to operate with near impunity as long as they focus their attacks against targets located outside Russia,” it said.

($1 = 1.2786 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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Raven Software employees walk out to protest Activision Blizzard layoffs – VentureBeat

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Join gaming leaders, alongside GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming, for their 2nd Annual GamesBeat & Facebook Gaming Summit | GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2 this upcoming January 25-27, 2022. Learn more about the event. 


Several employees at Raven Software, one of the development teams under Activision Blizzard, are walking out to protest layoffs at the company. Several members of the QA team were laid off last week, and other employees are asking that they be reinstated, saying Activision Blizzard had promised them better pay in the future.

The Washington Post reported on the layoffs last Friday, saying that management laid off (or planned to lay off) up to a third of Raven’s quality assurance team. Associate community manager Austin O’Brien shed some more light on it in a tweet chain, saying that Activision promised the QA team better pay following an upcoming pay restructure, only for some to be let go instead. Some had also recently relocated to Madison, Wisconsin. At the time of this writing, some workers still do not know whether they are being kept on or being let go.

Raven Software is the major development team behind Call of Duty Warzone, one of Activision’s staple games. The most recent release, Call of Duty: Vanguard, is due to cross over with Warzone shortly. According to a letter written by the protesting workers to management, Warzone generates $5.2 million a day. Alex Dupont, a member of the QA team, told Bloomberg that the other members who were let go were not given a clear reason for it.

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Activision Blizzard initially responded to the news of the layoffs with a statement that implied that these workers were the unfortunate few whose contracts were not upgraded to a full-time position, but that 500 contract workers would be upgraded eventually.

This is just the latest in a series of problems at Activision Blizzard. Its sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination scandal has continued apace since July, when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company. More and more employees are coming forward with new reports from within the company. Most recently, a report last month in the Wall Street Journal leveled allegations against CEO Bobby Kotick.

Activision Blizzard employees have walked out during those previous reports in protest of the way the company handled these allegations. Other major figures in the gaming industry, including the heads of all three console manufacturers (Phil Spencer of Xbox, Jim Ryan of PlayStation, and Doug Bowser of Nintendo), have criticized the company’s actions.

The company has also shown signs of problems on the game development side, too. At its recent quarterly report, Activision revealed it was maintaining decent numbers, but it was also delaying two of its most anticipated releases: Diablo IV and Overwatch 2. The company currently has thousands of job openings, and seems to be eager to bring in new talent.

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New 'Halo' game debuts as Xbox turns 20 – Global Times

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People play a video game. Photo: VCG

 Fans will this week get their hands on the latest Halo video game, as Microsoft marks 20 years of the franchise that turned its Xbox console into a hit.

Halo Infinite is out Wednesday – but to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the cult sci-fi series, Microsoft and developer 343 Industries have already released a free-to-play “beta” test version. 

Within an hour of its launch on November 15 some 100,000 people were logged on to play simultaneously via online platform Steam, in a taste of the excitement around the sixth installment’s return to a 26th-century space war. 

“The entire Halo community has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this game,” said 28-year-old Jenn, a competitive Halo player who goes by the gaming alias Queen x3.

“The beta was a lot of fun and created a lot more excitement leading up to the official launch.”

As for the appeal of the game, seen through the eyes of a heavily armed cyber-soldier, she said it was in the thrill of the challenge.

“Halo is truly one of the most competitive first-person shooters out there – not many people can pick up a controller for the first time and be great.”

Set in a future where humans have colonized many planets, Halo: Combat Evolved arrived in November 2001 as the debut game for Microsoft’s brand-new Xbox console. 

The series quickly became what is known as a “killer app” – the product driving sales of the Xbox – as Microsoft sought to turn itself into a US rival to Japan’s Nintendo and Sony in the already-lucrative market for gaming consoles. 

Two decades later Xbox remains a key player in a video game industry now thought to be larger than the movie sector, with market research firm Mordor Intelligence valuing it at $173.7 billion in 2020.

Its Xbox Live platform was a pioneer in turning online gaming into a social phenomenon, with people logging on to play against friends or strangers. 

It now has more than 100 million monthly users. 

The Xbox console still lags far behind the Japanese behemoths, with an estimated 6.7 million sold by 2021 compared to nearly 90 million Nintendo Switches and 12.8 million PlayStation 5s, according to an analysis by Ampere.

But the latest versions of the Xbox, Series X and S, are the fastest-selling in the company’s history, according to Microsoft.

“It’s not as if the title is needed to move consoles off shelves, although it will certainly help increase demand,” NPD gaming analyst Mat Piscatella said of the new Halo release. 

The game series – which has sold 91 million copies – has spawned an entire media franchise, with films, books, comics and a forthcoming TV series starring The Wire actor Pablo Schreiber as protagonist Master Chief.

It has even given rise to the expression “Halo Killer,” meaning a game good enough to beat its success. 

Joshua “Mash” Mashlan, a professional coach for Halo e-sports tournaments, remembers its rise as a time when finally, “you weren’t a nerd for liking the game.”

“Everybody wanted to play,” the 28-year-old told AFP. 

He was so excited about the release of the beta version in November that he scheduled a day off work to play it, and has been enjoying it despite “a lot of little glitches.”

“It’s a fresh start to a game we’ve been playing for 20 years,” he said. 

It’s a pleasant surprise for a title whose release has been delayed by more than a year, due in part to complications linked to COVID-19 teleworking but also criticism from players of the early artwork, derided as basic. 

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