Sony is finally opening-up on its next-gen console, PlayStation 5, after having kept mum for most of the year. With a game reveal showcase now confirmed for June 4, we can expect further news to start flowing in. While next week’s showcase is sure to give us something about the console itself, do not expect too much. Sony is bound to continue keeping its cards close to its chest. However, Sony PlayStation’s CEO, Jim Ryan, did touch upon a few elements regarding the console in a sit-down with gamesindustry.biz.
The reports, mostly unconfirmed, about PlayStation 5 have surely given the console’s loyal community a bit of anxiety. The first half of the year has more or less been about how Sony has run into trouble due to the pandemic ravaging our globe. Be it a possibility of a delay, or the disturbance in the production capacity of the new console, the news was pretty grim until this month.
The biggest letdown was perhaps the news report claiming the launch price of the console could be around $450-500. A Bloomberg report claimed the high production cost of the units would force Sony to hike up the launch price. But would that work for them? After all, back when it hiked up the launch price for PS3, it suffered dearly.
However, this month has brought in a much-needed sense of relief among the fans. The tech giant’s financial reports confirmed the console launch was on track. Moreover, we also got an official word of a “compelling lineup of games.”
PlayStation 5 CEO assures “best possible value proposition”
In his chat with gamesindustry.biz, Jim Ryan did brush upon the subject of the price, unsurprisingly, though, refrained from giving us an estimate. He did admit that times are a bit unusual, and vowed to offer the “best possible value proposition.”
“Now, who knows how this recession is going to look, how deep it will be and how long it will last.
“I think the best way that we can address this is by providing the best possible value proposition that we can. I don’t necessarily mean lowest price. Value is a combination of many things. In our area it means games, it means number of games, depth of games, breadth of games, quality of games, price of games… all of these things and how they avail themselves of the feature set of the platform.”
While this sounds quite noncommittal, let’s hope the PS3 debacle compels them to keep the price on the lower end of the spectrum. However, there is a good possibility that Sony will hike the price up from the PS4 launch ($399). Unless, of course, it is ready to bear some significant initial losses.
“Increase in development budgets”
Ryan admitted that the new-age graphical capabilities of the PlayStation 5 will also increase the game-development costs.
“I think, to the extent that the technology enables the graphics side of it to become more interesting and life-like, (the games) will become slightly more human-intensive and capital intensive to produce. So yes, we think there probably will be an increase in development budgets. We don’t see it as being a massive increase, and that’s why we want to do more faster than we have ever done before, to provide a fertile install base for people who make games to be able to monetize against.”
We better expect the next-gen console and games to put a strain on our wallets. Well, at least in the initial phase. But then again, it has never really been all that cheap, has it?
Alberta privacy commissioner calls province's contact tracing app a 'security risk' – MobileSyrup
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (OIPC) reviewed Alberta’s smartphone app for tracking COVID-19 and found it could be a security risk if used on an Apple device.
The app, called ‘ABTraceTogether,’ launched in early May and allowed Albertans to track contact with others over Bluetooth. ABTraceTogether uses a similar system to the system created by Apple and Google. It uses Bluetooth to trade codes between nearby phones. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they can upload the codes through the app, which alerts other users who were in close contact with the infected person.
Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton told Global News that although Alberta Health was mindful of privacy and security when developing the app, she had “ongoing concerns” about how ABTraceTogether worked on Apple devices.
The main issue brought up by Clayton is that Apple users need to keep their devices unlocked to use ABTraceTogether. Doing so “significantly increases the risk in case of theft or loss,” Clayton told Global News.
It’s important to note that the security problem here isn’t caused by ABTraceTogether directly. Instead, the problem is a fault of Apple’s restrictive settings on iOS. That said, issues like this are among the central reasons Apple and Google partnered to create a cross-platform contact tracing API that could work in the background as part of each company’s respective mobile operating system.
Global News reports that Alberta Health confirmed it began working with Apple and Google to improve the app about three weeks after ABTraceTogether launched. However, over a month and a half later, Alberta Health says it’s still working with Apple to create a fix to allow ABTraceTogether to work in the background.
The province told Global News that the app plays a vital role in fighting COVID-19 and helps save lives. Further, Alberta Health said it would review the commissioner’s report and make changes where it can.
Google targets stalkerware in updated ad policy – CNET
Google will name stalkerware apps on its list of services banned from advertising on its platform, starting in August, the company said in an update this month. The move is designed to make it even harder to reach potential customers for the apps, which are also banned from Google’s and Apple’s stores.
Stalkerware or spyware apps are disturbingly common. Tens of thousands of the services are available by some estimates, and they let someone who has access to your phone or cloud passwords intercept your texts, call logs and location while having access to your microphone and camera., and often are used for illegal activity.
Google’s ad policies are one of many ways the tech sector and advocates have tried to limit the app-makers’ reach. Google and Apple have also removed many of the apps from their platforms. Additionally, a group of advocates, antivirus companies and legal experts, have formed the Coalition Against Stalkerware. Antivirus firms have researched the best ways to identify the apps and warn users when stalkerware might be on their phones. (CNET wrote a series of stories on these apps and their dangers earlier this year. They’re listed in the curated links box below.)
The apps have. The law lets app makers advertise the products as family safety apps, meant to keep track of kids’ phone use and locations. But because they often run completely in the background, with no icon or notifications to let the user know they’re there, the apps are useful for people who want to spy on partners or exes without their consent.
In a Harris poll conducted with NortonLifeLock, 1 in 10 people in the US saidto track an ex or partner.
Google’s new policy does allow app makers to advertise services “designed for parents to track or monitor their underage children.” This could prompt apps with secret spy abilities to use deceptive, family-friendly messaging when they try to advertise with Google. Under the hood, they may still act like stalkerware apps, as security writer Graham Cluley pointed out in a blog post Friday.
According to Google, the company takes enforcement action against companies that hide the true purpose of their apps with deceptive practices. The update will add spyware to the list of specific examples of services that can’t advertise with Google because they “enable a user to gain unauthorized access (or make unauthorized changes) to systems, devices, or property.” Other services currently listed by Google include “hacking services, stealing cable, radar jammers, changing traffic signals, phone or wire-tapping.”
In a statement, a Google spokesperson said the company makes frequent updates to its ad policies to make sure users are protected.
“We routinely updated our language with examples to help clarify what we consider policy violating,” the spokesperson said. “Spyware technology for partner surveillance was always in scope of our policies against dishonest behavior.”
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