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Ubisoft Forward Stream: Watch Today's Ubisoft Event Live – GameSpot

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The Ubisoft Forward livestream went live on July 12. There was be a pre-show one hour before the main event, tons of reveals for titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion, free giveaways during the presentation, and more. Despite the ongoing abuse allegations–read more about that below–the publisher did not address them during today’s pre-recorded show. Here’s what was shown during the presentation.

Ubisoft Forward: How To Watch

Ubisoft Forward starts today, July 12 at 12 PM PT / 3 PM ET, with a pre-show happening an hour before. Check the image below to see the exact start time in your respective region. You can watch the event live here in this post, complete with a post-show offering thoughts on what’s shown.

You can watch Ubisoft Forward right here or on Ubisoft’s official Mixer, Twitch, and YouTube channels. The broadcast is incredibly accessible this year; Ubisoft Forward has subtitles for a variety of languages and is available with American Sign Language on the official Ubisoft Forward website.

Ubisoft Game Announcements And News

Just Dance 2020

Just Dance 2020 was the first game shown during the pre-show presentation, and it mentioned that six new songs were coming to the game and that a tournament mode was on the way. This Virtual Paradise content is out July 23.

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

Ubisoft gave a brief look at a playable sandbox that was used for the Apple TV+ show Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet. The team at Ubisoft Red Storm initially made a fake game for the show, but ended up making the content actually functional.

The Crew 2

Ubisoft Ivory Tower gave an update on The Crew 2 during the pre-show. The Summer in Hollywood update recently went live, and it will include special additions like The Beach and Neon Battle over the next few weeks. There are also special modded events arriving in August.

The Division 2

An Easter egg of sorts is available in The Division 2, as revealed during the pre-show. The game’s rubber ducks were acknoweldged, as they were initially put in the game to remind a designer to finish something while the game was in development. It adds some hope into a world that is on the brink of collapse.

Trials Rising

Ubisoft revealed a surprise for Trials Rising. An endurance challenge has arrived in the game: the Gigatrack. A fan-favorite, the enormous track is the biggest ever put in any of the series’ games and is sure to test your skills and anger your friends in multiplayer sessions. It’s free on July 16.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Ubisoft detailed upcoming additions and changes to Ghost Recon Breakpoint. These changes come in the wake of poor reviews for the game last year as well as disappointing sales figures. AI teammates are finally coming to the game on July 15. They are fully customizable, including physical features, gear, weapons, and costumes. They will follow your lead if you go stealthily, and there are four orders you can give.

Watch Dogs: Legion

Ubisoft Toronto’s extremely ambitious Watch Dogs: Legion, which features the ability to play as any character in the game, was showcased during the presentation. It showed how the different characters’ unique abilities will change gameplay, and how they can fit seamlessly into the very political story’s cutscenes. The game, initially due for release in March, will now launch on October 29, 2020 for Xbox One, PS4, Stadia, and PC, as well as Uplay+. When Xbox Series X and PS5 launch, it will be on those systems, too, and will be a free upgrade.

Brawlhalla

The fighting game Brawlhalla is coming to iOS and Android devices in just a few weeks. These versions will feature customizable controls, as well as cross-play with all other platforms. They launch August 6 and feature more than 50 fighters. Players can pre-register now and unlock a free skin at launch.

Mobile Showcase

Ubisoft dedicated a segment to its mobile games during the show, including Might & Magic: Era of Chaos, which features exclusive rewards. Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad was also featured in a trailer, and it gave us a brief glimpse of Sam Fisher alongside other Clancy heroes.

Hyper Scape

Hyper Scape was only just announced this month and immediately launched into closed testing on PC. However, it is now in open beta and though a final release date is not available, the game is scheduled to arrive this summer to PC, Xbox One, and PS4.

Assassins’ Creed Valhalla

Ubisoft fully unveiled Assassin’s Creed Valhalla during the presentation, showing off gameplay and confirmed a November 17 release date that had leaked earlier. The game is planned for launch on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, PC, and Stadia, though only current-gen platforms have confirmed release dates as the next-gen consoles’ own release dates have yet to be revealed. The game’s narrative director Darby McDevitt shared plenty of insights with us in a recent interview.

Far Cry 6

Ubisoft confirmed Far Cry 6 and actor Giancarlo Esposito’s involvement a few days prior to its presentation because of leaks, and it presented a full trailer for the game during Ubisoft Forward. The game features the return of a fully voiced protagonist who can be either a man or woman. It’s set to release on February 21 2020 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, and PC. Here’s everything we know about the game so far.

Among the games that will be discussed during Ubisoft Forward, the studio confirmed that some very specific news will be revealed. The long-awaited AI Squadmates update for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint will finally be talked about, as well as a deep-dive into The Division 2 easter eggs, additional Just Dance 2020 news, and more. Currently, it’s unclear if previously-announced titles–Gods & Monsters, Rainbow Six Quarantine, Roller Champions, and others–will appear. However, Ubisoft did say “a few other surprises” will be unveiled.

Get Watch Dogs 2 On PC For Free

Ubisoft has also confirmed that you can get a free copy of Watch Dogs 2 during Ubisoft Forward. All you have to do is login to your Uplay account after the Trackmania playthrough and before the show ends to claim Watch Dogs 2 on PC, but Ubisoft has added it will still be free if you failed to log in. There will also be additional rewards you can earn during the livestream by participating in trivia questions. Answering them correctly will net you various in-game items across some of Ubisoft’s games, though the studio didn’t specify which games exactly.

Embroiled In Controversy

Despite Ubisoft Forward–which was announced in response to the cancellation of E3 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic–continuing as planned, the studio has been hit with an assortment of allegations in recent weeks. AC Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail stepped down following infidelity allegations, company executive Maxime Beland resigned after being accused of abuse and assault, and other reported employees have been suspended in the wake of rising allegations. It’s unclear if product and brand marketing manager Andrien Gbinigie, who was accused of sexual assault, still works at Ubisoft Toronto, the studio currently finishing up Watch Dogs: Legion.

As a result of the recent allegations against a number of Ubisoft employees at all levels of the company, studio founder and CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed a “structural shift” is coming. Guillemot outlined a series of steps Ubisoft intends to implement in the wake of the company’s #MeToo moment, from appointing a “Head of Workplace Culture” to establishing a diversity board that will review and improve the company’s policies and procedures. One day before the presentation, several high-level Ubisoft employees left their positions or the company altogether, including chief creative officer Serge Hascoet, head of Canadian studios Yannis Mallat, and global head of HR Cecile Cornet. However, it has since confirmed that Cornet has not left Ubisoft entirely.

GameSpot has officially kicked off Play For All–a celebration of all things gaming. Join us as we bring you the summer’s hottest news, previews, interviews, features, and videos, as well as raise money for COVID-19 relief efforts and Black Lives Matter with the help of our friends from around the gaming world. Check out the Play For All schedule for more.

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Apple has finally met its Fortnite match – The Verge

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Epic Games executed its most ambitious Fortnite live event yesterday, leading both Apple and Google to remove one of the world’s most popular games from their app stores. It was a well choreographed sequence of events designed to highlight the power Apple and Google hold over app stores, especially Apple’s walled garden. Epic Games has now filed lawsuits against both Apple and Google in a battle that’s likely to last months. Epic Games is uniquely positioned to pull off a stunt like this, and now poses a serious threat to how Apple, in particular, operates its App Store and iOS operating system.

Apple originally launched the App Store as a way to add value to the iPhone and sell more of its handsets. “It costs money to run it,” explained Steve Jobs in a Wall Street Journal interview at the launch of the App Store in 2008. “Those free apps cost money to store and to deliver wirelessly. The paid apps cost money, too. They have to pay for some of the free apps. We don’t expect this to be a big profit generator. We expect it to add value to the iPhone. We’ll sell more iPhones because of it.” Apple’s App Store is now a massive $519 billion developer ecosystem. It’s also a key part of Apple’s growing services business, which is the second biggest revenue driver for the company, behind the iPhone.

Yet Apple has maintained a lucrative 30 percent cut of in-app purchases for digital goods for more than a decade now. It’s a policy that continues to annoy developers and the basis for a fresh and very visible challenge from Epic Games.

The latest controversy kicked off when Epic implemented a “permanent discount” yesterday on the V-Bucks digital currency used within Fortnite to purchase skins and other virtual goods. The roughly 20 percent discount was made possible this week because Epic Games now offers its own in-app payment scheme within Fortnite on iOS and Android, blatantly bypassing Google and Apple app store guidelines. Both Apple and Google have, for years, forced developers to use their own in-app payment schemes that require developers to hand over a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases on digital goods, which is only lowered to 15 percent for long-term subscriptions after someone subscribes for at least a year.

Apple and Google both argue this huge 30 percent fee is necessary for them to maintain their app stores and the security and simplicity they provide, but developers don’t agree. Others have tried to fight Apple’s 30 percent tax in the past by encouraging customers to sign up to services or purchase digital goods outside of Apple’s App Store. Some have compromised by jacking up their iOS prices to help recoup the lost 30 percent.

While this policy is central to the battle between Epic Games and Apple and Google, the fight is ultimately about power, control, and Apple’s approach to games and the App Store. Epic Games is uniquely positioned to fight Apple and Google with a game that’s played around the world by more than 350 million people. The game maker demonstrated its own power yesterday.

While most iOS and Android apps have to be approved and updated through Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store, both companies make exceptions for games to allow developers to regularly update them within a shell app. You download a smaller container app, and then this app downloads the larger game files. Epic used this exception to its advantage, implementing its in-app purchase system without Apple or Google having to approve or deny it.

This blatant disregard for the rules left Apple and Google no choice but to remove Fortnite from their app stores. Epic’s quick, calculated response shows that the real target of its attention (and attention seeking) is Apple.

To start with, the company immediately launched a protest video inside the game designed to mock Apple’s iconic “1984” Macintosh commercial.

[embedded content]

Apple originally used this Super Bowl commercial to highlight IBM’s dominance back in 1984, comparing the corporation to the dystopian novel by George Orwell that focuses on totalitarian political systems. “Apple has become what it once railed against: the behemoth seeking to control markets, block competition, and stifle innovation,” says Epic Games. “Apple is bigger, more powerful, more entrenched, and more pernicious than the monopolists of yesteryear.”

Epic’s also encouraging Fortnite players affected by the ban to tweet at Apple with the #FreeFortnite hashtag. Epic is using all of its own power to execute a marketing campaign designed to highlight Apple’s control and power.

Epic made no such viral video or campaign targeting Google.

Given that Google has largely followed in the footsteps of Apple’s App Store, it makes sense that Epic’s attention seeking would mainly target Apple. You can also still play Fortnite on Android by sideloading the app, avoiding the Google Play Store. There’s also a lot more controversy surrounding Apple’s policy decisions and the inability for consumers to install iOS apps from outside the App Store.

Apple’s power and control over the App Store has come under increased scrutiny this year. Developers have typically avoided publicly calling out Apple for fear of retribution, but things are starting to change. Spotify was the first to file a formal antitrust complaint with the European Union last year, arguing that Apple harms consumer choice and stifles innovation through the rules it enforces on the App Store.

The EU opened a formal investigation into Apple’s App Store and Apple Pay practices earlier this year, and Epic Games, Match Group, and Rakuten all joined Spotify in protesting Apple’s App Store fees.

At around the same time, Apple got caught up in a bitter dispute over Hey — a new subscription email app — just days before its annual developers conference. Apple initially approved the Hey app in the App Store before rejecting a bug-fix update because it claimed Hey violated the rules by not offering in-app subscriptions. This led to a public back-and-forth that highlighted the inconsistent way Apple applies its rules, and it revealed just how much developers are terrified of Apple.

The Hey incident also led the chairman of the House antitrust subcommittee to label Apple a bully and say that Apple’s App Store fees are “highway robbery.” Separately, Apple CEO Tim Cook then appeared at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, alongside the CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Amazon a month later. The Big Tech antitrust hearing saw all four companies try to convince Congress that their business practices aren’t anti-competitive monopolies.

Cook’s testimony was particularly interesting, as he tried to argue that Apple’s rules are applied fairly and evenly to all developers. “We treat every developer the same,” said Cook. “We have open and transparent rules. Those rules apply evenly to everyone.” We know this can’t be true. Apple created a special program for “premium subscription video entertainment providers” that allows apps like Amazon Prime Video to let existing subscribers avoid Apple’s in-app purchases and 30 percent cut.

It’s a deal we still don’t really know enough about, although documents show that Apple brokered a special deal with Amazon that involved a 15 percent cut instead of the typical 30 percent for in-app purchases. Either way, it’s certainly not part of what Cook calls Apple’s “open and transparent rules.” This is just one, albeit significant, example of Apple not applying its rules consistently. Apple also tried to argue that “client apps” are allowed for business apps but not consumer ones in its justification for rejecting the Hey email app, even though this distinction never appears in Apple’s App Store guidelines.

These inconsistencies and rules have irked developers for years, but many have simply been too scared to call Apple out. The iPhone maker is the judge and jury when it comes to approving apps, and if you’re rejected, then there’s often no appeals process unless you can generate the press and attention to force Apple to change its mind. Hey eventually returned to the App Store on a wave of publicity (and a minor functionality tweak to its app). It’s a playbook that Epic is now looking to reuse.

Epic Games is aligning itself to lead the fight for the entire industry, and the company has prior form. A mysterious “configuration issue” saw Xbox and PS4 owners playing against each other for the first time in Fortnite back in 2017, just months after Sony had refused to enable cross-platform play for both Rocket League and Minecraft. It put the focus squarely on Sony blocking cross-play, and eventually led to a public outcry when it was revealed Sony was blocking Fortnite cross-play between PS4 and Nintendo Switch players. Sony eventually backed down, after Epic Games laid the blame squarely on the PlayStation maker. Cross-play has since become an increasingly common feature in everything from Call of Duty to No Man’s Sky.

Epic Games’ rebellion against Apple and Google also comes just weeks after both Microsoft and Facebook spoke out against Apple. Microsoft condemned Apple for blocking its new xCloud game streaming service on iPhones and iPads. “Apple stands alone as the only general purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass,” said Microsoft. Google is allowing Microsoft to launch xCloud on the Google Play Store, although in-app purchases on Android will only be available through Samsung’s Galaxy Store. Samsung also demands 30 percent of in-app purchases, but it also makes it clear that developers can negotiate an “alternative revenue share rate” during the certification phase for apps.

Facebook’s criticism of Apple’s App Store policies went a step further than Microsoft’s, describing Apple’s move to block its mini-games inside a Facebook Gaming app as a “shared pain across the games industry, which ultimately hurts players and devs and severely hamstrings innovation on mobile for other types of formats, like cloud gaming.”

BAFTA Presents Special Award to Epic Games

It’s clear that Epic Games wants things to change for both its own benefit and the broader benefit of the gaming community. Most smaller developers can’t afford to take on Apple or Google, but Epic Games is now valued at $17.3 billion and can certainly put up a fight. Games are also a key part of any mobile app store and a big part of how Apple generates revenue through its own App Store. Developers want a fairer cut of that revenue, but Epic also wants to shift Apple’s control here.

“We’re fighting for open platforms and policy changes equally benefiting all developers,” says Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. “And it’ll be a hell of a fight!” It’s a fight that Epic has prepared for, and its lawsuit specifically alleges that Apple has a monopoly in the form of the iPhone, its iOS ecosystem, and the App Store that binds them all together.

Epic has enlisted the counsel of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, which includes Christine Varney, a former US assistant attorney general of the antitrust division for the Obama administration. Varney also served as the Federal Trade commissioner for the Clinton administration. Katherine Forrest, a partner at Cravath, is also part of Epic’s lawsuit. Forrest is a former judge and antitrust litigator, and the Cravath law firm was also part of Qualcomm’s lawsuit against Apple.

It’s easy to dismiss this as giant companies squabbling with each other, filing lawsuits, and ruining Fortnite on mobile devices, but the resolution will have far-reaching consequences for Epic Games and the many other developers that rely on mobile app stores. Apple has met a defiant competitor that’s been able to bypass App Store rules and put two prices side by side to demonstrate the “Apple tax” that so many developers are upset about. Epic Games might not win its lawsuit in the US, but this isn’t about a single lawsuit. Epic is weaponizing Fortnite as a means to highlight Apple’s App Store policies and rally hundreds of millions of players to demand change.

It’s a risky move that Epic might be forced to reverse, especially as mobile players could miss Fortnite’s next season. Epic has gambled that most people already have Fortnite installed on their phones and tablets, so it’s unlikely to immediately anger its community, which can now see how much cheaper V-Bucks could be. More importantly, it has put the App Store, Apple, and Google directly in the spotlight for a showdown that will involve lawsuits, regulators, and the fate of mobile app stores.

Epic doesn’t want Apple to pay its way out of a lawsuit or reach a special deal with the company. It wants regulators in Europe and the US to stand up and pay attention. Epic isn’t your typical Fortnite player that hides in a bush until they’re the last person standing, it’s trying to be the loud and colorful llama standing strong as the circle shrinks around Apple and Google.

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Researchers discover the microbiome's role in attacking cancerous tumours – Medical Xpress

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Researchers with the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) have discovered which gut bacteria help our immune system battle cancerous tumors and how they do it. The discovery may provide a new understanding of why immunotherapy, a treatment for cancer that helps amplify the body’s immune response, works in some cases, but not others. The findings, published in Science, show combining immunotherapy with specific microbial therapy boosts the ability of the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells in some melanoma, bladder and colorectal cancers.

Dr. Kathy McCoy, Ph.D., is a leading expert on the body’s relationship with the microbiome. She and her team are focused on harnessing the power of the microbiome to improve health and treat diseases. McCoy says to harness and direct that power scientists need to better understand the role bacteria play in regulating the immune system.

“Recent studies have provided strong evidence that gut microbiota can positively affect anti-tumor immunity and improve the effectiveness of in treating certain cancers, yet, how the bacteria were able to do this remained elusive, ” says McCoy, director of the International Microbiome Centre at the University of Calgary and principal investigator on the study. “We’ve been able to build on that work by showing how certain bacteria enhance the ability of T-cells, the body’s immunity soldiers that attack and destroy cancerous cells.”

First, the researchers identified that were associated with colorectal tumors when treated with immunotherapy. Working with germ-free mice, they then introduced these specific bacteria along with immune checkpoint blockade, a type of cancer immunotherapy. Research revealed that specific bacteria were essential to the immunotherapy working. The tumors shrank, drastically. For those subjects that did not receive the beneficial bacteria, the immunotherapy had no effect.

“We found that these bacteria produce a small molecule, called inosine,” says Dr. Lukas Mager, MD, Ph.D., senior postdoctoral researcher in the McCoy lab and first author on the study. “Inosine interacts directly with T-cells and together with immunotherapy, it improves the effectiveness of that treatment, in some cases destroying all the colorectal cancer cells.”

The researchers then validated the findings in both bladder cancer and melanoma. The next step in this work will be to study the finding in humans. The three beneficial bacteria associated with the tumors in mice have also been found in cancers in humans.

“Identifying how microbes improve immunotherapy is crucial to designing therapies with anti-cancer properties, which may include microbials,” says McCoy. “The microbiome is an amazing collection of billions of that live within and around us everyday. We are in the early stage of fully understanding how we can use this new knowledge to improve efficacy and safety of anti-cancer therapy and improve cancer patient survival and well-being.”


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Could cancer immunotherapy success depend on gut bacteria?


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Researchers discover how gut bacteria help the immune system to battle cancerous tumors – News-Medical.Net

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Researchers with the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) have discovered which gut bacteria help our immune system battle cancerous tumors and how they do it. The discovery may provide a new understanding of why immunotherapy, a treatment for cancer that helps amplify the body’s immune response, works in some cases, but not others. The findings, published in Science, show combining immunotherapy with specific microbial therapy boosts the ability of the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells in some melanoma, bladder and colorectal cancers.

Dr. Kathy McCoy, PhD, is a leading expert on the body’s relationship with the microbiome. She and her team are focused on harnessing the power of the microbiome to improve health and treat diseases. McCoy says to harness and direct that power scientists need to better understand the role bacteria play in regulating the immune system.

Recent studies have provided strong evidence that gut microbiota can positively affect anti-tumor immunity and improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy in treating certain cancers, yet, how the bacteria were able to do this remained elusive. We’ve been able to build on that work by showing how certain bacteria enhance the ability of T-cells, the body’s immunity soldiers that attack and destroy cancerous cells.”

Dr. Kathy McCoy, director of the International Microbiome Centre at the University of Calgary and principal investigator on the study

First, the researchers identified bacterial species that were associated with colorectal cancer tumors when treated with immunotherapy. Working with germ-free mice, they then introduced these specific bacteria along with immune checkpoint blockade, a type of cancer immunotherapy. Research revealed that specific bacteria were essential to the immunotherapy working. The tumours shrank, drastically. For those subjects that did not receive the beneficial bacteria, the immunotherapy had no effect.

“We found that these bacteria produce a small molecule, called inosine,” says Dr. Lukas Mager, MD, PhD, senior postdoctoral researcher in the McCoy lab and first author on the study. “Inosine interacts directly with T-cells and together with immunotherapy, it improves the effectiveness of that treatment, in some cases destroying all the colorectal cancer cells.”

The researchers then validated the findings in both bladder cancer and melanoma. The next step in this work will be to study the finding in humans. The three beneficial bacteria associated with the tumors in mice have also been found in cancers in humans.

“Identifying how microbes improve immunotherapy is crucial to designing therapies with anti-cancer properties, which may include microbials,” says McCoy. “The microbiome is an amazing collection of billions of bacteria that live within and around us everyday. We are in the early stage of fully understanding how we can use this new knowledge to improve efficacy and safety of anti-cancer therapy and improve cancer patient survival and well-being.”

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