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PS5 Console Design Will Be Revealed Soon, Still On Track For Holiday 2020 Release

As part of Sony’s announcement of the PlayStation 5’s new DualSense controller, the company also confirmed that the PS5 remains on track for release this holiday. There was no reason to believe the system would be delayed, but it’s a question some people had amid the COVID-19 crisis that is impacting the global economy, including the factories in China where the console is assembled.

Writing on the PlayStation Blog, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan reaffirmed that the PS5 is on schedule to launch in Holiday 2020. He also added that Sony will reveal more details on the next-gen system, including the console design, “in the coming months.”

Ryan also teased that the PS5 has “many innovative features” that he believes will be “transformative” for the gaming industry. He did not reveal any of these, however.

As for the console design, Sony will reveal the PS5 after Microsoft showed off a very-different-looking form factor for the Xbox Series X. It looks like a small refrigerator, and there is a reason for that. It will be interesting to see if Sony keeps to a more traditional-looking design or if it also shakes things up.

Sony’s statement on the PS5 launch window being unchanged is similar to Microsoft, which has also said the Xbox Series X release this holiday remains on schedule despite the global crisis.

While Sony is confident the PS5 will release this year, the company has acknowledged that some first-party games might be delayed. Microsoft, too, has said its Xbox Series X game development teams are coming to terms with their new reality of working from home and understanding what that means for product timelines.

For more on the new DualSense controller for the PS5, check out GameSpot’s roundup of everything we know about it.

PS5 And PS4 News And Announcements

  • PlayStation 5 Controller Revealed
  • PS5 Controller Replaces Share Button With A Create Button
  • PlayStation 5 Controller Will Use Rechargeable Batteries
  • PS5's DualSense Controller Includes A Built-In Microphone
  • Everything We Know About PS5's Price, Specs, Games, And Release Window

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News

2020 census data may not be as anonymous as expected

It’s census time in the US once again and multiple ads are running on both online and offline media to encourage everyone selected for the census to respond. The constitutional goal of the census is to ensure that congressional districts are properly balanced, thereby ensuring adequate representation. The modern census has expanded beyond that simple goal to allow for how Federal resources will be allocated within each district. Since the census collects significant sensitive data on citizens, it is by definition intended to be anonymous.

Having been selected to fill out a census, I decided to do so online, only second-guessing that decision when my browser informed me that the official website was using third-party cookies. For those who aren’t aware, third-party cookies are commonly used by ad networks to target their ads. The census is run by the US government, so why would there be any reason to place ads within a census form?

Given that I speak regularly on matters of cybersecurity and digital privacy, this seemed like an opportune time to dig into why something intended to be anonymous was in reality sharing information with third parties. After all, with most websites seeking consent to place cookies on your browser, it probably makes sense to understand what each category really means and what the real risks are.

As you can see from the screen shot below, my blocker found a few pieces of third-party content that I was interested to look into.

Since modern websites aren’t built from scratch, my first order of business was to determine the core underlying platform. This is important, as that platform likely has a number of tracking features to ensure proper operation or performance. Those same tracking features are going to have representation in the list of third-party cookies but are also mostly harmless. In the case of the 2020 census, the web platform turns out to be the Adobe Experience Platform, which in turn explains any references to adobe.com and demdex.net. These cookies, along with first party cookies, can be classified as functional in nature.

The next most common cookie classification are those cookies relating to the overall performance of the website. These seek to track what the user experience looks like, and as someone who works in this space, I know just how hard it is to balance the user impact of such tools against the desired performance data. In the case of the 2020 census, they are using a service called Boomerang, which is offered by Akamai and references a website at g-mpulse.net. The website itself is hosted within AWS, which in turn allows for additional first party performance metrics to be gathered — all of which helps ensure proper uptime.

With these functional and performance cookies addressed, we can safely turn our attention to those from doubleckick.net, tapad.com, addthis.com, skimresources.com, ads-twitter.com, and facebook.net, among others. The big question we need to ask is, why would anyone running a website like that for the census intentionally want to track visitors using ad networks? To answer this question, we first need to determine if this was simply the result of including the Adobe framework (i.e., does a framework nominally used for commercial websites simply assume ad networks are required?).

A good starting point for this analysis is to inspect the underlying page representation in the browser. This is very different from looking at the page source, as modern dynamic websites often run client-side scripts to determine the final appearance of the web page. You can see the underlying web layout for the 2020 census home page below, and rather than immediately answering questions, it introduces some new ones — specifically, what is the relationship with Bing and Snapchat?

If we remain focused on the original question of tracking cookies, there is an obvious file to investigate: federated-analytics-min.js. This file does indeed represent tracking capabilities, but based on its version info and the lack of Google Analytics, this might be legacy code.

Continuing with the analysis, we eventually arrive at launch-03ad6712691b.min.js, which is hosted by Adobe. This file represents the configuration for the Adobe Experience framework of the 2020 census. After de-obfuscating the file and extracting the configuration json, we see evidence that the file was generated on March 12, 2020 for production use. We can also now explain the Bing, Twitter, and Snapchat code and cookies, which are conditionally present on all pages except for “jobs.”

This evidence points to the presence of ad network cookies being the result of intentional configuration of the 2020 census site. Considering this, we need to ask why the site authors would include tracking cookies on a website intended to anonymously collect data.

One possible answer is that the core requirements didn’t include anonymity for visitors as a functional requirement. Another possible answer is that the authors were accustomed to tracking all visitors by default and a detailed code review wasn’t made by those writing the specifications. One last possible explanation is that, in their attempts to ensure the largest response rate possible, the authors are in effect attempting to target census ads to only those who haven’t completed their census. Considering the physical mail for the census includes the message “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW,” perhaps the authors took ensuring compliance as paramount, allowing that priority to override any potential privacy concerns.

These three scenarios highlight the challenges organizations face when designing for privacy. If we assume the tracking cookies are intentionally placed to ensure maximum response rates, one unintended outcome is that the respective ad networks and social media platforms will then be able to know roughly who responded. When combined with other data sources, these third parties might then be able to identify individual respondents. Such data mining is at the core of how ad networks function and how the usage of personal information for unknown purposes is at the core of regulations like GDPR in Europe and the recently enacted California Consumer Privacy Act.

These laws, and many others, were created based on the realization that when companies have access to data, they will find novel ways to use it independent of the original reasons it was collected. This is why we see a proliferation of cookie consent messages on websites and why designing for privacy requires placing the rights and expectations of the consumers front and center.

While we might rightly be concerned about the federal government tracking our census activity, there are two simple ways to reduce the risk — fill out the old school paper option or go full incognito in your browser before even going to the census website.

Tim Mackey is principal strategist at the Synopsys Cyber Security Research Center.

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News

Final Fantasy 7 Remake to be released early in Europe and Australia

After we all feared Final Fantasy 7 Remake would suffer another delay, some copies may in fact arrive early in Europe and Australia.

It was only a few days ago that Square Enix warned that physical copies of Final Fantasy 7 Remake could turn up late as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Now, it appears the opposite will happen, with copies likely to arrive earlier than the intended 10 April release date in both Europe and Australia.

SquareEnix has stated that this was a conscious decision on its part to ship themearly due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

‘We had some hard decisions to make during the final weeks before launch due to disruption to distribution channels caused by the spread of the Covid-19 virus,’ reads a statement on Twitter.

‘Theseunique circumstances have made it very difficult to align timing of our globalshipping. Our highest priority is that all of you, including those who live incountries currently facing the biggest disruption, can play the game at launch,so we made the decision to ship the game far earlier than usual to Europe andAustralia.’

‘Weknow there are potential spoilers that have been out there for over two decadesas the original Final Fantasy 7 was released in 1997. But Final Fantasy 7Remake is a new game that still has many surprises for everyone. All our fansand players deserve to experience the game for themselves, and we ask for thesupport of our dedicated community around the world to ensure that.’

In fact, according to Eurogamer, the game’s street date has already been broken, and some fans have their copies already.

One such person took to Reddit to show off the contents of the deluxe edition on an unofficial Final Fantasy 7 Remake subreddit, though was gracious enough to add that they wouldn’t post spoilers.

That didn’t stop the post from being deleted by the thread’s moderators, and it seems that anything even close to resembling spoilers will be removed should they be posted there.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake will be available this year as a PlayStation 4 exclusive, before coming to Xbox One sometime after April 2021.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=8IrheLf0Ki0%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

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News

Halo Infinite May Be In Trouble (Due To COVID-19)

Halo Infinite has been set to be one of the first flagship titles on the upcoming Xbox Series X, though it appears the game’s development has been affected by the destructive novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty released a statement that acknowledged the challenges brought about by COVID-19. In the statement, Booty said that, while Xbox is committed to delivering high-quality content to its fans and consumers, it also remains conscious of those who are part of the Xbox Game Studios development teams. As the developers’ health and safety remain vital and integral in Xbox’s decision-making, Microsoft and Xbox Game Studios are “supporting our studio leaders to make the right decisions for their teams and their individual games during this challenging time.”

RELATED: Halo: Infinite Will FAIL Without A Battle Royale Mode

While nothing had been said about Halo Infinite‘s release date or that of any other Xbox Games Studios-developed title, there are implications within Booty’s statement that suggest potential delays. While Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries indicated in a blog post that development was on track for its projected release, the virus may “get worse before it gets better.”

No official changes have been made at this time, but this statement prepares readers, in a way, for any delays made to Halo Infinite or any other Xbox Games Studios-developed titles.

As COVID-19 has been determined to be one of the most infectious viruses, companies have made appropriate decisions to accommodate the unfortunate decision. From shifting to a “work-from-home” model to delays, gaming industry companies have found ways to work around the impacts of the virus, though it will likely continue to have impacts from here on out.

The coronavirus has already had numerous impacts where gaming events are concerned. From the cancelation of E3, leading to a Microsoft digital Xbox event and the cancelation of the Taipei Game Show, the novel coronavirus is rearing its ugly head all across the gaming industry. Of course, while it’s understandable to be depressed over a particular game’s delay, it’s important to keep in mind that the health and safety of those who are heading the development of affected games are of utmost concern.

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eSports

Riot Games may be hosting a Valorant capture event for content creators this weekend

Since Valorant was revealed earlier this month, we’ve heard a ton of details about the gameplay elements and future plans. Riot Games is certainly not being shy about its game, as they’ve revealed multiple Agents, maps, and weapons. However, what hasn’t really been shown is actual gameplay from players other than the developers. There was supposed to be a live capture event in mid-March, but that was shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, no one besides Riot Games has played Valorant.

However, that could be changing this weekend.


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          Valorant capture event to take place soon?

          According to gaming insider Rod “Slasher” Breslau, Riot Games is holding an online capture event for Valorant starting today. The capture event would allow multiple streamers, esports players, and other content creators to play the game.

          The event will not be streamed, but the players will be able to capture footage. This footage will then be available to publish on a certain future date. Slasher believes that date is April 3, but it very well could change depending on unforeseen circumstances.

          Riot’s previously scheduled Valorant gameplay capture event with big name esports pros, streamers, and youtube creators that was postponed due to the coronavirus will be happening as an online event starting tomorrow through Sunday, sources tell me https://twitter.com/Slasher/status/1234921378274594817 

          Riot has sent an email to pro players, streamers, creators cancelling the Valorant gameplay capture event due to concerns over coronavirus https://twitter.com/Slasher/status/1234379300788482049 

          View image on Twitter

          the Valorant capture event will not be livestreamed and footage is currently scheduled by Riot to be released under embargo as a target date of April 3rd (that might change), i’m told

          the release of Valorant Alpha footage will likely coincide with an announcement of closed beta

          as spotted by reddit, Riot has already added/removed/re-added text on the official website to sign up for Valorant closed beta. pros and streamers will get it first but you plebs will get your chance

          View image on Twitter

          If true, this is huge news for any fans of Valorant. Riot has previously said that the general public won’t get to play before the streamers, professionals, etc. So, if a capture event does take place, then we might not be far away from an open beta.

          The beta was originally scheduled for the summer, but rumor has it that it could happen much sooner. Of course, that was before the COVID-19 outbreak, so things could have changed on that front. Regardless, if this rumor is true, this is a positive sign for the community that’s patiently waiting to get their hands on Valorant.

          Are you excited for the beta? Let us know, and keep up with Daily Esports for all Valorant news and updates.

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        News

        Could Queen Elizabeth Be Positive on the Coronavirus?

        A lot of people are getting concerned about Queen Elizabeth’s health as she had a meeting with her son, who is tested positive to the new Coronavirus.

        The mother and son met on March 12, and only one day after, Prince Charles was infected by COVID-19. Although some health experts claim that the 71-old heir of the throne could be contagious from March 13, other fears that it could have been before the mentioned date.

        According to some researches, the symptoms of the new virus could take up to 11 days to be noticed, and that means the Queen was exposed to the Coronavirus. Also, all the members of the royal family were with Prince Charles on March 9 at a Commonwealth Service.

        The news about the fact that Prince Charles is positive on the virus came from a Clarence House. As it could be seen in the statement, the Prince did a test, and it came positive.

        “He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual. In accordance with Government and medical advice, the Prince and the Duchess are now self-isolating at home in Scotland.” – said spokesman.

        His wife Camilla also did a test, but it came negative. The spokesman also added that still is not known from who Prine Charles caught the virus, as he had many meetings recently.

        At the moment, Queen Elizabeth is also self-isolated at Windsor Castle.

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        Source 2 Engine May Be Coming to CS:GO Very Soon

        The Source 2 engine might finally be coming to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive very soon.

        Believe it or not, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is running on an engine that’s over 15 years old. The original Source engine came out with Half-Life 2, and while CS:GO uses a highly modified version of that engine, it’s still got the same underlying structure as a 15-year-old game.

        While this means CS:GO can run on computers that are positively ancient, it also means that more modern first-person shooters look a heckuva lot better than CS:GO.

        But it looks like CS:GO is finally due for an upgrade. According to multiple sources, Counter-Strike will be ported to the new(ish) Source 2 engine within the next few months.

        First, we have Valve News Network’s Tyler McVicker. In a video posted last month, McVicker said that sources within the company told him that Valve has been developing a version of the Source 2 engine for CS:GO “for a few years,” and that this ported version of the game should be arriving later this year.

        That was later confirmed by CS:GO historian and competitive club owner Nors3 in a tweet just a few days ago. “About Source 2 being released in CS:GO in 2 months: it seems trustworthy because I heard from reliable sources BUT with Valve you can never be 100% confident with unofficial dates,” he said. “Better multiply it by two.”

        Elements of the Source 2 engine are actually already present. The Panorama UI update from 2018 was just the beginning of CS:GO‘s port where Source 2 replaced much of CS:GO‘s out-of-game menus.

        Dota 2‘s February update also contained bits of CS:GO Source 2 code which updated the game’s rendering, shadows, and skyboxes, as noted again by Nors3.

        There’s been no official word from Valve, but Dexerto reports that there will be a “year-long beta period” after CS:GO finally does make the full transition to Source 2. We’ll be sure to keep our eye on Valve for when they do eventually make an official announcement.

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        News

        Xbox Series X won’t be delayed but Microsoft boss worries about demand

        The head of Microsoft has said that there shouldn’t be any problem making the next gen Xbox, the issue is whether people will buy it.

        As soon as the coronavirus outbreak started there were immediate questions as to whether it would impact the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, especially given the outbreak started in China, where 95% of all video games hardware is made.

        Microsoft and Sony have already insisted there’s no problem, and now that China seems to be over the peak the chances of a delay seem to have decreased – but apparently that’s not what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is worried about.

        ‘The good thing is the supply chains are all coming back’, Nadella told CNBC. ‘So right now that is not the real issue. I think the bigger issue is what happens in the United States, in Europe, in other developed markets around the demand side of this going forwards.’

        Although Nadella didn’t spell out exactly what this meant the implication was that after spending months in self-isolation, potentially on reduced pay, few families were going to be all that excited at the prospect of paying £400+ to stay at home with a new console.

        Of course, the same logic follows for Sony and the PlayStation 5, who may now find themselves caught in a game of chicken with Microsoft, where both know the safest option is to delay but don’t want to give a first mover advantage to the other.

        ‘The question now will be, more getting the products done and then launched’, added Nadella. ‘We’re going to focus on quality, as well as the situation in terms of the demand and, more importantly, safety for the people.’

        Nadella also mentioned how Microsoft’s Azure data centres seem to have held up well so far, despite the increased usage, with Microsoft, unlike Sony, not yet needing to throttle back the speed of Xbox Live – even though according to Nadella current usage is equivalent to November, the busiest time of year for video games.

        https://youtube.com/watch?v=0tUqIHwHDEc%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

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        Riot Games’ Valorant Could Be The “Overwatch Killer”, According to Pokimane

        When Riot Games first announced Valorant in October of 2019, it was clear that the game was meant to be Riot’s response to Overwatch.

        Similar to Blizzard’s latest hit, Valorant is an objective-based first person shooter with a variety of playable heroes, each with their own unique abilities. However, as more details were released, the gameplay turned out to more closely resemble Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, meaning that the game ultimately lands somewhere in between the two. Naturally, fans began to wonder how it will stack up against those and other competitors. According to professional streamer Pokimane, Valorant may very well end up becoming an “Overwatch killer.”

        This opinion was expressed in the latest episode of the Offline TV podcast, which Pokimane hosts alongside her fellow streamers/housemates that make up the Offline TV group. In the episode, Pokimane and co. were discussing the viability of Valorant to be enjoyable by casual fans—a mark of its viability as a title with long term potential, rather than one that appeals solely to hardcore gamers.

        Co-host Scarra pointed out that casual players may indeed have an easier time playing Valorant than other, similar games due to the ability of one skilled player to carry the rest of their team. Where Valorant most closely resembles CS:GO is in its quick kills, meaning that an elimination resulting from a single well-aimed shot is common. Therefore it’s possible that a single player could face off against the entirety of an enemy team and have a chance at winning.

        Overwatch, meanwhile, is contingent on coordinated team play. Losing even one team member most often results in any team members who don’t immediately retreat being eliminated too.

        For both this reason and a decline in the popularity of Overwatch in general, Pokimane explained, Valorant could very well take players away from the Blizzard shooter’s base. Scarra too agreed, believing Overwatch to already be, more-or-less, on its deathbed. Whether or not Valorant rises to the occasion and takes the team-based shooter community by storm will become clearer once its released in the Summer of 2020.

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        News

        We Might Be Getting A Lot More LEGO & Nintendo Sets In The Future (And Not Just With Mario)

        The dream partnership between LEGO and the Super Mario Bros. franchise is happening, but we could see an entire universe of Nintendo-themed LEGO products in the future, based on comments made in a recent interview.

        On March 10 (Mario Day), the official Nintendo of America Twitter page revealed that there was some kind of collaboration happening between LEGO and the Super Mario Bros. franchise, with many speculating that it was either a toy set or a video game. It has since been confirmed that there is an electronic LEGO Super Mario Bros. toy set in the works, with figures that interact with different parts of the game.

        There is a lot of scope for new interactive LEGO Super Mario Bros. sets alone, as the trailer didn’t show figures based on Bowser, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Wario. If you added other Nintendo franchises into the mix, then there is the potential for lots of different interactive sets.

        Nintendo already hosts the biggest crossover in video game history, with the Super Smash Bros. series including characters owned by Microsoft and third-party games that have only appeared on Sony platforms. If there are more Nintendo LEGO sets on the way, then fans can create their own little Super Smash Bros. universes in their living room. Why not throw in some LEGO The Lord of the Rings or LEGO Star Wars figures in for a truly epic crossover? We just hope that Masahiro Sakurai is kept far away from the toys, otherwise, there will be lots of LEGO Fire Emblem sets in the future.

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