This week, Ubisoft’s new shooter The Division 2 shifts to D.C., how Google is approaching gamers, and MySpace manages to delete a decade of user files. But first, what responsibility do online platforms have over horrific, violent content?
Attack on New Zealand mosques was live streamed
The attack on the New Zealand mosques was horrific enough. Worse is that the alleged shooter published the live video of his actions on Facebook, where it was quickly copied to YouTube and other social media channels.
This was the intent, of course, and despite all of the automatic systems to remove the video, it’s still circulating.
The New Zealand Herald reports that a teenager has been charged with sharing the stream.
Facebook and YouTube insist they did the best they could.
It’s another incident that calls into question whether the platforms that allow such content to be published without first being screened should be allowed.
MySpace appears to have lost more than a decade of user music
MySpace hasn’t been relevant in the online world for years, but it was once an important social site, one that led to the discovery of musicians including the Arctic Monkeys, Calvin Harris, and Kate Nash, among others.
But sometime in 2018 during a migration to a new data server, the company claims it lost all music and videos. This was only revealed after about a year of users emailing MySpace support and asking what was going on (as documented on Reddit).
Archivist Jason Scott posted a screenshot of what appears to be a response from MySpace saying the data is lost.
Andy Baio, who helped build and was CTO of Kickstarter, wonders if perhaps it may have been more intentional than MySpace is letting on.
I'm deeply skeptical this was an accident. Flagrant incompetence may be bad PR, but it still sounds better than "we can't be bothered with the effort and cost of migrating and hosting 50 million old MP3s."— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) March 18, 2019
Google wants you to play and watch more games, and Jade Raymond is going to help
Now we know what Jade Raymond is going to be doing at Google. Last week, the veteran of video game development announced she had accepted a vice president role at Google.
I’m excited to finally be able to share that I have joined Google as VP!— Jade Raymond (@ibjade) March 12, 2019
At the time there was no revelation as to what she’d be doing. But at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco yesterday, Google laid out its plan for gaming and gamers, and Raymond is key to that plan.
Raymond started in the industry as a programmer for Sony. While working for Ubisoft in Montreal, she lead the team that created Assassin’s Creed, one of the most popular and lucrative game franchises. She later opened Ubisoft Toronto before moving back to Montreal to create Motive Studio for Electronic Arts.
Raymond is the head of Stadia Games and Entertainment, which is the creative wing of Google’s new gaming initiative. This will include working with existing game developers as well as building a network of development studios to create new game experiences.
Google says that its game platform, Stadia, will get games out of the box and onto whatever screen they want to play on. The company also wants to more closely connect game playing with game watching.
The concept relies on cloud-based processing, so while you might not need a console or gaming computer to play, your gaming experience does rely on the quality of your high-speed internet connection. But Google says that because it can create a nearly direct link between its data centres and the screen a player is using, the latency that can be so problematic when playing games over the internet isn’t an issue.
There is no connection to the “public” internet, claims Google, so security and privacy are also protected.
Last year, Google and Ubisoft showed that a graphically-intense game, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, could be played in a browser at a resolution of 1080p and at 60 frames per second. The goal is to deliver 4K, HDR video at 60 fps.
And Stadia wants to make it easy for you to start playing, so you can go from watching a trailer for a new game and playing it within seconds. On any screen you happen to be using: computers, tablets, smartphones, and TVs.
In the presentation on Tuesday, Google showed a player moving from Chromebook, to computer, to smartphone, to tablet, to television (through a Chromecast), and the game appeared to continue exactly from where the player left off.
There is a controller to support this play. The Stadia game controller looks like others, but connects through Wi-fi, and it identifies the screen you want to use, so you can use the same controller no matter what screen you use. It also includes a capture button so you can instantly share a video of your play, and a button to access Google Assistant, which can enable instant support, should developers choose to include that.
Stadia will be available this year in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and parts of Europe. Pricing for the service has not been announced.
The Division 2 shifts action to Washington, D.C.
The Division 2, developed by Massive and published by Ubisoft, is a solid sequel to the first game. The franchise is set in America after a pandemic has led to the collapse of society as we know it. The first game was set in New York; this latest chapter moves to Washington.
It’s a crisp, fine-tuned experience, providing exhilarating cover-and-shoot gaming, punctuated by the collection of weapons and gear.
If there’s a knock on the game it’s that the developers and publisher insist this is not a political game, all while doing things like having a firefight set in the middle of a museum exhibit on the Vietnam War.
The Division 2 is available now for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.