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'Why I Bid $700 For a Stolen PSN Account'October 10 @ 4 AM source

Patrick Klepek tells the story of a PlayStation Network user who had their 13-year-old account stolen via what appears to be a social engineering scheme against Sony. Klepek managed to track it down and start negotiating for its release. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares an excerpt from the report: 1,200. That's how much someone is asking for a PlayStation Network account I've been investigating for the past few weeks. "Secure," the person calls it, claiming the account will "never be touched" by the original owner again. "He won't be getting it back," they claim. More than a thousand dollars? That's a little rich for my blood, and so I counteroffer: $700. "Btc?" they respond, accepting my bid. (BTC refers to bitcoin. The majority of transactions like this take place using cryptocurrency; it's generally harder, but not impossible, to trace.) I didn't purchase the account, of course. But I could -- anyone could, if they only knew where to look. This account wasn't on a shady market because someone was clumsy with their digital security. They had a strong password and two-factor authentication. When they were notified about problems with their account, they called Sony and asked for help. Despite all this, despite proving their identity over and over, they lost access to their PSN account, including any trophies earned or any games purchased. It was gone...well, sort of. The original owner no longer had access, but this person -- the individual asking for $1,200 but who quickly and without hesitation dropped to $700 -- did.[...]More than likely, Sony itself is a victim of a clever social engineering scheme, in which a user, or series of users, repeatedly spammed their representatives, until it found someone willing to accept the limited information they did have, and calculated the system would eventually lock the account in their favor. Even a "failed" social engineering attempt can be a success, if the person calling comes away with new information about the account. Every company in the world can fall victim to social engineering, as there are no true fail safes. But Sony's setup seems especially ripe for it. Why didn't the system get flagged as "sensitive" sooner? Why can a user flip off two-factor authentication over the phone? How can an account get abandoned, when it's still active? There are ways Sony could have prevented this from happening. In the end, the original account owner was magically handed the account. "Sony promised that they were going to set it up so no reps could make any changes," the account owner said, "but they are still investigating how this happened."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Microsoft Announces Project Xcloud For Streaming Games To PCs, Consoles, and Mobile DevicesOctober 9 @ 12 AM source

Microsoft has unveiled "Project xCloud," its new game streaming service designed to work across consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. "Scaling and building out Project xCloud is a multi-year journey for us," explains Microsoft's cloud gaming chief Kareem Choudhry in a blog post. "We'll begin public trials in 2019 so we can learn and scale with different volumes and locations." The Verge reports: Microsoft has built custom hardware for its datacenters, as The Verge previously exclusively reported, so that existing and future Xbox games will be compatible with the services. Games will be streamed to devices, and Microsoft has been testing the xCloud service with Xbox wireless controllers connected to consoles, mobile devices, and PCs. Microsoft says its research teams are "creating ways to combat latency" via advanced network techniques combined with video encoding and decoding. This should make game streaming viable on 4G networks, too.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


PlayStation 4 Changes Crossplay Policy, Begins Fortnite TestingSeptember 27 @ 4 PM source

Sony announced this week a major policy shift regarding crossplay with other consoles. PlayStation 4 previously wouldn't allow online games to connect to Xbox One or Switch players. This week, Sony is starting a beta test for Fortnite crossplay. From a report: Crossplay between consoles once seemed like a fantasy, but Xbox One and Switch have enabled people to play together for games like Fortnite and Rocket League. PlayStation 4 would permit crossplay with PC players, but it refused to connect to other consoles. Sony's excuse stated that such crossplay would hamper its capability to deliver a consistent experience. But the decision drew criticism from PS4 fans, especially those that were angry when they tried to install Fortnite on their Switch and found out they couldn't carry over their PS4 progress.

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PlayStation Now Is Making Its Games DownloadableSeptember 23 @ 7 PM source

PlayStation revealed in a blog post that PS Now subscribers will be able to download most PS4 and PS2 games currently in the PS Now Library and play them locally, offline. "Almost all PS4 games in the service, including Bloodborne, God of War 3 Remastered, NBA 2K16, and Until Dawn, will be available for download, in addition to the PS Now lineup of classic PS2 games remastered for PS4," the announcement reads. "This feature will be gradually rolled out to PS Now subscribers over the next couple of days, so if you don't see the feature on your PS Now today, make sure to check back again soon." Kotaku reports: While being connected to the internet isn't required to play PS Now games once they've been downloaded, the support page says your system will have to go online "every few days" in order to validate the PS Now subscription. In the past, PS Now had been exclusively for streaming games to your PS4. When it was announced in 2014, it was building off of Sony's 2012 acquisition of the Gaikai video game streaming service. While it offered a way for people to play older games on the newer console (since, unlike Xbox One, the PS4 isn't backwards compatible), it was hardly ideal due to problems with latency and its reliance on a consistently strong internet connection. Honestly, the only surprise here is that Sony didn't make this move sooner.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Game Streaming's Latency Problems Will Be Over in a Few Years, CEO SaysSeptember 18 @ 6 PM source

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference last week, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick says the rise of streaming gaming was an inevitability that was just waiting on the technology to power it at scale. While Zelnick acknowledged that the streaming game servers "have to be pretty close to where the consumer is" to address latency issues, he said there are a few large-scale companies "that have hyperscale data centers all around the world," and that infrastructure will be able to address that last remaining hurdle in a few years time. A report adds: Zelnick's comments come a few months after Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot suggested that streaming games will completely replace consoles after one more generation. Guillemot suggested that changeover would cause a revolution in the gaming market, which will explode in size and accessibility thanks to cheap, streaming-capable boxes delivering big-budget hits. Zelnick agreed that streaming will increase the size of the high-end, big-budget gaming market -- because "you don't need to buy a box in order to play our games" -- but stopped short of expecting a massive revolution. Even if streaming boxes end up much cheaper than current consoles and PCs for the same experience, there may not be that many additional potential players who don't currently have high-end gaming hardware. "I can't sit here and argue it will be a sea change in the business," Zelnick said of future streaming game services.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Nintendo Switch Online, a Paid Subscription Service Required For Console Owners To Access Internet-Enable Features Like Multiplayer Mode, To Launch This EveningSeptember 18 @ 4 PM source

Nintendo announced Tuesday that its paid Nintendo Switch Online service will launch "later this evening," and that to prepare for the launch it will be taking the Switch eShop offline starting at 8 p.m. ET. From a report: It's expected to be unavailable for up to three hours, it said, putting the launch of Switch Online about 11 p.m. Tuesday night. Nintendo Switch Online comes with a seven-day free trial for all Nintendo Account holders. The official website for the service notes that it will cost $4 for a month, $8 for three months and $20 for a year. A family membership, which supports up to seven others in a family group, will run for $35 for a year. The Nintendo Switch Online service, which will be free to users to try for seven days, will be required for console owners to access any internet-enable features, including multiplayer and cloud saves. It will also grant them the ability to play 20 different Nintendo Entertainment System games at launch, although Nintendo hasn't revealed the entire lineup yet.

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Addiction To Fortnite Cited In Over 200 Divorce PetitionsSeptember 16 @ 8 AM source

An anonymous reader writes:
In just the last 35 weeks, one online divorce site received over 200 petitions citing addiction to Fortnite and other online games as one of the reasons someone wanted a divorce. "[T]he dawn of the digital revolution has introduced new addictions," said a spokesperson for the company, also citing online pornography and social media. "These numbers equate to roughly 5% of the 4,665 petitions we have handled since the beginning of the year and as one of the largest filers of divorce petitions in the UK, is a pretty good indicator."
On the other hand, the A.V. Club notes that the web site's creators "have a vested interest in making divorce seem sexy and cool in a way that only 'You walked in front of the screen and a 10-year-old in Wyoming shot me dead so now I'm taking the house' truly can."

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Nintendo Switch Cloud Save Data Disappears If You Cancel SubscriptionSeptember 14 @ 10 PM source

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Nintendo Switch game save data stored in the cloud is only available "as long as you have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership." If you eventually cancel the $20/year subscription, Nintendo is "unable to guarantee that cloud save data will be retained after an extended period of time from when your membership is ended." That wrinkle in Nintendo's plan was not included in the details of yesterday's Nintendo Direct presentation, but it can be found digging through the FAQs and customer support pages on Nintendo's website this morning. On the plus side, Nintendo clarified that you will be able to transfer cloud-based saves between Switch systems just by signing in with your Nintendo account on as many consoles as you want. But Nintendo also said it will continue not allowing local backups of save data to an SD card or other outside storage.

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Tencent Shuts Poker Platform Amid Widening Gaming CrackdownSeptember 11 @ 7 PM source

An anonymous reader shares a report: Tencent Holdings will shut a popular Texas Hold'Em poker video game, the Chinese tech giant said to its users on Monday, in a further step to comply with intensifying government scrutiny hitting the country's gaming industry. Tencent said it would formally begin to shutter "Everyday Texas Hold'Em" from Monday and would closer the game's server from Sept 25. Tencent would compensate users in accordance with regulations of Ministry of Culture. The Shenzhen-based company, which draws a huge amount of its profit from gaming, is facing mounting challenges this year from stringent regulation and government censorship. It has had to pull one blockbuster game and seen others censured.

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Nintendo's Promised Cloud Saves On Switch Won't Work For Every GameSeptember 7 @ 10 PM source

An anonymous reader writes: The first paid online service for Nintendo Switch, simply named Nintendo Switch Online, is set to arrive at some point later this month, and we're still waiting on a few key details. One detail about the service emerged on Friday via Nintendo's official site, and it's not a great one: there will be specific limits to the service's promised cloud-save support. Nintendo Switch Online's $20/year cost includes a promise to "save your data online for easy access" -- which, for the uninitiated, will be the only way to back up your Switch games' save data when it launches. Currently, should your Nintendo Switch be lost, stolen, or damaged, your progress in games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is toast, as you can neither move save data from one console to another nor personally back it up to a hard drive. The following current and upcoming Switch games do not support Save Data Cloud backups: Splatoon 2, Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu, Pokemon Let's Go Eevee, Dark Souls Remastered, Dead Cells, FIFA 19, NBA 2K19, and NBA Playgrounds.

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