Microsoft allegedly assisted the National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept user communications, the Guardian has posted.
According to reports, Microsoft assisted in the circumvention of its encryption for various communication services, included Oulook.com, Hotmail, Skype, and cloud storage service SkyDrive.
The collection of communication data was executed using a program codenamed Prism, which purportedly collects information from Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple.
According to the report, Microsoft also coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assist the NSA in its data collection.
Microsoft also allegedly coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assist the NSA in its data collection. An individual warrant is not required by the secret surveillance court to collect these communications, so long as the NSA holds a 51 percent belief a target is not a US citizen and is not on US soil at the time of collection.
Earlier this year Microsoft revealed Skype would be integrated into their next-gen Xbox One console. The console will support Skype video calling using Kinect voice and gesture controls to execute onscreen actions.
Electronic Arts has shut down EA Phenomic, the German studio behind real-time strategy games BattleForge and Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances, according to a new report from Games Industry International.
Multiple sources told the site that the studio had closed, though in a statement, EA would not confirm the developer’s status, instead only speaking to the company’s ongoing realignment.
“As part of EA’s realignment in recent weeks, we have announced internally a small adjustment to some development staff to better focus our teams against priority growth areas,” EA said.
EA will report first quarter earnings on July 23, where more information may be revealed.
“The decision to let people go is not something we take lightly and we are working to ensure that impacted employees are treated fairly and with respect for their contributions to EA, and with assistance to find other job opportunities,” the statement goes on.
“These are hard but essential changes as we focus on delivering great games and showing players around the world why to spend their time with us.”
EA Phenomic is headquartered in Ingelheim am Rhein, Germany. The studio was founded in 1997 as Phenomic Game Development by Volker Wertich, who helped create the Settlers series. EA acquired the studio in 2006, rebranding it EA Phenomic.
The studio was also behind 2010′s Lord of Ultima
Nintendo announced it would be bringing E3 to its fans by teaming up with Best Buy to provide Wii U kiosks with demos of newly announced titles at select cities across North America, which we feel was definitely a good move for the company considering how poor Wii U sales have been ever since its release this past November. But leave it to Microsoft to crash Nintendo’s party to try to persuade potential Wii U customers into buying an Xbox One instead.
There have been numerous reports coming in from multiple Best Buy locations where Nintendo is holding its special E3 experience that Microsoft employees have been talking to people on line asking why they would bother buying a Wii U when the Xbox One’s release is right around the corner. One NeoGAF member even took a picture of what looks to be a Microsoft employee talking to those in line, which you can clearly see the man is wearing a Microsoft shirt.
We know a large number of gamers have turned against Microsoft ever since they announced the Xbox One, but infiltrating Nintendo’s planned events in order to coerce potential Wii U customers into buying an Xbox One has got to be a new low for the company.
In response to consumer feedback, Electronic Arts has announced it is doing away with its controversial Online Pass scheme altogether. Previously, the company said only that future titles would not include Online Passes. Now, the move will be applied retroactively, beginning with EA Sports titles.
“As we discontinue Online Pass for our new EA titles, we are also in the process of eliminating it from all our existing EA titles as well,” EA corporate communications representative John Reseburg told Game Informer. “We heard the feedback from players and decided to do away with Online Pass altogether.”
“Players will see it first with some EA Sports titles, where a prompt to enter an Online Pass code will no longer appear in-game; with other titles we are simply making Online Passes available free of charge online,” he continued. “These are rolling updates that are taking effect over the next several weeks. We hope players continue to enjoy our games and online services for a long time to come.”
Online Passes have often been viewed as ways for developers and publishers to offset the financial shortfall of not seeing revenue when games are traded in and resold through retailers.
The bulk of the layoffs reportedly came at Trion Worlds’ San Diego, California outfit, where Defiance is in development. A source added that senior leaders may not receive severance packages due to “undelivered services.”
The layoff rumors come a week after SyFy ordered a second season of Defiance the TV show and Trion Worldslaid out extensive downloadable content plans for the game.
Defiance has more than 1 million registered players.
Trion Worlds also has US offices in Redwood Shores, California and Austin, Texas. In addition, the company operates a studio in London, England.
Trion Worlds could not be reached for comment at press time.
Credit GameSpot for breaking this story
Electronic Arts and The Walt Disney company today announced a new multi-year exclusive agreement to develop and publish new games based on Star Wars characters and stories.
As part of the agreement, EA will create new Star Wars titles for a “core gaming audience.” These games will span “all interactive platforms” and “the most popular game genres.” Disney, meanwhile, will retain rights to create new Star Wars games for mobile, social, tablet, and online markets.
“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe,” EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said in a statement. “Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans.”
Battlefield studio DICE and Dead Space outfit Visceral Games are currently making new Star Wars games, joining BioWare, which will continue to support Star Wars: The Old Republic. The new games from DICE and Visceral will run on the Frostbite 3 engine.
“The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay,” Gibeau said.
Financial terms of the EA-Disney deal were not disclosed. EA will report earnings tomorrow after market close, where more information about the deal is expected to be divulged.
Looks to me like two big game studios that are in trouble are trying to save each other. But will consumers and fans buy the product? That remains to be seen.
Credit to GameSpot for breaking this story.
Report’s have emerged claiming that the EA Partners label–which is designed to bring third-party games to market–is shutting down.
Breaking News Update. We are working to get a statement from EA and 6 of the studios this will directly affect.
In other breaking news, EA is reportedly closing TIBURON in Orlando Florida.
Reports have the studio relocating to Austin, Texas. And have it coming under the EA Brand and no longer using the Tiburon Name.
Stay tuned for more updates and Breaking news