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Found 38 results

  1. As Australia's site blocking Bill took a step closer to becoming law yesterday, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull made it extra clear that VPN use won't be a problem under the legislation. Ordering "the big boys" to sort out the VPN issue between themselves, Turnbull told rightsholders to leave consumers alone. After struggling with the issue of online piracy for many years, last week the Australian parliamentary committee investigating the government’s ‘pirate’ site-blocking Bill gave the legislation the green light. After Coalition and Labor senators endorsed the Bill with four modifications, it is now guaranteed to become law. Last evening the Bill passed the Australian House of Representatives but while doing so provoked interesting comment from Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the issue of VPN use. Noting that there is no “silver bullet†to deal with Internet piracy, Turnbull said that the Bill contains a number of safeguards and amendments designed to protect “public and private interestsâ€, including the use of VPNs that are promoted or used for legitimate purposes. “VPNs have a wide range of legitimate purposes, not least of which is the preservation of privacy — something which every citizen is entitled to secure for themselves — and [VPN providers] have no oversight, control or influence over their customers’ activities,†Turnbull said. The Communications Minister went on to give the example of an Australian consumer using a VPN to ‘trick’ a U.S.-based site into thinking they were located inside the United States. “This Australian could then — and this is widely done — purchase the content in the normal way with a credit card. The owner of the Australian rights to the content so acquired might well be quite unhappy about that, but they could take a remedy against the American site or the underlying owner of the rights. This bill does not apply to a site like this. It is not intended to apply to VPNs,†Turnbull confirmed. There are key reasons why the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 does not apply to VPN use, but for clarity’s sake, Turnbull spelled them out. “Where someone is using a VPN to access, for example, Netflix from the United States to get content in respect of which Netflix does not have an Australian licence, this bill would not deal with that, because you could not say that Netflix in the United States has as its primary purpose the infringement, or facilitation of the infringement, of copyright,†the Minister said. Indeed, for this scenario to be covered by the legislation then Netflix and/or the VPN provider would need to show a general disregard for copyright and meet several of at least eight criteria laid out in the Bill, including demonstrating “flagrant†infringement. Turnbull went on to make it clear that if local entertainment companies have a problem with Australians utilizing VPNs to obtain a better content offering, then they should direct their grievances overseas and leave the man in the street alone. “If Australian rights owners have got issues about American sites selling content to Australians in respect of which they do not have Australian rights, they should take it up with them. The big boys can sort it out between themselves and leave the consumers out of it,†Turnbull said. Finally, the timely delivery of quality content at a fair price has always been a problem in Australia and one of the key local drivers behind both piracy and the VPN ‘problem’. Thankfully the issue was underlined by the Communications Minister who noted that blocking alone would not solve the country’s problems. “The bill is not intended to operate in a vacuum. The availability of content that is timely and affordable is a key factor in the solution to online copyright infringement,†Turnbull said. “When infringing sources of content are disrupted, this disruption will be most effective if Australian consumers have legitimate sources to turn to that provide content at competitive prices and at the same time that it is available overseas.†Whether that situation comes to pass is up to the entertainment industries but if grand efforts aren’t made, Aussies will use their VPNs not only to access Netflix, but also evade every site blocking measure this legislation hopes to impose. https://torrentfreak.com/netflix-vpn-problem-leave-consumers-alone-aussie-minister-says-150617/
  2. The PR disaster for geo-unblocking software Hola has deepened with a report from cybersecurity firm Vectra. In addition to revealing a console within the software that allows an attacker to "accomplish almost anything", Vectra has discovered that Hola had already been exploited by "bad guys" before reports surfaced against the company last week. After a flurry of reports, last week the people behind geo-unblocking software Hola were forced to concede that their users’ bandwidth is being sold elsewhere for commercial purposes. But for the Israel-based company, that was the tip of the iceberg. Following an initial unproofed report that the software operates as a botnet, this weekend researchers published an advisory confirming serious problems with the tool. “The Hola Unblocker Windows client, Firefox addon, Chrome extension and Android application contain multiple vulnerabilities which allow a remote or local attacker to gain code execution and potentially escalate privileges on a user’s system,†the advisory reads. Yesterday and after several days of intense pressure, Hola published a response in which it quoted Steve Jobs and admitted that mistakes had been made. Hola said that it would now be making it “completely clear†to its users that their resources are being used elsewhere in exchange for a free product. Hola also confirmed that two vulnerabilities found by the researchers at Adios-Hola had now been fixed, but the researchers quickly fired back. “We know this to be false,†they wrote in an update. “The vulnerabilities are *still* there, they just broke our vulnerability checker and exploit demonstration. Not only that; there weren’t two vulnerabilities, there were six.†With Hola saying it now intends to put things right (it says it has committed to an external audit with “one of the big 4 auditing companiesâ€) the company stood by its claims that its software does not turn users’ computers into a botnet. Today, however, an analysis by cybersecurity firm Vectra is painting Hola in an even more unfavorable light. In its report Vectra not only insists that Hola behaves like a botnet, but it’s possible it has malicious features by design. “While analyzing Hola, Vectra Threat Labs researchers found that in addition to behaving like a botnet, Hola contains a variety of capabilities that almost appear to be designed to enable a targeted, human-driven cyber attack on the network in which an Hola user’s machine resides,†the company writes. “First, the Hola software can download and install any additional software without the user’s knowledge. This is because in addition to being signed with a valid code-signing certificate, once Hola has been installed, the software installs its own code-signing certificate on the user’s system.†If the implications of that aren’t entirely clear, Vectra assists on that front too. On Windows machines, the certificate is added to the Trusted Publishers Certificate Store which allows *any code* to be installed and run with no notification given to the user. That is frightening. Furthermore, Vectra found that Hola contains a built-in console (“zconsoleâ€) that is not only constantly active but also has powerful functions including the ability to kill running processes, download a file and run it whilst bypassing anti-virus software, plus read and write content to any IP address or device. “These capabilities enable a competent attacker to accomplish almost anything. This shifts the discussion away from a leaky and unscrupulous anonymity network, and instead forces us to acknowledge the possibility that an attacker could easily use Hola as a platform to launch a targeted attack within any network containing the Hola software,†Vectra says. Finally, Vectra says that while analyzing the protocol used by Hola, its researchers found five different malware samples on VirusTotal that contain the Hola protocol. Worryingly, they existed before the recent bad press. “Unsurprisingly, this means that bad guys had realized the potential of Hola before the recent flurry of public reports by the good guys,†the company adds. For now, Hola is making a big show of the updates being made to its FAQ as part of its efforts to be more transparent. However, items in the FAQ are still phrased in a manner that portrays criticized elements of the service as positive features, something that is likely to mislead non-tech oriented users. “Since [Hola] uses real peers to route your traffic and not proxy servers, it makes you more anonymous and more secure than regular VPN services,†one item reads. How Hola will respond to Vectra’s latest analysis remains to be seen, but at this point there appears little that the company can say or do to pacify much of the hardcore tech community. That being said, if Joe Public still can’t see the harm in a free “community†VPN operating a commercial division with full access to his computer, Hola might settle for that. https://torrentfreak.com/hola-vpn-already-exploited-by-bad-guys-security-firm-says-150602/
  3. Developers considering adding a torrent search engine to their portfolio should proceed with caution, especially if they value their income streams. Following a complaint from the MPAA one developer is now facing a six month wait for PayPal to unfreeze thousands in funds, the vast majority related to other projects. For several years PayPal has been trying to limit how much business it does with sites involved with copyright infringement. Unsurprisingly torrent sites are high up on the payment processors “do not touch†list. For that reason it is quite rare to see PayPal offered as a donation method on the majority of public sites as these are spotted quite quickly and often shut down. It’s unclear whether PayPal does its own ‘scouting’ but the company is known to act upon complaints from copyright holders as part of the developing global “Follow the Money†anti-piracy strategy. This week Andrew Sampson, the software developer behind new torrent search engine ‘Strike‘, discovered that when you have powerful enemies, bad things can happen. With no advertising on the site, Sampson added his personal PayPal account in case anyone wanted to donate. Quickly coming to the conclusion that was probably a bad idea, Sampson removed the button and carried on as before. One month later PayPal contacted him with bad news. “We are contacting you as we have received a report that your website https://getstrike.net is currently infringing upon the intellectual property of Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.,†PayPal began. “Such infringement also violates PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy. Therefore your account has been permanently limited.†It isn’t clear why PayPal waited for a month after donations were removed from Strike to close Sampson’s six-year-old account but the coder believes that his public profile (he doesn’t hide his real identity) may have led to his issues. “It seems someone at the MPAA realized I took donations using PayPal from some of my other LEGAL open source projects (like https://github.com/Codeusa/Borderless-Gaming) and was able to get the email of my account,†the dev told TF. While Sampson had regularly been receiving donations from users of his other open source projects, he says he only received $200 from users of Strike, a small proportion of the $2,500 in his personal account when PayPal shut it down. “That money was earned through legitimate freelance work and was going to be used specifically for my rent/car payment so it kind of sucks,†he says. While it’s going to be a painful 180 day wait for Sampson to get his money back from PayPal, the lack of options for receiving donations on his other projects could prove the most damaging moving forward. Sampson does accept Bitcoin, but it’s nowhere near as user-friendly as PayPal. Of course, this is all part of the MPAA’s strategy. By making sites like Strike difficult to run, they hope that developers like Sampson will reconsider their positions and move on. And in this case they might just achieve their aims. “I’ve allowed someone else to manage the site for the time being. It will operate as it normally does but I need a bit to clear my head and don’t want anything to do with it as it’s become quite stressful,†Sampson says. “I think the MPAA is playing low ball tactics against a developer who just wanted a better search engine. I don’t condone piracy, but I sure as hell understand why it happens.†https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-complained-so-we-seized-your-funds-paypal-says-150517/
  4. U.S. TV series 'Empire' premiered in the UK last night but early fans of the show had been watching the show illegally for months. While that is viewed as a problem by 20th Century Fox, Empire star Taraji P Henson says when people downloaded the first series from unofficial sources, that got the show noticed in the UK. "Thank you. Thank you everybody," she says. Following its debut in the United States in January, TV show Empire certainly made its mark on its home audience. Pulling in close to a season average of 13 million viewers, the hip-hop focused drama exceeded expectations. Indeed, by the time the first season finished on Fox mid March, 23 million were tuning in, with the New York Times describing the show as both “sizzling†and “pretty perfect.†Of course, like the vast majority of U.S. productions, home audiences were always going to get the opportunity to enjoy Empire first. However, thanks to the Internet and a network of unofficial online distributors, Empire was soon being exposed to a much wider audience. Within hours of its premiere January 7, 2015, Empire S01E01 was circulating on torrent and streaming sites, an attractive proposition for potential viewers elsewhere who had heard about the show’s popularity in the United States yet had no legitimate way to get in on the action. According to stats gathered by TorrentFreak, on average the show was being downloaded more than 250,000 times per episode via BitTorrent, a number that doesn’t include many thousands of additional views on various streaming sites worldwide. But while distributor 20th Century Fox wasn’t particularly keen on Empire being seen outside the United States (the company sent dozens of complaints to Google for the show to be delisted from search results), Empire star Taraji P Henson sees things quite differently. “The only way that it [Empire] got over to the UK is because people were streaming it [illegally]. They [uK television companies] wouldn’t have known the show was that important, or that people wanted to see it, if they weren’t streaming it,†Henson told the BBC. The actress, who plays the role of ‘Cookie’ in the show, echoes the position of Netflix, which notes the popularity of content with pirates and uses that as an indicator of whether it should invest in shows. “You guys were streaming, and I know it’s a bad thing, but when the material is good people will find it. Thank you. Thank you everybody. People didn’t think it would do well over here,†Henson added. After its success in the U.S., Empire was picked up by UK TV channel E4. Nick Lee, a buyer for the channel, didn’t reveal whether the show’s piracy ‘successes’ were a factor in snapping up the drama but did note that there was plenty of interest. “We just think it fits so well on the channel,†he said. “There was huge competition. I think most channels in the UK wanted it. And after Empire enjoyed its premiere in the UK last night, it became clear why. The show was well received by critics and fans alike. Downloads of Empire are now at much more modest levels than they were in January but that situation should change when the show’s second season premieres in the United States during the fall. A US-UK simultaneous release will almost certainly be too much to ask. https://torrentfreak.com/tv-show-empire-a-uk-hit-thanks-to-pirates-star-says-150429/
  5. The overall Sony brand has reportedly taken a major hit in terms of consumer perception in the wake of the hacks against Sony Pictures and the ensuing fallout. The controversy has pushed media and technology giant to its worst levels in six years, according to new research service YouGov, discovered by Variety. YouGov's BrandIndex is calculated by asking people:"If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" This is then calculated into a score that can range from 100 to -100, with a zero being a neutral position. Sony's score this year began at 13, dropping to 11 on November 24 when the Sony hack was first made public. It only fell further from there as the hackers posted troves of internal Sony documents, including executive salaries, personal emails, and even movie scripts. Things got even worse for Sony following week's cancellation of The Interview, the controversial James Franco/Seth Rogen movie apparently at the heart of the cyberattack, which the FBI says came from North Korea. As of Friday, December 19, Sony's score was 3, a six-year low. YouGov points out that this could fall further, as The Interview's cancellation has drawn much displeasure from some, while United States president Barack Obama has even said Sony "made a mistake" in scuttling the movie's release. This isn't the first time Sony's brand image has taken a hit in recent years. The company's BrandIndex score dropped off in April 2011 when the PlayStation Network was breached. Millions of accounts were compromised, and the service itself didn't return to full functionality for weeks. For more on the fallout from the Sony Pictures hack, be sure to read GameSpot sister sites CNET and CBS News. The YouGov BrandIndex is measured by interviews with 4,300 people every weekday from a representative US population sample.
  6. The game industry is undergoing a "technology-led transformation," according to major player Electronic Arts, whose CTO Ken Moss says he sees a massive opportunity for growth and change as a result. "The gaming industry is going through a technology-led transformation right now and I think we have a huge opportunity in front of us and a number of exciting challenges to solve," Moss, who joined EA only five months ago, said in a post on the company's blog. Some of the areas Moss said he's keeping an eye on as EA CTO are: games as a service, mobile gaming, big data, security, streaming, social connectivity, and unified game engines. "Each of these is transformational--and EA is right in the mix, Moss said. Moss went on to say that he plans to write future blog posts covering the topics the community would like to hear most about. "As you can imagine, a lot of my time is of course spent plotting out the technical strategy for the company," he added. "What you may not have guessed is that I also spend a lot of my time guiding and building the teams and talent that thrive in such a fast-paced environment and who are as excited as I am for exploring these new frontiers." Moss joined EA in July. Prior to coming aboard at the publisher, he held high-level technology positions at Microsoft and eBay. At EA, Moss is officially in charge of "leading the strategy and vision for EA's digital platform and information technology organizations." What kinds of new experiences are you looking for from EA going forward from a technical perspective? Let us know in the comments below!
  7. The anti-piracy outfit behind the raid of The Pirate Bay says that dozens of "illegal services" are still operating in the same data center. Lawyer Henrik Ponten of Rights Alliance informs TorrentFreak that a major torrent site, a large streaming portal, and a release group topsite are among 40 sites housed nearby. This whole week has felt like a crazy rollercoaster of a dream foretelling an impossible future. Has the world’s most resilient torrent site really gone for good? At this point in time it’s hard to say for sure, but optimism is pretty low. The Pirate Bay was hit hard on Tuesday by Swedish police and currently not a shred of evidence suggests that a recovery is on the cards. The action against TPB, which took place in a cave-built datacenter in Nacka, Sweden, affected several other sites too including Zoink, Torrage, the Istole tracker, Suprbay.org, Bayimg.com and Pastebay.net. EZTV was also taken down, but is currently working its way back online. However, according to one of the key figures behind the complaint and subsequent police raid of The Pirate Bay, the sites taken down this week are just the tip of a pretty large Swedish iceberg. Henrik Pontén is a lawyer with Rights Alliance, the anti-piracy group previously known as Antipiratbyrån. He informs TorrentFreak that there are dozens of other ‘pirate’ sites operating in the very same datacenter that previously housed parts of The Pirate Bay. “At the hosting provider that the police raided [this week] there are still around 40 illegal sites still up and running,†Pontén explains. Quite why those sites didn’t go down too isn’t clear, but according to the lawyer some big ones remain operational including torrent site 1337x.to and streaming movie portal Solarmovie.is. Perhaps even more of a surprise is Pontén’s allegation that movie release group SPARKS is operating a topsite there. TorrentFreak has no way of verifying the claim and the fact we were given the information is in itself curious, but the Rights Alliance lawyer seems pretty convinced. The big question is whether the anti-piracy group intends to do anything about the sites. We weren’t told anything specific but received a general warning. “Rights Alliance acts wherever a crime has been committed against our rightsholders. The guilty persons will be prosecuted and damages will be required,†Pontén said. In the meantime and in the wake of the The Pirate Bay’s untimely disappearance there’s no shortage of sites stepping up to try and take its place. As previously mentioned certain impostors have directed people to malware and have even tried to charge for access. Right now this misdirection only looks set to get worse – unless there’s a miraculous rebirth this Christmas. torrentfreak
  8. MARRAKECH — While at the Marrakech film fest to participate in the Cinecoles jury, Abderrahmane Sissako sat down with Variety to discuss his latest film, “Timbuktu,†Mauritania’s first ever foreign-language Oscar candidate. A politically engaged drama depicting the barbarian occupation of Islamic fundamentalists in Mali, “Timbuktu†grossed over €109,000 ($135,000) on opening day in France — an impressive score for a world-cinema title. The movie, which world premiered in competition at Cannes, was produced by Sylvie Pialat’s Les Films du Worso and has been sold by Le Pacte in more than 50 countries. “Timbuktu†screened this week at Marrakech and will be released by Cohen Media Group in the U.S. What prompted you to make a film about the occupation of Islamic fundamentalists in Mali? I had it in me for a long time and one event triggered it. When I heard about the stoning of a woman, it deeply revolted me, and I felt the urge to make this film. It’s so absurd that barbarian acts like this one are still happening today. We can’t just turn a blind eye and do nothing about it. How did you prepare the film? Are the characters and situations all inspired by real people and stories? For the most part yes. I traveled there and met a lot people. That’s the only way to make an authentic film; and when you tackle a subject like this one it’s a necessity. I met the Imam whose character has such a pivotal role in the movie. The woman who defies the fundamentalists by refusing to wear gloves also exists; she’s become an urban legend. Your film is very critical toward Islamists, but at the same time you didn’t demonize the characters in portraying them in the movie. Why did you take that approach? My goal was not to show these people in a positive light, but rather show that they are not so far from us. They have taken the wrong path for 1,000 different reasons. But at one point in their lives they were certainly good people, or at least people we can relate to. Some even perhaps fell asleep listening to Bob Marley, and they’re the same ones saying today that listening to music is forbidden. That past is still within them somewhere. We’re all capable of redemption. But the group think is so powerful that they get trapped into doing the wrong things. And yet, when they’re alone, they may feel guilt. In the film when one of our main characters witnesses the stoning of the couple, he’s not proud of himself. And it’s important to show that. If you don’t give them a part of humanity you lose some of it yourself. Aren’t you fearful of reactions to your film from people from the Arab world? “Timbuktu†shows that Islam has nothing to do with barbarism and jihadists. Islam has been held hostage. And that’s why the imam in the film tells the fundamentalists: When is God is all this? When is the compassion? Where is forgiveness? You’re traumatizing people, you’re arrogant. What you’re doing to our people has nothing to do with Islam.†In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, we made the choice to not say loud and clear that Islam had been taken hostage by a group of people, and instead we stigmatized Islam and claimed there was a clash of civilizations. But the world is such that some people go into extremes when faced with a conflict and that happens in any religion. In what ways do you think “Timbuktu†is universal and resonates with contemporary events? We always reach the universal when telling intimate stories. We talk about terrorism, occupation, but we seldom get interested in the personal stories of people who live through it. That woman who was forced to get married or that father who is devastated because he won’t be able to see his daughter’s face ever again. That’s universal. The film is punctuated by poetic and surreal scenes. What purpose do these scenes serve in the narration? Through the film I wanted to engage the spectator into a conversation, give him some perspective, food for thoughts. When showing abject violence, there is no need to exaggerate it because it banalizes it. The stoning scene lasts only a few seconds. While it’s crucial to show it, it’s also important to move on quickly in order to not banalize it. I thought long and hard about the way in which I should portray that scene and in the end I chose to punctuate it with shots of a jihadist dancing. He’s praying and purging his guilt through this dance.
  9. Sunset Overdrive wasn't announced for PC, but Insomniac hasn't ruled it out. The ad you see above might state that Xbox One-exclusive Sunset Overdrive is coming to PC, but it's just a simple mistake, Microsoft has said. NeoGAF user Lucifon spotted the ad earlier today online, but as some other users guessed, Microsoft didn't actually mean to say the game is coming to PC. "On the Sunset Xbox/PC ad: Not true, this was a simple mistake and the team is aware/addressing," said Mike Ybarra, who works on the Xbox Platform and Windows Gaming Development Team. "Sorry for any confusion!" In September, Sunset Overdrive developer Insomniac Games said it has no plans to bring its over-the-topXbox One action game to PC, but has not ruled out a release for computers sometime down the road. "I don't know what the future holds," Insomniac Games marketing lead James Stevenson said at the time. "Right now there's no plans for a PC version of the game. We're just working hard to finish up [the Xbox One version]. We're going to support it post-launch and then we'll see what happens in the future. But there's no plans. We aren't planning a PC version or anything like that." Sunset Overdrive launches October 28. You can buy the game that day by itself or through a $399 Xbox One hardware bundle that includes a white system, matching white controller, and a copy of the game. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  10. Charlie Cox has been discussing what we can expect from Marvel’s new Daredevil TV show, telling Heat Vision it is the darkest thing the studio has done so far. “I’ve read comics after comics after comics,†says Cox of his preparation for the role. “I’ve never read so many comics in my life, and we’re finding moments from the comics to reference in the show.†“We’re trying to make a show that’s new,†he continues, “and much, much darker than anything I’ve ever seen Marvel do before.†And as for what makes the show so dark, Cox says it is the nature of Daredevil himself, who will be presented as a relentless, obsessive character. “The concept that he can’t stop,†says Cox, when asked what makes his character unnerving. “He’s going out and he’s taking the law into his own hands, and he doesn’t know if he can stop. He might be addicted to it.†Co-starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosario Dawson and Scott Glenn,Daredevil will air on Netflix in 2015, with a specific release date to be confirmed. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  11. It’s often the case that, when new technology is unveiled, there are bound to be reservations. No matter how innovative the technology may be, there are times when human society isn’t as ready to embrace it as many tech enthusiasts are. One common response provided when ordinary consumers are told about Google’s self-driving cars that have no brakes, pedals, accelerometer, or driver’s seat is one of shock and disbelief. In a number of cases, consumers are likely to frown when they’re told that Google’s driverless cars will have no front-seat driver and are computer-generated vehicles that drive consumers wherever they want to go. “The end of Driver’s Ed is here,†some say. Well, don’t count Driver’s Education obsolete just yet. According to California’s new autonomous vehicle laws, Google must make driverless cars with a driver’s seat, brakes, and pedals intact so that a human driver can resume control of the vehicle at any time. Should the vehicle do something out of the ordinary, or need human intervention, Google’s driverless cars must have a steering wheel so that human hands can guide the vehicle if something goes awry, and the computer-generated vehicles have a few “bugs†in the software that make the vehicles stop in the middle of the road, for instance. California’s new driverless car regulations also require manufacturers to take responsibility if the vehicles go awry and lead to accidents on the road, although Google has said that it desires to claim responsibility for accidents and automotive loss in the future. Manufacturers must also apply to test their vehicles on the road, paying $150 per application and $50 for each set of additional drivers and vehicles. The $150 fee pertains to no more than 10 vehicles and 20 drivers on the road at a time. They will receive word back regarding their application after 10 days. Driverless car operators (human) must pass an autonomous vehicle driver course in addition to a manual vehicle driver course before being allowed to operate a driverless vehicle in the state of California. Meanwhile, other car manufactures like Audi, Ferrari and Hyundai are also spending millions in making their products smarter. Recently, Hyundai launched an Empty Car Convoy commercial showing the new Hyundai Genesis with driverless driving capabilities and emergency braking system.
  12. Paul Reubens has been talking about the long-awaited next installment in the Pee-wee Herman series, and says that the new movie will soon be on the way… “There’s going to be a big announcement any minute now,†Reubens toldRolling Stone. “Yes. It’s been months and months of being right on the verge of being announced.†“I thought something was going to go public yesterday, actually, and that you’d be the first person I’d be talking about this with. But I’m thinking there will be something made public very soon. It’s going to get made shortly after the new year.†“I wish I could tell you about it right now, because… I mean, it’s amazing. It’s going to be amazing. It think it first got leaked four years ago or so that the movie was going to be made, and ever since then it’s just been stalling and stalling. So I’m really ready for this to happen. But I’m not kidding. It’s very imminent.†Reubens certainly sounds enthused about the project, although stopped short of confirming whether the new film will still be using Judd Apatow’s script, or if Tim Burton will be returning. Watch this space… Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  13. "It just looks gorgeous," Scott Rohde says. The visual presentation for upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne is "off the charts," according to PlayStation executive Scott Rohde. He is the software product development head for Sony Worldwide Studios America. Speaking during latest PlayStation Blogcast, Rohde said what he enjoys so much about Bloodborne's visuals is the way the game feels "wet." "The way it looks; just off the charts to me," Rohde said about Bloodborne. "It has, I've said this before ... there's a certain, like, wetness to that game. I don't know what other word to use. It just feels like everything is dripping and oozing with whatever it is--it's water, it's blood, it's whatever it is; and it just looks gorgeous." According to a Famitsu report from June, the final version of Bloodborne is aiming to run at 1080p/30fps. Bloodborne is the latest game developed by From Software, the creators of the Demon's Souls and Dark Souls role-playing game franchises. The game launches on February 6, 2015 in North America, and you'll also be able to buy a special edition version of the game on that date. It is possible, too, that Bloodborne will be one of the games Sony talks about during December's PlayStation Experience event in Las Vegas. The company teased that attendees will get a glimpse at Sony's 2015 software lineup, which would include Bloodborne. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  14. Says she is involved in a forthcoming film Len Wiseman has been discussing the future of the Underworldfranchise, and has suggested that Kate Beckinsale will be returning to the role of Selene for at least one more outing. It had previously been reported that Beckinsale would not be on board the fifth episode of the vampire saga, but from the sounds of Wiseman’s comments, that won’t be the case after all... “There are some characters who we really liked that will be in a kind of a spin-off like we did with Rise Of The Lycans,†says Wiseman. “Then we have another film in the works with Kate as well.†It sounds from that as though the next film in the series will be a standalone adventure (with Theo James reported to have been cast in the lead role), before Beckinsale returns for a fully-fledged sequel further down the track. “And then there’s the television series,†says Wiseman, teasing us still further. Looks like the franchise won’t be disappearing from our screens for some time to come… Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  15. "To make it truly immersive we had to let people explore it their way," says CD Projekt Red. The Witcher franchise's "missing element" was an open-world design, according to Polish developer CD Projekt Red. In a new interview with VG247, CD Projekt Red's Michal Platkow-Gilewski said the studio always wanted to make a truly open-world Witcher game, but technical limitations held the company back from being able to do so in the way that it wanted to. "It's only with the next-gen consoles that we can do much more," he said about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. "Open-world was something we've always wanted to do and we believed that was the missing element for this story. To make it truly immersive we had to let people explore it their way. We always wanted this but we couldn't because of technical limitations and because of the experience and size of the team." CD Projekt Red has not held back in boasting about the size of The Witcher 3's open-world. The studio said previously that the game is 35 times the size of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and 20 percent larger than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. For more on The Witcher 3's open-world, check out GameSpot's in-depth thoughtsabout what open-world means for the game. Also in the interview, Platkow-Gilewski discussed the Witcher's evolution from its origins as a PC-exclusive to its multiplatform status today. "With The Witcher 3, we knew that we would have to reach a wider audience," he said. "We needed to be on the new consoles and in particular the PS4, because a lot of people are attracted to them." The Witcher 2 for Xbox 360 was CD Projekt Red's first console release. Platkow-Gilewski explained that it was "very hard" to make the game run on that console, and revealed that the studio even had to "redo" a lot of in-game elements to make it work. The Witcher 3 for PlayStation 4 will represent the franchise's debut on a Sony platform, as The Witcher 2 was never released for PlayStation 3. As for why The Witcher 3 is not coming to Xbox 360 or PS3, CD Projekt Red said previously that it would be "impossible" to deliver the full vision for the game on those platforms. Last week, CD Projekt Red responded to a claim from an anonymous "insider" that claimed the team had been "crunching for over a year" in a bid to overcome development challenges. The Witcher 3 launches on February 24, 2015 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. For more, check outGameSpot's previous coverage. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  16. "There is no place in the video game community--or our society--for personal attacks and threats.†The Entertainment Software Association manages the E3 event The Entertainment Software Association, the games industry trade group that manages the annual E3 event, has called for an end to online harassment amid a bitter row between gamers on social media. In recent weeks, a diverse range of people have been using a hashtag on Twitter as a platform to air their criticisms of the games media. Some have used this "Gamergate" tag to allege that media outlets are too close to the companies they cover, while others have used it to scrutinse the media's stance on issues of sexism and diversity. However, the "Gamergate" row on social media has coincided with the targeted harassment of female games developers and critics, and supporters of them, leading some to believe that the hashtag is both an incentive and catalyst for online abuse. The feminist games essayist Anita Sarkeesian, for example, on Tuesday decided to cancel a university speech after an anonymous phone call threatened a "massacre" if her talk went ahead. Sarkeesian, who regularly publishes images of threats of sexual violence she receives, recently abandoned her home after one harasser appeared to have found her address. Meanwhile, a recent awards show that honoured Sarkeesian's work was issued with a bomb threat, warning of casualties if Sarkeesian picked up the prize. Now the US's key games body has called for an end to the harassment. On Wednesday, an ESA spokesperson said "threats of violence and harassment are wrong. They have to stop." In a statement to The Washington Post, the ESA Added: "There is no place in the video game community--or our society--for personal attacks and threats.†The ESA represents some of the games industry's biggest publishers, and lobbies for their causes in Washington. ESA members include Activision, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft and Nintendo of America. The statement coincides with a separate campaign on Twitter to bring an end to the GamerGate row. On Wednesday, more than 90,000 tweets were generated on Twitter with the hashtag #StopGamerGate2014 Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  17. Kazunori Yamauchi adds that developing for PlayStation 4 is much easier than PlayStation 3. Gran Turismo 6Though he was once optimistic that Gran Turismo 7 could launch for PlayStation 4 this year, series creator Kazunori Yamauchi now contends that the racing game will be released for Sony's latest home console in 2015 or 2016. Yamauchi revealed the target launch window in an interview with GamesTM where he also discussed the differences between PS3 and PS4 from a development standpoint. "Everything will be running naturally," Yamauchi said about Gran Turismo 7 for PS4. "PS3 was much, much more difficult. The high quality of data that we have being rendered on the PS4 I think is going to make an incredible difference." Yamauchi went on to say that he and his staff at Polyphony Digital have a "clear vision" for Gran Turismo 7, which is "to do everything we couldn't do in GT6," he said. "We want to make it very Gran Turismo. By that I mean it's going to be a game that matches the very era that we live in, in 2015 or 2016." Gran Turismo 6 was released for PS3 in December 2013. Though Gran Turismo 7 might not be released anytime soon, Sony just last week launched a PS4 racing game in the form of Driveclub, from Motorstorm developer Evolution Studios. The game's release has not gone well, however, as online issues that popped up on day one continue to persist.
  18. Plus, game director says studio "had confidence" that the PS4 racer wouldn't face launch issues of this magnitude. Driveclub developer Evolution Studios "had confidence" that the socially-inspired PlayStation 4 racing game wouldn't be impacted by the kind of significant server struggles that it's facing currently, according to director Paul Rustchynsky. Rustchynsky has been busy on Twitter responding to questions about the game's online state. In one tweet, he assured fans that Evolution "did performance testing prior to launch & we had confident in the servers then." Asked to clarify what, exactly, is wrong with the game, he said: "We've got no limits to the amount of servers of the quality of hardware; it's purely down to the server code having some bugs." Another high-profile console game, Battlefield 4, underwent a successful and smooth beta test before launching publicly and facing serious and significant server issues. Rustchynsky also says that Evolution has not ruled out offering some kind of compensation for early adopters, though it remains to be seen if this would be in the form of free DLC or something else. He also had no update to provide regarding when the free PlayStation Plus version of Driveclub would be released, but said fans can expect a "new update" on the game sometime later today. On Friday, Evolution again apologized for Driveclub's online woes, adding that it was working "non-stop" to help players get online "as soon as possible." Driveclub players who can connect should not experience any connectivity issues during their play sessions, Evolution said last week. However, the studio has implemented a one-in-one-out program to manage demand, meaning you aren't able to connect until another player disconnects. "This is obviously not ideal, especially given that there are a lot of players waiting to connect, but that's how it's working right now," the developer said previously. For more on Driveclub, which was originally expected to be released in November 2013 as a PS4 launch title, check out GameSpot's review and what other critics are saying.
  19. Paul Feig has been discussing his plans for his forthcomingGhostbusters film, which he has confirmed as being a total franchise reboot. “I thought, well, what if we just make it new?†says Feig of how he approached the task. “It’s not coming into the world that existed before. It’s always hard if the world has gone through this big ghost attack, how do you do it again?†“I wanted to come into our world where there’s talk of ghosts but they’re not really credible, and so what would happen in our world if this happened today… Everything is up for grabs right now.†“I look at this the same way a superhero movie launches where it’s always fun to see, like, what are they going to do with the costumes this time? What are they going to do with the hardware this time? It’s not going to be, here is the exact same stuff. It’s also not going to go, screw you if you like that stuff, it’s all completely different.†And regarding recasting the original Ghostbusters as female characters, Feig is confounded by the notion that it should be such a talking point. “I really cannot believe we’re still having this conversation,†says the director. “Some people accused it of kind of being a gimmick and it’s like, it would be a gimmick if I wasn’t somebody whose brain doesn’t automatically go to like, ‘I want to just do more stuff with women.’†“I just find funny women so great. For me it’s just more of a no-brainer. I just go, ‘what would make me excited to do it?’ I go, ‘four female Ghostbusters to me is really fun.’ I want to see that dynamic.†What do you make of Feig's comments? Tell us, below! Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  20. Jai Courtney has been discussing Terminator: Genisys, and has suggested that the film will likely be a more family-friendly proposition than its predecessors in the series. “I would love to see it be rated R, but I don’t think it will,†says Courtney. “I think in this day and age, it’s much more likely to be PG-13. There were no f-bombs. But there’ll be a healthy amount of movie violence.†And as for what form the film will take, Courtney says that it will be neither a sequel nor a reboot… “What I can say is that we start in a place we’re familiar with from the early films and then, you know, circumstances change,†explains the star. “It somewhat shifts the course of events from that point.†“It’s not necessarily a sequel or a reboot. I don’t even know how you brand it correctly. We’re not remaking one of the early Terminator movies. And it doesn’t necessarily carry on from the point where we left off.†Directed by Alan Taylor and co-starring Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Clarke, Terminator: Genisys will open in the UK on 3 July 2015. Source: Collider What are you hoping to see from the new film? Tell us, below! Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  21. Battlefield 4's rocky launch "absolutely" damaged the trust gamers have in developer DICE's ability to release a game smoothly. That's according to DICE LA producer David Sirland, who told me in an interview today that future installments won't suffer the same fate because DICE has changed its processes. "I can absolutely say that we lost [player] trust in the game's launch and the early parts of the year," Sirland said. "We still probably have a lot of players who won't trust us to deliver a stable launch or a stable game. I don't want to say anything because I want to do. I want them to look at what we're doing and what we are going to do and that would be my answer. I think we have to do things to get them to trust us, not say things to get them to trust us. Show by doing." For upcoming Battlefield games, Sirland said, "I am certain that [battlefield 4's troubled launch] won't be repeated because we've changed the way we work." Part of this change is developing games more out in the open and letting gamers play new titles earlier in the development process. Sound familiar? That's the message EA CEO Andrew Wilson has been repeating inseemingly every interview he's given since he wasnamed top executive at the company last year. "It's just a giant project, any Battlefield game is a giant project," Sirland said. "And the more input you can get early, the better, and the more you can be open with changes you're making or ideas you have, the better, I think. Because our community is much smarter than we probably give them credit for." EA is already putting this idea to work. The company held a public beta for Battlefield Hardline onPlayStation 4 and PC back in June, and a second beta is coming to all platforms (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC) later this year. The game was originally pegged to launch in October 2014, but is now scheduled to be released in February 2015. EA delayed the game not because of game-breaking bugs, but rather because players were calling for more innovation, according to Wilson. The issues Battelfield 4 faced at launch were numerous and significant. Some gamers could not play at all for extended periods of time, and EA was even sued over the bugs. This was somewhat of a "curveball" for EA, Sirland said, in part because the beta went quite well and was very stable. "We were stoked to release the game and we thought it would be a great launch," he said. "Sure, there would be issues; there's always issues. But we didn't think there would be issues to this degree." At the close of my talk with Sirland today, I asked if he thought the Battlefield franchise had been damaged at all by Battlefield 4's...memorable...launch. "I think from a trust perspective, absolutely," he said. "I think we have to earn that back. That's why I'm here. That's my end goal. I want to earn our trust back and I want to make them happy and like Battlefield again." Check back later for GameSpot's full interview with Sirland, which touches on Battlefield 4's major fall patch, the importance of the game's Community Test Environment, and more on the title's fifth and final DLC expansion, which is appropriately titled Final Stand. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  22. Shuhei Yoshida adds that many of the components used in Project Morpheus are from smartphones, which should keep pricing down. Sony has completed 85 percent of the work necessary to release the consumer model of its PlayStation 4virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus. PlayStation executive Shuhei Yoshida revealed the estimate toThe Wall Street Journal at the Tokyo Game Show this week. He wouldn't say when Morpheus will launch or what it will cost, but he did add that many of the device's components are also used in smartphones. This should help keep the product's cost down, which is something we already know Sony is intent on doing. Yoshida did not say what the remaining 15 percent of Morpheus development will require. However, just last month, Yoshida said about the hardware itself, "there are many areas we can improve on to bring it to an even higher level." He also said previously that Sony will not release Morpheus--still a working title for the headset--until there is a sufficient software lineup in place. The Oculus Rift device currently sells for $350, though that is for a version of the product for developers, not consumers. For its part, Oculus VR has said previously that it wants to ship the consumer version of Oculus Rift by the end of the next year, with final pricing coming in between $200 and $400. It's even possible that a beta for the consumer model could be released as early as next summer. Going back to Morpheus, Yoshida mentioned that while the "initial target" for Morpheus will be PS4 owners, Sony sees VR overall as a technology that could have broad applications, in markets outside of games. This broad appeal could in turn lead to a rise in PS4 sales. "We are hoping that once we introduce Project Morpheus to the market, the attractiveness of PS4 will increase and the PS4 could be received by many more people who are not necessarily core gamers," Yoshida said. VR has the potential to impact major markets such as education. As Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey says, VR devices could help schools with limited budgets take their students on virtual field trips to faraway places, or even places locked in time. VR could also let you virtually attend a concert or sports game, or even help surgeons prepare for an operation. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post Don't forget to press the Thanks button
  23. Over the past few years, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has become a well-oiled machine of blockbuster success. Marvel Studio’s most recent success, Guardians of the Galaxy, surpassed its other 2014 film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, for the highest grossing release of the year (domesticaly). However, one major criticism of the MCU is its lack of a female led movie. Although Marvel films feature well-developed female characters – Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow among them – fans have been pushing for a female superhero to lead her own movie. As an established character, Black Widow seems like the most obvious choice. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige’s most recent comments on a female superhero movie were that they’re currently too busy managing the current heroes in its MCU to launch another franchise, but that it’s still something they’re considering. With so many rallying behind Black Widow for a solo movie – including Game of Thronesdirector Neil Marshall – it seems like an eventuality, but is Johansson on board? USA Today asked Johansson’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron co-star, Robert Downey Jr., what he thought of all the speculation surrounding a Black Widow movie, to which he responded: “Doesn’t Scarlett deserve a break?†Downey Jr. added that Johansson will soon become a first-time mother and pointed out that she’s not the MCU’s sole interesting female character. Read Downey Jr.’s full quote: “I think that the interesting thing particularly after ‘Guardians’ with Zoe [saldana], [or] even from the first ‘Iron Man’ where Pepper was kind of this really — to me the ‘Iron Man’ franchise would never have taken off without [Gwyneth] Paltrow. There’s something about her that grounded the story. She’s not your typical lady in a superhero movie, and then by ‘Iron Man 3’ she’s swallowing serums and putting on suits and kicking [butt] and all that stuff.†Downey Jr. did acknowledge that it makes more sense for Marvel to produce a solo Black Widow film rather than a movie led by Saldana’s Gamora or Paltrow’s Pepper Potts. Plus, Johansson does draw viewers to the box office: “It just seems like whatever Scarlett does, people want to go see it.†However, according to Downey Jr., Johansson isn’t the only Avenger who deserves her own franchise within the MCU. The actor went on to discuss his desire to see Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk receive their own films. Read Downey Jr.’s full quote: “The funny thing is honestly at this point everyone deserves a franchise. I think Jeremy Renner is – when folks see ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ he’s just a rockstar, a badass. And Ruffalo is pumped. He does great [work]. I’d like to hear them talk even more seriously about a ‘Hulk’ franchise, because that’s been one of the toughest ones to get right. But I’m sure that my parent company is feeling expansive and bold after the summer they’ve had.†While Downey Jr.’s comments make sense, especially in that the MCU has plenty of characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk who deserve their own franchises, they aren’t necessarily a reflection of Feige or Marvel Studios’ plan for the characters. That said, fans have pushed for a Black Widow film – or the introduction of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel – in the hopes of getting a female-led superhero franchise. While Sony has confirmed an unspecified Spider-Man-related superheroine will debut in her own film in 2017 and DC/Warner Bros. signed Gal Gadot for a 3-picture contract that could include a standalone Wonder Woman feature, Marvel Studios hasn’t set any definite plans. Still, Feige’s comments ring true. Marvel Studios very recently introduced theGuardians of the Galaxy, plus Ant-Man and Doctor Strange are set to enter the MCU next, leaving very little time for a Black Widow movie. However, if Johansson receives Downey Jr.’s suggested break from portraying Natasha Romanov because of these new entries, it’s possible she could receive her own film somewhere down the line. Or Marvel could decide to go with a different female superhero for a franchise. What do you think, Screen Rant readers? Which superheroine would you like to see get her own movie? The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters May 1, 2015. http://screenrant.com/robert-downey-jr-scarlett-johansson-black-widow/
  24. Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy has already become the highest-grossing film of 2014 (domestically) just one month into its theatrical run. Not only that, James Gunn’s entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe made a name for itself as a critics’ favorite, giving the property a one-two punch of commercial and critical appeal. As discussed on the Screen Rant Underground podcast, its success opened many doors for Marvel as they continue their shared universe for years to come. As Kevin Feige and company move onwards to Phase 3, there’s been a lot of talk of the company’s so-called “third-tier†characters joining the ranks of Star-Lord and Rocket as international movie stars. Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man is already in production, Scott Derrickson is set to call the shots on Doctor Strange and there’s a script for Inhumans that’s ready to be passed around. One hero in particular that comic fans have been clamoring for a long time is Black Panther. A native of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, it has been speculated by some that the character will be making an appearance in next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron - based on director Joss Whedon having shot some scenes in South Africa. The potential for a Black Panther adaptation has been a discussion point for a while now. Feige himself said that the project was “absolutely in development†last year and more recently admitted that the studio is listening to the public’s requests to feature Black Panther in a film. Not only that, Star Wars: Episode VII star John Boyega teased around SDCC 2014 that he was “aiming†for a Marvel role and “booking a flight to Wakanda.†Even Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee has had a thing or two to say about Black Panther possibly showing up in a feature film. Lee mentioned last year that Black Pantherwas one upcoming MCU installment he knew about, and now he’s at it again. During a panel at Fan Expo Canada (via Comic Book Resources), he opened up about Marvel Studios’ future plans when discussing the prospect of a Black Widow solo film. “We haven’t made a Black Widow movie but she’s been in some of our movies, and she will be featured more prominently as we move forward. And the chances are she will have her own movie because eventually all the superheroes are going to have their own movies. They are already working on Ant-Man, Dr. Strange and the Black Panther and there are others I am not allowed to talk about.†Given that Marvel has their movie universe planned out through 2028 and haveseveral unannounced films on the horizon, it seems very likely that the King of Wakanda will become known to moviegoers soon. Still, we’ve been down this road before with Lee namedropping Black Panther and the studio remaining silent in regards to actually confirming it. Feige’s comments are a promising sign, but until Marvel Studios comes out and says that it’s officially happening, all fans have to go off on is hearsay. This is essentially becoming Marvel’s version of Shazam; the upcoming movie everyone knows is coming via elaborate teases, but isn’t scheduled yet. With the recent quotes from Feige, Boyega, and Lee, it certainly appears that the wheels are in motion, so it’s plausible to think that there will be some word about the film in the foreseeable future. With this much activity surrounding it, it wouldn’t add up if nothing came to fruition. The issue, as it stands, is not if we’ll see Black Panther, but when. There are currently six unclaimed release dates for Disney/Marvel, including two in 2017 and three in 2018. We know Thor 3 and The Avengers 3 will take two of those spots eventually, while Doctor Strange and Inhumans are likely to claim two of the remaining dates. However, that still leaves room for a newcomer like Black Pantherto arrive on the scene in there. We’ll keep you updated on Black Panther as more information becomes available. http://screenrant.com/marvel-black-panther-movie-stan-lee/
  25. It’s true: people spend more time looking at their smartphone screens nowadays than the world around them, but there’s an interesting world behind touch screens that consumes users too easily these days. A new study says that we should thank Facebook, Google, Pandora, Apple, and Yahoo for our touch screen addictions. Really. In that order. The new addicting mobile apps study, conducted by user survey company ComScore, says that Yahoo’s Finance app and Apple’s 3D Maps app place in the top 10 most-used mobile apps, but rank at the bottom of the top 10. Internet radio service Pandora, Facebook’s Instagram, and Google’s Play Store and Gmail stand in the middle. At the top of the most-used mobile apps chain stands Google’s YouTube (second place), used by 84 million users monthly, and social networking site Facebook (first place), with 115 million users monthly. Google’s search app also ranks in the most-used mobile apps list with 70 million users monthly. ComScore’s study shows that, indeed, there are five Google apps that make the most-used mobile apps list (YouTube, Gmail, Google search, Google Play, Google Maps), while Facebook has two that make the list (Facebook app, Instagram). Apple, Pandora, and Yahoo do not compete in the most-used mobile apps contest, though they provide respectable contributions in the world of tech that can’t (and shouldn’t) be overlooked. At the same time, however, some explanation should be given for these results. Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube and Google search are popular apps on both Android and iOS, but this is because Google’s search engine has been around for as long as many twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings can remember. Apple’s made Bing its default search engine in iOS 7, but a number of iOS users can’t escape the search engine dependence they’ve had with Google for many years. Google Maps is one of the best (if not the best) maps applications in the world, and Apple Maps, as improved as they may be, will need a few years (if not longer) to get where Google Maps is in its current state. Apple drummed up its own Maps app to “wean†iOS users off Google Maps, but eventually had to recommend Google Maps as an alternative maps solution after the Apple Maps Fiasco with a few “disappearing†streets and landmarks. At the same time, however, Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Gmail are utility apps – mobile apps that users need on a daily basis for directions and email. On Android, Gmail is the current default email app (compliments of Android owner Google). The same can be said for Google’s Play Store. The reason why the Play Store is so popular is because 1) there are far more Android users worldwide than iOS users, and 2) Google won’t allow other app stores onto Android. The whole reason behind why Google and Samsung arrived at a cross-licensing agreement back in February after Mobile World Congress 2014 pertains to Samsung’s Magazine UX and Google’s belief that Samsung’s Magazine UI was “hiding†Google services. In other words, there’s not much room in Android for anyone but Google. This is not to downplay the results given regarding the Play Store, but the presence of the Play Store in the top 10 apps should be put into perspective. If the iOS App Store made it into the top ten most-used mobile apps, for example, we wouldn’t be surprised. Where do users go in the mobile world to find, purchase, and download new apps, anyway? There are two confirmations that stand out in ComScore’s study. First, YouTube stands second in the most-used mobile apps on mobile – a trend that Google is looking to continue with its new YouTube Music Key and Play Music Key service that will grant users access to both Google Play’s unlimited music as well as YouTube’s offline and audio playback services (along with the original video-viewing experience) for $9.99 monthly (total). This study should prove encouraging to Google, although it’s not surprising to Android users who can’t think of any other online service that can rival YouTube. Last but never least stands Pandora as the undisputed top Internet radio service on the Web – meaning that the company’s Internet radio service has proven to be more of a hit than Spotify (its closest competitor) and iTunes Radio. Google seems interested in tackling the Internet radio arena and has acquired Songza (from what we know), but we’ve heard nothing about Songza recently. Samsung’s Milk Music Internet radio service is an excellent one, but Samsung never intended for it to be a top contender (after all, the company only allows its own smartphones and tablets to access the service). With Google taking five of the top ten slots, what’re the rest of Mountain View’s competitors to do? With Google owning Android, the most popular OS worldwide, we don’t see Google’s sweeping mobile campaign coming to an end anytime soon.