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Computing

Why the RTX 4080 12GB feels a lot like a rebranded RTX 4070

Nvidia announced two versions of its RTX 4080 at its GTC keynote — a 12GB model and a 16GB model. On the surface, this seems simple. Two configurations of the same graphics cards, except with different amount of memory.

This is, after all, what Nvidia did with its RTX 3080 last year. There was the original 8GB RTX 3080, and the 12GB RTX 3080 that got released earlier this year.

But the situation with the two “versions” of the RTX 4080 couldn’t be more different. Not only is there a $300 gulf in price between these two products, but Nvidia confirmed to the media today that they do, in fact, use two different GPUs. The RTX 4080 16GB uses AD104, and the RTX 4080 12GB uses AD103. To call these two products different “versions” of the same graphics card is a pretty serious misnomer.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 16GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 12GB
GPU AD104 AD103
CUDA cores 9,728 7,680
Shader / RT cores 49 / 113 40 / 82
Tensor TFLOPS 780 641
Base clock 2,210MHz 2,310MHz
Maximum clock 2,510MHz 2,610MHz
Memory size 16GB GDDR6X 12GB GDDR6X
Memory bus 256-bit 192-bit
TDP 320 watts 285 watts
Price $1,199 $899

Looking at the other specs we now have, you can see how that plays out. The RTX 4080 16GB has 21% more CUDA cores, 27% more RT cores, and is capable of 18% more Tensor TFLOPS (trillion floating-point operations per second) than the 12GB model. Of course, it also has a wider memory bus and consumes more power too. All in all, the 16GB model is a much more powerful graphics card.

So, what then is going on with the naming of this 12GB RTX 4080? Well, just look at what Nvidia did with its initial launch of the first RTX 30-series cards. At launch, the company announced the RTX 3090, 3080, and 3070. Three GPUs down the line. What it’s doing with the RTX 40-series line is nearly identical, meaning the 12GB 4080, which retails for $899, feels a lot more like a proper RTX 4070 than anything else. That’s a problem, considering the RTX 3070 retailed for just $499.

When asked, of course, Nvidia sees the 16GB model as an “enhanced” RTX 4080, not the other way around. And maybe the company has a point, at least with how these cards are priced. The 16GB model is certainly priced as if it were an RTX 4080 Ti — or something along those lines. Nvidia has also confirmed that there will be no first-party Founders Edition of the 12GB RTX 4080.

Still, the whole thing has left a sour taste in the mouths of PC enthusiasts, who are looking at this 12GB RTX 4080 as a repackaged 4070 as a way to secretly raise prices. Nvidia hasn’t been shy about commenting on the rising cost of GPUs in the future, confirming that falling prices are a thing of the past.

We’ll have to wait and see what Nvidia eventually does with the rest of the lineup to get the full picture, but at the very least, it’s obvious that GPU pricing is continuing to rise, even if some of the costs are buried in the specs.

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Computing

Intel processors may get a lot pricier, giving AMD an edge

According to a new report, Intel might be about to introduce a substantial pricing increase on the majority of its catalog. Unfortunately, this also includes consumer-level processors. The company cites an increase in production and material cost as the reason why it decided to up its prices.

For the customers, it all comes down to one thing — PC hardware and pre-built desktops and laptops might get a lot more expensive. The two key questions are: How much worse will the prices get, and how will Intel’s competitors respond to this decision?

The report comes from Nikkei Asia. According to the publication, Intel has already started informing its customers of the fact that it will raise the prices of the majority of its products. This change will affect microprocessors and peripheral chip devices, which boils down to consumer CPUs and enterprise-level products such as high-performance server chips. Intel also produces a wide range of other items, including various controllers and Wi-Fi chips.

It’s unclear as to how much higher the prices are going to be if this change comes into effect, and there’s no catch-all to refer to — the percentages will be different depending on the product. However, Nikkei Asia says that we can expect to see a fairly wide range, from single-digit bumps to as much as a 20% higher price.

Assuming that the price of some of Intel’s best processors will go up, this change will echo throughout more than just the PC hardware market. Intel’s processors are also found in all kinds of PCs, including pre-built desktops and laptops. Once the manufacturers of these devices are made to pay more to use an Intel CPU, they might have to, in turn, raise the prices of the end product. They might also turn their eyes to AMD Ryzen as a viable alternative.

Intel’s choice will likely ripple throughout the market. During the pandemic, the market was thriving in the manufacturer’s favor, although it was plagued by a chip shortage. There weren’t enough PCs and laptops to go around, but now, the situation has seemingly reversed. Nikkei Asia cites Acer chairman Jason Chen, who told reporters that the company no longer suffers from the chip shortage, saying: “Some of the chip suppliers’ CEOs even called me recently to buy more chips from them. The situation has changed.”

Core i9-12900KS processor socketed in a motherboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

With inflation on a constant rise, the demand for electronics has been steadily dropping, which makes Intel’s move a risky one — but it’s not alone in its decision. TSMC has also allegedly told clients that it will be raising its prices by a single-digit percentage, beginning in 2023. Various other chipmakers and suppliers of chip materials are also cited as being about to increase their prices.

On the other end of the spectrum, Nvidia has seemingly finally chosen to cut down the MSRP of some of its best graphics cards, all due to an oversupply. There’s more than enough hardware and not enough people who want to buy it. It will certainly be interesting to see whether Intel’s main rival in the best CPU arena, AMD, will respond by raising its prices, or if it will stay around the same level and entice the customers who don’t want to pay Intel’s premium.

Nikkei Asia states that Intel itself had informed it about the upcoming changes, but until Intel itself confirms this, steer clear of treating this as a fact. While Intel might be planning to increase the prices on some — or all — of its products, we won’t know the true extent of it until everything is made official by the manufacturer. The next earnings call for Intel is set to take place on July 28, so it won’t be long before we hear directly from the source.

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Game

First ‘Redfall’ gameplay trailer shows a whole lot of vampire slaying

Microsoft opened its not-E3 Xbox and Bethesda showcase with a deeper look at Redfall. The co-op vampire shooter from Arkane Austin was supposed to be out this summer but it has been delayed until the first half of next year. In the meantime, many more details about the game have been revealed.

The first gameplay trailer begins with one of the playable characters, Layla, exploring a blood-drenched church by themselves. In an attic space, they hear a voice muttering. A vampire attacks, followed by a couple more. Sharpshooter Jacob, one of Layla’s teammates, shows up to help out. 

Redfall is set on an eponymous island off the coast of Massachusetts. It’s filled with vampires and cultists who want to be turned (i.e. familiars). The vampires blocked out the sun and caused the tide to recede, making it impossible for those on the island to escape. 

There’s a brief look at the two other playable characters: engineer Remi, who has a killer robot companion, and Devinder, an expert on all things creepy (or a cryptozoologist, if you’re fancy). Layla, meanwhile, has telekinetic powers and Jacob has a cloaking ability. The characters’ various abilities can be upgraded.

As with the Dishonored games, playing stealthily will be to your advantage. “A huge emphasis for Redfall has been the solo experience, in keeping with Arkane’s passions,” explains Arkane Austin studio and creative director Harvey Smith said. “Redfall is an open world game, but it can be soloed with any of the heroes. The pace becomes more exploratory; you can use recon and stealth to gather info on encounters and avoid enemies or get the drop on them.”

The vampires have a hierarchy, seemingly ranging from grunts to powerful bosses. There will be nests to clear out. The cultists, meanwhile, are willing to lay down their lives to protect the vampires. They will shoot on sight. 

Luckily, you’ll have an extensive arsenal with which to battle your enemies as you try to purge the island of evil. Some of the weapons have unique traits. Along with regular ol’ guns, you’ll have slightly more traditional vamp-vanquishing weapons, including a stake launcher and a UV beam. 

Redfall is coming to PC, Xbox consoles and Xbox Cloud Gaming in the first half of 2023.

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Computing

TikTok’s new Avatars look a lot like Memojis

If you liked playing around with Apple’s Memojis, you’ll probably love TikTok’s latest effect.

On Tuesday, TikTok announced a new effect for its wildly popular short-form video-sharing app. It’s called TikTok Avatars, and it allows users to create a customized avatar for themselves that can then be used in recording TikTok videos. Similar to Memojis, TikTok’s Avatars can also “mimic your motion” as you move around.

TikTok

The new Avatars effect is also expected to offer a variety of appearance customization options, including hairstyles, accessories, makeup, and piercings.

Initially, it was unclear to us if the effect itself is available to all TikTok users right now or if it is still rolling out to everyone. And at first, I was unable to test the new feature on my own Android device as the Avatar effect was nowhere to be found in the Effects menu. Digital Trends then reached out to TikTok to ask about the rollout of the Avatar effect.

Later, after this article was initially published, TikTok told Digital Trends that the effect should be available to everyone now. After hearing from TikTok, I checked the app on my Android device again, and the Avatar effect now appears in the Effects menu.

Here’s how to access the new Avatar effect on TikTok:

Step 1: Open the TikTok app and select the Plus Sign icon.

Step 2: Select the Effects icon that is to the left of the red Record button.

Step 3: On the Effects menu, tap the Magnifying glass icon to search for the Avatar effect. Then type in TikTok Avatars in the search bar.

Step 4: Select the only search result that comes up: TikTok Avatars.

Step 5: You should now be on the TikTok Avatars effect screen. Here you can choose from existing Avatars to record videos with or you can select New to create your own custom avatar.

If you choose to create your own Avatar, you can choose from a wide variety of skin tones, hair colors, hairstyles, face shapes, eyebrow options, eye shapes, eye colors, and more. And the Avatar moves with you as you pick out your options, so you can really see if it looks right to you.

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Game

Elgato’s first webcam gets a lot of things right

Though it’s still best known for its capture cards, Elgato is working toward taking over your entire streaming setup. The past half decade has seen the introduction of the Stream Deck line for easily initiating macros during a broadcast; different kinds of lighting; and, last year, the company’s first gaming microphones. The one thing missing in this list was a webcam — until today’s introduction of the Elgato FaceCam.

Elgato FaceCam mounted on a monitor

Kris Naudus / Engadget

On its surface, the $200 camera is not that unique. It’s a chunky rectangular box that can be easily clipped on top of a monitor, or connected to Elgato’s multi mount system. It shoots 1080p at 60fps, with a Sony-made STARVIS CMOS sensor. It may not be 4K, but most streamers don’t need that kind of resolution right now. The FaceCam makes up for it with a robust suite of settings in its dedicated Camera Hub program. Yes, you’ll have to download another piece of software for this camera to run alongside Game Capture, Stream Deck, Wave Link (for the mics) and Control Center (for the lighting), which is a little annoying. Other companies bundle all their different drivers and settings into one tool, but I suppose keeping them separate probably makes sending out updates easier.

It's a me on the screen

Kris Naudus / Engadget

In the Camera Hub you’ll have easy access to things like contrast, exposure and white balance. (The latter two can be set to automatic so you have one less thing to fuss over.) The automatic white balance was a little warm for my taste, but it was easy enough to turn it off and knock the number down to a cooler 4000K. The software also comes with zoom options, but it’s nothing to write home about, as the camera is fixed focus. You’ll always be sharp as long as you always remain between 12 inches (30 cm) and 47 inches (120 cm) from the camera. That should take care of anyone working at a desk; anyone who moves further back would be better served with something a little more portable with advanced settings.

Elgato Camera Hub, close up to my chin

Kris Naudus / Engadget

The biggest draw of the Camera Hub is the real-time ISO reading, which makes it a lot easier to detect and react to changes in your lighting. Maybe your lights are too bright, or maybe the natural light from outside vanished with an oncoming thunderstorm (which is exactly what’s happening as I type this). The exposure and white balance can adjust automatically, or you can tweak the settings yourself on the fly. There’s a Stream Deck plugin available, which should make it possible to adjust the settings with the touch of a button. Of course, that’s dependent on you having smart lighting in the first place, like Elgato’s Key Light or Ring Light.

Exposure, ISO 426

Kris Naudus / Engadget

There’s a definite sense that you’re meant to go all-in on Elgato’s streaming lineup, probably best evidenced by the lack of a microphone in the FaceCam. The company says it didn’t bother since most gamers tend to use headsets anyway, but let’s face it: Elgato would rather you pick up one of its Wave:1 or Wave:3 mics. They do indeed sound great, but they’re not my preferred microphones thanks to some issues I had with getting the Wave:3 to work while I was wearing a headset — yes, even one made by Elgato’s parent company Corsair.

Elgato Camera Hub, hey look it's me

Kris Naudus / Engadget

For the most part, the FaceCam has a lot fewer kinks. My biggest problem was plugging it in, as it must be plugged into your system directly and not via a hub. And that’s tough with many modern laptops, which may only have two USB-C ports. The FaceCam comes with a USB-C to USB-A cord, and the company recommends you use the included wire instead of providing your own. I was forced to search around for a converter dongle. While I commend companies for finally embracing USB-C in their gaming accessories, we need some solutions on the software side to ensure that they can actually be used with hubs. My Logitech C920 works with a hub and it comes with a built-in mic, so it’s likely to remain my default webcam for most purposes.

Elgato FaceCam mounted on top of a monitor

Kris Naudus / Engadget

Still, the FaceCam is off to a promising start. The video quality is crisp and free of noise, and when it’s not there’s a built-in filter you can enable. I haven’t needed it to, though, as the camera has handled my Google Hangouts and Zoom calls with ease. The price is a bit steep, but still on par with Logitech’s Brio 4K and Razer’s Kiyo Pro, both of which cost $200. What your money gets you here is the assurance that it will work seamlessly with your Elgato Stream Deck — a piece of equipment that, right now at least, has no real competition.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Game

Prime Matter is a new ‘premium’ game publisher with a lot of new IPs

Koch Media, a game publisher that runs the game publisher Deep Silver and is owned by the game publisher Embracer Group, has today announced Prime Matter, a game publisher.

But wait — this one is different! Prime Matter is a “new premium gaming label” that’s “dedicated to delivering immersive games from studios all across the world.” In a press presentation prior to today’s Summer Game Fest reveal, Koch showed off the type of games it was aiming to bring to the new label. Among them were some notable names from gaming’s past and a lot of all-new projects.

First, the most easily identifiable: Payday 3, the sequel to the 2013 co-op heist FPS, is going to be a Prime Matter game. Developer Starbreeze had already confirmed this for a 2023 launch with Koch Media so there’s no huge surprise it’s been picked for a move to the company’s “premium” brand.

Another blast from the even deeper past is the return of the Painkiller franchise. Painkiller was People Can Fly’s first game, a beloved if very mid-‘00s-edgy FPS in the vein of Doom and Serious Sam. It’s unclear who’s developing the new game — the only information we have is that it’s being co-published with Saber, which is, you guessed it, another Embracer subsidiary. We also don’t know whether it’s a reboot, a sequel, or basically anything right now. Koch says more information will be coming “soon.”

Crossfire Legion

Prime Matter

Another notable project is Crossfire: Legion from Canadian developer Blackbird Interactive, which made the superb Hardspace: Shipbreaker and is currently working on Homeworld 3 for another Embracer-owned publisher, Gearbox Software. (This is all a little incestuous, I know.) Legion is a Starcraft-style RTS based on the CrossFire tactical first-person shooter franchise, which is obscenely popular in Asia. With Blackbird’s very strong background in RTS games (the studio was born from former Relic Entertainment members) this could lowkey be a huge game for this new publishing label.

Next is Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Koch sub-label Deep Silver acquired the developers of this 2018 RPG, and now Prime Matter is bringing it to Nintendo Switch. Oh, also King’s Bounty II, which is due in August, is a Prime Matter game rather than a Deep Silver game now. Koch says “a number of legacy games” that it planned to publish from developers like Nine Dots Studios and Taleworlds will now be pushed through Prime Matter.

As mentioned, there are bunch of new IPs on the way, from mostly young studios around the globe, which is honestly cool to see. Here’s quick rundown:

The Chant (working title)

The Chant

Prime Matter

The Chant is a third-person psychological horror game from Canadian studio Brass Token, set on “the tormented grounds of a new age cult.” It’s being directed by industry veteran and Brass Token creative director Mike Skupa, who was design director on Sleeping Dogs and Bully. There was a great interview with Skupa over at Eurogamer a couple of years ago, which includes some info on the game. It’s scheduled for a 2022 release on Playstation and Xbox (prior- and new-gen) consoles and PC.

Final Form (working title)

Codename Final Form

Prime Matter

Final Form is from Polish developer Reikon Games and is described as an “adrenaline fuelled futuristic FPS with the player taking on the role of a cybernetic Valkyrie saving humanity from extinction.” Reikon previously partnered with Devolver on Ruiner, a hyper-violent cyberpunk shoot-em-up. There’s no release window, but it’s coming to PC and consoles at some point with three-player co-op. There’ll be a deeper dive into this game at Prime Matter’s event tomorrow.

Dolmen

Dolmen

Prime Matter

Dolmen is being developed by Massive Work Studio out of Brazil. The elevator pitch is that it’s a third-person action RPG that “combines futuristic sci-fi and Lovecraftian cosmic horror.” It’s penciled for a 2022 release on last- and new-gen Playstation and Xbox consoles and PC.

Echoes Of The End (working title)

Echoes of the End

Prime Matter

This was probably the standout of the new IPs shown at the pre-E3 event. Developed by Icelandic studio Myrkur Games and built on Unreal Engine 5 for next-gen consoles and PC, it’s billed as “a story-driven single player” game set “in a unique fantasy world.” It looks to be a high-production-value action-adventure game, and the full trailer will drop June 11th during Prime Matter’s event.

Encased

Encased

Prime Matter

This one is a classic RPG that’s currently in Early Access in Steam. Produced by Russian developer Dark Crystal Games, when it sees a full release in September it’ll be a Prime Matter game.

The Last Oricru

The Last Oricru

Prime Matter

Google Docs kept on insisting I should correct this title to “The Last Orifice,” but either way this was giving off some very Dark Souls vibes. The unique twist this time is that it takes the classic “middle ages” setting and combines it with sci-fi elements. It’s being developed by the Czech team GoldKnights, and is scheduled for release on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series consoles in 2022.

Scars Above

Scars Above

Prime Matter

Billed as a “dark sci-fi action adventure,” Scars Above comes from Serbian developer Mad Head Games, which is owned by Prime Matter’s sister company Saber. It’ll see “a lone protagonist having to survive on a hostile nightmare world.” Think “vaguely Dead Spacey” if your cultural references are as stuck in 2010 as mine. It’s being developed for a release on “PC and console platforms” in 2022.

As mentioned, Prime Matter has its own event tomorrow where you’ll be able to see some of these games for yourselves in more detail. Koch Media now has five publishing strands, because of course it does, but the basic gist seems to be that Prime Matter is at the top, and all major releases moving forward will be through the new brand. It’s unclear how Prime Matter will fit in with the broader Embracer group — Koch is just one of eight subsidiaries. Embracer has been aggressively expanding over the past couple of years, with acquisitions of major developers like Gearbox (Borderlands) and 4A (Metro).

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Tech News

Paradox finally announces Victoria 3 (and a whole lot more)

It’s coming! No fooling! Paradox Interactive finally, officially announced Victoria 3 today at its annual PDXCON event.

And there was much rejoicing.

Details: Well, there aren’t many.

Here’s what we do know, per Paradox:

  • Victoria 3 will feature:
  • Deep Societal Simulation: Cultural, economic and ideological divisions compete for power and resources in one of Paradox’s most detailed historical worlds.
  • Tend Your National Garden: Nurture your population, educating it and preparing it for the future, guaranteeing their prosperity and improving their happiness.
  • Wonders of the Industrial Age: Scientific and social progress give you the chance to improve the lives of your citizens.
  • Sophisticated Economic System: Import goods to keep costs low, export goods to enrich your citizens, and then tax that wealth to advance your plans.
  • Challenging Diplomacy: Maintain harmonious relations with your neighbors or provoke a crisis to grab valuable resources or force open new markets.
  • Political Dealmaking: Manage competing interests in your government, opening up new reforms but risking revolution if key voices are not heard.
  • Detailed and Living World: Cities grow and factories darken the landscape on a beautifully drawn map of the 19th century globe. Play any nation on earth and try to claim your place in the sun.

Victoria 3 will be available on Steam, Microsoft Game Pass and the Paradox Store.

But wait, there’s more! Victoria 3’s confirmed existence may have stolen the show (Victoria 3 announcement rumors are a longstanding meme in the strategy gaming community), but there were plenty of other exciting announcements for Paradox fans.

The Royal Court (DLC) is coming to Crusader Kings III

The world’s coolest dark ages dynasty simulator is getting an incredibly rad DLC pack in the form of the “Royal Court” paid add-on.

As Paradox explains it, the Royal Court will give players the ability to interact with subjects and play politics with their lives and it will also function a hub for your ruler. The intent here is to provide a bridge between the overworld map and your character sheet.

Per Paradox:

  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Court includes:
  • Throne Room: A visual representation of your royal court will reflect all the accumulated majesty and prestige of your dynasty.
  • Hold Court: Interact with vassals and courtiers as they come to you with their problems, seeking a royal judgment.
  • Grandeur: Increase the quality of life at your court with fancier trappings and better food, all the better to impress your rivals and attract higher quality guests.
  • Inspired People: Talented artists, craftspeople and thinkers can work on new projects, adding treasures and artifacts to your court.
  • Hybrid Cultures: Make the most of a multicultural realm, developing a new way of life that is specifically adapted to your population and geography.
  • Cultural Divergence: split from your traditional culture, adapting it into something new that better fits your aspirations.
  • This expansion will be accompanied by a major free update that will include a new culture interface and more.

I could not be more excited for this update. The CKIII experience is a unique RPG/grand-strategy hybrid and, despite it being among the deepest gaming experiences I’ve ever had, there’s always been something missing.

And, it turns out, that “something” is probably a CKIII-ified version of Fable IIIs Sanctuary hub. I cannot wait to get my hands on this when it launches… sometime later this year.

Prison Architect: Second Chances

Next up, Paradox announced the next update for Prison Architect. Called “Second Chances” this allows incarceration overseers to turn their focus on rehabilitation and recidivism in new, in-depth ways.

This update will bring new ways to shape and mold your prisoners by introducing mechanics to change their behavior.

Per Paradox, key features will include:

  • Return to Reform: Non-work programs, such as Animal Therapy, Meet & Greet, and Former Prisoner Classes can remove an inmate’s negative traits and see improved behaviors.
  • Good Behavior: Inmates can have their sentences reduced or increased based on their actions and reoffenders can now be sent back to prison. Players will be fined for each reoffender.
  • Room for Improvement: Inmates with existing or earned work credentials can become vendors to both prisoners and visitors in inmate-run rooms, including a Bakery, Restaurant and Therapy Room.
  • Back to Society: Inmates can earn work credentials through experience partaking in different work and training programs.

Second chances comes to PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on June 16, and Nintendo Switch on June 29.

Empire of Sin: Make it Count

Paradox’s grand-strategy mob game is getting its first major expansion in the form of “Make it Count,” a DLC that’ll add new rackets, new ways to win, and some quality of life updates.

According to Paradox:

  • Make It Count Key Features:
  • Meyer Lansky – Play as the “Mob’s Accountant,” a boss that excels at economics and creates synergy in combat. He uses his smooth talking to “make peace” with money and connections.
  • The Fixers” – Five gangsters are up for hire, bringing their loan sharking Racket and combat abilities. This Racket unlocks Blackmail over other characters and factions.
  • A string of missions that tell the story of Lansky and the Fixers, unlocking game features like Loan Sharking, and introduce Lansky’s mentor, Arnold Rothstein.
  • New rackets, new abilities, new gangsters and new missions– more details to come!

Having just recently gotten into Empire of Sin, I’m eagerly anticipating this add-on. There’s a lot to explore in the vanilla game, but the addition of new rackets and new ways to win adds more delicious complexity and choice.

Paradox says the free “Precincts” update and the Make it Count paid DLC add-on will both launch later this year.

While those are the biggest announcements from the event, other titles including Hearts of Iron IV are getting updates as well – but more details were promised on those later.

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Security

A bug in Peloton’s API may have exposed a whole lot of user data

An old version of Peloton’s API, the software that allows the company’s bikes and recalled treadmills to communicate with its servers, may have exposed private customer profiles, according to a report from TechCrunch. The bug was first spotted by Jan Masters, a security researcher at Pen Test Partners, and reported to Peloton on January 20th, but the company is only just now confirming that the bug has been fixed.

Using Peloton’s API, Masters was able to scrape all sorts of customer information that would typically be private, depending on the individual user’s settings. That includes customer profiles, which can potentially feature their age, location, birthday, and workout history. All Masters had to do was make an unauthenticated request to Peloton’s API and customer data was his. Masters has a more thorough explanation of how the exploit worked on Pen Test Partners’ blog and also summarized his findings in the video below:

After reporting the bug to Peloton, Masters set a 90-day deadline to address the issue. That deadline came and went without Peloton saying whether the API was fixed, which prompted Masters to turn to TechCrunch. Peloton finally responded and shared the following statement with the publication:

It’s a priority for Peloton to keep our platform secure and we’re always looking to improve our approach and process for working with the external security community. Through our Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure program, a security researcher informed us that he was able to access our API and see information that’s available on a Peloton profile. We took action, and addressed the issues based on his initial submissions, but we were slow to update the researcher about our remediation efforts. Going forward, we will do better to work collaboratively with the security research community and respond more promptly when vulnerabilities are reported. We want to thank Ken Munro for submitting his reports through our CVD program and for being open to working with us to resolve these issues.

The screens on Peloton’s bikes and treadmills are what make the company’s workout ways so compelling. It’s how subscribers attend classes, track their workouts, and even do other non-bike or treadmill exercises. It’s a feature that Peloton charges $39 per month for an all-access membership to. Yet, like all connected devices, particularly fitness ones, it can leave private customer information more vulnerable than a non-connected stationary bike would.

Masters writes that Peloton apologized and said it resolved a majority of the API issues within a week of his report. What’s not immediately clear is if anyone other than Masters gained access to customer data while the API was in a leaky state.

When The Verge followed up to check, Peloton said it had nothing new to share that it hadn’t already provided TechCrunch and Pen Test Partners. The company also reiterated it responded to the API issue immediately.

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Tech News

Facebook’s ‘Neighborhoods’ looks a whole lot like Nextdoor

Facebook is launching a new feature today to help you keep in touch with your local community: Neighborhoods. It’s essentially the social network’s take on dedicated community social network appslike Nextdoor.

You’ll have to be 18 years or older to join, as well as confirm your neighborhood (the app gives you the option of a few nearby locations).

The company gives you the option of adding “interests, favorite places, and a bio” so your neighbors can get to know you. The announcement post also notes you can also take on the role of a ‘socializer’ to start conversations too, whatever that means.

At first glance, it’s hard to see how Neighborhoods is all that different from Facebook groups dedicated to specific areas; much of the functionality appears to be the same. It also lacks some of the specificity that groups have. I use local groups for things like finding stuff people are giving away for free, but I’m not interested in hearing what my neighbor’s politics might be.

Things get further muddled by the fact that Neighborhoods allows you to find existing groups, as well as create new groups that are specifically bound to members that live in a neighborhood (there’s nothing stopping someone from joining multiple traditional groups, for instance).

That said, Neighborhoods does have a few new features, such as the ability to create polls members to vote on their favorite restaurants and locations in the area.

While the feature appears to be clearly ‘inspired’ by apps like NextDoor, I can see it being useful. There are a lot more people on Facebook than on dedicated community apps, and Neighborhoods will theoretically provide tighter integrations with things like events and the like.

Whether anyone actually uses the feature remains to be seen. The feature is launching in Canada first, and “will begin to roll out to select US cities soon.”

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Categories
Computing

MSI’s GE65 Raider Review: A little thick, but a lot fast

MSI’s GE65 Raider is proof positive of how far gaming laptop performance has come. Just two years ago, a top-end gaming laptop would run on a quad-core 7th-gen CPU. The GE65 Raider doubles the core count with its 9th-gen Core i7-9880H chip.

Real-time ray tracing support? The GE65 Raider has that, too, with its full-power GeForce RTX 2070.

All this, mind you, weighs just over five pounds. This much power at this weight comes with a compromise, though, which we’ll get to later. First up, the full specs:

msi ge65 raider left Gordon Mah Ung

MSI GE65 Raider Specs

CPU: Intel 9th-gen Core i9-9880H 8-core CPU

RAM: 16GB DDR4/2666

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070

Display: 15.6-inch IGZO 240Hz 1080P screen with Optimus

Storage: 1TB Samsung PM981 NVme SSD

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